After a failed attempt to overthrow the president of Gambia in December 2014, the US authorities charged two middle-class Americans from Texas and Minnesota. But why did they think they could succeed?
"I don't think they're all necessarily horrible people..." In an impressive display of solid intelligence tradecraft, the IC Watch project has released the Transparency Toolkit, whereby social media sites were mined for keywords, project names, employers, and locations known or suspected to be associated with the U.S. Intelligence Community. [more inside]
"Basically, somebody who worked at Twitter back in 2009 added me to that list, and all of a sudden my online network got upgraded to the kind of numbers that are usually only reserved for rock stars." Nobody Famous — what it's like to have the social network of a celebrity, without actually being famous, by Mefi's own Anil Dash.
Adweek points to Groupon as the current reigning monarch of social media. Someone/s at Groupon have been killing it with jokes on Facebook, responding to questions about a deal they offered for the Banana Bunker, a product that is apparently a real thing. Previously.
Today, March 6, is Blackout Day, "a day where black people post, share, reblog, like, and distribute other photos of black people on social media. This includes Tumblr, Instagram, the petri dish known as Facebook, Vine, Twitter, and any other site that allows you to share photos." (FAQ, official master post)
Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People Over Ferguson. "...Please try and remember how USEFUL you could be should you decide to be brave enough to speak up to the folks more likely to hear YOU than me." [more inside]
In an essay for the Wharton School of Business' blog, confessed 'social media evangelist' and marketer Curtis Houghland argues that the advent of twitter and other social media heralds the destruction of the nation state over the coming century. Literally.
Formal nationhood as the basis for a social contract with its citizens dates only to the 17th century. It is a relatively new phenomenon. As Pankaj Mishra points out in Bloomberg View, 'Few people in 1900 expected centuries-old empires — Qing, Hapsburg, Ottoman — to collapse by 1918.' The belief in the centralized nation as the default political organization is grossly misplaced. And we are seeing the de-evolution of nationhood before our eyes in our daily newsfeeds....As there are now more than 30 brands of Mountain Dew, there will be more nations in Europe.
I quit liking things on Facebook for two weeks. Here's how it changed my view of humanity [more inside]
"Having influential figures like George Takei publishing a meme that reinforces disabled=fake is incredibly damaging to disabled people." [more inside]
The NYT Style section reports that "image-conscious digital natives" are paying for expensive and elaborate portrait sessions to get one-of-a-kind shots to use in social media profiles and on professional websites. These photos (which the Times incorrectly calls "glamour selfies") are not your professional headshots; instead the subjects are depicted in a warehouse, in a field, in a pickup truck, etc. The motivations? Enhancing a personal brand, celebrating a milestone birthday... and, of course, getting lots of "likes" on Facebook. Slate's XX Factor blog defends the trend (if you can call it a trend) by suggesting that the portrait subjects are trying to avoid age discrimination.
New research finds a correlation between social network use and divorce rates. "We don't know whether Facebook is causing divorce or divorce is causing the use of Facebook," said a study author. A Facebook spokesman says it's "ludicrous" to suggest a link between the social network site and divorce. [more inside]
Snapchat represents the greatest existential threat yet to the Facebook juggernaut. Today’s teens have finally learned the lesson their older siblings failed to grasp: What you post on social media–the good, the bad, the inappropriate–stays there forever. And so they’ve been signing up for Snapchat, with its Mission: Impossible style detonation technology, in droves. [more inside]
I came to Twitter because I had a book to sell, and my misgivings about the whole enterprise meant that I would never be any good at it. A phrase comes to mind: I was “pissing into the void.” For 1 year, 4 months and 22 days—or 508 days total—Twitter became part of my daily thinking ritual. Writer Benjamin Anastas says Goodbye to Twitter Village. VQR editor Jane Friedman comments.
Stephen Wolfram used the data provided by Facebook users to do some demographic analysis.
From the street 100 feet below the ledge, the man barely seems real. He is nondescript, nothing more than white skin with a mild tan, a fit build, and shaggy blond hair. He is a faceless blur. He is anonymous, but will be defined by his final act. SF Weekly chronicles the life of a man whose suicide was cheered on by onlookers and captured by social media.
"To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants [...] but they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be." Anil Dash laments The Web We Lost, and offers some suggestions for moving forward.
Back in July, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on his Facebook page that users of the service had enjoyed over 1 billion hours of viewing in the month of June. The post was (and is) public, and subscribed to by over 200,000 users (some of whom were journalists). Netflix stock jumped for the day on the news. But the SEC was apparently less impressed. [more inside]
"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
In response to Facebook limiting the number of friends / fans who receive your posts (previously) while simultaneously instituting their new pay to Promote scheme, the folks at Dangerous Minds have launched a new campaign, Facebook: I Want My Friends Back!
Last week, a male Facebook user wrote to Bodyform (a manufacturer of feminine hygiene products) to complain that its advertisements were not consistent with the realities of menstruation. Quickly thereafter, his post went viral, and today, the company responded.
