Facebook and Mr.Truman

In the 1998 Jim Carrey plays the role of Truman Burbank in “The Truman show”, an extraordinary interpretation in an apparently simple film. Mr. Truman realizes to be the protagonist of a show seen by million of people. His life is in the window, it is a complex composition of fact and fiction, of real and no real, where nothing is private and personal, but of public interest.

“The Truman show” confirms everyman’s wish to be in plain view, to become a protagonist; a wish taken to extremes and made public. The film inaugurates a new television season characterized by a large number of reality and talent shows that present, not always in a realistic way, people, emotions and small talents found among the common people.


Thousands of people get patiently in line for castings only to have the opportunity to participate, even for few seconds, to a reality or a talent show; a role reversal where some of the viewers become protagonists for the purpose of getting popular, loved by the other viewers tired of seeing “the usual” show personalities to reply similar clichés.

A game of roles with rapid changes, between anti-personalities and audience

Then, actually “in the meantime”, Internet has established itself and everybody turned instantly into Mr. Truman, each of us able to share immediately personal thoughts and daily banalities; an exhibition itinerary posted on social which, day after day, testifies openly our life.

But there is a great great difference! Truman Burbank was forced to be in the window, we cyberusers, voluntarily show ourselves through “the social”

At the heart of this exhibition process of our selves we find Facebook, the social network, the window par excellence.

Just a few days ago Mark Zuckerberg has announced an extraordinary goal reached by Facebook: two billion of users connected at least once a month.

                                                        Two billion of Mr. Truman

The more and more frequent use of multimedia material such as photos, audios, videos, makes the “social” exhibition itinerary more and more immediate. The time of spreading is more and more rapid. Our ID on the ID card, intact for years, doesn’t represent us anymore. It is replaced by the photo of our Facebook profile, a photo we frequently change like our look and mood.

We seek popularity, confrontation, chitchat, consent. We try to assert our uniqueness via web, well aware of being only one among billion of users connected online, no longer mere spectators, not entirely true protagonists. 

The central role of Facebook is confirmed by other statistics:

  • A billion and 280 million of users in the world are daily connected on Facebook (source Facebook 2017).
  • In Europe over 307 million of people use Facebook (Source: Search Engine Journal).
  • A billion and 740 million of people are daily connected on Facebook through mobile phone (source Facebook 2017).
  • The annual growth trends of the users connected via mobile phone is of +21% comparing to 2016 (source Facebook 2017).
  • Every day 300 millions of photos are posted on Facebook (source Gizmodo).
  • Every second 5 new profiles are created on Facebook (source ALLFacebook 2012).

                                         We are Mr. Truman in a world of Mr. Truman:  

Heralds in a world invaded by advertisements,

Replicants in a world of replies,

Supporting actors consciously connected,

Two billion of Mr. Truman in a World 2.0.


There’s no place like smartphone

Let’s talk about smartphone, innovation, society and, of course, Internet.

To do this, we use the recent study published by Deloitte entitled “Mobile consumer survey 2016 UK”, research available online, which we recommend you, characterized by statistics with nice infographic and easy to interpret.

The subtitle, highfalutin, has captured our attention and encouraged the drafting of this article. “There’s no place like phone” represents a funny way to misquote the ancient motto “There’s no place like home”.

There is more behind this pun, because in a few years the smartphone has become, in UK as in Italy, a reference in the lives of many of us. It is an indispensable object, personal, always on hand, therefore appropriate to compare it to our home, a private place, intimate, where we feel so at ease.

Nine years after the first diffusion of this new generation of mobile devices, Deloitte, through this study, draws up an interesting analysis.

This analysis has shown the great impact on the social, personal and working environment caused by “smart” devices.

Let’s analyse the main points that synthesize the search.

