Social Media and Mental Health

So I got on Diaspora and dumped Facebook (and Google) because of all the paranoid geeky stuff about them manipulating news and spying on people and using all your stuff to take over the world.

I ran away from systemd on Linux because of all the paranoid geeky stuff I read on Diaspora about how Red Hat and Microsoft (and the NSA, FBI, Illuminati, and who knows, some alien race from the Eighth Dimension) are using systemd on Linux to take over the world and enslave Linux users.

As it turns out, in spite of Monstanto, GMOs, vaccines, the Left, the Right, Microsoft, Google, the Borg, Canonical, Red Hat, and systemd, my computer and my privacy are as safe as anyone who ever connects to the Internet on any device or platform can expect to be.

Who is manipulating who here? Who is really thriving on the fears of others here?

People told us to stop flying the American flag and stop showing our support for the military and first responders or else we could be targeted for violence, blacklisting, discrimination, etc. Did I take down my flag? Hell no. Let them come. I’ll gut them if they bring their threats beyond my front door.

And guess what else? I’ve got a systemd-equipped Linux distro running because it works better on my machine than the two systemd-free distros I tried. And y’know what else? I rejoined Facebook today. I’m using it with my eyes open and sensible precautions in place. I’ll keep my Diaspora but I’m making big changes there. All that paranoia and conspiracy stuff is not good for people who have ever been diagnosed with depression, whatever the cause.

All I can say now is,

I didn’t take my flag down. And I’m not avoiding systemd, Facebook, Google, or any other tool that serves me.

I’ll use the Internet wisely, my systemd-equipped Linux distro wisely, and Facebook wisely. Just like I do with my car, my firearms, my power tools, and anything else that requires a little thought and caution. I’m not throwing away all the perfectly good tools that make modern life so nice and so rich.

I’m through running away from phantoms. If and when the time comes to fight, against whoever the bad guys are, I’ll fight and die like a Klingon in glorious battle. In the meantime time, all you anti-vaccine, anti-Google, and anti-everything-that-isn’t-home-grown-or-home-made people can kiss my grits.

Hey, I just had a thought…. maybe my medicine is working now after all!

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An Equal Opportunity Social Network

Most of you know I have been – well, kinda sorta – “promoting” Diaspora as a social network alternative to Facebook for a host of reasons (see this prior post), both technical and ethical. Yet at the same time I have lamented the fact that Diaspora seems to attract – besides a lot of Linux nerds – a disproportionate number of atheists, vegans, anarchists, socialists, communists, liberals and other assorted left-wingnuts. I think I may be the only politically conservative (not necessarily Republican), bible-believing Christian on the entire global federated network. Okay, cool. So it’s a great cyber “mission field.” That’s okay with me.

What’s “not okay,” I guess, is the in-your-face-right-from-the-start hatred for anything that doesn’t fully agree with, promote, advance, energize, require, mandate, ram, cram, or jam liberalism. Do a search on Diaspora using the hashtag #Christian and you get a pageful of venomous articles, pictures, and rants hostile to Christianity. And maybe one or two that aren’t necessarily pro-Christian, but at least weren’t written to ridicule or destroy it. Same thing applies to #conservative, #Republican, #church, #capitalism, and other related categories. Okay, so it’s a “mission field” for ideological discussion, right? That’s okay with me.

Except it’s not really a field for honest, thoughtful ideological discussion. I guess that since the community hates Facebook (as I do), and because Facebook is a “for profit” network instead of a voluntary association, open-source, ad-free, just for fun non-profit network, the distinction tends to pit free-market economics against some sort of socialist ideal. Facebook = corporate –> EVIL, while Diaspora = voluntary –> TOTALLY RIGHTEOUS. Perhaps that’s the simplest and most obvious explanation for the high numbers of left-wing folk who join. They want to “stick it to the profiteer.” Okay, I get that. But I assume they work for a living. I assume they prefer to get paid for their work, and use their off-time to volunteer for projects like Diaspora or FOSS development or the local food pantry. Great! I do my volunteer work at church, at Little League, and in support of homeschool families. My job depends on profit. No company, no job. No job, no food. No food, no money or time to support projects like Diaspora. Sorry.

