RUOK, the death of Facebook and Gene Hunt, plus Lent, not borrowed
First things first: I have just been sent a paper on how people use blogs in times of crisis called RUOK. Havent had time to read and analyse it yet myself but will return to it soon. I'm very grateful so far for those who received my lecture who've taken the time to comment on it. (And no I still haven't worked out how to put the PDF version here but I hope it will end up on the Nuffield website soon).
Second I have been thinking a lot about social networking given so many aid agencies are increasingly turning to Facebook, MySpace and Bebo to promote their messages. I joined Facebook at Nuffield before it was thrown open and did little. Then everyone could join and my summer turned into a mass of poking, superwalling, status updating and adding photos. There have been increasing numbers of negative articles about Facebook recently - particularly this one from the Guardian. The truth is - as Richard Sambrook once mused in his status update - is the tumbleweed now blowing through the 2007 sensation. Is it - dare it be said - turning into Friends Reunited; once equally must have and now reduced to sending emails reminding you of its existence.
Last week I conducted a small unscientific yet rather telling experiment. If 2007 was the year of Facebook, it was also the year of Gene Hunt with the second series of Life on Mars. The sequel - Ashes to Ashes which began last Thursday was much anticipated.
Because of a feature I was helping out on at the Telegraph I got hold of a copy of A2A a day earlier. And in irritating fashion I immediately updated my Facebook status to say I was watching A2A right then. Obviously partly to annoy people; but also to see how many people were still checking Facebook.
The results were as follows: one person emailed me mid Thurs to see if his friend who was playing the clown had a big part.
1. Facebook is over (if so, bad news for the aid agencies who think social networking could be the answer)
2. Gene Hunt is over (bad news for the BBC who have pinned so much on A2A)
3. I have no friends anymore (bad news for me)
I think it may be a combination of all three.
Finally Ash Wednesday last week means it's Lent. This year having read Affluenza by Oliver James (good idea, although the writing irritated me in parts) I decided I would launch my own assault on the consumer society by only buying things I need, not what I want for six weeks to try to stop being so wasteful (and maybe save a bit of cash too). This is obviously slightly subjective but I think it goes as follows:
In brief this means I can buy newspapers (essential) but not magazines. I can't buy new clothes although I can reheel boots. I am only buying lunch, not chocolate and snacks (although who says no good deed goes unpunished; I got sent some chocolates from Save the Children for my talk which I feel I can eat as I didn't buy myself).
The big test is: can I buy books? I was arguing this as a necessity in my life (I feel physically panicky if I travel somewhere without reading material) But then I remembered I have a library card.....