Why Mom Was Right About Facebook’s Allures

If the subject of Facebook enters the conversation, my mom likes to say she isn’t on it.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a Facebook account in my dad’s name, and I think my mother also thinks that the two of them, my mom and my dad, have the same outlook, and disposition.  By that logic, I take it that an account apiece isn’t necessary for them.  Comments they leave are usually attributed to one or the other.

Photo by Wilfred Iven on StockSnap

I have a small Facebook account.  But despite having a humble reverence for the David Fincher-directed 2010 film The Social Network, my pleasure in being on Facebook is helping to run a not-for-profit business.  For example, this very morning, a woman let me know, with an email to the Facebook page for the business, that she finds the business very beautiful, and you’ll understand why in a moment.

In 2007, at the sales company where I worked, Facebook on the desktop computers was blocked, so that entrance-level employee couldn’t enjoy it.  At that time, even for a young man like me, Facebook was a lifeline.  In 2012, Facebook App Center, an internet-based portable store, was carried out onto the market.

The store at first had 500 Facebook applications. which were. for the most part, games.  I remember wondering why was this happening.  Why were so many users playing games?

Around this time, my dad did kind of a noble thing, when, after years of helping manage the municipal cemetery for his job, he came across a little cemetery on the other side of town.  Their trustees were hoping to share the burial ground with the district he had worked for.

My father acquired the cemetery and welcomed me on as a partner in 2012.  For a nonprofit, as a retiree might characteristically enjoy working at, presently we require one day a week, ordinarily.

Louth United Church

I am not sure I suggested it myself, but it was probably me who did–making a business page on Facebook for the cemetery, so interested people could easily get ahold of us, like the woman did this morning.  My dad had wanted a website for the cemetery, and this extra measure was one more step, a Facebook page

https://www.maplelawncemetery.org/24701.html

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

I compose posts that flow data about characteristic concerns we have.  You see, I research and blog.  I am an amateur writer.

I’ve composed a few brief tales, however, I don’t have the standard novel or screenplay that an essayist frequently has.  I’m really an amateur blogger with family business ties.  The business page on Facebook has nearly a hundred accounts of people who “like” it, and most of the control of the page falls to me.

One friend of the business, an elderly lady, I got to know a little during her brief visits to the cemetery, and also when the two of us interacted together on Facebook, had advice for me that I continue to apply on the Facebook business page.

My mother may never have signed up for Facebook, but I think she is pleased to think I show the initiative to manage the page.  My mom worked for a small business for many years, as a clerk.  We actually argue about many matters, but as long as I show a commitment to my dad’s retirement business, I continue to hold some cards in the game, between the three of us.

Nowadays Facebook has a significant draw, yet what we would never have expected are the losses Facebook has had to confront.  Remember the lead-up to the appointment of 2016, when it was discovered that Facebook was utilizing Cambridge Analytica?  That information firm gave Hillary Clinton a benefit, as her position was greater for Facebook than Donald Trump’s pass into the White House would have been.

Photo by Sticker Mule on StockSnap

It was trouble.  Trump’s since been banned from Facebook, as well as from other social media.  Granted, Maple Lawn Cemetery’s a small page, and we don’t handle cash transactions there, so the Cambridge Analytica scandal didn’t impact us much, although the distrust in the air that grew for Zuckerberg did have a toxic impact on how people used Facebook, compared to how they used it before the 2016 scandal.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/12/facebook-whistleblower-behind-major-leak-is-going-to-testify-in-europe.html

Two days ago, in the early hours, CNET Tech, when reporting on Facebook going against the British Parliament, discussed online one Damian Collins, a member of parliament.  Even now, Frances Haugen, CNET reports, is preparing to speak to British Parliament.  It was Collins who took Cambridge Analytica to task in 2016, across the pond, and he is quoted as saying, “There needs to be greater transparency on the decisions companies like Facebook take when they trade off user safety for user engagement.”

The issue is that Facebook utilizes information about its customers to maneuver them to invest more energy, again became a national topic Sunday when Frances Haugen, a former Facebook worker, showed up on TV to clarify that Facebook is investigating strategies for better compelling and ultimately how to benefit from kids helpless against Facebook fixation.

Facebook has been successful this week demonstrating to the European Union that Facebook has adequate privacy protections in place, but they remain dodgy.  Frances Haugen did them no favours, however.

You know, I don’t think my mother thinks about those kinds of things.