I Want To Talk About Politics On Facebook vs. Get Out Of My Facebook, Politics: two arguments for and against using social media to share political opinions (presented on Thought Catalog) [more inside]
Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right - 'It doesn’t end with Facebook, either. Being broken pays off, so social media is often deliberately broken. In fact, nearly every major social network, site or app has greedily pursued this logic.' [more inside]
When we started Diaspora two years ago, the project kicked off with amazing reception and support from people that believed in our ultimate goal: giving users ownership over their data. ... Today, the network has grown into thousands of people using our software in hundreds of installations across the web. There are hundreds of pods that have been created by community members, and it has become one of the biggest Github projects to date. ... Today, we are giving control of Diaspora to the community.Diaspora*, the open social network, is now owned by its user base. [more inside]
A blogger records a blow-by-blow account of how an author tries to use social media to 'correct' bad reviews of her book. [more inside]
Yesterday's Diane Rehm Show featured a conversation between Sherry Turkle (previously), Stephen Marche (previously) and Zeynep Tufekci. Tufekci has been critical of Turkle's and Marche's assertions that social media is making us lonely. A lively Twitter conversation and critique ensued.
"Relationships are hard enough. But the rise of social media — where sharing private moments is encouraged, and provocative and confessional postings can help build a following — has created a new source of friction for couples: what is fair game for sharing with the world?" (NYT)
Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? The Atlantic discusses how social media blurs the line between solitude and connectedness, destroying both in the process.
In an act of social media blasphemy, Texas researcher Dean Terry has added an "Enemy" feature to Facebook.
Employers and colleges are now asking applicants for their Facebook logins and passwords in an attempt to get around privacy settings.
A new study shows that the nature of a person's Facebook profile can help predict the person's performance as an employee.
"The Fraley plaintiffs sued Facebook, alleging that its 'Sponsored Stories' feature, which displays ads on Facebook containing the names and pictures of users who have 'Liked' a product, violated California’s Right of Publicity statute. The statute forbids the commercial use of an individual’s name or likeness without consent. Integral to the plaintiffs’ claim was the assertion they had been injured because they were “celebrities” to their Facebook friends, such that their endorsements of the products in the Sponsored Stories held economic value—economic value that they were deprived of when Facebook published their Stories without their consent." - Famous for Fifteen People (Stanford Law Review): Celebrity, Newsworthiness, and Fraley v. Facebook (Citizen Media Law Project)
Facebook has submitted its S-1 Form to the SEC, beginning its road to an IPO. LinkedIn, Groupon and Zynga made their first stock available 3-6 months after filing their S-1 forms. The time is spent by regulators evaluating the statements made in the form, and the banks underwriting the issue finding buyers for the stock - which is unlikely to be difficult. [more inside]
"You know how annoying it is when you're sitting on the train with a magazine and the person sitting beside you starts reading over your shoulder? Welcome to every single moment of your future. Might as well get used to it. It's an experience we'll all be sharing." --Charlie Brooker on sharing, and why the world is doomed
Self-Organized, Hyper-Networked Revolts—Coming to a City Near You: Wired looks at how messaging and social media have influenced the dynamics of riots, protests, other large crowd gatherings.
The Daily Dot delivers news about social media communities such as Reddit, Facebook and Youtube the way a local newspaper might deliver news about a city.
I do not enjoy Facebook - I find it cloying and impossible - but I am there every day. Paul Ford writes about social media, the ceaseless flow of time, and narratives - or, "Facebook and the Epiphanator".
Not so fast, internetpseudonym, on signing up for that Google+ account. Turns out you can only use your real name or face account suspension. Users don't like it and some are worried about safety, but Google isn't budging: "To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you...You can use pseudonyms to upload videos in YouTube or post to Blogger."
Rob Horning has a wide-ranging and insightful essay up at n+1 that seeks connections between three apparently disparate phenomena: global fast-fashion retailers with dubious labor practices like H&M and Forever 21; self-presentation on social media web sites; and neoliberal capitalism's new demands for workers to embrace precarity by endlessly reinventing their identities. [more inside]
The Museum Of Me lets you view a virtual exhibition of your social life.
Recent venture capital fund raising rounds have placed very high valuations on social media sites such as Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. The valuations continue to soar at an exponential pace, some placing Facebook at 75 billion and Zynga at 10 billion. Many experts have gone on record claiming this is a bubble including Eric Schmidt, Alisher Usmanov, the Russian magnate behind much of the venture capital in soical media and the Economist from last year. [more inside]
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." In the wake of bin Laden's killing, partially fabricated misquotations were circulated widely via Twitter and Facebook. [more inside]
Storify is a new social media platform that makes it easy to assemble and winnow Flickr photos, tweets, Facebook posts, Google search results and URLS into a coherent story. It went into public beta on April 25th. [more inside]
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