social media

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, points to a sign last August in Ferguson. Chappelle-Nadal was one of the many political figures who felt transformed by Michael Brown's death.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

William Freivogel, professor of public policy at SIU-Carbondale, recently labeled the widespread use of social media following the death of Michael Brown as “America’s Arab Spring.”

The international parallels are clear: a swell of ‘citizen journalists’ live-tweeting, streaming, and blogging protests and confrontations; Internet-based organization and galvanization of grassroots movements; and the use of social media as an alternative source of news.

Terence Blanchard performs with his band E Collective
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Grammy-winning jazz musician Terence Blanchard is no stranger to composing music inspired by social injustice. He wrote an album about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  He wrote the opera "Champion," which dealt with race and sexuality issues in boxing and debuted at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis last year. And he just released a new work inspired by the death of Eric Garner and the #BlackLivesMatter social media campaign that’s taken root in St. Louis since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan Waters
Jefferson County website

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan Waters says she likely would have been oblivious to the internet uproar over her Facebook comments about the president if she hadn’t set up a Twitter account a few months ago.

Waters claims that she had forgotten about her Facebook post – which appears to ask why the military hasn’t ousted President Barack Obama -- until she was at a radio station for an interview on Oct. 10.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Update: After least four says of of denial of service attacks, the main St. Louis County government website was restored on Monday, August 18. Work was still continuing on restoring auxiliary sites.

Updated at 12:30 on Friday August 15 with the latest on the St. Louis County website.

Sterling Waldman
Provided by Sterling Waldman

For many people, selecting “male” or “female” on their Facebook profile is an easy choice. But for those who identify differently, Facebook now provides 56 gender selections.

Last week, Sterling Waldman of Chesterfield turned 17 and received a perfect birthday present: the option to identify as “genderqueer” on Facebook.

On Friday, Facebook expanded its drop-down menu to offer a “custom” selection of genders that provides more than four dozen options, a cause for celebration for many who identify in a nontraditional way.

“It was very exciting to have that happen,” Waldman told St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

Fifty-six Choices Not Enough?

Born and raised female, Waldman always felt different from friends and schoolmates.

“I didn’t really fit in with the girls and I didn’t fit in with the boys,” Waldman said. “I wanted to be both.”

For years, Waldman struggled with the feelings but lacked the language to describe them.

“I didn’t have the words, but I learned the terminology at the end of my freshman year,” Waldman remembered.

Waldman, who prefers the pronouns “them” and “they” to “him, his, her or hers,” has parental support and a community of like-minded people, outside of school and within Parkway Central High.

“In my grade, there are two others who identify as gender-non-binary,” Waldman said.

Facebook's menu also includes "transgender," "trans," "androgynous" and "cisgender," which is another way of saying you identify as the gender you were assigned at birth.

But are 56 choices enough? When it comes to politics and religion, Facebook users don’t have to pick from a list. They can write in their beliefs using words of their choosing. The profile form looks as though you could write in what you want, but it only accepts one of the 56 terms.

Despite the glee over being able to identify as “genderqueer” on Facebook, Waldman knows that not everyone will find the right term to describe such a personal and integral part of themselves.

"I have some friends whose identities are not on that list," Waldman said.

(via Flickr/Jason Howie)

With the advent of smart phones and tablets, media messages are now ever-present. And with social media, Internet television, satellite radio, blogs and self-publishing in addition to traditional print and broadcasting, the number of media messages out there is also ever-increasing.

That makes it all the more important that people have the ability to critically deconstruct the messages the media convey.

(via NPR)

NPR's senior social media strategist Andy Carvin was our sole guest today on "St. Louis on the Air." 

Carvin touched on his beginnings, his role as a "information DJ" and how he pieces together truth in real time.

How does he describe his job?

Carvin said one of the best ways he can think of to describe what he does is a "journalistic test pilot."

"I use the word storytelling because...not everything I do could be considered journalism."