My mom has the perception that people are talking to each other when they are posting on Facebook.  You can say that’s true, however, I think she sees those individuals “talking” rather than the more accurate description that anyone, when Facebook posts are public, can cooperate with those posts.  The explanation for this is those messages from Facebook, about those individuals that you have been cooperating with, is not that those individuals posting have chosen companions to send messages to (ie my mom, I suppose).

What I mean is that when my mother is happy to leave a comment on a post, say, composed by a cousin of hers or by an aunt, with my dad’s account, the reason emails from Facebook come back to him with reminders is that my mother has initiated contact, with his account, with those family members, it is not because those family members want emails sent to him and to her (my mom and dad).

The drawback I personally have run into on Facebook is that I have that one friend who reacts to lots of the posts I do put up.  He’s bizarre.  I know there’s a cliched perception that if your mother is reading what you are posting on Facebook, you are dealing with trouble, but to that end I don’t remember too many times that the account that my mom and dad use came back with reactions to my posts.

My mom is good that way.  Lots of times, I am dropping posts with little to no engagement, although I have an idea what works to at least merit a little bit of a reaction.

Photo by Lenharth Systems on StockSnap

Many people prescribing what’s called a dopamine detox suggest staying off social media.  Sometimes they say they never felt better after getting away from Facebook for a while (better, or clearer-headed).

I don’t think my mom ever felt Facebook was a problem among me and my brother and my sister.  We aren’t children.

My mom doesn’t like me eating too much junk food, but she doesn’t raise objections to too much Facebook use.  It just isn’t that Facebook is the problem its detractors say it is.

I doubt that Zuckerberg is the disrupter that Jesse Eisenberg plays him as in the David Fincher film.  That really is great cinema.  The brilliance of the ambiguity of the conclusion of the film leaves you with the knowledge of how the film’s events next played out in the real world and leaves the audience to ask an existential question, about the value of what Zuckerberg has done.

Jessie Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg is the Nietzschean overman who makes a brave journey, a very satisfying ideology.  I find Facebook pleasant and harmless.  Occasionally if I come on too strong, for a stranger’s liking, I get rebuked, but usually, I pick safe moves that don’t rock the boat too much.  

The Social Network

Compared to both Facebook and Instagram, where the drawbacks are becoming ugly to discuss, I retain an optimistic view of Twitter, and I respect the measures Jack Dorsey has implemented to deal with hate speech, which while known to be a problem on Twitter, doesn’t engender the same conversation that I know of that it does about Facebook.  Twitter is actually getting so it can conceivably warn you if you are writing an incendiary tweet.  It is a changing attitude for the service, for sure.

About Facebook, people say things like hate content will earn more views and that is probably true, although I don’t know why.  Facebook is being blamed for allowing this.  I think that a person can be more attractive if they aren’t focused on material that is hateful.

A spiritual outlook is better, I think, say, like to believe that there is good in everyone, if it is only nurtured.  Hate is a terrible quality to define a person by.  There is vast beauty in the world, and to spend your time on Earth consumed by hatred is not a fine way to live life.

When I was a little kid, my mother would say the cliché, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do the same?”  It’s not quite the same thing, as my mom doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with Facebook.  I don’t, really, either, despite the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016, and now the Frances Haugen 60 Minutes debacle.

Perhaps those people with whom my mom chats on Facebook, though they may understand Facebook better than my mother does, do like having comments from her, and like having their posts viewed.  That my mother can mentally translate Facebook use into a “chat” that is organic in the sense that people are having a catch-up lets me know that there are probably many people who view Facebook, and Facebook Messenger, the same as that.

The mental concept of Facebook automatically translates into a natural style of conversation instead of being too robotic, which is old hat for anybody who can remember the days that Internet chat was a chief part of the Internet’s function, whether that was AOL or MSN Messenger, or, these days, Facebook Messenger.

Perhaps my participation in services like MSN Messenger back in the day helped elucidate for my mother how it is that Internet chat goes, but it is more likely that talk with my sister Kaite is what educated my mother into an understanding of Internet chat, as Kaite thinks of herself as an early adopter of Facebook.

Like a feedback loop, my sister’s instruction to my mother brought round for me insight into how people view Facebook and Facebook Messenger.  Other people must have similar reactions when they are becoming familiar with it.  While I would have understood it regularly given my experience on MSN Messenger as everybody had in the 2000s, I too feel that I am right as rain about how it is to be on Facebook, but not at the expense of how I feel it is to be part of a community inside Facebook.

