Friday, August 1, 2014

Everybody uses Facebook, don't they?

Why don't you use Facebook? Most photographers use Facebook. Look at all the photographs on Facebook. I mean - everybody uses Facebook, don't they? Quarter of the world's population uses Facebook, don't they? Therefore, you should use Facebook too.

That's pretty flawed logic that reminds me of when mobile phones came in. If somebody produced a mobile phone and started talking on it, people nudged each other and said "They've got a mobile phone". Now that mobile phones are pretty universal, it has become more a case of exaggerated shock when somebody is found not to have a mobile phone. Just because a lot of people use Facebook does not mean that everybody must use it.

This jar of Vegan Mayonnaise represents Facebook quite well. The banal images people post on Facebook on a daily basis, expecting comments. The more comments that are received, the more banal the images become. Pictures of cats being chased by dogs make people laugh but would have been a terrifying ordeal for the cat. Pictures of inane things like my jar of Vegan Mayonnaise.
Now you're probably expecting Vegan Mayonnaise to be in some way healthy since it is dairy free. Well, the ingredients of this jar of Vegan Mayonnaise state: Soymilk, vinegar, expeller pressed soybean oil, salt, dried cane syrup, natural flavors, mustard flour, xanthan gum, guar gum, sodium alginate, lemon juice concentrate, turmeric, paprika spice, garlic powder and vitamin B12. Let's look more closely at the highlighted ingredients. The expeller pressed soybean oil is an expensive way of getting oil from soybeans and the oil will rapidly oxidise and turn rancid. That doesn't sound too promising. Sodium alginate looks quite terrible. This is what has to say about Sodium Alginate:

Most common side effects by gender * :
White Blood Cell Count DecreasedWhite Blood Cell Count Decreased
AngioedemaDecreased Appetite
Shock HaemorrhagicHypomagnesaemia
Gastrointestinal HaemorrhageTorsade De Pointes
WheezingVentricular Tachycardia
Altered State Of ConsciousnessHypertension
AnaemiaElectrocardiogram Qt Prolonged

Now that all sounds quite terrible. The other two gums are used as thickeners. Guar gum is full of equally horrifying side effects according to webmd.
Side effects include increased gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools. These side effects usually decrease or disappear after several days of use. High doses of guar gum or not drinking enough fluid with the dose of guar gum can cause blockage of the esophagus and the intestines.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction: Don’t take guar gum if you have a condition that causes obstruction or narrowing of your esophagus or intestine.

Surgery: Because guar gum might affect blood glucose levels, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop taking guar gum at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. 
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking guar gum during pregnancy in typical amounts is POSSIBLY SAFE. But not enough is known about the safety of taking guar gum during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
I think by now, you get the picture. Things aren't as rosy as they sound. Just because people eat Vegan Mayonnaise doesn't mean that it's a good idea. The webmd description of the side effects and drug interactions of Xanthan Gum makes equally grim reading. The jar of Vegan Mayonnaise now looks significantly less healthy and more like a chemistry set that could go wrong at any moment. Oddly enough, that's a pretty good summation of Facebook.
Ah. Now what do we have here? This was my lunch today if you're at all interested. Now if I was a Facebook user, I would be posting pictures of every meal I ever ate, every place I ever went, every person I met and making snarky comments along the way.

As Veritasium says, Facebook filters your posts to people that like them so that quickly you end up with a circle of people who support each other's self-affirming viewpoints. To put that another way, it's what psychologists call group think where everybody in the group supports each other and tries to outdo each other - pretty much what happened at the infamous Wannsee Conference.

Does everybody use Facebook? Quarter of the world's population sounds a lot. In fact it sounds too much. Quarter of the world's population lacks electricity according to Scientific American. So, we're not talking quarter of the world's population using Facebook. We're talking a third of the population that has electricity. But hang on - didn't China block Facebook access to most of its population? That brings the population able to use Facebook down by 1/4 of the world's population. Now admittedly we cannot now say that half the world can't use Facebook as a fair number of people in rural China are probably included in the first figure that don't have electricity. The figures, however they are sliced are reducing. The reality is that people with pets have Facebook pages for their pets. This is an example - Strawberry Moose isn't even a real person.

So, quarter of the world's population? Debateable. More like 300 million real people (or fewer), many with multiple accounts. So everybody uses Facebook? Not blooming likely. Not even the number of accounts on Facebook truly represents the number of users. There are at least two accounts that I know of, that are still up that belonged to people that have since died and nobody has yet removed the abandoned accounts.

The argument that photographers use Facebook is pretty thin too. Everybody with a cellphone is a photographer if they use the cellphone camera. It therefore becomes redundant to say photographers use Facebook as it's like saying ice-cream vans carry ice-cream. I don't use Facebook. I have no interest in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment