Life in Facebookistan

Friday, February 03, 2012


Writer Rebecca MacKinnon has compared Facebook to a country, she calls it Facebookistan. Facebookistan has 845 million people, and an economy that rivals many countries'. Brooke and Bob talk to Jillian York and Clay Shirky about the contours of Facebookistan, and how it effects life in the actual world we live in.

Don & Juan - What’s Your Name

Comments [14]


It is very interesting to hear the notion that Facebook is feeding off apathy to get people more adjusted to giving out personal information. I am surprised at how much leverage Facebook really has in trying to influence the actions of its users and what it can do with all the information it has. Without competition, Facebook really is the big kid on the playground with nobody arguing that they are better. I think more regulation needs to be put on Facebook and there needs to be better checks on what is being done with privacy settings so that Facebook does not assume so much control over its users.

Feb. 16 2012 05:51 PM
Pin2 from VA

What is the introduceing classical theme for the opening of The Facebook Show aired on 02.03.2012.

Feb. 10 2012 10:46 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Faylo, song titles are listed on the main page for this week's show.

Feb. 08 2012 07:13 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Mr. Russell, indirectly, reminds me that many of the "contours of consciousness" that exist in me formed in 1960s North Haven, chief among them the teaching of Mrs. Carrie Goodrich Doody, who still could pass a tenure test teaching in '84 in her last letter to our local daily! Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is NOT a national promise. The Declaration of Independence isn't a document of our government.

Other lessons of the North Haven of yore are mentioned elsewhere.

A little later, I read 1984, so I have made most everything on Facebook public. If people or computers want info, they'd get it. I was just pointing out to a cousin how much info my Mom had at hand about anyone when she was a consumer research supervisor in the '60s, '70s & '80s.

As one niece puts it, "He's really into TMI!" Too much information. I bury people with it. They actually fear making me famous by exploiting what they know about me.

Did you ever frighten a Secret Service officer by pulling out his earpiece, putting your finger in his chest and yelling, "No, if you continue to harass me, YOU WILL BE ARRESTED!"? Neither of us were, but I'd bet he was reassigned.

Feb. 08 2012 06:55 PM

This comment applies to the FB show and the December 30 segment asking how to create an engaging comments section.

The comments section of my local newspaper recently posted this:

"We're using Facebook Comments on articles to create a more civil environment for conversation."

Having just scoured their site, I can't find a single comment posted anywhere about anything, not even in the sports section. I have to say, this silence is a huge improvement over the inane bomb-throwing one used to find there. Ah...the power of transparency!

Feb. 07 2012 05:01 PM

Facebook reminds me of an old (and I mean OLD!) SNL sketch for something called Mr.Tea. It was essentially a funnel on a stand. You put the cup with the teabag here, you pour the hot water here. "...and Mr. Tea does the rest." The service that Facebook provides in response for collecting volumes of information on you is called THE INTERNET.

Feb. 07 2012 04:01 AM
Gary Russell from North Haven, CT

To Janet Bloom and Brooke Gladstone:

Wonderful show and wonderful analysis by Ms. Bloom,(above). I especially agree that as Ms.Bloom states we need to examine " what facebook and the whole electronic mentality mean to the contours of consciousness and the direction people’s thoughts and feelings take." And the most profound and obvious effect is that it "leaves people not seeing one thing as more important than another." Supurb! Touché to both of you.

Gary Russell

Feb. 06 2012 06:12 PM
BK from Chicago

I am a huge fan of your show. While listening to the Facebook show I felt compelled to share my observation with you regarding that whole "timeline" thing. I am 22 and saw the birth of Facebook. In the past few years I have lost some friends and acquaintances to suicide,drugs, and sickness. Because of our age it is a devastating thing to go through. But it is frozen in space and time forever on facebook. You can still go to their page and people may still be commenting "I wish you were fishing with me today, man". Grief is a strange process. Facebook follows people's life but it also follows them in death. I don't think I like that. It feels like there is no more moving on when people are still publicly communicating to them.

Your episode just made me really think. Thank you!

Feb. 06 2012 01:09 PM
Stacy Harris from Nashville

I have vowed to be, if necessary, the last Facebook (and Twitter) holdout. However, the temptation/pressure- if these words are ever synonymous- to join for someone who loves to participate in forums such as OTM's is always there.

Thanks to OTM for not demanding Facebook (or Twitter) "membership" in exchange for permission to post here. Just about every similar forum is turning to Facebook as a means of tracking users, many of whom, previously posted anonymously. (Voters whose lives are Facebook and Twitter-free can't even email questions, when these are solicited by sponsoring organization, in advance or during presidential debates this election season.)

