Tales from Facebook

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-04-11
  • Publisher: Polity Pr

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Facebook is now used by nearly 500 million people throughout the world, many of whom spend several hours a day on this site. Once the preserve of youth, the largest increase in usage today is amongst the older sections of the population. Yet until now there has been no major study of the impact of these social networking sites upon the lives of their users. This book demonstrates that it can be profound. The tales in this book reveal how Facebook can become the means by which people find and cultivate relationships, but can also be instrumental in breaking up marriage. They reveal how Facebook can bring back the lives of people isolated in their homes by illness or age, by shyness or failure, but equally Facebook can devastate privacy and create scandal. We discover why some people believe that the truth of another person lies more in what you see online than face-to-face. We also see how Facebook has become a vehicle for business, the church, sex and memorialisation.

After a century in which we have assumed social networking and community to be in decline, Facebook has suddenly hugely expanded our social relationships, challenging the central assumptions of social science. It demonstrates one of the main tenets of anthropology - that individuals have always been social networking sites. This book examines in detail how Facebook transforms the lives of particular individuals, but it also presents a general theory of Facebook as culture and considers the likely consequences of social networking in the future.

Author Biography

Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology at University College London

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xv
Glossaryp. xvii
Twelve Portraits
Marriage Dun Mash Upp. 3
We watch a man's marriage break up. Why he blames Facebook
Communityp. 16
A woman in a village compares her community with that of being on Facebook
For Whom the Bell Doesn't Tollp. 28
A previously very active man, now in his sixties and housebound, is gifted his life back by Facebook
The Book of Truthp. 40
A woman explains why what you see on Facebook is closer to the truth of a person than meeting them face to face
Cultivating Farm Villep. 53
A rather unsuccessful young man finds friends through Farm Ville
Avatarp. 65
A woman reveals how being extremely public on Facebook is her means to remaining extremely private otherwise
Time Suckp. 78
What do teenagers who spend six hours a day on Facebook actually do?
Getting the Word Outp. 88
The contrast between male and female usage within a church. Media as God's instrument for spreading the Word
It Was Just Sexp. 99
A sex video which features the lead singer of a band is leaked onto the internet - the consequences
It's Who You Knowp. 111
How in business and private life we need to understand that all individuals are social networking sites
Picking BlackBerrysp. 122
A BlackBerry helps a man find a new role for Facebook, after it had first assisted and then betrayed his primary relationship
The History Womanp. 136
A woman links her personal history to the history of Facebook
The Philosophy of Doublesp. 145
Quick thoughts from a fast food
The Anthropology of Facebook
Introductionp. 157
The Invention of Fasbookp. 158
What makes Facebook Trinidadian
Fifteen Theses on What Facebook Might Bep. 164
What makes Facebook important
The Fame of Facebookp. 205
What makes Facebook Melanesian
Conclusionp. 216
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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