In the form of a graph:
[I]n an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now.
But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. [...]
What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet? What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up.
Already valued at about $43 billion, the company is generating revenue of over $2 billion:
Revenue will more than double from 2009, said the people, who declined to be identified because the privately held company doesn’t disclose revenue. Facebook had $700 million to $800 million in sales last year, and the 2010 figure was previously expected to be closer to $1.5 billion, according to two other people familiar with the matter earlier this year.
Facebook’s more than half a billion users have made it an attractive target for advertisers, including Coca-Cola Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Adidas AG. In October, Facebook surpassed Yahoo! Inc. when ranked by the number of global users, making it No. 3 behind Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., according to ComScore Inc., a research firm in Reston, Virginia.
“The love affair of consumers with social networks is an abiding one, so it’s not going to go away,” said Karsten Weide, an analyst with IDC in San Mateo, California. “All the big brands are there.”
Although I’m on Facebook, I’m not the biggest fan. I see the practicality of some of the more practical information-sharing uses for businesses. But unless I’m a beneficary of some of that hefty ad revenue, seeing my “friends” lame and idiotic status updates just irritates me.
After weeks of being lazy, I finally got around to reading this interesting piece from the Times’ magazine a few weeks ago.
This bit sums up the article best:
We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism and inadvertent indiscretion, but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files.
The fact that the Internet never seems to forget is threatening, at an almost existential level, our ability to control our identities; to preserve the option of reinventing ourselves and starting anew; to overcome our checkered pasts.
This should be required reading for anyone who enjoys posting every frickin’ detail of their lives on Facebook or if they have kids who do the same. Even if you don’t, read the whole thing.
Email is slowly losing its place as our main avenue of online communication:
Checking e-mail has long been considered the primary pastime of the online user. However, if data from Nielsen is to be believed, that’s no longer the case. The firm found that on average, about 23 percent of our online time is spent on social networking sites, versus 8.3 percent on email.
This was a much wider spread than last year, when it was 15.8 and 11.5 percent respectively. The changes could be explained by the fact that social networking sites are the primary method of communication between friends these days, which makes sending an e-mail much less necessary.
First, we stopped hand-writing letters because of email. Now, not even email provides enough instantaneous self-gratification for our time-obsessed society.
An epic response from Drew Magary at Deadspin:
But they AREN’T happier! That’s the whole ruse of Facebook. Everyone posts their goddamn vacation photos and pictures of their little shit kids and they’re all like JUST HAD A GREAT DINNER WITH THE KIDS AT BERTUCCI’S! Bullshit. Total crap.
[Y]ou won’t see [the truth] on Facebook. You just get the varnish. It’s people advertising themselves. Which is fine, but don’t expect me to buy that you’re some fucking avid hiker, Tony.
I also strongly dislike people who use status updates on Twitter or Facebook to compose flowery, phony deep thoughts for the day, or to quote Emily Dickinson or something horrible like that. Hey fuckface, you wanna write a book? Write a goddamn book. No one’s gonna read your stupid status update and think you’re the 160-character James Joyce.
Excellent, and 100% accurate I might add.
Here is an actual exchange between Vladimir, a friend of mine, and Dalton, a friend of Vladimir’s, that I overheard the other day (the names have been changed to protect the innocent):
(Vladimir): “I will still not sell out to Twitter, and that is the truth.”
(Dalton): “Hell yeah, I still have no Twitter account…I thought I was the only one!”
This “conversation” took place on Facebook.
I just think it’s amazing how Facebook is becoming such an ingrained part of so many people’s lives, it’s almost second nature to a lot of people. Most of the people I know are considered lemmings, and I don’t mean that in a bad way by any means. But they are lemmings in the sense that most people are lemmings–that they really aren’t at the forefront of anything. They are on Facebook because everyone else is. And yet, they consider joining Twitter as “selling out”.
Myself, I only joined Facebook back in October because I had two college acquaintances with whom I had lost contact with, begging me for a year to join. When I finally did, I realized that I too, was a lemming.
I can see why Facebook is important if you had a “brand” to push, or a business, or for a politician (last I checked Mitch McConnell doesn’t have a Facebook page, which I think speaks volumes). But as a regular person? Why not just start a blog?
Anyway, this video sums up my attitude towards Facebook for the non-brand pushers:
As much as I think most politicians come across as lame on social networks, it should be noted that I am following the governor on Twitter.
If you’re a NJ resident who thinks he’s doing the right thing in Trenton, you’re missing out if you’re not following his Twitter feed.
Newark mayor Corey Booker has a good feed as well.
Social media expert Chris Grogan makes a great point about books and their authors in the era of social networking:
Fans are no longer silent onlookers in the experience of books (or art of any kind). They are participants.
[A] book is a media where readers and sometimes authors congregate– CONGREGATE –it means that authors get the opportunity to build relationships in a whole new way with readers. It means that the stories don’t have to stay linear, that the ideas don’t have to stay on one side of the page, that the experiences don’t have to end at the edge of the page.
[The] opportunity to empower your audience to actually be a community is a huge one, and shouldn’t be shrugged off without consideration.
I’m an avid reader of books—not e-readers or Kindles, but books. But Grogan’s post makes sense. Lately with books that I’ve read I find myself searching Twitter or Facebook to see if the author is in the larger conversation–whether it’s to complain or to commend. This type of familiarity with writers was unheard of a few years ago.
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