Well, I’m more rested. I guess there’s that. I’m also scatterbrained. And full of avocado and cheese whiz, but that shouldn’t affect my writing. enough with the short sentences: let us begin the ramble. Tonight’s topic is Social media! We’re in a distinctly different phase of human conversation and communication then we were just a decade ago. None of the popular social media technologies are absolutely novel and brand new to this age. They build on the history of bulletin board systems (BBS), internet relay chat (irc) and probably dozens of other technologies that I don’t remember. Nerds have been using these methods of building alternate communities for a long time, but the difference is mainstream adoption. When your mom has a facebook page and chats with you and your friends, you’re mainstream. And it doesn’t get more mainstream than the inevitable flood of businesses trying to leverage social media to sell their wares. What’s really interesting about Facebook’s popularity is the perception that is somehow is a private place, when it’s much more like a virtual public commons. We saw a small group of very dumb and sad young men learn that people pay attention to Facebook. People like police officers. These foolish lads thought that the rules of society were relaxed during the riot, and so they smiled widely for the many cameras present. Imagine their forlorn surprise when those same pictures were circling the world and bringing the brunt of societal disapproval and legal ramifications home to roost. They really didn’t think that you could be held accountable for the things posted to Facebook. Oops. You could choose to focus on the dumb young men who were at the centre of the Vancouver riot, but the more compelling outcome of the riot was the almost immediate community response. Through Facebook, local Vancouverites were able to voice their outrage, and more importantly, come together to plan a cleanup effort for the very next day. The message sent from those concerned citizens was one of cooperation and community spirit, and it was an uplifting event. There will always be people who seek out opportunity to make a mess and create chaos: you can mitigate their actions, but dummies will be dummies. But, we’re reaching a point where the digital community is wide-spread enough and cohesive enough that they have a clear voice. I think that’s an exciting development. We have to hold each other accountable for our actions, and these citizens did just that. Important proviso: I do not in any way support harassment or persecution. The rioters should feel the collective scorn of the community, but they should still enjoy the rights and privileges afforded to every Canadian by the charter of rights and freedoms and our laws. Rules are rules.