A Virtual Move: or, Ethics, Facebook, Staying in Touch, Triple Bottom Line

When I stared The Naga Center I based it on the idea of the “triple bottom line”. It’s a concept thrown around by a lot of businesses such as the original Ben and Jerry’s, that strive to be ethical and good. What it means is that while for most businesses profit is the only bottom line, the most important guidepost in business decisions, businesses trying to do better have two other bottom lines: Community and Environment. Every business decision has to be weighed not only in terms of “will this help the business stay alive financially”, but also in terms of “is this of benefit to my community?”, “could it hurt my community”, “is it neutral to my community?”, and “is this of benefit to the environment?”, “is it harmful to the environment?”, “is it neutral to the environment?”.

I have, over the years, made many decisions that from a pure money driven business marketing perspective would be considered stupid, but that from a taking care of the environment and my community perspective were the only option. Because honestly, I’d rather do something different with my life than do something that depends on slack ethics.

And so, here I am again, planning on doing something that perhaps isn’t a good business choice, but that I feel I must do because of community and ethics. I’m going to leave Facebook. Not right away, because I want to take the time to try to get as many of you to move to different ways of staying in touch as possible, but I’ll be leaving sometime in the relatively near future.

So, if you want to stay in touch and be notified when new classes are offered, or when I write a blog post, or when something pertaining to Thai medicine comes along in the news, I invite you to do the following:

Sign up for my newsletter. I haven’t written a newsletter in ages, but with this upcoming change I plan to start. Most likely they will be seasonal. I won’t bombard you with e-mails, I’ll just send out some news when I know I have something of interest to share. I’ll entice you with yummy Thai food recipes. For those of you who are interested in classes, especially my 300 hour program which only takes 8 people per year, definitely sign up for the newsletter as you’ll want to know as soon as registration opens.

Find The Naga Center on MeWe. MeWe is the social media platform I’m moving to. It’s very much like Facebook, only cleaner. No ads, no algorithms manipulating what you see, no data mining. And it’s easy to use. It’s not perfect though; like Facebook, it has people creating hate groups and all of that even though they aren’t supposed to. But it’s much better, or it will be if people from Facebook make the move over to it. Right now it’s a rather lonely place. If you join, you could be the beginning of a much needed exodus. I looked at a LOT of social media alternatives to Facebook before settling on this one. There were some that met my ethics better, but they were complicated and I didn’t think they stood a chance of people actually moving to them. MeWe seems to be mostly good, with good ethics. It makes money by having some of its features cost, such as my business page, which I’ll happily be paying $2.5o a month for rather than have the site make its money off of selling my data like FB does. But for personal pages, it’s free.

Maybe try Twitter? I’ve never managed to relate to it in the past, but I’m going to give it a go again. I’d say don’t make that the only way we stay in touch, but I’ll try to wrap my head around it.

For anyone wondering why I am leaving Facebook, here is what I said in a recent personal FB post upon being asked:

Individual users are not evil, and can use Facebook for great good, however, the company is very very bad. A high up exec sent out a memo clearly stating that so long as they maintain growth, it doesn't matter if Facebook causes people to die via bullying or the use of FB to promote terrorist attacks. They actually said this. They directly steal personal data, they access your friends through your phone who aren't even on FB and create fake accounts under their names that are used to advertise products, they have been directly linked to the election of Donald Trump, they do nothing about stopping fake news (despite their claims), they allow for hate speech and the spread of our new Nazi era, and FB has probably been the single most divisive influence on our culture - firmly dividing people at least as much, if not more than it unites us. Plus, Cambridge Analytica. I could go on and on. It's not just that it can be used for good or bad, but that the root of it, the company itself, actively uses it for bad and does nothing to stop the spreading of hate. You Probably have a very nice circle of friends on FB and you see people sharing messages of love and hope and activism. But there is a whole other side to it in which people are sharing messages of hate and violent activism and this is equally allowed. Sure, freedom of speech, but FB is a privately own company that can choose what it allows just as a store can kick out a customer who comes in and starts shouting racists or sexist bile. Facebook chooses to allow Russian election interference, racism, sexism, all of it. This most recent scandal about them hiring PR firm to use an antisemitic narrative to undermine critics is just the newest thing in an ongoing wave of horrible things that FB does or allows. But the goodness that you see in Facebook is real - we individuals have incredible potential to use social media for wonderful things. We just need a better place to do it. We must move.

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