F*ck you, Facebook.

facebook-sucks

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Facebook.  I know it’s the best platform on which to share blog posts, but my problem is the nature of my blog.  Much of what I write is highly personal or about my family, and people from many different areas of my life, including family members, are Facebook friends or at least know where to find me even if they are not friends.  Even though I changed the spelling of my first name on Facebook, most people who want to can still find me there.   You’re not allowed to create a second account (although I suppose it could be done using a second email address) or use a handle.

I guess I could set up a “page” connected with this blog, but that page would still be  attached to my main account, so when I press the “share” button under a post, it gets posted to my main account, not an associated page.    I don’t want family members, people I know from work or from past jobs, neighbors, and my kids’ friends reading certain of my posts.  Since I do share some of my posts to Facebook,  if someone REALLY wanted to read my other stuff, they could find it fairly easily by browsing through my blog, but I don’t want to call attention to those posts to people who have no business reading them.

It sucks because blog posts on Facebook always get the most shares.  I’ve had some posts that were shared over 200 times by others.  One post has over 1000 shares.   But I have to rely on others to share my posts.  I can only share the less personal ones there.

I don’t have this same problem with other social media because I don’t use my real name on those accounts and they were set up for the primary purpose of sharing blog posts.   Facebook (and to some extent, LinkedIn) is a different story, because I’ve had my account there since 2008 and had no blog until 2014.   I’m tempted to delete my Facebook and start over under a fake name, but then I’ll lose all my contacts.   I’m not sure how to get around this issue.  I don’t really like Facebook much anyway and I never have.

F*ck you, Facebook.

Further reading:

When My Worlds Collide

10 Reasons Why Facebook Drives Me Insane

 

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Graphic example of how Facebook feeds narcissism in young women.

Young girl using laptop on Facebook page

Okay, so my daughter isn’t exactly a kid anymore, since she’s 22, but she’s still young enough that she likes participating in those awful Facebook groups where random people rank your photo based on how attractive they think you are.

Her profile picture was ranked along with 3 other girls in this group.
Here she sums up what happened.

facebook_trolling

She got a lot of comments telling her not to be upset, or that people were just jealous of her good looks (she is very pretty, but I didn’t see the photos of the other girls). This morning she told me her feelings were still hurt today in spite of encouraging comments she got from her friends and boyfriend who kept telling her how beautiful she is.

This sort of thing isn’t unusual. It happens every day, all over social media. Not only can such online “contests” lead to bullying based on one’s appearance by total strangers, but they also feed a girl’s narcissistic supply or cause narcissistic injury, even in non-narcissists (my daughter does not have NPD, but can act very narcissistic). Let’s be honest here–we all have some need for narcissistic supply (positive feedback), especially when we’re still young and unsure of our place in the world.

The teenage and young adult women who participate in these contests learn to value surface attributes such as physical appearance or sexiness above anything else. I see it happening everywhere. Millennial girls seem more obsessed with how cute, sexy or pretty they are than any generation that came before them, and I think this is due to the plethora of reality shows, beauty contests and Facebook photo rankings they are inundated with, as well as the trend for taking as many Selfies or Youtube videos of yourself as you possibly can and posting them for the public to see and comment on. This seems to be a generation with more than its fair share of female somatic narcissists and girls with HPD (histrionic personality disorder).

I can’t keep my daughter from participating in these sort of activities since she’s an adult and she seems to enjoy them (and usually gets a lot of compliments about how pretty she is), but I worry about a “low ranking” (which really wasn’t that bad) like she got yesterday damaging her self esteem (which is shaky to start with) or teaching her to value physical appearance above other qualities like personality, intelligence, or kindness.

The dumbing down of the Internet

google
Even Bart Simpson knows what’s going on.

Up until 9/11 and its aftermath, and especially since the twin-monster births of Facebook and Twitter (and their older retarded brother MySpace), the Internet was like being set loose in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s or Paris during the 1920s and 1930s.

Ever since Facebook, Twitter and other major corporate-run websites came along and steamrolled the entire web, visiting the Internet is more like taking tours of the world’s most depressing slums with weekends spent in Disneyland.

When my worlds collide.

Worlds_Collide___Phaeton___by_Meckie
Worlds Collide-Phaeton: by Meckie at Deviantart.com

I have lived in several different online worlds at different times of my life, each as remote from each other as the Milky Way is from The Great Magellanic Cloud. They may even inhabit different cyber-universes. But on Facebook, these universes have a disturbing and slightly eerie way of all melding together into a single, writhing, freaky ass clusterf*ck.