"Someone once referred to what I do as 'information DJ-ing.'"

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Jobless rate drops below 8 percent in St. Louis

The jobless rate in metropolitan St. Louis is going down, and has dipped below 8 percent for the first time in more than three years.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Legislation that would prohibit employers from seeking job applicants' social network passwords is on hold in the Illinois House.

Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford's measure would allow job-seekers to file lawsuits if asked for access to sites like Facebook. Bosses could still ask for usernames that would allow them to view public information on the sites.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Updated 3:54 p.m. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.

An Illinois state representative from Chicago has introduced legislation in Springfield that would ban businesses from requiring job applicants to divulge their social media passwords.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. to include comments from the bill's sponsor, and Gov. Nixon's criticism of the bill, despite signing it

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation repealing a contentious law, known by some as the "Facebook law," that had limited online discussions between teachers and students.

Nixon's signature Friday will delete a law enacted earlier this year barring teachers from using websites that allow "exclusive access" with current or former students 18 or younger. Some teachers raised concerns that they would be restricted from using social media sites such as Facebook, which allow private messages.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

A Missouri House committee has unanimously passed legislation that would remove confusing language from a new state law regarding the use of social media between teachers and students.

The bill was passed last week by the Missouri Senate.  It’s being handled in the House by State Representative Chris Kelly (D, Columbia).

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Missouri senators have overwhelmingly passed a bill revising a new law that restricts teachers' online conversations with students.

The legislation would repeal a law barring teachers from using websites that give "exclusive access" to students, such as sending private messages on Facebook. Senators voted 33-0 Wednesday to send the bill to the House.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation revising a contentious new state law that limits teacher communications with students over the Internet.

The bill given initial approval Monday would repeal a law barring teachers from using websites that give "exclusive access" to students. The provision already had been temporarily blocked by a judge last month because of free-speech concerns.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri State Senator who sponsored the measure strictly limiting teacher-student contact via Facebook and other social media has filed legislation she says will clear up any confusion over the new law.

The issue was added Tuesday to the call of the special session by Governor Jay Nixon (D), but in his call the governor only stipulated that the language in question be removed, not replaced with new language.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Updated 4:19 p.m. with comment from the Missouri State Teachers Association and Missouri State Sen. Jane Cunningham, the sponsor of the original bill which became law

From Todd Fuller of the Missouri State Teachers Association:

“It’s a sigh of relief for all teachers throughout the state who use social media, and it allows them to continue to use it in the positive way that they’re already using it and continue to interact with their students the way they have been.”

From Missouri State Sen.  Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, who sponsored the bill.  She acknowledges that there’s been confusion over what the restrictions will and won’t do, and says she has a solution:

“We have come up with some language that we feel like is ready to go…we don’t need to punt for more input, (I’m) not opposed to it, but we’ve got some agreed upon language with the stakeholders and we’re ready to clarify that language.”

Updated 1:11 p.m. with Gov. Nixon's action

Gov. Jay Nixon says he will add the teacher Internet issue to the agenda for a special legislative session that begins Sept. 6. Nixon says he wants lawmakers to repeal the new law.

His Friday announcement came shortly after a Missouri judge issued a preliminary injunction (see below) blocking the law from taking effect as scheduled on Sunday.

Updated 11:32 a.m. with link to full ruling

A Missouri judge has blocked a law restricting Internet communications between teachers and students from taking effect Sunday.

(You can read the full ruling here).

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a preliminary injunction against the law Friday, calling it a staggering prohibition of free speech rights.

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Mo. Gov. Nixon signed SB54, also known as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, into law in July - making national news regarding some of the bill's provisions on educators and social media.

Now the law is being challenged in court by the Missouri State Teachers Association.

A law signed into law last month in Missouri is making waves nationally, this week. A small part of the wide-ranging SB54, makes it illegal for teachers to be "friends" with students on any social networking site that allows private communication.

That means teachers and students can't be friends on Facebook or can't follow each other on Twitter for example.