Saturday, June 20, 2009

Social Networks effects on society

If you are thinking a year ahead - plant seeds
If you are thinking 10 years ahead - plant a tree
If you are thinking 100 years ahead - educate the people

The number of minutes on social networks in the U.S. rose 83% in April from the same month a year ago according to Nielsen Online. The total number of minutes spent on Facebook surged 13.9 billion in April this year from 1.7 billion a year ago, making it the No.1 social network. Social networking seems to be growing at epidemic proportions; nevertheless there is practically no research done on the possible effects engaging in this activity might cause to society,

Following are some of the possible harms suggested by Professor Greenfield:

* Social network sites are putting attention span in jeopardy. If the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviors and call them attention-deficit disorder. It might be helpful to investigate whether the near total submersion of our culture in screen technologies over the last decade might b linked to the threefold increase over this period on methylphenidate, prescription, the drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

* Social networking sites can provide a constant reassurance that you are listened to, recognized, and also important. Instead the face-to-face, real life conversation, which is far more unpredictable and stressful than the computer mediated one happens in real time, with no opportunity to think up clever or witty responses, exposes your voice tone, body language, and probably even your emitted pheromones (which are molecules that transmit mainly sexual and social messages that others perceive unconsciously).

* Real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitized and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf. Perhaps future generations will recoil with similar horror at the messiness, unpredictability and immediate personal involvement of a three-dimensional, real-time interaction.

* The sheer compulsion of reliable and almost immediate reward is being linked to similar chemical systems in the brain that may also play a part in drug addiction. So we should not underestimate the 'pleasure' of interacting with a screen when we puzzle over why it seems so appealing to young people.

Following are some of the possible benefits:

* Social networks will become people’s new communications hub. They already provides a diverse set of options for connecting with more people than ever, in chat rooms, with IM and in real time broadcasts.

* Information obtained via social networks is more trusted than non vetted information. Just like in the real world where I would probably ask my lawyer friend for legal advice, we will begin our online searches first within our social networks.

* Law of numbers, 2/3 off Americans use one form of social media or another. Social networks are becoming our filter into the big and sometimes overwhelming world of Google. Our networks will help us sort good from bad information.

*Social networking sites actually appears to reduce loneliness and improve well-being, as was reported as long ago as 2002 in the Journal of Social Issues, People who have difficulties with conventional socializing, such as those with Asperger's syndrome, experience great benefits. As for social networking sites being a poor alternative to real-world socializing, surveys reported at a conference in 2006 indicate that Facebook users mostly use it to maintain relationships with people they meet offline.


~otto~ said...

Very interesting. I dislike Facebook, and I really hate Twitter. Despise it. It's not that I'm anti-social networking, it's that I just don't like the forums that have been built so far. I'm really eager to get a look at Google Wave. If you haven't seen the demo video yet, check it out.

Robb Todd said...

Google Wave is going to be great.

Anonymous said...

If you are thinking a year ahead - plant seeds
If you are thinking 10 years ahead - plant a tree
If you are thinking 100 years ahead - educate the people

Eso es espectacular.

the walking man said...

Thanks for reminding me I haven't checked into facebook for a few days now...

Seeing as I have never been extremely social in the three dimensional world (not anti-social just not social) I really don't consider much of my internet activity to be all that social either, yes I spend hours a day roaming through many blogs reading and often commenting, but rarely will you catch me to IM and never will you find me in a chat room of any kind.

You will find me reading news sources from around the world that were never available to me in years past and doing research of one kind or another, adding even more hours to an already long internet day. (I could do TV but then I find that my mind isn't that mushy yet)

I do agree with the postulate of how this medium affects the younger brain and the development for a need to have instantaneous response but what the evolution of this Brave New World will be only a hundred years of use will tell.

paulandrewrussell said...

I think social networking sites can be a good idea in theory, if they bring isolated people together. However, in practice I think they become something of an uncontrollable monster.

People post way too much personal information on them and they don't seem to understand how criminals can use this information.

The real concern though is how people, who are perfectly intelligent in their everyday lives, will let their children post personal information on social networking sites but will tell them not to talk to strangers on the street. Where do they think these strangers come from? Yes, out there in the world.

Let's not forget the rampant malware that is targeted at social newtworking sites to steal bank account numbers, social security numbers, addresses etc.

In theory, good, in practice, not so good.

RRN said...

thank you , for posting this .....

it just made my day.

great stuff !!!!

Id it is said...

Social networking on site is not quite the same as socializing in person, face to face. The ability to interact despite the apprehension associated with meeting someone upfront that you may or may not like enables the human mind to adapt to and negotiate differences in a way that is very different from the impersonal shutting off of an online contact who creeps you out.

The above is a mere opinion, and can verily be disregarded :)

TC said...


Yes, the human mind is being Facebooked to death.

Thanks for another brilliant (and useful) post.


Ariel_from_Plainsboro said...

Dear Mariana: this post sets the fire under our feet. Like any other cultural invention (I’m thinking in the print press of Gutenberg, the phonograph or television), many people first see all the terrible ghosts inhabiting these tools and, when the dust settles, we learn how to use them in our benefit. Internet and, particularly, social networking through the net have pros and cons that you well describe in your post. I am among those many who still neglect the usefulness of Facebook, not to mention Twitter. To me, virtual socialization is all appearance and no “skin”. Perhaps some people need the three dimensions of interpersonal communication, all the tactile and visual information that I think is, still, irreplaceable in human communication.
But I guess now it is all matter of speed. We rush toward information with little time for reflection, and without experiencing the pleasure of the thought process. Undoubtedly, this may lead to attention deficit disorders and other alterations in the processing of sensorial and intellectual information commonly detected these days. But whatever the caveats and unwanted byproducts, the invention is here to stay and is changing our life as we speak. As Paul mentions in a comment, there are risks, legal and otherwise, but this wave is upon us, pretty irreversible.
A final thought that I think is somehow connected to the topic of your post. I read in yesterday’s New York Times an interview to Ray Bradbury, someone I truly admire. Almost 90 years old, he is on a crusade to save libraries and the habit of reading printed books and, coincidentally, he said that “Internet is a big distraction…it’s meaningless”. He may be painfully wrong, but he also may be talking about other things more important than Internet and paper books.
Thank you and be well.

Anonymous said...

i think that
the point about
attention span was said...

Interesting new post, I was thinking that face book may influence difference people from different sexes and ages. Do you find women use it in a more addictive way? Do they use it different from men?

Mariana Soffer said...

Otto:I try not to judge this tools, but I couldn't help hating them at first, cause I found them kind of stupid, now that I am studding them, I do not hate them any more. Anyway Tools are tools, and they just depend on how you use it how they turn out to be. I haven't checked wave, but I will certainly give it a look

Mariana Soffer said...

Robb: as otto suggested I checked out google wave and I find it really cool, because by using this tool you can really enhance work collaboration among other people, I am thinking specially among the scientific community people the big impact it can make. And technically speaking for us, programmers, I think that the api provides you infinite posibilities of customizing how you collaborate in a very easy way.
Take care R

Mariana Soffer said...

dedos de polvera:
(Gracias, aqui me refiero a que hay que pensar el camino que van a tomar las SN por adelantado, para ir a buen puerto)

He says he liked a lot the 3 sentences at the beginning. And I reply that this refers to the fact that there is need to be thinking done about which road will SN take in advance, therefore you can influence them to go towards the good ones.

Mariana Soffer said...

The walking man:I do never ever use IM, messenger or google talk, except I strictly need it for work, or to say something to someone that is very far away, I am kind of phobic to this tools, I do not know why.
Regarding facebook and the others of its kind you can check what I replied to otto.
You are so right that we do not have a clue about what will happen, we just have to wait.
And I loved that you use the book name "brave new world", cause it s a great book, and cause it perfectly fits in the idea of the text.
Thanks a lot for the comment

Mariana Soffer said...

Paulandrewrussell:Technology tends to become an uncontrollable monster
People post to much about themselves, things no body cares, I find it fascinating this new phenomenon, I would like to study it more, and find some explanations.

Very interesting comment about the parents, you are so right, I think maybe more publicity about what the dangers of letting your kids do that are, cause one reason they do this ridiculous thing is that they do not know what social networking really is.
We have a saying "hecha la ley, hecha la trampa" means when the law is created the way how to cheat or go around it is also made.

Anyway think how many technological things where good in theory and bad in practice.

Thanks a lot paul for visiting

Mariana Soffer said...

RNN; I am glad it interested you my dear new zombie friend, next time I will post about strange creatures in the internet.

Mariana Soffer said...

Id it is: I think a lot about what you say, specially cause I am a kind of classical nerd, and sometimes I have problems with having to relate with persons in the same physical place.
IT is a tricky tool cause you can become physically isolated of the world, nevertheless be social. The problem is that if you loose or don't have the ability to relate to people face to face, you may never acquire that skill, and live forever limited in that way.

Thanks for your opinion ID

Mariana Soffer said...

TC: thank you, and I do think that people are networking till the end.
But actually there is a funny thing I was thinking, what happens with the facebook profile of a person when it dies? does it stay?

Mariana Soffer said...

Ariel:I think that people are and always have been afraid of changes and also of the things they don't know But when they get to know them they can enjoy the use of them, personally I used to dislike them, until I started doing research on them because of my work, now there are things I really enjoy.
But as you say it is not like relating to people in person, you are missing lots of things by
communicating through computers, like the intonation of the voice, the movements of their face, and much more.
You said it perfectly: "But I guess now it is all matter of speed. We rush toward information with little time for reflection, and without experiencing the pleasure of the thought process", the process of deep thinking it seems to be extinguishing because of it.

Of course Bradbury would be doing that, because he is the one that wrote Fahrenheit 451.
I do not know what to think about the Bradbury quote, it sure is meaningless, but as meaningless as any invention has been to humanity (in particular the communication related ones).
Thank s a lot to you!
PD:Do you have a website or an email?

Mariana Soffer said...

/t: I am so happy you visited! You comment is amazing.

By the way I wanted to tell you that I saw a picture of a strange kind of thing.

Mariana Soffer said...

ines: I read a study that analyzed the kind of applications woman and man use in social networks, and the results found that their consider different things important about them

"value of the application is measured for women according to the ability of the application to facilitate self-expression of interests, values or personality, and for men according to the ability to facilitate competition and comparison. Both want novelty and rarity."
Bye bye

JanetK said...

There is a criticism of Greenfield's anti-computer basis in Mind Hacks.
I find that facebook encourages me to phone friends just like Google encourages me to read.

Mariana Soffer said...
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Mariana Soffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mariana Soffer said...

JanetK:Great ARTICLE the one you made reference to. This wooman seems to have some kind of computer related phobia.

Regarding the article you posted, you can verify that I say at the begging of the post "nevertheless there is practically no research done on the possible effects .." Which is what she is mainly critisized for.

Also I wanted to clarify that I do not consider inventions/tools/technologies being intrinsically good or bad, what can be judge is the use humans give to it.

What happens to you while using facebook is the way this new communication technologies should be used like. The new communication systems should complement the usual communication forms, not replace them.

Thank you very much for your smart contribution

Don físico said...

Because of work I didn´t have enough time to read the complete post, but I agree that is a very interesting subject.

PD: I took the liberty of adding your contact to my google account, so if you want some day we could chat.

Anonymous said...

Hey,gracias por escribir!!
Buenísima la anecdota del possum en el desierto,jajaja...

Jo said...

Omigoodness, you have a fabulous blog. I love intelligent blogs, and yours is definitely intelligent.

I have both a Facebook account and a Twitter accunt, and I never use them because I find them both very juvenile. It seems that communication has been reduced to its lowest common denominator on these social networking sites. I much prefer real conversation. I think in some ways these social networking sites are isolating people and making them more lonely, because folks sit in front of their computers rather than venturing into the "real" world and meeting "real" people. On social networking sites, we can all hide behind a false person.

Great post!

Protervo said...

buen post, amiga, lo sumo a la bibliografía del tema.


Uncle Tree said...

" opportunity to think up clever or witty responses..." Hmmm...No wonder it takes me so long to comment here, or anywhere. That may be an inborn talent, or trait. At least comedians on stage get an immediate reaction. Here you just don't know if it came off funny, or witty, or whatever. "LOL" is all you get, so there is a lot of guessing involved. If you never socialize in person, where actual body parts are involved, you'll never really know.

My boy has grown up with the internet. He has ADHD, and zero real friends. That bugs me. I didn't get a computer until my daughter was 10 (I was 47), so she learned how to make real friends first, and she has friends galore, both ways. Maybe that's the difference.

As far as the chatting goes, we do still have phones, but they have changed a ton. Free long distance comes with most packages, so why not give out your number, in cases where you have too much to say that ain't worth writing about? Ahhh...the ol' 'trust' word comes in loud and clear. Children shouldn't chat with strangers on the tele, but adults? Are we all hiding something, or what? I'm not gonna answer that, and I don't expect anyone else to, either.

If I knew how to type, I probably wouldn't be bitchin' about it. But hey! That's why I stick (argh) to poetry type stuff...for the most part. Mariana leads me on to bigger paragraphs and such. I'm not usually like this at home.

Enough about Tree. How are you sweet niece. You want me to do WHAT?!!! I am on vacation at that time, so...I may be available for whatever you had in that oh so intelligent brain of yours. Just give me a call (ha!), or drop me a line in the e-thereal mail. Okay? Luvz!

TC said...


Interesting discussion, you are as always fair and even-handed.

However the most encouraging sign so far, for me, has been the comment from the person who forgot to check Facebook for a few days.

Would there be any great loss if a few days turned into a lifetime?

BTW, Mariana, I have finally fumbled about with the keys to the boiler room of the temple, and added your great blog to my (short) link-list at

Tom Clark/Beyond the Pale

Still working on getting hold of the keys to the engine room at the other place where I fiddle about:



Anonymous said...

I don't think we can fathom the side effects and direct effects of our twittering society.

On the roads you see televisions in the back seats of vehicles, because children absolutely * must * be entertained on twenty-minute drives between here and there.

At meals, you see children not taking part in discussions, instead they are texting their friends. I saw a story the other day about a girl who texted an average of 14,000 messages per month.

I'm not a saint. I'm guilty of a lot of this, too... but what will be the true impact the inattention generation?

Paul Squires said...

That is all good thinking. My simple contribution is this. Imagine the world in the computer box and the world outside of it. They have one thing in common, humans. They differ in that you can't actually hit or kiss someone in the box so a kind of psychological intensity develops that would normally be released by the physical action. Imagine have an emotion and not being able to move even your face muscles to express it. So a whole new language develops in the box and because people from all over the world and talking to each that language homogonizes. Personal relationships change because of the level of intimacy possible in a situation where finally, you are anonymous. A struggle develops for honesty. Tribes reform. Civilisations. History is reenacted. Right now we are at a very primitive stage which is why there is so much babble and snarling and so little poetry. Poetry is after all, the corner stone of civilisation. It marks a point of understanding of ourselves in the world and our relationship to the world through language. And so on, Mariana.
Remember what I said about copyright and the most important rule of this new civilisation? Not to make the mistake we made in the first one and become hoarders and thieves. To avoid that we must remember, we must create a morality and I humbly suggest that Correct Attribution, even just thanking, should be the fundamental tenet of our morality.
Instead of hoarding and stealing, believe that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and thusly a surplus is created.

Mariana Soffer said...

Don fisico: Don't worry take your time to collaborate if you feel like this, posts are not going anywhere. I know how it feels to be overwhelm by writting to be done.

I find it fantastic that you added me as your friend, Loved to talk soon after I came back from the states
Take care M

Mariana Soffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mariana Soffer said...

Dedos de porvora:
**She said she loved the anecdote I wrote in her blog about a possum in the dessert, you should read it cause is good (maybe use google translator), i tell that on my second night living at La in a place where there was only grass, I night, I see a possum that froze and looked at me for almost 20 minutes and I did not dare to move, cause I did not even know possum existed, we dont have a nave for that animal in spanish, but the original story along with the post is better***

Mucyhas gracias dedos, que genial que te gusto, fue una experiencia surrealista para mi, era como haber tomado un alucinogeno.
Gracias a ti por venir.

Mariana Soffer said...

Jo: Thank you very much for the compliment, I have blushed.

I agree about the fact that it can be a false person, but I realized that you can tell if what it says it's true by being smart enough and, because people who are lying usually end up contradicting each other.I find that People who talk abou serious scientific things don't have time to waste by playing being someone else.

But it's true that it is much easier to hide in fake personalitiles this way, and that it is paradoxically more common to be lonely when you are surrounded by on-line friends than when you are not.
What I did not understand is what you mean by communicatin being reduced to it's lowerst common denominator, I will take my time to try to understand.
I liked you blog too, dough I have to confess I havent had enough time to read it as carefully as I wanted to. It is a pleasure to have visitors like you
Take care

Mariana Soffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mariana Soffer said...

Uncle:Exactely, It is harder to guess what is the "tone, intention", of the post/comment, you have to read it more carefully
and even then you miss many times.
You are so right that you actually end up knowing much less communicatin parts, I talk about it a couple of comments ahead.

