ELDER MUSIC: Songs about Cities: San Antonio and El Paso
A TGB READER STORY: Just Pass Me By

BLOG HOUSEKEEPING: Time Goes By and Facebook

After a period of requests from readers, I began publishing each day's Time Goes By blog post to Facebook. That was many years ago. Maybe more than 10. Now the time has come for Facebook and me to part company.

Before I go any further, let me say I have never been a fan of Facebook. Okay, I'll admit I never took the time to figure out how it works but really, should anyone need to? Shouldn't it be obvious?

On the rare occasion I look closely enough to see that people leave comments or ask a question, I have no idea how to reply. What's public, what isn't? Don't answer that – I don't need to know now.

And the advertising. The Time Goes By website/blog is purposely an advertising-free zone on the internet but I have no say about that on Facebook. And when on rare occasions I scroll down through the – um, is it called a feed? - some obnoxious ad turns up after about every third legitimate posting.

Also, there's something about website's herky-jerky character that I dislike. One person posts a selfie, half a dozen people respond with a heart emoji but don't write anything, then there is a rant about some politician or whatever else people have in mind to write, but nothing sustains on Facebook. It all feels ephemeral and, therefore, unimportant.

For years, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has blithely allowed anyone to attack or threaten or defame any other person(s), and defended that policy as free speech. I never thought that was a good enough answer and now, in a time of Black Lives Matter, it has become a serious problem.

Some are saying Black Lives Matter may be the biggest protest movement in the history of the United States. Even if that's not so, it's big enough and organized well enough now that it feels like real change – real change this time – just might happen.

And now, the advertiser boycott of Facebook, organized by the Stop Hate for Profit organization to rid Facebook of hate speech, may also be the biggest boycott in history having so far gathered more than 1,000 companies under its umbrella. Something is happening here, folks.

Last week, the results of a two-year audit commissioned by Facebook to assess its impact on the world were published. Reports Alex Hern in TheGuardian,

”The final report, which focuses primarily on decisions made since June 2019, praises Facebook’s move to ban American advertisers from using its tools for housing and employment discrimination, and the company’s belated decision to ban explicit support for white nationalism.

“But, the auditors say, many of the changes were offset by Facebook’s decision, beginning with a speech from Mark Zuckerberg last September, to 'elevate a selective view of free expression as Facebook’s most cherished value'”.

Further on in the final report, according to Hern,

“Specifically, we have grave concerns that the combination of the company’s decision to exempt politicians from fact-checking and the precedents set by its recent decisions on President Trump’s posts, leaves the door open for the platform to be used by other politicians to interfere with voting.”

Dear god, as if there were not already enough people trying to cheat or game the November election.

It was a long time ago but I like to think my participation in the 1960's civil rights and women's rights marches and the anti-Vietnam War protests along with the radio and later, television shows I produced with movement spokespersons helped a little.

Now it's time to step up again. I am too old and sick to march this time but I can stop supporting organizations that are not aligned with my values. So, Time Goes By's daily appearance on Facebook will end next Sunday – that is, as of Monday 20 July, no more Time Goes By posts on Facebook.

According to the latest numbers from June this year, Facebook has 2.6 billion users. My absence obviously doesn't matter a hoot but it leaves me believing I did the right thing.

For the 600 or so people who follow Time Goes By on Facebook and still want to read it, you can subscribe to email notifications of postings by going to the website, entering your email address under the “Subscribe” header in the right sidebar and clicking the word “subscribe.”

Of course, your email address is never used for any other purpose but to deliver TGB.

Comments

I quit Facebook about 4 weeks ago for the same reasons. It provides an insidious platform to sell the public goods they don't want, and ideas that divide them from their fellow human beings. I had to really pursue how to permanently delete my account. Facebook doesn't want you to do this, but a quick search on Google will guide you on how to get rid of the #%!! thing. Like you, I was never a fan; joined only after I retired and moved from the Northwest back to Texas. Thought it would be a good way to "stay in touch." I watched myself get sucked in to becoming "friends" with people I would never see again who put up pictures of a fairytale life I didn't want to hear about. Occasionally some good laughs, or new info on my grandaughter. But really???? There are better ways to do this that don't support the monster. I hope others will ditch this nasty, too.

FB lost me about 10 years ago when they "updated" their privacy policy in such a way that I could not agree to it. Truthfully, I've not missed it and it has really irked me to learn, via other sources, the shenanigans that have gone on via FB. Congratulations on declaring your freedom from that noxious "service".

Without Facebook notification how do I know when a new post is up?

Am I missing something?

Yvonne and others...

As explained in the next to last paragraph of today's story, follow those instructions to subscribe via email - it is very easy - and you will receive an email when a new TGB story is published. It will include the new story in the email.

