The other side of the ugly Facebook coin, apart from its fearless leader’s face (which may one day may indeed be stamped on a coin) is the part where I was hacked through FB ads. Not only was I hacked, but my Amex card number was stolen by FB. Each time Amex sent me a new card, and I used it ONCE, the very same card number (without either my or Amex’s authorization) mysteriously popped up on FB, and WHAM! a new $500 charge would appear.
FB customer service insisted I owed them money. Time and time and time again (yes, three times - three new Amex cards). At the end, the charges mysteriously disappeared after I challenged the non-entity on the other side of FB Customer Service to explain to me how they had gotten hold of my new card number without my or Amex’ authorization. Response: total silence followed by elimination of the $1500 they had claimed I owed.
But I am digressing, because, the real question is, what would I have done pre-Facebook? Pick up the phone? Paid a visit? Sent a letter?And what does FB do for me?
I remind myself how sweet the sound a voice, the palpable smiles, the tears shed together, even if only over the phone. And I realize I have humanized Facebook by talking myself into believing that I am staying in touch. Am I? Where is the humanity?
By now you are all probably wondering what COVID has to do with all of this. This year I finally caught the dreaded virus and while in bed with COVID and way too much time on my hands and brain, I slowed down. And slowing down for me means that my mind is doing double time about all the things that need to be done, like flower beds, mulching, and spraying the roses with an epson salt solution. There is also room in there for “where do we hang the art work” to what are we going to eat for dinner, to staring at the bookshelf and deciding to rearrange the books in some way, beginning my new novel, the Lost Son, And the list goes on.
The truth is maybe once in a while we need to give ourselves this break, and if we don’t on our own, then COVID or some other bug will do it for us. And then COVID brings me back to the other world, the world with no FB. But FB is tricky and nasty, because it makes us believe we are in touch, when we are not, we are loved by strangers (really?) hated by others when we voice the least of our opinions, and often directed by META to buy some product, save a recipe, or read a news article that we would not have read otherwise. On the plus side, I have found old friends - especially those going back to high school! But I guess I can always use that!
But this still begs the question of why? Why do I have this love/hate relationship with the platform, why do I often want to leave it and never see it again, like an old dress, an unfaithful lover, or a vinegary bottle of Malbec? The answer is simple: FB and its fearless leader have given us these pills for free, the FB extremely addictive drug, and it is hard to leave it behind. Yet, when we do, and I have, it seems like life is better. I write more, I pick up the phone more often, I smile more. Besides the addictive side of FB, it also gives everyone a platform to say whatever we want. I am one of those people that loves to stand on a soapbox and preach it. I don’t’ have that gene that makes people scared to stand in front of a big crowd and speak. So, what better platform that one which gives me the ability to preach, show off our travels, my writing talent and my other qualifications, whatever they may be. And then, don’t we always go back to check and see what people have said after a post? And don’t I get upset if people say something nasty?
Like any addiction, it may be hard to leave it behind, but worth it in the end. I’d like to use FB for my own means instead of letting FB use me for theirs. Like any addiction, I may begin by dropping it slowly. By staying open to the possibility that I may uncover a “real friend”, like the two unforgettable high school friends, I also started a group of our ancestors, and I am not likely to give that up.
So here maybe part of the solution: the link to my old, dusted off blog. If you’re that interested in our whereabouts, I will try to make that my platform from now on. You are welcome to leave comments, - even negative comments! If you’d like to chat, there is always Whats App, until I find a better alternative, or if you are in the USA, you can call me direct.
My first step is to try and visit just once a week, on Mondays. Write on this blog, and provide a link in FB for those who are interested in what we are doing.
Second step would be to consider why to use Instagram, What’s App or Messenger, but that comes later. IG and Messenger may be the next to go, but for now, nothing works quite like Whats App. Any suggestions?
See you on FB, on Mondays. Hope withdrawal symptoms are not too severe. If they are, you will see me sooner!