The problem is the question of whether Facebook will keep a good enough reputation for itself among most Internet users around the world.  Though my mom’s understanding of Facebook is probably largely due to my sister’s help, I think my mom is right that she sees the use of Facebook in a simple but useful light.  None of that would be going on without my sister’s words of explanation for my mother and father.

I should remember that when I am writing emails to Kaite.  Respect due, Kaite is married and has a little one at home, and has been working in the city of London, England, where their family resides.

My mom may discourage junk food, but Facebook is right by her.  I remember my high school librarian who referred to many works of fiction as being “ice cream reading,” meaning they weren’t high-value books.  Funny how that is.

Photo by Matt Moloney on StockSnap

You’re welcome to like this post, follow my blog, and leave comments.  All the best, especially if you are on Facebook.  If you want to contact me by email, you can, at the personal email patrickcoholan@hotmail.com

My personal Facebook account is https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons  Don’t think you can be affected?  Give it a go. I hope you have a great Halloween this season.

For Critical Thinking and an Equivalent, Creativity

Starting, for April, I participated in many of the new Discover challenges that WordPress organized, to help bloggers write posts during the crisis.  Each morning, 6 AM in most cases in my time zone, a new word with additional suggestions became available for WordPress bloggers.

Each word theme was accompanied by suggestions about what to post.  I found the exercises helped me feel better about blogging because some things I enjoy discussing became the subject of new posts at the same time other bloggers addressed the same themes.  With each post, I had several visitors, and if you are among those and returning, please accept my thanks.

Now, today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day.  Star Wars The Clone Wars concludes its season 7 run today, a season devoted to the Seige of Mandalore.  I think the entire animated series lives on Disney+.

Today is also the day that all nine films of the Skywalker Saga are available with a Disney+ subscription.  “This will be a day long-remembered,” to quote Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV.

Star Wars Celebration last spring in Chicago meant a week of hours and hours of daily streaming on YouTube.  I said something about it:  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2019/04/19/star-wars-celebration-on-youtube-whered-you-go-chicago/

I have a new strategy, I am starting by trying a serious-in-tone critical thinking post.  I was already writing the odd observation about techniques that might contribute to someone’s existing take on the science of being a blogger, tempered with humour, I suppose.  I reckoned that I was enjoying myself, that’s mostly what counted.

Photo by Lukáš Rychvalský from StockSnap

A definition of a hobby is this:

hob·by

n. pl. hob·bies

An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

The pleasure of blogging comes from the interaction on the world wide web with people who also blog.  I believe that social interaction is important at any age.  Why is social interaction important for psychological health, I asked Yahoo!.

“Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults,” Yahoo! answered.  “This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer.  You will enjoy better mental health.

“Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression.”

There are so many avenues that if you have access to the web, there are so many ways to reach people, and fulfill that desire, I know you know this.  It is always about more than the dollar, as it should be.  I’m not out to make a buck at all, I’m just experimenting with being an optimist.  

Recently I found a website page that takes a gander at the satisfaction that goes with the joy of a decent diversion.  Human resources psychologist Jessica Beltran addresses it in The Value of Hobbies  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/05/the-value-of-hobbies/  “We are at our best when we are relaxed and in tune with ourselves.”

Photo by Snufkin from StockSnap

While we are capitalists, the playing field becomes more narrow if you consider that you can address people with the confidence of having many of the skills that they have.  There is any number of stations in the lives we lead, but lots of motivation speakers give the advice to get started with your creations, however possible.  “Do hobbies help with their careers?” I asked Yahoo!.

“While it may seem counterintuitive to make time for something outside of work to get ahead at work, career coaches have confirmed that having a hobby can help make you better at your job. Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle work-life stress and think creatively,” answered the search engine.

“What skills are needed to be a critical thinker?” I went on to ask.

In response Yahoo! informed me of several qualities, ten in fact, that you need to be a capable critical thinker:

1 Accuracy.

2 Adept.

3 Analytical.

4 Creativity.

5 Critical thinking.

6 Detail-oriented.

7 Efficiency.

8 Industriousness.

9 Innovative.

10 Logical thinking.

I have additional input.

Accuracy, for starters, I learned about in high school science.  Accuracy in that environment is measurably collecting data.  To determine accuracy, you might perform the same process several times, with only minor variants, to learn if your method is accurate.

It’s important.  Troubleshooting a computer station, for example, requires accuracy.

You need to determine what changes have gone on before and after a problem has happened at your terminal.  There is a joke about hapless computer users calling the Windows system crash the Blue Screen of Death, dire-sounding, but which means that you are losing your unsaved work, a bummer.  By the way, I enjoyed computer science in high school a lot more than I enjoyed chemistry and physics.

