So, here I am. We all knew, and have known almost from the beginning, that Facebook runs on a business model designed to peddle the personal data of users to those who are willing to pay. I was an avid user of Fb, so I always counted myself as complicit in the system that was surveilling me. That said, the fact that third-party apps accessed users’ data without permission, and then transferred that data to political consultants who worked for clients seeking to sway elections in Britain and the U.S., is totally unacceptable. When the conservative Financial Times asks, “Should not everyone who cares about civil society simply quit Facebook?” my answer is “yes.”
My departure is not part of the quit-lit genre that allows me to tell you how awesome my life is post-Fb. I miss my friends on that network, and I’ll be sorry not to keep up with the folks I’d re/contacted through that social media platform. Even so, Fb’s reaction to this crisis has been wholly inadequate, and I’m not willing to participate in its present structure. At the end of the day, it is not that complicated: I’m out.
In leaving, though, I’m trying to make something new, something I’ve been meaning to make for quite some time. This site is part of an intellectual and creative pursuit: it will be experimental, provisional, and hopefully stimulating. I welcome engagement, but I also want to acknowledge that this site is exploratory, and I will never claim to have all the answers to the questions I raise.
Some of those questions will be difficult, awkward, and just plain “wrong.” I plan to tackle issues of racism, regionalism, feminism, and class-bias in academia. All of this I hope to do while thinking through many of the literary texts I research, teach, and love. Let’s see how it goes…