Teju Cole says 2013 SUCKED

All years are terrible years; the predicament of being human tends towards the negative. We read the news and are left feeling nothing more noble than “only I have escaped to tell thee.” A given year can be pronounced good only in a solipsistic sense.

2013 ends and I wish again, selfishly, hopelessly, and dubiously, as I do at the end of each year, that my friends and I will in the coming year escape fate’s worst. [link]

The end of Facebook hegemony? Not so fast!

A much quoted story on the end of facebook contained the following lines:

The Global Social Media Impact Study, which was funded by the European Union, observed 16- to 18-year-olds in eight countries for 15 months and found that Facebook use was in freefall. Instead, young people are turning to simpler services like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp …

“What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request.” [link]

However, Leo Mirani at Quartz brings our attention to two flaws in the original report. The first is about the representativeness of the sample:

TheBBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones looked into the claims and found that the results came from a small, localized area and not from an “extensive European study,” as the Guardian put it in its write-up.  [link]

The second is that while teens are adopting a wide range of additional social networks, they aren’t giving up Facebook. That is, social network membership is not zero sum, at least not for teens with plenty of time on their hands. Pay attention to the right hand column in the table:

Pew report out today … explains rather nicely: People young and old are indeed signing up to networks that are not called Facebook. But they are not leaving Facebook.  [link]

Has evangelical Christianity jumped the shark?

the reality, largely unnoticed outside church circles, is that evangelicalism is not only in gradual decline but today stands poised at the edge of a demographic and cultural cliff…just 19 percent of Americans identified themselves as white evangelical Protestants—five years earlier, 21 percent of Americans did so. Slightly more (19.6 percent) self-identified as unaffiliated with any religion at all, the first time that group has surpassed evangelicals.

Contributions from worshippers 55 and older now account for almost two-thirds of evangelical churches’ income in the United States. A mere three percent of non-Christian Americans under 30 have a positive impression of evangelical Christianity …down from 25 percent of baby boomers at a similar age. At present rates of attrition, two-thirds of evangelicals in their 20s will abandon church before they turn 30.[link]

James Franco would hate my instagram account

Franco sounds off on Instagram, including this self-serving gem:

I am actually turned off when I look at an account and don’t see any selfies, because I want to know whom I’m dealing with. In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.” [link]