I recently became somewhat active on Facebook again, even though I really can’t stand it. This happened because I decided to start linking my blog posts there (it does help visibility), and, well, you start poking around looking at stuff and before you know it, you’re updating your status and talking to people who want to comment about your updates.

One thing that always happens that drives me insane, but is really sort of cool when you think about it, is when people from different areas of my life start conversing because they’re both my Facebook friends and they both wind up commenting about something I posted.

My friend Kevin, from a political/history forum I used to be active on (the site has become pretty much overrun by trolls but has a FB page now) got into a heated debate with another friend of mine I just met because she’s active on Sam Vaknin’s page. They got into a discussion over the religious implications of malignant narcissism and whether or not Vaknin would be saved by the Holy Spirit. It was an interesting if somewhat strange conversation. I got a kind of odd thrill from seeing two people from completely different compartments/timeframes of my online life get to know each other on my wall.

Okay, I admit it. It’s cool as hell.

I always wondered about the freakiness of my worlds colliding. When different areas of my life–or different times–somehow “meet” it’s very freaky. They don’t belong together.

This reminds me of when I was about 4. I was in the grocery store with my mother, and suddenly a woman appeared with a cart of groceries and started speaking to my mom…she was MY TEACHER and I started crying because it scared me because THE GROCERY STORE was where you bought GROCERIES and the TEACHER BELONGED IN SCHOOL so what in the name of all that is holy was my teacher doing in the GROCERY STORE?
It’s a little like that, but not scary or upsetting, because I’m not 4…..but its still weird.

That’s one of the reasons why Facebook scares me. It makes me wary and inhibited about posting ir some things or sharing certain blog posts there. There’s some topics I like to keep separate from people who inhabit one of my other universes. Why that is, I can’t explain. I don’t know myself well enough to explain why I have this strange neurosis about my worlds touching. Is this some bizarro world cyberspace version of a kid who freaks out because the gravy on their plate is touching their peas?

mixing_them

Most disturbing (but really just more annoying) of all is constantly seeing updates from old coworkers I lost contact with years ago and having friends I don’t recognize because I can’t remember why I added them or where I knew them from. Also many members of my FOO post on FB too but I have quietly defriended most of them. I HATE mixing my IRL life with my online one.

Run-in with a Facebook narc.

My son just tweeted about this.

twitconvo1
twitconvo2

Read these tweets from bottom to top.

There’s a malignant narcissist all wrapped up for you with a big red bow on top.

I’m holding my nose…

Boy with Clothespin On Nose

I did the unthinkable.

I started linking my blog posts with my Facebook account.

I did something even more heinous than that.

I started talking to people on Facebook, and there’s a vast community of narcissistic abuse survivors. The beauty of that is I can talk to these survivors in real time. There’s a whole different and wonderful dynamic to communicating in real time that can enrich your entire blogging experience.

I had all but given up on Facebook because it’s just too connected to my IRL life. My family all want to “friend” me so they can check up on me (my account is set to private except for those I’ve friended). My MN ex is there, and that makes me nervous even though he can’t see the details of my account. People I used to work with and go to school with are all there. The whole freaking world is there. It was scary and still is.

But I changed my mind for two reasons:

1. I no longer care who sees my blog. I still use my fake name on this blog and LinkedIn, but I’m known by my real name on Facebook. It doesn’t matter, since my family already found this blog over a month ago and the world hasn’t come to an end.

It kind of makes me giggle when I think about what they must be thinking if they’re actually reading what I’m saying about them (if they’re even interested enough to read my posts, which they might not be). Even though no one’s real name has ever been used in any of my posts, they will recognize themselves. Maybe that’s what they need though. To see themselves through my eyes, and read all about how they are perceived BY me, instead of them always telling me how they perceive me. Karma is a bitch.

2. It increases this blog’s visibility and reach to a part of the narcissistic abuse community that spends most of its time on Facebook. Like it or not, that’s where most people online can be found. Since doing this, my reach has increased quite a bit. OM would be proud. 🙂

But the third reason is one I never expected or intended. I’m making friends with some amazing people I never would have met had I not made the decision to give Facebook one more shot.

I don’t think I sold out. Do you?

A vast wasteland.

Wasteland-03-Digital-Illustration-by-Atelier-Olschinsky
Wasteland 03 by Atelier Olschinsky

I remember when forums were a thing. So much has changed in the past 5-10 years, with the proliferation of social media and the enormous popularity of Big Brother Facebook, which started its unholy takeover of the Internet in 2008. Twitter is getting almost as bad.

