Apr 21, 2010, 08:23AM

Betty White 2.0

Every once in a while, social networking does great things: like secure an SNL hosting gig for an elderly b-list celebrity.

When you can bring an 88-year-old woman’s career back to the fast track in a matter of weeks with just a Facebook group, I think that woman should be president. Today we salute you Betty White. When mere fanfare has the ability to influence organizations to take action so their phone will stop ringing and people will stop emailing, someone’s listening.  

With so many nonsensical groups and things you can become a fan of on Facebook, it seems odd that these movements can actually have influence. Every day when I log in to my account, someone has become a fan or joined a group of 11 different things. Ephemera that they actually paid with the time of their life to look at. I’ve paid. “Kim DeFranco became a fan of “Pickle Ass Fart Nose.” Yes, it makes the world seem a nicer flowery place when somebody becomes a fan of “Sunshine” or “Whispering” but let’s be real. My God man, did you really just join the group “When I grew up I had to record songs off of the radio onto a tape?” Yes, this is what you actually had to do without going to Waxie Maxie’s to buy an album that had two good songs on it. You need a support group for that? Pussy. Oh, thank you for paving the way for brilliant new hit pages such as “When I was born, I came out of my mother’s vagina.” All ridicule aside, I bet I can find 1,000,000 people who agree that social networking can actually spawn social change; and sometimes unfortunate events.

Though I think some would contend that social networking sites have little to no influence on public policy, I’m not sure that is viable. It’s clear that social networking has the ability to shape rhetoric and narrative and quickly share these ideas. Politically, it was 2008 when I learned that Twittering is not just something you do in the shower. In fact, Barrack Obama’s campaign was heavy-handing it, and was successful in spreading their message to a huge and international audience. In 2008, we saw YouTube, Facebook and Twitter easily catalyze communities to raise money, reach new listeners and give voters the ability to respond in nearly real-time regardless of which side you were on.

Sites like the ones mentioned above also can cause swift organization of many people in a place. We call them flash mobs. You may remember the World Wide Pillow Fight Day or the Silent Disco. Maybe the events weren’t cool or even making a statement, but to have that many people descend on one spot within hours for something so unimportant can’t be ignored. A little over a week ago a block party at James Madison University drew over 8000 people because the event was posted on Facebook. Of course, this ended in tear gas and riot police. Maybe we all have way too much fucking time on our hands for one. If a Betty White fan group can get over a million people to support her hosting SNL in a matter of weeks, she should be president. It took Obama years to gain enough support to win. Sorry Barack, but Betty White can kick your ass.


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