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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Purple + $26 x 30K "Likes" = Potato

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: August 2012

Well kids, since I've got one foot out the door to head to San Francisco this weekend to witness the glory that is the Outside Lands Music Festival, it's safe to say that I'm mostly already checked out mentally. Obviously you're reading this the week after I've rolled around in musical goodness all weekend, like a proverbial pig in feces. However, I'm stuck here in the past, fingers typing furiously, trying to keep my head in this writing game until the second I can flee. So let's get to it, shall we? 

You're probably all familiar with the Stephen King epic Dark Tower project, slated to be directed by Ron Howard, and tentatively bankrolled by Warner Bros. There's still some debate over whether this will be a trio of movies and a smattering of television series, or some other combination of those, but what has been definitively decided is that Javier Bardem has been replaced as gungslinger Roland Deschain by puffy man-child Russell Crowe. I can't imagine a film version of Dark Tower being anything but disappointing, so hopefully this project will get lost in the ether of film disputes forever. Here's hoping. 

In technology news, it seems Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has again found himself in hot water over the revelation that our nations favorite website is riddled with fake profiles. According to infoworld.com, these false accounts make up 8.7% of the total users, which might seem paltry until you consider this equals about 83 million accounts. Hmm. Revealed in an SEC filing this week, Facebook admitted that of these 83 million accounts, half are duplicate accounts for legitimate members, a third are personal accounts for businesses (or worse, pets), which should really be Facebook pages as opposed to personal accounts. What's really disconcerting though is the 15 million bot accounts that are used for spamming, malware distribution and click fraud. Click fraud is a problem because when businesses purchase ads on Facebook, good ol' FB charges the business for every person who clicks on that ad, whether they're a person, or just a Facebot. See the issue? Businesses have been bailing out of Facebook left and right, which has left FB's stock price dropping like a stone. 

Now to be fair, Facebook isn't the only pony-bot in the fraud race. There are also fake accounts all over Twitter, YouTube and everywhere else. It seems the larger the internet grows, the less accountability exists on such a behemoth. I suppose the moral of this story is that with so much uncertainty on such a large plane, putting too much stock in what amounts to imaginary numbers is a dangerous gamble. Hopefully Facebook gets its act together quickly, before it loses too many more advertisers and FB becomes Myspace. The other option of course is to go private again, where the falsities of their business practices are easier to hide from the outside world. 

That's all for this week, keep your eyes peeled for coverage of Outside Lands in our future issue. Cheers. 

Arielle Mullen