The “emotional contagion” study dramatically rips off a curtain that separated Facebook’s public face and its backstage. Publicly, Facebook woos us with a vision of a social information stream shaped by our individual needs and networks; backstage, the folks behind the curtain are pulling levers to find more efficient ways to hijack our attention and sell us stuff. (The frontstage/backstage theory sounds like The Wizard of Oz but is actually Erving Goffman’s.)
I started this blog in April as a means of maximizing the benefit I get from social networks. But over time, I find I like getting the most from social platforms while keeping them at arm’s length. That’s particularly true of Facebook.