Let me first start by saying that my heart goes out to everyone in Japan this week. It’s going to be a long way from your current situation to the stability of economy and Country you are used to. I’ve put the Red Cross donation banner up here on freewheelings and I hope if you’re a fellow blogger you’ll do the same. Every little bit helps and it’s time to reach into your pockets and do your part folks.
I’ve been glued to the NHK live feed from Japan for about three days now. This is about the best source of information that I’ve seen from inside the country. Meanwhile, I’ve been watching social media outlets and blogs going off like firecrackers on a Chinese New Year. Here are the lessons I’ve learned as a result.
1. Writing in an authoritative voice does not make you an authority and I should sanitize my social networks based on this criteria.
The reality is that you (and me) probably know as much about the inner workings of a nuclear reactor as my dog knows about algebra. The half an article or even the five articles that you read on CNN did not make you an expert. We have nuclear physicists for that. If you’re like me you’ve read an endless number of posts from the blogging big shots that say to use an authoritative voice so people will view you as an authority. Hint: You do have to have a clue.
2. There is a giant gap between corporate media and independent media that I need to close.
I don’t trust mainstream, corporate media much. Naturally, I turn to independent media, but some of the speculations presented here, as fact, are off the map. I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s just too much. The cover-ups and finger pointing are to me indicative of a lack of understanding with regard to what it really takes to manage a disaster of this magnitude. No, it’s not clear exactly what is happening and filling the gaps with nonsense is not helping the situation.
3. I should seek out eyewitness information from my social network and I should expand my networks based on this criteria.
I’ve noticed two Johnny on the spot examples of this come out of my social networks lately. The first was @theplanetd on the spot in Christchurch for the last quake. Just a few days ago @toddwassel brought us an eyewitness account of the Japan quake from Tokyo. There’s no wild speculation or big media hushing going on in these accounts. This is what I should be looking for more of from my social networks.
4. I could spend more time creating unique, interesting content by cleansing my feeds of those that do not.
I’ve seen so much of this is the last few days it’s nauseating. Bloggers attempting to capitalize on the situation by copying every latest update posted to CNN about Japan to their blog and then tweeting it with no useful or intelligent commentary attached. They don’t even include the full post, just a link to the source, yet are not bright enough to create an autoblog. If you want to create an autoblog that’s fine. Call it what it is.
5. I should be mindful to share useful, factual information while not participating in hype.
I’ve unfollowed half a dozen people this week on account of this. It’s a disaster folks and we shouldn’t be cheering it on. Hype your sites, hype your products, hype your personal brand and I’m fine with it. This deserves a a bit more finesse. It’s a disaster. The same goes for Charlie Sheen.
Bonus: Blogging and Social Networking are about quality, not quantity.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before and checked your number of twitter followers since. I have. Having a useful engagement with 50 followers is infinitely more valuable than 5,000 followers that don’t give a hoot.
Japan has taught me, amongst so many other things this week to clean up my input and output streams based on value.
Please remember to make a donation to the Red Cross.
These are all good points. I think some people do tend toward hyperbole in an attempt to ride the coattails of the social media noise, but what is appreciated (after the fact) are those who make an attempt to curate without dramatizing. Granted, when you’re on the ground in these emergencies, staying calm (and tweeting calm) is much more difficult. But for those of us curating from afar, there’s little excuse for tending toward hysteria.
Thanks for the RT – it led me to this post.
I’m grateful you stopped stopped by Jodi. You’re one of the folks that makes the cut in every aspect of what I’ve learned about social media and blogging this week. Your contributions to the conversation are consistently on point, laden with legitimate, useful information and without the, as you say, hysteria. Jodi sent me a few links tonight that filled some of the gaps I am pointing out here.
A running explanation from MIT’s Nuclear Science & Engineering Department
A list of resources, tsunami, quake and reactor
Some middle ground.
You can find Jodi on twitter @legalnomads She comes with my highest recommendations.
Carpenter Laboratories says
Brandon I apologize for what happened to your comment on my blog, it was erased, it was not intentional on my part, I have re-posted your comment, and I will respond when I have more time. I would never erase a comment on my blog, I do not censor people, and I hope you will return, or at the very least accept my apology.
Cheers, William of Carpenter Laboratories