To be honest, I do not use social networking services. Not Facebook, nor Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Google+, VK, Tumblr, Baidu, or any of that other crap. It’s not for me. I do not feel comfortable publishing my life on a page that can be accessed by everyone in the world that has internet access (especially the government). In my eyes, it is just a tool to make money. You provide these companies with your data (ie. your life), who then mine and analyze it. Then, they subsequently sell all of that information to the highest bidder. It doesn’t always work out very well for everyone involved. Mark ‘Zuckyzuck’ Zuckerberg has made billions of dollars doing this. Unfortunately, I’m in the minority. Everyone I know uses social networking of some shape and form. They looooooooove to have public conversations with their friends about things that (probably) should be discussed in private. When I tell them about the objectively unethical business practices of these shady companies, they shrug and call me a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist. ‘I don’t have anything to hide’, they respond. Of course you don’t. In that case, you should defecate with the bathroom door open. What? I thought you didn’t have anything to hide? Isn’t that essentially what Facebook is doing? Tracking your IP address as as you go through the internet, even if you’re not logged in? You never consented to that.

Most of my friends use Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is a service in which every single one of your posts has to include less than 140 characters of text. Instagram is not a cannabis delivery service (get it? Instagram?). Rather, it is a service that encourages users to post terrible photos with hideous filters applied to them. Neither of these ever appealed to me. I can see why they appeal to others, but to me, they’re a waste of time. Why would I want to look at the awful pictures my friends have taken with their phones?

Even if I don’t use services like Twitter and Instagram, they have their uses. In a political sense, I can see how they can be so important. Protestors in Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Russia and Egypt have used Twitter because it allows them to communicate and organize in a fashion not possible even 10 years ago. In 2008, when Islamic fundamentalists left more than 100 dead in attacks in Mumbai? Twitter was there. In 2009, when the Iranian government began spraying the protestors with acid from helicopters? People on Twitter managed to get their message out. It’s ubiquitous. When important stuff goes down, people take to the internet to document and discuss it.

Oppressive governments must be quaking in their boots.