Why am I here?

Hæ. My name is Gunnar Grímsson and I’ve been on the internet since 1985, using and creating all sorts of content and mediums and most often having fun at the same time. I’ve been an activist since I was 15 years old and since 2008 I’ve made it my work with Citizens Foundation, creating and promoting open source electronic democracy software and methods which over half a million people have used, the world over.

Short version: Facebook sucks, eats up my time on mostly useless crap and my statuses and comments are all lost after a few days. Also it’s non-transparent artificial intelligence shows me what Facebook thinks I should see which is NOT what I think I should see.  Have started blogging and will use Facebook and Twitter to let people know about it. 

This is not my first blog site. When I finally gave in and joined Facebook in 2008 it was because my audience, my friends were there. And it was the best way to mobilize people to the protests downtown that culminated in our government resigning. So, like so many decisions, it was the right decision at that time.

Now the right decision is to change venues. I would like to leave Facebook completely but I can not. And I don’t mean because of my FB addiction (which is pretty severe) but because my friends are still there. So the plan is thus: I won’t post statuses on FB, I will generally not Like posts and I won’t write comments but I will use chat and I will post links to my blogs. Rule of thumb is: If it ain’t worth writing about, drop it.

This is all quite generally and in principle. We’ll see about the practice. My plan for http://truth.is is to write short blogs here on all kinds of subjects, probably in the range of but not limited to; democracy, music, education and personal development. Possibly video. We’ll see :)

Facebook has become such an addiction which gives so little back that it’s really an easy step to take. My Google addiction however, is a major factor in my work, particularly Search, Gmail, Docs and the domain hosting. And more. The Google way of hooking you by convenience and good service is far more scary than Facebooks naive (but strong) appeal to our social animal. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, it does! But it’s so blatant and clear to all but the most casual observer that our data is being used to twine us all together in a way that keeps us coming back for more.

Also, finding anything but the most recent or popular content on FB is so hard that it’s better described as “impossible given the available time to invest in it”. Our time spent writing is certainly worth more than that. At least some of it! A blog may not be the best way to organize content (although fine while there’s not much of it) but it’s infinitely superior to FBs way of helping us forget our history and therefore repeat it again and again and again. In my more argumentative FB days I used to have text files saved locally with points that had either taken some time to create or were (in my opinion!) rather good. And every now and then I’d see an appropriate place for them where history was repeating itself. We would never accept this kind of workflow at our workplaces, not if we wanted them to work.

For many of us Facebook is our primary source of information about our acquaintances and links to news and interesting stuff, we use our timeline as our easy to use window into the world around us. FB uses artificial intelligence aka machine learning aka algorithms to choose which posts and statuses we see on our personal timeline. Facebook controls how it’s addicts see the world. I don’t know about you but this is abhorrent to me, not only in a personal sense but much more in the collective sense. I can decide to use other means of monitoring my world (it’s bloody hard but I’m working on it!) but most people are not aware of how this is done and are quite happy to accept the convenience FB offers them, without realizing the cost they pay for this.

At the moment FB is (probably) gearing it’s AIs towards selling you stuff, if your friend has just had a baby you will see more adverts for baby stuff, if you click on items concerning camping you will get adverts for camping gear. This would actually be fine if it wouldn’t be at the expense of items that are more oriented towards the faults in modern society, that kind of stuff is not likely to sell you anything. So it takes a lot of determined FB users posting something political or socially conscious for it to pop up on your timeline. Many people use FB to connect around social issues because that’s where the people are but at the same time FBs AIs are subverting that process. Unless of course you pay for having your statuses appear which is a way of making dissidents paying for the ongoing world theft of the 1%.

Last but not least, FB comments encourage arguments and abusive behavior. I prefer debate and civilized behavior, most of the time. This is of course not an FB only problem, it’s a standard issue in website comments. Our (Citizens Foundation) debate system splits the screen into two columns, one (green) with points for an idea and the other (red) with points against the idea. This eliminates abusive behavior and inherently pushes users into creating good content.

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