Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Social Media

Facebook Versus Twitter
By Jim Vail

In this day and age of social media - everything seems to keep evolving, at breakneck speed.

Let's take Facebook. Facebook has over 1 billion registered users. That is why Mark Zuckerberg is a multi-billionaire and the Chicago Public Schools demand its students pass exams lauding his success.

But I know many of us have simply burned out. We would be posting constantly, and then suddenly collapse.

There are the sprinters who run real fast, then stop. Then there are the cross country runners, who post just enough on a regular basis, for the long haul. 

I believe you have to treat this social media carefully. For example, do you post family pictures for friends and send out funny videos, as well as post critical political articles.  

Facebook users did not realize that personal information they thought they were only sharing with close 'friends' was going out to the general public. 

Facebook also tried to fight parents who did not want their children's images used to promote products. 

As Julian Assange of Wikileaks infamously said, it is the perfect forum for the government to track all of our personal information.

I decided that Facebook would be a good forum to promote my Second City Teachers news blog. However, I do not think it is worth my time to be constantly on this social network. Much of it is silly stuff that is not serious.

So I went next to Twitter. I finally got a Twitter account after I finally figured out what this social media forum is all about. It is definitely a more serious network to post articles and frame intellectual debates. 

In fact, I notice that I regularly read my Twitter account to see who I think are the best minds out there in reporting and education. 

For example, I follow Tim Meegan - a brilliant teacher activist running for alderman who teaches at Roosevelt High School. What he posts I read because he is the type of leader we need.

I also follow Mark Ames in the world of investigative reporting. I knew Mark back in Russia in the 1990s when we were both reporters. His writing and reporting is brilliant and I would always make sure I would read him where ever he was published. He is a true independent who says and writes it like it is, versus his sell-out partner Matt Taibbi, formerly of The Rolling Stone, whose writing, while also brilliant at times, was curbed because he worked for a popular liberal magazine.

Twitter is kind of like the best hits. Just like you no longer have to buy the album just to listen to one song, I no longer have to painfully log into news websites where I don't want to read most of what they publish. It feels almost liberating.

In my next article I will take a closer look at the world of blogging versus reporting.

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