Wednesday, June 20, 2007

chinwag live - dark side of social media

Popped down to check this out last night. Details of the panel are here.
Interestingly enough there were no representatives from any of the big social network 'providers' (is that the right word) ie Myspace, facebook. Apparently they were invited to contribute but declined on the basis of a reluctance to be thrown into the 'bear pit'. A bit poor in my view as probably around 75% of the audience were advocates and active participants in at least one of the popular tools around.
There were the usual topics discussed - stalking, myspace riots etc but not really any great insights to be fair. I enjoyed the comments of James Cherkoff and will be checking out his modern marketing blog, and had some sympathy for identitologist, Luke Razzell who got a bit of stage fright at the beginning and then just got into his stride as the session came to a close.
The funniest thing, though, was a generally angry Tim Ireland from bloggereads who landed some new terms on me, 'sockpuppets' and 'astroturfing'. I'll not bother explaining them here, look them up if your interested.
Tim's pearls of wisdom/tales from the darkside included the revelation that politicians and their lackeys are using social media outlets to try and galvanise support for dubious policies and generally manipulate the conversation on blogs by the use of multiple identities and faking grass roots support (there, Ive given away the astroturfing reference'). as he gazed upon the audience with a face that begged 'can you believe this?' I found myself contemplating...politicians manipulating media to further there own dubious ends, and hoodwinking the populace?
surely not. The words no shit and sherlock came to mind.
Notably no mentions of Twitter/Jaiku (although a good few of the audience could be seen feverishly twittering updates on their phones) and ning (this is a relatively new one to me, but after an hour or so fiddling with it yesterday it seems potentially a bit of a bad apple...dunno).
The main take-out was, of course, be careful what you post out there because its up there forever and might come back to bite you. And there was a general agreement that, yes -there is a dark side to social media but likewise there is a dark side to any interaction between humans virtual or otherwise.
I'll definitely be checking out, and no doubt commenting on, these chinwag events in the future. Next time I'll aslo try and do a bit more real life networking, I was on my jack last night so didn't mingle that much. Big thanks to Thayer for the invitation and baptism into the chinwag network.


Tim said...

Hi Eaon.

Yes, it's to be expected of polticians, but if no-one pulls them up on it, they scale to the giddiest of heights.


Eaon Pritchard said...

of course, by the way ive signed up for national service.

Tim said...

Good man. We're hoping to go beta very shortly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the write-up and feedback Eaon. There was definitely more questions at last night's session than we've had before and in retrospect I wish I'd gone to questions earlier, but you never know. Maybe next time we'll solicit questions in advance of the event for the more shy and retiring.

The discussion around nuance in relationships in social networks certainly got my cogs whirring. The definition of a friend on any of the major networks really is terribly clumsy.

Hope we'll see you at a future event. Don't be shy, come and say hello. Everyone's very friendly, especially as the beer/wine kicks in.

Guy P said...

Hi Eaon,

I blogged a bit about this event (or my thoughs on identity, at least) here:

Roll on the BBQ!