Sunday, March 1, 2009

More powerful than the Large Hadron Collider, it's Facebook! Plus, a stimulating new migraine cure!

While scientists and journalists have been debating whether the Large Hadron Collider, the gigantic particle accelerator located under the border of France and Switzerland, could create a life-sucking black hole that would slowly pull all of mankind into its maw when it is finally switched on in September (by actor Tom Hanks, no less), they have entirely neglected an existing, much more life-threatening, life-sucking, gigantic instrument of destruction. I am, of course, referring to Facebook.

Don't believe me? Well then, what about the numbers? And we all know numbers don't lie.

Facebook currently has more than 175 million active users (including yours truly), with the over 30 crowd being the fastest growing user group. If Facebook was a country, it would be the sixth most populous, just behind Brazil and ahead of Pakistan. And according to Facebook, its citizens spend more than 3 billion minutes (combined) each day on the site. Three billion minutes, folks, gone. Never to return again. Scary.

And just like the Large Hadron Collider has lured scientists to do unspeakable things in the name of science, Facebook has lured hundreds of thousands of application developers and entrepreneurs to create unspeakable applications and tools for the site. But that's just the tip of the iceberg -- or event horizon of the black hole that is Facebook (to not mix metaphors).

Every day, millions of Facebook users go to the site, ignoring their work, their families, and loved ones to post photographs (more than 850 million photos are uploaded to the site each month), videos (more than 5 million of which are uploaded each month), leave comment-inducing status updates (more than 15 million of them each day), form or join groups, and create fan pages.

Can this be good for productivity? I think not.

Case in point, on Friday I was writing an article, which happens to be about managing social media (i.e., Facebook) in the workplace, when I get a ping from Facebook, from a girl I went to elementary school with, who I haven't heard from in, like, over 30 years, who commented on a picture of me from third grade, which a mutual Facebook friend put up.

So I, of course, had to write her back.

Then I go back to my article and the spouse walks into my office. And, of course, I now have to show him the photo of me (and this girl), which I put on my Facebook profile, again taking time away from working on my article.

The spouse looks at the photo, then looks at the notes on my desk, and he says "Facebook is the reason this country is in a recession." I think that might be a little harsh, but I'm going to put the question up for comment on my Facebook page and see if others think it's true.

In other scientific news... As many of you know, I suffer from migraines. I have tried many cures and methods of prevention over the years, with varying degrees of success, but it never occurred to me that a cost-free cure had been right next to and available to me all the time. I am, of course, referring to sex.

Yes, dear readers, scientists have found that having sex may actually alleviate a headache, especially a migraine. Of course, when I first heard about this new cure, I thought it was simply a male plot, but I have actually experimented with this concept several times now and it does, in fact, work, or at least alleviate the pain temporarily. (For more on this stimulating topic, click on the link, which includes a short video.)

I would write more, but I feel a headache coming on, and I have yet to check Facebook this morning.


Bellamy said...

OOOOh how potentially true. Like a low-flying sneaky virus, this might just be the epidemic that is causing it all, or at least that might drag it out. Though I NEVER use FB during the day i as become a staple for both husband and me at night, which has definitely put a drag on the headache remedies, which means more Advil which means higher profit for the pharmaceutical companies, which means no job loss, etc. SO maybe your theory is, at east in one industry, woefully flawed!

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Yes, FB is the new evil!!! I am just back from a week's vacation where I didn't have the tools to check in there every day (okay every few hours is more like it) and am suddenly faced with A LOT of free time. :) On a totally unrelated but related note, one of the emails I got on my return was from a HS friend I befriended a few years back who I hadn;t spoken to in like 20 years suggesting I befriend our history teacher from 10th grade (who I guess is also on FB). All I could of think was "why?"

TommyMac71 said...

Facebook is why we are in a recession????

Uh....I think we are in a recession because we cut corporate talent (those NOT concerned with company bottom lines) when the profit margin "plummets" to 17 percent from 21 percent.

We are in a recssion because corporate non-talent (the former corporate talent that was NOT formerly concerned with the bottom line) becomes increasingly concerned with the bottom line and make drastic cuts in human capital.....

Oh yeah and a little war we fought too.

And as for the black hole. it's here and it's called reality television. and celebrity journalism

J. said...

I don't think Facebook is why we're in a recession, Tommy, though it is a huge suck on productivity. The reason we are in a recession is greed and incompetence, to oversimplify. I also have nifty chart, which shows how we got into the current economic mess.

Bellamy and Little Miss Cupcake, thanks for the great comments! Keep 'em coming!

Dave S. said...

I am having trouble getting past the idea of Tom Hanks pressing the LHC restart button, my most coherent question at this point being "huh-wha?" Time spent on Facebook unquestionably is more productive than the time I absolutely demand be returned to me after spending it on The DaVinci Code; if its sequel (and related movie) are anything like the original, even a worst-case scenario LHC will take a distant second in the suckitude department.

I believe the "debate" involving scientists and journalists on the will-kill-us-all-ness of the LHC may be summarized as follows:

Journalists: The LHC could create an Earth-sucking black hole!

Scientists: No.