Monday, March 28, 2011

Read all about it: Facebook is breaking news

Hope you're paying attention, Traditional Mainstream Media.

Facebook is kicking your butt.

I note that fact because Facebook has become my No. 1 source for local, breaking news. Case in point was last week's fire at the popular Uncle Primo's restaurant in New Philadelphia. My "friends" on Facebook reported details and included photos hours before Traditional Mainstream Media posted anything on their websites. (Actually the weekly Bargain Hunter acknowledged the fire before any other TMM outlets and promised a story on its website.)

It's not the first time Facebook has been first and certainly won't be the last. The social media has given me first word on any number of newsworthy events.

Key to using Facebook as a source of breaking news is fine-tuning the news feed (and, of course, having enough "friends").  I use the "Most Recent" tab and not the "Top News" tab, which is fueled by an algorithm of some kind and does not necessarily provide the most current information.

I also hide posts from "friends" who primarily use Facebook to post Bible quotes, Chinese proverbs or other mundane stuff that just doesn't interest me. I keep the posts from "friends" who upload links to interesting stories, who share photos, and even those who provide too much information on occasion. (Really don't need to know about everything you're doing this morning.)

It's the latter group of folks who are unknowingly serving as unpaid news reporters. And if I was still Traditional Mainstream Media I would use Facebook as a breaking news outlet rather than a static "Here's what on our website" use that most TMMs seem to prefer.

And Facebook apparently is here to stay. A majority of Americans now are engaged in Facebook, which is incredible when one considers it's only been in existence since 2004.

* * *
This is what Commissioner Chris Abbuhl said in reaction to the latest census that showed Tuscarawas County experienced a 1.8 percent 10-year population growth to 92,582 in 2010:

“This shows that Tuscarawas County is proving to be a place where people want to work and raise a family. It’s not a huge increase, but it’s an increase.”

Well, yes, it's an increase, but let's break down that 1.8 percent.

There was 0 percent growth in Tuscarawas County's white population; 6.3 percent black; 30 percent Asian; and a whopping 171.8 percent growth in the Latino population. You can find the breakdown of increases/decreases of other counties here.

I would conclude  that this shows that Tuscarawas County is proving to be a more diverse community than it was before. Beyond that, I'm not sure what other conclusions one can reasonably draw from the numbers.

I'll concede that it's very easy to say that this is a great place to work and raise a family. I mean everyone says it so it must be true.

* * *
I have yet to see any estimates of the cost to repair or replace the Zoar levee so that it protects the historic village well into the future.

Despite that, it appears the government is going to make everyone jump through hoops before it offers any resources to solve the situation. Form citizen committees, attend meetings and write letters, says the government.

Come on.

Whatever the cost, let's fix it. Zoar should be designated officially as a national historic landmark. Founded in 1817 by the Separatists as a communal society, the Zoar experiment ended in 1898 when the property was distributed among the remaining members. Today many of the properties are maintained in restored form and Zoar has become a tourist destination.

Let's put the cost -- assuming it's in the millions -- in perspective. The U.S. F-16 jet that crashed in Libya last week was worth $14 million to $16 million. A Tomahawk cruise missile has a price tag of more than $1 million. We fired a number of them last week without batting an eye.

And we can't afford to save a historic American community? You kidding me?


Anonymous said...

I've got a great idea to save Zoar. Let's all write our Congressman and ask him to add a special provision to the next piece of legislation coming thru Congress. That provision, whether or not it has anything or not to do with the legislation it's attached to, would earmark the several millions of dollars needed to fix the Zoar levee. I'm sure the rest of the country...meaning everybody who doesn't live in Ohio's 18th Congressional District...would think it's a great idea and not simply another piece of vote-pandering pork. You know, like a bridge to nowhere.


Anonymous said...

Great idea Melvin, now you are with the rest of us, come on in, the water is fine.