If you follow anyone on Facebook who posts data/headlines/blurbs that show up in your news feed when you’re probably trying to avoid news, I fit that description. It is after all, a social network and not a news desk. But for an information junkie, it’s a hive of activity during a very exciting shift in history that not one person, not even the press can now deny.
You might know someone like me from Facebook or you’ve seen something reposted by a news hound, politico or activist. Personally, I have been bold enough to post a blog, random nuggets of information on walls or tag people like a ninja. There is good information out there you won’t get on mainstream media. I like to think of it as planting seeds.
Facebook has become a valuable research tool for me, personally and a great way to reach people if you have information to share. But rather than consistently post/repost to 900+ people who may or may not have hidden stories – I am here to write and elaborate further on trending news…before things start to change too quickly on Facebook to keep up with them. I am also finding people tend to take a headline at face value and may never read an article or post, (a symptom of political posturing and campaigning) so I began to add quotes from the stories above each post. That worked quite well for awhile – then Facebook, in it’s ultimate wisdom – started to shorten the amount of space to quote. (And tag – it used to be you could add up to 6 tags per post, which was great for sharing news with activists groups during the BP disaster.) Then words began to get cut off, links missed and tags not delivered where they could do some good.
Now I’ve read about ads coming to a post near you.
I’ve utilized Twitter along with Facebook to post stories, music and news in the past for my music project and in many ways it has been the best network marketing education without the degree. The bonus? I got a free education in social media outreach. If I had paid for a degree, I’d likely be waiting tables to pay for it and never use the knowledge I gained…and well, I’d be missing out on history while everyone who is taking a class is probably checking Facebook anyway.
Major changes are occurring there now – like the option of secure browsing, using ‘pages’ as your Facebook user page, secret groups, the horrendous new photo viewing tool (infuriating for a photographer), not to mention the news that Goldman Sacs has invested some of ‘our’ money in Facebook, which to me, only spells bad news (as if anything about that company is good news). Facebook has yet to become annoying the way Myspace did. I visited it recently and it’s great for musicians and artists but with so many bells and whistles that it causes open windows to freeze, lock up and generally be a pain in the ass to bother waiting for one page to load (kind of like getting fed up with commercials on TV, you surf). This was a bit disappointing for a geek like me who spent the better part of 5 years there, building a network with several artist pages and many friends there never made the exodus to Facebook.
Social networking is still a new cultural phenomenon. As fast as Friendster started sucking, Myspace was all the rage. Now Facebook has had a movie made about it’s inception and subsequent success and has been credited with revolutionary change for people in the Middle East. This will only spread as economies are flailing and dictatorships crumble, not to mention our own country’s infrastructure and the endless parade of media/political/empirical follies. But now there are other options, Current.com becoming quite the buzz with Keith Olbermann’s refreshing move…hopefully their site will upgrade it’s programming to be relevant enough to compete for those without cable or a television, for that matter. It’s become obsolete for many.
I’ve learned to use social networking as my news feed, research tool, meeting place and town hall…not to mention classroom. The art of debate is alive and well, investigative journalism is alive and well, and thanks to cultural activists, librarians, professors, teachers, veterans, nurses, doctors, philanthropists, artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers, environmentalists, healers…and of course, whistleblowers…the truth is also alive and well among the people. For now…
What the government really needs to do is catch up with ‘we the people’ instead of spying on them. They ought to know the piss is in the pool and no security company can clean it up. If Egypt taught them anything, it should be that technical ingenuity should not be underestimated. If there’s a kill switch – there are ways around it. ‘People power’ cannot be silenced and it’s time for government to tune in before they become as obsolete as their 24 hour news cycle.
The Cold War is over. REBOOT and welcome to 2011.