Thursday, June 15, 2006

Exploring social media

This link via Stephen Downes.

This post comes from Joseph Ugoretz of Academic Commons and explores the potential uses and abuses of social media. Although the post title indicates that this is within a college context, the (apparently real) examples used are drawn from a variety of life situations. Like any other resource, social media are open to abuse, as Ugoretz nicely describes. However, the benefits would seem to far outweigh the disadvantages. I don't know if he chose examples that would emphasise one view over another, but it seems to me that substituting a picture of Senator Palpatine for one of the pope doesn't outweigh saving a child's life. Perhaps that's just me, though.

At the moment there is an ad campaign on British television, inviting people to express their opinions about the Internet. The ad campaign runs along the lines of: some people think the Internet is a good thing, because... with another version giving the opposite view, complete with reasons. In both cases, the ad ends with "What do you think?"

I can't help wondering: what are they planning to do with the information? If most people say that the Internet is a Bad Thing, will they shut it off? I thought not.

It's also a bit weird. I wonder if there was ever an opinion poll as to whether libraries were good or bad things, for nearly all the same pro and con reasons given in this campaign. I'm fairly sure that the answer is no. Somehow it's different when computers are involved. Perhaps we've been fed so much futuristic horror-pulp over the years, that anything that has to do with machines makes people nervous.

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