thePNSN Facebook discussions

March 15, 2013

by John Vidale

We at the PNSN launched this web page and blog a year and a half ago, and soon afterward started a Facebook account, and are currently setting up Twitter for earthquake notification, which will be announced here when it is ready.  We aim to please.

The Facebook group thePNSN is at this link, and we invite those not already in tune with it to take a look.  It has so far attracted about 800 members, and any Facebook user can bookmark it even if not a member.  Our topic is curious observations and discussions about Pacific Northwest earthquakes and volcanic activity.  Discussion has shifted mainly to there because it is exactly what Facebook is designed to do, with a slick web interface and convenient apps, with functionality to easily post graphics and thread and order conversations.

The Facebook group has conversations and gets links when blog entries go up.  Conversations are transient; although they are saved and can be searched for, it is hard to find material more than a few weeks old.  These blog entries, on the other hand, are not difficult to find with the archiving on our web site, and the questions following them remain associated.

Our goal, of course, is informing the public.  The nature of earthquakes means part of the time, questions we hear are long-term and cover a range of topics, part of the time we are reporting on earthquakes as they happen, and part of the time we are commenting on breaking news reports.

Social media provides us with numerous tools, and we are using an increasing number to do our job.  Initially, we thought the blog and email would provide a complete solution for chatting with the public, but Facebook is now filling a considerable role.  So we're explaining the Facebook Group here on the blog (and linking this entry from Facebook) for clarity and to allow feedback.

One show-stopper for many people is that one needs a Facebook account to look at Facebook material.  Those are the rules of the road, however, and most people we know do have accounts.

Unfortunately, a small closed group in India had already taken the most logical and pnemonic name, PNSN, with this link (hence our group is named thePNSN).  We currently have 10 admins, who do to step in occasionally when discussions get off track or out of hand.

Just for clarity, there is also an unused Facebook page at this link, which differs from the group in that only administrators can make posts (start conversations).  Maybe we'll use that page when a big event attracts so much attention that we need to limit posting, but we would announce that to the group.

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