Category Archives: Social Networking

A Social Networked Protest in India

Each week about this time I report in on how social networking technologies (usually Facebook) and politics (usually Planned Parenthood) interact.  This week, I’m still going to do that, but I’m going to point to an article I heard last night on NPR’s All Things Considered.  Referencing the work of Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs, Phillip Reeves interviewed a number of Mumbai citizens using txt messages to organize a mass protest Wednesday (today).

Reeve notes that the texts urge people to consider holding the Indian government accountable:

The real terrorists are not only those who have come through boat but those who have come through vote.  We can change the system, if America can why can’t India?  Please pass it on.

Although I’m so sorry to hear about the events in Mumbai last week, I suddenly felt this huge sense of relief.  America is, again, a model for peaceful transitions of power and the potential for democracy to hold the powerful accountable.  Suddenly, I know America made the right choice.  Obama is the person we need to show the world and just moving away from the policies of the Bush years is already restoring some of America’s standing abroad. Continue reading

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Still The Cause, Not the Technology

Obama's Facebook Page

This semester I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about successful campaign organization and messaging.  One common thread, in all my classes and volunteer work, is that without a solid message or a good candidate all the technology in the world wont help.  Nowhere is this clearer to me than in the presidential election.  Although Obama certainly did have an exceptional social networking strategy, it helped that he is an extremely charismatic man with a talent for oratory and keeping calm in stressful situations.

I can’t help but think that the exact same online strategy wouldn’t have helped John Kerry nearly as much– Obama’s talent was connecting with the voters and Facebook was just a tool to get that done.  In contrast, men like Kerry and Howard Dean never got over initial stumbles or the perception that he’s inaccessible.  Sure, Facebook creates the illusion that someone is accessible (we know he likes Bob Dylan, for example) but Obama isn’t making these pages– his communications staff is. Continue reading

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Election Recovery, Thank You Notes, and Forgotten Help

One of the Profile Images Planned Parenthood Has Available on Facebook

One of the Profile Images Planned Parenthood Has Available on Facebook

The day after Barack Hussein Obama made history, Planned Parenthood sent me a short thank you note via e-mail.  It included a link to the PDF of their “this is what it feels like” project– pretty cool but, from what I can tell from their website hasn’t been hugely successful.  Also, they didn’t ask me to donate any more money, which was a nice change– the email was just a “thanks, we hope you’ll stay involved, and we couldn’t have done it without you.”  I like to be thanked.

On Facebook, though, they’ve been incredibly quiet.  On one hand, I feel that this is completely understandable.  I know that the money is often budgeted to run out on election day– the day after it is embarrassing to still have cash on hand, especially if you lost.  So, I’ve no doubt that their Facebook staff might have been the first to go.  At the same time, though, I think that Planned Parenthood needed to send a thank you to their Facebook supporters too.  While they might anticipate a fair amount of overlap between their e-mail list and their Facebook list, that didn’t stop them from cross posting things during the election.  By ignoring their Facebook constituency they’re failing to thank/encourage a major demographic that uses Planned Parenthood’s services– young, under or uninsured women.  As of this morning I still haven’t heard from Planned Parenthood on Facebook– nothing from them since election day’s reminder to vote.

They have a lot to celebrate.  President-Elect Obama will, according to The New York Times, reverse the so-called Global Gag RuleContinue reading

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So, I’m Not The Only One Creeped Out By Facebook Politics

Just wanted to let ya’ll know that Jezebel agrees with me.  Writing about the post-election reaction on Facebook, the Jezebel ladies note:

But then something else hits you: the anger in her messages and the vitriol in her words must sound, to you, exactly like your anti-Palin/anti-McCain rants sound to her. And yet, she still sends you pictures of her kids, asks you about your job and how your mom is doing, and hopes to see you at Thanksgiving. And so the question becomes: does the political outweigh the personal? Do you owe anyone a friendship if their views run so opposite to yours?

This is a fine line, there used to be a time when the liberal and conservative staffers might still go out for a beer together at night.  I fear that time has passed.  And, if it has, does that mean our Facebook profiles are the next to go?

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Donate Your Facebook Status?

Have you not asked for enough Sirs?!  Now you want my Facebook status too?!  I mean, I have big, big plans for my status on Nov. 4– but I do not need your fancy application to update my status for me.  No sir.  For me, part of what makes status updates fun is that they are original and a bit funny– plus, I don’t have to manage a Twitter account to still get all the little jokes and quips from my friends.

Facebook is to be commended for their GOTV efforts but, in general, I think that a person’s status update is just a wee bit sacred.  In many ways it is one of the few ways to express yourself on Facebook since it isn’t pre-coded or set up based on check boxes.  Thus, if Planned Parenthood sends me an update and asks me to change my status to something that supports Planned Parenthood’s mission, I am there.  100%.  But, having this set up to automatically update my status just weirds me out– we wont be making our own politial statements but we’ll be simply parroting what Facebook (not even a campaign!) says for us. Continue reading

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Filed under 2008 Election, Class Work, Social Networking

Agreeing to… Agree?

Buttons for the Gipper by Randy Son Of Robert.  Licensed under the Creative Commons.

"Buttons for the Gipper" by Randy Son Of Robert. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

Comparatively, I don’t have a whole lot of friends on Facebook– 99.  I am NOT going to crisis over into the 100 realm, no sir.  It sounds harsh, but as soon as I finish up this degree I’m going to do some serious pruning.

Politics and Facebook is starting to bug me a little.  While I do, actually, know all 99 of the people in my friend list I don’t know them all the same– some people are fellow students who I have classes with, some are drinkin’ buddies, some are former professors.  So, when I update my status to be all “O-BAM-A” that goes out to everyone on my friend list.  Generally speaking I feel strongly about my political beliefs, especially a woman’s right to choose, but I don’t talk about this with everyone I know.  And frankly, I’m not sure that everyone knowing everyone else’s political beliefs is all that helpful. Continue reading

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Planned Parenthood Is Taking Over My Facebook Page… And I Like It

My new Facebook profile image

My new Facebook profile image

I have to admit, when I got to the Facebook update from Planned Parenthood with the subject line “Win a Collectible Planned Parenthood Action Fund Prize Package!” I was intrigued.  Frankly, I’m a little embarrassed by this because really I don’t need all that much more swag from Planned Parenthood and also, I mean, really?  I’m motivated by a prize package that will include things like a poster and some of their anti-McCain condoms (which are cool, but seem to me like they’d kill the mood.  Just sayin’).

Plus, when I actually read what I’d have to do my first reaction was all “um, seriously that sounds like a lot of work.  No thanks.”  They’re asking for people to get lots of supporters and/or donations– which is great, and really needed– but I also feel like I’ve asked my friends to do a lot already.  Nobody wants to wear out their welcome. Continue reading

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