“Did you hear about this one?” This is going to be the broad theme of my Sunday posts. I come across a lot of interesting, funny, quirky and even sentimental stories about books, media and social networking in the course of my work and would love to share these with you. Some of it will make you smile and some of it will just leave you shaking your head.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Troubles with Twitter : NY Times reported that Cuomo’s staff had set up a website for the governor with all the usual suspects of social networking front and center. The Twitter feed said @NYGovernor. Some people clicked on it and found that there was no such Twitter account – most of us would have moved on. University of Albany Ph.D student Nicholas M. Fahrenkopf decided to have some fun. He signed up for the account, used a few pictures from the website and “started following people.” After a few tweets with appropriate gravitas, his subsequent messages became tongue-in-cheek observations about the Executive Mansion and Cory A. Booker, among other things. The mix-up had started because Cuomo’s staff had switched to the more personalized @NYGovCuomo but the Office of Technology had not yet updated that information when the website was published!
A Friend in Need – Facebook can Help: The Associated Press had a story about how Facebook played a big part in a group helping out a friend in need. Michigan woman Amy Pugh was dealing with her husband’s sudden desertion and debt from unpaid bills. Friends, who she had found via Facebook for organizing a re-union, were all able to come together and create a secret group and coordinate donations that will be useful for Amy Pugh and her two daughters. The secret group allows donations to be anonymous, “so [that] Amy didn’t feel she had to pay people back,” said Trish Belanger one of the friends who co-ordinated the group effort.
Editing “Huck Finn” for Language?: The L.A Times has an opinion piece summarizing the different reactions to publisher New South Books’ decision to change the language in the Twain classic. A new edition is going to replace the N-word with slave. While the impulse is understandable, it also raises fascinating questions about what it means in terms of authenticity in capturing the writer’s life and times. Words have a meaning in a given time and context – should later generations impose their world view on past works of literature. Isn’t there the danger that by erasing the N-word, we are heading in the direction of negating experiences?