I recently had a close friend comment “I now get all my news from facebook”.
No CNN, NBC, CBS, NPR, Local paper…facebook.
The highlights of the Republican National Convention? facebook
The latest on the Hanta virus in Yosemite? facebook
The details of a recent phone line outage due to a fire? facebook.
I don’t think she is alone. The implications are startling for our culture – balkanization of society (republicans inform republicans, democrats inform democrats), privacy and tracking issues, and the potential for mass hysteria based on false information.
OTOH – this certainly brings “news” – and the dissemination of news – close to it’s roots: the verbal spreading of information from person to person. What was once “one to one” and went “one to many” for efficiency and speed, is now a blend of both.
My current research is how “control” – and what it means - is changing in organizations, especially IT. Access and distribution of information is certainly a form of control – evidenced by dictatorships and closed societies. The facebook (social media) phenom has implications for control and how we perceive it. Can we coin this the new meaning of “crowd control”?