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So…What’s going to happen next?

January 12, 2011
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Who in their 2011 predictions got it right that Sarah Palin would be embroiled in more controversy even before the first month of the year was over? It’s probably one of those ‘no brainer’ predictions you can make – like there will be some big floods and an earthquake.

I also wonder what poor sod got landed with the job of ‘moderating’ Mrs Palin’s Facebook page – as I’m pretty sure she’s not the one sitting there every minute deleting the comments she doesn’t like. This is one of those classic ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ scenarios made all the more acute by the wonders of ‘social media’.

This latest controversy also throws into the spotlight the state of ‘social media’ at the beginning of 2011. It is an interesting exercise just to watch this comment page on Mrs Palin’s site for a few minutes. It only needs to be a few minutes because given the current volume of comment you will see very quickly which of those comments make it past the Palin censor and which do not. You can be sure those good old ‘god fearing’ words of praise and encouragement stay and also those comments saying that those against Mrs Palin are trying to bring the site down. I think, in all honesty, it’s much better to keep it live.

However, I have also seen what a Times journalist spotted yesterday, that some perfectly reasonable, sane and rational comments are removed almost as quickly as the ‘troll feed’ and it’s antagonistic responses. Judging by the removal rate over the space of 30 minutes or so I would say there must be at least double if not triple the number of comments than the 15,000 that have made it through so far.

I’m going to keep my eye on this one as I think it says a lot about the pros and cons of ‘social media’ – The key question for me is will it have a positive effect on Sarah Palin’s bid for presidency, a negative one or simply be so noisy that it’s all somewhat irrelevant?

(As a postscript to this, I’m thinking that if Facebook continues to be adopted by all and sundry for political and propaganda purposes, the least they can do is add a tamper-proof ‘dislike/not-like’ button. In this instance perhaps we’d get  a more balanced ‘global’ view on what people think about Mrs Palin. Afterall, the last 10 years have shown us more than ever that the decisions our brethren make across the pond about their leaders has an enormous impact on the rest of us!)

(As a second postscript to this, Sarah Palin has started to answer the question raised in this blog post title by making a video statement. Unfortunately it would seem she is taking that spade and digging an even deeper hole for herself by using an inappropriate and, to some, deeply offensive phrase. This reminds me of a very valid comment made by someone when I was watching her Facebook page the other day – namely the classic Mark Twain quote “It is better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt!” – suffice it to say that one didn’t make the grade and was removed by the Palin censor in seconds ;) )

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