The United States Army is now using Facebook, Twitter and its own blog called “Army Live” to recruit new people, and to give soldiers and their families a place to connect. This is according to a NY Daily News article by Stephanie Gaskell. And according to an article from the Army News Service, the social networking pages and the blog were launced by the new Online and Social Media Division of Army Public Affairs. Gaskell points out that the Army’s Facebook page has about 3,000 friends, and it has more than 5,000 followers on Twitter. It’s interesting to note that on the Army’s Twitter page, the bio section points out that “Following does not = endorsement.”
The U.S. Army wants you – to be its friend on Facebook. You can also follow the Army on Twitter. Or post a comment on its new blog. They’re all part of the Army’s new mission: social networking. “If Ashton Kutcher can do it, the U.S. Army can do it,” said Lindy Kyzer, who posts the Army’s “status updates” on Facebook and “tweets” on Twitter. […] “We know that our ability to share the Army story is shaped by how we tell it and where we tell it,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Arata, who heads the Army’s new Online and Social Media Division. “Using social media platforms allows us to tell our story where we know people are at and are listening.”
I also recommend this article from ReadWriteWeb on how the U.S. State Department is sending Twitter to Iraq “to bring the microblogging service into government and civil society there.”
The New York Times posted a funny opinion piece about Twitter, titled “To Tweet or Not to Tweet.” The writer, columnist Maureen Dowd, interviewed the inventors of the social networking site, Biz Stone and Evan Williams. She asked the tough questions…
ME: I would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari Desert, have honey poured over me and red ants eat out my eyes than open a Twitter account. Is there anything you can say to change my mind?
BIZ: Well, when you do find yourself in that position, you’re gonna want Twitter. You might want to type out the message “Help.”
Be sure the check out the entire piece for more laughs.
On Monday March 2, 2009 Belmont University’s “Practicum Pioneers” hosted a convocation event entitled From Facebook to Twitter: Rules, Rights and Realities of Social Networks. A panel of experts to discussed the latest controversies regarding online social networks, privacy issues and copyright laws. Panelists to included the Freedom Forum’s Gene Policinski, Nashville attorney Doug Pierce (a specialist in media/First Amendment issues), Belmont Web Developer Paul Chenoweth, journalism student Abby Selden and Nashvillest.com co-founder Morgan Levy.
Click here to view a slideshow of photos detailing the events and to add your own comments!
Pete Cashmore tweeted about this story on cnn.com.
The article states that according to scientists, receiving rapid news from sources such as Twitter, might numb our sense of morality and make us indifferent to human suffering.
Below are a few excerpts from the article, explaining what some scientists believe to be consequences of using tools like Twitter to get your news:
New findings show that the streams of information provided by social networking sites are too fast for the brain’s “moral compass” to process and could harm young people’s emotional development.
Before the brain can fully digest the anguish and suffering of a story, it is being bombarded by the next news bulletin or the latest Twitter update, according to a University of Southern California study.
“If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,” said researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang.
I can agree with these scientists to a certain extent, but the research does not take into account the fact that many “tweets” are links to more in depth stories, allowing the user to take more time, if desired, to absorb and digest the information. Tweets regarding hard news stories, in particular, do seem to link to full stories the majority of the time.
One thing researchers must take into consideration is that there are many options as far as where people can get their news, and people will consume the stories that most interest them. On the other hand, with all the options out there, we cannot make people consume or even care about stories they are not interested in, regardless of how important they may be.
So…are we being desensitized by “fast news?” Pete Cashmore clearly does not think so. What do you think?
Check out this hilarious mockumentary, which follows the development of a fictional service, called Flutter, which takes Twitter to the next level. Forget micro-blogging, Flutter is nano-blogging!
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Tagged Abby, Twitter