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The Facebook Obsession 265

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the even-my-three-year-old-knows dept.
rabidmuskrat writes "Are we too obsessed with Facebook? With 500 million users and a CNBC story about it, the answer would seem to be yes. PostRandomonium notes the media's obsession with Facebook, and how it impacts their news coverage — in particular, that of CNN. One out of every 13 Earthlings and three out of four Americans is on Facebook, and one out of 26 signs into Facebook on a daily basis."
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The Facebook Obsession

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  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:20AM (#35720956) Homepage Journal
    1 (or more) in 10 articles posted to the front page by CmdrTaco are related to facebook. Is the world obsessed with facebook? Probably not. Is CmdrTaco obsessed with facebook? Quite probable.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, lots of people are on Facebook.

    But a large percentage of the "user accounts" are fake accounts.

    • by sacdelta (135513)

      Or pages for people's pets.

      The 1 out of 13 figure assumes that every page corresponds to 1) a human, and 2) a human that only has one account.

      Blatant attempt at sensationalizing with complete disregard for reality.

  • Facebook is old news. The hip thing now is to obsess over tweets.

  • by Moderator (189749) * on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:23AM (#35721018)

    When you use the word "obsessed," I was expecting a story about people losing sleep and productivity over Facebook. Or statistics showing the amount of time spent by people using Facebook. Instead, we get an article from CNN that compares Facebook to having a bellybutton, a story from CNBC that doesn't load, and some guy's personal blog. Where is the story?

  • One out of every 13 Earthlings and three out of four Americans is on Facebook, and one out of 26 signs into Facebook on a daily basis."

    Signs in on a daily basis? I don't even log out!

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      One out of every 13 Earthlings and three out of four Americans is on Facebook, and one out of 26 signs into Facebook on a daily basis."

      Signs in on a daily basis? I don't even log out!

      Me neither, but I never logged in either.

  • we're obsessed with socializing

    facebook is just the tool which makes the most sense to manage your social network now. will that be the case in 10 years? if you say definitely "yes" (or definitely "no") you definitely don't know what you are talking about. maybe it will be, it could be, it has the network effect on its side, that's for sure

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect [wikipedia.org]

    ps: i don't have a facebook account and i never will. egads, the tedium

    • by Locke2005 (849178)

      we're obsessed with socializing

      For millions of years people have been obsessed with socializing, because socializing leads to getting laid, which leads to descendants that are even more obsessed with socializing. And what happens to the people that aren't obsessed with socializing?

      • they go extinct. however, plenty of species are strictly asocial, and they make time to get laid, so its not that big of a deal to socialize to procreate... unless of course, you are a member of homo sapiens

        that which makes homo sapiens compelling is not our gray matter, its our voicebox. a genius with an amazing idea and no way to communicate it is useless: his idea is future skull dust. meanwhile, an average intelligence person who communicates his idea well changes the world. socializing, socializing mor

        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          Homo Sapiens were communicating via hand gestures long before they used spoken languages. The same sections of the brain control both modes of communication. So, more accurately, it is not the voicebox, but the ability to communicate and preserve ideas that distinguishes us from the other species on the planet.
          • no, not entirely. many species communicate, all sorts of ways. so you are right, voicebox is not entirely the description to go for. so howabout RICHNESS and COMPLEXITY of communication is what makes us special, whether by hand or voicebox

            • by Locke2005 (849178)
              Fair enough.
            • voicebox is not entirely the description to go for. so howabout RICHNESS and COMPLEXITY of communication is what makes us special, whether by hand or voicebox.

              Excuse me, but there's a humpback whale at the door that'd like a word with you....

              • yeah, it sings. big deal. so does a mockingbird. it is many orders of magnitude less complex than homo sapiens' communication

                in terms of bandwidth, a honking goose or a hooting monkey might be a 300 bps modem, and a humpback whale or a parrot might be a 28.8kbps modem. but homo sapiens is a fiber optic trunk, far beyond any other creature on earth by many orders of magnitude in terms of richness and complexity of communication

                • Which, of course, is why a marine biologist like Phillip Clapham was quoted as saying {in speaking of whale song as communication}, "probably the most complex in the animal kingdom."

                  Do you have any citations?
                  • my fucking ear

                    i'm not sure why you resist the obvious. does it pierce some sort of mythology of yours? whale song is nowhere near as complex as human speech, not even remotely. this should be blindingly obvious to you if you aren't deaf

      • by Shotgun (30919)

        And what happens to the people that aren't obsessed with socializing?

        The read /.?

  • The reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Exitar (809068) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:33AM (#35721136)

    People is ossessed by FB because media tell them that everyone else is.

    • by necro81 (917438)
      precisely. This isn't a story with our obsession with Facebook. It's a story about our obsession with our supposed obsession with Facebook. Move on.
  • E-mail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rizimar (1986164) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:34AM (#35721150) Homepage

    You need an e-mail address to get a Facebook account, but not everyone who has an e-mail address uses Facebook. So the real question should be, Are we obsessed with E-mail?

