Have you ever randomly stumbled across a Facebook friend you completely forgot you had? Ever wondered why their activities never seem to pass through your news feed? Don’t worry. You’re not the only one, and you’re not crazy.
After considering and analyzing how great an impact technology has in my life post “human-technology relations” lecture I began to research deeper into something in my everyday life; Facebook. So lets start simple, most of us know Facebook as a social networking site that allows us to connect with and keep track of our social lives by sharing it in a public web space to people whom we dub “friends”. But how many of these so-called friends are we really interacting with? 10? 50? 100? What if were to remove all your no-so-real-friends off your Facebook and see only the people you were interested in, or regularly social with? Well actually, that’s exactly what Facebook is; an algorithm based system that tracks user’s activities and navigation to post only what they are assumed to be interested in, and post only this on their newsfeed (Hodson, H. 2014)
Maybe this is a great idea to some, you only see who are preoccupied with and there is no excess feed of people that let’s face it, you don’t really remember at all. Imagine all the people we secretly love to hate on our facebook’s all gone? This girl’s got the right idea..
But what if this had an influence on our social activities and more adversely controversial; our emotional state. A study at Princeton University proposes the idea that exposure to positive emotional states of others (our Facebook friends posts) are “contagious” and can influence users to post more positive posts themselves (Kramer, A. et al.) That’s great! You might be thinking. Positive vibes, happy people creates more happy people am I right? Maybe. What if this had the opposite effect where seeing other’s happy makes us feel alone? We’ve all seen the memes “I’m in a committed relationship with someone famous, they just don’t know it yet”, “Coming to terms that you’re going to end up alone with 27 cats” and my personal favorite “Everyone’s in a relationship and I’m over here like…I love donuts.” So we can see there’s a reciprocal effect where the less positive posts that are produced there is an increase in negative posts. (Hodson, H. 2014) This is determined by a defined positive or negative English word found in one’s status/posts. Studies of these variables and activities are as shown below:
I know this is all experimental analysis and not hard evidence but to be frank I’m pissed off. Facebook is not “social”. Facebook isn’t human activity. Facebook has become a unified entity of human and non-human modules that redefine what it is to have humanity in our social lives (Verbeek, P. 2008).
You want a conversation? Talk to a friend FACE TO FACE
What’s that? You’re feeling down? Surround yourself with the PHYSICAL presence of positive people.
You haven’t talked to your old best friend in years? GIVE THEM A BLOODY CALL
Catch my drift?
So are you human? Or a facebooker?
- Hodson, H. 2014. The system controlling your Facebook News Feed, Viewed 15th Oct 2014 <http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329804.200-the-secret-system-controlling-your-facebook-news-feed.html#.VEeoXeaSwbY>
- Kramer, A., Guillory, J., & Hancock, J, 2012, Experimental evidence of mass-scale emotional contagion through social networks, Viewed 19th Oct 2014 <http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full?tab=author-info>
- Verbeek, Peter-Paul, 2008, Cyborg intentionality: Rethinking the phenomenology of human-technology relations’, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 7, No. 3