Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Going Social

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  • Phil Lyth,

    thankfully, 3 News did not try to own that Facebook page - just a discreet note that it was 'associated with them"

    and wow, the RIP Pike River Miners page drew 300,000 people within a few days

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    who wrote an insightful column last week about the tensions between Facebook "friendship" and the needs of real friends

    That she did.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah King,

    I'm having some interesting conversations with my "early adopter" friends about facebook. Most never went for the huge friend counts but did accept friends who were business contacts and acquaintances. They're now rethinking this and creating business "pages" where they can connect with business contacts or sending them to Linked In. Interesting new trend there though is to ask for endorsements from contacts you haven't even done business with.

    This discussion is interesting: http://fiveminutephotos.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/super-special-rooftop-party-american-music-awards-preparty/#comments

    Starts out with a party and a dispute but has posts where friendship is claimed and later downgraded to acquaintance. It delves into the party host's divorce agreement (NZ) which includes deletion of facebook accounts and never posting anything negative on facebook. Extraordinary.

    Pt Chevalier • Since Apr 2010 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Houldsworth,

    When they’re so well researched and eloquently written, it’s difficult to argue with some of the points Gladwell raises about social media. But could it be that the ‘lessening level of motivation [to participate]’ he identifies is less a consequence of the platform, and more a symptom of a postwar generation (or two) who have never known real struggle?

    Although social media remains very much a buzzword of the moment, the concept is as old as the internet itself. It just took a while for the technology to catch up. Any arguments for and against probably stem from the innate human desire to take sides on any perceived ‘popular trend’.

    In a few years we may look back on this period as merely another evolutionary stage of the internet. By then, we may not even call it social media any more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    thankfully, 3 News did not try to own that Facebook page - just a discreet note that it was 'associated with them"

    Yeah, so "discreet" I didn't notice it when a link landed in my inbox. Think that was an accident, and there's nothing troubling about a news organisationm setting up Facebook groups on the downlow?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm not big on Facebook anymore - you get more info from Twitter, really. I had thought of discontinuing my facebook page, but for the fact that it's the only way I ever hear from my bro in Berlin. As for friends etc, most of mine are people I know and even if I don't see them very often, it can be a way of catching up on whatever they're up to without actually having to make contact with them. How sad is that?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Nick Houldsworth,

    it’s difficult to argue with some of the points Gladwell raises about social media

    Some commentators have argued convincingly that he misses the point for contextual reasons like the one you suggest. This recent story from The Nation mag focuses on Gladwell's position on online organising. Personally, I continue to find Clay Shirky's take on that more persuasively argued.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    Humans act like humans whatever the medium they have at their disposal. Doesn't it all come down to changing your own behaviour if something doesn't work for you? Everything we do has costs and benefits associated with it. Something something cake.

    Disclaimer: I am not on Facebook.

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    it’s difficult to argue with some of the points Gladwell raises about social media

    Well this is why there are FB privacy settings, lists and groups! You can design your own custom privacy settings for every single thing you post, if you can be bothered, and you can manage that setting either from including certain people or excluding others. Of course FB has limitations, and pitfalls, and we’re still working out some of the finer points of ettiquette. But I’ve really got not time for people who complain about lack of privacy when they don’t use the privacy tools that are right there in front of them.

    (sorry if that sounds ranty, I know a lot of people don't know this stuff. When you post something on FB, click the padlock underneath, click "custom" in the menu that pops up, then follow your nose.)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3468 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    Isn't the issue more that Facebook has constantly moved the goalposts over time so that privacy has been reduced?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • andrea quin,

    Well, actually, you can make a web link to any item on the iTunes Store

    He didn't state it that clearly, but obviously he means that while you can make a link, the link is useless to those without itunes software. All those people who bought beatles downloads necessarily had the software, no?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Anonymous Author,

    you think you exist
    The ubiquity of social media, its amalgam of people, sobriquets and avatars, and its associated cult of celebrity, will inevitably lead to an outpouring of actual grief for a virtual persona.

