Daily Archives: May 25, 2007

Attacking social networking

A couple of fellow bloggers have noticed the BBC’s apparent attack on social networking tools. Dennis and Euan both highlight reports such as yesterday’s one about bloggers getting sacked for their postings. When I read that, I did think to myself that it was scaremongering… clearly people need to be aware about what they write, but I have a fair amount of faith in the common sense of individuals, and besides, responsible companies have blogging guidelines to enable people to navigate this scary new world of the editable web…

Then, of course, we have Stephanie Booth’s appearance on News 24 this week, answering typical alarmist questions about the “dangers” of the Internet (and a good job she did of replying to them, too).

As I drove in to work this morning, I heard a very silly story on the Today programme on Radio 4. Their journalist, Rory Cellan-Jones, was investigating whether Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter were any use. His conclusion appeared to be that he was too old for them, since he didn’t end up with any friends once he’d signed up (apart from the ubiquitous Tom on MySpace, and the founders of Bebo, once he’d pleaded with them to be his friend!). He also derided Twitter, commenting that people seemed to talk too much about mowing the lawn – ironically I do have one friend who talked about his lawn this week, but I typically find Twitter far more useful than that. He could have mentioned the status broadcast, IM, location awareness and microblogging features, but presumably those would have been too advanced for the Today audience to cope with. It was a very bad item. I was shouting at the radio by the end of it.

The one good thing about the story was that the Bebo folks did make the point that the age profile is getting older as users grow up. I had a similar conversation with a local authority who came in to IBM Hursley today – I was presenting on Virtual Worlds and talking about the fact that youngsters are driving the technology change and bringing social networking tools, and ultimately “games technology” and virtual worlds, into the enterprise.

Of course the week began with alarmist reporting about the dangers of wireless networks. Suw twittered and bsag wrote a commentary on that programme, so I won’t go into it myself.

So, in essence, we’ve now had a week of “the BBC beats up on social networking and the Internet”. A concerted effort? I do have to wonder. And to what end? The BBC already makes a big deal about its own blogs and talks a lot about Web 2.0, and then lays into the tools that are out there. Weird.

Partly as a reaction to today’s news story, I finally signed up for Facebook. Within a couple of hours of Twittering my presence there, I have a bunch (well, 10) friends – and those are only a few of my contacts from other networks. I really need to go and explore some of the groups and look up old friends and contacts from elsewhere – I’ll do that once I get some time.

(annoyingly, onxiam.com is not currently accepting my new identity – hope they get that fixed soon!)

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