Levinson on Facebook

MySpace VS Facebook

Levinson starts off the chapter by explaining the differences between MySpace and Facebook.  He describes the differences in a phrase he calls “First Love Syndrome.”

Subjective Differences

Levinson’s principle is that we love what we first experience.  He explains this theory by using the argument that for people who read the Lord of the Rings before the series, they fell in love with the book series.  The people who saw the movies first fell in love with the movies.

All though I agree with Levinson on the First Love Syndrome, MySpace has been around longer – only by a month roughly – but Facebook has more than double the users.  Not only that, but I had signed up for MySpace prior to Facebook.  All though I had gotten use to MySpace and everything, I joined Facebook due to the fact that more of my friends where on Facebook.  I think it is not so much of a First Love thing, but rather where most of our friends are.

This falls under what Levinson talks about in terms of what the website do for the user needs.  For me, the need was to connect with my friends.

Objective Differences

Levinson states:

Facebook has a much higher ratio of real-life friends than does MySpace.

I believe that the above statement would be more appropriate if Levinson was talking about Facebook in regards of Twitter, not MySpace.  The reason why I say this is because with Twitter, you can have someone who you aren’t friends following you.  Where as with Facebook and MySpace, there is a better chance that you know the person you Friend Request.

Levinson states how that he knows:

…a quarter of my current 2,000 Friends on Facebook .

In contrast, I know at most perhaps 100 of the 6,000 Friends I have on MySpace.

All though I do not know the exact reasons as to why Levinson has that amount of friends on either account, but it might have something to do with the fact that Levinson’s position as a professor might influence the reason why he has so many friends.

Facebook as a Research Tool

Levinson makes the argument that with when the web fails to aid us in find information for research, that Facebook can aid us to getting information.  I agree with this due to the fact that I serve on Student Senate.  There are cases where we have to get information from our fellow students and Facebook allows us to get information quicker and more of it.

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One comment

  1. One thing you’ve got to keep in mind in anything that Levinson writes is that he isn’t primarily interested in backing up his statements with facts; he’s interested in self-promotion. If he were interested in facts, then he would have conducted a scientific analysis of how many “friends” on either MySpace or Facebook are actually friends; he would have done an actual legitimate survey and actual statistical analysis. He didn’t do that–instead he referred to anecdotes, and only his own personal anecdotes, that he then treats as it they are conclusive evidence. They aren’t–they’re just anecdotes that I suspect he only used to show how many “friends” he has on the two sites. Any conclusions drawn from faulty evidence is at best suspect and at worst completely useless, and to develop a whole chapter based on such faulty evidence should only be taken as seriously as the author has taken it himself, which in this case wasn’t seriously at all. I suspect that Penguin Academics only published this book because there wasn’t a better one yet around and they saw an opportunity to make a buck off of it. Given its price, they probably made a bundle.

    I hate to sound curmudgeonly, but, given the conclusions drawn from what is called evidence in this book, this is a really bad book.

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