Forked Fungus Beetles

Since we’re in the boundary between week in and week out, our starting place is an article [Link] from U Virginia about forked fungus beetles.  It seems that the beta males (if we may use the term) have social networks, which is why they are being studied. That, and from an experimental standpoint, being low hanging fruit. That is, they;re easy to track and mark.

One of the other characteristics of these fellows is that they don’t get to mate as much and having fewer offspring contribute less to the gene pool. It isn’t quite clear whether the absence of offspring is the result of social networking or just being betas, but it does offer some food for thought in terms of human interaction. Does spending time on social websites (and such) reduce one’s contribution to the species?

On which note, it seems that mothers on FaceBook are protesting a policy that forbids the posting of photographs of children breast feeding. [Link] I have to admit to being a bit nonplussed about this. I have been aware as a manager that people, especially GEN Ys, tend to post the most incriminating photographs with reckless abandon but I was unaware that lactating mothers suffered the same irresponsibility. I was aware that public breast feeding is acceptable in some third world countries but I was unaware that such exhibitionism had become planetary practice.

After reflection I came to the tentative opinion, absent actual exposure, that I was neutral on the matter and therefore if any of my FB ‘friends’, some of whom actually being friends and not just web acquaintances, came to be lactating parents and desired to post photographs of them breast feeding offspring I could not complain. After all, the pictures posted commonly are much worse, especially the ones of felines. Or at least they strike me as something that should be constrained to either the stew pot or composted. I recommend neither for parents nor children despite the recommendations of Jonathon Swift.

This prepared me for an article [Link] that discusses a PEW survey that indicates that many FB users are lurkers to some degree and that the number of blatant exhibitionists are few but provide the bulk of the content. What is not said is an observation of my own that the total quality of an FB user’s contributions (per day) is a constant. That is, in boggish terms, the less written, the better the quality. Or perhaps more simply, the more you say on FB, the more drivel you contribute.

This turns out to be supported by some research at U Waterloo, [Link] that found

“people with low self-esteem seem to behave counter-productively, bombarding their friends with negative tidbits about their lives and making themselves less likeable,”

in regard to FB posts. Rather than being mere confirmation however, it also adds to the observation that the more insecure people are, the bigger problems they cause.

It does not indicate that all those on FB are insecure, just the ones who post the most. But the crux of the matter, as always, is how one quantifies the distinction.