The “Key findings”:

Almost half of 18-24 years olds check their phone in the middle of the night

The young Millennials, and even worse the young generation Y, are always connected. Even at nighttime!
The graph (figure 4) shows that the 50% of the Millennials (between 18 and 24) accesses their smartphone at least once during the night. The data for the other age groups is equally surprising:

  • a 30-year-old in two accesses Internet during the night (25-34 48%)
  • a 40-year-old in three (35-44 37%)
  • a 50-year-old in four (45-54 27%)
  • a 60-year-old in five (55-64 20%),

do the same.
The over 65 are not excluded with the 14% of the approached ones.


Giving a quick look, we noticed the reverse trend between age and (nighttime) dependence; in any case a significant trend for the elderly age groups as well.
We are always connected. And we will be more and more, given the indices of the age groups.
Internet is in all these numbers; these compulsive, day and night tendencies.

It is useless to enumerate what benefits bring a proper sleep to our health and in general to our life. Are we developing a “FOMO” (Fear of Missing OUT) mass syndrome? More than likely!
The detail  proves it: 11% of the users wakes up in the middle of the night to check up the instant messages such as WhatsApp, 9% reads on Social Media, 8% reads their personal emails, 6% answers to the instant messages and so on…

We find restrictive saying that these people feel the necessity of “being often online”, they perceive the virtual world on a par with the real one. They are in both places. Even in the middle of the night! It is a continuum space and time between the “real world” and “web”.

27% of smartphones include a fingerprint reader, of which 76% are used

The smartphone is more and more a personal tool; the bond between tool and person is shown by the presence of interactive functionalities, which protect and reserves the access, like finger print recognition. Immediate service aimed to guarantee greater safety and fast usage. New functionalities, closer to our senses, by touch, faster, more “smart” and less “phone”, will become more and more established in the future. There can be no doubt!

Connected home devices still haven’t taken off, with just 2% of adults owning smart lights and smart appliances

The use of Internet by home electronic devices didn’t spread as what one thought.
Household appliances at remote control, video cameras controlled by an APP, smarthome technology, wireless devices and Bluetooth find interest in a small percentage of cyberusers.
The reason is extremely simple, the added value in terms of remote control and automation is, till now, very limited. If there is no clear advantage, the technology which sustains the innovation, struggles to succeed.

As of mid-2016, almost half of UK adults had access to at least one type of connected entertainment product

It is a completely inverse tendency compared to the previous case. In 2016 has increased the number of devices as well as the access quantities to the entertainment services through smart TV, games and videostreaming.
The cyberuser is also cyberviewer or cyberplayer. He chooses on demand and via streaming what to enjoy.
Well-informed he downloads, purchases and visualizes online.

4G adoption has more than doubled in the last year, from 25% to 54%

The net is getting faster every day; this powers the use of it, stimulating the interaction and long-distance socialization and increasing the sharing and the use of multimedia material, images and video.

31% of smartphone users make no traditional voice calls in a given week. This contrasts with a quarter in 2015, and just 4% in 2012

Instant messenger, chat, social network have changed rapidly the way of communication.
The pie chart “A day in the life of a smartphone” on page 36 explains how the smartphone follows us every moment of our day.

However the smartphone is much more than a phone after all; it is a computer that provides new ways of communication and information; the users, the network users, are more and more aware.
The new ways of communication, also visual, are competing with the traditional operators offer.  They allow saving and communicating in a much more exhaustive way, visual, faster and at long-distance.

The majority of survey participants have downloaded 20 or fewer apps

The APPs have changed our way of perceiving technology by simplifying it, approaching informatics to the common user.
But this doesn’t mean that every APP is automatically a successful product; and even less, that we have to download hundreds of software applications on our device.
The user is learning to select effectively the useful APPs, necessary for his daily purposes.
The user is learning to manage his smartphone.

By mid-2016, almost two-thirds of UK adults had access to a tablet, but penetration growth had slowed down

The tablets have reached the top of their popularity.  Tools created not too long ago, are already becoming extinct.

The new generation of laptops, both computer and tablet, ultra-light, is replacing them.
Furthermore the smartphone displays are larger and larger, clearly legible. A 5/6-inch smartphone represents a good alternative to a tablet.
The tablets have had a fundamental role being  the first “touch” tools that brought web closer to citizen; they have set in motion a global digital reading process.
But technology runs very fast, inexorable; tools till yesterday innovative, gave space to new tools even more innovative.

