Web 2.0 Suicide Machine: When you want to kill your online persona
This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego.
Facebook. Linkedin. Twitter. Even freakin' cell phones. When I travel now, I leave them all at home. And it's a bit weird at first, but in only a day or two I really relish the feeling of just being the "old me" in the "old world." Not constantly reaching for the laptop to check my email or my blog analytics to see who's been reading my blog, and yes, especially Facebook, that voyeuristic time suck where I, as of this writing, currently have 401 "friends".
It's social networking, but the thing is, I've never really been that social. Ever. I've always been kind of a loner, with only one or two really good friends. I like the fringe. Even at my old full- time job at Digitas, I kid you not: I received low marks on my review because I didn't socialize, i.e. go out drinking after hours. (The place was actually one huge frat house.) I am who I am, and I got nailed for it.
I joined Facebook while at Digitas because I wanted to learn more about social networking and the digital space. (Gee, I was actually very interested in the job and the work, see.) Anyway, it took me only about a week to figure the whole thing out. Sue used to train dogs. When she was a teen she was a champion sheltie trainer. And she told me this little secret: That the way to get a dog to do a trick is simply to get it to do what come naturally.
And that's exactly what Facebook does.
Humans are natural voyeurs. We're very interested in the other person. So Facebook sets up an online environment where we can all mill around and look at each other lives through posts and pictures and videos, and it's very alluring. And while we spend all that time there we're sitting ducks for advertisers and online media companies and anybody else who wants to sell us something, or worse, sell us (our info and our content) to someone else. Facebook actually is more insidious than that old technology, television, which was a very simple advertising medium. People still think the programs are entertainment, but as soon as you realize and fully understand that televison (network and cable) is an advertising medium first, not an entertainment vehicle, and that the programming is simply to attract you for the advertisers, you have it all figured out.
But I hang on to Facebook because right now because it is the way to stay in touch in the early 21st century. I'm not some survivalist who wants to completely drop off the map, though I must say I have those tendencies and maybe someday may act on them. And when I do, I can commit digital suicide. And I wonder if it won't be the freeing experience of my life.