Facebook is “dead and buried,” or what happens when academic research goes viral


Take some academic research on Facebook (s fb), add a sexy quote about how teens are abandoning the social network in droves, and combine it with a slow news period. What do you get? A small-scale media frenzy about how Facebook is dying. In this case, part of the problem appears to be the original researcher’s attempt to “sex up” his work in the hope of getting more attention for it — something he clearly succeeded in doing, if for the wrong reasons.

This particular viral snowball started with a post on a site called The Conversation, which focuses on news-style reporting about academic research. Just before Christmas, an article appeared under the byline of sociologist and ethnographer Daniel Miller from University College in London, who runs a large-scale research project called the Global Social Media Impact Study that is looking at social media use in eight countries, including…

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