Democracy and Social Media
I’m trying to connect the dots on a couple of stories that appeared today in the Washington Post.
The first was about the wolf shirt phenomenon on Amazon. Mike Musgrove writes about how CollegeHumor.com and bloggers gamed the system to make an otherwise hideous t-shirt one of the top purchases on Amazon.
This type of online rabble-rousing appears to be catching on more than ever over the past year, said Tim Hwang, the organizer of ROFLCon, a convention dedicated to celebrating Internet memes. After all, another Web-based prank crossed over into the real world just last month when a 21-year-old college student, known by the online moniker “m00t,” sailed to the top of Time’s “most influential person” list in an online poll, beating out the likes of President Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Gathering nearly 17 million votes, the world’s “most influential” person is the founder of another jokey Web culture site, 4chan.org, whose proprietor is known offline by the name Christopher Poole.
So we know that the social media stuff can be gamed. No big deal. Just like in the old days! Back then it was Hearst and yellow journalism. Now it is some folks getting a good laugh.
Parenthetically, I’ll take the latter over the former.
Then – later in the A section – which is pretty much the entire serious news part of the Washington Post these days — there’s a story about how the Obama Administration is remaking the U.S. government’s online presence.
US.gov meet Amazon.com.
Don’t tell the CollegeHumor.com folks. We all might be trading tax dollars for wolf t-shirts.
Government meets social media. This is a good thing, right?