Jun 062020
 

(originally posted on, ha, Facebook, June 3 2020)

It’s time. Data is the new capital, the new power. Zuckerberg has shown that Facebook’s quest for data — and thereby, power — is limited not by ethics, or even by morality. It’s limited ONLY by the limits that We The People will set. So…
 
Not suspending. Not temporarily disabling. Erasing as much data and then deleting as thoroughly as Facebook makes possible.
 
I will not willingly contribute to systemic oppression.
This is hard. It’s like throwing away a garage full of family keepsakes. It’s like volunteering for a lobotomy to erase treasured memories. It’s going to put a crimp in my ability to grow and manage my business on social media. It’s even going to be one less channel that I cannot use to help organize and connect good people together.
 
As someone who depends on social connection, this is very scary for me.
 
I realize now that it is exactly these sentiments that give Facebook the power that it has. And that power is harming the lives of too many other people. If people of color can stand up to armed police, this middle-aged white guy can delete a social media account. And urge others to do the same.
 
I’ll be posting instructions on how to back up and download your data. I’ll be reaching out to every single person on my “friend” list and sharing my email and phone number so we can stay connected via other means. A convenient way to maintain connections across the miles must never be paid for with the erosion of objective truth, equality, and basic human rights.
 
I’ll be off for good by 12am Central Time, Sunday June 7. (Due to Facebook’s own attempt to retain its users the actual deletion won’t go into effect until two weeks later, but I will not be logging in after the date above.)
 
I urge you all to join me.
Do your own research, a little reading on “big data.” A little reflection on oppressive systems. On political contributions. Some googling on how conflict and highly emotional exchanges actually help a platform like Facebook. On how different the very very rich are from the rest of us. Join me in some soul-searching about, hey now, just how serious are these claims, anyway?
Think about how our own very real, very good, very human senses of empathy, compassion, and connection are being used to power an unfeeling corporation to promote brutality.
 
And then please, do your part to take that power away. Vote. #DeleteFacebook
May 182017
 
On Time

My mother is going to laugh a lot at the fact that I’m writing this post, even if she’ll never admit it to me.  The idea that her son — who always used to get home late, sometimes knocking over the pots and pans that his father had set up against the door to announce […]

Dec 152016
 
Ben Thompson on Setting the Floor

The rules of the post-WWII economy are becoming less relevant. Ben Thompson offers a view of what we could hope will replace it: …instead of trying to recreate a 1950s fantasy of employment for life on an assembly line, the goal should be to create a far more dynamic labor market with a defined floor […]

Sep 232016
 
Leadership Lessons from James Kirk's Stealth Destroyer

No, even though 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, I’m not talking about James T. Kirk and the starship Enterprise. I’m talking about Captain James A. Kirk and the USS Zumwalt, America’s “largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer.” The Zumwalt grabbed my attention when it was commissioned earlier this month because not only is it larger, more powerful, and stealthier than current destroyers, […]

Sep 222016
 
Same Sheet, Different Data (Lessons from James Kirk's Stealth Destroyer)

In the previous section, we explored how technology can potentially free up capability. On a high-tech destroyer or in cyber-security, tech can “raise the game” of people in the enterprise. Technology offers tireless, rapid, low-variance behavior. That doesn’t necessarily mean more intelligent behavior. Lesson 2. Automation Is Necessary, But Not Sufficient One of my first jobs was loading magnetic […]