Very intresting real life example uncle, that is the kind of things this woman refers to, I was thinking anyway that
maybe your kid with ADHD would have had it without the computer too.

Yeah but strangers on the telly are less harmfull than the ones in bone and flesh,well maybe I, am not so sure. But if
they talk to people on the telly, and are older than 5, I guess they have a problem in the head.
TRUST, that is a huge,deal, the idea of trust, I need more time to think about that too. It's easy to cheat and disguise things with this new technology, but
that happend also with the old one. Trust, trust, even people that are extremelly close to you, or the one you trust the most
end up disapointing your trust, so I do not know, I am kind of lost in that area.

maybe we all hide things but mainly to ourselves.

I guess our paragraphs get longer when our synthesis habilitles hide away.
I will certainly get in touch, give me 2 days cause I just got the american visa today which left me exausted, and with
less time to sleep. So I will catch up with things and well manage what to make.

Hope my comment is not a complet mess, cause I can not understand what I said
Big hugh uncle

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's true, attention spans do get shorter. And that is a real problem because people destroy understanding amongst one another when they don't take the time to soak in the details and listen.

On the other hand, it does make communications amongst people better. It gives them the freedom from the immediacy and awkwardness of the live stuff, and may actually make the live stuff much better.

Mariana Soffer said...

tc:thank my loyal reader, and also thank you very much for adding me to your blogroll, I promise I will catch up on reading your beautifull stories as soon as I can.

so you so far that the most intresting comment to you. I found
janetk comment the one that scientifically scpeaking suprised me the most, she made me learn by what she pointed at and told. Not to mention that I respect her enourmously for her scientific work.

Regarding the loss, I really do not know, maybe for some yes and for some not.

You will surelly master all this chat/blog/comment/post, it will take you just a few days, thats sure at the most.
Talk to you very soon, hope you are doing greate and thanks a lot once again.

Mariana Soffer said...

Paul:Neither do I paul, I think it if happens it is very far down the road.
Regarding your great contribution, very intresting and inviting to reflection the idea about the box including the physical
reactions and lack of that also .

I do not know about anonymous, but maybe you become more detached in your interactions, less affected by this kind of relationships, as a natural reaction of not being able to strongly respond. Very hopefull thought the one about the poetry, I do have to think about it a lot more, but what is for sure true about what you say is that language becomes homogenized and that the tribe will reform (I think it already started to a lot).

I clearly remember your wise comment on that post, and I could not agree more with what you say about morality, and how in must word I put it, too see the big picture, the complete one is the important thing, not the isolated cases and events simply alone.
Thanks a lot my friend for making all of us recall this important point, it is certainly fundamental for as to never forget this points.

Mariana Soffer said...

The clandestine Samurai:they also loose understanding beautiful thing that nature and life provide us for not spending their mental time in rewarding things that do not provide instant satisfaction, which is what many people seek for nowadays.
I am happy you find the good side ot the stuff, cause you always have to think from more than one viewpoint, not just keep a single side adding justification and more "evidence" to show that you are right, that is the easy path for the ego, but is not wise.
Thank you very much for visiting my humble place, hope to see your instresting comments back.

R101 said...

Is really inaccurate speak about internet social networking efects, like these experience happens over/on the air. ISN is very engaged, rooted, in real societies, social groups, peer groups and families. It`s impact is mediated in national ans social "atmospheres". The ego building begins in corporal relationships with mother, fathers and/or subrogate affective people.
Cold or warm attitude to the others is determinated in this level.
It`s a very naive american-anglosaxon attitude to think that every change in technology changes everything. A case that shows "au contraire". in England, in the XX century, mail system, old fashioned paper mail, was so speed tha people could send a letter in the mornig and receive the answer in afternoon. Even considering the impact, english sociability was more deepest changed by contracepcion pill and better salaries. Obviously, I recognize that ISN will open new interactive phenomena, news mobs forms, for example, new sexual seductions skills or new solidarity chains. And we will be astounded by thems, Not for changes in human more abysal structure.

TC said...


These beautiful long threads of yours with their various generous offerings and pertinent circlings-about seem to construct fascinating bricolages... but I wouldn't blame Don Fisico for being a bit bewildered about sorting out all that's come above.

For me, though, two comments are particularly salient, the latest from poetic grin and Jo--pretty much summing up what I wouldn't want to waste everyone's time by reiterating.

Thanks again everyone...

Mariana Soffer said...

What you say about texting I always think it in this way, people are not any more where they are, they can not leave in the situation they are in, they are living other more detached or less intimate connection with
other piers that need to leave the same way. Maybe they can not stand intimacy, maybe they wanna show they are popular, but what is for sure is that communicating that way is bringing us closer to numbness, a comfortably numb life.
Ends always meet, so many things that produce information overload, derives in information innatention.
By the exesive produce that is impossible to be process
by a human it becomes better to ignore this than to be frustrated about not being able to deal with everything that you would like.

Great comment poetgrin, great points what you touched, they are similar to the ones I think about.
I would like to be your friend (I know it sounds stupid)

Mariana Soffer said...

Don fisico: Don't worry take your time to collaborate if you feel like this, posts are not going anywhere. I know how it feels to be overwhelm by writting to be done.

I find it fantastic that you added me as your friend, Loved to talk soon after I came back from the states
Take care M

Mariana Soffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mariana Soffer said...

tc: I agree don fisico rocks and he is also a goodbadvice giver.
I Have forgetten about PoeticGrin, but I loved his comment, cause he said the exact same things I could have think about american society, and wise things.
You do never waste time reiterating that, that is encouraging for everybody, and makes us wanna keep thinking, creating, and exchanging ideas.
Send you a hugh TC (Is it for the camera, that could be your name)
I will also like to exchange emails with you too soon.

Mariana Soffer said...

He> Very good post my friend thanks a lot.
Me> Thanks a lot my cyber space terrenal friend. It makes me happier that people I respect tell me this things. Then I tell hi that if he keeps writting so damn good he is going to win alan pauls (one famous writter from here), cause this guy is really good in spanish.

Muchas gracias mi cyber espacio terrenal amigo. Me pone contenta que gente que respeto me diga esta s cositas. Vos segui escribiendo asi que vas a ganarle a alan pauls.

Mariana Soffer said...

R101>I do not understand why is inaccurate, I am not saying it isn't I am sure a little at least is, but what does it had to do about internet happening over the air? annyway the real strength and power of internet is happening underground.
Do yu refer that the levels depend on the society?family groups where this social networking is going on?

What you say about technology changing everything being a naive idea, I find it a very intresting reflection, I think I agreee with it,
maybe they expect miracles from them, they like the emotion of the unknown, who knows what makes them belive that, maybe technological innovations
are the new contemporary god.
Very intresting example you give, it is a great way of explaining your point, and learning history at the same time.
I infer that by your last line you mean that we will be astounished by the good products/actions we conuld perform trough Social Networks, but not by the deeper changes in the structure that will happen.
Thanks for sharing, my deeply thinking friend.

elastichica said...

There are also plenty of copyright issues at jeopardy in these social networking sites. facebook's terms are downright fascist.

Ese es mi tema, Mariana. El derecho de autor. Se han corrido tanto las costumbres de la realidad que mis alumnos en la facultad no pueden creer que bajar una canción sea delito. Por otro lado ceden demasiados derechos sobre sus fotos, imagenes, escritos a estos sitios sin pensar dos veces.

Mariana Soffer said...

elastichica: I haven't thought aboutt the copyright stuff that much but yes, cause it is even a thing that is created in a collective way, using a platform that I do not know (like most) what are the rights that we have about what we make in the facebook place. Inever read the terms but I belive what you say, where are them? so I can check

Si es terrible los pendejos no tienen conciencia de lo peligroso de esas cosas.
imagino que leiste:
Leelo q esta bueno, tambien tiene comentarios interesantes.
Si queres te puedo pasar libros en pdf sobre eso

Mariana Soffer said...

Elastichica says that her thing is the authors right,or copyright, she says that things had change so much in reality that her students from university can't belive that downloading a song is illigal; nevertheless the give rights on their photos, texts, designs, in large quantities and they do not even worry about it.

mariana: I say that young people nowaday have no idea how showing all that information can affect them in the future. It is very intresting how she contrast the act of publishing for free with the one of taking things illegaly without paying, when they aren't free;both acts performed by the same person.

Finally I suggest her to read the copyright post with your fabulous comments, and offered her one book I have on pdf about the subject.

Shadow said...

every + and a -. balance, people, balance...

Mariana Soffer said...

ehadow: I think you lost your balance, or your marbles lost their own. Excuse me if I offend you, but needed to say what i thought.
But maybe you are talking about the balance of the people and the balance of the word, but I can not find the link with what we where talking before

Pedro said...

