FACEBOOK AND THE NEWS

Too much has been stated about the rise, fall, rise, fall, and rise of Facebook. And we here at ALOL had our share of what was being stated over this portal over time and tide.

We were going through much or our archives to see what points we made on how Facebook changed the rules on the spread of communication, be it for the good or otherwise. And one column we came across spoke upon how Facebook was a source for obtaining news and information. So what we have posted (or reposted) is a piece that we wrote about how Facebook was the “go-to” source for news.

Granted, some of its news is for real, while other points can be “for real” for only that moment. Even though this article was published in Vol. 19-No. 43 (Week of October 27th, 2014), much of what was stated seems to still ring true. So after seven years, have things changed or have they stated the same? It’s your call….

As the ‘net continues to take over the tasks that folks used to do on an individual and somewhat manual basis, obtaining information on topics and subject matter that is deemed worthy enough to grab becomes diluted, depending on what information one is looking for in the first place.

When it comes to getting that news and information, it would depend on the person keeping stock on what one is looking for. If somebody is seeking the latest sports scores, there are dozens of sports related sites to gawk over, from games both in the real and fantasy leagues, to obtaining point spreads from various gaming (and gambling) apps. If somebody is looking for the latest scoop from the entertainment side of things, there are those places to visit and view to know who was parading down the red carpet.

However, when it comes to general news, there is (and was) a place to find such–the newspaper! Although newspapers are still around and made available through its traditional source (i.e. print), their web sites are getting their dose of traffic. Newspapers that still exist on the web, but not necessarily in print anymore, are just as active than ever.

But there is a place that people use and visit that gives them the information they want and need–or at least it appears to become that way! That source of all the news that appears to matter is none other than good ol’ Facebook!

Pew Research recently released a report that Facebook, the two ton ape of the social media world, is a prime source for those that are wanting to know what’s going up (or down!) According to the findings as reported through Pew Research, some 30% of domestic adults 18 and up use Facebook to get their news. (64% of those 18 and over use Facebook for some reason or another.)

When it comes to the subject matter of news found via Facebook, most of what’s obtained isn’t “hard news”. According to the Pew report, nearly three fourths (73%) of those Facebook uses stated they seek entertainment news and 57% get sports news. 65% use it to get local community news, 55% use the site to get national and government news, 51% use it to find news about crime, and 46% use it for news about health and medicine.

In spite of this information found, 78% note that they generally see news when they are on Facebook for other reasons. Much of this news is posted (and reposted) by others with the notion that you the visitor might be interested in knowing about this, that, and the other thing. This notation of sharing the news is rather common, as half of social network users say they share news stories, images, and/or moving imagery online. 46% have used this sharing to discuss something in the news. A more limited number of social media users are actually participating in reporting news and information, with 14% posting their own photos or accounts of news events to the Facebook network, and 12% of those posting video.

For those that are active Facebook fans (that is, those with 500+ “friends”), one can get the idea of the news people share. If one “liked” a group that holds a purpose or cause, that group can bombard one with information that is related to the group’s general needs. For instance, our friend Tiffi had “liked” a number of nonprofit organizations that serve a purpose that range from the ASPCA to a number of Christian based ministries and organizations. Each one will provide a bit of news that are in relation to the group’s needs and causes. Major media outlets, such as the four traditional TV networks, will provide a link to a story provided by their news divisions.

What makes this news gathering interesting (if not annoying) is the fact that individuals will post items that are geared to the “human interest” side of things, from so-called comical photos and videos (the most common of this type), to stories that can be deemed as cute and charming, but could be just as annoying, depending on what mood one is in when encountering the news in question

It’s no real surprise that social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other places where anyone can be anyone in cyberspace land, is the place to read, report, and repost news–real or otherwise. In spite of this form of journalism, it’s not as cracked up to be. After all, the line that’s been around for years, “It must be true! I read it on the internet” is just as alive and living than ever before. And it’s all available for free too! After all, one gets what they pay for!

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When one congers up a movie made by “Hollywood” that involved a massive war known as “World War !!”, one images a movie that was created long after the said war that occurred between 1939-1945 that features depictions of battles that took place (or not), or the fighting men (yes, it was a mostly male-operated strategy) that exchanged combat in the war (or not), or those that were affected by the war itself (or not). However, when the war actually took place, the movie industry got themselves involved with and within the war for many reasons, from boosting moral to those within the action as well as those serving on “the home front”-civilians residing in the friendly nations of origin that are “doing their bit” in getting themselves however they could as ready and eager toward domestic victory.

When the film industry a.k.a. Hollywood, did get themselves involved with the war effort, they were also creating films made for the military for training and informational purposes, releasing movies that reflected upon the nature of what impact the war had created, as well as offering good will through its features for entertainment and stating an overall friendless since the USA and its allies were “the good guys”, while the axis were indeed part of the “evil empire”.

HOLLYWOOD VICTORY: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II (Running Press) is Christian Blauvelt’s extensive book on how a major media source used what was in respect a tragic and deadly aspect in world humanity, and changed it as an aid toward victory in direction to itself and the world it spoke to through positive terms and intentions as inscribed for the good of what was then called “mankind” (a.k.a. “the human race”) as a priority first with profits to eventually follow as second.

Throughout this book, the author places in detail how the nation’s source of visual media became upfront on configuring how those on both sides of the battle line viewed how this war was shaped. It was expressed in both dramatic efforts and through comedy–Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, The Three Stooges in I’ll Never Heil Again, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in Air Raid Wardens, among many other features of this ilk.

Also discussed in the book is the government’s stand of hosting a good will diplomatic policy effort with the South American nations as set through Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration with a department called the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs that was to make use of being friendly with those South American nations so they would not take sides with “the enemy” as the threat lingered. That brought stars like Carmen Maranda to appear in splashy Technicolor musicals at 20th Century Fox, as well as Walt Disney taking a small entourage down South American way to create film vehicles with a latin beat.

Then there were a number of Hollywood types that actually fought in real battles, not ones that were created on studio backlots. James Stewart, Clark Gable, and Robert Montgomery were actually enlisted to serve the nation, and John Ford directed the Why We Fight documentary series that informed moviegoers the reasons for the involvement of war. And there was The Hollywood Canteen where many stars and starlets would take time to offer servicemen some R ‘n R for dining and dancing with those glamour gals of the big screen. Of course, nobody got paid, and everyone in the industry was fine with that as they were just doing their part.

Loaded with great information, antidotes, and illustrated with photos, this book title shows that the movie industry was indeed out for the cause. It would be the first time that the folks that made the movies would ever become involved in such an epic stand for world freedom and victory. Sadly, it would be their last. There have been many other wars their nations (USA primarily) were engaged in since. Many wars were won, a few were lost, and others were placed in between. But Hollywood and its later equivalents would only depict those said wars through scripted movies, and later, through TV shows. (Combat, The Gallant Men, The Rat Patrol, among many other titles.)

WWII still reaps the biggest chunk of war movies as themes through this very day as that battle is still referred to as “the good war”. Nevertheless, Hollywood did do their bit as Hollywood would. And perhaps in the future, whatever medium of choice that dominates the nation and the connected world will become engaged in some form of political strife that involves armed battle, they too will boost their points towards victory. But for now, it’s just business as usual to sell off a few movie tickets or a subscription or two (or more) for access to a streaming media service. As the song states, war is hell on the home front, too!   

HOLLYWOOD VICTORY: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II is available wherever books are sold, both in store and online.

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