If what you were doing meant nine out of ten times you got a system crash, and then one out of ten times it worked out, hypothetically speaking, you could, if the measurements were accurate, you’re determining that those nine times of system crashes mean that you can’t proceed in that manner.  If five out of ten times, your computer works, and five times it doesn’t, you don’t have an accurate idea of what of your commands are leading to the system crash.  The results aren’t too useful in that case.

You need to check variables that contribute to your procedure’s success or failure and come up with a more accurate idea of what’s going to work.  Once you establish the variables that work out okay, by trial and error, you can figure out which instruction is awakening the Blue Screen of Death.

The second term in Yahoo!’s list is the word adept.  Adept means are adroit.  Critically, you have to be adept at forming interpretations.

Those I think of as the external–the external is the object or scenario you’re critically thinking about.  You need to know what you’re examining, to form a critical judgement.  I have two ways for you to do this, and you can read about them a little further in.

Like for me, to decide whether, say, a popular film is “good,” in the sense that the motion picture proves that everybody involved did a good job, you have to understand enough about what makes a good film to be adept at reviewing it.  It would help if you’d contributed to the completion of a motion picture, to be properly critical, but it probably suffices to understand the structure of a film, the symbolism in the film visually, and previous attempts to make similar films.

The next term, the word analytical, this is a word like adept, but analytical is more about looking at a critiqued thing that calculates whether you should take it seriously or not.  You know what the thing is and what it’s for, but being analytical towards it means judging it in a way that you can comprehend additional specifics about it, forming your external.  What does it mean? is an analytical question that you might have about your object or scenario.

You would be analytical concluding that your problem works at all levels.

Photo by donterase from StockSnap

Next is creativity, a lovely word, for I feel I am creative, as would many bloggers regard themselves.  Creativity is reworking an established idea and making it yours.  It goes on constantly.

Like, back to film, when a successful film franchise follows up with a sequel, or a reboot, that’s an instance of creativity that is often quite impressive.  As with, say, the 1978 horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, when two years later in 1980 the sequel Halloween II came out, again starring famed actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the film continued the story of the first movie by showing a lot more of what happened later that Halloween night, when the mad masked murderer had returned, (ghastly!).  However, John Carpenter was no longer directing the film.

Do you like horror films?

Halloween II has the same characters and the same locale and a continuation of the plot of the first film, all interesting for fans of the first movie, just with the point that somebody else is now directing.  That’s the creative part, in this example.

Next, Yahoo! repeats the phrase critical thinking.  I mean that Yahoo! includes critical thinking among the terms for critical thinking, which begs the question, Yahoo!.  I interpreted that as meaning that critical thinking refers here to the overall level of ability the interpreter brings to the noun being thought through critically.  It is having the skill to return to thinking critically, in a manner that applies other additional criteria.

In this case, we’re using the handy number ten.  The words, I derive, make an agenda for surveying an item or a situation.  It is redundant to include the phrase “critical thinking” in a list that explains critical thinking, pointing to a rabbit hole, a burrow that goes on and on when it opens.

You have to be firm with yourself what decisions you will make in the process of critical thinking or you will never conclude.  I have a little more to say about that in the conclusion.

Close up white cup of Coffee, latte on the wooden table

Detail-oriented refers to the organizer’s ability to put together a mental assessment of the details that have gone into the subject being thought about critically.  A job interview often includes a question along these lines, as in, “If you were taking this job, would you consider yourself a detail-oriented person?”  It means getting everything right.

Efficiency is the ability to get things done promptly.  You don’t lose time by making redundant decisions; everything works.  If you value efficiency, you want your scenario or your object to function smoothly, a swift external.

It means saving time.  A lot of people who need to complete many tasks highly value efficiency.

Industriousness refers to having the initiative to take bold steps.  Being industrious is good in that a person shows, say, leadership.  If what you are critical of is a tool for industriousness, it lends itself to a nature that assists people who have a success rate at reaching goals.

Innovative means thinking outside of the box.  Someone innovative has solutions that circumvent traditional stop signs that cause headaches.  Being innovative is positive.  You should recognize when innovation is happening and that it can have positive results.

Photo by Matthew Henry from StockSnap

Logical thinking is great for being “right.”  I first read a little about logical thinking in a high school English class.  I was daunted at the time because I’d never known that logical thinking existed like that, and I doubted I could learn enough about it to become competent, bizarrely, I suppose.