Wow—an excellent post today, I had no idea TGB had such a presence on Facebook with 600 followers. I joined FB in April 2009 and for a couple years it was genuinely fun, catching up with distant relatives and classmates I hadn’t seen or heard from in decades. But after that, my frequent visits were more a bad habit than anything else, I couldn’t justify (to myself) why I spent so much time on there dodging all those ads & other nonsense. I quit in August 2017 (with great relief) and never looked back.

You absolutely did the right thing. I applaud you. Maybe an individual can’t make much difference, but thousands or millions of individuals acting together certainly can. I quit Facebook 15 years ago when I realized that they were mining the Contacts list on my computer, and it bothered me that they could and would access my private list, that they could get at other peoples’ private email addresses like this, and on top of those two objectionable activities, that they would blatantly use this to try to induce me to connect with more people. They have never had any qualms about exploiting their own users.

Great post. I joined FaceBook about 15 years ago to keep up with people I liked but had lost touch with. That worked for quite a while, but now that I have retired I find myself wasting huge amounts of time with it. It leaves me unfulfilled and annoyed at myself for losing the time.
Many of my friends have canceled their accounts and I am on the verge of doing so myself. Your thoughts are another good reason to do so.
Thanks

I applaud your decision. I also left Facebook during 2020. My departure is minor compared to yours. I cannot support Mark Zuckerberg. Enough.

For: "Yvonne and others"

I have found the best  way for me to bring up Ronni's TGB is to bookmark it onto the BOOKMARKS BAR .  It is always available without opening  any other site. I have never had a Facebook account for too many reasons to list!

And also of interest regarding this topic is a brief note in a survey mentioned by a news site I read...that less than 30% of  viewers actually ever "read" the articles they are sharing hither and you.  Hopefully Yvonne is not one of the "30%".  Have confidence and purpose in whatever is shared. It matters ! 

Maybe I am a lone voice here but I've found FB enormously helpful with the groups (closed and open) I have formed there both in Seniors' Advocacy, workshops and now accurate (I try) information on the pandemic, particularly in how it affects seniors.

I am well aware of the Zukerberg malevolence and some intensive research has been done on his influence in elections - both in US and Canada. And he has banned many feminist groups so his misogyny is on full display. When I say he of course, it's his algorithms.

All that said, I have made lifelong connections there along with discovery of old friends.

And seriously, we need an alternative.

XO
WWW

OOOPS! Forgot to proof read..."hither and you" is so old a saying, younger readers may wonder. Older folks will likely read it as I intended..."hither and yon". :-))

Good for you. I check Facebook probably weekly simply for your column and me granddaughters posts; seldom post or participate. Ronnie, I wish you peace and calm in your journey. Since I too have a chronic illness, no cause/no cure, I have taken much police in your words and will subscribe on the website. Sending hugs.

I recently went back to Facebook in order to be part of a meningioma support group. It’s a great group with lots of difficult to find info and people to listen.
But then someone tried to blackmail me via items they claimed to have found on my account. Fortunately I have nothing to be ashamed of there so I could simply ignore the blackmail.
But it just really turned me off enough to cause me to delete Facebook once again. I miss the group but hate Facebook. Oh well.
Facebook really does not need to make deleting it so difficult.
They want our info so they can sell it.

Hurrah, Yayyyy, and Right ON, Ronnie!!!! Me too, I just don't like it, allowing hate mongers a platform in the name of freedom, and uh hummmm, his pocket book.
I got on FB for about 6 months some years ago, and didn't like the amount of chaff one needed to wade through to get to a bit of wheat. Also quickly learned that short punchy stuff of whatever nature was the coin of the realm. Anything that was in depth, over about 5 sentences, was too much. And when I was ready to say goodbye, I had to have a computer nerd spend a whole lotta time to get me out of there. Which tells you something.

Yes, good for you Ronnie! I hate Facebook too.
Your webpage is easy to access, and I easily get your blog on email - no need for Fb.

BRAVO!

Because of age-related health issues and my natural inclination toward introversion, I lead a tiny life. Facebook helps me have a larger view of the world. It has given me the opportunity to learn what relatives and far-off friends are doing. I also learn about environmental initiatives and political perspectives I would never have known about if not for Facebook.

Never joined FB

@WiseWebWoman I'm not on Facebook, but if you recall the Old Days of IRC chatrooms, there's currently a similar service (somewhat ironically called) Discord which I've found *really* great for connecting with people. It was originally focused around, basically, giving video-gamers a place to text-chat while playing games, but there aren't, as far as I am aware, limitations based on that original intention (just a lovely lack of ads).

It is more of a stream of comments/responses "continual conversation" format and less of a "post+comments then post+comments" format; for the latter, a private group blog with multiple authors might be a good non-Facebook way to go.