Forums still exist, but most of them are dead or dying. The last one I posted on was about a year ago. It was a political/history related forum that had been in existence since 1997. I started posting there in 1999, and was on-again, off-again for the next 13 years. That forum (as far as I know) is still in existence, but when its only moderator left and was never replaced, the site was overtaken by trolls who proceeded to destroy the site by running off its regular members. Last time I was there, it was a shell of what it once was. There were about 3 intelligent people still posting there. I had to leave; it had become mind numbingly boring and too sad to stick around.

Another forum I used to be active on has about a tenth of the activity it once did. All you can hear is the crickets there now.

I see this sort of thing happening all over the web. The Internet is littered with dead and dying forums. They’re a thing of the past, really a relic of the last century, when the Internet was still new and social media was still just someone’s bright idea. They remained popular during the first decade of this century, but seemed to start their decline in about 2007-8, when Facebook made its debut. As content management systems became easier for the average person to use, blogging gained popularity too. Blogs are probably as numerous (if not more numerous) than forums were 8-10 years ago.

I always liked forums because of the way they were organized by topic, but they did have their problems. Blogging is more appealing and much more creative and rewarding for a writer than posting on forums is. You don’t have to worry about going against the status quo because you have an “unpopular opinion.” You don’t have to censor your language (although I try to use decorum). You don’t really have to worry about bullies ganging up on you or trolls invading or hacking into your site. Moderators weren’t always your friend either; sometimes they even sided with the bullies.

The Internet is a mess with the debris of dead forums, but there’s also a wealth of information on them if you look. It’s fascinating to read a decade-old thread about a topic that interests you, and you might find out some things you never would have known otherwise. Reading old forums is like reading the memoir of someone who has passed on. You can learn so much. It’s incredible how fast history moves on the web.

10 reasons why Facebook drives me insane.

dislike_facebook

I don’t like Facebook. Here’s the reasons why.

1. EVERYONE is on there. I mean EVERYONE. And they WILL find you.

2. It’s the new Big Brother. Potential employers and actual employers use FB to check up on you. You can be fired or rejected for a job for “liking” the wrong thing or posting the wrong photo or meme. Make no mistake. You are being watched.

3. The layout is confusing, cluttered and not attractive.

4. Way too many notifications about dumb things you don’t care about and invitations to “like” commercial products and suggestions of who to “friend.” Okay, well all social media has that. Still, it’s more annoying on Facebook.

5. Too many people posting selfies and photos of themselves with all their friends partying and having fun all the time. Or photos of their renovated house or their Caribbean vacation or their ugly new baby. It’s a narcissist’s wet dream.

6. This breeds envy in people who see those photos. You always wind up comparing yourself to others and you always seem to come up short.

7. Too many games and “gifts” from games you don’t play appearing on your wall. Although I’ll confess in around 2007-8 when Facebook was new and seemed cool, I got addicted to Cafe World and Farmville. Those games were fun, I won’t lie.

8. Overrated.

9. Too many people from my RL trying to get me to “friend” them.

10. You can’t choose your own theme or change the look of your profile much. Even Twitter allows more creativity than Facebook. Not that I think we should go back to the days of MySpace with its jarring profiles of neon green on shocking pink backgrounds with their glittering Blingies, flashing signs, badly sized photos that took a year to load, and other digital doodads that slowed your system down to a crawl and sometimes made it crash.

Mainly, I like to keep my online life separate from my personal life, and Facebook doesn’t make that easy because EVERY PERSON IN THE FREAKING WORLD IS ON THERE and THEY WILL FIND YOU. Yep, all 7 billion human beings on this planet. They’re all there. Waiting. Watching.

I’ll check my Facebook sometimes but I hesitate to post anything there. I never, EVER share this blog on my own profile. I wouldn’t dare. And once I’ve checked whatever I’m looking for, I sign out ASAP. Facebook is scary.

Maybe that’s what Hell is. After you die, you go into the Matrix and find yourself trapped in Facebook for all eternity.

The mystery: solved

mystery

I came home today to find another huge increase in my view count, but couldn’t immediately figure out why. The last time this happened was when Sam Vaknin visited my blog and linked one of my earlier articles about him all over social media (Twitter and Facebook). There were no new comments from him today, so I thought maybe there was some other reason for the abnormally high view count (like maybe being Freshly Pressed! Yeah, right.)

I checked my stats and did see there were 3 views from Macedonia, which is where Sam lives. So it had to be him–after all, how many people from Macedonia are visiting my blog? I checked “referrers” and saw some ridiculously high number of Facebook shares. Still, when I clicked on the Facebook link, it only took me to my own FB page. I had to find out where all those views were coming from!

Finally, I went to Twitter and looked at Sam’s profile–and sure enough, he’d linked to this article today, just as he promised a few days ago in his last comment. Because of this, I also have 12 new followers. Narcissist or not, the man does keep his promises. Thanks, Sam!