Friday, January 25, 2008

GSS and the examiner blame Facebook for skiving workers

The article on the cover of yesterday's Examiner which purported to be about Facebook (but which was really about social networking sites generally) gave me and a mate some pause for thought after lunch especially with the level of detail in the various numbers quoted. Some others have noted the peculiar "fact" rich nature of the article.

"Facebook is Ireland’s most popular social networking site with close to 100,000 members. It targets people in the 25-35 age category.

Bebo is aimed at the 13-24 age group and it has in the region of 60,000 members in Ireland. MySpace is aimed at the over 35s. "

I'm pretty sure that Myspace's target market is almost as youthful as Bebo's while Facebook has become the site for the educated and officer class in the US in contrast to MySpace which is for the grunts apparently.

The figure cited as lost productivity was for €700 million for 3 weeks work per year, and the numbers involved were apparently 100,000 people on Facebook and 60,000 on Bebo. Myspace was mentioned in the piece but no numbers cited for how many in Ireland use it, but I guess it most be considerable less than the other two or they would have said what it was.

€700 million for 3 weeks equates to €12.133 Billion in productivity for a full year.

Then when we take the 160,000 or so people alleged involved equates to annual average salaries of nearly 76K per year! Which is nice work if you can get it especially when one considers that most of the individuals on such sites are in the first flush of their working lives. Strangely enough Bebo itself says it has a million users in Ireland. And many of those on such sites do not have office jobs if indeed they have jobs at all (ED - what do you mean students aren't productive?). I'd be surprised if mechanics in a garage or the lassies on the till at your local shop are logging on while working at the day job.

If one takes the time to think about it this way if this half hour per day of wastage at their desk is coming out of the usual time that people will spend in the jacks with a copy of the Sun then perhaps it is a plus for their employer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's well over half anyway

"Blogging is entirely negative, entirely cynical", you don't think you were guilty of generalizing overmuch there John Waters? The reason that a great deal of blogs are negative is that they are often reacting to what passes for News in the modern media world and much of it is terribly sloppy. And all produced by the journalists that John holds in such high regard.

According to Waters there is fact checking in journalism. Is there now, like the person who wrote an article for the Village a few years back about the changing role of the news presenter and when profiling the main news anchors in the US referred to Peter Jennings as "still going strong". The man had been dead for a while at that point and for many months have been publicly battling cancer. I emailed the magazine to ask about this quite awful oversight and never received a response. They must have thought I was going to pay them again to read a correction. I did as it happens read a few later copies of the magazine that others had bought but there was no sign of an acknowledgment of such a glaring error. More recently trivially, in a recent copy of Magill just before Christmas there was reference to Mick McCarthy taking us to the quarter finals of the World Cup in 2002. When John was challenged on his percentage figure for the amount of pornography on the Internet, he was unable to cite any source for it other than it being common knowledge and he finally retreated into saying it was well over half. Common knowledge is a great old thing and it has proved so flexible over time. We have folks saying MRSA is down to the gays and it was equally commonly known that black people are great singers but can't swim so well. And let's not forget that old common knowledge that Jews drink babies blood as part of passover. So much for fact checking in journalism John.

Even more worrying in the debate was John's attempt to link the Internet with suicide clustering in Wales. The area in Wales has high rates of unemployment and yet we have a MP talking about people killing themselves because some site allows people to leave tributes to friends who have died. That the site is called Gone Too Soon appears to have slipped the notice of the MP and John Waters. Why not a ban on memoriam cards if remembering people is an encouragement for suicide? Next we'll have columns from Waters blaming people who instruct children in reading and writing for giving kids notions about their lives that may leave some dissatisfied with their lot.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's get this man an Oscar nomination!

Jerry O'Connell was in Stand by Me you know.

So this is what he has been doing since Sliders. Good one!