Learning To Be More Social Online NPR.org has introduced a host of new social networking tools, which have transformed the level of interaction on our blog, News & Views. Geoffrey Bennett updates Farai Chideya on the changes and the latest celebrity interviews posted on our new YouTube channel.
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Learning To Be More Social Online

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Learning To Be More Social Online

Learning To Be More Social Online

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This is News & Notes. I'm Farai Chideya. OK, we've got our bloggers coming up to slice and dice pop culture and politics, but before that we have a man who knows how to swing his own cultural katana, that is Geoffrey Bennett, the web producer for News & Notes. How's it going?

GEOFFREY BENNETT: I'm doing well, Farai. How are you?

CHIDEYA: Great. So, change is the only constant, or some folks say that. Definitely true with our blog, with NPR online. What's going on?

BENNETT: Well, npr.org has introduced a host of social networking tools, which people are probably familiar with using from sites like Facebook and MySpace. So, the biggest change now is that you have to register and create a profile in order to leave comments on our blog and our segment pages. And so, once you've registered - it takes all of about two minutes - you can comment on our blog, on NPR stories, you can check out other people's profiles, and you can recommend stories to other readers. And even if you don't register with us you can still recommend our stories, which, you know, we'd be grateful for.

CHIDEYA: Sounds great. So, how are folks online responding to this whole economic crisis slash economic bailout?

BENNETT: Yeah, right. Well, a reader named Diane West wrote, Mr. Bush has cried wolf too many times. How can believe him? And another reader named Ben Sheppard wrote this, it was unethical risk-taking individuals who abused the lack of regulation, and they should be the ones paying the price to us. And so, we took an unscientific poll. We asked, did you support the $700 billion bank bailout plan? Sixty three percent of those polled said no. And we asked, who holds the blame for the bill's failure? Thirty-nine percent said Republicans, 39 percent said both parties.

CHIDEYA: All right. Rapper David Banner stopped by earlier this week for an interview, and we're going to air that at a later date, but part of it is already up on our blog. What did - how did that unfold?

BENNETT: Well, he's a new breed of conscious rapper, I guess you'd call him. And he posed a question to our audience, which we posted online right after that interview was done, and here it is.

Mr. DAVID BANNER (Rapper): I want to say something that I've never heard anybody say before, and I want you guys to think about this. America fights to make every other place in the world have a democratic process, right? Then why are we the only ones with the Electoral College? So, are we truly democratic when it comes down to it?

BENNETT: So, why do we have the Electoral College he asks, and so we're taking people's responses on our blog.

CHIDEYA: All right, well I can't wait to see what folks have to say. And we have different ways that we blast out video. We've got a YouTube channel. It keeps getting more and more popular. What do we have up there now?

BENNETT: Well, all of our big name celebrity interviews are there, including our most recent interview with Spike Lee. It's a peppery exchange between Spike Lee and NPR's Karen Grisby Bates. And here's part of that.

Mr. SPIKE LEE (Film Maker): A black man, someone whose father was born in Uganda, the motherland.


Mr. LEE: Excuse me. Sorry, Barack.

GRISBY BATES: East Africa, yes, but...

Mr. LEE: Born in Kenya, is going to be the commander in chief.

GRISBY BATES: He certainly will be if he's elected.

Mr. LEE: He's going to win.

GRISBY BATES: If he wins, does...

Mr. LEE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You can say if.

GRISBY BATES: I have to. I'm a reporter.

Mr. LEE: OK, but I'm not a reporter, and I can't let people ask me, so what happens then? I don't think like that. The man, we're going to be delivered on November fourth.

BENNETT: Great stuff, right?

CHIDEYA: Absolutely. You can hear the tension right there.

BENNETT: And there's a comment on that after that video that says Spike is rarely a boring interview, which is to say the least. So, that can be seen on our YouTube.

CHIDEYA: Yeah. Fabulous, Geoff, thanks.

BENNETT: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: Geoffrey Bennett is the web producer for News & Notes, and he joined me from the studios of NPR West.

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