  • by Chemisor (97276)

    So how many people check email on a daily basis? And why isn't that front page news?

    • Re:Email (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mccalli (323026) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:42AM (#35721246) Homepage
      So how many people check email on a daily basis? And why isn't that front page news?

      There was a time when that was front page news, yes. I remember getting email for the first time ('89, so it had already been going for what - 20 years?) and being astounded. Then discovered newsgroups, saw the web get built etc..

      All this stuff was news, but it's happened. The Facebook thing is new, so it's news today.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • by Locke2005 (849178)

        There was a time when that was front page news, yes. I remember getting email for the first time ('89, so it had already been going for what - 20 years?) and being astounded. Then discovered newsgroups, saw the web get built etc..

        And then you discovered free internet porn, and your productivity really took a hit. Then, of course, you discovered slashdot, and now you get nothing at all accomplished at work.

  • Peak Facebook (Score:4, Interesting)

    by llZENll (545605) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:41AM (#35721234)

    I could give two shits about facebook, its about easily seeing what friends and family are up to and communicating, not about facebook itself. Its like a very easy to use forum and blog for your life. If another website came out tomorrow that was better everyone would use it instead. Its akin the old crazes and obsessions of writing and journals, video diaries, the internet and blogs, remember how obsessed people were over those! OMG society almost didn't make it through those crazy times! The fad will fade as all do, you sign up, connect with lots of old friends, post a ton for a while, then after a while realize its all pretty meaningless and the people around you are the ones who matter most anyways, and you don't need facebook to talk with them. It will never go away though because its still great to see what distant friends are doing every once and while. Peak Facebook is coming soon though...

    • Its like a very easy to use forum and blog for your life.

      Ah, and there you've hit the nail on the head... It allows people to pretend that their life matters to a bunch of "friends", most of whom you've never met, and will probably never meet in your lifetime. Nothing personal, but the lives of most people {myself included} just aren't interesting enough to blog about.

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      The closest fad I think it matches up with is CB radio. Many here may not be old enough to remember that craze. My first truck had to have one.

      After a few years, you finally figured out that most people didn't have squat to say. It became a technical exercise to see how far you could get a 4 watt signal to reach. After a while of reaching, and finding what you reached to be totally useless, you lost interest and moved on.

      I expect FB to stick around a little longer, because:

      1) You can add pictures, video

  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:42AM (#35721242)

    I had the same disdain for social networking as most of the /. crowd until a very close friend who had moved far away lost her husband and requested that her friends join Facebook so she could correspond with us. I gladly created an account and was able to "be there" for her even though I couldn't actually be there. What I found after joining was that people I had lost touch with and had tried to find using every other method I could think of were there as well. I quickly reconnected and renewed relationships that had been lost for years. I still think most of it is of questionable value but its social aspect is very much real.

    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @12:19PM (#35721674)
      Wow, I really feel sorry for her... it's terrible that she doesn't have a phone or a skype account or an email account or a mailbox that you could use to "be there" for her!
      • by _xeno_ (155264)

        Wow, talk about missing the point.

        Yes, there are ways to communicate with people without using Facebook. However, Facebook is easier for people to use (no, I don't understand why either), and the main point was, allows you to reconnect with people you may have lost touch with.

        My mom was able to find her childhood best friend through Facebook. Exactly how do you propose she do that using her phone, Skype, or email?

        The point is that the social aspect of Facebook is very real - people are able to find people t

  • by supersloshy (1273442) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:56AM (#35721420)

    The most annoying thing about Facebook isn't that everybody expects you to have one, but that everybody and businesses are expected to have one (as well as a Twitter). What ever happened to Good Ol' RSS/Atom? My feed reader is infinitely better than using Twitter or Facebook for news, so why should I only be given the options of Twitter and Facebook to follow a company or website? Every store you walk in to, every product that you buy almost, somewhere in there is that stupid little Facebook/Twitter logo with the text "Find us on Facebook/Twitter!" Never a feed. Never. To find a good feed I have to search for it specifically and it often takes a while to find (thankfully Netflix and most modern blogs have a feed option). It's backwards, it's illogical, it's annoying, and it's centralized! When every single business in the world (pretty much) and every single person that you meet expects you to have a Facebook or Twitter and be willing to share your personal information with them, it's impossible to find peace without complying. I use Wordpress and Identica/StatusNet exclusively for my blogging needs, and my Twitter/FB accounts are merely mirrors of both solely because the general population refuses to switch to a much more secure, more flexible, and more decentralized social network.

    Now get off my lawn!

    • What ever happened to Good Ol' RSS/Atom?

      It never really caught on among non-technical people.

      I hope that wasn't a rhetorical question.

      • by supersloshy (1273442) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @12:23PM (#35721724)

        What ever happened to Good Ol' RSS/Atom?

        It never really caught on among non-technical people.

        I hope that wasn't a rhetorical question.

