did you know about this facebook experiment?
But the new era has brought some controversy with it. Professor Hancock was a co-author of the Facebook study in which the social network quietly manipulated the news feeds of nearly 700,000 people to learn how the changes affected their emotions. When the research was published in June, the outrage was immediate.here's the study.
In an academic paper published in conjunction with two university researchers, the company reported that, for one week in January 2012, it had altered the number of positive and negative posts in the news feeds of 689,003 randomly selected users to see what effect the changes had on the tone of the posts the recipients then wrote.
this is nothing new. ortega y gasset makes a ditto point in his 1930 socio-political treatise revolt of the masses.(...) moods were contagious. The people who saw more positive posts responded by writing more positive posts. Similarly, seeing more negative content prompted the viewers to be more negative in their own posts.
to simplify it for our epoch, let's introduce the facebookian, a new social species. paraphrasing ortega-gasset:
...his/her perfection is not substantial to himself/herself, he/she has a fictitious character... that's why he/she needs of others, seeking in them the confirmation of the idea he/she has of him/herself.facebookians, in so far as they dwell the facebook/bubble, lack purpose, they --how to put it?-- drift along, which means their interaction emerges as massive thumbs-up enthused threadings, easily teased with whatever gewgwas. facebookians are average but insist in having their opinions considered. however, they're generally unwilling to accept the presumptions that underlie the marketplace of opinions.
their cogitations are like word-appetites.
let's add this caveat: not all facebook users are facebookians. some may use the platform to serve particular interests and resist (even subvert) its intended flow (but even this notion can be slippery).
don't take ortega as putting down facebookians' intellectual abilities, they are not simpleminded at all!
he/she has more intellectual capacity than in any previous epoch, but that capacity works for little, for in reality, they simply close in and refuse to use it. only he/she is capable of putting together such mix of banalities with an audacity that can only be described as ingenuous... it's not that the average person thinks to be exceptional, on the contrary, the average person imposes his/her right to averageness to all! (chapter 8)so?