Tag Archives: facebook

Why we need to leave Google and social media

I don’t like to be didactic, but I increasingly feel the need to say this. Some years ago, I ceased my brief experiment with Twitter and Facebook. I have even greater reasons for not just refusing to have my own accounts – which includes for Between The Stools – but not engaging with other people’s.

So I am now stating that I won’t watch a video on YouTube or Facebook, won’t read Google’s Blogger accounts, and sadly I’ll be minimal when writing with those with gmail accounts. You’re right to assume that I don’t search with Google either.

I am perturbed that in a year where it has become ever more obvious that these giants not only spy on us but now censor what we say that so many spiritual people continue to have a presence on these platforms. Churches, lightworkers, temples, activists, artists. Even when some of these are cut down, they continue to use these channels, knowing that their work may disappear, or that they need to use code to obfuscate their real message.

Why have we allowed them to take over knowledge, to become policy drivers and propagandists, who surely benefit from all that is being enacted at present; to tell us that we may only advertise and express ourselves in ways which they permit. Paid trolls supporting their narrative can continue, despite their irony regarding breaking community guidelines, and asking for libel.

Many are starting up new accounts. It is rubbish – as I’ve heard said – that those being deplatformed are hate filled extremists. There are many love spreading truth tellers receiving this treatment.

I am also tired of Wikipedia and other instant answers to questions I didn’t even ask, which try to spread hate and misinformation about sites I wish to visit or persons and subjects I wish to look up.

If you use private browsers with privacy extensions – which I don’t wholly trust either – you can actually see how much these websites spy on you, even when you’re on someone else’s. There are so many trackers on social media and Google that they can run out of space to show them.

I am also wary of other platforms such as Instagram and Zoom…and of course, Microsoft and Amazon.

We need to move off these platforms entirely and find other ways to search and communicate. We need to stop seeing Google analytics a savvy entrepeneur’s traffic management tool, and understand that it makes us party to surveillance on our visitors. We need to stop using Google’s recaptcha and Cloudflare and Wordfence as safety mechanisms, and recognise them as spying bully bouncers who stop genuine site visitors who care about privacy. You are probably losing your best customers and audience.

We need to stop saying: it’s simply the way the world is and that our lives aren’t that interesting and as they’re good, it doesn’t matter who sees what we’re doing. We need to wake up to big data and big pharma, to the level of propaganda and reconnaissance happening.

We can make a stand – one that’ll be noticed – by moving our accounts and our visits to places which respect our privacy, allow us freedom of speech. We no longer give custom to places – digital or otherwise – which don’t. A mass migration to the growing alternatives will help underscore this message. (I invite you to do your own research on this

I recently preached on waking up. It is urgent that we do so and that we practice what we preach.

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Are you a team player? I hope not!!

I’ve just been turned down from a rather dubious sounding blogsite for saying I wouldn’t be a team player.

Too right. Team leader, not player!

The comment was made regarding Facebook which you know by now I take issue with – and Twitter. I am however a MySpace girl… and of course I use the internet for other things, such as this blog. (See https://elspethr.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/erosions/; https://elspethr.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/why-i-left-twitter)

Doesn’t “team player” reek of social control, of lack of individual and independence? Miss Jean Brodie was against team spirit, though ironically what she cooked up was a posse that looked to her but not to each other.

It is not that working together is bad, although I prefer small groups in almost all interactions. But I respect that some people enjoy groups. It is not about… I was about to use “co-operation” but that word has bad connotations too. Co-operation as in the Cooperative movement of an organisation owned by a workforce and its customers without hierarchy. Cooperation can have the friendly tone of working with someone, a thank you for reasonableness and having stretched yourself a bit to help. But cooperation has a corporate legal, military feel: your cooperation is expected. If you do not there will be unpleasant consequences. It speaks of large machines crushing the small cogs that won’t comply and who have little thought for the cogs.

That’s why if I see a job description with “Team player” I know to stop the application. It’s not because I don’t like working with others or am incapable of the the consideration and communication needed – quite the reverse. But in using the phrase, it speaks to me about the company’s ethos and sends out a warning alarm.

Although perhaps it will be no great surprise to learn I am mostly self employed.

