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    Re: Who's on Facebook?
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2011 Mar 15, 23:14 -0700

    Lu, you wrote:
    "My twenty-something daughter can't understand why I'm not on Facebook, I can't understand why she is."

    The demographic group with the highest rate of FB use: teens and 20s. The demographic group with the most rapidly increasing rate of FB use: those over 60. FB accounts in the US: 150 million. FB accounts in the UK: 29 million. I would guess about a third of those are active accounts representing real people.

    There's a big difference between FB membership and active use. The whole Facebook business enterprise is built around a very clever, even devious scheme for harvesting email address books and then sending out invitations on the user's behalf. That's what enabled their geometric growth. The media coverage on FB is so poor that this is usually glossed over so that they can talk about those "amazing genius whiz kids writing such complicated software". Wrong! The software is trivial. It's a huge project, no doubt, but there's no software genius involved EXCEPT the system for adding new users by harvesting address books.

    Facebook is taking over the world. That is not a good thing, but it is happening.

    You wrote:
    "IMHO, social media are "write-only" technologies -- more people saying "hey, look at me, this is what I'm doing" than people reading those posts with interest."

    That's true to a significant extent. Its value to creative people is no more than a method to connect consumers of creativity with our work --work which is NOT on Facebook. No creativity occurs or is displayed on FB directly except in some online games and other "lite" diversions. There is, however, one area in which FB is very successful in almost every way. For many years, I have been joking that "God invented the cell phone so that we could show off pictures of our cats and dogs". FB basically extends that process and provides a larger arena for the same impulses. It is tightly integrated with mobile sharing and an awful lot of what goes on is pet photo exchange (or babies or grandkids, as the case may be). It also has some value for "reading over other people's shoulders". If you know someone who reads interesting things, and if they post links to those, then you can benefit from following their posts and vice versa. That's probably the single greatest value from an intellectual standpoint. And finally, of course, it puts faces (and lives) to names. I now know what Jeremy A. and Peter H. look like. They have less grey hair than the rest of us (remember when I joined this group and I was the youngest... at age 40?).

    When I posted the notice about FB on NavList yesterday, my expectations were low, and I am well aware that this is likely to be an anti-Facebook crowd for a great many reasons (most of which I agree with). We have now linked up six people on Facebook from NavList in a "celestial navigation" group. I would say that that's about the number that I would expect in the short term. I don't think it will have much direct value to us, but I do hope that if there are people who join FB who are interested in celestial and find Facebook mostly worthless to them for all the usual reasons that they will at least be able to follow the connections through this group to get them to NavList or Celestaire or any of the other "real" sources of information on the Internet. Maybe it will provide other connections, but at minimum it's a way to bring fresh blood to NavList and new customers to those with related businesses.

    Again though, for those of you DO have FB accounts, feel free to contact me at www.facebook.com/FrankEReed and I'll link you up with other NavList members. You can always get out with a single click. :)

    Abandon all hope, ye who click here...

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