First off, the planet is warming up. For those skeptics out there, here is the data from Wikipedia:
So we are slowly approaching 1ºC increase with respect to 1880.
Now to the point; Whenever people talk about global warming, inevitably the conversation drifts off to greenhouse gasses. Just do a Google search for global warming, and count how many articles immediately start talking about CO2.
However it seems too incredible that nobody ever talks about the direct contribution to this temperature increase by humans just burning stuff (oil mostly).
According to the IEA the world estimated daily consumption of oil is 93 million barrels. Each barrel releases 1.7MWh. Doing the maths:
93e6 * 1.7e6 * 3600 = 5.69e17 Joules daily. Convert this to W/m2:
5.69e17/24/3600/510e12= 0.0129 W/m2
Note that I am using 510 million squared kilometers as the Earth’s surface (taken from Google web answers).
Now this other Wikipedia page says that the Earth receives from the sun 235 W/m2… WHAT?!?!? Even if we were to use all types of human energy consumption we would only get three times as much as from oil alone (around 0.037 W/m2). So humans directly heat the Earth around 6000 times less than the sun.
Our direct contributions are so small, that it would be worth more studying the Sun radiation emission variations across time, than people using energy.
But you know what this means right? This means we can still increase our energy consumption at least as much as 100 times more without really affecting the planet. This means you could keep your AC on all the time you want, as long as you use renewable energy. You could even use your electric car day and night, and still nothing bad would happen. And, yes, even though you probably won’t believe: we could have the whole planet using as much energy as an average person in the US.
Picture yourself for a moment. You just came home after an incredible trip to Alaska. You have a ton of pictures and good stories to tell.
So now you decide how to tell your friends about this awesome adventure you had. Some ideas pop into your mind about maybe printing some photos, but we all know most of them will end up on Facebook. So you upload them with maybe some tagging and some descriptions. And this all seems fine except that by doing so you are unknowingly giving away money that could be yours to Facebook.
As shocking as it may seem to you, those silly awkward family pictures are worth money.
Why? People who have their own website probably already know the answer: Content. Web content (such as text or images) is the key resource which all social media websites are based on. Think for a second what would happen to Facebook if users suddenly stopped posting their personal life? Do you think people would keep visiting their site? Probably not. Content gives social websites the means to attract people to their domains. More people means more views. More views means that ads will be looked at more often, which in turn leads to money.
How much money exactly are we talking about? Well let’s do the test. Here is a website which tells you roughly how much money you could be doing in Youtube. Now choosing the average CPM (more on what’s CPM here) and around 10 daily views, you could be receiving $0.07 to $1.20 a month. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when multiplied by a billion Facebook users, you get 70 million to 1.2 billion a month…
So is this whole thing really bad? By now you probably are thinking ‘Yeah but it’s simply very convenient to post to Facebook’. And, seriously, who would go through the hassle of creating and posting on their website only to gain 1$ a month? And sites like Facebook or Google+ not only give you a place to post your stuff, but also networking and privacy lists to keep your information secure.
I am not arguing that everyone should go on a blog opening-frenzy. However I do want to make the point that people are not really aware of how social media websites work, and so may end up unwillingly passing the opportunity to make some money with all the posting that they are doing on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, Google+ etc. So to all of you addicts to social media: