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Saturday, June 4, 2011

The words "Facebook" and "Twitter" banned from French Airwaves

The French have quite a few odd rules, as Matthew Fraser points out, but this one strikes us Social Media bandits to the core: Not being able to say Facebook or Twitter on air?!

The social media hold a great deal of power in today's society:
1. Political power, as evidenced by the Obama campaign and the rallies in Egypt2. Social power (how many couples meet or maintain relationships online?!)
3. Educational power (interactive lessons, teacher immediacy...studies show that students may even learn better with social media. How many times has Google gotten you over that brainfart, "Who was the director of that movie...gosh I can't remember...this is going to keep me up tonight...better just Google it.").

The evidence is in our culture. Language serves those who use it, and social media have certaintly taken the driver's seat in creating new turns of phrase like "I'd "Like" that","Tweet this" or "Facebook me". An even stronger example is how text/twitter lingo has impacted our everyday speech (LOL). These social mediums have become regular parts of our daily lives AND our language...how can the French exclude them?

Simple: fair business. Sometimes we forget that Facebook and Twitter are companies (worth billions) and by saying "Follow this story on Twitter", the news network is basically providing free advertising for the medium.

However, this ban may be short-sighted. Many people don't "stay tuned" for the entire news program, and head to Twitter or Facebook for more in-depth information. Further, Facebook pages serve as a community network for a lot of fans or locals. Facebook and Twitter serve to humanize the networks, allowing the viewer to connect with their daily TV personalities in a more intimate way (the 21st century media demanded interaction (i.g, Dora tells you to speak to her, American Idol tells you to vote), and now we expect it). Without the visitors, community activity attendance may fall, and veiwership may follow.

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