Facebook wants your worship. I know that sounds extreme, but what if it’s true? What if the thing Facebook most desires is to make you most desire it? Isn’t that idolatry?
What has your attention is what has your worship. What you think about in your free moments, the topics and places to which your thoughts tend to go, those are your gods. By that definition, what many of us are worshipping is Facebook and the various other social media and infotainment sites. Click, click, click.
And, in our naiveté, we have turned our eyes to a god-like entity that has its greedy eyes on our lives.
Cal Newport, Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown, makes the obvious (but rarely stated) point in his book Deep Work that we are fools if we think these Internet tools (that we find so addictive) were created to bless us without demanding something in return:
We no longer see Internet tools as products released by for-profit companies, funded by investors hoping to make a return, and run by twentysomethings who are often making things up as they go along.
from Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
Facebook makes MONEY off your attention. No wonder, then, that Mark Zuckerberg and his staff have worked so hard to make Facebook irresistible. Click. Click. Click.
And, not only does Facebook make money off your attention, Facebook doesn’t care about you or what will happen to you, as long as it gets what it wants.
If you think about it, the world around us, including the world in our computers, is all about trying to tempt us to do things right now. Take Facebook, for example. Do they want you to be more productive twenty years from now? Or do they want to take your time, attention, and money right now? The same thing goes for YouTube, online newspapers, and so on.
So, Facebook is something that: 1. Makes money from our attention. 2. Doesn’t care about the consequences but allures and tempts with each click, click, click.
Is Facebook a false god?
*I am aware that some of you will see irony in the fact that you actually accessed this post through Facebook. Rather than irony, I see it as an insurgency. I am also aware that many of you will want to defend your (and my) use of Facebook. Ask yourself, Why?