I just found this news and thought you would find it intresting:"Today, the Google-Facebook rivalry isn't just going strong, it has evolved into a full-blown battle over the future of the Internet—its structure, design, and utility. For the last decade or so, the Web has been defined by Google's algorithms—rigorous and efficient equations that parse practically every byte of online activity to build a dispassionate atlas of the online world."
I would like to know What do you think about this

Mariana Soffer said...

Pedro: thank you very much for the information and welcome to the blog.
I think that is great that 2 giants are tbe main players instead of only one. I think monopoly always leads to do things wrong, now they are going to have to hear people s petitions with more attention than before. This could be a great benefit for many of us.
But I think it is still to early to know if it is going to be what they say in the news or not. Remember that news always try to claim peoples attention no matter what.

Raul said...

Did you know they are making a facebook movie? I would like to see what political position do they take in it
The movie will tell the story of how Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook with his dorm roommates, and how the social networking revolution grew to over 200 million members.
We ll have to wait i guess

Mariana Soffer said...

Raul: this is a little off topic but pretty intresting, I did not have a clue, I did a little research and found a little more about how the story begins:
Zuckerberg, attending Harvard concocted Facemash on 2003. Zuckerberg was blogging about a girl and trying to think of something to do to get her off his mind. According to The Harvard Crimson, Facemash “used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the ‘hotter’ person.” To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into the protected areas of Harvard’s computer network and copied the house’s private dormitory ID images. “Perhaps Harvard will squelch it for legal reasons without realizing its value as a venture that could possibly be expanded to other schools (maybe even ones with good-looking people … ),” Zuckerberg wrote in his personal blog. “But one thing is certain, and it’s that I’m a jerk for making this site. Oh well. Someone had to do it eventually … ” The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights and violating individual privacy and faced expulsion, but ultimately the charges were dropped."
Intresting cause maybe the movie will make us think about the ethic values of the creator of Fb.

foam said...

well .. communicating through cyberspace is here to stay ..
as far as the short attention span of our youth ..not to long ago tv and remote controls were blamed for that.
it's all about moderation anyway. and parents just need to take the cellphone away during dinner .. :)

Lavender said...

I admire your taking on this complex topic. Im not a fan of social networks, but did wonder what they offered to the millions using them, thanks for satisfying my curiousity! Also Thanks for stopping by and commenting at my blog, its been great to find yours, Cheers.

Anonymous said...

i am
seeds for mariana

breakfast with borges

have fun

¤ ¤ ¤


human being said...

all these tools are some vessels for our thoughts... like words... it depends how we use them... who's behind them... they can save... they can kill... they can lead us to truth... they can mislead...

a mind that has learned how to think critically can benefit from all these tools...

everything starts from our own thoughts...

"good thoughts... good words... good deeds..."

Mariana... my dear friend... thanks also for you precious comments on my blog... they mean a lot to me especially at this horrible time i am in...

lots of love

Mariana Soffer said...

foam: Exactely, there are always things to blame, specially new social trends. As you mention blackberry was also considered a hughe treat, specially to spending quality time disconected from work.
Beside being about moderation, I think it also has to do with being more connected with yourself and what makes quality of life best.

Mariana Soffer said...

Lavender:Thank you very much, I am not sure is admirable talking about this issue, there are so many people commenting about it, the problem is that they repeat things over and over again. They don't try to think beyond the already established conclusions, or to stand on more than one line of thought at the same time.
I found your blog very interesting, it contributes with new ideas that make you review your default thoughts once again.
Thake care new blogging friend

Mariana Soffer said...

/t: It's so beautiful! The most magical seeds ever planted for me.

Borges said:"The impossibility of penetrating the divine
pattern of the universe cannot stop us from planning
human patterns, even though we are conscious they are not definitive"

I hope you do not mind if I link this artwork from my blog, I want to mention it in my next post.

Mariana Soffer said...

human being: Exactely tools are like word, Indeed language is the oldest tool of them all.

Communication tools can benefit humans, when they are smart/wise enough to preview how they can be used for doing things that are good.

My friend, I commented on your blog because I like the things you do with images and words. I am very
happy that they make you feel well. I did not know you where going through bad times, I am so sorry, maybe we connected because it is happening the same to myself.
Love for you too, and be sure things will improve, they will become better. more love for yourself.

jambuku said...


A regular user's perspective:

I log into my facebook account almost daily for at least 10 minutes but very little of my time is spent cultivating new relationships or even commenting on the comments of others etc.

I like the recreational word games (lexulous, wordtwist, wordscraper etc...) and that was the primary reason I joined.

More and more I appreciate it's value as a self updating address book that cannot be lost.

It is nice to have an idea of what friends at a distance are up to in their lives because who knows when/if I might ever see them again. For me, Facebook offers opportunities to reconnect with these friends in person oneday - without feeling so much like strangers since we last met.

And best of all it requires very little effort on my behalf. One might call me lazy but not unsociable :-)

Mariana Soffer said...

Jambuku (I am going to follow here your paragraphs as my reply):
I try to get to know people who have the same interests than the ones I do. But i find this hard to accomplish in facebook, it is easier for me with the blogs, friendfeed or twine.

I never ever played a single game. Maybe I should try some, specially the word games might be good for enlarging my vocabulary.

You are so right about the value it has as an address book, that is very important for me. Another important feature for me is being able to get in touch with people from your past that you lost track of.

I agree with what you say about being connected with your old friends.

I agree cause I am lazy too. But I am not using it lately, so I almost spend zero time in it.

Thank you very much for sharing your personal experience and your thoughts about facebook, I really ppreciate it.
Take care

TC said...


Well, you've obviously forged, with your blog, a small collective of shared interest and common feeling, which is something fragile, particularized and no doubt, like all things, passing--but all the more valuable as such in this time of World Depression and tension everywhere.

Can't imagine what more one would want out of a "social network". (By any other name...)

"But I am not using it lately, so I almost spend zero time in it..."

In other words, who needs it (i.e. Facebook)?

Have liked to believe that with such time-consuming "giveaway" activity as blogging one gets out of it in the end exactly as much as one puts in. If that is the case, you must be getting quite a lot out of this. (Would hope so at any rate!)

Mariana Soffer said...

Thank you very much for your comments about my social network kind of place. It is a lovely way to think about it.

I am pretty happy with the outcome for sure, I am more than pleased, I never thought that many people will write in my posts.

As usual thank you very much for your interesting comments, and for your thoughts, I am going to check you website now, I like to keep up to date with your work.
Hope you are doing great

girlontape said...

mariana la ROMPE, yr blog esta out of control girllll...felicitaciones! mickey me cae bien, debe ser algo generacional ;) acá todo ok por el momento, besoo stef

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I learned more about friendship and friends online in your blog and I need to get more friends thorugh you blog to my social networking website and Online friends community to get more entertainment with online friends.

Indian Friends Online Community

Social Network website

Make Money Online

Citizen of Earth said...

My son had this to say about social networks...

"They're NOT your friends; they're just names on a list"

Mariana Soffer said...

English steff: Se congratulates me for my popularity, she is a friend I know in real life, and then she says she likes mikey mouse(making reference to my trip to orlando), cause I told her that I don t. She think this oposite oppinions are due to the age difference. And she says she is ok.

STEF:I think our different tastes about the disneyland characters has to do with particular circumstances while having a vacation there many years ago. The problem was that I had 15 years and that I was punk, so I hated everything there. I was hearing sex pistols and watching mickey mouse.

Mariana Soffer said...

Java: I am glad you learned, but If you do not have nothing else to say than that you want the people who come here for your place, then I will probably erase your following messages, but I will leave your previous one cause I so one site of yours that seemed intresting.

Mariana Soffer said...

Citizen of earth: Very interesting thing, that shows he is not the kind of kid that mistakes friendship for other less important type of relation.
There are many kids that do, because they have the need to belong, they need to be apreciated, and also have other social needs to fulfill. And by fooling themselves with false beliefs, they fill their actual social needs, but on the long run it will become evident that their so called friends are not what they thought.
Anyway I will be happy if I where you nothing wrong will happen to him due to using social networks wrong.
Anyway warn him about not exposing his real life in the net, because he might regreat it later.

TC said...


Can it be that el hijo de Citizen of the Earth has offered the most telling comment on social networking thus far?

Yes, Disney characters seem to trigger curious (and quite different) associational responses in people; often, as you say, depending on generational attitudes.

When I was a child (centuries ago), Mickey Mouse was in the process of being translated from a cartoon character into a corporate-branded franchise. You might say the Mickey Mouse Club TV show, with Annette and all the other cute little spoiled tykes appearing in mouse ears, was one of the first successful social networks.

