Get the Police a Twitter shaped Batphone

Aside

You’re probably more likely to win the lottery than to get any law enforcement agency…to take action when you are harassed online.

An outtake from Kathy Sierra’s blogpost outlining the harassment she has almost constantly received online since 2007 as she yet again feels the need to give up twitter.

I thought it sadly apt in the context of the Victoria Police force here in Australia, yesterday telling a target of said harassment to contact local police.

While this target was probably okay to do that, I’m assuming that’s not always the case. And exactly what is stopping any police force from accepting requests for assistance from any channel?

If the Philadephia Police force are happy to work with social media to solve crimes, perhaps Victoria Police and others can take lessons from them?

Warriors: Five Pints 14 2

Technology

The New Scientist tells us about research into Social Networks which knows when censors delete online posts:

The system was able to spot, with 85 per cent accuracy, when censorship was taking place on a wide scale. Upon detecting the resulting change in network shape, the system could be programmed to send an alert to activists or protesters, say, to warn them that the authorities were tampering with their posts.

More of this sort of thing.


People

Christine Buckley, one of the first willing to speak out about institutional abuse in Ireland recently died.

As a teenager, she tried to smuggle a letter to newspapers exposing cruelty at the orphanage but she was found out.

Her punishment was a beating by a "sadistic" nun that left her needing 100 stitches in her leg.

Vale Christine Buckley, a great woman of Ireland.


The Media

In light of more recent stories, easily broken using data alone about Australia’s shameful concentration camp on Manus Island in PNG, Andrew Elder’s piece from January on the lack of journalistic initiative on Nauru is particularly damning:

Australia detained thousands of asylum-seekers on Nauru from 2001 to 2008, and again since 2012. It had been an Australian dependency for decades: politically that ended in 1968 but economically it has never not been the case. The country has a matrilineal social system. The most popular sport on the island is Australian Rules football. Why there wasn’t at least one, just one Australian reporter, stationed there during that time, is an indictment of the initiative of Australia’s media.


Football

I loved this intriguing dissection of Steven Gerrard by Ken Earlys :

Some of those Manchester United players were better than Gerrard in some aspects…None could match Gerrard’s all-around ability, his combination of skill, athleticism, and big-game impact. Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in football. Gerrard has scored 183 for club and country, more than Giggs (181), Scholes (169) or Beckham (146).

He’s the only player to score in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, and Champions League. He’s collected more individual Player of the Year awards than all of the Class of ’92 put together.

I’m unapologetically a Liverpool and Steven Gerrard fan, but I’d trade all those successes of his in just to see a League winners medal around his neck.

It’s time.


Entertainment

Recently the Ad hoc podcast geeked out on Blade Runner.

Yes, my first time was pan and scan on VHS too.

Highly recommended for some excellent insights, not just on the movie, but on Ridley Scott’s creative process and the technology of the time.

“The Dog ate my twitter account”

Aside

Another day, another ‘celebrity’ or official twitter account claiming they were hacked in response to some poorly chosen posts.

For those whose claims were valid, I can only ask why you haven’t turned Twitter Using login verification yet?

For those who are just making shit up to hide your poor judgement, maybe try something like Bleeply to help you stop screwing up?

Previous guidance to review your connected applications and try changing your Password more often still stands.

Headline with thanks to Gary Stark.

Robbie Farah was in the cheap seats after all

Before I wrote about how Robbie Farah might consider a similar filter on twitter to the one he probably needs to apply every time he plays a game of football, I was aware of allegations about a tweet he sent to Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard a year ago.

Turns out he’s as much if not more of a hypocrite as you or I:

Others will give you the Social Media Advice posts, I’ll just make the point that unlike certain Newspaper editors in the UK, he seems to have been big enough to apologise. Though as a celebrity of sorts, he probably didn’t have much choice in the matter.

He could go further and ask the bottom scraping media organisation, which said editor once worked for, to call off the dogs in their idiotic and simplistic “stop the trolls” campaign.

Which wonderfully has, to date, included a series of posts from expert contributors. As the reference says, my head is exploding.

Link

You were the ones who saw something meaningful in what others considered stupid and superfluous. You gave Twitter “at” replies and short links and hashtags and everything else that made the 140 character limit just a little easier to deal with. You were the true innovators – not them. But your services are no longer required. Please pack your things and go.

via Curious Rat

Or as Tom Waits might put it;

twitter doesn’t want me today, but I’ll be back tomorrow to play.

 

Is AP forgetting simple rules by restricting retweets?

Associated Press (AP) thinks their staff shouldn’t be allowed to retweet on twitter due to the high risk of their journalists being perceived as biased. Perhaps rather than issuing unnecessarily strict social media rules to their well educated writers, the AP might consider some other rules common to any journalist.

An article by Caitlin Johnston in the American Journalism Review exploring AP’s instruction to writers not to retweet on twitter was shared into my tweetstream yesterday:

Retweets are an endorsement says Caitlin Johnston in the American Journalism Review

My immediate reaction reading the content of the tweet and the first lines of the article was Ms. Johnston didn’t ‘have a clue’ and I wasn’t afraid to retweet with that as my commentary.

Reading the article in more detail, I know now Johnston was, in fact, going about her job by producing an extremely fair and balanced piece on the entire topic of retweeting and how it is perceived by various sections of the Media Industry.

She explores those retweeting rules recently issued by AP to their Journalists, including quoting AP’s standard’s editor, Tom Kent, as saying: “…by simply retweeting the information the journalist could be suggesting that he or she endorses it.”

Which, if you think about what happens when you retweet on Twitter, is akin to a scenario where I would say to someone: “so and so thinks xyz about abc” and that person then tells another it was I who thinks “xyz about abc”.

