Tintin my friend... on Facebook

Dossier ~ Thursday 4th November 2010
Tintin in America (1932) - Page 62

Tintin didn't wait for Facebook to build a network of friends all over the world. But for those of you who don't know, Tintin is on Facebook ! To mark the release of the film The Social Network, here is a little tour of the most important social network in the history of humankind.

Nearly 500,000 friends on Facebook !

Who would have imagined that Tintin  -  at nearly 82 years old in 2010  -  would have 436,048 friends on Facebook ? Tintin is attracting an enormous crowd of virtual friends, to the point where his page is slowly becoming one of the most popular fan pages on Facebook. He still has some way to go compared to Michael Jackson, who has more than 10 million fans, but no one can deny that he is doing extremely well for a comic strip character. Several thousand new fans join every day; the 500,000 - mark should be reached by Tintin's birthday on 10 January. Our hearty congratulations to the little reporter, and many thanks to all those who have joined this rich adventure and contributed in all kinds of ways !

Did you know that...

- Messages about Tintin come from the USA (242,663) followed by the UK (56,871), France (36,623), Spanish-speaking countries (25,845), Indonesia (23,285), Italy (6,063), Denmark (5,330), Turkey (4,721), Sweden (2,453), Germany (2,302) and Greece (2,239).

- But which country is the most curious about Tintin ? Surprisingly, Tintin has the most friends (75,290) in Indonesia followed by friends in India (48,838), the USA (35,700), Bangladesh (30,410), Sri Lanka (27,506), France (24,078), Australia (16,609), Great Britain (15,564), Spain (12,924), Canada (11,643), Chile (7,048), Italy (6,759), Belgium (6,666), Egypt (6,472), Argentina (6,328), Denmark (5,951), Turkey (5,569), Columbia (5,494) and Greece (3,698).

The Social Network

Fine acting by Jesse Eisenberg gave an intimate portrayal of the founder of Facebook, in David Fincher's film The Social Network. But is the portrayal an accurate reflection of the real life Zuckerberg ? Older readers will remember the Orson Welles film Citizen Kane (1941), which was about the life of media tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was the owner of hundreds of newspapers, which gave him immeasurable control over American politics and over the American public's perception of the world. Like Mark Zuckerberg, Kane (William R. Hearst) was a mixture of genius and cynic, idealism and deceit. He decided to build his media empire following personal suffering  -  a lack of love  -  experienced in his childhood. Zuckerberg claims that he first thought of Facebook when a girlfriend dumped him ! Like Citizen Kane, Mark Zuckerberg avoids the press, hiding himself behind a shroud of secrecy and fighting to keep his personal life private.

Who is the real Mark Zuckerberg ?

Before creating Facebook, which made him a billionaire (his fortune is estimated at 6.9 billion dollars), Mark Zuckerberg was an innovative computer programmer. He was born in White Plains (New York), to a non-practising Jewish family. The 26-year-old considers himself an atheist. At the time he began secondary education, Zuckerberg was writing computer programs and games. He was the creator of Synapse, an intelligent music player the can adapt itself to its users' preferences. Zuckerberg refused to sell this invention to Time Warner-AOL and Microsoft, and started higher education at Harvard University.

Did Zuckerberg really invent Facebook ?

The first version of Facebook appeared on 4 February 2004. Mark Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University and founded Facebook with friends Dustin Moskowitz, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes. Yet from as early as March 2004 (things happen fast in the world of IT !) Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra made a formal complaint about Zuckerberg. They claimed that the computer programmer had stolen the idea for Facebook from their social networking site called Harvardconnection, which Zuckerman had agreed to help create. After four years of wrangling an agreement was reached on 25 June 2008 : Facebook paid 20 million dollars and gave 1.2 million company shares to the founders of Harvardconnection.

Did you know that...

- Information posted on Tintin's Facebook wall is seen on average 200,000 times.

- Each bulletin of information posted on Tintin's wall receives an average of 50 comments, and sometimes as many as 200 comments.

- Roughly 150 people  -  sometimes as many as 1,000 people  -  click ?I like' for each piece of information posted on Tintin's wall.

Is Facebook dangerous ?

As soon as any new invention achieves a certain level of success, there are those who are quick to point out problems and dangers. It is worth noting, however, that Facebook is no more dangerous than the internet, telephones or letters ! Everything depends on the user and on what they do with the technology they use. There are always going to be those who will try to gather your personal information for profit or criminal activity, to empty your bank account or simply to spread rumours about you. This is an inevitable  -  yet avoidable  -  consequence of social networks and communication. Jean-Marc Dinant, a researcher at Namur University in Belgium, addressed the subject in an article that was published in Belgian newspaper Le Soir on 29 October 2010 : ? What I find unacceptable is the absence of choice. Users should be able to decide whether their personal details are sold to third parties (Facebook achieves most of its revenue through advertising, and certain advertisers gather information about potential clients from the profiles of internet users), or whether they can instead pay a small fee to be able to use social networking sites which respect their private information. I hope that the major telecommunications operators will wake up to the fact that there is a potential market out there in this respect.' There is clearly still room for development and the Facebook adventure is a long way from being over, and could even become more exciting than the film chronicling its history, The Social Network !

Typical Tintin fans

With nearly 500,000 friends on Facebook, we should be able to come up with some kind of idea about the typical Tintin fan. Is the slogan of Tintin magazine  -  'For children from 7 to 77 years old'  -  accurate ? Let's find out! Most friends (37%) come from the 18-24 year old age bracket. For the rest : 25-34 years old (27%); 35-44 years old (16%); 13-17 years old (12%); 45-54 years old (4%). The last 2% of fans are over 55 years old, but it should be remembered that older people are less likely to use the internet, computers and new technology in general. When looking at it from another point of view, 56% of fans are male, while 44% are female. Well done girls !

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