"If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant…” Aldous Huxley
Mark Zuckerberg’s first selection for his book club, Moises Naím’s The End of Powerwas an apt one. The book, as the Facebook CEO put it, “explores how the world is shifting to give individual people more power that was traditionally only held by large governments, militaries and other organizations.”
I shared with you last week the first of four top-level insights gathered via the research I conduct every year (thanks to the sponsorship of my friends at KANA, a Verint company). If you have not read them, you can read the high level entry here.
I’m intrigued by the reaction that has unfolded around the Facebook “emotion contagion” study. (If you aren’t familiar with this, read this primer.) As others have pointed out, the practice of A/B testing content is quite common. And Facebook has a long history of experimenting on how it can influence people’s attitudes and practices, even in the realm of research. An earlier study showed that Facebook decisions could shape voters’ practices. But why is it that *this* study has sparked a firestorm?
Most people who encounter a link to this post will never read beyond this paragraph. Heck, most people who encountered a link to this post didn’t click on the link to begin with. They simply saw the headline, took note that someone over 30 thinks that maybe Snapchat is important, and moved on to the next item in their Facebook/Twitter/RSS/you-name-it stream of media. And even if they did read it, I’ll never know it because they won’t comment or retweet or favorite this in any way.