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Traditional Media brainwashing Australians about Social Media


NSW Police have been made aware of a Facebook page that has allegedly made disturbing death threats against baby-faced singer Jack Vidgen. Telephones don’t stalk children, Social Media doesn’t intimidate them either. People do. Investigate People. Don’t blame the online community tools. Thank the tools – they shine a spotlight on all that is horrid in our society. We cannot heal until we know what is wrong with us and acknowledge and address it. And newspapers are not here to heal us, believe me!

I must see a dozen articles a day trashing social media in traditional media. I usually don’t bother clicking anymore. After all, they are using our activities as “News” and trying to shove it behind a paywall – besides it just upsets me. No matter how often I tell people that Facebook is not just for timewaster, MySpace a Place for Predators or Twitter for tweeting about your lunch, the “myth” persists that social media is a dangerous time waster. And who is responsible for the “social media is party media” approach? Put your hands together and give thanks to traditional media who have no ability to do impartial reporting on a social revolution that is rapidly killing them off.

Tip: if your friends tweet about their breakfast and washing up, get better friends. Twitter can deliver so much more as long as you are discerning and find connections to what interests and educates and entertains you. If you want passive media that is not contextually relevant to your interests and passions, go back to TV, radio and newspapers!

So when I change this AAP article around (below), bear in mind it’s not to denigrate young Jack Vidgen, or to trivialise the issue. Nor is it to assume Facebook is completely without responsibility. I am highlighting on how the “facts” are reported.

Replace FACEBOOK PAGE with TELEPHONE NUMBER

Here goes – replace the social communication tool with another communication tool. In this case Facebook Page as a communication channel vs a Telephone Line. (the original SMH article or read paragraph under this one)

‘Disturbing’ threats against Australia’s Got Talent star

NSW Police have been made aware of a phone number that has allegedly made disturbing death threats against baby-faced singer Jack Vidgen.

The 14-year-old from Manly Vale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches has been tipped as a favourite to win Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent in Tuesday night’s grand final.

In recent days, Vidgen has been the focus of criticism over a song he sung on the show, Yes I Am, that he claimed to have written himself. Critics have since claimed he wrote the song with the assistance of others.

While police would release no details of the telephone number in question, it had reportedly contained disturbing death threats against the teenage singer.

It is understood that the telephone number has been reported to Telstra/Optus (telecomms company).

NSW Police said they would launch an investigation once a formal complaint had been made by a member of the Vidgen family.

“Police have been made aware of the Facebook page. However, at this time, we have not received a formal complaint from Jack Vidgen or his family,” said a statement.

“If a complaint is received, police will investigate the matter fully, as we would with any complaint regarding telephones.”

NSW Police said that while there are no specific offences in NSW dealing with telecommunication, charges can be laid against stalkers or those considered to be intimidating or menacing a child, if there is sufficient evidence.

See what happens? It doesn’t make sense. Telephones don’t stalk children, Facebook Pages don’t intimidate them either. People do. Investigate People. It doesn’t matter what tool people use, chase the people. Don’t blame the tools. Thank the social media tools – they shine a spotlight on all that is horrid in our society. We cannot heal until we know. And newspapers are not here to heal, believe me!

‘Disturbing’ threats against Australia’s Got Talent star

NSW Police have been made aware of a Facebook page that has allegedly made disturbing death threats against baby-faced singer Jack Vidgen.

The 14-year-old from Manly Vale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches has been tipped as a favourite to win Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent in Tuesday night’s grand final.

In recent days, Vidgen has been the focus of criticism over a song he sung on the show, Yes I Am, that he claimed to have written himself. Critics have since claimed he wrote the song with the assistance of others.

While police would release no details of the Facebook page in question, it had reportedly contained disturbing death threats against the teenage singer.

It is understood that the page has been reported to Facebook.

NSW Police said they would launch an investigation once a formal complaint had been made by a member of the Vidgen family.

“Police have been made aware of the Facebook page. However, at this time, we have not received a formal complaint from Jack Vidgen or his family,” said a statement.

“If a complaint is received, police will investigate the matter fully, as we would with any complaint regarding social media.

NSW Police said that while there are no specific offences in NSW dealing with social networking, charges can be laid against stalkers or those considered to be intimidating or menacing a child, if there is sufficient evidence.

This will all die down soon – as social media becomes as entrenched as telephones and email. In the meantime, expect more blaming the tools articles from a dying industry.

