By Jim Whitt Contributing Editor
I did an internet search for “anti-social media” and found this definition on the Urban Dictionary website: n. Communication channels favored by the aged, and those that don’t want to be “part of the conversation.”
That described me until one day the CEO of the company who built our website told me I needed to be on Face- book. I asked him why.“Because it will get you business,” was his answer.
So, I set up a Facebook account on Sept. 24, 2009, and entered the world of social media. Most of what I saw convinced me that I didn’t want to be part of the conversation. But I toughed it out and started posting photos of me speaking at meetings and working with consulting clients. I read other people’s posts and “liked” and/or commented on things that interested me. I also got on Linke- dIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
People didn’t pay much attention to my posts, but one day a social media expert was speaking at a meeting where I was delivering the keynote. He said people responded more to pictures of pets than those of people. So, I made Charlie Mitchell, our Westie rescue, the official spokesdog for Purpose Unlimited, our consulting and speaking firm. Charlie posted motivational quotes with photos of himself and became very popular. But I’d still be hard pressed to say social media got me any business.
Fast forward to Feb. 8, 2022. I couldn’t log onto my Facebook account. I was no longer Jim Whitt, I was a guy named MC Trấn. I’d been hacked. My profile picture was now his picture. I tried con- tacting Facebook to recover my account but they didn’t respond. Apparently, they didn’t care. So, I thought what the heck, after Charlie Mitchell died in 2017, I started losing interest in social media anyway. I could live without Facebook.
Then on Feb. 18, I received an email from Facebook informing me that my ad had been approved and would start running shortly. The problem was that I hadn’t placed the ad. MC Trấn did. And he kept running ads.
I decided I’d better get serious about recovering my account but couldn’t find anyone who could help me — until I found Hacked.com. They advised me to buy Oculus Quest 2, the virtual reality system, which is owned by Facebook (now Meta). At the time my account was hacked you couldn’t operate Oculus without a Facebook account. So, Hacked. com, alias Jim Whitt, contacted Facebook and informed them I needed my account back so I could use Oculus. It took six months and more than $600 ($300-plus for Hacked.com’s services and $300-plus for Oculus), but I finally recovered my account. Facebook held me hostage and I paid the ransom.
About a month after I recovered my Facebook account, my email account was hacked. The day after it was hacked there were more than 1,100 attempts to log onto accounts on my computer.
For some reason my Hacked.com folder, which contained all my email correspondence with the company, suspiciously disappeared. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I started wondering if there is a connection.
Big Tech has proven it is not a purveyor of truth and objectivity as Elon Musk learned when he made his offer for Twitter. No, it appears that Big Tech, Big Media and Big Government are part- ners engaged in the manipulation of the masses.
We live in times that are eerily similar to those described by George Orwell in 1984, his dystopian vision of the future. The recurring theme of 1984 is, “Big Brother is watching you.” Technol- ogy is far superior today than when it was when Orwell wrote his novel in the 1940s. Could Big Brother be the man behind the curtain at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al.? Could Big Brother’s alias be MC Trấn? Could his assistants be named Alexa and Siri?
Once upon a time, social media seemed like a harmless way to stay connected with family and friends. It might even be a good marketing platform. But I just don’t trust it. There was a positive from my six-month Facebook ban, though. I got weaned. I’m back where I was in 2009. I’m not sure I want to be part of the conversation anymore.