January 8, 2010

Groan, grin - my reaction to media use of Facebook

Two media outlets' references to Facebook came within minutes of each other as I was multitasking Thursday. I grinned when I learned that AnnArbor.com turned the bra color meme into an online post. I groaned when a TV reporter started gushing over how he used Facebook for on-the-spot weather reports.

I didn't take notes, but it went something like ...
"oh my gosh, when people post on Facebook there's a date and time so you know exactly when the weather was like that .... isn't Facebook wonderful."
I hate weather stories for their predictability and unreliability. (Jim of L-Town goes into detail in "Weather panic back" over on Free From Editors.) It was smart for the TV station to seek comments about the weather on its Facebook page. It was not too smart to ignore them.

David Letterman got me started on this rant with his "Twitter machine." because I really don't understand how competent professionals get away without knowing more about tools like Facebook. Or how some can brag about their lack of knowledge.

Let's see ... a comedian who uses the day's hot topics to entertain isn't immersed in social networking. Does that mean he's after the print-forever crowd, content to let others grab more with it eyeballs?

... Do  news professionals inspire trust when they show how little they know about the community?  (If Facebook were a country, it'd be the fifth largest ... social networking sites are now more popular then porn sites,  ... yes, I just finished another Facebook presentation so  brain is cluttered with cocktail chatter , according to my husband.)

Fortunately, some do recognize the importance of reporting what people are doing and talking about and don't get caught up in the reporting on the tool. The first behavior can pay off - a status update on Facebook reported the AnnArbor.com story on the breast awareness campaign via Facebook is drawing heavy traffic.

The meme itself is drawing a range of reactions, including some labeling it too much information about colleagues and relatives. It's also generating discussion, such as reviving the debate over when and how often mammograms are necessary. I've also seen  a "No bra, no breast cancer" discussion on research showing a relationship between bras and cancer.


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