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Why I left Twitter

For a start, I hate time wasting band wagon crazes. You can say little in 140 characters. For some, it’s an addiction: they carry the internet with them and share everything they do. They tell their friends they’re at the book club or in the pub or shopping, yet social media seems to dilute real interaction. So many tweets come through that it’s unlikely that most of them will be picked up. Who spends their time trawling the net for people to follow? Like Facebook, I am amazed by how many organisations have succumbed and how ridiculous it sounds to hear that a church or a dentist can be followed or friended. What does a like or follow really mean? It’s not any real form of friendship.

The reason I chose to deactivate my Twitter account was a password reset email which I thought suspicious – isn’t that a classic phishing scam or virus download? And aren’t popular places like social media one of the most vulnerable an dubious places for such scams to be conducted? So even being on the site is a possible security threat, let alone clicking that link from an unconvincing email.

So thought I would contact Twitter and find out. “Contact us” leads to a classic case of the fob off preset form of drop down menus. If you chose the wrong subject option, it rubs out all you’ve put in the form and makes you go round again. A machine reads the email and responds with a preset reply. If you try to reply to the email it sends another saying, this ticket is closed please go over this all over again. A real person hadn’t read it. They hadn’t taken on board that their initial email sounded dodgy, or that their online form is a pain.

I thought – what do I really gain from Twitter? Annoying emails telling me some random person has decided to follow me – often someone who gets their account suspended. A slim chance that my tweets will be read between all the others coming through, and that will lead to my articles (or other work) being looked at.

It’s also an example of giving in to a craze which is something I stand against. I much admire a former music teacher of mine who said he uses his own methods to spread his work, and will not succumb to social media.

And I long ago left Facebook – that was a short term experiment. Having heard about the film, which I refused to watch, and the ethos behind the site, I felt all the gladder that I don’t use it. All I achieved was an imposter 5 years after, where Facebook wanted me to give my ID to prove it was me to close the account! (Allowing further impersonation…)

So I shall no longer tweet my posts, after this one.

I would like to thank all my tweet readers and for the interesting, inspiring people I was able to connect with,though I’d prefer to use mailing lists and personal emails to keep in touch.



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Erosions of liberty and privacy

Perhaps this should have been my first post, in the About Me box.

I stand for freedom of speech and the right to reveal as much or little of myself as I wish. This latter right is constantly being eroded. The reason this blog is not tied up to more directories is that I don’t wish to have anonymous huge domineering companies verify me and harass me with marketing. I don’t want to be a part of Google, any more than I want to give my custom to Tesco’s. We’re in a world obsessed with identity checks and the internet makes it all too easy for anyone – an employer, an acquaintance, let alone security and police – to find out about us on unsolicited levels. A blog is an internet presence by choice, but it is also a choice with parameters I should choose. It means I can choose who sees me with what hat on. I wont be subjected to the intrusion of verification. We have that in hotels now – how does anyone stay with a secret lover when they ask for your passport? We have it when we apply for work – even if it is a casual one off shift – and we even are being checked on dating and friendship sites. And the irony is – the checkers are faceless and opaque, claiming to be acting in public interests, as if facades take away genuineness. But on another level – the one that counts – facades allow greater openess and verisimilitude. Do we feel cheated that an author has a pseudonym? Does it lessen their work? Of course not! Perhaps what is sad is that many people do not feel free to be themselves without one. But layers of the self are interesting and also natural and vital. We don’t share every facet of ourselves with everyone we meet, that is a priviledge and it respects that by being in different settings mean we can show our full personality. We are obsessed by seeing photographs but then we judge on a few traits – forgetting that blind people manage without this need, and it is possible to correspond in business or person without having seen the other person.

I also stand against jumping on bandwagons; just because some people want to make money out of an idea does not mean we all have to give in and use it. Technology is another area where freedoms are eroded. We can’t buy the old sort because it’s been discontinued  – the decision of someone who wants to make money from new ideas. This can be true of books, supermarket items (the two ought not to mix), music playing devices – and social media. It’s the biggest threat to how we communicate and badly dilutes relationships. On principle, I won’t use facebook and won’t be forced onto it because others communicate through it. They keep your profile and IP address, even after you leave. We allow too many of these erosions, and it is of major concern. Grave things always start little; it’s easy to say: it doesn’t matter… it’s the way the world is going… I can’t do anything about that. It does matter and we can do something and the cart can only gather speed if people get on it and push it. Empty the cart, untie the horse, and it is relegated back to the shed.

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