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Understanding Facebook Addiction/Censorship on the Social Media: Murmurs From the Facebook Environment - Facebook Today

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The New Disease: Facebookaholic; The new High found in Social Networking circles and has millions of people Addicted to it and seem to be caught up in its vice-grip and can't do anything about it

The New Disease: Facebookaholic; The new High found in Social Networking circles and has millions of people Addicted to it and seem to be caught up in its vice-grip and can't do anything about it

Don’t be embarrassed if you suffer from Facebook addiction. You join a huge group of friends—literally—that admit Facebook has become their greatest addiction. Young, middle-aged, and even old folks who know the Facebook gist get suckered in. It’s ok

Don’t be embarrassed if you suffer from Facebook addiction. You join a huge group of friends—literally—that admit Facebook has become their greatest addiction. Young, middle-aged, and even old folks who know the Facebook gist get suckered in. It’s ok

Why is Facebook so addictive? [CASE STUDY]

Why is Facebook so addictive? [CASE STUDY]

Young people are not getting time to make friends in their real life as they are spending much of their time on Facebook

Young people are not getting time to make friends in their real life as they are spending much of their time on Facebook

Is Facebook an Addiction? In recent years the mental health community has become increasingly interested in the impact that modern technology has on our lives - both positive and negative. It is very likely that you know people who absolutely must ch

Is Facebook an Addiction? In recent years the mental health community has become increasingly interested in the impact that modern technology has on our lives - both positive and negative. It is very likely that you know people who absolutely must ch

Recent studies show that social media is addictive by nature. In fact, according to a 2011 study by an online security firm (Webroot), 54% of those who use social media networking sites feel some sort of addiction towards sites like Facebook, Twitter

Recent studies show that social media is addictive by nature. In fact, according to a 2011 study by an online security firm (Webroot), 54% of those who use social media networking sites feel some sort of addiction towards sites like Facebook, Twitter

Tech Firms are uneasy over the effect time online has on relationships; these tech firms advise people to step a bit away from their gadgets....

Tech Firms are uneasy over the effect time online has on relationships; these tech firms advise people to step a bit away from their gadgets....

The true costs of Facebook Addiction" Low Self-Esteem And Poor Body Image

The true costs of Facebook Addiction" Low Self-Esteem And Poor Body Image

Internet Addiction Show Up In The Brain

Internet Addiction Show Up In The Brain

Facebook provides this forum for our egos and we can't seem to get enough of it. The small effort of posting a picture can provide a large investment return in the form of comments, or even better, compliments.

Facebook provides this forum for our egos and we can't seem to get enough of it. The small effort of posting a picture can provide a large investment return in the form of comments, or even better, compliments.

Technologies that are being used by mass consumers have the ability to close the mind and not open it to function very well: One form discussed in the Hub is Facebook" Addiction"-which is effective in closing the mind

Technologies that are being used by mass consumers have the ability to close the mind and not open it to function very well: One form discussed in the Hub is Facebook" Addiction"-which is effective in closing the mind

One can see Africa is still Dark or Africa Visualized By Facebook. Facebook as being adopted in Africa dar, and also see

One can see Africa is still Dark or Africa Visualized By Facebook. Facebook as being adopted in Africa dar, and also see

The Facebook infographic below illustrates its low presence in the region relative to other parts of the world. This Map clearly shows that Africa is still not yet lit, it remains dark in the technical Age

The Facebook infographic below illustrates its low presence in the region relative to other parts of the world. This Map clearly shows that Africa is still not yet lit, it remains dark in the technical Age

List of countries in Africa on Facebook

List of countries in Africa on Facebook

The mode of communications has shifted to the mobile gizmos in the 21st century: And Africa, so far is on board...

The mode of communications has shifted to the mobile gizmos in the 21st century: And Africa, so far is on board...

New ways and means of commuicaton, using the Dish Satellites and other Green means to promote and grow Internet communication in Africa are afoot and South African leaders are calling out for such ways

New ways and means of commuicaton, using the Dish Satellites and other Green means to promote and grow Internet communication in Africa are afoot and South African leaders are calling out for such ways

Regarding Social Network strategy, South Africa, for example, has approximately 3.38 million Facebook users, or 64% of its online population

Regarding Social Network strategy, South Africa, for example, has approximately 3.38 million Facebook users, or 64% of its online population

Four in Ten (41%)of Online global respondents have used the "Internet" to look for a job or search job [recruitment] site in the last three months (South Arica 57%

Four in Ten (41%)of Online global respondents have used the "Internet" to look for a job or search job [recruitment] site in the last three months (South Arica 57%

Mobile Browsing: percentage of all Web traffic (May 2012)

Mobile Browsing: percentage of all Web traffic (May 2012)

Facebook peetration in South Africa is 9.33% compared to the country's population and 86.48% in relation to number of Internet Users. The total number of FB users in South Africa is reaching 4,583,480, and grew by 15,840 in last sic months

Facebook peetration in South Africa is 9.33% compared to the country's population and 86.48% in relation to number of Internet Users. The total number of FB users in South Africa is reaching 4,583,480, and grew by 15,840 in last sic months

User Age Distribution on Facebook in South Africa

User Age Distribution on Facebook in South Africa

Male/Female User Ratio on Facebook in South Africa

Male/Female User Ratio on Facebook in South Africa

Age Growth on Facebook in South Africa

Age Growth on Facebook in South Africa

The Bilderberg Group which controls nearly everything as is shown on this image, and some of its tentacles and reach can be seen in this high resolution picture, when clicked to see the intricate inter/inter-connecteness and and depth...

The Bilderberg Group which controls nearly everything as is shown on this image, and some of its tentacles and reach can be seen in this high resolution picture, when clicked to see the intricate inter/inter-connecteness and and depth...

South Africa's new Social Media scores show steady growth rate

South Africa's new Social Media scores show steady growth rate

Using the honeycomb framework to contrast the functionality of different social media. Social media are defined as those interactive web platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.

Using the honeycomb framework to contrast the functionality of different social media. Social media are defined as those interactive web platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.

Social Media Functionality: Each block of the framework allows you to unpack and examine a specific facet of social media user experience, and its implications to make sense of the social media ecology, and understand their audience and their engagem

Social Media Functionality: Each block of the framework allows you to unpack and examine a specific facet of social media user experience, and its implications to make sense of the social media ecology, and understand their audience and their engagem

Understanding the functional building blocks of social media users interested in getting serious about social media can use the honeycomb framework to monitor and understand how social media activities vary in terms of function and impact.

Understanding the functional building blocks of social media users interested in getting serious about social media can use the honeycomb framework to monitor and understand how social media activities vary in terms of function and impact.

Since Facebook addiction is a relatively recent phenomenon, there isn’t much research that indicates how to treat it. Facebook Addiction is so when LOGOUT is the Hardest Button to Click

Since Facebook addiction is a relatively recent phenomenon, there isn’t much research that indicates how to treat it. Facebook Addiction is so when LOGOUT is the Hardest Button to Click

Facial Image, Orality and Literacy-Addiction and Facebook In Line and Online- Virally

More than 500 million active users, an average of 130 friends each a total of 700 billion minutes spent per month with a daily usage of 55 minutes. Just what is it about Facebook that kept us logged like that, we allow it to control our lives and made us become willing contributors to Mark Zuckerberg's wealth?

Every single states update, photo shared and link posted you have made on your Facebook Wallis actually attributed to a 'theory on psychology. Abraham Maslow stated that humans have three basic needs, which are for love, affection and a sense of belonging. Jasmine writes: "we might not realize it, but that in sharing with our friends our activities and photographs, we are actually seeking for attention and belongingness.We want people to notice us and we feel better when do and take time to comment on our posts. The best is that it's OK to do so on Facebook because that's what Facebook is meant for..I often joke and call all these a case of narcissism!"

In answering the question "Is it true Facebook is like a drug?", Asker gave this answer: It is like any game or site that draws you in on purpose. I f they can prove that they have a huge following, they make money - plain and simple. They an do advertising and they get paid to put it on their site. The owners of all those games pay Facebook too. The more persons who play the more they owe, so they push the extra money thing so that you get 'addicted' and start charging for more points or $$. That is how they make money. We got to keep it simple and play carefully, never spend real money on these sites or it can suck you dry. It is an "Addiction". there's always a catch to everything - really."

The very act, drive and need to always see if the 'red-number-light is on tends to work like the Pavlovian condition technique. For instance, we subscribe to the e-mail notifications that notify us as soon as someone makes a comment on your post. And we'd check that comment right away. This in some way shows our addiction to Facebook too, as I have commented on the 'red' number-light, along with that craving need to know what someone has said in their comments, we do so in order to save a few seconds of "anxiety". We do really love ourselves that much? Now Facebook is going to empower one's life.

Understanding Facebook is a very difficult thing to do as it has proliferated in the manner that it has done and is doing. Since it is still a growing medium, this Hub will evolve with its morphing, converging, diverging and streaming nature and how it is affecting and effecting is users. The Hub may be about South African and the whole of the African Continent's social media, but it is also about how the African people themselves are also affected by what I will try to discuss might be an addiction, too, in their own lives-they are not immune to the effects and affects of Facebook-therefore, it is worth learning about these affects, and this is particularly directed at the Facebookers in South Africa and Africa/Diaspora as a whole, about the addictive nature of Social Media, and those who control it, and how they do it; i.e., this might not be a definite study about Facebook(FB), but it is also a start at looking at FB at its zenith as a social media entity, mammoth business ore and enclave and also, a media environment, and what this means for its users and whether as a consequence this has altered, human perceptions, communications, social relations; and if so,how, it has morphed itself into human communication, interactive, intra-active and interpersonal facilitator of relationships since its introduction.

A cursory look at what Facebook doing what is or affects and effects the South African and the African continent's social media Facebook milieu and interacting mass consuming and using clientele would be or is in order here. What will be discussed below, also affects any Facebook user all over the world, and these discourses below, also affect everybody on Facebook.. The article I am going to cite below, gives the reader some semblance as to what this Facebook Beast all about, and I think the author speaks to and for the users, at the same time informing those who do not really know what it is about, so that it sort of makes them privy to the innards of this mammoth and ever expanding and and fast-growing section or one of the entity's of the the matrix as Social Media connections and facilitators for people to connect and communicate globally.

The Following article I am about to cite here, gives us a rough idea what Facebook is about and gives us lessons which will help understanding what one is dealing with when it comes to Facebook Social Media and its business side; media theorists are also utilized to give us clear parameters as about the Subject of Facebook addiction. Other professionals from a myriad disciplines will also be quoted. As a new, growing and emerging media communication systems, facilitator and environment, with its embedded techniques and uniqueness as a medium that dictates human connection and communication and other additional features which it brings into the communication sphere and environ, it is better at times to learn and read what those who started with it and are still the communication mode within the FB Beast have to say about it.

What is important is to know how does media (both the technology and the From High School and many colleges, which traditional media education does not address that question much, and popular culture tends to glorify media for its very existence. Messages, images and text affect us as individuals, families, cultures,nations and as inhabitants of planet earth. What this Hub will attempt to tabulate is that the 'study of communication systems as complex environments-[and Facebook social media, specifically], wherein the interests in the interactions of communications media, technology, technique, and processes with human feeling, thought, value and behavior' form a confluence-it is better to unpack it and see it in its loose and different parts.

So that, the ecology and essence of the Facebook(FB), is captured succintly by Lance Strate who when he describes "Media Ecology(One can replace it when trying to define Facebook), says that "it is a way of studying the postindustrial and the postmodern, and the preliterate and prehistoric of media logic, medium theory, technological determinism, as hard and soft, technologically evolving mediology." This really means that understanding the technology, techniques, media, medium and communication is essential if we are to control and apply it for the Human Good. We need to use the latter advice and definition whenever we are dealing with Facebook and trying to understand it as a medium which has techniques of facilitating the intra and interaction through use of different gadgets of Facebook within an environment dictated and facilitated for by Facebook through its use of the Web.

In this same context, I am fully cognizant of and conversant with the ideas of Neil Post wherein he notes that the 'environments, their structure, content and people-as we should by now recognize- media environments, are after all, complex message systems which imposes on human beings ways of thinking, feeling and behaving'- in that :

  • it structures what we can see and say and, therefore, do.
  • It assigns roles to us and insists on our playing them.
  • It specifies what we are permitted to do and what we are not.

In the case of media environments (e.g., books, radio, film, television, Internet Facebook, etc.), the specifications are more often implicit and informal, half concealed by our assumption that what we are dealing with is not only an environment but merely a machine. Whilst describing the Facebook(FB) as we have done and are still going to do (in the case of South Africa and Africa), I am interrogating or trying to find our what roles the media designs for us to play, how FB structures what we are seeing, think, doing, feeling, etc.,, why the Facebook and its media makes us feel and act as we do. This hub seeks to look at and discuss Facebook media as environments and how , in the case of Facebook, it dulls the mind, dumbs us down and habituates us to it in an addictive manner, that we end up losing control of our core being. The environment of Facebook(FB), is one specific environments that I will discuss below.

Something About The Environment of Facebook(FB)...

This Article from CNN informs us thus: "Facebook advocates are touting the company's initial public offering this week -- the biggest ever for an Internet company-- as if it will save the net, the economy and the American way. Its detractors see the final chapter in the rise and fall of a smart but solipsistic Harvard dropout, and predict the inevitable decline of Facebook's stock will spell the end to innovation in social media. Internet Bubble 2.0.

Of course, none of this is true. Such hyperbole is more about our traditional media's need for simple stories than anything happening at Facebook or on Wall Street. These are the judgments of financial analysts who don't even know what API stands for (Application Program Interface), and technology analysts who never heard of the Greenshoe option (the provision for an underwriter to oversell).

This factless speculation, combined with the risk-off jitters of the greater markets, has led to the conflation of stock value with business, and one social media company with the future of the net. If the dot.com bubble and more recent stock market crash should have taught us anything, it's that stock prices have been uncoupled from business profitability, which has in turn been uncoupled from value creation.

Facebook can still be one of the most successful and significant companies of the past 100 years without being nearly worth an IPO valuation of $100 billion. Meanwhile, traders buying stock at that valuation can still make billions more over the next hours or days, even if the stock then plummets or slowly peters out. Likewise, Facebook can shoot to a sustained stock market success even without showing a reasonable profit for many years. Finally, Facebook can become the biggest stock market and business loser since Lucent (who?) without taking the Internet or social media down with it." The last time I checked, which is very recent, the stocks of Facebook were rising admirably and sharply

The Ecology Of Apps

'Net Democracy':

'So to start, let's look at the IPO in isolation. Is Facebook worth the $96 billion reportedly implied by IPO valuation? Not at the moment. Facebook's profits are down since last year, its membership growth is stagnating and the online advertising market is softening. This IPO comes at a later than ideal time, as the potential trajectory for the company no longer seems infinite.

Does that mean you shouldn't buy the stock on opening day? Of course not. The price of Facebook shares will have nothing to do with the reality on the ground (or online). Everyone wants in, demand is outstripping supply, and the hunger for shares could push the price very high in the short term. None of this has anything to do with social media, it's just gambling.

It's also possible that even the craziest speculators are still undervaluing Facebook's ultimate worth. That's where a media theorist like me can venture an opinion -- and I'd have to say no, they're not. Facebook is certainly the best of the social media apps to come along, just as Google was the best search engine. Similarly, however, the social media playpen constituted by Facebook is temporary. Just as we are moving away from Web search into a world of applications running on smartphones, we will move away from our single Web-based social media platform toward more ad-hoc social apps on our handheld devices.

It's hard for us to imagine right now, but we won't be logging into Facebook to find out what's going on; we'll work and play in an ecology of apps that tell us where people are and what they are doing.

Yes, Facebook may have a role in that next-generation social media universe, but it will need what tech industry people like to call "a second act." Apple's second act is the iPhone. Google is hoping for "augmented reality" eyeglasses and network-controlled automobiles. You can read about this in my Hub titled "Media Ecology: The Technological Society-How Real is Our Reality? Also, How Reality is Real... Everything is everything". Apple has just launched the iPhone5 and it has sold out as of editing of this article

Facebook's second act is far from clear. It wants to become the platform on which everybody else builds social media apps. But if all this activity is happening on smartphones, then Facebook is dangerously dependent on Android and iPhone for everything, a layer on top of Apple and Google's systems. Facebook's inability to generate income on the smartphone has led to some desperate moves, such as its billion-dollar acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram and off-putting products like "sponsored stories."

So far, love him or hate him, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has been consistent with his vision of building a more social Web: a peer-to-peer communications infrastructure that changes the way people connect, share ideas and sell things. The more comingled his mission becomes with the priorities of Wall Street, the less freedom he will have to challenge the status quo."

It is important that I started by citing the business side of the narrative about Facebook, which will help in making this hub relevant by the time I look further into the effects and affects of Facebook on its users and the world of media and communications in the contemporary Technological Societies we now exist and live in. We continue the story about the business side of Facebook Social Media..

To Be Or not To Be: Facebook or Wall Street

"The Facebook IPO itself, for instance, is being conducted in the most traditional fashion possible, with underwriters establishing a price and offering shares through brokerage houses. Compare this to Google, who let the public establish the share price through open bidding, mirroring the company's revolutionary, bottom-up search algorithm, and challenging underwriters with net democracy.

The most radical thing Zuckerberg has done so far is attend investor meetings in a hoodie -- as if to say, "in your face." Cute, but it hardly asserts innovation in the face of profiteering, or social networking in the face of the corporate capitalism.

This is a week when the stock markets are particularly vulnerable to a new message. The CEO of Yahoo is resigning after a controversy over resume padding, while executives at JP Morgan Chase are falling on their swords for losing so much money, so quickly, that they may change the regulatory landscape for their entire industry. People are ready to embrace a new way of playing this tired game.

By jumping headfirst into the stock market, Facebook may be joining a zero-sum shell game at just the wrong "risk off" moment. If Facebook does succeed in the stock market this week, then it will do so at the expense of Groupon, Apple and Google, whose net-fetishizing investors will likely be selling those shares in order to buy the new ones from Facebook. Worse, by joining in the speculative economy on Wall Street's terms, a company that might have changed business instead subjects itself to forces far beyond its control." So that, my take is that Facebook's dabbling with the Stock Market is merely not only kow-towing to even much more powerful business conglomerates, but taking is chances, gambling, one would say, that the FB would churn out mega profits by subjecting its business independence and potential to chart a new course, for the mega-billions parlayed and arrayed in the horizon of a new Capitalism for the taking." And Facebook has the potential to achieve and be of the status of creating a New Capitalism, as stated above

The Inner Sanctum of Facebook Social Media

Up to this point in this Hub, I will now cite a much more direct communique or post and as told by one of its users, as he speculates about the emergence of another medium which will surpass this one and what he thinks will happen or be happening; also, he gives us some points as to what he thinks are the effects and affects of Facebook, and he gives us a glimpse into the jargon used to communicate and this too has had affects and affects on the users and conditions them to shortened internet language which helps us understand the instancy of the media and medium we know as Facebook. This is a Facebook Blogger-addict giving us his spin, and in a way one sees how this affect effect of using FB(Face) gets one to become addicted:

How to Take Down Facebook -- Hint: It Ain't Twitter. (aka: An Open Letter to the Next Big Social Network)

I've held off writing this post for a long time, because I couldn't quite get my head around all the issues. It wouldn't be accurate to say there's something "wrong" with Facebook, and it's not like I don't spend a shitload of time ego-whoring around on Twitter too. Let's face it: I'm completely and utterly addicted to social networks & the Interwebs.

but: Something is Still Missing. "Something is wrong on the Internet" and it's keeping me awake at night. However, I think I finally figured out what "IT" is...

