I am on Facebook for the same reason I have a website, and now a weblog. I want people to focus on (1) important matters, (2) to discuss them, and (3) to reach an agreement on plans of action. Although for the most part, I focus on economic and political issues, I sometimes stray from this by sharing some piece of music which I like, or a photograph of some scene, a joke, or whatever. I understand that we all want to be entertained and to entertain others. But as Neil Postman put it so well in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985, rev. 2005)[pdf copy] our obsession with entertainment is acting like soma in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
On Facebook, I have tried to garner “friends” who have political interests. Although I have a global interest, I have concentrated on Ukraine because that is where my roots are, and where the political situation is not as rigid as it is in the United States; thus, allowing for a political revolution. My ideal of a political structure is anarchism. By this, I do not mean chaos or the absence of government. By “anarchism” I mean a bottom-up federalism, as contrasted with a centralized state – unitary or federated. In Ukraine, this form of government was promulgated by Nestor Makhno during the Russian Civil War (1917-1921), and it was promulgated in Spain during the Spanish Civil War (Revolution) (1936-1939).
I mention this to tell you that I want to discuss these matters somewhere. But it turns out that social media, such as Facebook, do not work. I find that people do not know how to discuss, and, worse, they don’t want to discuss. They simply want to express an opinion or share something, and one can react to this by “liking” it, or making a “comment.” Comments are especially annoying. For example, there was a short video on what is happening in Ukraine which I shared on Facebook. The comment was that it was simplistic and slanted – that’s it. No explanation. Trying to solicit an explanation did not work. This is typical.
The only political value that I see in using Facebook is a source of news, articles, and commentary. And, I hope, that I have stimulated some people to reflect on what I have written or shared.