Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Power of Facebook other than in educational settings

I was going to start my second assignment today but there's always something that keeps me away from it. I've been working on Angel today, setting up the students' blogs and working on an Introduction to Blogs. I've spent the last three months reading blogs and reading about blogs, but I haven't really looked at any law-related blogs. It's inPublish Postteresting to move away from the educational blogs and see what others have to say in another field of interest. I'm looking for some blogs the students might be interested in, just to catch their attention. I want their blog assignment during their three-week Work Placement to be a positive and beneficial experience.

I found an interesting blog post by David Canton January 28, 2008 post about Facebook . A University of Ottawa prof started a group on Facebook on December 1st about proposed changes to Canada's copyright law. Within two weeks the group had over 20,000 members. As David says, "the remarkable growth of the group had two immediate effects. The first was an increase in awareness of the issues. The second, while not as direct, was more far-reaching. The rapid growth of the Facebook group became a news story in itself, exposing the issues to a significantly larger segment of the population. The story initially focused on the use of the social networking site as a political tool. But the story also focused on the message as well as the medium." I need to reflect here on the untapped potential of social networks like Facebook and will return to this when I have more time. Right now I need to get the Angel blog site finished. Suffice to say that I'm 'gobsmacked' to learn about lawyers using Facebook! And I understand the group continues to grow and that membership has since doubled.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Apparently there are hundreds of lawyers already using the social networking business professional site LinkedIn - I've just never looked. In Michael Geist's February 6, 2008 blog post, he credits Obama's substantial online presence for helping his campaign by connecting with youth on their terms and in their environment, fostering a new generation of politically active supporters. Barack Obama is seeking the Democratic nomination for the US Presidency and is running against Hillary Clinton. He has over 300,000 'friends' on his Facebook site and well over 250,000 on his MySpace site. His use of technology puts Canadian political parties' online activities appear positively primitive by comparison!

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