    This will begin in an insignificant way. For instance, a forum, upon losing the contribution of a particular member, discusses that member as if they have passed rather than unsubscribed. It will progress to the failure of a popular invented person to tweet; the bereavement felt and tweeted keenly by its followers in memoriam.

    Such events will become orchestrated. People using fake photos and names, nurturing multiple online personalities, will bask in the eulogising of 'fans' and 'friends' more than once, often simultaneously, over their virtual lives and demises. The creator of the first manipulated anony-pseudo-death to contrive a massive sense of loss for someone who didn't exist, will ironically gain celebrity status for inverting the zeitgeist of social media's byproduct: online immortality.

    Eventually no one will know who exists and who does not. (I don't even know who I am as a person, let alone who I'm meant to be as an Anonymous Author). People will feel betrayed and become wary. Social media will ultimately deliver the opposite of what it set out to provide; disconnection and confusion. I give it one and a half generations in human years.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    an outpouring of actual grief for a virtual persona.

    In much the same way as the Prime Minister of the UK was moved to actual comment in the House of Commons on the plight of the entirely fictional character Deirdre Rashid of Coronation Street.

    The flip side of this is that actual deaths will be treated more and more as something shallow. Entertainment, almost. The media’s response to Pike River had more than a whiff of that, as Craig's comment sort of obliquely notes.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    A while back I posted this on Gladwell's article:

    I’m hardly a fan of Gladwell- in fact I find a lot of his work incredibly glib and prone to manufacturing arguments by cherry-picking examples that fit and leaving out the rest…but I think this sort of was his point. Facebook, Twitter, et al are tools for networking, they’re a means, rather than a means to an end, which is why he feels that as a method for continued activism (of any sort), they would have to be bolstered by something else, because their structure is anti-heirachical. Which as he says, is a strength in certain situations, but less so when you want to establish something continuous. I mean when he says this:

    There are many things, though, that networks don’t do well. Car companies sensibly use a network to organize their hundreds of suppliers, but not to design their cars. No one believes that the articulation of a coherent design philosophy is best handled by a sprawling, leaderless organizational system. Because networks don’t have a centralized leadership structure and clear lines of authority, they have real difficulty reaching consensus and setting goals. They can’t think strategically; they are chronically prone to conflict and error. How do you make difficult choices about tactics or strategy or philosophical direction when everyone has an equal say?

    He’s right, if you assume the group’s only tool for continued activism and organisation is through Facebook or Twitter or whatever. He’s wrong, if they’re merely using that as one extra tool. Greenpeace, for instance, has a very committed social media platform. But that’s not all they have. Likewise, I kinda think those reports on Obama marshalling the social network bely the fact that he also hand the savviest and most talented campaign team since Clinton in 1992.

    They’re a continuation of what already existed, rather than a totally new paradigm. And that’s great. We shouldn’t get worked up and worry and fret if it’s not totally new. We should be pleased that it gets used and can continue.


    That said, I am on facebook, and use it as a glorified email service, and in that sense it's incredibly useful. I think it was Russell Brown who said that Twitter was illustrative, whereas Facebook was administrative. I think Noel McCarthy's comments on facebook are pretty apposite.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I've got a business colleague in permanent friend request limbo on FB, just can't decide whether I want to open that door. Well, actually I'm certain I don't want to open it, but I don't want to reject them openly either. It's the marketing guy, and I know he'll have ten thousand friends, including everyone I work with, and one comment by him on my wall and my cover is blown.

    I can see why people like it, but I do find it quite creepy. More for what it does to me than what it makes other people do. I have enough troubles with excessive hypervigilance and time-wasting as it is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Incidentally, I find it amazing how many people I've had in dialogue through message boards for years and when I finally meet them in person I immediately hit it off. I caught up with several in London, recently.

    The funniest example is actually Grant McDougall- we both posted on Mojo music's website, and didn't realise we lived literally down the road from oneanother unti we got in touch!