How would we end our analysis? 

First of all thanking Deloitte for the great research from which we have taken inspiration, then with our “usual” conclusions. It is obvious, given the statistics, that the binomial person-smartphone is changing our social fabric, minor and major aspects of our life; a complex phenomenon, characterized by different tendencies and patterns of use. A fast-growing phenomenon for a long time to come, of that we are sure…in a World more and more “2.0”.


The PDF “Mobile consumer survey 2016 UK” of Deloitte is available at the following address:


Educating to the use of smartphone

In just six years, since 2011, the use of smartphones, and therefore the access on the move to services and contents online has increased from few percentage points, often below 1%, to over 50% of the connections.

This axiom, so clear in the percentages mentioned above, already described in our Italian article “The smartphones more used than the personal computers” has suggested us an original study.

We have positioned ourselves on an avenue of high-density of traffic in Rome, at 8:00 o’clock, in a sunny working day. We have chosen deliberately a spot of the avenue where at peak times the traffic progressively slows down and proceeds at a walking pace.

Educating Smartphone Car

Taking up a sheet of paper and a pen, bothered by the acrid unbreathable smell, we begin to write down the drivers’ behavior for an hour. The revealed data are therefore to be considered approximate by default we might have eluded some behavior.

We assure you that the sample, considering the huge traffic, is very significant in terms of numbers, age and social background.

 What have we seen? 

Approximately 2 out of 10 drivers, meaning 20%, use the smartphone for calling. They “are holding” the smartphone while driving. This behavior, dangerous and forbidden by law, was already widespread with the “normal cell phones”. The driver uses only one hand for driving, with the other one he is holding the phone and often distracted by what is happening on the road causes conversation.

Even more concerning is the fact that of these approximately 1 driver out of 20, actually almost 1.4 drivers, meaning 7%, uses the cell keyboard while driving, maybe for “texting” through chat, perhaps  through WhatsApp or Facebook.

We are dealing with a dangerous behavior because, very often, to our message follow those of our friends which, instinctively or out of curiosity, we are immediately tempted to read.

The driver sees the road “intermittently”, he is elsewhere. In some cases he places the phone on the wheel maybe to read better or even worse to write with both hands.

None of the drivers caught by us fiddling with the smartphone had a travelling companion; an aspect to be taken into consideration.

It is right to point out that the huge traffic surely stimulates this deviant behavior.  It is equally important to specify that the spot subject of monitoring doesn’t have traffic lights and the line, although continuous, has practically never had a total block, therefore, even though at a walking pace, the cars never stop, they are always on the move with lots of cars coming from other streets.

What we detected is that holding in hand the smartphone while driving is a very dangerous behavior. 

But why a very significant part of Italians is using the smartphone in a compulsive and villain way?

The first motivation stays in this article’s premise; internet and smartphones have spread very fast. There has been a lack of “education to the use of smartphone” or driver’s ed if you prefer. We use the smartphones and nothing else!

In schools it is forbidden the smartphones’ use, but there is no explanation why. This is not provided for a digital educational path, if not in some experimental cases. A significant path, arranged in more lessons, with ad hoc teaching, different in age and student sensibility, intended to explain when to go online and when is not appropriate.

On second thought, there aren’t very young people driving at 8 o’clock in the morning, so the lack of digital education doesn’t concern only the young millennials, but the adults too; the adults who live the day partly characterized by frantic rhythms partly by long waiting.  Waiting in which the smartphone acts as a socialization tool, an entertainment. The smartphone becomes an indispensable tool for alienating the boredom and for maintaining constant the frantic rhythms of our day especially when we are alone.

We need to communicate with our social web, our family and our friends, we want to share and smile a little. We find difficult to resist this need, especially when our smartphone is handy.

Let’s try to be constructive what can we do to get rid of this bad habit in adults in a short time?