The real challenge with getting people to go *somewhere* other than Facebook is the one-more-login, one-more-place-to-visit problem, I think. And the biggest challenge with support groups is getting the right people (and not the wrong people) into them and active. But there are a lot of things that are worth it to reduce the power of an actively-malevolent, actively-destructive corporation, and I hope finding platform alternatives - and spreading information about those alternatives - is one of them! :-)

My WordPress blog contains many posts ranting against Facebook, and yet I've continued to have the posts auto-posted to FB, hoping they might draw readers to my blog. Well, that ends today. Thanks, Ronni, for reminding me that I can join the boycott. I won't be missed, but neither will the odious FB.

I agree with Wisewebwoman that I've found many helpful and positive uses for FB. That said, I know that there's a lot of obnoxious stuff out there, too, but I think some of that can be controlled by how you use the tool and cultivate your space on it. My biggest complaint about FB is what a time sink and ad mongering tool it can be, but there are ways to handle much of that, too.

And, to play devil's advocate a bit, what's the point of free speech if we advocate the censorship of those with whom we disagree, or we avoid things that may have some benefit to us in order to avoid exposure to differing POV's? It's always seemed to me that the true test of tolerance is allowing those whose beliefs offend us to hold and express them just as freely as those who share and reflect our own.

Over the years, I've noticed that the few negative comments I've read on this blog are allowed to remain up, although there may have been ones that have been deleted and have never been seen by readers. Generally I think you're pretty tolerant, Ronni, about what you've allowed here, but maybe you've also been fortunate in having mostly agreeable folk as readers and commenters.

One other thing that I've found helpful about FB is that it's often the quickest and easiest way to contact my adult children and other friends.

Yea! Ronnie, You go girl. In the beginning of chatting I made a choice to not employ social media because of security issues and experiencing confusion due to "too Much Info". I am glad of that choice. Absolute power can corrupt absolutely. As for keeping in touch with family and friends, I find email and Zoom do very well. You are one of my heroes. Nancy

I don't know what I did, but I see very few ads on FB. I left almost every group except art groups a year or so ago however. I keep in touch with old school friends through it though (we are now scattered across the globe) It has changed a lot since I first started using it, ironically as it shifted away from a teenagers hang out to one where adults are the majority users...

While in spirit and thought I can agree with push back against FB and Zuckerberg, I find FB useful to keep in touch with relatives, friends, friends of my children, and lastly the messaging system is a plus for all those young in my life who no longer use email for whoever knows why but they don't. So, I go with the flow...and realize I am not a purist and this is truly an imperfect world.

Just my two cents worth which is worth a lot less,

Karin

When FaceBook first came out I was working for the federal court in the chambers of a federal judge which required extensive background checks and for obvious reasons, strict confidentiality. We received notification from the human resources department that we were not to use FB for fear that we might somehow be compromised and subject to blackmail.

Many of my co-workers thought it infringed on their "rights" and got accounts anyway. I never did and I'm glad. Like many have said, I have no desire to reconnect with people I didn't like much to begin with. I communicate through email and phone with those I care about, and have no need to know what someone had for breakfast, where they went for dinner, and endless information I give a hoot about.

I support all TGB readers who have chosen to delete their accounts because of the policies of Zuckerberg, especially as they relate to his pal Trump.

We need to protest in whatever way we can, and however small a gesture, this seems like the right thing to do.

I'm with the folks who find Facebook a good way to keep in touch with people, and to join groups in which I have an interest. It's how I exercise and enjoy live music. It also gives me a way to have ongoing casual conversations with people, and it's been especially helpful since the pandemic forced me to be a one-person pod.
That said, I'm certainly not a preacher for Facebook. I will subscribe again to Time Goes By.

Thank you Ronnie. I too am retiring from Facebook. I agree with you totally. Thanks

I'm still on FB but only for a few minutes. Distant relatives and aquaintances are my friends. I follow a few places of interest. I have a couple of volunteer gigs and my condo association on it but I rarely post. It's basically an easy way to keep in touch with distant relatives and aquaintances.

I get on FB once a week, if that. I like to see what my step-daughters and grandkids and cousins are posting, and I am friends with former students and colleagues from many years ago. The reason for the infrequent visits, however, is that there is so much reposting, "Likes," ads, negative stuff, etc. I wish I could get rid of all of the stuff I don't want to see. It seems as if it is harder and harder to understand FB's procedures are their settings.

I agree with your decision Ronni. I have too many friends and family who worship Führer Trump for me to ever rejoin facebook. If people are capable of entering the facebook information into their browser's address bar they should be able to enter www.timegoesby.net. Or maybe not. This is a strange new world.

