BBC: My disabled son’s amazing gaming life in the World of Warcraft. “Robert and Trude mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life for their disabled son. But when Mats died, they discovered that people all over Europe lit candles in his memory.” Before you read this make sure you have some tissues handy.
Nieman Lab: “So many times we forget to listen”: How Spaceship Media moderated a Facebook group of 400 political women without it going off the rails. “When I spoke with Spaceship Media’s cofounders a year ago, they were about to embark on creating arguably the most ambitious news-centric Facebook group in existence: A goal of 5,000 women with diverse views in one group, talking about politics without everything self-imploding.” Forum moderation is an incredibly tough and thankless job, but when it’s done well, it’s amazing.
Nature: How Facebook and Twitter could be the next disruptive force in clinical trials. “Amber Sapp was browsing the Internet late one night in August when she happened to find out that her 12-year-old son’s clinical trial had failed…. The thought of wasting Garrett’s limited time with a failed trial was hard enough. The news was all the more disturbing because it didn’t come from the trial organizers, but through a Facebook post from another parent.”
Quartzy: The Cruelty And Kindness Of Social Media In The Midst Of A Disaster. “There was a time, long before social media was blamed for many of the world’s biggest problems, that digital communities were posited as the utopian replacement to the small-mindedness of staying close to home, close to what we know. Of course, that didn’t turn out so well. We know now that compassion, empathy, and community can’t be provided by a large tech company with a clear profit motive for winning our attention. In times of disaster as well as in times of normalcy, that part is up to us.”
The Atlantic: Facebook Groups as Therapy. “Over the past year, the company has been consciously emphasizing groups—part of an effort, per Mark Zuckerberg, to ‘give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.’ These groups cover interests ranging as widely as the human imagination. Many are ‘closed,’ which in Facebook terminology means they are findable, but only members can see their content. Some are ‘secret’ and unsearchable, and membership is by invitation only. It’s not surprising, then, that Facebook has turned into a gathering place for strangers sharing their deepest secrets.”
University of Arizona: Facebook Status: Sick. How People Use the Internet to Cope with Illness. “In his new book, ‘Coping with Illness Digitally,’ University of Arizona communication professor Stephen Rains explores how people use digital tools like social media, online health forums, medical information websites and even email correspondence with physicians to cope with illness.”
ScienceDaily: How to win friends online: It’s not which groups you join, but how many . “Your chances of forming online friendships depend mainly on the number of groups and organizations you join, not their types, according to an analysis of six online social networks by Rice University data scientists.”