By way of being thankful (a little late), I was thinking about the role of some especially thoughtful Facebook users in keeping me up-to-date on various issues. Of course, these people have been selected through whatever opaque process Facebook uses to decide whose posts I see, and I am no doubt being deprived of entire wondrous enclaves of insight and humor.
I’ve given Facebook some guidance, by downgrading people who post just a little too much about families I don’t know, about political campaigns I either support or oppose, or about memes I simply don’t get. But for the most part, Facebook seems to have given me a selection of increasingly consistent characters. Some of them are awesome. In alphabetical order, here are four.
Javier Cha, Ph.D. Candidate in Korean History, Harvard University
Javier is a friend from my master’s days who has been an energetic participant in the emerging “digital humanities” movement. His academic work, I must admit, is hard for me to fully digest, due to my near total ignorance about Korean history. His theoretical interests, excitement for source materials, and discussion of computationally-assisted and traditional historial methods, however, have kept me engaged. So much so that there is always a creeping possibility I will defect from present-day-affairs and devote myself to the study of the past. Just maybe.
Check out Javier’s profile at Harvard’s Korean Institute, which has links to his various feeds.
Eveline Chao, Writer on China, Language, Culture, Politics
Eveline is a writer of many things, from Niubi, her guide to developing a solid potty mouth in Mandarin, to a recent account in Foreign Policy of working with her censor at a government-supervised magazine in Beijing, to memoirs of strange and off-putting encounters with strangers. She wins the award for variety.
Check out her writing at her site.
David Halperin, Political and Legal Adviser, Writer, and Former Boss of Graham
I’m not sucking up. I swear. But David used to be my boss when I worked as an editor on CampusProgress.org, the Center for American Progress’ online magazine for young people. David headed up the broader Campus Progress division of CAP, which advocated for issues important to young progressives and helped amplify voices from across the country. Now, on Facebook, David serves as one of my only conduits for good-humored righteous indignation on a selection of issues I actually care about—educational reform (specifically the for-profit college industry), open government information (in collaboration with Public.Resource.org), and things worth laughing at.
Check out David’s writing at Republic Report, a new website devoted to rooting out money in politics.
Vincent Ni, Correspondent for Caixin Media, and Columbia Journalism School China Fellow
Vincent and I met when we were on a panel together several years ago, and we’ve had the opportunity to keep in touch. In the meantime, he became a U.S. correspondent for Caixin, one of China’s most prominent and independent voices for news, and now, a fellow at Columbia Journalism School. On Facebook, he posts a steady stream of China and international news that I would otherwise miss, and he currently makes me miss New York with pictures.
Follow his Twitter feed: @nivincent.