Story ideas just got easier and blogging just got harder

So I've spent the past 10 minutes trying to figure out how to post a comment on Gabby's blog post, but Blogger simply isn't co-operating. I'm repeatedly getting a bit-something-other error, and in a not-so-rare moment of Internet ineptitude have no idea what to do about it.

But without further adieu, Gabby's post "Sourcing just got easier" reminded me of my favorite use of Facebook: story idea mining. I've never used my Facebook status for sourcing (though obviously I should start). However, I have often looked to my friends' statuses to inspire story ideas. Sometimes, I just look upon them hoping that they'll spark a semi-related thought that will lead me to something newsworthy. Sometimes, Facebook statuses can inspire stories directly.

I have a friend who wrote a story on the upside of social networking after he peered upon a friends' status about a lost iPod. Within hours, a friend replied to the status, letting the gril know where she left her prized possession. At first, this story surprised me. Then, I found out the girl has something like 2,000 Facebook friends. The story that resulted was great because it flew in the face of conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom says if you have too many online friends, you can't truly be friends with all of them. Somehow, it should seem phony to have too many friends online. And yet, this story showed that having a lot of Facebook friends has a practical upside.

In any case, speaking of Facebook statuses, mine right now: "Can't function Blogger. Anyone have tips?"

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