It is simple, by daily broadcasting on TV (and Internet) commercials which underlines the inherent risks in using the smartphone while driving.  Broadcasting on and on alongside with those of phone companies, snacks, cars, perfumes and so on…which are being proposed to us at every hour of the day.

A digital education project, similar to those already proposed in other contexts by the Italian Progress Publicity Foundation

An innovative project which could save a lot of lives made by Italian RAI television that, we remind you, is a public communication company.

It is a simple principle: we use the mass communication tools and the web for educating as well as for convincing to buy things. Let’s use it properly and not symbolically and occasionally!  We do hope that this simple suggestion will be adopted.

We conclude with good news, during the experimental period 7 bicycles had passed us. People we presume, according to their clothes were aimed to work, cycling, with their hands tight on the handlebars and the smartphone, probably, in the pocket.

There is hope for the future! 


Internet and people’s wisdom

Internet people’s wisdom There is a deep bond between sociology of the20th century and  web, the Internet, the virtual universe, explicit expression of our times.

Take, for example, Stanley Milgram and his visionary theory of the “small world” subsequently becoming “the theory of Six Degrees of Separation” to which we have dedicated an article a while ago.

Milgram had empirically proved how an individual could reach a perfect stranger by means of a parcel post with a number of passages between five and seven. Theory largely debated over the last few decades by the international sociological community and definitively proved in 2011 by the University of Milan through a concrete experimentation on the social network Facebook; an experiment which underlines how much all of us are really close in this globalised world, reachable and even closer if we use a social network.

Do we have other cases in which the bond between sociological analysis and modernity can be seen? 

In the 1895 Gustave Le Bon wrote the test “The Crowd: A study of the Popular Mind” in which he stated the destructive power of the crowd. An individual in the crowd, in line with the mass, abandons his own personal sense of responsibility, overcoming his own limits allowing himself to be dragged: a very present argument even on the net where the virtual context becomes scenery for situations of collective mockery and cyber-bullying.

The net, meaning the crowd, submits very fast new tendencies to comply with, the comments quickly overlap, one after the other and the opinions become provocations and then insults.

The web determines very fast new dynamics of thought. It praises, debates, defames and in the end destroys. 

But are we really sure that Internet, through its social networks, produces only negative effects on cyberusers? Is it real this alarmist and catastrophic vision of Internet or is it the digital divide’s creation? Is Internet only a jungle where to move in packs?

To this topic we got help from Francis Galton, still in the early 1900s, who decided to ask, during an agricultural fair, the weight of an ox to passersby and sectoral experts and subsequently to find out that the median calculated on the judgment of the passersby is by far more accurate than the hypotheses feared by the experts. We refer to “the wisdom of the crowds” a concept diametrically opposed to the precedent one for which the mass is able to provide best answers and attitudes compared to what are the possibilities of one single person.

Theory that in our view sustains the network work and the Wikipedia’s organization; Universal Encyclopedia based exactly on the contribution of the users, on the reciprocity determined by the common synergic effort, although with full regard of its role.

Wikipedia is an example of flow capable of channeling in a positive way the great energy present on the web; an imperfect but tangible example, valid both for the quantity of the proposed contents as for the anthropological value of the organization which proposes them; theory proven by the strong network presence of beneficial movements and voluntary organizations as well as onlus and humanitarian associations. All examples characterized by a strong collective identity along with a strong presence on social spaces where sharing, searching for solutions, communicating, showing, reaching unthinkable goals are above one person expectations.

Theory which sustains some “web colossuses” such as Tripadvisor, where 385 million reviews wrote by “normal” readers constitute a framework of together which goes far beyond the individual.

Internet is the participatory space that, despite its enormous contradictions and its multiple deviant events, exceeds the limits of the previous social models. The web produces dynamics of sharing and thinking “from the bottom”, collective and emotional; it is indeed the web of “say” and “do” anything.

Often these dynamics are diametrically opposite, extremely positive or extremely negative where the network group becomes a super group, a frisky herd running on the virtual prairies powered by hashtags and webtrends.

