August 22, 2019

In Praise of Facebook

“I love Facebook. I figure I’d better confess this unpopular opinion now, before enlightened lawmakers decree that we can’t have it anymore. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in the dock right now, along with other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, as we debate the impact of their creations on our society. Almost everyone, it seems, hates social media nowadays, with some going so far as to suggest that we should simply rid ourselves of this menace, entirely and for good. Josh Hawley, the Republican senator from Missouri, wrote an op ed last week denouncing Facebook and Twitter as “parasites” which “should be made to disappear”. My Facebook and Twitter friends applauded.

As an at-home mom with five kids, I have to say that this sounds fairly crazy. I recognize, of course, that social media has saddled us with some distressing new problems. It’s transformed many nice people into crude attention-seekers. It threatens our privacy and our peace. But we can’t just get rid of it, because we need social media. In a highly mobile, technologically advanced society, people inevitably look for new ways to stay connected, both to their loved ones and to the world at large. Social media fills that important need. We shouldn’t get rid of it. We should continue working to improve it, so that future generations can reap the rewards with fewer costs.

Let’s start by considering social media’s impact on our ever-more-fluid workforce. Social media can be a tremendous asset in making connections, especially for the ever increasing number of us who are trying to make it in the gig economy or who are de facto excluded from more traditional networking venues.”

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