Assertion #1: Facebook doesn't get Intimacy.

Facebook is full of my "friends", but it's not a great place to hang with my BEST friends (aka "BFF).

Now before you lose your sh*t, I know many of you are saying:

a) Dave, you're full of crap -- intimacy doesn't come from a computer, or
b) Dave, you're full of crap -- Facebook has *plenty* of intimacy, or
c) Dave, you're full of crap -- the only thing that might kill Facebook is Twitter, which is the exact opposite of intimacy (true)

or last but not least:
d) Dave, hey WTF happened to all the crazy fonts and colors?

None of these are the right response. (altho I do promise my next blog post will once again be replete with wild-ass colors and funky fonts, just u wait).

Let me back up & explain a little bit.

Once upon a time back in 2005 when I first joined Facebook, it was a "small" social network of less than 10 millions users. But I was still rather late to the party (altho at 39 I was the oldest cool kid on my block). Since pre-2006 FB was only available to users with a college email address, I had to contact the alumni association at JHU to get a valid email address (ending in ".edu") to register on FB. This resulted in a very odd & lonely initial FB experience where I was ~10-15 years older than almost everyone in my college network (please no PedoBear jokes, kthxbai). Gradually I found a bunch of folks on Facebook that I knew -- mostly VCs or early employees at FB & PayPal it turns out -- and before I knew it I was hooked on poking like every other undergrad across the country. (wait: that's not what I meant... oh never mind, that's true too).

fast forward 2-3 years: Facebook cracks 100M users, then 200M, then in quick succession 300M, 400M, 500M users. And we're coming up on 600M users soon. (See Photo on Gallery to update this number and stats about Facebook today)

Holy. F**ing. Wow.

Half a BILLION users? Unbelievable. What the hell happened? Where did all these "friends" come from?!?

Well, they didn't come just from college. Facebook figured out how to open up the social graph and gather people from all walks of life -- every age, every sex, every color. FB has college kids. FB has college grads. FB has high school kids, FB has parents. FB has the white-collar workforce, the blue-collar workforce, and even stay-at-home moms. Hell, FB even has GRANDparents! FB has desktop users, and FB has mobile users. And FB has them in the US, in Europe, in South America, and in SE Asia, Africa(More in south Africa. Except for a few places like Brazil & East Asia, FB pretty much has every Internet-connected user on the planet by the short-hairs.

With an always-shiny-and-new combination of pokes, wall posts, photos, videos, apps and social games, tagging, and newsfeed distribution, Facebook has firmly fixed itself into the fundamental fabric of our friends & families. Except for Twitter & Zynga, Faceboook appears to be an unassailable, unstoppable "JUGGERNAUT" that absolutely DOMINATES our online experience -- and will likely continue to do so for the next decade... right? Well I'm not one to bet against 500M+ fanatic users and The Unsinkable Mark Zuckerberg... but there's this one little problem:


I've got too many goddamn friends on Facebook.

Yeah, that's right: I've got over 2,000 "friends" on FB, and it's fu***ng KILLING me. Now admittedly most normal folks don't have *that* many Facebook friends -- true: i'm tremendously insecure, an only child, and a pathetic people pleaser -- but regardless a lot of "normal" people have the same problem with only a few hundred friends. and i'm guessing neither they nor i want to share our most jealously-guarded deep dark secrets with *everyone* on Facebook. but they might just share it with a smaller subset.

ASSERTION #2: The stuff that's really valuable in my social graph tends to the extremes -- very public (ex: Twitter) or very private (ex: email).

Look, it's either Gaga, Shaq, and Glee (extremely public, better on Twitter than Facebook) or else it's only my closest buddies (u know, the evil VCs I collude with at Bin38 to 'f**ck' YC startups).

The stuff that's meaningful -- NOTE TO STARTUPS: MEANINGFUL=MONETIZABLE -- that stuff is either better on Twitter, or better with a much more private and select subset of my friends on Facebook.

The very public: well here it's pretty obvious Twitter has an advantage over Facebook. the asymmetric follow model and constrained, lightweight communication make it MUCH easier to engage aspirationally with celebrities & famous people on Twitter than on Facebook. Now FB does realize this and is fighting back with Like buttons and a revved Group structure, but they may be at a disadvantage if Twitter starts to catch up with them in users/usage. Currently Facebook is a more familiar experience for larger audiences, but that may change over time. while I don't think Facebook is threatened by Twitter that much, neither is Twitter at much risk of Facebook stealing away the famous people. so Twitter probably wins on celebrities and other beautiful / rich / famous people.

The very private: now, here you'd think Facebook has the upper hand -- and they do, but they're at risk of being upstaged by a more private and meaningful social network (or perhaps via some subset or abstraction layer on top of FB, if they can move quickly). This could come from Facebook modifying their existing environment to support closer subgroups, or algorithms that preference newsfeed items only to close, strong, specific connections. Or maybe it just works better with email groups and selective filtering. Or maybe it works better on an entirely different social graph that emphasizes family, close friends, and small workgroups (Yammer? LinkedIn? maybe, but i don't think so). But somewhere, there's going to be a smaller more Intimate conversation that enable a different type of sharing... lots of it.

Let me explain.

Maybe I only want to tell a few close buddies about that episode with the VERY BAD bean burrito. maybe your girlfriend only wants a FEW honest opinions from her CLOSE friends on whether that new dress makes her ass look fat. and maybe your frat brother only wants to tell a few buddies about the AWESOME house party he's throwing next weekend, when he's planning to invite the smoking hot new freshman sensation over with 3 of her equally sizzling BFFs. and finally, maybe I only want to share that airfare deal on a Final Four Vegas road-trip (and the pictures!) with my set of close friends. what happens in Vegas stays in a very tight and private social graph... you hope, anyway.

Now what's going on here? In each case above, there's a specific tight circle of connections I'd like to draw on, but they aren't always the same. Some of them pull from long-time, frequent and familiar associations. Others are based on a select, NEW set of acquaintances that meet a high bar of interest. still others are based on some shared trait or interest or activity, where I've spent time with someone before around a specific context or depth of experience... or perhaps also, a specific [social] commerce context. Like something I bought, but would only share info with a small group.

Which brings me to my 3rd and final point.

ASSERTION #3: Intimacy depends on Context, Connection, and Continuity... which determine Closeness... and ultimately, drive Commerce.

One might suggest that Intimacy is determined by:

  1. Shared Context (ex: basketball, school we went to, fans of Glee)
  2. [strength of] Connection (how much we like each other, how strong)
  3. Continuity (how long we've known each other, how freq/recently we connect).

For any possible social interaction, and for any potential subset of friends within your social graph, these factors determine a minimum critical level of Intimacy required to initiate and sustain the conversation around that interaction. Too little Intimacy, and the conversation stops. But with the right amount of Intimacy, the conversation literally explodes with information.

Our desire to share our experience is explicitly determined by the level of Intimacy available within (and perhaps constrained by) a social network. Ultimately, this level of available Intimacy may indeed determine the overall relevance of the social network to its participants... and perhaps, whether related commercial transactions might be relevant as well. Which is something Facebook probably DOES want to make sure it gets right.

...and THAT is why Intimacy should matter so much to Facebook. it's the ONE place where they have a huge advantage over Twitter, but also the place where they are greatly at risk of someone else coming in and stealing their cheddar.

Because Facebook has chosen to emphasize growth over monetization these past few years, they have de-prioritized close, meaningful connections over broadly relevant ones with a larger group of friends. While this will help them get to a billion users faster, and increase their share of brand spend on advertising (where Facebook is really killing it these days), it may create vulnerability to another social network player who focuses on a more tightly-defined social graph with only a few, specific and meaningful Intimate relationships.

Intimate relationships that might just monetize more powerfully with 3 close friends, than they do with 300 acquaintances.

Better be careful, Zuck. maybe there's a reason Facebook should care more about Intimacy and Privacy that has absolutely nothing to do with government regulation, and everything to do with simply making more Meaning... not to mention more Money, as well.

Culture And Communications: McLuhan's Relevancy On Facebook

What Do We Know, in this Place, We Meet Face Face (Yates)

McLuhan has been credited with predicting the Internet in his 1962 Book: "The Gutenberg Galaxy" wherein he posits these thoughts:

The next medium, whatever it is-it may be the next extension of consciousness-will include television and its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual's encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a salable kind."

In the 1960s, McLuhan was already talking about "rapid irregular and multidirectional movement through a heterogenous body of documents or knowledge-thus coining the term "Surfing" so that, whatever Facebook offers is premised on the social graph and delivered through the very medium he predicted, and this has ultimately made McLuhan even more relevant"

In his book, Understanding The Media, McLuhan says, "if it works, it's obsolete. According to McLuhan, 'all media put content before the medium itself. "The content of a medium," MCLuhan writes, "is always another medium." For instance, the content of writing is speech. A reader is unaware of speech, and instead notices the "message" of the print-what it argues formally. McLuhan states: "the medium is the message," all media are inherently flawed as media are not noticed by man and they can never work. Meaning, as all media reference other media, it is impossible for them to become obsolete as they are continually becoming relevant through association with other media." So that, a mediums effect can be quantified by how it alters human. In so much so that McLuhan noted that the new technology of the time implemented a desire to know oneself wholly; this arises out of one's inability to find oneself in technology, according to McLuhan.

Facebook has changed the way humans interact with one another and themselves. One formulates identity by creating an Internet presence which reflects how he views himself and wants to be viewed by others. Instead of understanding one another through experience(face- to-face), man attempts to know other through these curated personalities. Furthermore, one's desire to find himself online comes from the inability to find oneself in technology that McLuhan discusses in Understanding the Media.

According to McLuhan's definition, Facebooks "works" as it has altered the way man views others and himself. But, is a technology like Facebook, obsolete? I would say it is not because it cannot become obsolete, as McLuhan would say that they must be as they "work" to have an effect on human interaction, and Facebook cannot be obsolete because it references other media.. He goes on further to say that "the message of all media is other media, these media cyclically become relevant through affiliation

.(Here McLuhan just surmized contemporary media and communications) Video, a new medium of McLuhan's time, implemented a desire for one to understand himself through a curated set of images. One could explore his unique perspective and history through capturing home video. Similarly, one curates sets of images which define himself through Facebook. Therefore, Facebook refers to video and photography and makes itself and all to be relevant. As all media reference other media, it is impossible for media to perpetually be obsolete. All media "work" as they are intended to.

Facebook Addiction Disorder

According to Michael Fenichel, "It is not difficult to observe the ubiquity of "Internet Addiction as a phenomenon and/or accepted part of everyday life in the Digital Age. Much less mentioned is the even more pervasive "Cell Phone" addiction,"Crackberry addiction", gaming addiction", or "texting addiction". Are now at risk of seeing a vast presentation - a cultural commonality - of "Facebook Addiction Disorder"? (Or sometimes FAD just a fad?)

Some may argue that since these have become just as much a part of daily life tool in the world of the 21st Century. However, just as "newbie" infatuation with the connectedness and immediacy of e-mail and web surfing led to a societal concern about "Internet" Addiction" or pathological Internet use, the phenomenon of social networking has left the arena of personal and group networking to a very public and constant arena which allows for strong reinforcement of exhibitionist, voyeuristic an/or interaction-seeking behavior, often in combination.

Add to the instant texting component the ability to post pictures and videos, play pop-psychology and pop-culture games and quizzes ("applications"), follow the (slightly less closely than Twitter) the every move, decision, feeling, and random thought of everyone in countless networks, and also maintain a Homepage/"Wall" for all to see and visit, and this is the best possible recipe for significant (behavioral) addiction, as it fills a large and "normal" part of so many lives.

[It's as McLuhan observed above, that people are on Facebook trying to find themselves in the technology]. Whether it is more of an "addiction" than say ice cream, or "staying connected", or "talking, reading, gambling, or excessive online/TV/Cellphone activity (to the extent it interferes with other necessary and/or "healthy" behavior), is no doubt individual. but it is only a matter of time before large numbers fall prey to the lures of 24/7 social network with so many wonderful things to offer, a home among friends and shared applications (aka ames, quizzes, personality-types "tests", awards, gifts and various "silly stuff"), not to mention sharing laughs or creative feedback via photos, graphics, videos and more." As McLuhan stated above, "media reference other media in order not to be obsolete but to be relevant and work".

Fenichel further adds that: "Need evidence for the pervasiveness of Facebook? If you have a Facebook account, you already know: Real and imagined friends, and online acquaintances, school buddies from the past,ex-spouses, military leaders, even the president of the United States, all appreciate the power of "having a Facebook presence' (This turns out to be much more than the Second Life's initial promise, perhaps because of the ease of use and fading novelty.)

The amazing thing is that,like Cell Phones, nobody seems to notice the vast amount of time and energy - at work, at home, and now while on the move - people are devoting to Facebook. It has become a given. An article on computer hardware for photographers (Shutteburg, May 2009, p. 95) advices, "If you need a PC to access your e-mail and Facebook accounts when you're on the road..." to consider specific small mobile PC's. Commercial television feature closing credits inviting viewers to follow-up via Facebook or Twitter.

More and more links on the web pages invite "sharing" on Facebook or RSS feeds or Twitter. We're all connected, hooray! And for some the opportunities are pure ecstasy, both for the social networking component (which was at the heart of the idea in the first place, albeit targeted at students) and for the games and contests which can be more of a time sponge than any prior computer diversion known to man/woman, such as solitaire or randomly surfing the web."

According to Fenichel, "One of the ironies is that the very people who might otherwise be working with people professionally to treat addictions, social isolation, etc., seem to be themselves among the most active Facebookers. admittedly drawn from a limited Sample, it is nonetheless overwhelming to see how much time is devoted to things like determining crayon color one is,or who is the best at Bejeweled Blitz - and these are often mental health professionals who assumedly spend at least some time off of Facebook, and might be able to endure a day (or hour) or two without going trough withdrawal.

However,many people have so integrated Facebook as part of normal life - "I wake up in the morning and check Facebook" has taken over waking up, getting dressed, and finding/checking the cell phone - that it has become as much part of the (invisible) tapestry of normal daily life as using the telephone or checking e-mail. For better and worse. Like many Internet tools, this can be both an opportunity and challenge, and for many it is easy to strike a perfect blend.

Students - who I have recently been observed taking "breaks" from homework to take quizzes on what kind of element, lover, animal, serial killer, doctor or rock star one most resembles - have already integrated everything form Facebook to texting to iPhones, AIM, SMS, and Tivo into "normal daily life". But there is seemingly a new "newbie" experience among oldsters who seem to enjoy the same threats which were intended for college students and then co-opted by high-school students as well."

"As with all potentially "addictive" online activities, people vary in their involvement, some periodically "checking in" to stay in touch,others checking once or twice a day, as a supplement to pho an e-mail checking, and some seemingly spending quite substantial portions of time in activities which might be called creative, self-revealing, competitive, or purely social.

Different age groups focus on different important activities, of course, students often sharing woes about assignments or gossip about peers, as well as creative videos and self-affirming photos or quiz results; some adults checking in occasionally or only when notified of incoming messages (to inbox or 'Wall'), still others invariably posting multiple messages everyday relating to mundane daily life activities, quiz results, or feeling states of the moment. One may wonder: Is this happening in the presence of clients? Co-workers? While supposedly conversing online with another person? At the expense of Real Life(RL), or to be more accurate, NonOnline Life" (Fenichel)

"I have reported on some of the research and theory pertaining to "Internet Addiction", and have (silently) observed what appears to be a commercially-belssed wave of Cell Phone and device addiction (as distinct from social networking addiction).But Facebook Addiction Disorder(FAD) appears to me to have the most ingrained and self-reinforcing of all scenarios, reinforcing through immediacy, acclamation, intimacy(as noted above), shared experience, shared creativity,and the ability to be he complete total captain of the ship of one's Facebook home page.

For some the "Apps" seem to be totally compelling, for hours on end, for others Facebook is used more like e-mail, to keep in touch with a group, sometimes serious, sometimes playful, sometimes simply sharing. But the fact of how ingrained Facebook has become cultural is one which is easy to miss, because, well, everybody's doing it! Or so it seems.

The irony of who is most pathologically addicted (as opposed to homework, relationship, or work avoidant even without such a seductive companion as Facebook) is that nobody may be left to observe or treat this huge behavioral phenomenon, as everybody is too focused on "Walls" and "Apps" and "Networks" and finding Old and New Friends. When is a Friend a Friend? When is constant behavior an Addiction? Is there such a thing as too much or too little Social Networking? Who decides? Who Asks?" (Fenichel)

"Obviously, much of this is rightfully engaging, and also quite healthy. Like most activities, moderation and integration are key. Those that may seriously label and treat FAD as a behavioral addiction will clearly need to use context in determining if a behavior has become demonstrably harmful to overall social, work (f2f) interpersonal efficacy. For many people, especially those not already invested in maintaining personal Homepages, blogs, Photo-sharing collections, IM-ing networks, etc., Facebook offers the perfect menu of opportunity.

It may be similar to the proverbial "kid in the candy store" who cannot turn away from every temptation in sight, for hours of time supposedly spent on work, homework, housework, or relationship work, who may have a problem, if not "disorder". It is when one cannot leave the continuous activation/ reinforcement of a daily (or hourly or constant) activity that one may surmise it has become a problem.

For others,it's a wonderful candy store available whenever one is in the mood for sweets of hanging out with friends online or checking in - without the need to do so on a constant and urgent basis" (Fenichel) As McLuhan has observed above, "All Media Work As They Are Intended To." Understanding the media that is Facebook as laid out above, empowers its users to be more circumspect and savvy about the technology and its techniques-effects and affects.

Is Facebook An Addiction?

According to the "Techaddiction" blog:

"Certain human behaviors, habits, and obsessions have been classified as addictions by psychological and medical organizations. For example, substance-related such as alcohol Dependence and impulse-control disorders such as Pathological Gambling are recognized as official recognition of what does and does not constitute a "disorder" is something that continues to evelove.

For example, until it was removed from the DSM in 1986, homosexuality was listed as a diagnosable disorder. While some disorders are dropped from classification systems, others are modified, and occasionally, new problematic conditions are added. In recent years the mental health community has become increasingly interested in the impact that modern technology has on our lives - both positive and negative.

On the positive side, technologies such as Skype, Facetime,and Facebook allow us to stay in contact with family and friends on the other side of the planet. Video Conferencing may allow us to occasionally work from home. Having a Smartphone with GPS capabilities means that we will never get lost (or have to ask for directions) again!

