Posted by: Steve Burns | June 30, 2014

Facebook News Feed Experiment: Caveat Emptor



I have a friend (really, a friend — not me in disguise) who does not use “Facebook, LinkedIn, or any of that stuff.”

This person is not missing any meals, either. He owns a house with a pool in Gwinnett County, drives a Cadillac, and recently sold a boat that he kept at Lake Lanier. He’s semi-retired from his job. Yes, he has a smartphone, but only because there’s a phone in it.

So the recent disclosure that Facebook had manipulated the news feeds of some users in an experiment probably would mean about as much to this person as a dust storm on Jupiter. And something tells me there are other people out there like this — people who don’t use social media, and who still regard the Internet as a curiosity.

There are also plenty of social media fanatics who are unemployed, or who are not nearly as well off as the friend I just mentioned.

So the Facebook disclosure has to be viewed in relative terms — not as some sort of Manchurian Candidate-type of experiment. If you don’t use Facebook, it doesn’t matter.

And Facebook did not perform its study on everyone. Reports indicate that it was about 680,000 users — roughly half of its registered users.

Facebook could have helped itself by disclosing the experiment in advance, and I have no idea why they didn’t. But hey, if they had, it would have likely scared off some users and prompted an outcry. Damage control is always easier after the fact.

But I say this is another example of why people do not need to become too dependent on the Internet, or any one company which lives on its backbone.

There is still a real world where you can shop, dine, play golf, make travel reservations, listen to CDs, go to parties — and make phone calls, even without the NSA listening. Getting too dependent on the Internet is just that — a dependency.

I’m not arguing against Internet use, either. It has put enormous power in the hands of individuals, and has been a real boon to small businesses. I love it when my California friends head to the fair or take off on a cross-country excursion in their RV — I get an online travel journal.

But know that that power, like anything else, has a cost.

Did someone say the Internet is free? That’s a four-letter word.

– What are your thoughts on the Facebook experiment situation? Leave a comment below.




Posted by: Steve Burns | June 26, 2014

Georgia-Notre Dame: Dawgs Break New “Ground”

OK, UGA fans, you have three years to program the address of Notre Dame’s home football stadium in South Bend, Ind., into your GPS and/or smartphone.

The recent announcement that the Bulldogs and Fighting Irish will go home-and-home for two games beginning in 2017 marks something of a milestone for the Georgia program. A quick check of football records on shows that the 2017 game at Notre Dame apparently will be the Dawgs’ first in a so-called Midwest stadium since the 1960s. Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | June 16, 2014

Tony Gwynn: His Legend Lives On

Cover of 1998 World Series program; Padres and Tony Gwynn played Yankees that year.

Cover of 1998 World Series program; Padres and Tony Gwynn played Yankees that year.

Updated 12:39 p.m.

There were Dick Williams and Jerry Coleman.

And Tony Gwynn. Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | June 15, 2014

My Social Media Favorites; Who Are Yours?

Desiree Scales, left, at SoCon14. (Credit: Steve Burns.)

Desiree Scales, left, at SoCon14. (Credit: Steve Burns.)

Social media has been called “now news,” among other things. I say the word “social” is redundant, now that hashtags and Twitter posts are being flashed before us whenever we watch television.

So I took a moment to think about who my top social media favorites are. I’m not necessarily talking about the people with the most followers or “likes.” I mean people with whom I have a personal connection, and people who regularly have a high degree of “exclusivity” — original thoughts and material that are of strong value and interest to many of their followers. Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | June 12, 2014

Another New Business for Suwanee Gateway Area


Credit: City of Suwanee.

An area of Suwanee (in Gwinnett County, Ga.) that has been targeted for redevelopment will soon be getting another new business. And the new entry will add to the diversity of businesses in that area. Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | May 22, 2014

A Digital World: Adapt or Else

Updated May 23

One of the few things that got the world’s attention off the Donald Sterling matter recently was the ouster of Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times.

The New York Times. To some, it’s still the standard for credible and timely news and information. And to many others, it’s just another app — if you bother to download it among all the other free ones out there. (For the record, I have a subscription to the Times’ digital edition, which includes smartphone access.) Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | May 6, 2014

Are Batting Orders Irrelevant in Baseball?


I'm looking on in Dodger Stadium. (Credit: Steve Burns.)

I’m looking on in Dodger Stadium. (Credit: Steve Burns.)

Baseball is famous for adhering to tradition. And so it was noteworthy Monday (5/5/2014) when the¬†Atlanta Braves had the pitcher (in this case, Aaron Harang) batting in the No. 8 spot against the St. Louis Cardinals. Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | April 30, 2014

Disc Golf and Woofstock in Suwanee Parks

Credit: City of Suwanee.

Credit: City of Suwanee.

The edgy entertainment that Suwanee parks have offered up over the years will be on display again the first Saturday in May 2014. Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | April 17, 2014

Proposed Gwinnett SPLOST Projects Materialize



Not only is a new SPLOST in effect in Gwinnett County these days, county leaders actually have released a list as to how those monies might be spent. Read More…

Posted by: Steve Burns | April 4, 2014

‘War on Women,’ a High School Education, and Sarah Palin

 Georgia Senate candidate Karen Handel, right, and Sarah Palin. (Credit:

Updated 4:51 p.m.

The Georgia political scene heated up this week, and not just because Sarah Palin came to the Atlanta area to campaign for a candidate.

Seems Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, showed up to rally support for Karen Handel, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the Georgia U.S. Senate race. Read More…

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