Friday, February 13, 2009

Reporter Facebook "Fan Clubs"

There's a disturbing new trend among certain local TV reporters. They're forming their own "Fan Clubs" on Facebook. I don't like it one bit. Fan clubs, indeed. It's a big bowl of wrong, as Jeff Green from Curb Your Enthusiasm would say.
As near as I can tell, the "adult" Facebook craze hit Madison in January. It seemed all of a sudden everybody I know was joining. Being the father of two twenty-somethings, I've been aware of Facebook for years, and have given my kids plenty of lectures, gone unheeded I'm certain, of the dangers of posting stuff to your Facebook page that you wouldn't want a prospective employer to see. I signed up early in January when a former colleague sent me an "invite" to see some pictures he'd posted. When my wife joined a few weeks ago, she immediately "friended" both kids. About an hour later, she said "I think I'd better un-friend them", and did. There really is such a thing as too much information. At her place of work, the I-T folks have been ordered (wisely) by the top brass to ban access to Facebook from workstation computers. It can be a gigantic time-waster for those who lack discipline.
It's been a fun diversion, and I've been able to re-connect with a lot of folks I worked with or knew in years gone by. You can tell a great deal about an adult based on their Facebook presence. You can quickly identify those people who really need to find a life. For the younger folks, it's hard to tell. Many of them apparently have "online identities" which differ greatly from their true personality. I guess they're just engaging in light fantasy.
The local reporters who have just recently formed their own "Facebook Fan Club" page are all, not surprisingly, under 30. And from what I can tell, the only people who've joined their fan clubs are the other young reporters who have a fan club and a few of their co-workers. I'm not opposed to Facebook fan clubs for things like sports teams, fermented malt beverages, and such. I'm even a Facebook fan of Senator Russ Feingold. But the local reporters' fan club come-ons say things like "join my fan club and get to know me and send me story ideas!!!". I guess this is why I proudly wear the mantle of the curmudgeon, having managed reporters for over 30 years. Instead of goofing off on Facebook, how about actually leaving the building and talking to some REAL people, and finding some REAL news, and reporting it?!?!?
I'm a dinosaur and I know it.


  1. Hilarious, but mostly spot-on. As a rule, I figure anyone who has to ask people to join their fan club does not, in fact, need a fan club. However, when working on a story involving people my age and younger, one cannot deny the potential information value Facebook carries. It has gotten me a contact I would not have otherwise gotten on several occasions.

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