Saturday, June 8, 2013

Social media and UAP research

Hi all,


I am currently reading a book titled "Networked:The New Social Operating System" by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman, published by The MIT Press, Cambridge MA in the USA, in 2012. ISBN is 978-0-262-0179-0. (Click here.)

It's a fascinating read which takes a look at today's technological world where many of us are exposed to incoming emails; text messages; and tweets. We also update our Facebook page; participate in Yahoo and Google groups; and Skype, amongst other aspects of technology. Some of us, this author included, blog.

The authors of "Networked" set out evidence to suggest that this new style of networking with others, provides opportunities for increased personal interaction; further learning; assistance with decision making by the obtaining of additional information; and the resolution of issues which may be troubling us, with the support of others.

"Where commentators had been afraid that the Internet would wither in-person ties, it is clear that they enhance and extend them." (p.255.)

Rainie and Wellman provide a large volume of statistics, balanced by interesting case studies of individuals. They also provide hints as to how you can "Thrive as Networked Individuals." These include:

* "Invest in existing relationships..." (p.263.)
* "Use ICTs enthusiastically and nimbly." (p.263.) (ICT is short for information and communication technologies.)
* "Use technology to develop your access to a wider audience..." (p.264.)

Application to UAP research:

I can attest to the value of Social Media networking in a couple of ways.


Firstly, the comments which I receive on posts to this blog. These have included:

* 3 May 2013 post re the 1942 "Tromp" case.
I was looking to locate the children of the witness to an intriguing observation from 1942. I suspected the witness himself would, unfortunately by now, have passed away. I thought the children of Willem Jan Methorst may have some family knowledge or indeed some documentation in the form of diary entries of the event. I posted a piece and received a comment which provided the names and locations of three Methorst children. (Click here for more on the case.)

* 22 Jan 2013 post re "Navy Looks Into UFO Story."
In response to a post on a rare case where the Australian Navy was said to have investigated a UAP report, Keith Roberts of the Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre got in touch to inform me that he had been the original investigator on the case and knew it well.(Click here for more.)

* 4 Jan 2013 post re National Archives.
A correspondent advised me that the Archive Act now allowed files to be released after 20 years,. rather than the 30 years I mentioned in the associated post. (Click here.)

* 8 Feb 2011. Cold case Bass Strait 1944.
A Mr R T H Royal was piloting an aircraft across Bass Strait when he had a close encounter with a UAP.I started looking for any children to see what they knew of the event, when I received a very nice email from one of his daughters, who had some material which I had never seen before. (Click here.)

It is very doubtful, without the blog, whether I would have ever been able to find the information which individuals responding to blog posts, gave to me. Hence the value of social media.


Another example of the value of social media to UAP research is the use of Facebook posts and subsequent threads.

Recently, a post appeared on the Facebook "Westall Flying Saucer Incident" page (click here.) In the post, an individual provided what appeared to be two newspaper clippings hand dated 2001. These told the story of an alleged incident at Fountain Gate in Melbourne.

Members of the Facebook page went about investigating the alleged event. Between them, they:

* Set about trying to find original copies of the named newspapers via online newspaper databases, and contacting libraries.

* Pointed out that the newspaper clippings did not conform to the standard format of a newspaper story, in that there was no associated journalists name, and they contained numbers which suggested they were in fact, not a news story, but an advertisement.

* A Melbourne member visited the hotel and spoke to a management representative about the story.

* Another pointed out that a similar story from Sydney in the early 1970's  had involved a UFO, and that they vaguely recalled the Fountain Gate story as a promotional display.

All in all, the investigation cast strong doubt on the authenticity of the newspaper accounts. The latest, is that the original poster has now withdrawn the original post and subsequent threads.

This is an excellent example of the power of social media in the pursuit of UAP research.

Have readers other examples they would care to share with us?

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