Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Power of Facebook affects law

Much to the surprise of sceptics who paint government as unable or unwilling to listen to public concerns, those voices had an immediate impact. Ten days after the Facebook group's launch, Jim Prentice delayed introducing the new copyright reforms, seemingly struck by the rapid formation of concerned citizens who were writing letters and raising awareness.

Not only had tools like Facebook had an immediate effect on the government's legislative agenda, but the community that developed around the group also led to a "crowdsourcing" of knowledge. Canadians from coast to coast shared information, posed questions, posted their letters to politicians, and started a national conversation on copyright law in Canada.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Power of Facebook affects law

Interesting example of how potentially powerful Facebook can be.  You definitely have to pick the right topic to get people interested (obviously!), but there's an additional factor as well.  Grabbing a little piece of zeitgeist and getting in with the 'right' people early.  The article also has some useful clues as to why this group had the impact it did.  Sowing the seed of awareness is important and making links to appropriate places too.  I guess some of this treatment of a political issue can be translated into an educational context.  If you want students to adopt a tool for their learning, you either have to give them ownership and let them run with it or tap into something they can run with.  Facebook groups aren't challenging to belong to.  There's very little barrier to entry once you've got a Facebook account.  Search for a particular topic of interest, and join in.

The potential of this stuff is pretty huge - but it does seem to be that things are 'hot or not' in very brief spans of time and I wonder if the lumbering beast that is education can move quick enough to keep up...

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