So my question to you – are Newsapers being idiots and reporting incorrectly because they do not understand that social media or a Facebook Page is not a telephone number? Or does The Press understand all too well that Facebook and Twitter are just tools but want to continue brain washing Australians into believing that Facebook and Social Media are responsible for societies ills? what say you?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

94 thoughts on “Traditional Media brainwashing Australians about Social Media

  1. Big brother intimidated by younger & cooler brother? RT @SilkCharm Traditional Media brainwashing about Social Media http://bit.ly/qQtFUo

  2. So traditional media – the media you argue is dying out and is one-way – has all that influence? It brainwashes? The media does not blame social media for society’s ills but it does warn that social media has its own dangers. Isn’t that responsible?

    1. The generation that media has sway over are still influenced to a certain extent. I do think that people are starting to realise that the unrelenting attacks on social media sites and one sided war is actually against THEM. As in, “I have a Facebook page, perhaps they are attacking ME?”. It’s slow though, this general pissing off of the Australian readership…. 🙂

      and in other news, I see you missed the point: So let me rewrite your comment for you “The media does not blame TELEPHONES for society’s ills but it does warn that the TELEPHONE has its own dangers. Isn’t that responsible?” Well no, not if you are blaming the tools for the ills, rather than the wielders.

      Did you know that telephones were blamed for society’s ills? particularly the suffrage of women post-war? Hilarious now 🙂

  3. Great post Laurel,

    As a fellow digital specialist, I constantly have to explain the benefits of social media far outweigh the negatives.

    I think as the medium matures the wider community will understand that the platforms are just another form of communication (albiet more efficient, two way and customisable).

    I do agree that people who create these pages etc should be under the same legal scrutiny as would a journalist for a newspaper or a person calling in death threats etc.

    As users of these technologies realise there are real world consequences to their digital actions, the more accepting the general public will be of the medium.

    1. yeah there were similar concerns with email – I used to run email classes in 1995 and one person, an email expert, would print out emails and physically pass them to the recipients. Similar to social media experts today 🙂 I have no doubt that hideous stuff is passed around on email, but it’s not public in the way we think of publishing online. Society is learning to balance it’s activities with regards to anonymity /unaccountability versus social contracts. It will take some time…

  4. Laurel, it really gets my goat too. We’ve had another spate of anti food blogger articles out recently with a lot of ill informed comment from people who know nothing. I mean, how can AA Gill comment on them if he doesn’t read them?
    The thing that really get’s me what is fast becoming an old media cliche – the death threats of Facebook.

    It is so bloody ridiculous and papers have been littered with those types of stories recently. It’s meaningless.
    The biggest laugh is that the accusation from old media is the stories that are biaised and ill informed that accuse social media of being biaised and ill informed.

  5. A timewaster ?.. i don’t know why on earth i just spent 10 min reading this, when it has absolutely nothing to do me, or anyone I know ? Another example of how social media says we need to be informed & know all these things, but for what purpose ?

  6. A Facebook page is nothing like a phone number. A phone number has no content, whereas a Facebook page does. Most of the time, the content of Facebook pages is good or indifferent, but occasionally it consists of threats or hate speech and that is both newsworthy and a problem in a civil society in which the free circulation of such things is otherwise restricted. Either way, I don’t think your analogy actually works.

    1. Hmmm, a phone line delivers death threats, a postcard delivers death threats, an email delivers death threats and a Facebook delivers death threats. Are Telstra, Australia Post, an ISP and Facebook to blame?

      1. A Facebook page does not “deliver” a threat. It records the threat, articulates the threat, allows people to schedule a time to carry out the threat – all of it in public. It’s completely different. And it *is* a new thing, and it *is* newsworthy, and it *does* need to be called with its own name. I see nothing wrong with the report that you so cleverly manipulated.

  7. Traditional Media brainwashing Australians about Social Media | @SilkCharm | Laurel Papworth: Is Traditional Med… http://bit.ly/o2MqwP

  8. You are definitely spot on. I really don’t like it when people start blaming social media for their mistakes, even for violence, hatred, and indifference in the world. These should not have happened if not for the people using them. Nevertheless, the tools some of these people abhor are the same ones that make it easier for the world to send aid to those who are in need. Think of campaigns for Japan aid, for example.

  9. just like a hammer or a screw driver, these things are tools. You can’t blame a hammer for smashing a window…..
    it is the media yeah, they have to write or talk about something don’t they? and these are just hot topics that the society thinks are hip at the moment.
    it bothers me more that comedians still try to make jokes about putting something on facebook or lame twitter jokes.

  10. You cannot blame facebook or twitter for that matter because at the end of the day its us who make things more complicated. Every one has a right to share whatever they want, make some wall post about this and that and tweet whatever they like. Its up to the person if he/she is responsible enough to share something in public whether if its an an important issue or not. Social media is great but up to some extent, I guess some irresponsible people should be blame and not the social media itself.

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