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The world is obsessed with Facebook

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Last month, Mashable presented a very neat infographic demonstrating that, especially in the USA, Facebook is becoming the kind of internet portal that AOL and Compuserve dreamed of being in the 90s.

It was a bit tl;dr though so some bright spark made it into a snazzy video.

Et voila…

The World Is Obsessed With Facebook from Alex Trimpe on Vimeo.

www.education.edu/education

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daily_mail_cannabisI’m getting sick of mainstream media reporting on non-stories tenuously associated to the internet just so they can write a headline that contains the name of the current “in” social media application. These headlines work especially well if crowbarred into a story about another hot topic that can be easily sensationalised. The resulting hot topic mash-up is guaranteed to sell papers and give Daily Mail readers something to get all frothy and indignant about.

Over the last couple of years the frequency and ridiculousness of these stories has escalated. Two years ago it was MySpace Thugs Trashed my House or similar and in the last year or so Facebook has been accused of being responsible for identity fraud, economic ruinmurder and cancer.

I was most pleased last month when eight newspapers and one news television channel were forced to apologise and pay settlement charges to a family after running stories describing how a “Facebook party” had gone “out of control” and that gatecrashers had “trashed” the house in Marbella. It came out that the news “journalists” involved didn’t know or didn’t care that the party wasn’t gatecrashed, only led to very minor damage and in any case was organised on Bebo, not Facebook.

The worst example of a paper using a web application to fabricate a story was last month when the Scottish Sunday Express, as Graham Linehan put it so well, won the race to the bottom by describing the impish Internet behaviour of Dunblane teenagers as “shaming the memory” of those who died in the Dunblane massacre 13 years ago.  They too were forced to apologise.

This year’s main headline-grabbing SM service is Twitter. So I shouldn’t be surprised that last week a story broke about the upcoming report by Sir Jim Rose that will make recommendations for an overhaul of primary school education. The leaked report features many recommendations including the teaching of health and environmental matters and that certain topics from history, notably WW2 and the Victorian period should not be taught at a primary school level. There is also going to be a recommendation that by the time pupils leave primary school they should be familiar with modern sources of information including blogs, wikipedia, podcasts and twitter. Guess what the headlines were?

Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up
The Guardian

Pupils ‘should study Twitter’
BBC online

This is a leak from a report recommending the biggest shake up of primary education in 20 years and they focus on Twitter? There of course followed lots of discussion on public phone-ins, panels shows and editors columns about how disgraceful and silly this was. Calm down everyone!

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Life ain’t all beer and #skittles

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I woke up yesterday morning to find twitter all a buzz about the new Skittles homepage.  I’m not usually one to add to the echo chamber but I thought I’d give my two pence worth.

For those of you who, unlike me, have a life instead of monitoring twitter trends, Skittles have revamped their site and the content has almost been completely replaced by relevant pages from third-party social media applications. Visitors to Skittles.com are now directed to the twitter search result for the term “skittles” and invited to navigate their way about Skittles’ social web presence by using the flash navigation menu that overlays the page. [update: the homepage is now set as the facebook page as predicted my moi ;-)]
Skittles-home

The ‘Home’ and ‘Chatter’ links both link to the twitter search results for the term Skittles, the products links for each flavour lead to the relevant information on the Skittles Wikipedia entry. There is a ‘Friends’ link that goes to the Skittles facebook page and the video and photo links respectively lead to the Skittles profile on YouTube and Flickr search results for the term… well can you guess?

There are only two actual web pages in use: the product overview page and the contact form.

My first impressions were that this is very brave and very cool. I did have some reservations, however.

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