Social network interview about Facebook

Every now and then students contact me while doing research on articles I’ve written on this blog or interviews published on my work. So this one started out very interesting although the eventual questions were not asking the right questions I believe.

Student Request

I’m studying journalism at Stellenbosch University, and have to write an in-depth article about something, and I chose Facebook . So it’s not for any publication and the deadline is Wednesday.  Since it’s about facebook do u mind if we do it via facebook? and the other reason would be that im currently busy with exams so i cannot really go anywhere.

I would like to know your opinion about social networks in general? what u think…do they actually provide a service or is it just to make money? facebook has a shaky history with both good and bad comments…do u think it will die down after the rush is over or will it actually become a real option for building networks…or do u think it is finally reaching it’s peak?

here goes…

  • your opinion about social networks, especially facebook?
  • has it brought change into your life / business? how
  • does facebook have a future in this competitive market or not?
  • why is facebook so popular?
  • your opinion about social networks, especially facebook?

Social networks are the unification of the Web in the post Search Engine era. What I mean by this is that since the rise of Google in 2000/2001. Social networks connect people more directly than email, websites or search ever could do. And it plays on the social nature of human beings to connect, flirt, chat, watch, observe, challenge each other. It essentially maps the psychological and emotional nature of the human being onto the Web.

Facebook is a special case because it has integrated every other concept that has gone before and amplified the interconnectedness between “friends” or between groups. It also allows other websites from blogs to major news websites to connect into Facebook. Starting out among students in 2004 it now dominates as the leader of ALL other social networks.

– has it brought change into your life / business? how

Yes, it has allowed me to connect with old friends and new friends easily and quickly. More and more people recognise me in the real world from my Facebook exploits. Imagine Liezel vd Westhuizen or Lee-Ann Liebenberg actually recognising me from Facebook/Twitter and being happy about it. That’s what’s happening to me.

It has also led to very intense business relationships because my life is now an open book. And my clients can see what I get up to in the evenings or on the weekends. I have to strike a delicate balance between what is privately private or publicly public.

– does facebook have a future in this competitive market or not?

Yes, Facebook will remain the leader for a very long time to come. There are many new social networks trying to compete with Facebook. So they have nothing to worry about because simply in pure size they are the King Kong on the block. Since they surpassed MySpace in 2008, there is almost no other competition in this market for them. The only way to compete is to focus on niche social networks in the way that allows users to do so.

– why is facebook so popular?

For all the above reasons and more. Facebook has managed to innovate on a regular basis the functionality and freedom people have to update their friends and play online. It’s the dominant social network on mobile phone now. And with more than 800 million users worldwide, it’s  of the total o


New look Gmail

Gmail is the most powerful email application on the planet. It revolutionised how people use web-based email. For many years email users relied on either Microsoft Outlook or some software application to download emails daily, send and receive, etc. Hotmail became a hot property when Microsoft purchased it in the 1990s. However, spammers soon began to abuse web-based email like Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. Another consideration is that these emails devalue your brand when using them for business. Gmail entered the fray in 2004 and was upgraded from Beta status in 2009. Anyway, I have used it for a few years now and adore the functionality. I must caution you to be aware of the privacy issues with cloud computing – and hence I have separated by business emails to another private mailbox.


Social media goes mainstream in South Africa

Recently World Wide Worx, one of our partner companies, released the definitive study on the social media landscape in South Africa. Instead of simply republishing the press release with the research findings, I also include a short email interview with the co-author, Mike Wronski.

The questions we answer in the report deal with the specific demographics and user base sizes of the major social networks in use in South Africa. We have also in depth analysis of some top social media campaigns conducted in
South Africa.

1. What conclusions can you draw from your research on the impact of social media on the intimacy or bonding that takes place online, and offline?

It is fairly obvious from the analysis of words being used that people use social media to discuss matters that are important and intimate to them. With some of the top words in all conversations including “people, today, think, see, need”, it shows that people are not afraid to voice their opinions and talk about their daily interactions.

2. What are the differences or similarities between male and female users of social media in South Africa?

We do not have specific data on this metric.

3. What is the profile (including LSM) of the average/typical users of social media given your recent study?

We analysed available online data for the report. No surveying was done in our social media stats, so there is no clear indication of LSM. However, the overarching stats for Facebook, the most balanced social media platform, are as follows:

  • 2 million males – 2.2 million females
  • 1.15 million university graduates
  • 68,000 still in university
  • Users most concentrated in the 23-36 year old age bracket
  • Johannesburg has 1.9m users
  • Cape Town 900k, a surprisingly low number given its large population size

Social media goes mainstream in South Africa

26 October 2011:- South Africans have embraced social media as a core pillar of Internet activity in this country, along with e-mail, news and banking. MXit and Facebook lead the way in user numbers, while Twitter has seen the most dramatic growth in social networking in the past year, and BlackBerry Messenger is the fastest growing network in the second half of 2011.

These are among the key findings of a new study released today by Fuseware and World Wide Worx, entitled South African Social Media Landscape 2011.

?The question of how many South Africans use each of the major social networks comes up so often, it became a priority for us to pin down the numbers,? says Michal Wronski, Managing Director of information analysts Fuseware and co-author of the report. ?The data was collected through a combination of Fuseware?s analysis of social network
databases, information provided directly by social networks, and World Wide Worx?s consumer market research.?

An analysis of Fuseware?s extensive database of Twitter usage, in conjunction with World Wide Worx?s consumer market research, shows that there were 1,1-million Twitter users in South Africa in mid-2011. This is a 20-fold increase in a little more than a year.

