I’m off to join an old social network. It’s called Facelook. You interact by looking people in the face. I’m also joining the rebel alliance. I hope you’re already part of it too or are thinking strongly about joining!
You can find my face by email: firstname.lastname@example.org (where most of my freelance work email goes).
You can see my face if we skype. My skype name is: alastairis
You can arrange to meet me or just have a chat by phone.
I will also be trying to text as much as possible over Signal which is more secure and facebook-free than Whatsapp. Please keep in touch. Think of me as you do event invitations or have something beautiful or important to share. I love and deeply value the friendship and support of everyone who is officially designated 'friend' by this site.
I’m not yet going full-Face-cognito and deleting my profile because I want to retain the messaging aspect (though I will never install their horrible apps on my devices). I will continue to use Disa for FB messages and Whatsapps on my phone. I will also be logging in periodically to see what events I’ve been invited to. But I won't look at notifications so there's no point tagging me if you want my attention over the next year.
I will also probably click “share to facebook” on petitions and possibly the occasional article, this means if I’m reading something interesting I can share it without going onto the Facebook site and the clickhole it’s designed to instigate.
You can drag one to your bookmarks bar from this website: http://justsoyouknowandetc.blogspot.co.uk/…/share-on-facebo…
I will use this feature to share blog posts that I make on my website:www.alastairis.co.uk. I used to blog a lot and I really enjoy writing, hopefully I’ll spend more time doing this.
I’ll probably also put a call out for people to help me in my campaign to get elected to the Hackney Council in 2018.
If after a year I feel better, more connected with the world and less insecure about the world I’ll seriously consider deleting my profile all together. I've made a few big life decisions over the last couple of years and so far listening to and following my heart has left me feeling more balanced and mentally sound; I've gone vegan, I've had a vasectomy, I've committed to not flying unless totally necessary. Let's see if this is also a marked improvement in my life and in the life of those mine touches.
So why am I doing this? Many reasons. Here are 5 decent ones:
1. Not endorsing Facebook
I love my friends and family I connect with on here. I will miss the occasional virtual catch-ups and interesting points of view. However I can’t abide how it’s almost always on the terms of Facebook’s secret algorithms. By using Facebook I’m endorsing their monopoly on information and relationships. I don’t want privatized information and certainly not relationships. By being on here I’m endorsing them both to advertisers and to my friends, and seemingly more and more to governments too. The fact that it is completely unaccountable and we’re exchanging our very powerful and previously private data for convenience worries me deeply. It’s a great web-site in that it’s well made but it’s not designed primarily to serve us, it’s designed to serve the bottom line. Which is why from now on I’m going to refer to it as a website rather than as a service. Of course it’s not a website so much as it is an advertising platform and labyrinthine corporation which has immense unchecked power over our lives, which it can wield to emotionally manipulate us or feed us fake news for the highest bidder.
The government of these United (for now) Queendoms (for now) has recently passed some horrible draconian privacy legislation The Investigatory Powers Bill (no thanks to Labour) that retroactively makes everything Edward Snowden risked his life to tell us about ‘legal’. As we’ve seen recently all over the world it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that fascists and dictators can get elected, and if they do I don’t want them to be all up in my shit despite the fact I’m not likely to be in one of the first groups targeted. I however fully intend to be fighting for the people who are. By being on Facebook and other services we’re agreeing to be tracked whatever we do on the internet, wherever we go, even outside of Facebook. This is designed so we will buy stuff, they want us to keep buying stuff to keep the economy growing (an insane economy which is built around infinite growth on a finite planet) and ignore the fact that we’re doing massive harm around the world and to the world and that karma is getting ready to bite back. I’m not saying that having nice stuff is bad in itself, just that we’ve allowed ourselves to live in a world where a high percentage of the messaging we receive is in the service of consumerism rather than something like humanism, equality and liberty to do things other than shop.
