Social Media Breakfast in Minneapolis

I attended the fifth Social Media Breakfast at the Minneapolis Public library this morning.

Jon Gordon from FutureTense started things out with a Q&A about technology and media. Most of the questions surrounded the new NPR API and the social media activity at Minnesota Public Radio. He mentioned the changing attitudes among journalists about social media. Perceptions are shifting slowly from not letting media employees speak online to accepting off-the-record conversations about anything.

This reminded me of how I felt when I read or heard last year about journalists not voting in order to protect their impartiality. I thought then that the idea was stupid. I’d rather have a journalist vote and be upfront about his or her participation than someone who tries to hard to appear above the fray. The question is how much disclosure do we need or want? Does a journalist have a responsibility to tell the audience how she voted? What will happen when media organizations start publishing their raw interviews and material on the web for remixing and analysis?

Paul Saarinen (I would’ve gotten the spelling correct, it’s just like the architect Eero Saarinen, even if I’m not from the range) spoke about the parallels between social media and game playing. I remember first hearing this from Ed Vielmetti in 2005 when he compared Wikipedia to an MMORPG. Just like pornography leads the way in Lively so gaming leads the way in online social interactions. To the hippies who started the WELL and influenced the hacker movement this is probably no surprise.

Meg Canada and Jody Wurl finished the morning off by showing off how hip librarians are to social media and networking. I remember encountering a lot of librarians when I first started to read and write blogs five or six years ago. Jenny Levine at The Shifted Librarian has been blogging since 2002. Canada and Wurl toured some of the highlights on the social media booksphere LibraryThing and Bookspace. I was surprised at the low number of hands raised when we were asked if anyone was on LibraryThing. I guess I’m spoiled by the high ratio of superpatrons in Ann Arbor.

Almost everyone at the meeting was on Twitter during the meeting. A twitter search for smbmsp gives a good trace. To test the geek quotient of all those people I think we should setup an IRC channel next time and see how many people know what we are talking about.