Tales from Facebook

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Polity, Apr 11, 2011 - Computers - 218 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

1 Marriage Dun Mash Up
3
2 Community
16
3 For Whom the Bell Doesnt Toll
28
4 The Book of Truth
40
5 Cultivating FarmVille
53
6 Avatar
65
7 Time Suck
78
8 Getting the Word Out
88
11 Picking BlackBerrys
122
12 The History Woman
136
Lagniappe The Philosophy of Doubles
145
Part II The Anthropology of Facebook
155
Introduction
157
A The Invention of Fasbook
158
B Fifteen Theses on What Facebook Might Be
164
C The Fame of Facebook
205

9 It Was Just Sex
99
10 Its Who You Know
111
Conclusion
216
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

\Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology at University College London.

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