        And that's the problem... RSS/Atom and just feeds in general are a million times more useful than adding a 140-character-limited feed on Twitter where it's mixed in with everything else (in this respect Facebook isn't as bad due to having less character restrictions). Adding a feed is just as simple as subscribing to any other type of social presence, but it's so much more useful. You don't even need an account on a centralized website to subscribe to a feed. Why has the uptake been so slow? Browsers and email clients and feed readers and feed websites are all over the place, ready to be used, yet their use pales in comparison to the obviously inferior Facebook/Twitter.

        • by lee1 (219161)

          You're absolutely right, but it doesn't matter. People don't do what makes sense, they do what they see other people doing. I have a website with an atom feed, but I have Google mirror it to Twitter so people who can't figure out what a newsfeed is can subscribe.

          You want to see the definition of a blank stare? Try explaining to one of your Facebook/Twitter using friends that they are depending on a single company for their social networking, and that company can either disappear tomorrow or decide to erase

        • You can't comment on a feed or "Like" a feed.

          • by lee1 (219161)
            I do it all the time. Mainly by making the comment on my website, which people can discover either because they've subscribed to my feed or from the referrers in their logs (or from a service such as Google Reader or Alerts, which can scan feeds for keywords). No centralized company needed.
    • Article says it all- there are 500 million people on FB. I don't have any hard numbers but I'd be money that that's way, waayyy more than the number of people who know what an RSS feed is, much less actually have a reader set up that they use regularly. Businesses care about getting seen by lots of people.
  • by BryanL (93656) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (fbrehtwol)> on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @12:06PM (#35721546)

    I think we obsess too much over other things as well. I surveyed the last three weeks and 37% of Slashdot articles were about the Internet. Worse, 87% of were actually sent over the internet.

    Definition: Obsession-That thing that most other people like that you hate.

  • Fake accounts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @12:06PM (#35721548)

    I wouldn't be so bold as to say Facebook hasn't grown like wildfire, or that huge numbers of the population aren't using it, but 3/4 of Americans on Facebook? Seems like there are large portions of the population who that's simply not possible for, due to age, economic status, work constraints, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if there are 2 fake Facebook accounts for every real one.

  • I don't think they're making any estimate of the number of trolling accounts there are on Facebook, and eliminating them from their statistics. I'd say they're off by at least 50%.
  • Compare texting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by librarybob (1043806) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @12:11PM (#35721594)
    And yet phone text is used far more often. I don't have the sources at hand, but a 2010 Facebook stat showed 60 million status updates per day. A 2009 stat on texting showed 5 billion sent per day. Admittedly, a lot of FB use would be messaging or chat rather than status updates. Still, news coverage tends to go to the new and hot (not to mention speculation on FB's market value). The fact that a *lot* of "social networking" happens via text seems to lie completely under the radar.
  • How many unique users are they? What incentive does Facebook have to make sure a user has only one account, versus the powerful incentives users have to create multiple accounts (e.g. to game the social games)? I'm sure it looks good in Facebook's advertising to claim "500 million users", but that doesn't mean 500 million people are actually using Facebook. Disclaimer: I still don't have a Facebook account. but my daughter does, and my dog is currently considering signing up.
  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @12:24PM (#35721736)

    and one out of 26 signs into Facebook on a daily basis.

    Or rephrased, roughly 96% of the "users" sign in less than daily. The graph would be interesting to see. My wife checks FB at maximum interval of a couple hours. Everyone knows someone like that, but that doesn't mean they're a statistically relevant population.

    • by slyborg (524607)

      Everyone

      This generally is construed to mean "all people" i.e. 100%, which is probably within the sphere of "statistically relevant". Just sayin'.

    • by ari_j (90255)
      Another thing to consider is to re-read the statistics but replace "Facebook" with "e-mail account" or even "postal address" (modified to fit context and grammar, even though the story itself didn't bother with proper grammar ("three ... is on Facebook"). Facebook is a tool for staying in contact with people on a less formal and broader basis than e-mail (and possibly for wasting time playing games like Farmville). It should not be surprising or worrying that it has many users or that its users sign in da
  • What's up with the open-source privacy-oriented project that was touted so fervently here awhile back? Are they producing anything useful?

  • There was just a posting this morning from within the Twitter community questioning Twitter's claim to have 200M users -- but only 20M *active* users. People said that's unhealthy. I disagree -- natural populations tend to obey the power law: each level of organization is tenfold larger than the next higher level of organization. Cities are distributed in a power-law fashion. Media (movies, records) consumption tends to follow a power law. Wealth is distributed according to the power law. And social n
  • One thing I've noticed is that social media in general has made computer technology somehow more accessible. Remember, just a few years ago, basic computer literacy was being able to boot up your PC, drive an office application and produce "work." Social media use now appears to be the basic computer literacy unit -- the UIs are simple enough for most people to pick up and the draw of social interaction is irresistable for most people. And now that smartphones that don't suck as user input devices are out,

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