Machines of Loving Grace

For reasons I’ll likely never understand, I remain an inscrutable combination of idealism, cynicism, skepticism, and naïveté. I’m never sure when any of those traits might prevail, singly or in combination. And so it is that when I saw a headline announcing Sheryl Sandberg’s departure from Meta (the secretive data-grubbing, advertising-selling platform formerly known as Facebook, run by a perennially adolescent megalomaniac), I imagined her scruples might have gotten the better of her. Maybe she decided she no longer had the stomach for the secretive data-grubbing, advertising-selling platform formerly known as Facebook, run by a perennially adolescent megalomaniac. Or maybe she just thought the idea of digitally detaching enormous and impressionable segments of the population from reality was dangerous bullshit.

I should have known better.

As it turns out, Ms. Sandberg is coming out of the blocks in hopes of staying several strides ahead of the endless, ubiquitous digital-information loop she was supporting by being part of the secretive data-grubbing, advertising-selling platform formerly known as Facebook, run by a perennially adolescent megalomaniac. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Sheryl Sandberg may have been prompted in part to give up her position because of a company investigation into her activities, including a review of her use of corporate resources to help plan her upcoming wedding … The investigation is also looking into allegations that Sandberg pressured the U.K.’s Daily Mail to “shelve” an article about Sandberg’s former boyfriend, Activision Blizzard Inc. CEO Bobby Kotick, and a 2014 temporary restraining order against him.

And, of course, in keeping with the old adage, “Never believe anything until it’s officially denied,” we have this:

None of this has anything to do with her personal decision to leave, said Caroline Nolan, a Meta spokeswoman, to the WSJ. She earlier said that the Kotick matter had been resolved.

Right. Pigs fly. The Tooth Fairy is real. And the next Winter Olympics will take place in Hell.

Boats Against the Current*

Because we remain so steadfastly about letting enormous and impressionable segments of the population be digitally detached from reality, I thought this might be a good time to remind us of the fact that we’ve been given harbingers of the dangers in store for a very long time. This is Exhibit A out of innumerable such exhibits:

Man has mounted science and is now run away with.

(Henry Brooks Adams, 1838-1918)

And this is Exhibit B:

I don’t know if it will help, but I hope Sheryl Sandberg sees both of them.

Mark Zuckerberg’s a lost cause.



Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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