This webbed life

How much time do you spend updating your social media accounts, curating content, grooming your online persona, choosing the perfect filter? How much time do you spend reading other people’s feeds, ogling their pics, lusting over their lives?

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Every once in a while I try to convince myself to get back online, to be a part of the conversation and make some digital footprints, but I always end up moving my Facebook app off the first page of my phone, trying to hide it away so that I don’t mindlessly click into the bright blue “F”. Because generally I will end up wallowing in misery when I see a post about the suffering in Syria, or some other latest tragedy.

Or, more uselessly, I will fall into the rabbit hole of catching up with what’s been happening with people I don’t see or make an effort to contact in real life.

I’m not sure what the point is.

And then, I keep coming back to this idea that I heard and that always pops into my head when I see competitions, or adverts or any other spammy type of thing on social media: if it’s free, then you are the product.

Why would someone try to give you something online? Often it seems to be straightforward advertising but it’s interesting how email addresses are now so highly prized.

People are not allowed, legally, to spam you without your consent. If you decide to unsubscribe from some newsletter, they cannot keep sending you their stuff. People can’t sell their email lists, their client databases. So now, to legitimately create a user list, websites often offer you something in exchange for your email address. They won’t just give you the secret to eternal youth, or the recipe for that perfect brownie. No, they make you type in your email address and then they mail it to you.

If it’s free, then I am the product.

Then I realise. I am not just consuming stuff online. The web is also consuming me.

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Out from under my rock

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The best conversations for me are the ones that feel like they have no beginning and no end, you just start off from somewhere and end up at the next-where but there’s no hello, how-do-you-do… and no real endings or goodbye, just short interludes of real life and then picking back up right where you left off or somewhere completely else.

It’s been a while, but now I have adventures in baby-raising that may or may not make it into the discussion, and the world seems to be topsy-turvy as usual, with politics around the globe acting crazy, making me wonder how truth can be so much stranger than fiction all the time. We have that idiot Trump, our own local dilemmas with our dud President, Turkey going through an almost-coup, and racism all over the place going out of control.

It feels like a time to hide under a rock and wait for it to all blow over, but that’s probably not the  best approach. Firstly, things don’t seem to be blowing over, just escalating all the time.  And secondly, maybe we can contribute to the positivity and the sanity of the world. Do something sane and good today. Or just don’t add to all the chaos if you can. The world needs you 😉