I don't believe in posting anonymously but many of the abuses inherent in allowing it have yet to disappear in Facebook-monitored forums.

If you want to be my "friend," you can always call, snail mail, or email me.

Stacy Harris
Publisher/Executive Editor/Media Critic
Stacy's Music Row Report

Feb. 06 2012 01:22 AM
Dianne Lynne from San Diego

I now have 60 more minutes full of reasons not to participate in Facebook. Thank you. What I really want to know is how much money you get for shilling for Facebook (and for Google), or do you just hand them all your personal information and leave it to them to sell it to the highest advertiser?

Feb. 05 2012 08:05 PM
Faylo from Tallahassee

What are the names of those songs about Facebook that were played in the background during this week's show; I am curious? I also enjoyed how they helped to illustrat the influence of this social network.

Feb. 05 2012 06:28 PM
Janet Bloom from Cortlandt Manor, NY

To Brooke Gladstone
On The Media

Thank you so much for your hour long program about facebook. It was much needed and very well done.

However I am writing to ask that you do another hour long program soon or start a series stemming from such statements made on this program as the following:
. that you find the interface distasteful;
. that it makes an end to endings;
. that people just want to have that experience and swim in it and don’t mind it has no end;
. and leaves people not seeing one thing as more important than another.

I’d like to know why you and others find it distasteful, and what makes it comprehensible to others. I find it unfathomable.

Among the consequences I’ve doped out for myself is what I call “click away” or “cut off consciousness.” Increasing numbers of people who think it’s just fine to cut out or drop out of a communication “stream: withou saying goodbye or why or wherefore. I was saddest when two graduates of the Iowa Writers program did this.
I’m finding it even sadder to realize that all I’ve devoted my lengthy life to is getting lost the shuffle of people unable to grasp the relative value or importance or seriousness of anything, whether it be knowledge, experience, or age.

In a TV documentary years ago I saw the profound sadness of an older doctor witnessing the new profiteering forms of medical practice. Just yesterday, also on TV, I saw the equivalent: some financier dismayed at the takeover of our finances by machines.

I would like you to do an hour or series on what facebook and the whole electronic mentality mean to the contours of consciousness and the direction people’s thoughts and feelings take. What specific mental pathways and responses are being deleted by lack of use? What do we lose by reading the reduced version of a novel instead of the whole deep theing? What is the loss to our consciousnness, to our mental, emotional, physical and ecological life, because of these deletions? What can we do to counter them?

I think people need to get a very clear picture of the cliff they’ve gone or are going over being dazed by the gee whiz of the new. Now, as you pointed out, our sense of truth and consequences is just dropping into the “whatever” bin.

I hope you accept my proposition.

Thanks again for this and so many other valuable programs.

Janet Bloom

Feb. 05 2012 11:33 AM
Lucy from Nit

Ive never heard so much misinformation on an NPR before this program on Facebook

First, you absolutely do not have to use your real name on your profile! How would they know? The do not verify that information in any way. I hesitated when I signed up and decided it would be Nuts to use my real name. Consequently, even when people tag my photos, theyre using my Nom de Guerre. That's no accident and I've had to ask once or twice that people remove the tags. It's called work.

Secondly, I have never hit that Like button on an external site. In fact, no applications are allowed to access my facebook. It's as easy as changing the Allow setting to Do Not Allow. Again, a small effort.

And last, I have disabled my location services. Neither google no Facebook, not the pernicious weather channel knows where I am. The closest they get to me is the nearest hub that my web service uses. Ditto for my phone. This also disallows anyone from Checking Me In anyplace. Oh well.

I have set my profile for Friends Only to see (and I've limited that to my real friends, so I only have 24 friends and no bragging right). You can't Like everything in the world, neglect your privacy setting, abandon old posts AND worry or whine about your privacy.

Feb. 05 2012 10:37 AM
GBW from Pewaukee

Facebook is an essential utility?!?!? Oh, come on. Essential utilities provide a service so intertwined with living in the modern world, you can only do without them with great difficulty, and they are so pervasively used that the pre-existing alternatives wither away. What exactly is the indispensable service Facebook provides, and what exactly did it replace? I know many people who don't use it, myself included, and all of us live rich, full lives, have jobs, pay bills, travel, find entertainment, and so on. I know how to get in touch with friends and family when I want to. There's nothing I used to do that I can't still do with ease. As far as I can tell, in this country, it's little more than a popular hobby. Please, tell me, what am I missing?

Feb. 05 2012 10:36 AM

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