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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

June 26, 2009

Strange but interesting times online the last little while.

The Good

Many on Twitter have coloured their avatars green to show support for democracy in Iran and  for those protesting the rigged elections.  #IranElection has been one of the top trending topics on Twitter as a result.  Social media has been vital in disseminating information about the turmoil in Iran once the government blacked out foreign news coverage.   Ironically, more people likely know about this situation than if it had been reported in the traditional media.  Teenagers with green avatars who would likely not be watching CNN and otherwise be ignorant of Iran’s situation. A good thing.green

The Bad

I woke up in the middle of the night Sunday night/Monday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I turned on my Blackberry to take a look at the Twitter stream .. and came across the posts from Perez Hilton asking people to call the police.  Needless to say,  the rubber necker in me had to slow down to gawk at this carwreck and try to decipher what had happened.   It was fascinating to watch the drama unfold..regardless of whether you think Perez is a jerk or not…  thousands, conceivably millions, were aware of the plight of Perez before it even was a blip on the traditional media’s radar.  Not necessarily a bad thing initially, but it ended up as more of a name calling high school catfight than a pressing social issue. (Yes, no one deserves to be hit. We agree.)

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, a couple of days later, Dina Lohan went on a twitter rant in a desperate bid for attention, claiming that she was virtually being held hostage by a hotel chambermaid who assaulted her with a towel. Give me a break.  Definitely bad.  Please get over yourself Dina.

Ed McMahon passed away on Tuesday and then Farrah Fawcett on Thursday.  Many received the news of their deaths online.  The ensuing heartfelt messages, sharing of memories and videoclips, links to various images and stories.. back to good.  Two cultural icons being remembered.michael-jackson

The Ugly

Then the news hit that Michael Jackson had been rushed to the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest and the interwebs went nuts.  And it got ugly almost immediately.  Perez added to the backlash against him by posting this originally.    Then while the world waited to see the outcome of Jackson’s rush to emergency, the rumours that Jeff Goldblum and Harrison Ford had both died.  As it turned out, both false and merely a publicity stunt by a website not affiliated with either.  But ugly to say the least.  Unremarkably, there are already “mj death joke” sites up and running. Wow. What took so long? Ugly.

But back to The Good

Regardless of what you thought of Michael Jackson personally, there’s no denying his impact on pop culture.  Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett made their mark on our collective psyche as well, but not with the magnitude of MJ.   Despite his penchant for plastic surgery and questionable behaviour, he was a musical genius who provided the soundtrack to several generations. 

Many cried when they heard the news of his passing.  And they reached out to others in mourning through the sharing of links, music, video and condolences.  Through Facebook groups, Twitter, websites and more… people connecting to share their memories and love of an icon.

Social media is about making a connection.  Hopefully more choose “good” connections over the alternatives.   The world has enough bad and ugly.  Just ask anyone in Iran.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 7, 2009 10:39 am

    Hmm. Is it true? 🙂

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