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Thursday, June 25, 2009

books, magazines, and twitter.

I’ve spent the past couple of days having a enjoyable time teaching the basics of social media to members of the book and magazine publishing communities in Edmonton and Calgary. I was impressed at how eager the members of this creative sector are to learn more about social media and online engagement. Most of the participants were already familiar with blogs and social networks like Facebook and YouTube, but many were less familiar with Twitter (even though most had heard about it).

While the publishers and writers naturally maintained a healthy dose of skepticism at the 140-character hyper-blogging network, the participants in the workshops were open minded and curious about Twitter, especially in light of the Iranian election, Doug Elniski, and Bill 44.

My time spent with these community members also allowed me to learn some of the more fascinating details about the saga of the Google Book Settlement.

When I returned to Edmonton yesterday, I was surprised to read blog posts by both Walter Schwabe (@fusedlogic) and Mack Male (@mastermaq) in response to 630CHED host Lesley Primeau’s negative comments about Twitter. I was a little confused by Primeau’s reaction, as I would have thought that her role as a radio host for a station that largely depends on listener interaction (aka callers) would be naturally interested in learning more about social media.

On the political front, DJ Kelly has written a solid blog post about the potential Elniski Effect on elected officials who use Twitter and social media. DJ raises some good questions, including whether the incident will cause political parties to discourage or increase their controls on how elected members interact with citizens online. As Alberta’s governing partisans haven’t reacted well to online social media in the past, I hope that Elniski’s tasteless comment leads to an increased mature and commonsensical approach to social media, rather than a retreat from the medium (until the party spin masters need to launch their new websites in preparation for the next election in three years).

Related link: Alberta Politics Online.


Gauntlet said...

Which is more valuable: being civilized everywhere politics are discussed, or knowing what our MLAs actually think?

'cause I'd go with the latter.

Dave Collins said...

How dumb are these people that they need to hire someone to teach them about social media? It's not exactly rocket science (or things that are actually more complex than rocket science).

Kevin said...

Dave: That isn't a helpful comment. Social media is new to many people, and as evidenced by Ken Kowalski and Lesley Primeau, is a difficult concept for some people to understand. We know about, therefor we should take the opportunity to teach others who want to know more.

Kevin said...

(my comment was directed to Dave Collins, not Dave C)

DJ Kelly said...

Thanks for the kind words. My point: don't say something online you wouldn't say in person to any average constituent. Good to know there are others spreading the word that "common sense" is the way to go for politicians.