Book criticizes Facebook


Washington, D.C. (ConCienciaNews) – The author of Faceboom, the first-ever Spanish book written about Facebook, is also an avid user of this networking site. In his book, he describes in a sarcastic tone what he considers the pros and cons of his experience as a user.

From Argentina, Juan Faerman told ConCienciaNews the details of his book Faceboom, which is already circulating in countries such as Uruguay and Chile. In the meantime, it is also being adapting into English, as it makes its way to the United States.

It is been two years since he became a Facebook user, and he never thought the activities there performed would en up being the core of a book.

“For me it’s a new communication method, one in which users exploit the necessity we have to earn someone else’s approval. Some people are more dependent of this than others –they care about what others say,” said Faerman, currently a radio and television script writer and a publicity expert.

The book criticizes Facebook’s most popular features, such as the ones offered by Wikipedia. “Definitions could never even begin to explain what the reality is behind that page, loved and hated by equal groups.”

So how can we understand Facebook?

The strategy of tech evolution is Facebook’s most intelligent effort in keeping its users. Faerman defines it as ‘gradual’ because users don’t notice it. This explains why every time there is a change in the platform groups are formed to debate “how awful the process was.”

Interactivity, however, continues to be the key of Facebook’s popularity. This is confirmed by its users. In Washington, Jared Baker said: “I like it because I can stay connected with people throughout the country. But if it didn’t exist, I wouldn’t care.” In Costa Rica, Daniela Fernandez highlights its “integral connectivity. You write what you do like in Twitter, you chat like in MSN, you upload pictures like you do in Flicker, and you send messages, among others.” Others, like Maria Victoria Correa in Colombia, complain that “pictures are published without permission. I’m afraid to be seen in an uncomfortable situation.”

Faerman advices users to reflect about real-world concepts that have been transformed as a result of Facebook. “It can’t be thought that Facebook’s friends can replace the real ones. These concepts are different. For example, in MSN, where you have most of the friends that know you personally, they are not called friends –they’re contacts.”

This lack of touch with reality can be perceived by taking a look at the users’ most common activities. “It happens often. When you make an invitation to an event, most people click and say ‘I’ll be there’ when they truly know they won’t. This underestimates the value of words. There are other ways of lying and that in Facebook they are socially-accepted.”

Faerman ensures Facebook is intended to reinforce positive thoughts, which generates user-addiction. A proof of this is the ‘I like it’ button, where a user praises another user’s current status. There are thumbs up, and not thumbs down: “It’s what everybody wonders, and the reason is very simple. If I publish something and 100 people tell me that it’s stupid, and I’m sensitive person, then I’ll feel bad and I’ll blame Facebook.”

This social networking site has groups with more users than some countries’ population. One of these is Causes, an application that encourages social causes at the local and international levels. Today, it has 903,777 users every month. “I evaluated Facebook’s growth rates between January and April of this year and it turned out being an average of a half a million new users everyday,” Faerman said.

That amazing growth is expected to come to a stop, but not anytime soon. “There are still developed countries in which Facebook doesn’t have a significant participation. For instance, Brazil is the biggest country in Latin America, but only has two percent of the market. The same happens in India, where there is no significant participation. There are many factors, but once a network has been spread out in one country, it’s hard for it to be outgrown by another one,” he concluded.