Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

facebook rules?

I joined Facebook last year.
I find it a very odd environment. Mostly I do not know why I am there. I vibrate my sister's hamster - and no, that is NOT a euphemism for anything. I insult friends I have not seen for years in a mock Shakespearean lingo. I look at photos of other people's travels and adventures. I rage against all the advertising and spam.

And then this happens:
Copyright Delay Demonstrates the Power of Facebook
On December 1st, Michael Geist, a columnist on technology law issues, launched the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group because "seemed like a good way to educate the public about an important issue." He "sent invitations to a hundred or so Facebook friends and seeded the group with links to a few relevant websites."

"One week later, there were 10,000 members. Two weeks later, there were over 25,000 members with another Canadian joining the group every 30 seconds."

and then:
"it helped spur on an offline protest when Kempton Lam, a Calgary technologist, organized 50 group members who descended on Industry Minister Jim Prentice's local open house to express their views on copyright."

To see the CommonCraft Plain English Video about Social Networking, click the link in the sidebar ... or here.

Tracey Mollins's Facebook profile


Wendell said...

I, too, wonder how to get value out of Fb. I thought I found a way.

I've been looking for a free, daily-use whiteboard to use on my blog. (Learners want to keep learning math over Christmas, and I'm visual so I need a whiteboard to explain anything.) I thought about using the graffiti board on Facebook. I even created a page for it. But I can find no link to the page from my profile - or from anywhere else. And it came with a bunch of other slow-loading Fb stuff. It is not easily accessible - for one thing, you have to join Fb to use it. It is not easy to customize. Slow to load. Quick to push ads - mostly for other Fb features. Nope.

I understand how Fb can work if you want to get a bunch of people to connect around an idea or event. It can be an effective community board (what they used to call list-serves). But I still think its reach is narrow. Well, maybe because the reach of "networking" itself is narrow.

Getting 50 people together is great. I'd love to have 10,000 hits on something I posted. But... 50 out of 10,000? Does that mean they effectively organized less than 1% of their apparent audience?

Wendell said...

Slightly related (and before I forget)Bill Mullins http://billmullins.wordpress.com/2007/12/20/another-facebook-hoax-whatever-happened-to-our-supposed-computer-literacy blogged about the recent Facebook Super Wall posting many of us have received that claims "Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated... please send [this message] to other users using Copy+Paste to show that you are active Those who do not send this message within 2 weeks, The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more space" Bill writes: "I got a little miffed at the people who forwarded this on to me without even a cursory attempt to think about the message itself." He goes on to view this sort of chain-letter nonsense as a sign of poor "computer literacy".

To me, its a sign of something else: Fb's amazing ability to generate loads of contact and activity, but very little actual communication. There does seem to be a "literacy" problem here, but not like we'd expect. It's as if people don't know how to write to one another, so they forward these ready-made posts instead.

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