Do you really think that people who write every little item that is ‘under their finger nails’ on their Facebook page actually WANT privacy? Certainly not at the time they are writing about it. Users want their multitude of “friends” to know what they offer up, information given at a certain moment in time in their lives, that matters very much to them indeed. It’s about sharing their lives – in public.
So when Facebook decided to remove the “kill switch” as reported by Fox News, which had allowed for user’s information to be deleted once accounts were terminated, the outcry against this changed policy became a roar from frightened users who were terrified at being found out years later about details of their past, forcing a Facebook reversal.
In reading about the hurried back pedaling that Facebook did, I wondered what people were thinking when they posted their emotional rant or bragged about their newest conquest, or mused about a socially unacceptable cause in the first place. Did they not think that posting on Facebook is tantamount to being published?
There is no question that social networking has opened up the vistas of people worldwide. I believe that social networking is the great new local café or bar where conversations can blossom, where thoughts can be shared and friends can be made well past just a another posting.
But the reality is, that the new policy, although rapidly overturned, leaves users just a bit more insecure about being found out in years to come — when the very information they are willingly to post today, may come back to bite them tomorrow.
There is no question that the news via user-generated, would-be photographers, and opinionated bloggers, travels at an unfathomable speed and, more often than not, trips up venerated mainstream journalists and photojournalists. (Witness the images of US Air Flight #1549′s water landing taken by a person who just happened to be on a nearby ferry and who snapped a picture with his iPhone , then uploaded it to his Twitter stream, before US Airways was able to issue a statement.)
The idea of getting a “scoop on the news” is more or less out of reach today for professional journalists, with few exceptions such as frontline international news made in the hinterlands of the world, first hand government initiatives, diplomatic maneuvers, etc.
Ok, that’s today’s reality, so what’s the problem?
Would-be journalists are not trained to be reliable sources for news. Their “news” is often subjective and, in the speed with which it is dispersed, is rarely fact-checked. If understood as such, it makes a fine addition as a mass communication avenue.
But it becomes a problem when one takes note that there is a whole segment of the public out there that takes “amateur” journalism at face value with little consideration for the difference between them and the venerated journalists, who know how to frame the news within context, have a talent for building a story while understanding the complexities of its terrain, and who have the grasp for giving us contrasting points of views, allowing the reader to form an opinion based on our trust in them.
I think I will stick to the professionals for staying informed.
Then it got somewhat worse…
Watching the late night show of Dave Letterman this week, I could not help but wonder why that famous talk show host would want to afford the impeached Governor of Illinois, a national platform to rant about his innocence. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to just let him fade into the woodwork, or rather behind bars, if so judged? It made me think of the age-old adage “there is no negative publicity,” but it rankled me that apparently the Governor is holding court , outside the court, with the help of the media.
But then came the madness…
Octuplets were born through in vitro fertilization to an unemployed single mom of six. That’s fine, if mom so chooses to have a large family. It’s a personal matter and best kept a personal matter, past the initial wonder of it all — the miracle of having eight children at one time. But watching the escalating media frenzy and, in particular, Nadya Suleman’s interview on the Today Show, made me think that the media is being “played well” by a woman who could easily become, not only a celebrity, but also very, very rich, simply by virtue of having had a record number of children.
It was not the Super Bowl ads that mattered so much to the brands that paid an obscene amount of money to have their ads aired on the biggest Advertising Sunday of the year… It’s what happened afterwards, or as in Denny’s free breakfast for America, what happened the “morning after.”
What pushed the staying power of the Super Bowl ads this year was the intensive twittering effect. You would think that all the tweeting would have happened between football and advertising fans. But no, the biggest “chatter” emerged from the brands themselves, according to AdFreak.com, brand managers who worked the twittering from the vantage point of a well-planned marketing campaign.
So much for spontaneous twittering…
Anyway, none of the ads this year got the five stars from Fanfest (or, for that matter from any other reviewers) that would propel them into national stardom vis-à-vis consumers and resonate with them for any length of time. Maybe nothing can. Maybe we’ve seen it all…
But there are those of us who do remember this year’s 25th anniversary of the introduction of Apple’s Macintosh in 1984, the one that came out with a foreboding futuristic theme that brought out both wonder and astonished terror in the viewers.
That had staying power, beyond a twittering effect and well past any “morning after” sales gimmick. It had staying power because it broke through all creative boundaries ever tried before. And as The NY Times wrote in today’s edition, “people still talk about it” 25 years later.
Oh well, as a diehard optimist, there’s always next year….