Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Your news is my news now...

Some of Facebook's gifts, as displayed in the ...Image via Wikipedia

An interesting piece filed by AP today on 'social netiquette', talking about the increasing problems of how we manage information in this online, socially overloaded, on demand world of ours. There are some good examples of people losing control of their news as others Tweet or Facebook it - so that other friends and family are upset to find out about important events online rather than in person. It's here.

I've posted before about the problem of journalists combing Facebook for information about you when you die (here, in fact) - just one of these new ways of behaving we're all finding out about as we all experiment with the media and its consequences. And I was talking the other day to someone whose mother found out from Facebook about his engagement being broken off - one reason he refuses to go near it now.

There are an increasing number of examples of people having reason to deeply regret something they've done on social media, with often life-changing consequences. And yet a recent Spot On Twitter poll found that many people still re-Tweet links they see on Twitter without actually checking them out. That urge to get to the story first is something most journalists will understand - and the need to stop for a second and assess what you are sharing and the potential consquences of that sharing is also something that journalists will not only appreciate, but have evolved practices to manage. Social media hasn't - yet.

It's going to take a little less haste and a little more thoughtfulness from people in general in future. I do believe we are going to see the evolution of accepted ways of using social media - that thinks like Tweeting other people's news will become unacceptable. But it's such a fast-moving environment, there are gong to be a lot of breakages on the way.

The trouble is that, even when we take care, we all make mistakes - it's just that those mistakes are now incredibly, indelibly public.

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Samer Marzouq said...

Over the last 2 years, many of my friends announced any death in the family on facebook, and I just give condolences on facebook as well, no phone calls, no in-person meeting.

Media Junkie said...

which is why so many hoaxes and urban legends do so well on the interwebs. It's easier clicking the forward button, rather than spending about five minutes googling or researching it, which will generally give you an idea of its authenticity.

I think I've been taken off many 'mass mails' by 'replying all' to forwards with a snopes.com link.

now if facebook can figure out a way to have a separate 'reply' and reply all' button in its messaging system, i would be much, much happier.

Oussama said...

Well I suppose the margin of error just became so small. However, one has to be sensible about what one posts on FB, Myspace or Twitter.
These are good tools to keep track of family and friends, but they should never replace the human touch, they are supposed to enhamce the human experience.

i*maginate said...

I recently came to the conclusion, with the aid of a single guy, that the people who pollute my status updates page with neverending entries are new mothers! Now what does that say...

Some are not, though. And by the content of their updates, you can see they have some kind of agenda - or at least that's the way I interpret it. Now the content of updates could be interpreted in different ways - by different people. And that's why posting anything needs to be given thought to. I usually work with the rule 'what am I trying to achieve with this post, and is it absolutely necessary, and if not, why not'.

Now the number of people on my friends list clearly don't have the same approach, and this line of thinking is so fundamental to us ever having a friendship that it's killed something that either wasn't there or could have been. That's the facebook phenomenon from my perspective...and why I would not think twice about opening a twitter account, unless I am totally convinced it is going to add some value to my personal or professional life.

Christopher Allbritton said...

I don’t know that it’s a problem with social networking sites, so much as an inexplicable tendency to spill one’s guts to the world. If there’s something I want widely disseminated — blog post, something funny — I’ll tweet or facebook it. But if I want a limited distribution, I use this thing called email or a phone call. If people would just exercise a little self-control over their personal disclosures, people’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt by untoward status updates. Try it. It’s not hard to impose a little discipline.

KJ said...

It drives me insane when I post a particularly long article (mine or off the web) and it almost instantly is retweeted!

I have come to conclude that the RT is an automatic function - a reflex from reading specific words in a tweet (the ever popular #etisalatsux hashtag being one). Maybe fund a research on this

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