I still have a page on Facebook. I use it on a pretty regular basis to keep up with friends and family, some of whom I haven’t seen in years. I also use it to keep up with playwriting and production opportunities. Without it I wouldn’t have had one of my plays being produced in Sydney, Australia this week, and I’m also a part of a vibrant and interesting community of playwrights who share, teach, and commiserate.
I’m not going to link the profile here because, well, if you’re really interested in seeing it, you can make the effort to find it. It shouldn’t be too hard, and if you do, well, okay… I might even return your “Friend” request. (Oh, come on; you know I will.) But I’m also not going to delete my profile.
Whether or not the social networking platform was a willing or unwitting participant in the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election is still a valid question, but one thing that some people, including good friends, have forgotten is that Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and whatever else is being used out there to share pictures of cats riding vacuum cleaners and sell condos in Aruba and perhaps mine personal data, in the end they’re just tools, and not a whole lot different than a hammer or a screwdriver. In the right hands and with discernment, they can be useful. In the wrong ones or misapplied, they can be dangerous. (I hear the same argument about guns. Yeah, but a hammer wasn’t designed for the sole purpose of killing someone or something.) Like anything, it matters how you use it and your common sense along with it.
By now — some thirty years into it being a part of our lives — most people have learned to discriminate between spam and real stuff in their e-mails (although obviously not enough because I still get it e-mails offering V1agr@, and they wouldn’t keep doing it if they didn’t get a bite every day) and just yesterday I amused my co-workers with a short play I staged with a guy on the phone trying to get me to send money to the Criminal Division of the IRS. It’s been that way as long as there’s been mass communication — what, you don’t think Moses didn’t have a sales pitch when he came back from Mount Sinai? — and there always will be. The trick is knowing when to turn it off, hang up the phone, and go read a book.
Facebook didn’t elect Trump. We did.