The Substance of Faith

The Substance of Faith

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Dot.Complicated – A Review

Randi Zuckerman’s last name may sound familiar.  Her brother, Mark, founded Facebook.   Dot.Complicated contain’s a short history of her career at Facebook and many of her observations of life in the age of  social media.

The book contains many insightful comments from research on how social media effects us.  Here are some paraphrases of a few:

A 2012 study from Harris Interactive reveals that 40% of people would rather go to jail for a night than give up their contacts through social media. (p. 63)

Sam Roberts from the University of Chester, England, reported that people laugh 50% more with friends in real life than through social media.  (p. 114) [Think about that real life comment.]

In the July, 2013, edition of Computers in Human Behavior, Dr. Andy Przybylksi reports that individuals with the highest levels of FOMO  have the lowest levels of life satisfaction.  [FOMO = the fear your life doesn’t measure up to the Facebook lives of your friends.]

Zuckerman also offers some of her personal insights about the connected life.  Here are some quotations:

….there’s no privacy or security setting in the world that can save you from a friend’s bad judgment [to share your private information]. (p. 83)

Today everyone is a broadcaster as well as a receiver.  In the past, we were all just passive consumers of information.  Creating content was reserved only for the rich and powerful, who controlled and ran large media companies.  But, now each of us can generate and share as much as we receive. (p. 66).

The author also talks about the ways social media has blurred the edges between personal and professional lives.  For instance, does your boss read your Facebook posts?  The influence of parents’ over their children’s internet behavior also gets a chapter and is worth reading more closely.

The downside of the book is Zuckerman’s stream of consciousness writing style.  The loose and redundant language gives the impression that the book was dictated and then edited (some).  There are too many usages of “blown away,” “train wreck,” and “OMG!”  The book could have been half as long and still contained all the significant insights.

Still I think the book is worth the effort.  Once the reader gets the flow, it is easy to skim and read the gray-paneled summaries at the end of each chapter.  I’d recommend the book for anyone interested in the shifts in our culture brought about by Facebook – and for parents who use social media, but have not yet realized the different world their children are living in.


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