Net­work news

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - OPENERS -

Let’s face it, if you are not on Face­book you’re just not fac­ing up to cy­ber life in the 21st Cen­tury. I can say this be­cause six months ago I fi­nally be­came a mem­ber of this not-so-ex­clu­sive club. In 2008 there were 3 mil­lion Aus­tralians on Face­book. Last year that dou­bled to 6 mil­lion and the lat­est fig­ure is 9 mil­lion. At this rate just about ev­ery Aus­tralian will have a Face­book page by 2014.

Be­ing some­one who is so­cial-me­dia chal­lenged I had to ask a much younger friend at work to help me join. I thought be­ing on Face­book was for teenagers and then I changed my mind. Ac­tu­ally ABC man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mark Scott did. He sent us an email urg­ing us all to be a part of this brave new world. We are also be­ing urged to have blogs and Twit­ter but I can only cope with so much change in a year.

My pre­con­cep­tion about it be­ing a teenage thing was re­in­forced when I saw the rules for be­com­ing a mem­ber. You have to declare you are 13 or older. Be­fore I signed up I thought you could only be a mem­ber if you were 13. I had seen a friend’s daugh­ter ob­ses­sively typ­ing and post­ing fish-eyed phone cam­era pho­tos on their com­puter and so I thought Face­book was some sort of gig­gly in­ter­net Sad­dle Club with­out the horses.

The tragic death of Carly Ryan had also made me think it was a rather sul­lied and dan­ger­ous place to play. So when I heard that adults were on Face­book I won­dered what they were up to. Then we had Kevin 07 an­nounc­ing he had so many Face­book friends it wasn’t funny. It’s also funny now to think that all those “friends” couldn’t help put Kevin back to­gether again.

Maybe there is a les­son there. If Kevin had only spent a bit more time de­vel­op­ing real friends, his life would have been very dif­fer­ent. And speak­ing of lessons, ac­cord­ing to a new study from the Nether­lands, stu­dents who use so­cial net­work sites while study­ing – even if it is just in the back­ground – end up with exam re­sults 20 per cent lower than their peers. Pro­fes­sor Paul Kirschner said the con­stant task-switch­ing meant ev­ery­thing took longer to get done, and led to more mis­takes. You see now why Kevin had such a big drop in his re­sults.

Is there a les­son, too, for our Premier? The other day it was an­nounced that Mike Rann had 10,000 fol­low­ers on Twit­ter. But the polls at the last elec­tion showed the vot­ers were more en­am­oured of Iso­bel Red­mond who I have never heard a tweet out of. Barack Obama is strug­gling de­spite hav­ing a huge so­cial-me­dia pro­file.

This brings us to Mark Zucker­berg, the 26-year-old bil­lion­aire cre­ator of Face­book, and his ap­pear­ance on the Oprah Win­frey show on Septem­ber 24. He an­nounced he was go­ing to give away $100 mil­lion to the Ne­wark New Jersey school sys­tem. Maybe he’s feel­ing bad about how many stu­dents are do­ing poorly thanks to Face­book. Or maybe it’s be­cause he’s wor­ried that the new film which tells the story be­hind his cre­ation, leaves him with some egg on his Face­book.

Ac­cord­ing to the Rich List he is the 35th rich­est per­son in the US. So he prob­a­bly doesn’t care what peo­ple think. Or maybe he does. He can al­ways find out by check­ing what they are say­ing on Face­book. And that re­minds me, I had bet­ter log in to my Face­book page. You’d bet­ter join if you haven’t al­ready. You’ll have a lot more “friends”, but your aca­demic per­for­mance might suf­fer. Let’s face it, that’s a pretty tough choice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.