Cultural memories, particularly the old, fuzzy ones, are so very strange... Anyway, last November, just before the US election, something triggered in me certain fuzzy memories in this sector (memories, mainly, of not being able to "get with the program"):

Lines Not Written Wearing Mouse Ears

Is Mickey Mouse still a bonding force for the children of America? Or simply another stale commercial enticement?

Mariana Soffer said...

If found our blogging companion sun's comment excellent and thought provoking as well. ( I am still trying to get some conclusion from there)

I guess this time that I go to Disney I will buy golf clubs instead of funny bugs bunny pajamas and
several hats. Anyway if find it a wired coincidence that you had written a post about him not that long ago, published pretty recently indeed.

I do remember the old and the modern episodes of the TV cartoons with Mikey. I always liked much more the older ones, even dough I was very young.

By thee way insetting poem the one in the Mikey mouse post.

I consider that the first successful social medium, according to my theory came with the invention and the ability to talk, which was the first tool invented by humans to socialize among them, and communicate different facts.

Memories are an amazing and endless subject we can talk about I am just going to say first that culture influences how memories are stored. And finally that:
"Our memory system is built so that we are likely to remember what is most important to us. In our everyday lives, memory is a natural in by product of the manner in which we think about an episode. Different people retain or recollect very different aspects of their everyday environment.Our memory system is built so that we are likely to remember what is most important to us. In our everyday lives, memory is a natural in by product of the manner in which we think about an episode. Different people retain or recollect very different aspects of their everyday environment.
and also One of the problems with this mechanism is that encoding and remembering are virtually inseparable. The close relationship between them can cause difficulties in our everyday life. The problem is that we remember only what we have encoded and what we encode depends on our experiences knowledge and needs.

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog. And please remind me your last question for the next time, if you can, I will try to remember on my own but I am pretty messed up lsyrly with the traveling and more.

Anonymous said...

In my particular experience, FB has been useful to have a virtual school reunion and to keep contact with my students off the record. I hate all those tests they suggest you should take and the ads and the questionaires. I just like to share thoughts and information.

Great post!

Mariana Soffer said...

Lucy in the sky:
I do hate all those test too, they are so annoying. Once, this is funny, I never ever do them even when they ask
me to, but this person somehow it was hard for me to say now, it was the doughter of a friend of mine and it was
going through a rough time. The test was about what kind of music do you like. You know what my result was?
regetton, which is my most hated kind of music at all, I just laugh and said whatever, now I am more sure than ever
I will never do this test except for fan or extremely boring times.
And like you say FCBK allows you to share with others things that are useful, and interesting to you. And also to keep
in touch with people who will be much more difficult to relate to without this tool.
Tanks Lucy and take care, hope you come often to this place.

TC said...

Lucy, Mariana,

But don't those tests and surveys make you feel like subjects in an experiment, units in a marketing strategy, pawns in somebody's social control game that works by reducing the complexity of reality to a predictable and manageable menu of options? How can good communication occur in that bought situation?

Mariana Soffer said...

TC: very interesting question and thoughts you expressed here, thanks.
I somehow do not find them related to marketing strategies, or social control games. I just find them a real waste of time
for people who fills those surveys and the ones that read their results. It is like you said, no good neither useful communication is possible to happen with this kind of "communication games".
I think there is certainly a factor of social control and marketing influence that plays in this network,
because they first induce people to produce online content that include their personal profiles, habits,
likes and dislikes (among other facts related to them), and then they can exploit this knowledge with the modern techniques available (natural language processing, opinion mining, and so on), to predict your future movements,
and send you advertising that you will probably pay attention to.
IT is also quite scary the power the people who control these SN have, we have to watch out for that. My work is related to this so I can explain more how this power thing works, in further posts.
Thank you TC

Ferenc said...

This should be seen in a larger context of distance in space and time. The immediate environment and your contemporaries have the greatest chance to impact you physically and mentally in real time and following the law of symmetry.
Now when communities were smaller and less sophisticated, people had to rely on the knowledge they have gathered from the environment. With the distribution of labor and specialization, advance of means for extended perception an communication with the main purpose of making living easier in terms of using personal energy and by outsourcing all skills to a number of markets, individual become more vulnerable, less knowledgeable, and less intelligent in terms of survival when the society has any breakdown due to its complexity.
So to me social network is a land for ego trips while loosing most of the valuable contacts in here and now due to an undeveloped mind and insensitivity to direct experience.

Mariana Soffer said...

interesting proposal the one about seing this in a larger context, although not that easy to do. For example you can not amplify the time range you are experimenting with, specially because SN are kind of new, and the future can not be considered inside the context we are experimenting with. But we are amplifying our context as each single instant goes bye. Sorry I do not understand what you mean about the laws of symmetry.

Besides doing our society more vulnerable cause, among other things, they depend more on external tools to survive, individuals also have enhanced skills that this tools provide them, which where not there before and help people develop skills otherwise they won t be able to. Think for example with the first communication tool that existed, the language, exactely what I mentioned before.
To me SN is a tool, a new techology, and it all depends on hwo it is used it the result it has on society. It is true that is provides more space for expressing individual disfunctional egos, but is also enables society to do lots of new things tht where not possible before.
I think we still do not know what will be de influence on society of this new form of communication, as every new technology it is unpredictable the real use it is going to be given it for.

Ferenc said...

The Law of Symmetry comes from Physics and seems to be universally prevailing in this world. ( See broken symmetry (Nobel-prize winning theory).
As far as language is concerned, there are basic problems with the defintion of meaning, context, knowledge representations, Foundation Ontologies and the harmonization of the terminologies of disciplines in a world which is one, but seen from different aspects, including langauge notations. Are you interested in my ideas on those topics? If yes, come and see my website at:

Mariana Soffer said...

I read your pdf about semantics, meanings and several other things related to language, I think it was very well done. The only think I am not sure I agree with is metaphots theory, I think that all new concept or meaning is a metaphor of a previously existing concept. And I do not disagree about what pinker says about it, I don t agree either, but I think it is interesting.
One thing you can add to your pdf I guess would be entailment, I think is is a pretty hot subject nowadays.
By the wa, I can not leave comments on your website can I?
I would recomed you to read this blog:
I think he has pretty innovative and interesting nlp concepts.
Thanks a lot for explaining it all

Mariana Soffer said...

you might like this

For a few years, I was fascinated by the problem of context in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Context is a popular problem in AI: there is a biennial conference dedicated to context in AI. The problem of context arises when we try to use the past to make predictions about the future. I think of context in terms of foreground and background information. If we describe a situation purely in terms of the foreground information, ignoring the background (the context), and then we make predictions about similar situations in the future, we will often make mistakes, especially if the past background is significantly different from the future background.

I first started thinking about context while I was applying standard supervised machine learning techniques to the diagnosis of gas turbine engines. Our data consisted of temperature and pressure sensor readings from turbine engines, which we represented as feature vectors. The task was to classify the vectors into eight different classes, one healthy engine class and seven different fault classes. A twist to the task was that we did not randomly split the data into training and testing sets. To make the task more realistic, we split the data into two sets based on the weather; a cold weather set and a warm weather set. The idea was that the diagnostic software should not be sensitive to the weather conditions. The foreground information consisted of the temperature and pressure values of the engine sensors and the background information consisted of the weather conditions. We quickly found that it was not possible to accurately classify the vectors using only the foreground information; accurate classification required taking the background information into account.

The problem of word sense disambiguation is often described in terms of context.

and also

Ferenc said...

I have a fairly clear theory of perception that relates to the foreground and background division. Number one, we live in spacetime and the relevant model is topology: we cannot focus at two different points at two different locations either in depth or in width. The exercise is a very shift change of focus that we learn in our life as we are born long sighted and unable to see "stereo". this is reflected in our concept formations and number concepts as well. Also, we have a limited working memory buffer, and
As a result, we need a non-volatile tool to keep track of the movement of our eyes (attention, thinking, tallying, etc.) as you must know.
Now we always perceive objects in a duality of form and content. I can elaborate on that, if you accept the proposition.

Mariana Soffer said...

