Tag Archives: sociology

Book Recommendation #2

A Billion Wicked Thoughts

Jacket

Humans Are A Real Pain in the Ass To Study

The best way to study something is through direct observation. But finding people who are willing to have scientists poke and prod at them during sex or disclose their deepest and darkest desires to them are few and far between. Radio waves may be invisible, but they don’t try to deceive curious physicists and they’re incapable of self-deception. Humans are guilty of both.

Enter, The Internet

With a visit to an adult video site like Xtube, you can see more naked bodies in a single minute than what a normal person would see in their entire lifetime in real life. And since we no longer have to interact with anyone to obtain erotica, women who fell too mortified to be seen in an adult video store are finally empowered to explore their erotic interests in privacy and comfort. Gay men who were previously isolated in rural neighborhoods can now pursue a hook-up without leaving their chair. Billions of people around the planet are free to satisfy their most secret erotic desires by thinking, clicking, and typing—all while remaining cloaked by the anonymity of the Internet.

But then how do we observe people’s sexual activities on the Web if they are indeed anonymous? The fact is, our online behavior is rarely untraceable;  we leave behind a trail of digital footprints everywhere we go on the internet. Let’s say, for example, you did a search for Taylor Lautner’s abs in Google Images and then browsed for dress shirts on Express’s online store. Don’t be surprised if Groupon sends you an email telling you of a great round-trip deal to San Francisco. (They know you’re gay. I mean, no heterosexual man would look at another guy half-naked and then nonchalantly go online shopping for clothes) Or, have you recently searched for “ways to reduce smell of weed” after posting on Facebook how stupid the English homework assignment is? Facebook will show you ads of sites promising “Quality Vaporizers with Free Shipping!” (They know you’re probably an underage, spoiled, stoner looking to get high in your parents’ home with your friends without getting caught) The point is that search engines and social media know a lot about us, in fact, maybe a little too much…but that’s great news if you’re a researcher!

The authors of A Billion Wicked Thoughts attempt to analyze this untapped goldmine of information and apply psychological and sociological research to try and answer these questions: What turns us on? How does it differ from your friends or the person living in Japan or Norway? Or does it even differ? Why is what we desire so diverse yet so predictable? A fascinating read for those who are sex geeks like me. It’s a clever, entertaining and informational book worth reading.

Reviews:

“I am 42, married for 16 years and learned more about women and men’s differences by reading this book than I did in 16 years of marriage. I found it fascinating. This book could be a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands!”  – Bernie

“Smart, readable and handles even the most bizarre fetishes with both humor and respect.”  -Salon.com

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Is Facebook Making You Feel More Lonely?

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Depends on what you bring to it.

A study conducted at Carnegie Mellon followed 1,200 Facebook users and came to these conclusions. People who received composed communication became less lonely, while people who received one-click communication, i.e., using the “like” button, experienced no change in loneliness. Non-personalized use of Facebook— like scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, also known as “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness. Wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear is not emotionally satisfying.

So the next time your friend posts an Instagram photo of what they’re eating, tell them how delicious it looks. Whenever you realize that its one of your FB friends’ birthday, send them a nice personal message. When someone posts pictures from their vacation, tell them how nice it looks. That’s what we all want to hear. It’s a sad, lonely world out there; is it not worth 5 seconds of your life to make someone else feel good?

In a another study, researchers looked at the connection between the loneliness of subjects and the relative frequency of their interactions via Facebook, chat rooms, online games, dating sites, and face-to-face contact. The results were very clear. The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are.  The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.

But that doesn’t mean using Facebook will inevitably make you feel lonelier. Remember that Facebook is merely a tool, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on how you utilize it. So if you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact, that’s great!  If you’re using social media, for example, to organize a basketball game among your friends, that’s healthy. If you’re turn to social media instead of playing basketball, then we have a problem. 

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/

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