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Also on the hypervigilance note, I'm yet to get the killer tweet that would give me any reason to run Twitter as a background service, rather than something that I only ever check if there's actual live news going on. I just don't need to be connected that much, and find it insanely intrusive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Twitter. Failed. Thrice. I'm planning a group; 'Twitter wasn't all that'. Acronym pending.

    Have been through the same dilemma as Ben on FB. A friend's mother??!!! I accepted!!!!

    Being human, arguably, I suffer periods of self-doubt and low self-esteem, and during such times social media can be a double-edged sword.

    'Oh look, someone retweeted my brain explosion to their 1000 followers'. Runs, hides.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Incidentally, I find it amazing how many people I've had in dialogue through message boards for years and when I finally meet them in person I immediately hit it off. I caught up with several in London, recently.

    I'm getting less amazed by this as time passes, and it keeps happening. When you've already had meaningful conversations with someone online, then you can pretty much just carry on with that ITF, much like how catching up with old friends is: There's about 10 seconds of "Hi, how's it going? What have you been doing?", then it's straight down to whatever you were last talking about. It's a bit different, though, there's still the whole weirdness of finally actually seeing what someone looks like, and hearing what their voice sounds like, and the strange mismatch you get between writing style and talking style with some people. But one good thing I have noticed is that most people are nicer in the flesh than they are online. Text brevity and the net-gap lend themselves to rough utterances. I'm even willing to bet that Redbaiter, if I ever meet him, will be startlingly normal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    I try and keep control of my name online, which means I've signed up to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and have a user profile filled out on Wikipedia. I'm still somewhat annoyed that a company dealing in egg incubation equipment is still the top result on a Google search when you search for my name, but at least they've changed their motto from "Peter Sime: Total birth control" to something a little more flattering

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to andrea quin,

    He didn't state it that clearly, but obviously he means that while you can make a link, the link is useless to those without itunes software. All those people who bought beatles downloads necessarily had the software, no?

    What Sir Tim misses (and I'm not ragging on him - full respeck!) is that the web is not the Internet, and the Internet has always been balkanized technologically, back to the days of gopher. The web is a sizable chunk of it, but it's difficult to get around without a browser, no?

    The wubwubwub has been around for 17 years, the Internet for quite a bit longer. If we're still using http in another 17 years, I'll be ripping my 3d, tactile holographic display (with SmellOVision![tm]) from my anti-grav zimmer frame and hurling it into the river. But I bet we're still using the net.

    Brought to you by OldPharts Inc., makers of "Where's my Flying Car?" and "Get Off My Lawn!"

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca,

    And how media outlets jumping all over something on twitter can blowup in their face
    http://tvnz.co.nz/all-blacks/tialata-nonu-pay-220-pounds-cab-ride-3924542

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 201 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    In a conversation in Twitter the other day, I referred to Facebook as "a legacy application". I signed up to view my sister's pictures (you had to be a member to see anything back then), played a few games of Scrabble, joined a few causes and connected mainly with people I already knew IRL. Now, it's there like my landline is in the phonebook - people expect to find you there and I'd rather they found me than someone they think is me.

    +1 to Lilith's comments about privacy settings and understanding what you're doing. I know that no-one can out me for embarrassing moments on FB, because I never put anything there. (Except for a few of my sister's photos, dammit)

    +1 also though, to Sacha - yes, it's Facebook's ever-changing of the rules about "your" data that is the problem. The answer is the same, though - don't give them anything to mine.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • mrjamesmurray,

    Hi there - yes the intention with the page we set up on the Friday night was to provide a social media area for people to give messages of support and a focal point for disseminating information regarding the rescue operation (as it was at the time).

    We kept mention of 3 News to a minimum due to the sensitivity of the story - we wanted the page to be something people could own themselves rather than a branding exercise. The reaction we have had from the public has been heartwarming.

    We are now in the process of offering the page to Greymouth City Council as we feel it will be of best use to them in the coming months of inquiries etc.

    Chief editor 3news.co.nz

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

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