I agree that we live in a spacetime, but you refer only to topology, you do not mention time at all. There are many things that our brain can do only one at a time besides the one you mention, for example we can only process one stream of language at a certain period of time. Here is something a friend wrote that I agree mostly with:

Previous studies have demonstrated the involvement of spatial codes in the representation of time and numbers. We took advantage of a well-known spatial modulation (prismatic adaptation) to test the hypothesis that the representation of time is spatially oriented from left to right, with smaller time intervals being represented to the left of larger time intervals. Healthy subjects performed a time-reproduction task and a time-bisection task, before and after leftward and rightward prismatic adaptation. Results showed that prismatic adaptation inducing a rightward orientation of spatial attention produced an overestimation of time intervals, whereas prismatic adaptation inducing a leftward shift of spatial attention produced an underestimation of time intervals. These findings not only confirm that temporal intervals are represented as horizontally arranged in space, but also reveal that spatial modulation of time processing most likely occurs via cuing of spatial attention, and that spatial attention can influence the spatial coding of quantity in different dimensions.

and the rest of the entry:

I would like you to elaborate on the duality, I accept the proposal for interchange.

Ferenc said...

Thank you for your comments:
You could look up my comment on your comment here:
Frank said...

Part I:
The widest context, or the environment that we live in as we know it today is the universe. In our effort to understand the world around us, from what we directly experience through our senses, such as temperature, pressure, light, etc. to the horizon of the universe (and beyond) we create concepts to isolate and name the parts of the whole that we assume to be one. We assume that life, existence, the world, the universe and a few other things are singular, individual, therefore are the property of one.

But as soon as we claim that we immediately experience through reflection, mirroring, analogies, etc. that there are other things with the property (quantity) of two, three or four, etc.

We arrive at that conclusion either by breaking up single and complete objects, or by abstracting their properties in an act of relating to them just through observation, no invasion. Then we verify such abstractions for their validity and practical use, to make sure that they are not just as a theory or speculation.

This is how we have abstracted the concept of space and time, often called space-time. Space-time seems to be the enclosure of everything, so this is a word that can be used in place of the universe or the totality.

The next issue we normally deal with is the dimension of space and time. Philosophers and scientists claim that there are several dimensions in space. They start with a point that has zero dimension, then move that point to create a line, dimension one, then change the direction of movement to create a plane, hence a dimension of two. These are straight movements in front of us. We started by nothing visible, the point and by moving it, we have cretaed its track, a visible line, a dimension of one. I would rather call it a direction a set of concatenated points made visible by moving them in space, which to me is also ONE DIMENSIONAL, as long as you are either in it or outside it, which is nonsense. If something is not visible, then it moves so fast that we cannot perceive it, or it does not exist in terms of visible properties, such as sound, radiation of various wavelength, energy, etc.

The sapce we live in, however is not an enclosed space, it is infinite in tersm of hman experience and perhaps in terms of geometry as well. A cicle is said to be 1-dimensional even though it exists (is visible) in the 2-dimensional plane. But you cannot draw a finite circumference round a point in real numbers, in proportion to its radius, because you cannot close this world at either end – at subatomic level or at cosmic level. Closing space by planes, like in case of a cube is an application of geometry, a useful piece of knowledge for practial purposes as well, but not really in line with physics.
This is what Wikipedia says:
There is also an inductive description of dimension: consider a discrete set of points (such as a finite collection of points) to be 0-dimensional. By dragging a 0-dimensional object in some direction, one obtains a 1-dimensional object. By dragging a 1-dimensional object in a new direction, one obtains a 2-dimensional object. In general one obtains an n+1-dimensional object by dragging an n dimensional object in a new direction.” said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. said...

Part II:
In other words what you experience is that an object in front of you may be looked at from a number of angles and then you get a total picture of the object as a separate entity in space, in one dimension, in my view. Now if you want to show this object to somebody else, you need to represent the object, and that has been done for thousands of years in a sheet, or a plane, or 2D, if you like. In 2D, however your have a single angle, and the object is not seen in totality, your sight of the back and the sides of the object is obstructed by the object itself. And whatever is closer to you in space will look larger with objects in a distance shrinking proportionally.

Wikipedia: “Returning to the circle example: a circle can be thought of as being drawn as the end-point on the minute hand of a clock, thus it is 1-dimensional. To construct the plane one needs two steps: drag a point to construct the real numbers, then drag the real numbers to produce the plane.

All that about the face of a clock, however is a little cheating. The cheating is that the numbers from 1 to 12 are around a circle, which we know that it is never completed, hence infinite, yet we use it as a handy tool to measure something finite, something with a start and an end, such as individual lives, the movement of the sun, etc. Real numbers are used to measure continuous quantities. And a line starting from an origo may be conceived as having no end at the other end, hence infinite and increasing in that direction, like time is. A plane is defined as the area between two lines starting from a point where they meet, and the area is again open ended or infinite.

Figure: Concentric circles numberd from 0 in the cenrte and growing outwards by one Thus we have directions, and objects in space that have boundaries, but space itself does not, and there are an infinite number of directions to go in space. It is also verified by experience that if you find an object in space, and you open it, the object inside is smaller, and if the process may be repeated, then this process goes on ad infinitum, maryoskha. The same is true about going deep in space, ie. more precisely going deep out of our limited and known space to larger containments that include our galaxy, etc.

Wikipedia: “Consider the above inductive construction from a practical point of view, ie: with concrete objects that one can play with in one's hands. Start with a point, drag it to get a line. Drag a line to get a square. Drag a square to get a cube. Any small translation of a cube has non-trivial overlap with the cube before translation, thus the process stops. This is why space is said to be 3 dimensional.
But that statement should be translated like this: Any regular, geometrical object in the Eucledian space may be constructed and represented by using three directions in controlled relation to one another. The dimensions, in fact the the number of directions that a line can take in a plane in that case is three, aninteger, but when non integer dimensions are used like in fractals, then totlly different formations are produced. They may be observed in nature where the forces controlling growth limit the directions of growth and such growth comes to a halt when the internal and external forces find a match and the two sides reach an equilibrium. When we design geometric figures we do not calculate with any extra forces to impact them except when it comes to flying objects, where we use windchannels, etc. to modify the surface of such objects. And you would not say that they are in a space of more than one dimensions, because of such modifications. said...

Part III:
The projection of any object is necessarily done in 2D despite all the other methods and technologies available now to do 3D projection, virtual reality, etc. which are all creating illusions. Then illusions are intended to create a DIVINE perspective, i.e. a chance to move in space around objects freely and without using the energy of our muscles to have a complete picture of such object whether for practical use or for fun. A Divine perspective allows you to see particulars, details and views of objects that your own perception and sensitivity of sensory organs would not allow you.

Well, before you jump into conclusions, listen to what physicists say about the origin of the universe: The Big Bang not only created the universe, but space and time as well. It seems that the Big Bang was one locality and the universe is expanding in all directions. To me this suggests that it has one spatial dimension only that corresponds to a linear concept of time, which is a dimension of one, a line with a single direction and growth. So both time and space increase proportionally and as far as its future is concerned we use extrapolation to imagine its fate ahead. But extrapolations may be a wrong method.

Coming back to the Earth, we practise science the criteria of which is falsifiability and measurability, in addition to presenting proofs,facts, evidence, the most common form of which is a picture (a certified photograph). We have a GPS and a calendar and time-keeping system in place, so we can identify anything visible in specific space by giving the georgraphical coordiates and the timing of that moment when a picture was taken as evidence.

It is commonplace knowledge that those who live or stay at one particular place at one particular moment of time share the experience of being there and more or less can agree on that experience. It is especially so if they speak the same language, are the same sex and age and education, in other words they have similar backgound in terms of knowledge and experience.

However such homogenous group of people are rarely get together unless the are organised for or round some common goal, such as attending a class, or working on the same object of work. In the first example a teacher is in charge of making sure that all the kids are equal in terms of chanches for understanding, and they can always start a dialogue to clarify.

In the second example where workers are trained to do their jobs, everyone does what he/she is required to do and they would speak up only when problems arise unexpectedly, unless their job is about talking.

At a wider horizon in a society the activities of people need similar orchestration, i.e. synchronisation and coordination in order to get organised, hence existence sustained and viable. A prerequisite for any individual to survive is the ability of orientation. We all have to know wher we are and what time it is. Otherwise we will be classed as disoriented and confused, in other words mentally ill.

Language invented for whatever reason is certainly a good tool for such a synchronisation, provided that you can maintain the identities required in orientation in space and time. To that end we produce text-books, lexicons and dictionaries. etc. explaining the meaning of the words, names, etc. in case we would not know them.

The concept of space-time

I claim that space is one dimension, and so is time and they are in inverse proportion. Of course, you also need the concept of movement, something you must have experience of, and something that is not what you learn about the movement of an inanimate object in straight line, at constant speed. No. It is movement about this world from birth to death. The more you move in space, the more time you are consuming. So you have your own space and own time. We all have, but this time and space are shared with other living and and non-living objects. said...

Part IV:
Whenwe share a location and look at an object, we can take hundreds of views or aspects, we are stil in the same dimension. Dimension is not identical with direction. Objects are not in three dimensions, but they may be represented in a so called three dimensional projection. Check out how you can move in space.