After a decade covering local news and writing feature articles, the bottom dropped out of local coverage. I am now an admin for a local FB community page that has become the replacement for the local newspaper. We announce government meetings and actions, closed roads, local budgets, obituaries, Meals on Wheels schedules, senior center activities, changes in recycling pick-up dates, non-profit charity fundraisers, concerts, community theater presentations, food pantry dates, Covid testing, lost-and-found pets (and car keys!), local activities, and members looking for recommendations for everything - electricians, plumbers, doctors.

We have post-approval to control what gets posted and rules - no partisan politics, no religion, no profanity, no advertising. Don't try to post incorrect information. We toss people who break the rules. We try to maintain cordial contact with our elected officials, schools, emergency responders, and police.

My personal page is pretty much locked-down . My friends are people that I know in real life - now-distant cousins, high school friends, nieces, great-nieces, half-a-dozen acquaintances, and a few relatives still in the old country.

I guess FB can be what you want and if it is of no use to you, don't worry about it. I only joined FB to connect with HS friends and editors. It can be a black hole if you don't discipline yourself. I rarely notice the advertising.

Ronni - - I'm sure that I'll get agreement among all of your readers/followers that: The two things most attracting us to your posts are your rigorous moral code and your sense of fairness. Facebook is a platform for neither of these. While I hope that your jettisoning F.B. is not your final 'act of virtue', - - if it is, then it's a helluva fine shot across their greedy bow! Three Cheers for Ronni!!

From my experience you need to be persistent to get your account permanently closed. When I thought I'd managed it there was a rider that the account would be kept open for a month in case I changed my mind.
My husband can't get into his account to delete it, we've tried the passwords etc that he recorded but nothing has worked so for years the account has sat there. Most annoying.

Good for you! I opened a FB account years ago -- soon became disenamored with the site. I friended only a few people known to me, but soon stopped. I increasingly was displeased with the manner in which Zuckerberg was sneakily exploiting FB users privacy in the pursuit of financial gain. I still have the account there, but unfriended the few I had previously accepted though I had long ago informed them what I thought of the site, that I wouldn't be using it and if they wanted further contact to email me and/or visit my blog. I seldom ever go to that FB site and should take the time to delete it but they sure make it hard to do. The current FB stance on content in the so-called name of free speech is a joke and does more damage to social media than good IMHO.

Totally agree! I never used FB much for reasons cited and more (including navigation) and will now be using it even less. Not sure about total deletion for family reasons and a few cat sites I've followed over the years, but I'm one infrequent visitor who will be even less frequent in the future. I can make up my own mind about who/what to vote for (or against) as well as what I wish to purchase.

Dear Lorrie, and Everybody Else, i knew Facebook was nosey, but wasn't aware of the details of their mining industry (personal contacts on one's computer). Yeah, i get it, 'am tiny potatoes, but it's the principle of the thing. And if nanny-state happens to be watching me, i'll know she's been on lock-down too long, and send her a fancy brighten-up card.

I fully understand why you want to move off Facebook, Ronnie. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook - although that should probably read hate/love because I hate it more than I love it.

I have family and friends spread all over the world so it keeps me up to date on what they are doing - especially my grandchildren. It also gives me access to a lot of local news that is not in the mainstream media. And as a semi-retired lifestyle writer I find it a useful platform through which to promote blog posts. But I hate what Zuckerberg has done in the name of free speech. He's allowed despots like Bolsonaro in Brazil (the Trump of South America) and Duterte in the Philippines (the Trump of Asia) to win presidential elections through the use of armies of paid trolls on Facebook. And don't get me started on the Russian interference in the last US election through Facebook.

I wish there was an alternative to Facebook. But there is not. So for at least a while I'm going to have to remain a reluctant participant.

For anyone who is interested in quitting their FB account but having difficulty doing so, the New York Times published an article showing the step-by-step process. A little intimidating, but very helpful to be able to follow the steps.

Along with the "Subscribe to the Email" suggestion - you may need to put TGB in your contacts list, and/or look in your Junk mail/spam folder at first. About half of these were going to my spam folder until I did that.

I agree with Mary Jamison and Susan G. I know Facebook uses me, in exchange for connections I wouldn't otherwise have: former co-workers (I'm retired), high school classmates, friends who have moved away, friends I don't see much anymore, neighbors. How else would I have any connection to all those people without Facebook? That's a serious question I'd like the answer to. I couldn't possibly call, write, or email them all.

I have not explored this aspect, but I have also heard there are long-standing, very useful support groups for very specific needs on Facebook.

Yes, Facebook has its tentacles everywhere - but we can use it to some extent. There has been some response to serious pressure - which is the way it goes in business. Our information is always for sale in America. We always have to be vigilant about the price to be paid if we want to safeguard our privacy and security.

All that said, there's no reason for you to continue to post there if you don't want to, Ronni! You can be found in a number of other ways.

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