“Addiction is actually the point.”

It would seem more people are getting it. Via Cal Newport’s blog post, Senator Hawley on Social Media: “addiction is actually the point.”

“Social media only works as a business model if it consumes users’ time and attention day after day after day. It needs to replace the various activities we did perfectly well without social media, for the entire known history of the human race with itself. It needs to replace those activities with time spent on social media. So that addiction is actually the point.

-Josh Hawley, Missouri Senator (emphasis mine)

And another great one – I’m stealing these directly from Cal’s post, but they’re too good to pass up. Cal’s original post is short and well worth the click-through to read.

“This is what some of our brightest minds have been doing with their time for years now. Designing these platforms, designing apps that integrate with them. I mean, what else might they have been doing?

-Josh Hawley, (emphasis again, mine)

It’s refreshing to hear a politician – any politician – talking in such a frank manner. Video of full speech available on the Senator’s website, and is totally worth your time.

Scholarship By Metrics

Interesting article by Justin E.H. Smith on How Social Media Imperils Scholarship. It’s a long article, but well worth reading. A few highlights:

Eventually, those who do research simply out of love of knowledge might find it preferable to present their findings anonymously and gratuitously as Wikipedia editors rather than as members of the afflicted and moribund tribe of academics. Social media is hastening the arrival of that day.

The same click-swipe-and-rate economy has left everyone involved in cultural production dazed and stumbling. Journalism, art, literature, and entertainment have been engulfed by a tsunami of metrics. And dare we mention love, friendship, and political community? These, too, have been absorbed by the mania of metrics coupled with so-called gamification — a treacherous imitation of play. 

I have not yet heard of tenure committees taking into consideration information about a candidate’s followings on Academia.edu or the other sites, as they attempt to take the measure of his career success. But it will happen sooner or later. And sooner or later tenure candidates in Ohio will be PayPaling click factories in China to help them inflate their numbers artificially. And after that has gone on for some time, candidates will be required to submit, along with their dossiers, proof that the information has been run through some trusted anti-­click-factory certification software, and the metrics have been shown to be authentic. And eventually a way will be discovered to game the certification process, too, and so on, and at each stage academics will be drawn even further away from their ostensible object of study, Old Turkic inscriptions or Elizabethan verse, the thing they once imagined, in graduate school, was worthy of a lifetime of loving dedication.

The old world is crumbling. Pre-internet institutions are struggling to make their presence felt however they can. Even the pope has taken to tweeting, in what may be variously interpreted as a hip renovation of his dilapidated old temple, or as a desperate bid to stay relevant in a world that equates an absence of online metrics, of clicks and likes and follows, with nonexistence itself. It is no surprise that in this strange new world, academics are behaving no differently than the Pontifex, or exposure-craving politicians, or SoundCloud rappers, or aspiring team players projecting their can-do attitudes on LinkedIn.

Facebook D Day

I think today may be the day that my Facebook account dies. I say I think, because I’m not really sure. I think Facebook wants it that way. When you go to delete your account, they say it will take effect within 14 days, but it may be sooner – or maybe later? My past experiences tell me that when you think it’s gone – and try logging in to check – miraculously, it’s still there and it ‘reactivates’ you so you would need to go through the whole process and waiting period again.

By my calculations, today would be Day 14, but I’m not going to attempt to login to check, I’ve been suckered before.

Cruising my Feedly today I came across this article, relevant to my Facebook usage – or former Facebook usage.

How to Use Social Media Wisely and Mindfully

One particularly relevant excerpt in my case:

“We can also become more mindful and curious about social media’s effects on our minds and hearts, weighing the good and bad. We should ask ourselves how social media makes us feel and behave, and decide whether we need to limit our exposure to social media altogether (by logging out or deactivating our accounts) or simply modify our social media environment. Some people I’ve spoken with find ways of cleaning up their newsfeeds—from hiding everyone but their closest friends to “liking” only reputable news, information, and entertainment sources.”

Over the past several years (yes, it’s been that long) I’ve experimented with various levels/methods of monitoring social media use. Logging out of some accounts for extended periods and attempting to curate more specifically the people/organizations I follow among others.

Overwhelmingly I found that certain platforms bug me more than others. Facebook was the number one offender, so I decided to dump it. Twitter was second, and I had pretty much stopped using it, so it went as well.

I was back and forth with Instagram, but I find that I still enjoy it in a unique way, and overall, it doesn’t impact my moods and outlook the way my Facebook experience did (negatively), so I’ve kept it. For now.

After abandoning Google+ for awhile when I gave up ALL social media for a stint, I’ve gone back to it. Although it’s lost a lot of the specifics of the platform that made it unique from the early days – anyone who’s followed me for an extended period of time know’s I championed it early on – I still find that there’s something about it that allows for more interesting and less frustrating engagement. That said, I’ve still cut way back on the number of people I’m following and become more selective. In addition, I’ve also decided not to follow any Pages (brands, companies, organizations) and stick to (supposedly) real people. I find this helps keep the noise down.

Full disclosure – I still have a Facebook account with a fake name that I use for work. As it stands I’m responsible for managing some client Pages as well as overseeing ad and social media campaigns so I still needed a way to be on the platform. My ‘fake account’ doesn’t follow anyone though and I don’t post anything with it.

So perhaps I am off the Facebook. I don’t know. Maybe you can never really leave.

Fack’s Facebook Facts 3

“Facebook is not thriving for me.”

Dave Winer, considered the father of blogging, podcasting and RSS, thinks Facebook may be dying. At least for him anyway.

I don’t know that I would disagree. It certainly lost it’s lustre for me.

Ages 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic. (Source:Emarketer 2012)

I wonder if those users will hang around as they age. I also wonder if Facebook can continue to grow it’s user base at the rate it currently is:

Five new profiles are created every second. (Source: ALLFacebook 2012)

My own experience tells me probably not. My two oldest kids (14 and 16) have absolutely zero interest in Facebook. The oldest calls it “weird, confusing.”

I wonder if the changes being talked about currently or some others in the future will do anything to entice more users from the demographics that aren’t currently strong. Or perhaps Facebook is an ‘acquired taste,’ something that only appeals to people once a certain ‘maturity’ level is reached.

Fack’s Facebook Facts 2

Mashable: Facebook Admits to as Many as 270 Million Fake/Clone Accounts

“The social network upped its estimate of the portion of fake accounts from 2 to 3 percent and the number of duplicates from 6 to 10 percent, Business Insider first reported.

That means that as many as 270 million of the platform’s 2.1-billion-strong user base could be fraudulent or duplicated — a population verging on the size of the United States.”

Pretty sure by the time I’d decided to bail I’d received Friend Requests from at least 1/3 of these. Some of ’em were hot, too.