Status Consciousness and the Enterprise
Last week, big news on a political issue in my hometown broke as a status update on the Facebook page of our state senator.
Status updates are those bursts of type that inform readers that Mary is ready for lunch, or Joe loved Slumdog Millionaire. The cool kids get existential with the basic format and post only, "John Doe is."
Anyway, a North Carolina state senator from Greensboro, Don Vaughan, announced that he and other members of the local delegation had sponsored a bill to change our zoning laws. The fight over this change had been protracted, and the bill marked a major step in the process. Vaughan's wife, a former Greensboro City Council member, quickly added a comment to the effect that a similar bill had been introduced in the state house.
I posted the news at my personal blog. Why link my post here, rather than Vaughan's update? One shortcoming of Facebook status messages is that they can't be linked -- they just scroll off the page as more updates are added.
Both the news-breaking use of Facebook and its limitations became more interesting just a few days later, when Facebook announced that it was opening its status updates to people who are not logged on to the social networking service. That puts Facebook into the same game as Twitter, the micromessaging service that defined the medium.
Twitter "tweets" are linkable, which is an advantage. And Facebook won't work for a lot of businesses, because it is hard-to-impossible to export your data from the network.
But micromessaging has arrived, and Facebook just amplified that fact considerably.