Yet, whenever we are introduced to a new form of entertainment there is potential for unhealthy use, overuse, or abuse. Look no further than alcohol or gambling for examples of activities that are relatively harmless in moderation, but which can cause serious problems when one is addicted. even healthy activities such as exercise can cause significant health problems if it becomes an obsession )for example, compulsively running six hours per day on a treadmill).

Regarding the potential for some people to become "hooked" on technology, Internet addiction and video game addiction have received the most study from researchers and clinicians. However, social media sites like Facebook have also caught their attention. It is very likely that you know people who absolutely must check their Facebook account when they first wake up(as stated above), obsessively check it throughout the day, and never fail to log in just one last time before going to sleep for the night.

Perhaps they spend hours upon hours everyday updating their status, uploading pictures, commenting on Walls, Playing Facebook games, reading updates from others, and searching for new friends to add. Maybe they often neglect other important responsibilities, commitments, or people in favor of Faebook. Perhaps their real-world relationships, careers, or schoolwork suffer due to too much time on Facebook.

So, the question is: "Is Facebook An Addiction?" The simple answer? No. Facebook overuse/obsession/preoccupation is not considered to be an addiction. Facebook addiction has not been classified as a disorder by any psychological or medical organization. The inclusion of new disorders (such as a proposal for "Facebook Addiction Disorder") in diagnostic classification requires years, if not decades) of research. Although psychologists and psychiatrists are often criticized as being overly eager to pathologize human behaviors, with regard to "legitimizing" new disorders, they generally take a very slow and conservative approach - and only officially recognize new pathologies/disorders after years of clinical and empirical research.

At the very least, it is reasonable to suggest that while most people can use Facebook without becoming "addicted", there are some who have difficulty keeping their Facebook habits under control (to its credit, Facebook has imposed age restrictions for users)

  • As previously mentioned, these individuals may place more importance on gaining Facebook friends than on maintaining and developing real world friendships
  • The may experience problems in their relationships due to excessive time on Facebook and subsequent neglect on their partners
  • Their work performance may suffer as a result of Facebook preoccupation.
  • Academic performance may be given far less attention than interacting on Facebook

Is Facebook an addiction? Officially, no. Is excessive Facebook use a problem fro some people? Absolutely.

You Know You're An Addict When: (According to Elizabeth Cohen)

  • You lose sleep over Facebook
  • You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook
  • You become obsessed with old loves
  • You ignore work in favor of Facebook
  • The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat

She conclude by citing one of the people who have to deal with weaning oneself off Facebook, called Pile, says: Try going a day without Facebook. If you find it causes you a of stress and anxiety, you really need to get help." In a word, there are some effects and affects that Facebook has on its users. It is at this point that many investigators into this new phenomenon diverge. Some, like the Psychological scale that has been used, have tried to utilize their ingenuity to better explain these affects and effects; there are those who oppose this approach.

Facebook Addiction - New Psychological Scale

Catharine Paddock writes: "Researchers in Norway have published a new psychological scale to measure Facebook addiction, the first of its kind worldwide. They write about their work in the April 2012 issue of the Journal Psychological Reports.They hope that researchers will find the new psychometric tool to us in investigating problem behavior linked to Facebook Use. However, an accompanying article suggests a more useful approach might be to measure 'addiction' to social networking as an activity, rather than an addiction to a specific product like Facebook. This is particularly relevant given that Facebook is now more than a social networking site (for instance users can watch videos and films, gamble and play games on the site) and social networking is not confined to Facebook

The new measure is called the BFAS, short for the "Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale" and is the work of Dr. Cecilie Andraessen at the University of Bergen (UIB), Norway, and colleagues. In their paper, Andraeseen and colleagues describe how they started out with a pool of 18 items made up of three items of the six core elements of addiction: salience, mood modification, tolerance withdrawal, conflict and relapse. In January 2011, they invited 423 students (227 Women and 196 Men) to complete the draft BFAS questionnaire, along with a battery of other standardized self-report scales of personality, sleep, sociability, attitudes towards Facebook, and addictive tendencies.

Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale

Eventually,Andraessen and colleagues finalized the BFAS to six basic criteria, with participants asked to give on of the following 5 responses to each one (1) Very Rarely, (2) (Rarely), (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Very Often

1. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning to use it.

2. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.

3. You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems

4. You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.

5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.

6. You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies

Andreassen and colleagues suggest that scoring "often"or "very often" on at least four of the six items may suggest the respondent is addicted to Facebook. they found that variousThey found that various personality traits related to the scale: for instance "neuroticism" and extraversion related positively, and conscientiousness related negatively. They also found that high scores on the BFAS were linked to going to bed very late and getting up very late.

Synthesis and Synergy Postulations Concerning FB Addiction

Anreassen has clear views on why people become addicted to Facebook. said that she and her team noted that tended to happen more among younger than older users. "We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face, says Andreassen.

The Norwegian team also found that people who are more organized and ambitious tend no to become addicted to Facebook, and are more likely to use social media as an integral part of work and networking activity. Andreassen says that they find that women tend to be more at risk of developing Facebook addiction, something they attribute to the social nature of Facebook.

Facebook A Detriment To Human Communication

Jake Hartwell informs us that: "Facebook is an iconic networking Web site with over 400[see Picture in photo gallery] million users. College students are one of its largest demographics. In fact a Student Monitor survey found Facebook was the most popular thing on campuses, with the exception of the iPod. with such approval who could complain. Well, I can. Facebook is fundamentally altering communication, and in case you forgot the last uproar over Facebook layouts, change is always bad.

Text is the least desirable way to communicate socially. Phone calls are much better, and seeing someone face-to-face can't even compare. Replacing these ancient arts are miniature letters sent instantaneously in the form of comments and chat messages. People's ability to correspond through rapid text immediately creates a strange scenario in which the are alone but feel like they are talking to someone.

Ong once wrote in one of his obscure articles that : "The idea is that, when authors write, the audience isn't actually there. Instead, the audience is a mental construct of the author. The same goes for textual communcations: You aren't talking to a real person on Facebook, but a mental construct based on your interpretation of his or her profile and textual communications."

Studies have tried to establish precisely how much of human communications is nonverbal. Numbers range from 40-93-they aren't very reliable-but the point is that much of communication has nothing to do with words. When you know people online, you don't actually know them. You only know the part of them expressed textually; vocal tone and inflection, body language, eye contact and the little things that make someone human are nonexistent on Facebook.

People can filter which part of their personality they want you to see. If someone posts a comment, I can spend five minute writing something ridiculously cleaver-in the real world, not so much. The tiny delay in chats and comments gives people abundant time to decide which parts of themselves to project. I'd rather know five people that little pieces of hundreds.

Facebook is also changing friendship. Friends are sacred, but social networking web sites seem to have little respect for them. Once you had a few friends with whom you shared the most private of information because you had the time for a few involved friendships. Facebook is quickly closing the gap between close friends and acquaintances by streamlining friend-making. Suddenly it's socially acceptable to tell all your Facebook friends who you're dating, how much you drank last night and everything you believe.

People have never been good at telling others who they are-and for good reason. The singular person is a unique subject, irreducible and indifinable. Yet, Facebook users attempt to remedy the difficulty behind expressing who they are with a strange practice. The most detailed sections of many profiles are favorites: bands, books,movies and TV shows. Additionally, the average user becomes a fan of four pages per month and belongs to 13 groups. Facebook users are defined as a 'conglomeration of groups and products."

As above shows, Facebook users live in a world where all actions have less impact and meaning. Chatting with someone has less impact than meeting. Friendships require less. the people themselves mean less. To top it all off, the average user spends an hour on Facebook per day, and college students spend far more. With literally thousands of distractions in one place, a simple status update turns into browsing the news feed and true place in the lives of others."

Immediacy And Familiarity Might Affect Facebook Addiction

One can look at Facebook addiction as being affected by the Immediacy and Familiarity of the technology and the facilitation thereof by the rapidly emerging gizmos that too can lend an addictive affect. Ong's gist below attempts to give form to this assertion. Ong states:

"Technology is and, historically, has been a large part of who we are, and each day we interact with new, more complex systems for services and safety. We innovate with technology and it, in turn, changes us. "Everyone who teaches writing knows the common symptoms of the problems [resulting from a person moving into the world of writing]: students make assertions which are totally unsupported by reasons, or they make a series of statements which lack connections".

"Technology exercises its most significant effects and its most real presence not in the external world but within the mind, within consciousness. The external product designed by consciousness somehow reenters consciousness, to affect the way we think, to make possible new kinds of noetic [the interactions among communication, mind, and technology] processes…." "A good deal of talk about the successive stages in history of communications media," reflects Ong, "suggests that each new stage wipes out preceding ones. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, a new stage often reinforces preceding ones at the very time it changes their significance by interacting with them" "One of the unwitting effects of the distancing effected increasingly by writing, print, electronics: today's obsession (all through society) with achieving immediacy. Obsession with achieving immediacy, bragging about it when seemingly achieved. 'Familiarity‘ a great obsession of our age (a relatively new word in English)".

The cultures of orality, textuality, secondary orality, and secondary visualism are converging in hand-held mobile devices that call on us to share ourselves with others and communicate digitally. But, ironically, as vast quantities of digital media are amassed in data centers around the word, the need for communication to and with others survives this convergence—or, rather, this new convergence reinforces the primacy of human communication.

"One of the unwitting effects of the distancing effected increasingly by writing, print, electronics: today's obsession (all through society) with achieving immediacy. The convergence of media in digital mobile devices alerts us to the possibilities of near immediate representation (especially of the self) across vast distances to audiences we both know and have no possible way of imagining"

"Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought" - Ong

There are other things at play in the whole usage and imbibing of technological techniques, gadgetry and usage that contribute to the whole discourse of how Facebook affects its users. In order to grasp the breadth and depth of this phenomena, we will defer to the gurus of Media Ecology from time to time as we have have already done with McLuhan, Lance Strate, along with Jacques Ellul. The very act that we are involved in whenever we interact on Facebook and other mediums, we use writing.

From Ong's explanation of writing, we are able to begin to understand the changes and effects and affects that this has on us-we even get a much more deeper understanding and meaning of how the changes Facebook affects and effects on, how they work in tandem with other technologies and media. The transformation from orality to writing to the writing on the Web, this has brought along with it a change in the way humans communicate, use communication, affect and are effected by media and communications mode and mind-set.

Understanding and knowing how the media and their rapidly emerging mediums change our communication nature and culture, will add towards our understanding as to how and why we become affected and effected by Facebook to the point of addiction. Since we use words to communicate with each other on the Web, Ong writes:

"A word is an event, a happening, not a thing, as letters make it appear to be. so is thought." 'This on paper' is an occurrence, an event in time. We grasp truth articulately only in events. Articulated truth has no permanence. Full truth is deeper than articulation. We find it hard to recognize this obvious truth, so deeply has the fixity of the written word taken possession of our consciousness."

We need to pay close attention to what Ong when he is saying that : "... so deeply has the fixity of the written word taken possession of our consciousness." Being fixated on the word(writing, communicating, founding a new language and so forth, this has taken a firm hold on our consciousness. This has tended to create 'need' propelled by the immediacy of the Facebook medium, to be constantly writing, reading the words on the Walls that it becomes hardened addiction, drive, need and way of perpetually extending and trying to find ourselves, oneself in the viral stream of the new and emergent social media called Facebook(a la McLuhan).

So, Ong goes on to tell us how this happens whenever we have become 'fixated on the word and how that gets hold of our consciousness:

"...it [the preliterate mind] can operate with exquisite skill in the world sounds, events, evanescences. How does it manage? Basically, in its noetic operations it uses formulaic structures and procedures that stick in the mind to complement and counteract the evanescent...[it] also keeps its thinking close to the human life world, personalizing things and issues, and storing knowledge in stories.

Categories are unstable mnemonically. Stories you can remember. Ong goes on" "preliterate thinking is to hold things together, to make and retain agglomerates, not to analyze (which means to take things apart)-although, since all though to some degree is analytic, it does analyze to a degree. It is also conservative (to hold the always evanescent wisdom of the ancestors) rather than exploratory. Everybody, or almost anybody, must repeat and repeat and repeat the truths that have come down from the ancestors. Otherwise these truths will escape, and culture will be back to square one."

Here, Ong seems to be agreeing with McLuhan that technologies will not become absolute as long as they continue to replicate and perpetuate, interconnect, merge and submerge with other new and emerging and vastly efficient and superior gadgets towards infinity - this will stop them from becoming obsolete am averring McLuhan, here. I would also like to add a rarely made point as to how we become intoxicated, bamboozled, and remain fixated to the word which embeds itself into our consciousness. Ong writes: These critiques were issued when print came around. The law at work here is: once the word is technologized, there is no really effective way to criticize its condition without the aid of the technology you are criticizing" This is a succinct way to capture Latour's interlocking principles of delegation and prescription. We delegate labor to a technology, but it then prescribes new tasks back to us. We become deskilled and must re-skill to keep up. This cycle continually repeats itself as emergent media manifest at viral speeds continue to be churned-out rapidly-and to difficult to keep up with, one needs to always learn the new gadget, how it operates and what it can do and enable one- much more better than the new one owned just a month ago!

So, What is Media Ecology? It's a framework to start understanding how text messaging affects love, how computer keyboards restructure the brain patterns, and how my photo editor undoes my philsophy of life. It asks how we think about authority, what the rules of the arguments will be, and if there is a difference between the beginning and the end of a song. Perception, knowledge, fundamental social structures, and quite definitely, God, are all in the mix. Media Ecology is the key to understanding the times.

Media Ecology is the study of communication technologies as cultural environments. If that does make your heart race, then don't worry, : there's still hope. In the infancy of the digital information age, it's hard to imagine a field of study that is more important; or that can be better explain why the new edition of the iPhone is messing our minds. So, Media Ecologists ask question like: "Does Technology grow in the culture or culture grow in technology?" They answer "Yes". In this case, we recall McLuhan saying: "The Medium Is The Message: The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of the Global Village. This is when we hear Ong say:

"The world that God created understandably troubles us today. ... some are inclined to blame our present woes on technology. Yet there are paradoxes here. Technology is artificial, but for a human being there is nothing more natural than to be artificial."

The Orality and Illiteracy of Facebook

Russel South wood writes:

Facebook has become the single biggest non-mail client product in Africa. Over the last seven months user numbers have doubled in many countries where it was barely visible, now have significant number of users. It is the number one or number two site in every African country. Christian Hernandez, Head of international Business Development, Facebook told Russell Southwood, this is really the beginning of what the platform is setting out to do.

Facebook has three objectives for the platform and these cover its development. Currently Facebook has 500 million active monthly users(see picture in photo gallery), of which half use it from a mobile phone. Its research show that the latter group of users are twice engaged in terms of use as the PC users. Businessman Hernandez quips: "We know mobile is an important tool to drive engagement and in developing countries we start with mobile.

In many parts of Africa, user numbers have doubled in the last seven months. Egypt is currently Africa's leading country by number of Facebook users with about 6.8 million users and an 8.5% penetration rate.. The country is followed closely by South Africa, Morocco and Nigeria which have 3.7 million, 3.3 million and 3.0 million user-base respectively. NIgeria's Facebook adoption rate is an interesting case though as despite its relatively high user base relative to other African Countries, its Facebook penetration rate is quite low at 1.97%. Facebook is the country's most visited site

Some Brief States: Facebook user growth in selected countries:

Ghana: 85 percent increase to 1,146,560 users

Kenya: 50 percent increase to 1,298,560 users

South Africa: 51 percent increase to 4,822,820 users

Nigeria: 154 percent increase to 4,369,740 users

Egypt: 130 percent increase to 9,391,580 users

Facebook has 165% User Growth Rate in Africa, But...

18 month user growth rate in selected countries

  • Nigeria 154% increase to 4,369,740 FB users
  • Ghana 85% increase to 1,146,560 FB users
  • Kenya 50% increase to 1,298,560 users

.Facebook adoption across Africa

  • 37+ million Facebook users as of December 2011
  • 165% median Facebook user growth since July 2010 (114% mean)

.Penetration rates across Africa

  • 2.4% median Facebook penetration rate (3.6% mean)
  • 36 nations have fewer than 1-in-20 people on Facebook
  • 12 nations have fewer than 1-in-100 people on Facebook

.Another way to look at this is that with Nigeria's growth at 150,000 new Facebook users ever month, it would take 4 years to reach everyone in Nigeria, if the 154% growth rate remains the same. But it will probably slow dramatically as Africa projects:

Facebook adoption in Africa, although rapidly increasing within most nations at the moment, is starting to slow in more developmentally-advanced countries. Even if Facebook user growth rates settle at 25% annually, it could be ten years until Kenya boasts 30% of the population on Facebook. In 17 months, Kenya’s Facebook user rate has gone from 2% to 3%. South Africa’s is near 10% after increasing from 7%. This growth rate of 50% over 17 months for Kenya and South Africa – which we deem “mature” – suggests the challenges large nations face providing affordable Internet and connecting rural areas. Plus, even when Internet access is available, not everyone wants to use Facebook. (Inveneo)

What to make of this all? Facebook is a growing presence in Africa and it is an online juggernaut. But African countries have a long way to go before all their people can get online and enjoy the FB experience. This will be seen much more clearer when I begin to breakdown the FB Stats Infrastructure of South Africa in this Hub.

Usage of Facebook by Country and number of people

Egypt - 6.58 million
South Africa - 3.8 million
Morocco - 3.2 million
Nigeria - 2.9 million
Tunisia - 2.35 million
Algeria - 1.39 million
Kenya - 1.03 million
Ghana - 906,540
Senegal - 447,840
Cameroon - 355,860
Uganda - 280,600
Tanzania - 259,120
Mauritius - 254,680
Angola - 184,660
Madagascar - 151,100
Ethiopia - 146,020
Namibia - 127,260
Zambia - 117,520
Botswana - 112,180
Mozambique - 105,820


Digital Africa Will Become a Spoken Tradition

When we speak of Primary Orality, we are talking about people totally unfamiliar with writing", according to Ong, Ong further states that, "Recently, however applied linguistics and sociolinguistics have been comparing more and more the dynamics of primary oral verbalization and those of written verbalization, and these provide an analysis of changes in mental and social structures incident to the use of writing.",So that, the basic orality of language is permanent.

"Writing, commitment of the word to space, enlarges the potentiality of language almost beyond measure, restructures thought, and in the process converts certain few dialects into grapholects. A grapholect is a transdialectal language formed by deep commitment to writing. ... But, in al the wonderful worlds that writing opens, the spoken word still resides and lives. Language study in all but recent decades has focused on written texts rather than on orality for a readily assignable reason: the relationship of study itself to writng. All thought including that in primary oral cultures, is to some degree analytic: it breaks its material into various components. But abstractly sequential, classificatory, explanatory examination of phenomena or of stated truths is impossible without writing and reading.

