October 6, 2007

Really? [6:27 pm]

An interesting argument about why so much Congressional time is being wasted on what MoveOn.org says, or what Rush Limbaugh vomited out lately: Speaking up for freedom of speech

If the FCC were to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine, talk radio would no longer be a part of the GOP base. That’s why Democratic senators such as Californias Dianne Feinstein and Illinois Richard J. Durbin have been talking about prodding the agency into doing that since last spring. Its also why, late Monday, 200 Republican representatives notified the House Rules Committee that they intended to seek a “petition of discharge” for the “Broadcaster Freedom Act.” That bill, written by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., a former radio talk-show host, would prohibit the FCC from ever reimposing the Fairness Doctrine. Under the House rules, if Pence can get 218 signatories to the petition, the Democratic leadership must let it come to the floor for a vote.

Thats whats really at stake in all the posturing over MoveOn.org and Rush Limbaugh. In the minds of both parties, its not so much a fight over speech as it is over the right kind of speech. The sad irony is that the only voice that isnt being heard in all this talk over talk is that of the public, which, after all, owns the airwaves over which this struggle is being waged.

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An Alternative View of Social Networking WWW Sites [6:08 pm]

The Fakebook Generation

In no time at all, the Web site has convinced its rapidly assembling adult population that it is a forum for genuine personal and professional connections. Its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has even declared his quest to chart a “social graph” of human relationships the way that cartographers once charted the world.

Just a warning: if you’re planning on following the corner of this map that’s been digitally doodled by my 659 Facebook friends, you are going to end up in the middle of nowhere. All the rhetoric about human connectivity misses the real reason this popular online study buddy has so distracted college students for the past four years.

Facebook did not become popular because it was a functional tool — after all, most college students live in close quarters with the majority of their Facebook friends and have no need for social networking. Instead, we log into the Web site because it’s entertaining to watch a constantly evolving narrative starring the other people in the library.

I’ve always thought of Facebook as online community theater. [...]

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