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Tales from Facebook Paperback – 26 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (26 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745652107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745652108
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

′With social media playing an increasingly dominant role in our lives, it was about time somebody undertook a serious academic study of the way the Facebook phenomenon is changing and shaping behaviour... Whatever your feelings about the ever–present Facebook, Twitter etc, they are here to stay, so this book is an intriguing guide to as–yet uncharted territory.′ The Style King

‘Miller has written an insightful and engaging look at what Facebook has done to Trinidad and, more intriguingly, what Trinidad is doing to Facebook. For anyone keen to understand what human culture is becoming as the internet becomes its nearly universal vehicle, Tales from Facebook is obligatory reading.’ Julian Dibbell, contributing editor for Wired magazine and author of My Tiny Life and Play Money

‘Tales from Facebook is a genre–busting tour de force. Miller moves between fascinating stories of the often unexpected ways Trinidadians (for whom the verb “to friend” is over a century old) use Facebook to thought–provoking discussions of the broad implications of social networking sites. Readers from a wide range of backgrounds will find this book an insightful treasure.’ Tom Boellstorff, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine, and author of Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human

From the Back Cover

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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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 1 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
These days, it is increasingly hard to escape Facebook, whether or not one is actually signed up to it or not. Even the main news stories carry occasional stories about Facebook, most of them negative. Yet Facebook can also be a force for good, although the good stories don't generally make the headlines. This book is the first serious study that I've read about Facebook. It illustrates the impact through twelve short stories, averaging about twelve pages each, each focusing on an individual, their use of Facebook and how it affected their lives. A thirteenth short story focuses on a food that has its own Facebook fan page.

The thirteen stories are all from Trinidad, a former British colony in the Caribbean whose inhabitants have (it seems) taken Facebook to their hearts. While one may argue about the choice of Trinidad as a research base, it does allow the author to add interest to the book by telling us about various aspects of Trinidad, its people, their life and culture. That said, if you really want to learn about Trinidad, there are plenty of other books devoted to the subject. With the 50th anniversary of independence from Britain due in 2012, there may be more coming soon. While Trinidad is very different in many ways from any major industrialized country you care to name, there are enough similarities to make it a viable research base. People still have the same basic needs even though they may express them in different ways.

The first story here focuses on a marriage that might have been in trouble anyway, but Facebook usage destroyed it. Some of the detail may be Trinidadian, but the basic story could easily be British or American.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marco on 9 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to reading this book. Miller can be brilliant at times. However, I do feel that the author has lost some of his edge as he seems to be seeking popular recognition. Overall, this is a disappointing book. Miller tries far too hard to be funny at times. He also seems to assume that Facebook is beyond the understanding of the ordinary person. This leads to him trotting out some fairly obvious (read trite) connections and explanations. The real shame is that this could and should have been a brilliant book by a leading anthropologist. What's been produced, however, is indulgent and lacks the coherence its subject matter deserves.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Hatfield VINE VOICE on 16 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Right- here's the thing.You can write an academic textbook. It won't sell by the truckload, but you will have integrity and may add to the sum of human knowledge. Or you can write a sensationalist account based on a few personal stories and whip up hysteria. You'll make loads of money, sell millions and probably cause a lot of damage along the way. What you can't do is a bit of both. But nobody told Daniel Miller that.
Here you have a serious academic study of the impact of Facebook in Trinidad.(pretty limited, by the way, but specific. And if you don't care about Trinidad. don't buy this! It's very location-specific!)

But then it becomes a series of anecdotes- pretty boring ones for the most part- sprinkled with opinions and hypothesis. So you end up with the worst of both worlds- not enough credibility to be scientifically-valid, not enough excitement for the casual reader.Too few examples to extrapolate any trends from, not good enough stories to hold the reader's attention.
I don't doubt Miller's honest intent- but as a book, it appeals to nobody.
A wasted opportunity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RozziD VINE VOICE on 11 Sep 2011
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When I read the blurb for this book I was expecting to end up with a book that was about Facebook - but what I got was a book that was more about life in Trinidad. It wasn't entirely unreadable by any means, but not at all what I was expecting or hoping for. If you are hoping to be reading a book filled with anecdotes about Facebook in general then you will be disappointed as it is totally centered in Trinidad. If you are interested in a more sociological account about Facebook and its place in this Caribbean Island, then you may be more interested. However, as other reviewers have already said, be careful before you decide to go for this one. I agree that the cover of the book is quite misleading as it does make people think it is a more lighthearted read than it actually turns out to be. Sorry Daniel Miller - this one is not for me
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By avid british reader VINE VOICE on 21 Aug 2011
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Read the detail more carefully than I did before choosing this book-pretty fascinating if you are looking for a detailed account of life in Trinidad rather than a study on effects of facebook-well tried but missed the mark for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sue H TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Aug 2011
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You can't judge a book by it's cover is highly apt in this case. The title and cover picture might lead one to expect that this will be light summer story about how Facebook has affected the lives of various folk. I had anticipated some tales where one might learn some thing about the use and mechanics of facebook to to pass onto all those keen 12 11/12 year old children counting the days to sign up for an account. However the 12 tales are written by an academic who has carried out their research in Trinidad. On a positive note it was interesting to learn some thing about the life style of Trinidadians, and very many life experiences are common to individuals from all walks of life where ever they live. There is a glossary of terms e.g. bacchanal : disorder that derives from scandal and gossip! I'm surprised not to have heard this in East Enders! However there is little on the mechanics of facebook to advise on privacy settings to avoid inappropriate distribution of information or a reference to where this info might be found. From an academic perspective cf life sciences and material science this research seems some what lacking, where for example is the control arm? Many aspects of the tales seem rather obvious, if you're housebound Facebook can keep you in touch, if you work away from home you can keep in touch with a wide group of people, and that if you join games in Facebook there is no judgement of your financial circumstances or employment status, even if you don't connect with Facebook others may post photos and comments about you which out of context could be misleading. if you're looking for a light read then you may findsome aspects are over analysed. This was a difficult book to give stars on one level I could award 4.5 as it was quite unique but as apiece of research rather disappointing 1.5.
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