Addiction isn’t a choice, it’s a disease that other people push on other people (usually using their sadness as leverage) to make money. I’ve seen it first hand and seen how it ruins lives. I worked briefly in a high-street ‘amusements’ arcade filled with gambling machines. There was nothing amusing about it. The exploitation for profit of fellow human beings’ beautifully evolved bodies that respond to certain stimulus by kicking out fucking lovely adrenalin and dopamine disgusted me to my very core. People I saw were reduced to unthinking animals by shiny machines that made noises, flashed lights and responded to button presses that created the illusion of control that was missing from their real lives. People from that industry have been hired TO MAKE US ADDICTED to this website. Too many mornings I’ve woken up and began scrolling without thinking why or what else I could be doing to improve my life of the lives of others. When I do realise I've been doing this it makes me sad so I turn to a known source of dopamine to make the sad go away; scrolling my news feed. A vicious cycle that rewards our evolved desire for novelty. Which leads me to...
I want to spend my limited time here on earth experiencing it, engaging with it, protecting it and sharing it. I’ve found recently that I’ve snapped out of a mindless scroll through the news feed having wasted what must now be cumulative days of my life. I’ve been lucky enough to have won the life lottery which has meant I’ve had tremendous largely unearned support which has meant I’ve managed to achieve and do many of what I would consider amazing things, be creative and see a multitude of wonders. However I still want to spend my time better because LIFE IS SHORT. The past couple of years have been marked by some heart-breaking deaths which have brought home to me that it’s vital that we use our time to do life, not to watch it slip through our fingers like sand on a beach. I’d rather be on the beach. Reading a book is an exercise in mindfulness so I’ll do more of that (maybe on a beach). I’ll meditate. I’ll play boardgames with buddies. I’ll make more beautiful things & videos (editing requires great mindfulness). I’ll write more and I aim to blog semi-regularly. I’ll hopefully dance more too.
5. Better news
The algorithms of Facebook are designed to keep you in your bubble. It will only show you things it thinks will keep you on the site for longer. Maybe that will mean the occasional thing you disagree with so that you can impotently rage post replies and come away feeling satisfied like you’ve earned another 10minutes scrolling on the ‘newsfeed’. Well you know what? I hate 24 hour news. I see people getting addicted to watching it too, and it makes for worse news. New news is rarely fact-checked and the truth is stumbling around with its pants around its ankles right now. I want slower news. I’m going to try find some slow, quality news sources and support them with some dollar dollar bill ya’ll.
My top tips for quality news at the moment are:
My mate Dave Pickering curates great social media and is the source of most of the thoughtful articles I’ve shared. I’ll be following his twitter @goosefat101 and listening to his brilliant podcasts that are about real people and real stories.
Novara Media – Especially my little sista from a different mista Ash Sarkar who is smashing it and the patriarchy these days. She’s a boss intellectual.
I quite liked The Week magazine when I found it on the train the other week and might start buying that on the regular.
If you have any suggestions of good media I should be checking out and supporting please email suggestions to me.
I should recognise what I have gotten out of this website so here’s a few thanks to facebook. Thanks for:
Letting me see photos and having a better memory than I generally have.
For keeping me in touch with friends I was too lazy to keep up with properly otherwise.
For letting me know about bits and bobs of freelance work.
For letting me know when an acquaintance was selling a bike, dirt cheap.
For making events a little easier to find and promote.
What I would be saying for the rest of the year so I'll just say them once now emphatically:
Join the rebel alliance. Join the Green Party (Lab and Con are 2 sides of the same coin that relies on an unsustainable and exploitative economic model for funding). Also join and actively support some campaigns you think are important and that don't directly benefit you.
Come to Hackney and help me get elected to the council for the Green Party
Be lovely to each other and stand up to those who aren’t being lovely. You might have noticed that this is more important now than ever. Get out of the echo chamber and make quality time, take risks, be healthy.
Go vegan. Spare a thought for the lives of those that are subject to your power. Show some radical compassion and free yourself from the cognitive dissonance that comes from being a compassionate being who loves animals who is simultaneously and paradoxically a consumer that is told that it’s right and your right to consume them and their produce no matter the cost to the environment or their quality of life. If you don’t think you can do that then try only using some of the many non-dairy milks. Actually only eat meat once a week instead of just telling a vegan you do. Actively advocate for better conditions for farmed animals. The indignity and suffering we’ve heaped on our fellow beings is a shame on us and a sign of how the corporate industrialized world would like to treat us and like us allow each other to be treated.
All the love in the world.
1 Feb 2017