Human beings in primary oral cultures, those untouched by writing in any form, learn a great deal and possess and practice great wisdom, but they do not study. They learn by apprenticeship - hunting with experienced hunters, for example - by discipleship, which is kind of apprenticeship, by listening, by repeating what they hear, by mastering proverbs and ways of combining and recombining them, by assimilating other formulary materials, by participation in a kind of corporate retrospection - not by study in the strict sense. So in effect, we should learn and pay attention to the fact that speech and consciousness are inseparable; that ways of knowing are forever linked and hooked-up to orality and this helps us perpetuate our culture and existence, as humans. We learn from Ong that:

"When study in the strict sense of extended sequential analysis becomes possible with the interiorization of writing, one of the first things that literates often study is language itself, from the very early stages of consciousness, long before writing came into existence. Proverbs from all over the world are rich with observations about this overwhelmingly human phenomenon of speech in its native oral form, about powers, its beauties, its dangers. The same fascination with oral speech continues unabated for centuries after writing comes into use. ... Thus, writing from the beginning did not reduce orality but enhanced it, making it possible to organize the 'principles' or constituents of oratory into a scientific 'art'. a sequentially ordered body of explanation that showed how and why oratory achieved and could made to achieve various specific effects."

African Primary Orality on Facebook

As we haver learnt from Ong above, Primary and secondary orality share both similarities and differences. Primary orality refers to tough and speech that is untouched by sriting. Print knowledge does not exist within that practice primary orality. Secondary orality is orality that is reliant on literature and the existence of writing. An example of secondary orality would be a bad new reporter reading off the daily news; without the written report, the anchor would be unable to give the news.

So that companies like Ushahidi utilze , a non-profit tech company founded by Okolloh and Rotich, following the controversial election results in Knya, and they founded and developed free and open source softwrae for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping.. In Swahili, Ushahidi means "witness a fitting name because it allowed users to report violence though text messages, e-mails and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. These messages are then applied to OpenStreet Map, which is an editable map of the world. It has been used to map violence in other African countries such as Congo and South Africa. It is a great crowdsourcing example, instead of relying on a staff of hands on reporters or journalists, they were able to provide a place for people to to to freely share information that affects everyone in that particular region.

This is why Facebook will and is resonating so much with Africans, because it enables their oral skills to be much more magnified and developed into an newly way of usage. Although this is still being hampered by their use of their colonially acquired languages, Africans, whenever they use their mother tongues on Facebook(which is still a paltry number thus far, they discover their languages and themselves and exclusivity that this chapter still has to be written about in the future.What makes this network successful it its ability to allow the locals use their languages and report events and news as they are happening from anywhere. Technologies that are able to capture the essence of Africa primary oral culture ad enables them to be the means of communication, is driving Africa into the viral sphere at an alarming speed.

For now, Digital Africa will become a spoken tradition. African cultures are among the most oral in the world. Storytelling under the tree is still commonplace. speaking is is still preferred to to writing and Africa happens to have timed its digital age to coincide with new voice activated technologies. The generation gap from those who use the pen and those whose kinetic memory is dominated by their thumbs,and those who are used to the sweeping movements of the touchscreen, will give away to the return of voice-Africa's voice.

It is my contention that Apartheid in South Arica has morphed into Technological Bullying apartheid that makes social media a farce and unworkable for Africans of South Africa. I will utilize statistics to make my point that the nature of social media which is Apartheidized is a follow-through of grand Old Apartheid and its demise in the social arena, to being resuscitated within the social media and Internet Data Sphere that is of concern here.

The emergence and convergence of Social media as they spawned themselves through the new technological gizmos, has given rise to and purpose for its users to recreate and establish old, but new social relations that are playing themselves out, in this case, the social media known as Facebook thoroughly. Facebook remains the dominant social networking platform with a massive 82% using the service The digital Media & Marketing Association has released their statistics which shed light on South Africa's iInternet User demographics on July 2011, and the data revealed that 63% of Internet Users in South Africa are White, 25% African, 7% Colored and 5% Indian. Other such stats such as 62% of local Internet users are male, compared to 38% female and that only 7% of South African Internet users are below the age of 25. The Internet in South Africa is inequitably distributed throughout the different races as will be shown through the statistics below.

Facebook is Changing Fast in Africa

Social networking is changing the format of persona networks dramatically. Many people are now making friends and meeting potential partners online. The impact of social networking is also expanding personal networks with the average user claiming to have around 158 friends they regularly interact with.

The Information below has been published by SouthAfrica.info:

South Africa is a nation of diversity, with more than 50-million people and a wide variety of cultures, languages and religious beliefs.

According to the mid-2011 estimates from Statistics South Africa, the country's population stands at 50.5-million, up from the census 2001 count of 44.8-million.

Africans are in the majority, making up 79.5% of the population, while white people and colored people each make up 9.0% and the Indian/Asian population 2.5%.

AT A GLANCE

According to the annual mid-year estimates from Statistics South Africa, in July 2011 the country's population was 50 586 757, of which 26 071 721 (52%) were female and 24 515 036 (48%) were male.

Africans are in the majority at 40.2-million, making up 79.5% of the total population. The white population and the colored population are both estimated at 4.5-million (9.0%) and the Indian/Asian population at 1.3-million (2.5%).

There have been two official censuses since South Africa's first democratic election in 1994, the first in 1996 and the second in 2001, with a third scheduled for October 2011. The population increased from 40.6-million in 1996 to 44.8-million in 2001 – a growth of 10%. From 2001 to 2011, the population has grown by an additional 12.7%.

BY POPULATION

Gauging, South Africa's economic powerhouse, is the most populous of the country's provinces, although it is by far the smallest geographically. Some 11.32-million people live in the province, or 22.3% of the total.

It is followed by KwaZulu-Natal, with 10.81-million people (21.4%), the Eastern Cape with 6.82-million (13.5%), Limpopo with 5.55-million (10.9%), the Western Cape with 5.28-million (10.4%), Mpumalanga with 3.65-million (7.2%), North West with 3.25- million (6.4%) and the Free State with 2.75-million (5.4%).

Although the Northern Cape is the largest province, at almost a third of South Africa's land area, it is an arid region with the smallest population – only 1.09-million people, or 2.1% of the total.

POPULATION BY PROVINCE 2011

Province: Population -- % of total

Eastern Cape: 6 829 958 -- 13.50%

Free State: 2 759 644 -- 5.46%

Gauteng: 11 328 203 -- 22.39%

KwaZulu-Natal: 10 819 130 -- 21.39%

Limpopo: 5 554 657 -- 10.98%

Mpumalanga: 3 657 181 -- 7.23%

Northern Cape: 1 096 731-- 2.17%

North West: 3 253 390 -- 6.43%

Western Cape: 5 287 863 -- 10.45%

TOTAL: 50 586 757 -- 100%

Source:Statistics South Africa

Comparing 2001 census data and the 2011 population estimates, the provincial share of the total population has fallen in the Eastern Cape (from 14.4% to 13.5%), the Free State (6.6% to 5.4%), Limpopo (11.8% to 10.9%) and North West (8.2% to 6.4%).

Between 2001 and 2011, Gauteng has gone from being the second-most to the most populous province in South Africa, rising from 19.7% of the total to 22.39%. KwaZulu- Natal has gone from the most to the second-most populous province, although its share of the total has risen from 21% to 21.39%.

POPULATION GROUPS

The African population is made up of nine broad groupings:

  • The Nguni, comprising the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swazi people.
  • The Sotho-Tswana, who include the Southern, Northern and Western Sotho (Tswana people).
  • The Tsonga.
  • The Venda.

White South Africans include:

  • The Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch, German and French Huguenot who came to the country from the 17th century onwards.
  • English-speakers, descendants of settlers from the British Isles who came to the country from the late 18th century onwards.
  • Immigrants and descendents of immigrants from the rest of Europe, including Greeks, Portuguese, Eastern European Jews, Hungarians and Germans.

"Coloured" South Africans (the label is contentious) are a people of mixed lineage descended from slaves brought to the country from east and central Africa, the indigenous Khoisan who lived in the Cape at the time, indigenous Africans and whites. The majority speak Afrikaans.

Khoisan is a term used to describe two separate groups, physically similar in being light-skinned and small in stature. The Khoi, who were called Hottentots by the Europeans, were pastoralists and were effectively annihilated; the San, called Bushmen by the Europeans, were hunter-gatherers. A small San population still lives in South Africa.

The majority of South Africa's Asian population is Indian in origin, many of them descended from indentured workers brought to work on the sugar plantations of what was then Natal in the 19th century. They are largely English-speaking, although many also retain the languages of their origins. There is also a significant group of Chinese South Africans.

LANGUAGES

South Africa is a multilingual country. Its new democratic constitution, which came into effect on 4 February 1997, recognises 11 official languages, to which it guarantees equal status. These are:

  • Afrikaans
  • English
  • isiNdebele
  • isiXhosa
  • isiZulu
  • Sesotho sa Leboa
  • Sesotho
  • Setswana
  • siSwati
  • Tshivenda
  • Xitsonga

Besides the official languages, scores of others – African, European, Asian and more – are spoken in South Africa, as the country lies at the crossroads of southern Africa.

According to the 2001 census, isiZulu is the most common home language is, spoken by nearly a quarter of the population. It is followed by isiXhosa at 17.6%, Afrikaans at 13.3%, Sepedi at 9.4%, and English and Setswana each at 8.2%.

Sesotho is the mother tongue of 7.9% of South Africans, while the remaining four official languages are spoken at home by less than 5% of the population each.

SOUTH AFRICAN LANGUAGES

Language: Number of speakers -- % of total

Afrikaans: 5 983 420 -- 13.35%

English: 3 673 206 -- 8.2%

IsiNdebele: 711 825 -- 1.59%

IsiXhosa: 7 907 149 -- 17.64%

IsiZulu: 10 677 315 - 23.82%

Sesotho sa Lebowa: 4 208 974 -- 9.39%

Sesotho: 3 555 192 -- 7.93%

Setswana: 3 677 010 -- 8.2%

SiSwati: 1 194 433 -- 2.66%

Tshivenda: 1 021 761 -- 2.28%

Xitsonga: 1 992 201 -- 4.44%

Other: 217 291 -- 0.48%

TOTAL: 44 819 777 -- 100%

* Spoken as a home language
Source Census 2001

According to the 2001 census the overwhelming majority of South Africans, or 79.8%, are Christian. The independent African Zion Christian churches predominate, being the faith of 15.3% of the total population, and 19.2% of all Christians.

Most South Africans are multilingual, able to speak more than one language. English- and Afrikaans-speaking people tend not to have much ability in indigenous languages, but are fairly fluent in each other's language. A large number of South Africans speak English, which is ubiquitous in official and commercial public life. The country's other lingua franca is isiZulu.

Roughly 15% of the population have no religion, and 1.4% are undetermined about their faith. Islam is the religion of 1.5% of South Africans, Hinduism that of 1.2%, African traditional belief 0.3%, Judaism 0.2% and other beliefs 0.6%.


South African Internet Demographics: Specs; Stats and Demography

Johannesburg: - 29%

Cape Town: - 17%

Pretoria - 14%

Durban: - 6.6%

Other Gauteng: - 5.5%

Other Western Cape: - 4.8%

Gender -- Male: -55%; Female: - 45%

Population Group

White: - 63%

AFRICAN: - 25%

Coloured: - 7%

Indian: - 5%

Marital Status: Married - 58%; Single - 32% - Divorced - 7%

The total monthly personal income for all household members combined, before tax?

Up to R499 - 1.1%

From R500 – R799 - 1.2%

From R800 – R1099 - 1.5%

From R1100 – R1599 - 1.8%

From R1600 – R2999 - 2.0%

From R3000 – R5999 - 4.5%

From R6000 – R8999 - 5.1%

From R9000 – R11999 - 5.7%

From R12000 – R15999 - 7.7%

From R16000 – R19999 - 6.9%

From R20000 – R24999 - 8.1%

From R25000 – R29999 - 7.0%

From R30000 – R39999 - 9.2%

From R40000 – R49999 - 7.3%

From R50000 – R69999 - 7.1%

R70000 + - 7.3%

Prefer not to say - 16.3%

Age GroupUnder 15 - 0.2%

16 – 19 - 1.7%

20 – 24 - 11%

25 – 34 - 31%

35 – 44 - 25%

45 – 49 - 9.5%

50 – 54 - 7.8%

55 – 64 - 9.9%

65+ - 3.

South Africa's Internet User Demographic Stats Revealed

The Digital Media & Marketing Association has released their latest statistics which sheds light on South Africa’s internet user demographics, the data reveals that 63% of internet users in South Africa are white, 25% Black, 7% Coloured and 5% Indian. Other stats such as 62% of local Internet users are male compared to 38% female and that only 7% of South African internet users are below the age of 25.

The following table gives a snapshot of South Africa’s overall demographics compared to the demographics of Internet users in the country.

Demographic Internet SA Population Internet vs Population

Gender:

Male:

Internet - 62.26%

South African Population - 49.00%

Internet vs Population - 127%

Female:

Internet - 37.74%

South African Population - 51.00%

Internet vs Population - 74%

Population Group

Black

Internet - 26.66%

South African Population - 79.40%

Internet vs Population - 34%

Colored

Internet - 6.60%

South African Population - 8.70%

Internet vs Population - 76%

Indian

Internet - 4.97%

South African Population - 2.70%

Internet vs Population - 184%

White

internet - 61.76%

South African Population - 9.20%

Internet vs Population - 671%

Province

Gauteng

Internet - 50.69%

South African Population - 22.40%

Internet vs Population - 226%

Western Cape

Internet - 21.35%

South African Population - 10.40%

Internet vs Population - 205%

Kwazulu-Natal

Internet - 10.67%

South African Population - 21.30%

Internet vs Population - 50%

Free State

Internet - 2.61%

South African Population - 5.70%

Internet vs Population - 46%

Eastern Cape

Internet - 5.07%

South African Population - 13.50%

Internet vs Population - 38%

Mpumalanga

Internet - 3.27%

South African Population - 7.20%

Internet vs Population - 45%

Northern Cape

Internet - 0.88%

South African Population - 2.20%

Internet vs Population - 40%

North West

Internet - 2.54%

South African Population - 6.40%

Internet vs Population - 40%

Limpopo

Internet - 2.93%

South African Population - 10.90%

Internet vs Population - 27%

With all the details lined up above, one should note that the behavior of South Africans on the Facebook is not very much different from the case studies given above [Prior to talking about Africa]. The only thing about having access and usage of Facebook can be gleaned from the stats above as to how unequal it is, that is, access and ways and means of acquiring such can be seen within the statistics above, that in more ways than one, Apartheid has morphed into the Facebook amongst its users in south Africa based on race, class and access. These are made patently clear by the statistics which I have cited above, including distribution of Facebook by race and clan; behavior and affects and effects of using and having access to Facebook as described by the people who use it and research it below.

Because the majority of people in south Africa, Facebook might become affected by the orality of Africans in south Africa(once Africans realize this power they have).We have to take note that there are numerous differences between primary orality and secondary orality, the main being that one includes writing while the other has no knowledge of writing or literature. Another difference is that members of primary orality were outward, extroverted people because they had no reason to turn inward.

Their thoughts can be recorded; therefore speaking is not imperative in society[But Ong has maintained that for primary oral cultures to survive, they had to keep on repeating their stories over and over]. for those in secondary cultures, they can instead write articles or novels, that can have he same effect as listening to someone speak. Secondary orality allows for society to be furthered more so than primary orality{in technological way0for Ong has noted that writing is a technology], as events can be recorded as they are happening, rather than relying on passing the story down through speaking(although this still happens a great deal in Africa], and this process causes words to be embellished.

Today primary oral culture in the strict sense hardly exists, since every culture knows of writing and has some experience of its effects. Still, to varying degrees many cultures and subcultures, even in high-technology ambiance, preserve much of the mind-set of primary orality. The usage of this binary factors when Africans deal with the messaging on the Walls of Facebook, jives very well with the African primary orality. The technology can easily be adapted to Africans main form of their own communication, but at the same time, what effects this technology brings along with it, that too affects Africans just in the same way as it affects other Facebookers all over the globe.

You Are Not Facebook's Customer...

The Negative Effects Of Facebook

Facebook as we all know is asocial networking website launched in February 2004. Its aim was that users can add people as friends, send them messages and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. And it was restricted to anyone above the age of thirteen. Initially, membership was restricted to students of Harvard College only by the founder Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates and fellow computer science students, Eduardo Savenn, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. That was because Facebook was just an idea which he was just catching fun with and playing around with.


People in virtual communities use words on screens to exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends and lose them, play games, flirt, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk. People in virtual communities, like Facebook, for instance, do just about everything people do in real life, but we leave our bodies behind. You can't kiss anybody and nobody can punch you in the nose, but a lot can happen within those boundaries. To the billions, who have been drawn to it, the vitality of Facebook, and computer-linked cultures, even addictive (Rheingold)

However on September 26, 2006, Facebook was open to everyone of age 13 and older who has a valid e-mail address. This has given Facebook a membership of over 500 million active users worldwide and a net worth valuation of about $3.7 billion and $5 billion. Since the advent of facebook, people’s lives have never remained the same again. Facebook as a social networking site has had different effects on people; both negative and positive as a coin also have two sides.

Over the years since the coming of Facebook, one of, if not most of, the attending unhealthy effects I have noticed is its aid of scammers and spammers alike to manipulate features on Facebook by creating false events and fake contacts for deceitful purposes. It has become an avenue for people to perpetrate their evil intention on others. Recently a man was found injured along a major road in the United States. After so much investigation, it was discovered that it was because of a simple ‘finally I got the contract’ status update on Facebook which made some rouges attack him. There are so many other cases of scams relating to Facebook all over the world.

Also, another alarming negative effect of Facebook is that it has been found that Facebook has become a platform for porn-like exhibitions. Female Facebookers and male users too now use obscene pictures and photo tags tags. Facebook, due to this fact, has now turned into an exotic center where innocent young minds are being corrupted and negatively influenced.

More recently, it has been discovered that Facebook is a good avenue for advertisement and publicity because of the way it is built. For instance, if I update my status as ‘New mini-laptops available at Omlek Computer Limited’, it will appear on the newsfeed of everybody connected to me as through I have advertised. But on the contrary, it is now a means of exploiting other people’s ideas because scams have been made through that means and nobody seems to trust any form of those adverts anymore, instead they use it to steal other people’s ideas.

The ire and angst accompanying Facebook's most recent tweaks to its interface are truly astounding. The complaints rival the irritation of AOL's dial-up users back in the mid-'90s, who were getting too many busy signals when they tried to get online. The big difference, of course, is that AOL's users were paying customers. In the case of Facebook, which we don't even pay to use, we aren't the customers at all.

Let's start with the changes themselves. Until now, the main thing that showed up on users' pages was a big list of "updates" from all the friends and companies and groups to which they were connected. It was a giant chronological list that made no distinction between an article (like this one) that may have been recommended by a hundred friends and the news that one person just changed his relationship status or had a funny dream.

Facebook has now prioritized that flow of stories into a news feed that puts "top stories" on top, and the more chronological list of everything down below. Top stories are selected by an algorithm of some sort that "knows" what will be important to the user based on past behavior and numbers of connections to those recommending the story, and so on.

Meanwhile, as if to make up for this violation of the what-just-happened-is-the-only-thing-that-matters ethos of the social net, Facebook added a live, Twitter-like stream of everything everyone else is doing or saying. It runs down the right side of the screen, almost like CNN TV's awfully distracting and wisely retired "news crawl."