You move straight on until you find an object blocking your way. What are your options? Change directions, not dimensions. You ca turn eft or right, fly over or dig a tunnel underneath. But, you can slos freeze, or turn round and go backwards.How many options do you have? Seven. Because
You can go

1. Left
2. right
3. up
4. down
5. back
6. or break the object
7. or do nothing.

Suppose your object was a cube in front of you, and a small one, then you can go round it, look at it from above and from below. Of a cube, you have six 2D surfaces to examine, which are in fact reducable to three, because they are on the opposite side and may be regarded as a rotational (identical if rotated by 360 degrees, and a mirror image if rotated by 180 degrees) picture of the respective sides.

So much about space, now look at time. Time starts with motion, if nothing moves, time does not exist. If something stops moving, it is dead, its time is up. You may need a more elaborate defintion. Well, phyisicst say that time is the thing that you measure by a clock. So concepts and names in general in our mind and as identified by words for common understanding are also earmarked for time. And they come and go. We do not keep track of them all, but we are aware of such changes.

Yet in perception we seem to practise the freezing of motion in front of us and we have a refreshement rate that allows us to perceive certain motion (with the adequate speed) as continuous motion. That is the equivalent of freezing time. Sdo whenever we find pelasure in looking at a landscape where nothing moves about, or a picture ofr a photo, we may fuiguratively and rightéy speak of freeziong tiem, a moment of eternity. But alal that has to do with our distance in sapce from the nobejcts. Stzars far away seem motionless, a fly in fron of us flies fast. This si all xplained scientifically in the theeory of relativity.

But this is only possibel becaseu we were born to this world with long-sightedness. A long-sighetd baby does not have a variable focus in its eye, so whatever apears in its field of vision willgrow immensely on closing to its face and wll even frighten ithe baby. A child remebers that and when it come s dto drwainf in aplane (two directions) he will have propertions acordingly.

If obejcts that are close to us (our eyes) are large, then the numbers as an analogy represnetng such variable sizes should also be bigegr in apearance , if they were larger values (quantities). This is best represneted by drwaing concentric circles wheer o is the origon, nothing, then 1 is bigger two is twice as i trms of radius bor dicatce from theorigo ig and so on.

But it exactly the other way round in vision. What is far away looks small, and what is close looks blage.In other words we reverse the proportions between size and distance to suit our experience. This is not the only reversal that our brain is capable of, the optics of the eyes produce a picture of the world upside down that we rotate to be downside up.

What follows from this is that we have a point of view of this world which is outside our body. We can take a look at ourselves from an external vantage point wherever that may be in space. That expalins why we always bring an object into our 2D mental screen and look at it as a whole, fitting the scale of that screen and loosing the original dimensions of the objects.

Mariana Soffer said...

Fernec I:
Time is the most fundamental aspect of our experience, and yet it remains mysterious in many ways. A longstanding problem is time's arrow – the directionality displayed by most physical processes, for example, clocks run down, organisms age, stars burn out.Ultimately that leads to cosmology (is study of the Universe in its totality). Most physicists are convinced that the origin of time’s arrow can be traced to the initial conditions of the universe, but the details depend on the specific cosmological model, and there is no agreed solution. At Beyond, we are attempting to link the arrow of time to the entropy of the gravitational field, and the interplay of quantum physics and spacetime structure.

In what dimensions do we find "up/down"? "East/west"? "Backwards/forwards?" The questions still don't really make sense, because we need even more
context. Depending upon your orientation within 3D space, any of these words could apply to any vector within that space: but as soon as you arbitrarily
establish one of those sets as being your current orientation, you then bring to mind two additional sets of directions that make sense within that context,
and each of those sets is at right angles to the others.

Discussions of the fourth spatial dimension, then, are bothered by all the same possible miscommunications. Is "time" a direction in the fourth spatial
dimension? Sure, it could be one of them, but depending upon your orientation within that space, you could just as easily say that "up", "forwards", or even
"east" is a direction within 4D space. As soon as you pick one of those words, you then limit what you can call the other directions. As it says in the
wikipedia article on the fourth dimension, For our own entropy-driven reality riding the "arrow of time.

Origin of the universe

Cosmologists agree that the universe began with a big bang 13.72 billion years ago, but they disagree about some pretty basic questions, like:
* What happened before the big bang?
* Did time begin with the big bang?
* Are there other big bangs and other universes, and if so, will they be like ours or fundamentally different?
* Is it a lucky fluke that our universe is so well suited to life?

These issues relate to the nature of the laws of physics. What are they? Where do they come from? Why are they mathematical? Why do they permit universes that are comprehensible to sentient beings such as homo sapiens. Which leads in turn to the biggest question of all: What is the place of human beings in the great cosmic scheme?

Mariana Soffer said...

Fernec II:
I am not going to comment about god existence, cause I think for the time being is best that I do not say anything.

The history of science has been a series of blows to the ego of humanity. Copernicus showed us that our home, Earth, is not the centre of the universe; it’s just another planet. Darwin showed us that our species, Homo sapiens, is not special; it’s just another species of animal. But, although our planet is not special among planets, and our species is not special among animals, we still believe that certain individuals among us are special. For example, we scientists have our great heroes, such as Newton and Darwin.

When I learned that Wallace had discovered evolution by natural selection independently of Darwin, and Leibniz had discovered calculus independently of Newton, I began to doubt the received view of heroic science. I started making a list of independent discoveries, as I stumbled across them. Independent discovery appeared to be common. Then I realized that it was likely that others had independently discovered the commonness of independent discovery. A search using the query “Leibniz Newton Darwin Wallace” soon brought me to Lamb and Easton’s book, Multiple Discovery: The Pattern of Scientific Progress.

Multiple Discovery is a very thorough study of independent simultaneous discovery in the history of science and technology. It seems that there is almost no instance of a great discovery or invention that was not discovered independently and simultaneously. In addition to a careful historical study, Lamb and Easton present a theory to explain multiple discovery, which they call evolutionary realism. They also argue that their conclusions extend to other areas of culture, such as art. They present a convincing attack on what they call “the heroic theory of scientific development”. A chapter is devoted to the implications of their work for priority disputes and competition in the scientific community.

Language meaning
Meaning cannot be based on dictionary definitions all the way down: at some point the circularity of definitions must be broken in some way, by grounding the meanings of certain words in sensorimotor categories learned from experience or shaped by evolution. This is the “symbol grounding problem“. We introduce the concept of a reachable set — a larger vocabulary whose meanings can be learned from a smaller vocabulary through definition alone, as long as the meanings of the smaller vocabulary are themselves already grounded. We provide simple algorithms to compute reachable sets for any given dictionary.

In natural language, some word meanings — especially highly abstract ones, such as those of mathematical or philosophical terms — are not or cannot be acquired through direct sensorimotor grounding. They are acquired through the composition of previously known words. The meaning of some of those words, or of the words in their respective definitions, must in turn have been grounded through direct sensorimotor experience.

Language affects perfection
I used to think that languages and cultures shape the ways we think. I suspected they shaped the ways we reason and interpret information. But I didn’t think languages could shape the nuts and bolts of perception, the way we actually see the world. That part of cognition seemed too low-level, too hard-wired, too constrained by the constants of physics and physiology to be affected by language.

I set out to show that language didn’t affect perception, but I found exactly the opposite. It turns out that languages meddle in very low-level aspects of perception, and without our knowledge or consent shape the very nuts and bolts of how we see the world.

In the following days I will continue with my ideas fenec

Ferenc said...

Nice comments, I agree with you on a number of points. But it is late and i have got to work early in the mourning, please, allow me a day to come back again and pick up the thread.
I find that the experience of an embryo in the womb and the birth itself, along with the internal drive to be fed and other instincts explain a lot about how we behave later and what concepts we form. We certainly have knowledge in the motor system, that is the end result of all learning, autonomous action. Of emotion, will and reason emotion is the dominant factor, will has the final word and reason is useful to control emotions. All this talk about life is about aligning an synchronizing reason, which is not done properly for reasons i am going to explain later, while music is used to synchronize emotion, and motivation, drill and socialization are used to harmonize will.
I am interested in the way reason (through the use of language, knowledge representations) can be synchronized by documenting mental operations just as analyzing players after a football match replaying the recording to see what and ow went wrong or well.
I have a practical application in mind, and I would like arrive at a piece of software that on the one hand stores the collective knowledge, but not as WordNets, and on the other hand it allows for individuals to record their own and vet their own against the collective repertory. Most of the underlying ideas and theories that i have set up or collected support the feasibility of such a plan.

