Monday, 3 August 2009

Facebook criticised by Archbishop

Facebook criticised by Archbishop (BBC News, Sunday, 2 August 2009)

There are many bad things one can say about Facebook. The many bugs and browser-specific features reveal it was built by incompetent dimwits. The privacy policies, or their absence, one should be extremely wary of as well.

Nevertheless, after taking precautions, I signed up and I now find Facebook useful to keep informed about social events, where I meet people face-to-face. I concede however that other people may interact with their friend online in place of face-to-face meetings.

So does Facebook on the average lead to more face-to-face meetings, or to fewer? Well, there is this revolutionary new idea to find out things about the world. It is called scientific inquiry. One study on Facebook is for example:

Are Facebook Friends Like Face-to-Face Friends: Investigating Relations Between the Use of Social Networking Websites and Social Capital (Annual meeting of the International Communication Association, 2008)

One major disadvantage of science is that it requires effort. It is much easier to become the leader of some fruity club that worships pink unicorns, celestial teapots or whatever other garbled hogwash. And then you can say whatever you want, without obligation to offer any empirical support whatsoever. Your words will be jotted down by open-mouthed BBC News churnalists desperate to reach their quotas, and published on the front page of their website.

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