On an Internet where everyone and everything are becoming "friended" to one another, such a division of the relevant "solid" bits from the topic stream of data points makes sense. After all, updates from your closest friends and favorite bloggers should take priority over those from some relative stranger you "friended" because he said he was in your fifth grade class and you didn't want to insult him. If everyone ends up connected to everyone, Facebook will have to make some distinctions or the service will be useless.

But users are bothered by all this. On the simplest level, they don't like change, particularly when it results in making their free time more complex and stressful. Facebook was always a lazy person's friend and time waster. Turning into a dashboard designed to increase productivity and relevancy turns it more into, well, work.

Of course, if they stopped and thought about it, they would realize that Facebook is work. We are not Facebook's customers at all. The boardroom discussions at Facebook are not about how to help little Johnny make more and better friendships online; they are about how Facebook can monetize Johnny's "social graph" -- the accumulated data about how Johnny makes friends, shares links and makes consumer decisions. Facebook's real customers are the companies who actually pay them for this data, and for access to our eyeballs in the form of advertisements. The hours Facebook users put into their profiles and lists and updates is the labor that Facebook then sells to the market researchers and advertisers it serves.

Deep down, most users sense this, which is why every time Facebook makes a change they are awakened from the net trance for long enough to be reminded of what is really going on. They see that their "news feeds" are going to be prioritized by an algorithm they will never understand. They begin to suspect that Facebook is about to become more useful to the companies who want to keep "important" stories from getting lost in the churn -- and less useful for the humans.

Ultimately, they don't trust Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and are suspicious of his every move. By contrast, Apple founder Steve Jobs took away his customers' hard drives, Flash movies, keyboards and Firewire ports -- and yet consumers put up with the inconvenience and discomfort every step of the way because they believed that Steve knew best, and trusted that he was taking them somewhere better.

Apple users pay handsomely for the privilege of putting themselves in the company's hands. Facebook does not enjoy this same level of trust with its nonpaying subscribers. That's because on Facebook we're not the customers. We are the product. We do not know how to program our computers, nor do we care. We spend much more time and energy trying to figure out how to use them to program one another instead.

In Line and On-Line

Imagine a world in which you are connected to everyone, without having to reveal yourself to anyone. Think of the opportunity to participate in or watch the on-line discussion of sexual fantasy without having to reveal your identy. Reflect over the amazing ability to link up with organizations, individuals, libraries, causes, data bases, governments, museums, etc., all over the world without leaving your keyboard and screen.

Universal access and convergence suddenly become commonplace. In a review of the 10th annual International Conference and exposition on Multimedia and CD-ROM-to be a latter-day Walter Benjamin who could stroll cyberspace at will, with no bounds, and flanuer in Paris. to be able to move about 'at random' in a 'hypertext universe where one could invent connections and spark new synthesis (Anson).

This is the modus operandi and existence of Facebook social media users and this also is a new way of how humans beings have had their communication with one another changed and conditioned-made into a new and different reality than say 10 years ago. Life on-line provides each of us with the opportunity to become "Media Flaneurs," adventurers who never leave the room/Walls in the case of Facebook), but interact with those with whom we do not share community.

We may stroll the channels, telephone lines, stations, chat rooms and web sites selecting moments in other people's lives in which they can perform and exit. We "channel surf" or "netsurf" from program to program, site to site, from situation to situation, from momentary connections, strangely encapsulated in a protected warm safe place while taking excursions into electronic space and splurge. It is the serendipitous gambol without commitment that excites,titillates and brings satisfaction along with anonymity and protection. Face-to-face or body-to-body requires different energy and obligations without guarantee of experiencing the pleasure of eavesdropping.

Below are some case studies that are related to the thrust of this Hub:


Facebookaholic: Stories From The Social Media Stream

Facebook addiction: Log Out

Case Study Number 1

I turned on my laptop. Even before the desktop loaded, I clicked on the browser icon, I couldn't wait till i could click on the Facebook.com short cut on the user tab, it turned on with my password saved; I hit enter fast, like a chat ninja.

- There was I.

In front of a huge number of notifications, which slowly i opened one by one. I liked a few random pics even if I thought it were stupid, then a few status messages which I dint even read fully, then a few app request without wondering "Why would some one even like an app request?" and then drop a few comments hopefully, hopeless. Then like my own comments even if it had just a little essence of humor, then randomly read a few other comments, and like the rest. Then comes the crucial decision making part when I need to choose a pic of mine and change my DP again. Update a status. Like it. I would even like the like button if it were feasible. Read a few messages often spam, then reply with equally meaningful content. Then go to my profile page and poke back the huge list awaiting to be clicked. Then slowly sit back and scroll down through the updates and follow the usual facebook of custom of likes. And then a cold sweat drips when I think about logging out.

Finally I logout. And shut my laptop.

Walk out to my bed to realize that the reason I had turned my laptop on to see my "timetable" for tomorrows class !!

The fact that worries me more is that when I turned on the laptop again i thought it was more important to share it on my status message, but what i typed was top big for it THAT'S WHY I BLOGGED and I still haven't checked the time table YET !

I in the witness of the almighty and the fear of thy self, declare and admit that I am a Facebook addict!

- Case Study Number 2

1. when one wakes up,whenever has a free period, gets home from school, after dinner, in-between homework, before going to bed, checks their Facebook
2. when 300 friends seems too few
3. when 50% of your friends you haven't seen in a year, and another 25% you've never met ever
4. when you are a member of over 30 groups and constantly check to see if anyone has made a new one
5. when you look at the clock and see that you have spent 4 hours looking at peoples facebook profiles
6. when you check the clock again, and you've spent another 2 hours after that "just finishing up"
7. when you talk to someone who doesn't like Facebook, you are shocked, appalled and immediately begin to try to convert them
8. when you see someone you haven't seen in a long time, but decide just to check their Facebook to find out anything going on with them
9. when you finish your homework at 10, but don't go to bed till 2
10. when you are a member of a club called "Facebook addicts," "Facebookaholics," "Face bookers anonymous," or some variation
person 1: are you ok? you look like your about to fall asleep, you have blisters on your fingers and your eyes are all bloodshot.
person 2: yeah... i just didn't get a lot of sleep last night.
person 1: a lot of homework?
person 2: nahhh, just me being a Facebookaholic

- Case Study Number 3

Never being able to leave facebook.. On it day and night.. Staying up late. Even when you know things haven't changed and it stays the same. When you decide to play a game for hours that your eyes start getting swollen and red and bags under them.. When a friend asks you to go to a movie but you decline because you have to see the next update on your friends status.

- Case Study Number 4

Facebook Affair

Like a real Affair, a Facebook Affair is when someone is cheating on their boyfriend/husband or girlfriend/wife with someone on Facebook. The relationship never really becomes physical and the two people might never actually meet. The Facebook Affair ranges from them sexting each other and having very sexual conversations like they are a couple, to flirting and giving each other "cute" nicknames like "honey" and "boo".

This can go on for months or be a one night thing. The two people may actually know each other or be complete strangers, but either way when the person they are actually in a relationship finds out there will be hell to pay.Jack: Hey, did you hear Bill got fired? Mike: What? Why? Jack: He was having a Facebook Affair with his boss's wife. She left her profile open and he saw their messages. Mike: Damn, but she is a milf sooooo...Jen: I feel terrible. Kelly: What happened? Jen: Mike and I had a fight lastnight and I got drunk and had a Facebook Affair with an Italian Underwear Model. Kelly: Damn, but Marks a douche sooooo...

Case Study Number 5

Shocking: Facebook users feel loneliness in real life

London, Aug 15: Have you ever thought of signing-out from Facebook to make friends in real life? If no, it's the time to kick yourself out from social networking sites to meet the reality. According to a new study, young people are not getting time to make friends in their real life as they are spending much of their time on Facebook.


A new survey study found that most of the teenagers are facing loneliness in their life though most of them have huge followers in social sites. The study revealed that despite of having an average of some 243 'Facebook' friends, teenagers are spending so much time on the Internet that 60 per cent have little time to go out with friends in real life.

According to report in Daily Mail, the study surveyed people aged from 18 to 80 and found that more than a third of people spend more time cheating online than going out with friends.

Interestingly, about 50 percent of the respondents are aware of lack of friends in their real life and wants to join or start a local friendship club.

More than 75 percent of the people participated in the survey admitted that they "feel lonely" and need more face-to-face friends to make life really worth living. Nearly 60 percent found making friends online is simpler with new technologies.

"Eighteen year-olds are as lonely as 80-year-olds and they want a friendship service because they can no longer make friends in the traditional ways," said Valery McConnell, the editor of 'Yours' magazine, which commissioned the survey.

Case Study Number 6

Today's society is fuelled by the Internet. The ramifications of relying on technology may be vast, and the reliance on a particular website may prove costly in varying aspects. Facebook is an incredibly lucrative business endeavour that has made its founder scads of money. Emanating from modest visions, Facebook has become a part of modern society, running the spectrum from young to old users.

Social Media websites are abundant, with the runaway leader being Facebook. Facebook is one of the most common search terms, and it currently houses more than half a billion people The Facebook phenomenon spawned a major motion picture, and endless debates between Facebook devotees, and those that refuse to buckle to the enormous peer pressure and become an active member.

Facebook can be argued to be a viable website, necessary in today’s society. The benefits of Facebook may be numerous, but there are many negative associations with Facebook that primarily stem from the improper usage of a Facebook account.

False Sense of Popularity

With its simplicity in terms of finding and requesting friends, many people have Facebook accounts that are overflowing with friends. Mere acquaintances are being lumped into the category of friend, and the number of friends that you have on your Facebook account is seen almost as a badge of honour. This may skew your view of how you are perceived.

By the same token, a person who only has a few close friends in their account may be subjected to mock ridicule at school. Facebook status is readily becoming an indicator of many trends. With Facebook you need to be cautious. It can build you up in one moment, and then leave you reeling the next.

The wrong message may be received in this regard. While they have many friends on Facebook, the individual may have a difficult time befriending people face to face. They may lack the requisite confidence and self-esteem needed to sustain friendships.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying is part of the epidemic linked to social media websites. While Facebook alone is not the root of cyber bullying, it does give it an extremely powerful platform from which to victimize the vulnerable.

cyber bullying, as information is there forever. Cyber bullying is one of the most negative effects of Facebook.

Facebook can help to rapidly spread damaging photos, videos, and comments. A person can be victimized anonymously by someone from their ‘friend’ list. This traumatizes the individual, since you are suddenly thrust into a battle with an unknown assailant. Cyberspace helps perpetuate the problems of

Confidence

A person with a large network of friends on Facebook may feel a boost in their confidence levels. While having confidence is a great thing, if your confidence is derived from Facebook, you may find yourself suddenly devoid of confidence. Parents have to watch their children's levels of

self-esteem on a regular basis, and ensure that they are well-rounded individuals. A reliance on Facebook for friendship is detrimental to your ability to communicate with others eye to eye.

Waste of Time

Time is precious. Many people will claim that they just do not have enough time in a day to work, attend classes, take the kids to their extracurricular activities, and tend to the daily chores associated with the responsibilities of being an adult. Many of these people will be slaves to the Facebook world, constantly logging in from their laptop, desktop, smart-phone, or tablet. They sift through insignificant material, such as status updates, new group and friend requests or suggestions of potential people you may know, wasting valuable time.

The time spent on Facebook varies between individuals, but one commonality is that it occupies a lot of time. It can lead to a fundamental lack of sleep, as Facebook is a twenty four hour a day concern. Many people have friends that are from different time zones, and therefore their information is updated at obscure hours.

Job Hunting

In today’s society, resumés are being replaced by social media searches. Potential employers are seeking out applicants in the world of places such as Facebook, giving them insight into the time of person that you are, based upon your profile, status updates, posted photos, and comments on your wall. Many people post anything and everything, without prudently thinking it through first. Incriminating items on your Facebook account may leave you without an interview for a position you assumed you were perfectly skilled to receive. This is another negative effect of Facebook.

Addiction

Facebook can lead to addiction in some people. The sheer amount of time spent perusing Facebook, the endless hours spent playing games and writing comments and the need to login while at work or while stopped at a red light indicates that an addiction has formed.

Predators

Facebook allows predators to gain access to your likes and dislikes, the knowledge of where you go to school, work, hang out at night, and so forth. Predators can wreak havoc onFacebook, so tread carefully when you are dancing through Cyberspace.them by predators.Facebook allows predators to gain access to your likes and dislikes, the knowledge of where you go to school, work, hang out at night, and so forth. Predators can wreak havoc onFacebook, so tread carefully when you are dancing through Cyberspace.them by predators. Facebook allows predators to gain access to your likes and dislikes, the knowledge of where you go to school, work, hang out at night, and so forth. Predators can wreak havoc onFacebook, so tread carefully when you are dancing through Cyberspace.

Facebook enables people to post their true identities, which can be utilized against them by predators. Facebook allows predators to gain access to your likes and dislikes, the knowledge of where you go to school, work, hang out at night, and so forth. Predators can wreak havoc on Facebook, so tread carefully when you are dancing through Cyberspace

Many Facebook users spend countless hours trying to find old flames, either in hopes of rekindling a romance, or for the sake of curiosity. This poses a problem for the user, as the world of Facebook is relatively tight-knit, and these searches and friend requests have a nasty way of finding their way to someone who may not be appreciative. Online romances and affairs are just as morally corrupt as physical affairs.

Invasion of Privacy

No matter how stringent you are with your security settings, there is not a method of controlling what other people post about you, or share things originating from you. People give out valuable information, such as acknowledging their attendance at a Stag and Doe or wedding on the weekend, giving unscrupulous Facebook users a time frame for robbing your house, or simply ransacking your identity.

The privacy issue also extends to people being able to find you that you do not want to find you. Even if you do not confirm them as a friend, they can manoeuvre around until they latch on to a friend of yours, or find out enough information from your account as it is. The invasion of personal privacy is an extremely negative effect of Facebook.

Communication Erosion

Facebook enables people to stay in touch at all times. Many people substitute this for actually getting together and enjoying each other’s company and some shared laughter. People are friends with lots of people on Facebook, yet sit alone in front of the computer to catch up. This is the paradox of Facebook, another negative effect.

Security Breach

Computer hackers are able to send you into a tailspin with their abilities to infiltrate your account and coerce you into voluntarily giving away too much information. The security issues is addressed often by Facebook, but problems will always exist.

Facebook has many negative effects associated with it, in spite of the wonderful appeal it seems to have on the masses.

One way to look at your Facebook popularity would be to see how many of your ‘843’ friends show up to help you move or paint when you are in need. Facebook will run its course, and something else will come along to take its place. Hopefully people will still remember how to communicate and make new friends once Facebook has departed. (Bobby Cole)

The Effects and Affects of The Internet On Your Brain

Try reading a book while doing a crossword puzzle, and that, says author Nicholas Carr, is what you're doing every time you use the Internet.

Carr is the author of the Atlantic article is Google Making Us Stupid? which he has expanded into a book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.

Carr believes that the Internet is a medium based on interruption — and it's changing the way people read and process information. We've come to associate the acquisition of wisdom with deep reading and solitary concentration, and he says there's not much of that to be found online.

Chronic Distraction

Carr started research for The Shallows after he noticed a change in his own ability to concentrate.

"I'd sit down with a book, or a long article," he tells NPR's Robert Siegel, "and after a couple of pages my brain wanted to do what it does when I'm online: check e-mail, click on links, do some Googling, hop from page to page."

This chronic state of distraction "follows us" Carr argues, long after we shut down our computers.

"Neuroscientists and psychologists have discovered that, even as adults, our brains are very plastic," Carr explains. "They're very malleable, they adapt at the cellular level to whatever we happen to be doing. And so the more time we spend surfing, and skimming, and scanning ... the more adept we become at that mode of thinking."

Would You Process This Information Better On Paper?

The book cites many studies that indicate that online reading yields lower comprehension than reading from a printed page. Then again, reading online is a relatively recent phenomenon, and a generation of readers who grow up consuming everything on the screen may simply be more adept at online reading than people who were forced to switch from print.

Still, Carr argues that even if people get better at hopping from page to page, they will still be losing their abilities to employ a "slower, more contemplative mode of thought." He says research shows that as people get better at multitasking, they "become less creative in their thinking."

The idea that the brain is a kind of zero sum game — that the ability to read incoming text messages is somehow diminishing our ability to read Moby Dick — is not altogether self-evident. Why can't the mind simply become better at a whole variety of intellectual tasks?

Carr says it really has to do with practice. The reality — especially for young people — is that online time is "crowding out" the time that might otherwise be spent in prolonged, focused concentration.

"We're seeing this medium, the medium of the Web, in effect replace the time that we used to spend in different modes of thinking," Carr says.

The Natural State Of Things?

Carr admits he's something of a fatalist when it comes to technology. He views the advent of the Internet as "not just technological progress but a form of human regress."

Human ancestors had to stay alert and shift their attention all the time; cavemen who got too wrapped up in their cave paintings just didn't survive. Carr acknowledges that prolonged, solitary thought is not the natural human state, but rather "an aberration in the great sweep of intellectual history that really just emerged with [the] technology of the printed page."

The Internet, Carr laments, simply returns us to our "natural state of distractedness."

Pundits have been trying to bury the book for a long time. In the early years of the nineteenth century, the burgeoning popularity of newspapers — well over a hundred were being published in London alone — led many observers to assume that books were on the verge of obsolescence. How could they compete with the immediacy of the daily broadsheet? "Before this century shall end, journalism will be the whole press — the whole human thought," declared the French poet and politician Alphonse de Lamartine in 1831.

"Thought will spread across the world with the rapidity of light, instantly conceived, instantly written, instantly understood. It will blanket the earth from one pole to the other — sudden, instantaneous, burning with the fervor of the soul from which it burst forth. This will be the reign of the human word in all its plenitude. Thought will not have time to ripen, to accumulate into the form of a book — the book will arrive too late. The only book possible from today is a newspaper."

Lamartine was mistaken. At the century's end, books were still around, living happily beside newspapers. But a new threat to their existence had already emerged: Thomas Edison's phonograph. It seemed obvious, at least to the intelligentsia, that people would soon be listening to literature rather than reading it. In an 1889 essay in the Atlantic Monthly, Philip Hubert predicted that "many books and stories may not see the light of print at all; they will go into the hands of their readers, or hearers rather, as phonograms."

The phonograph, which at the time could record sounds as well as play them, also "promises to far outstrip the typewriter" as a tool for composing prose, he wrote. That same year, the futurist Edward Bellamy suggested, in a Harper's article, that people would come to read "with the eyes shut." They would carry around a tiny audio player, called an "indispensable," which would contain all their books, newspapers, and magazines. Mothers, wrote Bellamy, would no longer have "to make themselves hoarse telling the children stories on rainy days to keep them out of mischief." The kids would all have their own indispensables.