The bond between social analysis and modernity, between dynamics in progress and sociological thought proves the continuity between past and present; it reveals the foundations on which is based the new web, explains our history and motivates our present.

After all these reflections, what really matters is our need to participate, in the town square, on the window, in the window, on a disco podium or sitting on the couch and telling a story.

Network’ safety in numbers creates confusion, stimulates new ideas and new tendencies, makes a mess, does what all of us do every day in this world, a


The multimedia World

multimedia World

Let’s start with numbers. In February 2014 the WhatsApp users exchanged approximately 600 million images in a month. The same month, two years later, the exchanged images have become 1.600 million, exactly a BILLION more. Over the same period, the video messages have increased from 100 million to 250 million (according to Statistics).
YouTube, the multimedia storage of knowledge, this year receives every second approximately 300 hours of video. The proportion between the actual time and the stored digital time is 1 to more than one million (according to Brandwatch).

We store a million copies of each second we live on this planet. 

On Facebook are used every day 100 million hours of video (according to Techcrunch), and still talking of Facebook we find equally important the statistics on the number of images uploads (loadings), even if uncertain, they vary depending on the source, between 300 million and 80 million photo uploads per day; an extraordinary number, no doubt!
Without considering Instagram, the social network based on images and video sharing, that in February 2013 had approximately 100 million active users and today, no more than three years later has 500 million active users on a monthly bases (according to Statista).

Millions of cyberusers post photos (or videos) on the Internet with events or facts that have characterized their day.

In the last decade we have created a limitless digital space where anyone can position images, videos and audios. Server after server, disk after disk, rack after rack we are building a “Multimedia World”.
The smartphones are the access keys to this new world. The phone is not just for calling; it offers multiple services, online services, first of all the possibility to make videos, to take pictures and to share them immediately.
The purchase of a smartphone cannot be separated from the camera’s quality, a crucial factor in accordance with the video’s dimensions and resolution.

Our relation with our smartphone and internet is more and more symbiotic and multimedia. 

The way we deal with an event has changed for most of us, not only for the youngest ones; we live it, but more and more often we try to record it and share it. We are constantly looking for consent.
In the 21st century, every day all of us live a significant media exposure. This exposure, in the recent past, concerned only public figures and celebrities. Now has generated the need to be popular, appreciated, mentioned by our real or virtual community.
More and more often the personal success goes hand in hand with the popularity gained online, popularity which brings with it the obligation to expose oneself in a multi-media way; by means of videos, photos, audio messages. We examine all that surrounds us from a new perspective while we live the moment we consider it with a view to sharing it with our friends and followers, depending on our popularity.

We post what we do and sometimes we do it only to post it.

Events sharing, facts and news sharing have excessively increased, and that is good for most of the times… The press reports have reconsidered a new way of communication, real-time, ever more based on the multimedia material made by common people.
The multimedia information, limitless and fast comes more and more from the plain folks. 
As every big change which involves the whole of society, the “Multimedia World” brings also huge negative consequences.
The ability to live the real world to the fullest, uninterruptedly, using all our senses, is losing ground, influenced by the obligation and the urge of sharing right away, of being popular, of keeping truck, memorizing and offering.

But it could be worse! 

The recent debate on the relation between the terrorism actions and insane violence and the offenders’ need to gain popularity on a global scale is more than appropriate. Looking for popularity is a viral phenomenon that involves all, including unstable minds and terrorists. The echo owed to the news and the pain felt after a tragic event is the arrival point of an insane project of multimedia exposure in search of a stage to exhibit. Looking for the multimedia popularity through pain represents, unfortunately, the true lowest common denominator of the dramatic events of recent months.

Back to us and our conclusions! “The Multimedia World” distracts us and often the real image reaches our gaze through a lens, through our smartphone’s video and not directly. At the same time we communicate more and more, via web, with more and more people preferring to share images and videos rather than texts; immediate material to get, exhaustive, of high-definition or resolution.

We are the video-makers of our lives.
We are more and more what we share.
We are more and more multimedia!