Ethan Zuckerman talks about how we connect to the vast information about the globe largely through personal connections. If we know someone from Syria, we pay more attention to Syrian and can think about it more imaginatively.
I try to cast a wide net of interest when I inform myself about what’s happening in my world, internationally, nationally and locally. But I realize how futile this kind of effort is when the curators (Zuckeran uses this term) are fast disappearing and being replaced by social connections.
In other words, I used to pick up a New York Times and be serendipitously exposed to international stories I would not have thought about otherwise.
Now I’m just as likely to be following a link from a Facebooger friend or an aggregate web site (I have a folder of bookmarks I call “filter sites” which includes Google news).
I have recently switched the way I read the New York Times. I have been trying out the NYT.com portal for several months, maybe even a year. It mixes up stories chronologically and has a lot more teaser sentences in the way it lays out access for a reader. But I have found that I have missed stories using it.
I have returned to initially reading the Today’s Paper link. This snapshot is more helpful for making sure I had a glance at all current stories. I do return to the NYT.com portal to get a sense of what’s coming to the forefront of their editorial preferences in the moment.
And that’s just one of the many sites I use to check out news.
Zuckerman also quotes some interesting studies that show just who people are connecting with on Facebooger: 22% of your “friends” are typically people you knew in high school, 20% family, 10% co-workers, 9% college friends, 7% people you have only met online, and 93% are people you know offline. This comes from a 2011 Pew Research report
I currently have 272 “friends” on Facebooger.
I began counting them and sorting them but lost interest after a half hour or so. I came upon a better approach. I am using Facebook’s friends lists (that you can make yourself) to sort and understand just who I am connecting with on this social media site. I’m not done but at this point I think the family is correct. I have 25 Hatch family friended and 24 Jenkins family friended. Combining these two comes to around 18 % and probably represents all of my family “friends.” So that bears out.
I’m still counting other people (adding them to lists). So far my cyber buddies (by this I mean people I connect with online but have never met face to face) number 14. That’s about 5 % so far, again it’s close and there probably those I didn’t add to the list yet.
I connect with 61 local church people. That’s around 22 % by my reckoning. Still working on this list but that’s probably close.
So far I have add 45 people to a list I am calling “colleagues.” This are mostly professional music and church people or some students. 16.5 %.
I just quickly made a high school list (counting Dave Barber whom I really only attended Junior High with but knew during my high school years). It numbers 11. There may be more, but that’s 4% which is significantly lower than the 22% mentioned above.
Anyway, I have to quit for this morning. But I think this is kind of interesting in an admittedly narcissistic way. But I guess that’s part of the Facebooger mirror dance.