Social Media, Social or Orwellian.(3)

Preliminary thoughts on How not to use facebook or similar social media.


My mom used to say “only death is free”, which means, death does not cost anything. (Dying and funerals, though, can be very expensive.)

It is the promise of something being “free” in the digital world which trapped so many of us and is still doing so. However, anything coming our way telling us to subscribe and it is free is nothing but a trick. The majority of us has been and is aware of that but sometimes it does not deter us from entering this promise of the golden opportunity. We just think we need what is on offer and we will just accept the side effects.

All I want to say here is simply that we have to read the small print and we really have to bother to decide if we want to put up with the side effects of “free” offers. It should be clear to everybody by now that facebook or alike offer “free” services in order to get as much as possible totally free access not only to our data but potentially to all our “digital” activities. It has also become totally clear that they did not or do not shy away from the intention to use gathered data and information in any way they want to; this includes selling them to third parties. They offer a service, but this service is only a side show to want they really intend to do and do.

To cut it short here: Would it be possible for anyone to create a kind of “neutral” social media platform which one has to subscribe to and pay for, without “side effects”? We all take out subscriptions, Apple iCloud for example or Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and subscriptions for applications become more and more common, replacing one-off buying fees and fees for renewal and updates. Could anyone create a straight forward social media platform which does nothing but offering something like a pin wall where everybody can drop information and we can share. Of course, the provider should be paid for that service, and it should go without any advertisement, and it should really keep the interest of the consumers in mind, and not run its own financial interest on or behind the back of it clients. If millions are interested in this kind of a bloat-free platform, geared exclusively towards our needs, the consumers, subscription fees should be reasonable and I feel confident that many people would be willing to pay for a service like that. Simply a service in our interest and for our needs, run by a service provider who wants to serve our interest as well as possible.

This makes it very clear how close facebook and alike have come to being “criminal” organisation which feed us the idea they work in our interest and on top of it, they do it for free and nothing. For this kind of “free” services we pay with our privacy and security and we potentially not only feed excessive financial and political interests, more and more outside of our control, but help to create and support an Orwellian type of surveillance.