Red flag to Facebulls

This just popped up on my photography folio page. murraygalbraith_facebook

Besides the amusing meta-conversation I appear to be having with myself in the Facebook provided mock above, this is awesome.

Here's just one example of why I have been looking forward to this feature rolling out for so long.

As you can see from the graphic, my current profile picture is red with an equals sign. This is to publicly show my support of the gay marriage Supreme Court hearings happening this week in the US, which I believe has the potential to be the tipping point of international policy.

Needless to say, this is an contentious issue.

equality

It may be a tiny image, but it's a big red flag to some very bored bulls on social media.

I've already been dragged into several feisty caps lock filled screaming matches discussions to explain why I think slacktivism protests like this are valuable, including my view that Kony 2012 was in fact a successful digital campaign because, while in hindsight their objectives may have been deeply ineffective (or worse, counterproductive) their singular goal was to create a household name of Joseph Kony, in turn raising the profile of an issue that simply wasn't on the general publics radar.

EDIT: I'm a big fan of Stephen Covey's Circle of Influence / Circle of Concern strategy. Regardless of the embarrassing founders fallout since the Kony campaign, they chose one element of a massive problem and nailed it

I've been unfollowed, called names and had my credibility publicly called into question... and loved every minute of it.

Because it's open dialogue about divisive, polarising issues that helps us remember why the internet is so damn important.

These conversations have happened since the dawn of man, but never in history has it been possible to affect change on such a massive scale with a well worded quip or cleverly designed image.

congress-sopa
[ This image blew my mind at SxSW. It shows the amount of support for and against last year's SOPA bill... The internet went black on Jan 18. ]

That's great Murray, but what's it got to do with direct comment replies on Facebook?

Passionate, politically charged discussions naturally garner a wide range of responses from a huge variety of people. Each one of those people approaches every issue with their own personal lens, forged by years of experience and anecdotal evidence.

Which, when you think about it, is exactly what Facebook is like.

Every new feature the social media behemoth creates will be experienced in over 1,000,000,000 different ways.

And with nuanced numbers like that, no wonder one persons Timeline is another persons trash.

zuck_suck

But with features like direct comment replies (which I believe has been tested in New Zealand for nearly a year now), we can start to fill the conversation chasms which inevitably open up during time-shifted, multi-user conversations.

Put simply, ideas like this are a very rare WIN-WIN for Facebook and its users... Driving further engagement, while allowing us to turn to one another and quietly respond in slightly more personalised ways, instead of always addressing the entire group.

Pity it arrived a day late.