You can tell that Social Media is now officially mainstream when you read the news. This week’s headlines include a Missouri state judge issuing an injunction against a teachers social networking prohibition law, social media use during natural disasters, and Britain political leaders meeting to brainstorm on how to use social media or limit others from using social media to curb civil unrest.
Missouri Court Injunction
The Missouri story is of particular interest as my husband happens to be a Missouri teacher. With a 15-year old daughter who also happens to attend his school, we were very concerned with this new law (Senate Bill 54, section 162.069) going in to effect. There was a real possibility that he would no longer be able to be “friends” with his own child. Thankfully we have a pretty good kid, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to keeping a watchful eye on her posts and interactions.
As a softball coach, I used Facebook to keep up with my players, make sure they were staying out of trouble (which sometimes they weren’t and we were able to address it) and get insight as to how they were handling the challenges of competitive ball. I was able to help parents know when to ask questions and play a proactive role in minimizing issues before they came to a head. I know many teachers who do the same…often times a student will express stress, pain, and/or staying out til 3 a.m on Facebook but would never saying anything to their parents…to prohibit one of the most popular communication channels today from being used to facilitate teacher and student interaction just didn’t make sense.
It is refreshing to see the teachers have their voice heard. The law will be delayed 180 days or until the state legislature and teachers can work out an agreement. It is important to note that only section 162.069 will be delayed…the rest of the bill, which is a good bill related to prevention of sexual abuse will go in to effect as planned.
Hurricane Irene, Earthquakes, Social Media, Oh My!
Hurricane Irene along with the east coast earthquakes are creating shakes, waves and jiggles on the social media scene this week. (corny yes I know but I couldn’t resist). Many of the articles talk about increase mentions, is SM good or bad, and citizens relying on SM during disasters. Consumerreports.org noted some very interesting facts that were brought to my attention by David Erickson (fyi…David provides a great daily email you should subscribe to if you like stats):
- 24% of Americans would use social tools to tell people they are safe
- 1 in 5 would try an online channel if they were unable to reach EMS
- 80% expect emergency responder to monitor social sites
- One-third expect help to arrive within an hour of posting a need to a social site
You have to wonder, does our police, fire and other emergency rescue services realize these kind of expectations exist? It is somewhat scary to think that people may be requesting help when nobody is listening. The Social Media Club of Kansas City had a great breakfast a few months ago where the Johnson County Sheriff department shared with us what steps they are taking to monitor and participate in social media. We can only hope that other community emergency services are adopting similar best practices.
Britain Meets with Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry
You know you are beyond early adoption when the Queen comes knocking on your door. Obviously the Britain riots are no laughing matter and I think it is an important step by leaders to acknowledge the role social media may play in not only creating civil unrest but possibly calming it as well.
There are many of my peers in this industry that may interpret the Britain conversations as an attempt to prohibit free speech. However, if there is a main channel that is causing destruction don’t we have to ask our leaders to take a responsible look and understand how that channel functions, how to minimize the risk and ultimately how to shut it down in the event that it leads to wide-scale tragedy? Many of the uprisings we have seen this year have led to freedom but we would be naive if we didn’t respect the potential for technology and new media to be just as dangerous as they are liberating. This is the kind of topic that makes for great happy hour conversations!
What a crazy, wacky week …we hope you were able to experience more positive than negative and wish you the best of fun, safety and enjoyment this weekend!