Ferenc said...

comments on Ferenc said Part II
Very much agreed with you on all the items.
I believe that Humans have one brain structure and we need to harmonize our notations used to identify chunks of the world in various disciplines and languages.
it sems to be fairly easy as long as you accept that we need to start recoding knowledge all over again.
Vurreently we subit proposiitons that are vetted and if agred on they are cited. Everything has an orignator and the sources are linked togetehr in astructure that is absolutey fuzzy since it si describved in terms of morphologically searched descriptors.
So what we have is an alpha sort, an indexed huge mass of irrelvant jits, because the one word long keywords or tags do not help at allt. IOther classifictaion systems such as the UDC or the Library of Condgress use numbers, a bit better approach, yet still not the right one as these systems are not dynamic, do nmot represnet the orgiring an growth of the terms or conceptr that we hold important.
Gos in this conenction is not important. We do not know a lot of things, including concepts like God or infiontiy and we in such cases put the terms one level up, to more general level.

There is no such thing as an abstract or a cncrete or generyi or specific term. They are all abstracted, the result of abstraction and depending on your knbowledge yopu may call simething you do not understand absraatc to generic. Or the other way round.

Mariana Soffer said...

Please take all the time that you need, I am pretty busy working too, so a break of blogging hard will not be bad for me.
It is excelent what you said about the baby on the womb, and how it behaves. But I am not sure that we have knowledge in the motor system, I would say that our knowledge, if it could be called like that, is in the ANS also called reptil brain that is the one that manages the motor system, which is forced to do what the ANS demands.

Maybe socialization can also be used for motivation, as well as music is. So things can overlap and what affects what is not that clear, is more like a mix of factors that invluence a bunch of other ones what makes us behave like we do.
The mind and the language is too long of a subject for discussing here, but I do not think it can be documented properly with an fmri, I think we need to create another mental model for language first.
I think you want something more interesting than web 2.0 or linked data to create collective intelligence, I do to. I have the following ideas:
-I don't think a stream has a uni dimensional sequence structure filled with pieces of information that people share and use to interact with each other, I think it is more complex than that. Maybe streams have a two dimensional structure with a spiral-shape. This structure starts at the information located farthest from the spiral center. As the stream evolves its contents are located in sequential order starting from the outer layers and moving toward the inner ones. The stream evolves towards better communication and interaction among it's participants. The closer the stream content is to the center the closer people are to truly understand each other and to increased interaction quality.
-Maybe having an online identity used for participating in social bookmarking, blogs, streams and other kinds of social networks is an attempt to stop being an anonymous web user and become a famous one. Streams are new but humans have still the same nature which demands most of them to be engaged in the most frivolous possible activities including, being famous.
-The stream content appears to be coherent information, because it is contained and generated in a unique and particular stream; but usually a stream is filled with a bunch of unrelated information inserted there by loosely related people with very few interest in common and that rarely communicate with each other. Nevertheless it is possible that we still do not understand the 'global mind' deep enough and don't have enough context information to understand the coherence contained in most of these streams.
-It seems we are mainly passive consumers of information. Why not search for the Buddhist/Hinduist understanding of human existence? Therefore choose the streams that fit our desires, needs and wants in life. It's not a question of being able to consume an ever increasing amount of stream chatter. It's a question about being able to create and recreate reality together with other individual minds that are beneficial to all humans.
-Since the new kind of being called "collective mind" should be taking care of it needs to be tought to practice meditation in order to be balanced, compassionate, and wise.

for more read this, check the comments as well that are cool[
take care

Mariana Soffer said...

I am happy that we agree in almost everything, that means we where right in being interested in talking to each other.
I am not sure each brain codifies stuff the same way, there is a majority that does, but there are also anomalies like people who where born with only half brain. But maybe those phisically different brains ca be codiffied
according to functionality of an area or a neuron, not by place. In that case we can go on with your main idea about recoding our brains.
What do you mean by morphologically searched descriptors? descriptors that are based on its form?
I like the idea of a fuzzy structure.
I do not understand several words of your next paragraph, it has typhos. But I think you are trying to describe or create a structure to store language. I would suggest an ontology that includes taxonomies, inferences rules, syntaxs, sematics, and more. You can take a look at among many other that are there on the web for free.

I liked a lot your last sentence, it left me thinking. You might be right, but what if i have the concept or terms "integral of f(x)" isn t that abstract in every case]?
I love talking to you my new friend, you are making me think a lot an discover new things.

geek said...

We're planning to do a paper on this one. But we're not yet sure if we're gonna push through with it.

In the meantime, some relevant stuff: and

Probably social networks exist because all of us long for relationships in a world where everyone seems to be so distant (Prof. Michael Wesch also talks about something like this in the video above).

Mariana Soffer said...

I wanted to write to you but I am closing some deals at work so I am working a lot. But it makes me happy to hear from you. I took a quick read at the post you sent me (I usually read the post too), and I checked that the woman stating opinions there is the same that I quoted in my blog, more precisely in this post: Baroness Greenfield (I have done some background research on her, and I can tell you she does not have solid proof about what she says, beyond other things I do not like about her, like saying always the same exampes for each issue, I recomend you to take a deeper look at her).
I liked a lot the theory you propose, I have to think it deeper, but It sound very attractive and probabbly with a high degree of accuracy for me:
"Probably social networks exist because all of us long for relationships in a world where everyone seems to be so distant" I think it is an excelent research topic to work on. I will watch the videos later on, and I am dying to check also your blog, it will probably be today afternoon.

geek said...


Take your time in replying. I'm not a demanding person and I'm not here to stress you out. :)

I was just interested in this post 'cause I was addicted to social networking myself. I'm a member of 7 social networking sites and I don't even visit any of them anymore (except for Facebook). I'll probably delete them sooner or later.

Oh, good luck with your work. And don't get too stressed. Cheers!

Mariana Soffer said...

thank you very much, to tellyou the truth I do get kind of stressed up when I do not have time to answer to a friend, I have been working all day today with twitter, is so supid that is interesting, lets talk about whatever you are interested in this, anyway you can read my past pots about this subject, and I am planning to write something else about the stream soon.
Take care man

Ferenc said...

following that link you will find a host of social network software projects in case you need them for research


Poludio said...

la chica del bar de julián alvarez y soler! cómo va la vida? buen post, niña y cuantos comenatarios.
besos y abrazos

Mariana Soffer said...

Hola german! que gracioso hombre, sabes que me confundi, pense que eras otro porque yo ahora trabajo en soler y malabia y pense que eras alguien de ahi. Gracias por tu simpatiquisimo saludo y mandame algun escrito tuyo o algun post para que pueda disfrutar de lo que escribis.

Mariana Soffer said...


I checked the site, very very interesting, excuse me for taking so long, I completely forgot about your post, the think is that I am working like hell. I will tell you by mail better

Take care

julochka said...

i wonder if impacts are the same in other societies/cultures, this study is pretty amero-centric (like many things (i'm thinking of best buy and eBay here, but i digress)) and although i am american, i have lived outside of the US for a decade - the social network decade, you might say.

i'm not sure i completely agree with the positives or negatives listed here, as i see other positives and negatives and sometimes they are one and the same.

i know that what i've found from blogging especially is a community that i was lacking in my real world surroundings (which is surely a product of living in a culture not my own). so these are complex issues and it will be interesting to see how it evolves.

thanks for pointing me to this post after my post today. :-) it is thought-provoking.

Mariana Soffer said...

I was thinking that nowadays American chain stores and invading every single place, we just have here recently the arrival of the wonderful and extremely expensive Starbucks. I do not understand what for, we have great coffee here, we do not need to pay America more for it.
How interesting that you leave during those years outside the states, I like that. Where have you been Africa? just a wild guess.

I agree with you and the negatives/positives mixing in the same. That is clever of you, not just black and white kind of thinking, that is great.

I agree it could be a really interesting sociological/technological/anthropological study the developing of it.
By the way the post does not tend to fully represent my opinion, it is more a mix of things, I tend to learn and think trough my responses to the comments that are made.

Thanks a lot for it, and if you want I can point you to several other studies that talk about this.

IT is been very nice having all this great comments coming from you, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hm hm.. that's quiet interessting but frankly i have a hard time seeing it... I'm wondering what others have to say....

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Transcend said...

Great read, social networking has become very dominate in our lives and is starting to become the method of communication we all rely on.

Mariana Soffer said...

Your link is broken, so please if you think it adds value re-send the link pointed by social network. I think your observation about SN es really simple but I agree with it.
Thanks for sharing

Mariana Soffer said...

well you can check what others discuss right here, your question does not make much sense. If you meant something else please explain.

Mariana Soffer said...

Glad you found this helpful, the idea here is to make it at least interesting.

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