ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Contemplating “Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness” (2nd Edition)

by Tawny Smith

Disclaimer: The author of Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness is Newton Lee, Computers in Entertainment’s Editor in Chief.

When I read the book title, Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness, I thought it would initially be solely about Facebook, but it traveled far beyond that. The title represents the social world we live in today, where Facebook is been a dominant contributor of new ideas related to applications, software, and other social media. This book descries how this huge invention has branched off into many different platforms, some of which we might not be conscious of. We are aware Facebook can be a great marketing tool but it’s also one of the most biggest online activity channeling hubs, which is breaching our privacy.

When I first started using Facebook I wasn’t thinking about privacy, only connecting with people. This mindset shortly changed once I had pictures removed without me ever touching them. I closed my account for this reason back in 2007. Naturally, a lot has changed and matured since then but I have found other social websites have imitated Facebook’s features to create something better. These sites include YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

Facebook Nation provides ideas on topics like how the Internet is the new “reality TV,” in the sense that most online content  is candid everyday life material that is relatable and needs little to no editing. It’s now wonder YouTube is as popular as it is. It also satisfies video on demand. The family programming era is slowing coming to an end because our visual palette has been changed indefinitely. This change is a result of our nation becoming more and more impatient. When on YouTube, we are able to look up what we want, when we want, and we can skip through, back up, and save videos. Our computer’s are not only a source for work and research but they have now become a funnel for entertainment. Although this may have been not been considered when the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates launched their companies, but entertainment has brought in significant revenue for their tech empires.

Most people who step away from their daily lives to get on social networks think it’s to be social. The truth is we can be social with the people who are around us. There is an opportunity to meet someone new everyday just like on a social site.  People have fallen in love with the ability to control  our communication: what to say back, how soon to respond, and hiding our real expression behind a computer screen. Very few people I know have the same connection on the internet as in person. Expression can only go so far in the context of words on a screen. The connection is with the technology more than the actual person. Once we close our laptops we normally have a wall looking back at us, not a person.

In conclusion, the important approach to take when using social media is knowing how to get what you want from it. Being a part of the revolution will keep us informed, smarter, and create more opportunities for ourselves. Just like how the book mentions that social sites use techniques, strategies, and data storage to enhance their brand, we should be doing the same. It is no longer far-fetched to imagine a global audience watching an amateur performer who is trying to make it big, or a small voice evolving into a popular blogger, or even a small business owner using advertising to drive revenue growth. Let’s make the playing field even, for the people who are creating these sites, and the people who are logging on.


About The Reviewer

Tawny Smith is a fourth year college student majoring in film at Woodbury University. Being a Los Angeles native, and growing up around the film industry, she aspires to be a writer, storyboard artist, and sound designer in film and television. Right now, she has experience working on her own short films as well as being a production assistant on a feature film. She plans on eventually opening up her own production company in Los Angeles, California.