Perhaps the thing that got me started on this little rant has been the funny way several people have introduced themselves to the Diaspora community lately when they joined, under the hashtag #newhere (“new here”). Using hashtags in your initial “Hello” post to the community is recommended, so that followers of your hashtags will see your message and “add you.” But lately under #newhere it seems there’s a whole bunch of posts like this:

Hi my name is Prickface. I’m #newhere and I hate all #Christians, #conservatives, #meateaters, #businessowners, #stockholders, #policeofficers, #military #servicemembers, #preachers, #missionaries, #churches, #men, #boys, #Americans, #churchgoers, and followers of #Christ. I want to meet other #anarchists, #vegans, #anticapitalists, #socialists, #communists, #terrorists, #feminists, #democrats, #lesbians, and #transgenders who share my appreciation for and admiration of #profanity, #hostility, #butthurtedness, #nudity, #feminism, #abortion, and #acid-metal-demon-scream-puke-rock music.

I guess the word got out, and it’s good that Diaspora is getting so many new people joining up! But the vast numbers of folks who have nothing but hostility to the values and Savior I cherish has got me thinking about starting my own Diaspora pod, just to provide a little server space for those few people left on Earth who share my values – and my deep concerns about Facebook’s weird, privacy-stealing, politically correct, ideology-driven, ever-changing terms of service. Of course, that’s time and money and bandwidth I don’t have to invest yet, but seriously, it’s needed I think!

I wonder if other Diaspora users feel as I do, or if any Christian, conservative folk who feel as I do about Facebook would join me. And you wouldn’t even have to be a Linux nerd.

Just kidding. You do not have to be a Linux nerd.

Are Linux Users Anti-Capitalist?

I’ve seen a lot of stuff in Linux forums and blogs to make me think so, in spite of the existence of for-profit Linux companies like Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical. During my very brief membership in Diaspora, the free and open-source social network that bills itself as an alternative to Facebook, I found no other members there who believe in good old fashioned free market capitalism. Diaspora attracts many Linux/FOSS users. There were hundreds of posts from Diaspora community members equating profit with greed, as though it is somehow unethical to reap the rewards of one’s own hard work. For all I could tell, I may have been the only one in the whole network with an opposing point of view.

Now comes another rant from Richard Stallman, the rabid FOSS advocate who sees all other software as inherently evil because it may have a profit motive. In his most recent anti-capitalist rant, the Bearded One rails against Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, the most popular and most widely used desktop Linux distribution in history. He urges Linux users to abandon Ubuntu because of an advertized feature of it’s innovative Unity desktop interface (here). He claims that the “shopping lens” in the desktop “dash” (think of “dashboard” – that Unity desktop is pretty cool, and is designed with a view towards touch screens and such – the future!) is a “sneaky” invasion of the user’s privacy with an eeeeevil profit motive.

First of all, the shopping lens is an advertized feature of Ubuntu, so there’s nothing “sneaky” about it. And users can easily opt out if they don’t want to use it. Secondly, it takes money to fund development of Ubuntu’s innovations, which they then provide for free to their users. Canonical’s deal with Amazon helps provide some of that funding while preserving the user’s privacy by not collecting any “user-identifiable” information. What expectation of privacy does any online shopper have anyway? Gimme a break! If Canonical can get enough profit from deals with companies like Dell, Amazon, and Google to continue funding their awesome and innovative operating system and then give that operating system away for free, how can that be considered greedy and selfish?

It’s only considered “greedy” by anarchists, communists, and others who believe that the rewards of one’s own hard work should not be retained by those who earn those rewards. “Share the wealth,” we are told by those who would remove any incentive to work at all, much less invest in the work of others. The Linux and Free and Open Source Software communities have more than their fair share of such rabid anti-capitalists who think they are entitled to all the benefits of other people’s work. What about their own volunteer contributions to the Free Software Foundation? How is that different from any Ubuntu user who wants to use Ubuntu’s cool search feature or shopping feature to support their favorite Linux/FOSS project? Answer: It’s no different at all. It’s just easier than writing a check to support the Bearded One’s favorite Linux/FOSS projects – or more accurately, to support the Bearded One himself.

Shut up, Stallman. Quit begging and bitching and get a real job. I bet if you did, you would come to resent the efforts of other socialists and anarchists to confiscate your wages in order to “share the wealth” with other bums like you.