July 31, 2013
The Machine Zone: This Is Where You Go When You Just Can’t Stop Looking at Pictures on Facebook

"People love Facebook. They really love it," Biz Stone wrote earlier this month. “My mother-in-law looks hypnotized when she decides to put in some Facebook time.”
She is not the only one. ComScore estimates Facebook eats up 11 percent of all the time spent online in the United States. Its users have been known to spend an average of 400 minutes a month on the site.
I know the hypnosis, as I’m sure you do, too. You start clicking through photos of your friends of friends and next thing you know an hour has gone by. It’s oddly soothing, but unsatisfying. Once the spell is broken, I feel like I’ve just wasted a bunch of time. But while it’s happening, I’m caught inside the machine, a human animated GIF: I. Just. Cannot. Stop.
Or maybe it’ll come on when I’m scrolling through tweets at night before bed. I’m not even clicking the links or responding to people. I’m just scrolling down, or worse, pulling down with my thumb, reloading, reloading.
Or sometimes, I get caught in the melancholy of Tumblr’s infinite scroll.
Are these experiences, as Stone would have it, love? The tech world generally measures how much you like a service by how much time you spend on it. So a lot of time equals love. 
My own intuition is that this is not love. It’s something much more technologically specific that MIT anthropologist Natasha Schüll calls “the machine zone.”
Read more. [Image: Sarah Rich]

The Machine Zone: This Is Where You Go When You Just Can’t Stop Looking at Pictures on Facebook

"People love Facebook. They really love it," Biz Stone wrote earlier this month. “My mother-in-law looks hypnotized when she decides to put in some Facebook time.”

She is not the only one. ComScore estimates Facebook eats up 11 percent of all the time spent online in the United States. Its users have been known to spend an average of 400 minutes a month on the site.

I know the hypnosis, as I’m sure you do, too. You start clicking through photos of your friends of friends and next thing you know an hour has gone by. It’s oddly soothing, but unsatisfying. Once the spell is broken, I feel like I’ve just wasted a bunch of time. But while it’s happening, I’m caught inside the machine, a human animated GIF: I. Just. Cannot. Stop.

Or maybe it’ll come on when I’m scrolling through tweets at night before bed. I’m not even clicking the links or responding to people. I’m just scrolling down, or worse, pulling down with my thumb, reloading, reloading.

Or sometimes, I get caught in the melancholy of Tumblr’s infinite scroll.

Are these experiences, as Stone would have it, love? The tech world generally measures how much you like a service by how much time you spend on it. So a lot of time equals love. 

My own intuition is that this is not love. It’s something much more technologically specific that MIT anthropologist Natasha Schüll calls “the machine zone.”

Read more. [Image: Sarah Rich]

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    this is something to consider.
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    The irony of sharing this is not lost on me.
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