One of my favourite bloggers on the topic of Journalism and writing in general, Bill Bennett, also wrote today on Craig Silverman’s eight simple rules for accurate journalism. Bill quotes Mr. Silverman’s first rule as being:

 “Initial, mistaken information will be retweeted more than any subsequent correction”.

At first glance it seems this rule is backing up AP’s banning of retweets by staff, yet his article also teaches us “Failure sucks but instructs”.

Compared with the reaction AP might receive if one of their staff retweeted something controversial, my transgression against Johnston probably disappeared beneath most radars. I am however intending to use my failure to instruct myself  that “Verification before dissemination” is all important. If I can do that, then I’m sure AP could also respond to negative situations caused by a misplaced retweet with some relevant coaching and guidance for their staff.

Silverman’s last rule; “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup”, needs also to be remembered in the context of any perceived failure. Circling the wagons often presumes further guilt by your the readers. The AP might consider that correcting the record and coaching their staff is a much more efficient response. It’s likely your readers will reward you and your writer will likely be happier too.

I can’t finish without issuing my own correction, despite Silverman’s guidance about them, and apologise to Caitlin Johnston for my reaction on Twitter. I thought her piece was actually excellent and will heartily retweet it as an endorsement.

What impact will Wordads have on Google and Adsense?

Today WordPress announced Wordads, because in their own words

You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense

My initial reaction to this was great, I might finally get to control the ads which appear at the bottom of these posts. But my curious nature took hold and made me wonder if the few products Google rely on for most of their revenue are slowly becoming commoditised.

First we had the worlds biggest Social Network creating it’s own ad network. I know Facebook’s social ads revenue is still reasonably small, but the revenue from it appears to be doubling year on year. Considering the size of Facebook and the engaged temperament of its users, will it become an ever more attractive place to advertise online – especially with its ability to make those ads highly targeted to viewers?

Then the worlds most used smartphone platform introduced an intelligent personal assistant including voice search. Yes Siri still uses Google Search, but in many cases it does so only as a last resort or if you specifically ask for a web search.

It seems that many are translating a greater proportion of their web use to smartphones and the iPad. (And it wouldn’t be a wild assumption that Siri will appear on the next or even current iPads.) At what point of Siri’s maturity could it start make a serious dent into Google’s search dominance? And what then would be the roll on effect to Google’s advertising revenues from search?

And now we have the world’s biggest blogging platform – a social network in itself – introducing an advertising platform. Is it logical to assume it is going to start to eat into the 28% of revenue currently sourced by Google through Adsense?

While all of the above is personal speculation, I bet the real speculators are focusing on the 32% revenue growth Google delivered Quarter on Quarter this year. And will continue to reward the share price with their heads in the sand.

Perhaps they are right, it isn’t logical to assume that Google are sitting pretty on the past surely. And with the recent culling of superfluous projects there, it’s logical they are focusing their resources on improving their search and advertising functionality and especially as that search integrates with Android.

But can they innovate fast enough and will their next big thing be good enough to head off the Online Search and Advertising disruptors before they are eating more of their pie than the investor market would like?

Wordads is hitherto just an announcement from Automattic. But with almost 70 million blogs and 2.5 billion page views per month, even if only a small proportion use Wordads, it’s bound to be more than a tiny thorn in the established players behind.

Link

Geoff Livingston’s Blog claims Google Plus had lots of hype, but that hype has recently lost its mojo.

Sure, getting to fifty million users within 3 months is a pretty impressive stat.

via Leon Håland

But isn’t it fairly easy to get to any arbitary number of users if you already have a set of well used products with a large user base like GMail and Reader. Especially when Google are directly integrating Plus into them via the new toolbar.

A better measure might be how many incremental customers Google have gained thanks to Plus, and then how many of them are using the service daily.

The biggest challenge to Google plus’ growth is the number of social networks which their target audience are already engaged with. While Linked In and others appear to have attempted to directly mimic Facebook, those services at least have enough different use cases from Facebook for people to use both. Perhaps Google need to focus more on their key differentiators, such as “hangouts” in a bid to attract new users away from Facebook.

Maybe then that will attract users from the outside in and Google Plus will get its mojo back?

I apologise for being wrong on the Internet, but has the Great Vampire Squid?

If your facts are “wrong” on the internet, being retweeted by a celebrity tweeter like Graham Linehan (aka Glinner) thankfully helps widen the exposure to your error.

It’s a little known fact on the internet that “trading” involves buying something first before you can sell it at a profit. This surprised me because I’m pretty sure that not only is this a fundamental part of our capitalism, it was the basis of the sort of trading which helped expand economies in the first place.

In the modern day however the way to make your billions isn’t to drive your camel train across central Asia or sail your Galleon to the New World and return with spices and Gold. Instead it is to either convince a government to give you some of your country’s land for a pittance, dig it up and ship it to China or short on currencies. So when a trader breaks ranks to tell us all the ways capitalists can make money, it’s natural for there to be shocked reactions from both sides.

The world was therefore abuzz when Alessio Rastani made his claims on the BBC this week. Mixed with the shocked outrage from those who REALLY DIDN’T KNOW this is what happens at trading desks were articles from the British establishment questioning the bona fides of the messenger and others claiming he was part of the Yes Men – a group which spends its time trolling said establishment.

And then there was me. Following the lead of the UK Daily Telegraph, when I tweeted the story from the Yes Men denying he was part of their group, I used a mish mash of both angles in my tweet.

As I spend so much time calling out linkbait from the Media, it probably serves me right I was retweeted by Glinner. Because thankfully, as xkcd so famously drew, twitter was there to do it’s duty and smack me down.

It’s great that attention has been drawn to the great vampire squid and their fellows by Mr. Rastani. I can’t but wonder though if there are quite so many out there to help them fix their behaviour as there are for us when we are wrong on the Internet.