Sunday, April 11, 2010

What Would You Call It When Using Social Media to Spread the Word about Government?

COLUMN NOTES: If you go to the newspaper's website (the headline below links to the page), you'll see some interesting comments. I received more comments through other venues too and I ended up writing a follow up column for this upcoming week.

HARBESON: Is it social media or socialist media?

CLARK COUNTY — I was online doing important research for my column — watching horror movie clips on — when I heard my computer click. Someone wanted to “chat” online. The screen name was Young Adult Person (YAP) …

YAP: Hey, RU that old lady that writes in The Evening News?

ME: Umm, I guess so.

YAP: Cool, I’m glad I caught you online because I want to ask you something while I’m waiting 4 my boyfriend to Skype me.

ME: Oh, isn’t Skype great?! I still can’t believe I can talk to someone anywhere in the world and see them on video too. For free!

YAP: Yeah, I luv it 2!

ME: So what did you want to ask me?

YAP: Well, I heard that Jeffersonville is hiring some consultants to do social media work. Is that true? It sounds like an Internet hoax. Or maybe an article from The Onion, that free site that publishes fake news.

ME: It’s not a hoax. Why would you think that?

YAP: Well, I just don’t see why they need to hire more people. The city has a communications director already, right? And social media is just communication. What’s he do all day anyway?

ME: I have no idea, but the city apparently needs help reaching young people like you. That’s why they’re paying a couple of guys to help them with social media.

YAP: How much are they going to pay them?

ME: I heard $5,000.

YAP: $5,000?! RU kidding? Don’t they realize that the whole point of social media is that people share ideas and information for FREE?

ME: Well, supposedly the consultants are working on a “very intensive program.”

YAP: What’s that mean? Who are these consultants anyway?

ME: One of the consultants is Lincoln Crum of and I’m not sure what “intensive program” means. But that’s the kind of language used when people want to justify taking thousands of taxpayer dollars.

YAP: Lincoln?! The dude that does those goofy shoutouts? I luv those vids! He reminds me of a Kewpie doll!

ME: LOL, yeah that’s him. I think it’s great that he’s out there promoting local entrepreneurs, too. But if he’s so hot on small businesses, he’s not helping by convincing the government to spend more.

YAP: Yeah, He’s only making it harder for young people like me to start my own business. Grr.

ME: Well, besides “educating” the old folks in city government, they’re going to create and post 16 videos about what’s going on around Jeffersonville.

YAP: Well that’s just stupid. They want to reach me? Gr8. But they don’t have to reach into my pocket to do it.

ME: Sorry young person, but this is how your government works. I guess you could say they want to turn social media into socialist media. I don’t know who would want to watch government-authorized videos made using taxpayer money.

YAP: Why didn’t they just invite us young people to make Youtube videos about living in Jeffersonville and then spread the links on the free Facebook and Twitter accounts they already have?

ME: Wow, that sounds like a fun idea that wouldn’t cost taxpayers $5,000. Wonder why the consultants didn’t think of that?

YAP: I really hate that Lincoln is part of the whole scheme. I feel like my little Kewpie doll has suddenly turned into that creepy Chuckie doll in those horror movies!

ME: LOL! Hey, that’s just what I was watching on Youtube before we started chatting. Want to see the clip I thought was the creepiest?

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson once accidentally tweeted when she should have Twittered, which made her fall flat on her Facebook.

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