?One of the drivers of growth of Twitter is the media obsession with the network,? says report co-author Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. ?Most radio and TV personalities with large audiences are engaged in intensive campaigns to drive their listeners and viewers to both Twitter and Facebook. The former, coming off a very
low base, is therefore seeing the greatest growth.?

As in the global environment, not all Twitter users are active users, with only 40% tweeting, but probably as many simply watching, following and using it as a breaking news service.

MXit remains the most popular social network in South Africa, with approximately 10-million active users. Its demographic mix runs counter to the popular media image of MXit as a teen-dominated environment. No less than 76% of the male user base of MXit and 73% of female users are aged 18 or over.

A surprising finding emerged from analysis of Facebook data. Of approximately 4.2-million Facebook users in South Africa by August 2011, only 3.2 million had visited the site in the year-to-date.

?This is partly a factor of many users moving on once the novelty of the site had worn off, as well as a result of the fickle nature of the youth market,? says Wronski. ?Once BBM picked up significant traction in private schools, for example, many teenagers who had previously flocked to Facebook, opted for BBM?s greater immediacy.?

While LinkedIn, aimed at professional users, also reached the 1,1-million mark, it came off a far higher base ? but still saw 83% growth of South African users from 2010 to 2011. Of these, 112 000 or 10% are business owners.

Consumer research analysed in the report revealed that future intention of usage of most social networks is strongly related to age. The younger the user, the greater the intention of usage.

?This is only one of many micro-trends shaping social networking,? says Goldstuck. ?MXit, Facebook and BBM statistics illustrate, for example, that as social networks become more mainstream, their penetration within
all age ranges deepens. This, in turn, will result in the continualflattening of the age curve as social networks mature.?


Media Contacts:

  • Fuseware: Michal Wronski (in Cape Town) on Tel: 021 930 9171
  • World Wide Worx: Arthur Goldstuck (in Johannesburg) on Tel: 011 782 7003



Window above the Brain

Jon Rappoport creator Logic and Analysis courseThis week we have another guest post from Jon Rappoport, creator of the Logic & Analysis course.

–for Tim Leary, after reading his autobiography, Flashbacks–

OCTOBER 31, 2011. I have written essays that make it clear the brain can’t be the seat of thought if you want to retain the concept of free will. It’s a rather easy argument.

The activity of the brain is electrical and chemical and biological. Messages flow. Patterns are established. The brain does what it does. Claiming it entirely rules the choices and decisions we make and the ideas we entertain, we’re left with no “we” at all. No “I” at all. Just enslaved process.

I fully understand how hard it is for people to swallow this analysis. They want to stop with the brain. They want to say the brain must be the beginning of our existence, the fountainhead.

But I’m not here to argue, this time. I assume and know the mind is not the brain. I assume and know there is an “I” independent from the brain.

Agree, disagree, it doesn’t matter.

What goes on in the mind is a strategic operation based on a cultural fixation. That fixation prefers one point of view over many points of view-as if having one point of view-strong, stable, unwavering-is far better, in all respects, than having many.

Well, the dichotomy is false to begin with.

This is what the Magic Theater is all about.

Improvised dialogues between two people who play many roles and switch roles opens up landscapes which would otherwise remain closed. (See my blog archive for many articles about the Magic Theater.)

In fact, one effect of these dialogues is the strengthening and widening of the one point of view with which you handle reality on a daily basis.

Many authors, including Jung, Hesse, JL Moreno, Perls, Leary, to mention a few modern explorers, have indicated or implied that human beings can expand their perception by, to put it blandly, adjusting their line of sight to include more perspectives.

The Magic Theater achieves this in a remarkable way.

The brain does not have perspective. It runs. It can switch tracks, it can emphasize certain pathways, it can de-certify routes, but it can’t create points of view or roles. You do that.

History points out that wherever civilization and freedom experienced upward swings, there was theater. In ancient Greece, in Rome, in the emergence of a European society liberated from the hold of the Church, theater flourished.

The kernel of theater is the idea of proliferating roles. In dialogue.

This is a brilliant process that transcends stifling routine and repetition locked into “the one and only role.”

In order for the mind to play out one and only one role, it has to erect walls and ceilings and floors-it has to confine interior space. It has to ignore many suggestive messages. It has to pretend imagination is an unwelcome guest. It has to reject an inherent sense of theatricality. To achieve these objectives, it has to interpret symbols in the narrowest possible way.

It has to export thoughts to the brain, in hopes that the working of that organ will collaborate to produce an artifact of extremely limited power and range.

And this, of course, is where the problem arises.

A human being has glimpses of his own power-but when his one and only point of view, the one that seems to guarantee his best chance of survival and success, is operating to dampen power, the potential of life is squashed at the starting gate.

When I say power, I mean creative action, invention, improvisation, spontaneity, paranormal capacities, magic.

Huddled in the bunker of the one and only point of view, the role that excludes all other roles, the human being is caught in his own net. And the neural net of the brain does, in fact, cooperate. So the psychic component marries the biological and the chemical, and then the chance of escape seems to hover around zero.

Fortunately, this is an illusion. Despite its convincing qualities, the illusion can be overturned rather quickly.

In the Magic Theater, as I’ve written before, the range and nature of roles is unlimited. And utilizing JL Moreno’s brilliant practice of switching roles in dialogue, the effect of this kind of improvised theater is titanic.

Obstructive emotions which seemed to be permanent and “of the eternal human condition” are transformed into pure and available energy.

The action of living itself comes to resemble, more and more, theater. Wide open theater.

And the brain cooperates with THIS. Just as it cooperated with the tied and bound dictatorship of the one central and exclusive and inhibiting point of view.