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Why Facebook is like low-fat ice cream

Why Facebook is like low-fat ice cream
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First Published: Fri, Nov 27 2009. 02 11 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Nov 27 2009. 02 11 AM IST
Sarah Palin is promoting her book on it. Some 300 million people use it every day to the point where it—like a rash—is an itch. It’s called Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) and some 100 million people worldwide have it. Facebook itself—somewhat hypocritically—has a support group for those with FAD.
Have you figured out Facebook? How to use it? How not to waste your time on it? Users say that Facebook is an “efficient” way to keep in touch with friends. Indeed, most of us join Facebook for this reason. An old college friend whom you haven’t seen or heard from in years suddenly sends an email saying that your entire college class is on Facebook and you should join too. So you do. And for a few weeks, it is delirious. Everyone is posting a flurry of messages about their current lives. “Rita Gidwani has a cold,” says one status update as these are called. A sympathetic tide of messages follow, offering prescription remedies, virtual hugs, air-borne kisses, and the whole blasted thing is as warm and fuzzy as a toasted igloo. Gradually, you keep adding “friends” who aren’t really friends. More likely, colleagues, acquaintances, people you just met at parties, people you cordially dislike, and perfect strangers who for some reason want to become your friend. You accept them all and suddenly you have 278 friends who are privy to your life; or your status updates anyway. That’s what people do on Facebook, you see. We post status updates. Most fall into the following broad categories.
Shameless plug (I’ve done this): People hawk products, display articles that they’ve written, mention awards and achievements and brag about projects undertaken. This, to me, is actually a good use of Facebook’s networking potential.
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First Published: Fri, Nov 27 2009. 02 11 AM IST