Five years later, Scribner's Magazine delivered the seeming coup de grace to the codex, publishing an article titled "The End of Books" by Octave Uzanne, an eminent French author and publisher. "What is my view of the destiny of books, my dear friends?" he wrote. "I do not believe (and the progress of electricity and modern mechanism forbids me to believe) that Gutenberg's invention can do otherwise than sooner or later fall into desuetude as a means of current interpretation of our mental products."

Printing, a "somewhat antiquated process" that for centuries "has reigned despotically over the mind of man," would be replaced by "phonography," and libraries would be turned into "phonographotecks." We would see a return of "the art of utterance," as narrators took the place of writers. "The ladies," Uzanne concluded, "will no longer say in speaking of a successful author, ‘What a charming writer!' All shuddering with emotion, they will sigh, 'Ah, how this "Teller's" voice thrills you, charms you, moves you.'"

The book survived the phonograph as it had the newspaper. Listening didn't replace reading. Edison's invention came to be used mainly for playing music rather than declaiming poetry and prose. During the twentieth century, book reading would withstand a fresh onslaught of seemingly mortal threats: moviegoing, radio listening, TV viewing. Today, books remain as commonplace as ever, and there's every reason to believe that printed works will continue to be produced and read, in some sizable quantity, for years to come.

While physical books may be on the road to obsolescence, the road will almost certainly be a long and winding one. Yet the continued existence of the codex, though it may provide some cheer to bibliophiles, doesn't change the fact that books and book reading, at least as we've defined those things in the past, are in their cultural twilight. As a society, we devote ever less time to reading printed words, and even when we do read them, we do so in the busy shadow of the Internet.

"Already," the literary critic George Steiner wrote in 1997, "the silences, the arts of concentration and memorization, the luxuries of time on which ‘high reading' depended are largely disposed." But "these erosions," he continued, "are nearly insignificant compared with the brave new world of the electronic." Fifty years ago, it would have been possible to make the case that we were still in the age of print. Today, it is not.

Some thinkers welcome the eclipse of the book and the literary mind it fostered. In a recent address to a group of teachers, Mark Federman, an education researcher at the University of Toronto, argued that literacy, as we've traditionally understood it, "is now nothing but a quaint notion, an aesthetic form that is as irrelevant to the real questions and issues of pedagogy today as is recited poetry — clearly not devoid of value, but equally no longer the structuring force of society."

The time has come, he said, for teachers and students alike to abandon the "linear, hierarchical" world of the book and enter the Web's "world of ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive proximity" — a world in which "the greatest skill" involves "discovering emergent meaning among contexts that are continually in flux."

Clay Shirky, a digital-media scholar at New York University, suggested in a 2008 blog post that we shouldn't waste our time mourning the death of deep reading — it was overrated all along. "No one reads War and Peace," he wrote, singling out Tolstoy's epic as the quintessence of high literary achievement. "It's too long, and not so interesting." People have "increasingly decided that Tolstoy's sacred work isn't actually worth the time it takes to read it."

The same goes for Proust's In Search of Lost Time and other novels that until recently were considered, in Shirky's cutting phrase, "Very Important in some vague way." Indeed, we've "been emptily praising" writers like Tolstoy and Proust "all these years." Our old literary habits "were just a side-effect of living in an environment of impoverished access." Now that the Net has granted us abundant "access," Shirky concluded, we can at last lay those tired habits aside.

Such proclamations seem a little too staged to take seriously. They come off as the latest manifestation of the outré posturing that has always characterized the anti-intellectual wing of academia. But, then again, there may be a more charitable explanation. Federman, Shirky, and others like them may be early exemplars of the post-literary mind, intellectuals for whom the screen rather than the page has always been the primary conduit of information. As Alberto

Manguel has written, "There is an unbridgeable chasm between the book that tradition has declared a classic and the book (the same book) that we have made ours through instinct, emotion and understanding: suffered through it, rejoiced in it, translated it into our experience and (notwithstanding the layers of readings with which a book comes into our hands) essentially become its first readers." If you lack the time, the interest, or the facility to inhabit a literary work — to make it your own in the way Manguel describes — then of course you'd consider Tolstoy's masterpiece to be "too long, and not so interesting."

Although it may be tempting to ignore those who suggest the value of the literary mind has always been exaggerated, that would be a mistake. Their arguments are another important sign of the fundamental shift taking place in society's attitude toward intellectual achievement. Their words also make it a lot easier for people to justify that shift — to convince themselves that surfing the Web is a suitable, even superior, substitute for deep reading and other forms of calm and attentive thought. In arguing that books are archaic and dispensable, Federman and Shirky provide the intellectual cover that allows thoughtful people to slip comfortably into the permanent state of distractedness that defines the online life.

Our desire for fast-moving, kaleidoscopic diversions didn't originate with the invention of the World Wide Web. It has been present and growing for many decades, as the pace of our work and home lives has quickened and as broadcast media like radio and television have presented us with a welter of programs, messages, and advertisements.

The Internet, though it marks a radical departure from traditional media in many ways, also represents a continuation of the intellectual and social trends that emerged from people's embrace of the electric media of the twentieth century and that have been shaping our lives and thoughts ever since. The distractions in our lives have been proliferating for a long time, but never has there been a medium that, like the Net, has been programmed to so widely scatter our attention and to do it so insistently.

David Levy, in Scrolling Forward, describes a meeting he attended at Xerox's famed Palo Alto Research Center in the mid-1970s, a time when the high-tech lab's engineers and programmers were devising many of the features we now take for granted in our personal computers. A group of prominent computer scientists had been invited to PARC to see a demonstration of a new operating system that made "multitasking" easy.

Unlike traditional operating systems, which could display only one job at a time, the new system divided a screen into many "windows," each of which could run a different program or display a different document. To illustrate the flexibility of the system, the Xerox presenter clicked from a window in which he had been composing software code to another window that displayed a newly arrived e-mail message.

He quickly read and replied to the message, then hopped back to the programming window and continued coding. Some in the audience applauded the new system. They saw that it would enable people to use their computers much more efficiently. Others recoiled from it. "Why in the world would you want to be interrupted — and distracted — by e-mail while programming?" one of the attending scientists angrily demanded.

The question seems quaint today. The windows interface has become the interface for all PCs and for most other computing devices as well. On the Net, there are windows within windows within windows, not to mention long ranks of tabs primed to trigger the opening of even more windows.

Multitasking has become so routine that most of us would find it intolerable if we had to go back to computers that could run only one program or open only one file at a time. And yet, even though the question may have been rendered moot, it remains as vital today as it was thirty-five years ago. It points, as Levy says, to "a conflict between two different ways of working and two different understandings of how technology should be used to support that work.

" Whereas the Xerox researcher "was eager to juggle multiple threads of work simultaneously," the skeptical questioner viewed his own work "as an exercise in solitary, singleminded concentration." In the choices we have made, consciously or not, about how we use our computers, we have rejected the intellectual tradition of solitary, single-minded concentration, the ethic that the book bestowed on us. We have cast our lot with the juggler.

Excerpted from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.

The Media Ecologists PerspectivesIf the Internet is messing with our minds, Media Ecologist give us a much more concise and clearer explanation as to what is happening to Man in his and his relationship with Technology and other media . I will use Lance Strate's article whose heading is "What Is Media Ecology" in order for us to put the article into into proper perspective. Lance Strate wrote in:

What Is Media Ecology

"The world that God created understandably troubles us today... Some are inclined to blame our present woes on technology. Yet there are paradoxes here. Technology is artificial, but for a human being there is nothing more natural than to be artificial. Walter Ong (Faith and Contexts, Vol 1, 1:7.)

Media ecology is the study of communication technologies as cultural environments. If that doesn’t make your heart race (like me), then don’t worry: there’s still hope. In the infancy of the digital information age, it’s hard to imagine a field of study that’s more important ; or that can better explain why the new edition of the iPhone is messing with our minds.

Come on, we all know its messing with our minds.

Steve Jobs aside, there are some names to know. We’ll start with three.

The first is Neil Postman The New York University professor was the first to create a doctoral program in “media ecology”– at New York University in 1970. The term had biology class in mind: think of that round glass petri dish you used to grow bacteria. The “medium” was the substance placed in the dish to grow the “culture.” In this case, it’d be like eye-dropping mini iPhones (iDropping – ha) into a dish of popular culture, and seeing what grows.

But here’s where things get complicated. You could easily think of this in reverse. In this case, let’s make the mini-iPhones the “medium” sauce, and eye-drop in little bits of culture to see what happens. Yeah, that gets crazy. One question of media ecology is “Does technology grow in the culture or culture grow in the technology?” Answer? Yes.

But we were discussing names. And the most well known scholar in the room is certainly Marshall McLuhan whose aphorisms and cultural commentary in the 1960s repeated their way into popular culture enough for Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to record two of them “The medium is the message,” and the one that is remembered by its last two words, “The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of the global village.”

Because these phrases were as likely to appear at cocktail parties as scholarly journals, journalist Tom Wolfe in 1965 asked if McLuhan might be “the most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov” McLuhan interpreter Paul Levinson, after noting that Pavlov is misplaced on Wolfe’s list, insists that McLuhan is not.

Here are some key McLuhan thoughts:

A medium is any extension of a natural human faculty, either mental or physical. The vehicle (more precisely, the wheel) is an extension of legs and feet. An axe can extend an arm. Both the axe or the wheel are technological mediums. But so are the more mental extensions such as the alphabet and subsequent print, which extend human thought, or forms we now associate with the term, such as radio, and TV, which McLuhan would say are extensions of our central nervous system.

The content of a medium is always another medium. Huh? Here’s what we mean: it’s like those rubbermaid boxes or russian dolls, each one fitting into each other. The telegraph encodes the medium of the printed word, which contains the alphabet, which contains human speech, which contains human thought. Why is this important? The impact of messages are obscured. We think it’s the “content” that matters. But content is inseparable from container. The making the container—the medium—the message.

New media do not replace prior media but modify or obscure them. The printing press does not replace handwriting, but alters the way it is used. The question is not whether books on the iPad or Kindle will replace printed, bound books, but how it will change our perception of them. This is fundamental (and often missed).

Not all media are the same. Some media contain a high level of data–let’s call it “high definition.” McLuhan would call it “hot.” Movies are a good example–swirling imersrive experiences in sound and light and story. By contrast, other media are low definition—or cool—and therefore require the physical senses to engage more heavily to fill in missing data, such as the telephone or cartoons. Th

The effect of adding a new technology (medium or extension to human function) is numbness. Really. McLuhan would say that our senses get thrown off by new technologies: we don’t accurately feel its effects until later. That is, minus the prophets and artists. We can talk about them sometime.

One big point to take from these? We’re like fish-in-water when it comes to culture and technology. It’s hard to see when we’re swimming in it.

One more name:Walter: Ong. He’s got the quote at the top, and as a popular Jesuit priest-professor in St. Louis, got famous for an 1982 work entitled Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. Let’s lay aside that Ong is pretty much my hero, and just focus on what he thought was important to understand: the history of communications technologies.

And we’re not talking the move from the Apple IIe to the aluminum Macbook Pro. Technology starts with things like speech and language. Grunting and pointing is different than a fully formed grammar and vocabulary right? And when writing hits the scene (bonus word: chirography=hand writing), it changes everything. Ong said it “restructured human consciousness.” Plato and Socrates famously complain about this new writing thing that is going to destroy the memory of students because they can just look it up. Ah, the first complaints by teachers about how technology is ruining young lives.

Using Ong (and some after him) we can track big stages in communications history.

  1. Orality (talking only)
  2. Early Writing (pictorial writing then eventually phoentic alphabets; “craft literacy”;parchment)
  3. Later Writing (scrolls then early bound books i.e. codices)
  4. Early Print (Gutenberg and friends)
  5. Later Print (the mass market begins)
  6. Electric (Telegraph, telephone)
  7. Electronic (TV and radio)
  8. Digital (internet, cell phones)

That’s the cheap version of the chart, but it starts us out.

There are a ton of other names to mention. In terms of other names after Postman, McLuhan, and Ong, we might include: James Carey, Harold Innis, Elizabeth Eisenstein, Jacques Ellul, Christine Nystrom, Camille Paglia, Eric Havelock, and Susanne K Langer. Interpreters for the current generation might include Lance Strate, Paul Levinson, Casey Man Kong Lum and Paul Soukup. Among others.

So what is media ecology? It’s a framework to start understanding how text messaging affects love, how computer keyboards restructure brain patterns, and how my photo editor undoes my philosophy of life. It asks how we think about authority, what the rules of arguments will be, and if there is a difference between the beginning and end of a song. Perception, knowledge, fundamental social structures, and quite definitely God, are all in the mix. It is tis perspective that I am utilizing in my writing this article and then some.

What is media ecology? It’s the key to understanding the times, my friend. Facebook are some of 'these' times that need to be understood, fully and seriously...

Africa In FB Mix And Mode

Africa, like the rest of the world, has a nee to connect and share content and experience what the world has to offer is on the increase. social media is taking Africa by storm with mobile phone subscriptions, Internet and social media usage figures are on the climb. MXit and Facebook are leading the way with their high user numbers and Twitter is catching up with the most significant social networking recorded in the first hals of 2011.

African, in the latest series of key trends, growth has been inspired by elevated mobile penetration. Some exciting figures show that there are presently about 120 million Internet users, and 32-million Facebook users in Africa. this is quite high when compared to only 18% of Internet users in Asia are on Facebook. Africa is also enjoying the highest mobile subscription growth rates in the world.

Africa Streaming On the The Mobile Gizmo

Like everyone else, I took up late in joining the Face Social Network. I started in January, and by the end on May I was already banned from the social network. Facebook accused me of making and soliciting "friends" from their network and argued that I did not know these people. Yet, in real life, you make friends even with people you do not know or met throughout the hustle and bustle of life. The added one other charge that I was "spamming"? Duh!

What really is social networking? There are also the Facebookaholics who create "Walls" within the Facebook realm and claim them as their own FB social medium and media fiefdom; yet, as I see and understand, Facebook, although it be a meeting place of all, it is also a media disseminating viral ogre. Censorship is bruised egos of the media/messaging/information self appointed controlling mindless megalomaniacs posing as administrators and gatekeepers of what s to be posted or not. If a "friend" posts what they deem not according to their stated goals' and interests, they "block" or report one as a "spammer", which then gives the minions and spooks who actually facilitate the viral to send one pink warnings, admonishing and finally to totally blocking that account.

I went into participating on the Facebook so that I can make my own impressions of it. It's swirling virally nature has made it into an infinite extensions of man and information- of any sort. In a word, Facebook defocusses information and data and spreads it in all direction of man's perception, intellect and oral communications endeavors. Here is how Howard Rheingold's description on the Online experience:

"People in virtual communities use words on screens to exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends and lose them, play games, flirt, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk. People in virtual communities do just about everything people do in real life, but we leave our bodies behind. You can't kiss anybody and nobody can punch you in the nose, but a lot can happen within those boundaries. to millions who have been drawn into it, the richness and vitality of computer/Web-linked cultures is attractive, even addictive."

By participating in Facebook for five month, extensively and Intensely, I came to realize the futility of it all. Everything is everything on Facebboks. The ease of communication is thwarted by most of the petty and very much below average concerns, diatribes and dialogues-a lot of racism to fill one's lifetime- and many other shenanigans that half a billion people communicating with instant results foists and fosters a communication system that is for the now and later never existed. It satisfies the psychedelic need and addicts one to that instance of communication that, it is not a thing that stays, but needs more the next micro second, so that, in the final analysis people's life find cohabitation in a medium that is viral and in a state of constant and instant flux.

It is in this environment and background that I entered the Facebook, and zeroed-into South africa, and made as many friends as I could. I posted all sorts of information and all kinds of musical genres; I posted historical quotes, websites, original wriitings on my wall in various other Walls. I was 'befriended by all sorts of "Occupy Somethings" and all sorts of other outfits milling allover the Web and Facebook, all the way to Twitter and Google plus, the whole bit. Once or twice I locked horns with all types of characters and arguments. I begun laying off the explosive topics and was met with some rigid rejection by both African and White Facebook cadre who felt that the posts that I made were in-line with their agenda, thinking and information base?!...

That, I could not fathom, but nonetheless, I weaned myself slowly from the viral morass and begun to cobble up a few ideas about what I have seen, some of the information is mine, and some of it from people who have had some kind of experiences on Facebook in order to try and locate the origins of the addictive nature of Facebook and other social media-but in this case, specifically, the addictive nature of Facebook and how come it gets that way.

As has already been posited out above, the activities one find in such mediums and the intense interactive and convergent and divergent nature of the the communication systems of facilitating for "instancy", expectancy of that instancy rises with every feedback one gets from the "friends" one has on Facebook and the new ones they will converse with and develop viral relationships which have no commitment such as human interactive relationships- that of eye to to eye, body to body.

It is now man using electricity, machine and its Webs to become a person who is enjoying oneself and is in constant touch or talk or communication with others who form a friendship unlike friendship found amongst ones peers and real-life friends.. The power of privacy, anonymity and use of language viral bytes and communicating and reading and learning all sorts of information bits and Gigs, that in the end, man and machine become one, and the world opens up, thus, in the process, man subverts his past life-style with his friends and family- becoming an an ultimate Facebookaholic- body and soul-and mindset too.

Here's A warning From The Manufactures: Technological Addiction

Silicon Valley say Step away From The Device

According to Matt Richtell. "Stuart Crabb, a director in the executive offices of Facebook, naturally likes to extol the extraordinary benefits of computer and smartphones. But, like a growing number of technology leaders, he offers a warning: log off once in a while, and put them down. In a place where technology is seen as an all-powerful answer, it is increasingly being seen as too powerful 'even addictive'.

The concern, voiced in conferences and in recent interviews with many top executives of technology companies, is that the lure of constant stimulation - the pervasive demands of 'Pings,' 'Rings,' 'Updates - is creating a profound physical craving that can hurt productivity and personal interactions. "If you put a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, it'll boil to death - it a nice analogy," Sad Mr Crab, Who oversees learning and development at Facebook. "People need to notice the effect that time online has on your performance and relationships."

The insight may not sound revelatory to anyone who has joked about "Crackberry" lifestyle or followed the work of researchers who are exploring whether interactive technology has addictive properties. But hearing it from leaders at many of silicon Valley's most influential companies, who profit from people spending more time online, can sound like auto executives selling muscle cars while warning about the dangers of fast acceleration.

"Were done with this honeymoon phase and now we're in this phase that says 'Wow, what have we done"" said Soren Gordhamer, who organizes Wisdom 2.0, an annual conference he started in 2010 about the pursuit of balance in the digital age. "It doesn't mean what we've done is bad. there's no blame. But there is a turning of the page.

At the Wisdom 2.0 conference in February, founders form Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Zynga and PayPal, and executive managers from companies like Google, Microsoft, Cisco and others listened and participated in conversations with experts in Yoga and midnfulness. In at least one session, they debated whether technology firms had a responsibility to consider their collective power to lure consumers to game or activities that waste time or distract them.