I was a diffident youth.  I wish I’d got that information earlier in life.  My teacher, Ms. M., outlined twelve specific styles of logical thinking and in fact, I wonder if I as yet have that same document.

I should have read it again and again.  At times I’ve been proud that I’m not completely obligated to be logical, but I don’t disregard logic.  I value things like the structure of an external, and that, for example, requires logic.

Logical thinking when it comes to being critical of a specific external is very useful, for if you can make a logical argument about the nature of your object or situation, you’re external, you are on your way to answering a riddle about it.  It is a regret I have that I didn’t take the introduction to logical thinking I got in high school more gravely and go to work at understanding it.

The ten criteria words stop at the letter L.  This is all about setting your sights on critically interpreting an external and taking it apart in a way that you can better understand what it means.  The terms are building blocks for evaluating your external.

There are some points where the process isn’t going to be scientific.  Starting with accurate, you need to look at more than one external and compare them to see how accurate your method is.  This word accurate is exciting because you can find parallels that aren’t necessarily immediately self-evident.

You are being analytical because you are trying to make a process occur that is accurate.  Those two a-letter words work together to open a method of diagramming your external to better understand what it is.

The next word, adept, is applicable because you need to run your process with adept skill.  What I’m doing here is being creative with Yahoo!’s list of critical thinking terms.  I’m making the argument that they are useful.

The search engine believes it.  So, too, should you.  Together the terms have an impact that you can draw upon for inspiration.

It does bother my sensibilities that critical thinking could itself be a term for critical thinking, but as there is a connection between all three a-letter words, so too I noticed a connection between the two c-letter words.  Critical thinking and creativity are two different sides of the same coin.

I’ve had to stir my reserve of critical thinking to identify what that means, but it is so.  Creativity is letting reason fly in the wind, whereas critical thinking is unearthing the truth about your external that wouldn’t be evident if you didn’t possess some definitions that assist in critical thinking.

For d, we have detail-oriented, taking your analysis and better developing it.

For e, we have efficiency, reducing creativity in favour of a strategy that is more pure critical thinking and not as open-minded as the word creative would imply.

Next, we have i-letter words, industrious and innovative, words that strengthen the process of analyzing the external by accelerating the process.  Those words apply to the analyst as much as they apply to the object or scenario being looked at.  Being industrious is keeping at it and being innovative is keeping open-minded.

Both these reflect the analyst as much or more than the external being explored.  Logical thinking is a phrase that means much the same as analysis.  If you took these ten terms, you could assemble them this way:   You have the creativity and you have critical thinking (the c-words).

If you want creativity to rule the process of investigating the external, what you have is industriousness and innovation for the matter at hand.

To proceed down the avenue of critical thinking that is more logical and detail-oriented, you can reduce your creative input and begin letting a process unfold without the benefit of a creative assignment.  In either case, you need to be adept at thinking, and further, to return to the a-letter words, you are being more purely analytical and accurate if you pursue critical thinking without the requirement of innovation ruling your process.  So, your basic process either follows one c-path or the other c-path, critical thinking or creativity and then to round out outreaching your external you have the accuracy, the analytics, the detail-oriented questions, the efficiency and the logical thinking; and down the other c-path, you have industriousness and innovation.

These are subcategories from the ten we started with.

Photographer:
Tim Gouw

The terms favour an analysis-heavy approach to critical thinking, meaning there are more components of more purely critical thinking than terms that include creativity.  Where that leaves us is what I started with, the word hobby.  A creative design is better for a hobby; analysis is better suited for more profound comprehension.

All the same, creativity can be as hard to comprehend as analysis.  If you reach an external by analysis, it is beginning to fall outside the field of the hobbyist and more closely approach the realm of the expert.

A more complicated external lends itself to critical thinking; a simpler external is suitable for creativity.  This isn’t always true, but that’s a guideline that you could start with if you are deciding whether you want to approach an external with a lens of more complicated and comprehensive critical thinking or with a simpler but also effective creative paintbrush, so to speak.

That’s the rabbit hole, that if you don’t have a handle on your creativity, flights of fancy can take you far afield of a suitable stopping place.  That’s why creativity isn’t a super useful strategy for analyzing an external that’s become complex.  That’s when your critical thinking approach needs to take over.

I’ve enjoyed writing about this, my first post since the April Discover challenges ended.  Do you like the idea that a simpler object might benefit from creative analysis and a more complicated object require a more detailed critical analysis?  You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.

Read more about me here:  about.me/patrickcoholan

Happy Star Wars Day

Photographer:
Thomas Kelley