The actual science of whether such games and apps are addictive is embyonic. But the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, widely viewed as the viewed as the authority on metal illnesses, plans next year to include "Internet Use Disorder" in its appendix, an indication researchers believe something is going on but that that requires further study to be deemed an official condition

Some people disagree there is a problem, even if the agree that the online activities tap into deep neurological mechanisms. Eric Schiemeyer, a cofounder of Zynga, an online game company and , maker of huge hits like FarmVille, has said he has helped addict millions of people to dopamine, a neurochemical that ha been shown to be released by pleasurable activities, including video game playing, but also is understood to play a major role in the cycle of addiction.

But what he said he believed was that pole already craved dopamine and that Silicon Valley was no more responsible for creating irresistible technologies that, say fast-foo restaurants were responsible for making food with such wide appeal. "The'd say: Do we have any responsibility for the fact that people are getting fat?' Most people would say 'no'" said Mr. Schiermeyer. He added" "Given that we're human, we already want dopamine."

Along those lines, Scot Kriens, chairman of Juniper Networks, one of the biggest Internet infrastructure companies, said the powerful lure of devices mostly reflected primitive human longings to connect and interact(This really sounds McLuhanesque!), but that those desires needed to be managed so that they did not overwhelm people' lives.

As soon as we can, we sometimes Need to "Log Out."

Douglass Rushkoff says a loss of control over how his "likes" are used has led him to drop Facebook

Douglass Rushkoff says a loss of control over how his "likes" are used has led him to drop Facebook

Why I'm Quitting Facebook

This is precisely what Douglas Rushkoff did, that instead of "Logging Off" He shut his Facebook account. This is How and why he did it as he narrates in this following article"

"I used to be able to justify using Facebook as a cost of doing business. As a writer and sometime activist who needs to promote my books and articles and occasionally rally people to one cause or another, I found Facebook fast and convenient. Though I never really used it to socialize, I figured it was OK to let other people do that, and I benefited from their behavior.

I can no longer justify this arrangement.

Today, I am surrendering my Facebook account, because my participation on the site is simply too inconsistent with the values I espouse in my work. In my upcoming book "Present Shock," I chronicle some of what happens when we can no longer manage our many online presences. I have always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.

Facebook is just such a technology. It does things on our behalf when we're not even there. It actively misrepresents us to our friends, and worse misrepresents those who have befriended us to still others. To enable this dysfunctional situation -- I call it "digiphrenia" -- would be at the very least hypocritical. But to participate on Facebook as an author, in a way specifically intended to draw out the "likes" and resulting vulnerability of others, is untenable.

Facebook has never been merely a social platform. Rather, it exploits our social interactions the way a Tupperware party does.

Facebook does not exist to help us make friends, but to turn our network of connections, brand preferences and activities over time -- our "social graphs" -- into money for others.

We Facebook users have been building a treasure lode of big data that government and corporate researchers have been miningto predict and influence what we buy and for whom we vote. We have been handing over to them vast quantities of information about ourselves and our friends, loved ones and acquaintances. With this information, Facebook and the "big data" research firms purchasing their data predict still more things about us -- from our future product purchases or sexual orientation to our likelihood for civil disobedience or even terrorism.

The true end users of Facebook are the marketers who want to reach and influence us. They are Facebook's paying customers; we are the product. And we are its workers. The countless hours that we -- and the young, particularly -- spend on our profiles are the unpaid labor on which Facebook justifies its stock valuation.

The efforts of a few thousand employees at Facebook's Menlo Park campus pale in comparison to those of the hundreds of millions of users meticulously tweaking their pages. Corporations used to have to do research to assemble our consumer profiles; now we do it for them.

The information collected about you by Facebook through my Facebook page isn't even shared with me. Thanks to my page, Facebook knows the demographics of my readership, their e-mails, what else they like, who else they know and, perhaps most significant, who they trust. And Facebook is taking pains not to share any of this, going so far as to limit the ability of third-party applications to utilize any of this data.

Given that this was the foundation for Facebook's business plan from the start, perhaps more recent developments in the company's ever-evolving user agreement shouldn't have been so disheartening.

Still, we bridle at the notion that any of our updates might be converted into "sponsored stories" by whatever business or brand we may have mentioned. That innocent mention of cup of coffee at Starbucks, in the Facebook universe, quickly becomes an attributed endorsement of their brand. Remember, the only way to connect with something or someone is to "like" them. This means if you want to find out what a politician or company you don't like is up to, you still have to endorse them publicly.

More recently, users -- particularly those with larger sets of friends, followers and likes -- learned that their updates were no longer reaching all of the people who had signed up to get them. Now, we are supposed to pay to "promote" our posts to our friends and, if we pay even more, to their friends.

Yes, Facebook is entitled to be paid for promoting us and our interests -- but this wasn't the deal going in, particularly not for companies who paid Facebook for extra followers in the first place. Neither should users who "friend" my page automatically become the passive conduits for any of my messages to all their friends just because I paid for it.

That brings me to Facebook's most recent shift, and the one that pushed me over the edge.

Through a new variation of the Sponsored Stories feature called Related Posts, users who "like" something can be unwittingly associated with pretty much anything an advertiser pays for. Like e-mail spam with a spoofed identity, the Related Post shows up in a newsfeed right under the user's name and picture. If you "Like" me you can be shown implicitly recommending me or something I like -- something you've never heard of -- to others without your consent.

For now, as long as I don't like anything myself, I have some measure of control over what those who follow me receive in my name or, worse, are made to appear to be endorsing, themselves. But I feel that control slipping away, and cannot remain part of a system where liking me or my work can be used against you.

The promotional leverage that Facebook affords me is not worth the price. Besides, how can I ask you to like me, when I myself must refuse to like you or anything else?

I have always appreciated that agreeing to become publicly linked to me and my work online involves trust. It is a trust I value, but -- as it is dependent on the good graces of Facebook -- it is a trust I can live up to only by unfriending this particularly anti-social social network.

Maybe in doing so I'll help people remember that Facebook is not the Internet. It's just one website, and it comes with a price.

Is Facebook Alienating man from society?

Facebook, of course, puts the pursuit of happiness front and center in our digital life. Its capacity to redefine our very concepts of identity and personal fulfillment is much more worrisome than the data-mining and privacy practices. no it don't it

Facebook, of course, puts the pursuit of happiness front and center in our digital life. Its capacity to redefine our very concepts of identity and personal fulfillment is much more worrisome than the data-mining and privacy practices. no it don't it

Is Facebook Making Us More Lonely?

Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. A report on what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society.

YVETTE VICKERS, A FORMER Playboy playmate and B-movie star, best known for her role in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, would have been 83 last August, but nobody knows exactly how old she was when she died. According to the Los Angeles coroner’s report, she lay dead for the better part of a year before a neighbor and fellow actress, a woman named Susan Savage, noticed cobwebs and yellowing letters in her mailbox, reached through a broken window to unlock the door, and pushed her way through the piles of junk mail and mounds of clothing that barricaded the house. Upstairs, she found Vickers’s body, mummified, near a heater that was still running. Her computer was on too, its glow permeating the empty space.

The Los Angeles Times posted a story headlined “Mummified Body of Former Playboy Playmate Yvette Vickers Found in Her Benedict Canyon Home,” which quickly went viral. Within two weeks, by Technorati’s count, Vickers’s lonesome death was already the subject of 16,057 Facebook posts and 881 tweets. She had long been a horror-movie icon, a symbol of Hollywood’s capacity to exploit our most basic fears in the silliest ways; now she was an icon of a new and different kind of horror: our growing fear of loneliness. Certainly she received much more attention in death than she did in the final years of her life. With no children, no religious group, and no immediate social circle of any kind, she had begun, as an elderly woman, to look elsewhere for companionship. Savage later told Los Angeles magazine that she had searched Vickers’s phone bills for clues about the life that led to such an end. In the months before her grotesque death, Vickers had made calls not to friends or family but to distant fans who had found her through fan conventions and Internet sites.

Vickers’s web of connections had grown broader but shallower, as has happened for many of us. We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible. Over the past three decades, technology has delivered to us a world in which we need not be out of contact for a fraction of a moment. In 2010, at a cost of $300 million, 800 miles of fiber-optic cable was laid between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange to shave three milliseconds off trading times. Yet within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we suffer from unprecedented alienation. We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.

At the forefront of all this unexpectedly lonely interactivity is Facebook, with 845 million users and $3.7 billion in revenue last year. The company hopes to raise $5 billion in an initial public offering later this spring, which will make it by far the largest Internet IPO in history. Some recent estimates put the company’s potential value at $100 billion, which would make it larger than the global coffee industry—one addiction preparing to surpass the other. Facebook’s scale and reach are hard to comprehend: last summer, Facebook became, by some counts, the first Web site to receive 1 trillion page views in a month. In the last three months of 2011, users generated an average of 2.7 billion “likes” and comments every day. On whatever scale you care to judge Facebook—as a company, as a culture, as a country—it is vast beyond imagination.

Despite its immense popularity, or more likely because of it, Facebook has, from the beginning, been under something of a cloud of suspicion. The depiction of Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network, as a bastard with symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, was nonsense. But it felt true. It felt true to Facebook, if not to Zuckerberg. The film’s most indelible scene, the one that may well have earned it an Oscar, was the final, silent shot of an anomic Zuckerberg sending out a friend request to his ex-girlfriend, then waiting and clicking and waiting and clicking—a moment of superconnected loneliness preserved in amber. We have all been in that scene: transfixed by the glare of a screen, hungering for response.

When you sign up for Google+ and set up your Friends circle, the program specifies that you should include only “your real friends, the ones you feel comfortable sharing private details with.” That one little phrase, Your real friends—so quaint, so charmingly mothering—perfectly encapsulates the anxieties that social media have produced: the fears that Facebook is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social networking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.

FACEBOOK ARRIVED IN THE MIDDLE of a dramatic increase in the quantity and intensity of human loneliness, a rise that initially made the site’s promise of greater connection seem deeply attractive. Americans are more solitary than ever before. In 1950, less than 10 percent of American households contained only one person. By 2010, nearly 27 percent of households had just one person. Solitary living does not guarantee a life of unhappiness, of course. In his recent book about the trend toward living alone, Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, writes: “Reams of published research show that it’s the quality, not the quantity of social interaction, that best predicts loneliness.” True. But before we begin the fantasies of happily eccentric singledom, of divorcées dropping by their knitting circles after work for glasses of Drew Barrymore pinot grigio, or recent college graduates with perfectly articulated, Steampunk-themed, 300-square-foot apartments organizing croquet matches with their book clubs, we should recognize that it is not just isolation that is rising sharply. It’s loneliness, too. And loneliness makes us miserable.

We know intuitively that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Solitude can be lovely. Crowded parties can be agony. We also know, thanks to a growing body of research on the topic, that loneliness is not a matter of external conditions; it is a psychological state. A 2005 analysis of data from a longitudinal study of Dutch twins showed that the tendency toward loneliness has roughly the same genetic component as other psychological problems such as neuroticism or anxiety.

Still, loneliness is slippery, a difficult state to define or diagnose. The best tool yet developed for measuring the condition is the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a series of 20 questions that all begin with this formulation: “How often do you feel …?” As in: “How often do you feel that you are ‘in tune’ with the people around you?” And: “How often do you feel that you lack companionship?” Measuring the condition in these terms, various studies have shown loneliness rising drastically over a very short period of recent history. A 2010 AARP survey found that 35 percent of adults older than 45 were chronically lonely, as opposed to 20 percent of a similar group only a decade earlier. According to a major study by a leading scholar of the subject, roughly 20 percent of Americans—about 60 million people—are unhappy with their lives because of loneliness. Across the Western world, physicians and nurses have begun to speak openly of an epidemic of loneliness.

The new studies on loneliness are beginning to yield some surprising preliminary findings about its mechanisms. Almost every factor that one might assume affects loneliness does so only some of the time, and only under certain circumstances. People who are married are less lonely than single people, one journal article suggests, but only if their spouses are confidants. If one’s spouse is not a confidant, marriage may not decrease loneliness. A belief in God might help, or it might not, as a 1990 German study comparing levels of religious feeling and levels of loneliness discovered. Active believers who saw God as abstract and helpful rather than as a wrathful, immediate presence were less lonely. “The mere belief in God,” the researchers concluded, “was relatively independent of loneliness.”

But it is clear that social interaction matters. Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy. The decrease in confidants—that is, in quality social connections—has been dramatic over the past 25 years. In one survey, the mean size of networks of personal confidants decreased from 2.94 people in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004. Similarly, in 1985, only 10 percent of Americans said they had no one with whom to discuss important matters, and 15 percent said they had only one such good friend. By 2004, 25 percent had nobody to talk to, and 20 percent had only one confidant.

In the face of this social disintegration, we have essentially hired an army of replacement confidants, an entire class of professional carers. As Ronald Dworkin pointed out in a 2010 paper for the Hoover Institution, in the late ’40s, the United States was home to 2,500 clinical psychologists, 30,000 social workers, and fewer than 500 marriage and family therapists. As of 2010, the country had 77,000 clinical psychologists, 192,000 clinical social workers, 400,000 nonclinical social workers, 50,000 marriage and family therapists, 105,000 mental-health counselors, 220,000 substance-abuse counselors, 17,000 nurse psychotherapists, and 30,000 life coaches. The majority of patients in therapy do not warrant a psychiatric diagnosis. This raft of psychic servants is helping us through what used to be called regular problems. We have outsourced the work of everyday caring.

We need professional carers more and more, because the threat of societal breakdown, once principally a matter of nostalgic lament, has morphed into an issue of public health. Being lonely is extremely bad for your health. If you’re lonely, you’re more likely to be put in a geriatric home at an earlier age than a similar person who isn’t lonely. You’re less likely to exercise. You’re more likely to be obese. You’re less likely to survive a serious operation and more likely to have hormonal imbalances. You are at greater risk of inflammation. Your memory may be worse. You are more likely to be depressed, to sleep badly, and to suffer dementia and general cognitive decline. Loneliness may not have killed Yvette Vickers, but it has been linked to a greater probability of having the kind of heart condition that did kill her.

And yet, despite its deleterious effect on health, loneliness is one of the first things ordinary Americans spend their money achieving. With money, you flee the cramped city to a house in the suburbs or, if you can afford it, a McMansion in the exurbs, inevitably spending more time in your car. Loneliness is at the American core, a by-product of a long-standing national appetite for independence: The Pilgrims who left Europe willingly abandoned the bonds and strictures of a society that could not accept their right to be different. They did not seek out loneliness, but they accepted it as the price of their autonomy. The cowboys who set off to explore a seemingly endless frontier likewise traded away personal ties in favor of pride and self-respect. The ultimate American icon is the astronaut: Who is more heroic, or more alone? The price of self-determination and self-reliance has often been loneliness. But Americans have always been willing to pay that price.

Today, the one common feature in American secular culture is its celebration of the self that breaks away from the constrictions of the family and the state, and, in its greatest expressions, from all limits entirely. The great American poem is Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” The great American essay is Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” The great American novel is Melville’s Moby-Dick, the tale of a man on a quest so lonely that it is incomprehensible to those around him. American culture, high and low, is about self-expression and personal authenticity. Franklin Delano Roosevelt called individualism “the great watchword of American life.”

Self-invention is only half of the American story, however. The drive for isolation has always been in tension with the impulse to cluster in communities that cling and suffocate. The Pilgrims, while fomenting spiritual rebellion, also enforced ferocious cohesion. The Salem witch trials, in hindsight, read like attempts to impose solidarity—as do the McCarthy hearings. The history of the United States is like the famous parable of the porcupines in the cold, from Schopenhauer’s Studies in Pessimism—the ones who huddle together for warmth and shuffle away in pain, always separating and congregating.

We are now in the middle of a long period of shuffling away. In his 2000 bookBowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam attributed the dramatic post-war decline of social capital—the strength and value of interpersonal networks—to numerous interconnected trends in American life: suburban sprawl, television’s dominance over culture, the self-absorption of the Baby Boomers, the disintegration of the traditional family. The trends he observed continued through the prosperity of the aughts, and have only become more pronounced with time: the rate of union membership declined in 2011, again; screen time rose; the Masons and the Elks continued their slide into irrelevance. We are lonely because we want to be lonely. We have made ourselves lonely.

The question of the future is this: Is Facebook part of the separating or part of the congregating; is it a huddling-together for warmth or a shuffling-away in pain?

WELL BEFORE FACEBOOK, digital technology was enabling our tendency for isolation, to an unprecedented degree. Back in the 1990s, scholars started calling the contradiction between an increased opportunity to connect and a lack of human contact the “Internet paradox.” A prominent 1998 article on the phenomenon by a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon showed that increased Internet usage was already coinciding with increased loneliness. Critics of the study pointed out that the two groups that participated in the study—high-school journalism students who were heading to university and socially active members of community-development boards—were statistically likely to become lonelier over time. Which brings us to a more fundamental question: Does the Internet make people lonely, or are lonely people more attracted to the Internet?

The question has intensified in the Facebook era. A recent study out of Australia (where close to half the population is active on Facebook), titled “Who Uses Facebook?,” found a complex and sometimes confounding relationship between loneliness and social networking. Facebook users had slightly lower levels of “social loneliness”—the sense of not feeling bonded with friends—but “significantly higher levels of family loneliness”—the sense of not feeling bonded with family. It may be that Facebook encourages more contact with people outside of our household, at the expense of our family relationships—or it may be that people who have unhappy family relationships in the first place seek companionship through other means, including Facebook. The researchers also found that lonely people are inclined to spend more time on Facebook: “One of the most noteworthy findings,” they wrote, “was the tendency for neurotic and lonely individuals to spend greater amounts of time on Facebook per day than non-lonely individuals.” And they found that neurotics are more likely to prefer to use the wall, while extroverts tend to use chat features in addition to the wall.

Moira Burke, until recently a graduate student at the Human-Computer Institute at Carnegie Mellon, used to run a longitudinal study of 1,200 Facebook users. That study, which is ongoing, is one of the first to step outside the realm of self-selected college students and examine the effects of Facebook on a broader population, over time. She concludes that the effect of Facebook depends on what you bring to it. Just as your mother said: you get out only what you put in. If you use Facebook to communicate directly with other individuals—by using the “like” button, commenting on friends’ posts, and so on—it can increase your social capital. Personalized messages, or what Burke calls “composed communication,” are more satisfying than “one-click communication”—the lazy click of a like. “People who received composed communication became less lonely, while people who received one-click communication experienced no change in loneliness,” Burke tells me. So, you should inform your friend in writing how charming her son looks with Harry Potter cake smeared all over his face, and how interesting her sepia-toned photograph of that tree-framed bit of skyline is, and how cool it is that she’s at whatever concert she happens to be at. That’s what we all want to hear. Even better than sending a private Facebook message is the semi-public conversation, the kind of back-and-forth in which you half ignore the other people who may be listening in. “People whose friends write to them semi-publicly on Facebook experience decreases in loneliness,” Burke says.

On the other hand, non-personalized use of Facebook—scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, or what Burke calls “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness. It’s a lonely business, wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear. According to Burke, passive consumption of Facebook also correlates to a marginal increase in depression. “If two women each talk to their friends the same amount of time, but one of them spends more time reading about friends on Facebook as well, the one reading tends to grow slightly more depressed,” Burke says. Her conclusion suggests that my sometimes unhappy reactions to Facebook may be more universal than I had realized. When I scroll through page after page of my friends’ descriptions of how accidentally eloquent their kids are, and how their husbands are endearingly bumbling, and how they’re all about to eat a home-cooked meal prepared with fresh local organic produce bought at the farmers’ market and then go for a jog and maybe check in at the office because they’re so busy getting ready to hop on a plane for a week of luxury dogsledding in Lapland, I do grow slightly more miserable. A lot of other people doing the same thing feel a little bit worse, too.

Still, Burke’s research does not support the assertion that Facebook creates loneliness. The people who experience loneliness on Facebook are lonely away from Facebook, too, she points out; on Facebook, as everywhere else, correlation is not causation. The popular kids are popular, and the lonely skulkers skulk alone. Perhaps it says something about me that I think Facebook is primarily a platform for lonely skulking. I mention to Burke the widely reported study, conducted by a Stanford graduate student, that showed how believing that others have strong social networks can lead to feelings of depression. What does Facebook communicate, if not the impression of social bounty? Everybody else looks so happy on Facebook, with so many friends, that our own social networks feel emptier than ever in comparison. Doesn’t thatmake people feel lonely? “If people are reading about lives that are much better than theirs, two things can happen,” Burke tells me. “They can feel worse about themselves, or they can feel motivated.”

Burke will start working at Facebook as a data scientist this year.

JOHN CACIOPPO, THE director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, is the world’s leading expert on loneliness. In his landmark book, Loneliness, released in 2008, he revealed just how profoundly the epidemic of loneliness is affecting the basic functions of human physiology. He found higher levels of epinephrine, the stress hormone, in the morning urine of lonely people. Loneliness burrows deep: “When we drew blood from our older adults and analyzed their white cells,” he writes, “we found that loneliness somehow penetrated the deepest recesses of the cell to alter the way genes were being expressed.” Loneliness affects not only the brain, then, but the basic process of DNA transcription. When you are lonely, your whole body is lonely.

To Cacioppo, Internet communication allows only ersatz intimacy. “Forming connections with pets or online friends or even God is a noble attempt by an obligatorily gregarious creature to satisfy a compelling need,” he writes. “But surrogates can never make up completely for the absence of the real thing.” The “real thing” being actual people, in the flesh. When I speak to Cacioppo, he is refreshingly clear on what he sees as Facebook’s effect on society. Yes, he allows, some research has suggested that the greater the number of Facebook friends a person has, the less lonely she is. But he argues that the impression this creates can be misleading. “For the most part,” he says, “people are bringing their old friends, and feelings of loneliness or connectedness, to Facebook.” The idea that a Web site could deliver a more friendly, interconnected world is bogus. The depth of one’s social network outside Facebook is what determines the depth of one’s social network within Facebook, not the other way around. Using social media doesn’t create new social networks; it just transfers established networks from one platform to another. For the most part, Facebook doesn’t destroy friendships—but it doesn’t create them, either.

In one experiment, Cacioppo looked for a connection between the loneliness of subjects and the relative frequency of their interactions via Facebook, chat rooms, online games, dating sites, and face-to-face contact. The results were unequivocal. “The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are,” he says. “The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.” Surely, I suggest to Cacioppo, this means that Facebook and the like inevitably make people lonelier. He disagrees. Facebook is merely a tool, he says, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on its user. “If you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact,” he says, “it increases social capital.” So if social media let you organize a game of football among your friends, that’s healthy. If you turn to social media instead of playing football, however, that’s unhealthy.

“Facebook can be terrific, if we use it properly,” Cacioppo continues. “It’s like a car. You can drive it to pick up your friends. Or you can drive alone.” But hasn’t the car increased loneliness? If cars created the suburbs, surely they also created isolation. “That’s because of how we use cars,” Cacioppo replies. “How we use these technologies can lead to more integration, rather than more isolation.”

The problem, then, is that we invite loneliness, even though it makes us miserable. The history of our use of technology is a history of isolation desired and achieved. When the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company opened its A&P stores, giving Americans self-service access to groceries, customers stopped having relationships with their grocers. When the telephone arrived, people stopped knocking on their neighbors’ doors. Social media bring this process to a much wider set of relationships. Researchers at the HP Social Computing Lab who studied the nature of people’s connections on Twitter came to a depressing, if not surprising, conclusion: “Most of the links declared within Twitter were meaningless from an interaction point of view.” I have to wonder: What other point of view is meaningful?

LONELINESS IS CERTAINLY not something that Facebook or Twitter or any of the lesser forms of social media is doing to us. We are doing it to ourselves. Casting technology as some vague, impersonal spirit of history forcing our actions is a weak excuse. We make decisions about how we use our machines, not the other way around. Every time I shop at my local grocery store, I am faced with a choice. I can buy my groceries from a human being or from a machine. I always, without exception, choose the machine. It’s faster and more efficient, I tell myself, but the truth is that I prefer not having to wait with the other customers who are lined up alongside the conveyor belt: the hipster mom who disapproves of my high-carbon-footprint pineapple; the lady who tenses to the point of tears while she waits to see if the gods of the credit-card machine will accept or decline; the old man whose clumsy feebleness requires a patience that I don’t possess. Much better to bypass the whole circus and just ring up the groceries myself.

Our omnipresent new technologies lure us toward increasingly superficial connections at exactly the same moment that they make avoiding the mess of human interaction easy. The beauty of Facebook, the source of its power, is that it enables us to be social while sparing us the embarrassing reality of society—the accidental revelations we make at parties, the awkward pauses, the farting and the spilled drinks and the general gaucherie of face-to-face contact. Instead, we have the lovely smoothness of a seemingly social machine. Everything’s so simple: status updates, pictures, your wall.

But the price of this smooth sociability is a constant compulsion to assert one’s own happiness, one’s own fulfillment. Not only must we contend with the social bounty of others; we must foster the appearance of our own social bounty. Being happy all the time, pretending to be happy, actually attempting to be happy—it’s exhausting. Last year a team of researchers led by Iris Mauss at the University of Denver published a study looking into “the paradoxical effects of valuing happiness.” Most goals in life show a direct correlation between valuation and achievement. Studies have found, for example, that students who value good grades tend to have higher grades than those who don’t value them. Happiness is an exception. The study came to a disturbing conclusion:

"Valuing happiness is not necessarily linked to greater happiness. In fact, under certain conditions, the opposite is true. Under conditions of low (but not high) life stress, the more people valued happiness, the lower were their hedonic balance, psychological well-being, and life satisfaction, and the higher their depression symptoms."

The more you try to be happy, the less happy you are. Sophocles made roughly the same point.

Facebook, of course, puts the pursuit of happiness front and center in our digital life. Its capacity to redefine our very concepts of identity and personal fulfillment is much more worrisome than the data-mining and privacy practices that have aroused anxieties about the company. Two of the most compelling critics of Facebook—neither of them a Luddite—concentrate on exactly this point. Jaron Lanier, the author of You Are Not a Gadget, was one of the inventors of virtual-reality technology. His view of where social media are taking us reads like dystopian science fiction: “I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of empathy and humanity in that process.” Lanier argues that Facebook imprisons us in the business of self-presenting, and this, to his mind, is the site’s crucial and fatally unacceptable downside.

Sherry Turkle, a professor of computer culture at MIT who in 1995 published the digital-positive analysis Life on the Screen, is much more skeptical about the effects of online society in her 2011 book, Alone Together: “These days, insecure in our relationships and anxious about intimacy, we look to technology for ways to be in relationships and protect ourselves from them at the same time.” The problem with digital intimacy is that it is ultimately incomplete: “The ties we form through the Internet are not, in the end, the ties that bind. But they are the ties that preoccupy,” she writes. “We don’t want to intrude on each other, so instead we constantly intrude on each other, but not in ‘real time.’”

Lanier and Turkle are right, at least in their diagnoses. Self-presentation on Facebook is continuous, intensely mediated, and possessed of a phony nonchalance that eliminates even the potential for spontaneity. (“Look how casually I threw up these three photos from the party at which I took 300 photos!”) Curating the exhibition of the self has become a 24/7 occupation. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the Australian study “Who Uses Facebook?” found a significant correlation between Facebook use and narcissism: “Facebook users have higher levels of total narcissism, exhibitionism, and leadership than Facebook nonusers,” the study’s authors wrote. “In fact, it could be argued that Facebook specifically gratifies the narcissistic individual’s need to engage in self-promoting and superficial behavior.”

Rising narcissism isn’t so much a trend as the trend behind all other trends. In preparation for the 2013 edition of its diagnostic manual, the psychiatric profession is currently struggling to update its definition of narcissistic personality disorder. Still, generally speaking, practitioners agree that narcissism manifests in patterns of fantastic grandiosity, craving for attention, and lack of empathy. In a 2008 survey, 35,000 American respondents were asked if they had ever had certain symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. Among people older than 65, 3 percent reported symptoms. Among people in their 20s, the proportion was nearly 10 percent. Across all age groups, one in 16 Americans has experienced some symptoms of NPD. And loneliness and narcissism are intimately connected: a longitudinal study of Swedish women demonstrated a strong link between levels of narcissism in youth and levels of loneliness in old age. The connection is fundamental. Narcissism is the flip side of loneliness, and either condition is a fighting retreat from the messy reality of other people.

A considerable part of Facebook’s appeal stems from its miraculous fusion of distance with intimacy, or the illusion of distance with the illusion of intimacy. Our online communities become engines of self-image, and self-image becomes the engine of community. The real danger with Facebook is not that it allows us to isolate ourselves, but that by mixing our appetite for isolation with our vanity, it threatens to alter the very nature of solitude. The new isolation is not of the kind that Americans once idealized, the lonesomeness of the proudly nonconformist, independent-minded, solitary stoic, or that of the astronaut who blasts into new worlds. Facebook’s isolation is a grind. What’s truly staggering about Facebook usage is not its volume—750 million photographs uploaded over a single weekend—but the constancy of the performance it demands. More than half its users—and one of every 13 people on Earth is a Facebook user—log on every day. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, nearly half check Facebook minutes after waking up, and 28 percent do so before getting out of bed. The relentlessness is what is so new, so potentially transformative. Facebook never takes a break. We never take a break. Human beings have always created elaborate acts of self-presentation. But not all the time, not every morning, before we even pour a cup of coffee. Yvette Vickers’s computer was on when she died.

Nostalgia for the good old days of disconnection would not just be pointless, it would be hypocritical and ungrateful. But the very magic of the new machines, the efficiency and elegance with which they serve us, obscures what isn’t being served: everything that matters. What Facebook has revealed about human nature—and this is not a minor revelation—is that a connection is not the same thing as a bond, and that instant and total connection is no salvation, no ticket to a happier, better world or a more liberated version of humanity. Solitude used to be good for self-reflection and self-reinvention. But now we are left thinking about who we are all the time, without ever really thinking about who we are. Facebook denies us a pleasure whose profundity we had underestimated: the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect.

Are Gadgets and Technological facilitating of Social Networks a Threat?

Facebook has become rea. Facebook Places harnesses the GPS function of the latest smartphones to enable users to track each other down.dily and easily accessible, and is already part of our lives

Facebook has become rea. Facebook Places harnesses the GPS function of the latest smartphones to enable users to track each other down.dily and easily accessible, and is already part of our lives

Having read the post above abut how Facebook is making us lonely, we now we look at an article that was written by Sarah Jacobson titled:

10 Ways Facebook will Rule Our Lives

After all the attention, clamor, and expectations Facebook is now a publicly traded company worth $104 Billion

. With shares trading at a hundred times earnings, Facebook is under a lot of pressure to increase the profit that it brings in. In other words, now the fun begins.

How will Facebook try to change our lives as it attempts to live up to investor expectations? Of course we'll see more ads, but that's just a small part of Facebook's plan. If it wants to maintain its inflated price-to-earnings ratio, Facebook will have to settle for nothing less than Internet domination.

In the next few years we may see the company extend its reach further and further into our personal lives in an attempt to "rule the world" -- or, at least, our private lives -- and make money off the process.

1. Facebook Rules Relationships

Facebook already plays a huge role in our personal and professional relationships, and this role will only continue to grow. People have an extremely hard time leaving Facebook because, well, all of their friends are on Facebook -- how else will they connect with those friends, share with them, and know what's going on in their lives? And these relationships aren't just an extension of the relationships we have in real life -- more relationships are being created on, and staying exclusively on, Facebook.

Facebook is also beginning to play a larger role in our professional relationships. How many of us "friend" co-workers or use the service to network professionally? Facebook, with 900 million users, could give LinkedIn (with 161 members a run for its money when it comes to professional networking and as a career building tool.

We choose what we want to be according to the people who we will communicate with - our audience.

We choose what we want to be according to the people who we will communicate with - our audience.

Facebook Rules Web-based "Real Names"

Before there was Facebook, there was MySpace (and Friendster, and High5, and some other networks, but let's focus on MySpace). On MySpace, people didn't have to write down their full names -- they didn't have to be "Sarah Jacobsson Purewal," they could be "Sarah," or "Bob," or even "~++pRiNcEsS++~." But then Facebook came along and demanded that people use their real names and dates of birth, and people, well…did.

In other words, Facebook has managed to destroy the trend of people hiding behind goofy usernames on the Internet. The social network has over 900 million monthly active users, the majority of whom are using their real names.

Facebook Pharma

Facebook Pharma

Facebook and Health

Facebook recently introduced an Organ donation initiative, which lets people share their status as an organ donor on their Facebook Timeline. At the moment, all it does is let people share their status. But according to Donate Life America,which is working with Facebook, 6000 enrolled to donate their organs the day the initiative launched -- compared to 400 signups it would see on a normal day.

Never mind organ donation; it's not too farfetched to see Facebook leveraging its massive network when it comes to matching up bone marrow or kidney donors with recipients.

Facebook has also forayed into health-related fields in the past -- in December, for example, the social network teamed up with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to offer online support for potentially suicidal users. In this initiative, family and friends of suicidal Facebook users can "report" public suicidal comments to Facebook, and the person who made the comment will be offered suicide prevention support.

In other words, Facebook is already pushing its way into people's most private parts of their lives -- their health -- and, it appears, succeeding.

SAN FRANCISCO: Internet video ads, long a sideshow in the online advertising market, are gaining in importance to marketers and Web publishers as they look to capitalize on consumers' changing viewing habits and tap a $70 billion television market. T

SAN FRANCISCO: Internet video ads, long a sideshow in the online advertising market, are gaining in importance to marketers and Web publishers as they look to capitalize on consumers' changing viewing habits and tap a $70 billion television market. T

Social MediaGoing For Video Ands In A Big Way

t's a given that Facebook already rules our lives in terms of advertising -- even if Facebook ads may not be as effective as Google ads. This is because we constantly see Facebook ads, if not necessarily the paid ones.

Let me explain. Facebook last year introduced the concept of "frictionless sharing," or the ability to passively share your activity online with your Facebook friends. Though frictionless sharing hasn't proven to be a huge moneymaker for Facebook or for the third-party apps that use it, it is a constant fixture in our Facebook News Feeds. Facebook may have yet to fully leverage its advertising potential, but it's mastered the friends-based advertising that pervades News Feeds.

Facebook also constantly bombards its users with super-targeted ads that feature their friends. The idea behind this is that people will take recommendations from their friends, and so if their friends are featured in an ad about something, they're more likely to click. Again -- this hasn't been a proven moneymaker, but it does impact people. Though I may not be any more likely to drink Pepsi if I see an ad for Pepsi featuring one of my friends, I will associate that friend with Pepsi -- something I normally wouldn't have done unless said friend was such an avid consumer of Pepsi that it was a running joke.

A few months ago when Facebook tweaked its privacy policy, the service asserted it has a right to use all of the information it collect on users to sell ads on other sites to target people (more on privacy below). Meanwhile, Facebook has increased the number of ads people see and where they see them.

Web's Biggest Memories Vault

Facebook boasts that its users upload an average of 300 million photos per day, and its servers contain more than 100 billion photos. And that's not counting third-party applications that also hold photos, such as the recently-acquired instagram.

Combine Facebook's massive photo database with its new Timeline feature -- the profile redesign that lists life events such as births, graduations, and weddings -- and Facebook has pretty much become the world's biggest online scrapbook. Today Facebook is a living breathing genealogy of our family and friends, but could become where people turn to find links to distant relatives.

Facebook is Contemporary Zeitgeist; Rules our Privacy; and, it is made  scapegoat of our voyeuring in it

Facebook is Contemporary Zeitgeist; Rules our Privacy; and, it is made scapegoat of our voyeuring in it

How Facebook Controls Our Lives

Facebook Rules Our "Private" Data

Facebook controls our privacy. I know what you're thinking -- we control our privacy, to a certain extent…don't we? Well, yes, but many of us have given almost complete control of that privacy over to Facebook.

Sure, I can adjust my Facebook settings so that only my friends can see what I write on my Facebook wall, or only my family can see my date of birth, hometown, and phone number. But I did put all of those things on Facebook to begin with -- and my "privacy" hinges on Facebook's "promise" that it will protect that privacy. Had I not put any of those revealing details about my life on Facebook, I would retain control over my privacy.

So what does that mean? It doesn't mean that Facebook is suddenly going to expose your private data to the public -- because that would be stupid. What it means is that Facebook, when it does expose your data (and it will -- it's a social networking site, and social networking, by definition, can only exist if people share things -- willingly or not), will do so in a controlled manner, and likely for profit. For example, whenever you "Like" something on the web, you give Facebook explicit permission to expose your data to that company, or product, or brand, and it's only a matter of time before Facebook figures out how to utilize such exposure to its maximum advantage.

7. Darth Facebook: The Internet's Biggest Scapegoat

The darker side of Facebook and social networking: alienation. In the book "Alone Together," author and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Sherry Turkle notes that "friending" people on Facebook has replaced "friending" people in real life. Turkle argues that technology causes people to disengage from real people and prioritize convenience over real human emotions.

In other words, thanks to Facebook and other technologies (such as texting, e-mail, Skype, and role-playing games), people no longer feel the need to communicate in a more typical human fashion -- talking to each other, either on the phone or in real life. Turkle interviewed hundreds of children and adults about technology and discovered that many adolescents disliked using the phone because such conversations were revealing and "prying." One adolescent said that "When you talk on the phone, you don't really think about what you're saying as much as in a text. On the telephone, too much might show."

8. Facebook Rules Zeitgeist

According to Facebook's Website, more than 80 percent of its 900 million-plus active users reside outside of the United States and Canada. While other companies can boast of a similar global reach, no other company has a similar global network -- because Facebook's users aren't just aware of Facebook, they're also aware of each other.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, couldn't have put it better: "We have over 900 million monthly active users worldwide, giving people the opportunity to spark global conversations about ideas, social movements, products or services. In the United States everyday on Facebook is like the season finale of American Idol, the most popular show on television, times two."

There are many ways Facebook could utilize this global network to its advantage. It could create the world's largest online phone book -- suddenly the idea of a Facebook phone doesn't seem so crazy after all. It could create an online auction site, similar to eBay -- but more connected, and with more "trust," because people could get to know each other better before making purchases. It could also foster political revolutions and social change.

Facebook to Rule