Category Archives: internet

One in Four Tweets Created by Bots?

As many as one in four tweets on Twitter are sent by automated bots but most of those tweets are not spam. Around 32 per cent of all tweets made by the most active Twitter users were generated by machine bots
With most Tweets made by actual humans the social network is not going anywhere soon. It’s estimated that by 2010 there will be over 18 million people worldwide using Twitter. Most Twitter users hail from the United States with 60.6 percent of tweets. The United Kingdom comes in a far second place with only 6.91 percent of users. Japan, Canada and Brazil round out the top five twitter usage. Almost half of those that use Twitter have more than 100 followers. Mashable reports:

We found that 32% of all tweets made by the most active Twitter users were generated by machine bots that posted more than 150 tweets/day. The actual percentage of machine-generated tweets among the most active users is probably higher than 32% because there many bots that update less than 150 times/day.

With over 3 million Tweets a day Twitter users appear to actively use the social network a lot. The average user sends 15 messages a day.

The Peace Corps launches YouTube channel

Jody K. Olsen, the acting director of the Peace Corps, has announced that they have their own YouTube channel. The agency is also on Twitter and has a newly designed website.

The Peace Corps channel launched with 45 videos about the agency and their current projects around the world. It also has videos that deal with the history of the organization, founded by President John F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver.

“The YouTube channel is an excellent resource for anyone considering Peace Corps service to better understand what Peace Corps service is really like on the ground,” said acting Director Olsen.

During the first week the Peace Corps channel had about 1,000 viewers.


Bloggasm’s Simon Owens Talks Citizen Media, Blogging

Bloggasm is a site that really shows the way of modern journalism. Run by Simon Owens, a 25-year-old former newspaper journalist, it hits today’s media issues with Owens’ special style.
Owens is no slouch when it comes to journalism. He writes on a regular basis for PBS’s Media Shift. The blog, Bloggasm was named in 2008 as one of PC Magazine’s favorite blogs. Focusing on media subjects Owens recently tackled the rumors about Sarah Palin divorcing and questioned the ethics behind repackaging news articles. Mr Owens took the time to discuss his views on citizen journalism, his site and online journalism. KJ- Why did you go digital journalism from print? SO- Well in many senses I was immersed in the online blogging world well before I became a print journalist. I started my first blog when I was a freshman in college and then launched one that began conducting original interviews when I was a junior, and even as a print journalist I secretly maintained Bloggasm, staying sometimes up until 2 in the morning after work interviewing sources and trying to break stories. Eventually it got to the point where I had made so many contacts within the blogging world that I got some job offers and jumped into the digital realm completely. KJ- Digital Journal is comprised of both professional and citizen journalists. What do you think of citizen journalists? SO- I find myself between the new media evangelists and the old media curmudgeons. I think that citizen journalism has a fascinating role in how information spreads and yet being immersed within the blogosphere daily I get frustrated with the sheer amount of misinformation and shoddy blogging that goes on — I think the traditional journalism filter does do something to battle that, though traditional journalism has its own problems that citizen journalism helps counteract. KJ- Bloggasm is a really cool site, I see you launched it prior to graduating. Has the focus changed since that time? SO- Oh yes, it wasn’t a very good site when it first launched, I had an idea that it would just feature Q and A interviews with prominent bloggers, and so they were just conducted via email and weren’t very specific or interesting. But as I began working as a print reporter and learning how to break news, conduct good interviews and weave them into a narrative, I thought: “Why couldn’t I do this for my blog?” I also got incredibly adept at getting my stories to spread using blogger outreach (I now do digital PR utilizing these skills) and so I began publishing feature-length stories, getting really good scoops and interviews having to do with online media. KJ- I read that you do marketing articles at times. Would you write a positive piece for something that you completely disagree with? SO- I’ve done digital PR outreach for clients that I wasn’t 100% behind. I doubt I would do anything on my blog along these lines without any kind of full disclosure, I tend to not ever write about clients on my blog anyway. Maybe “not 100% behind” is a bad phrase, more like it was a political issue I was somewhat indifferent on. KJ- Are you able to support yourself as an online journalist? SO- That’s the plan. Basically my blog is a “loss leader,” in that I don’t make much direct revenue on it (I do sell ads, though I don’t think I’ll make much that way). My blog is basically an advertisement for my online media and digital PR skills. If I can get a lot of people to come to it, then a certain percentage of them will need my skills to help spread the word about their product/media outlet/issue and contact me to hire me. KJ- That makes a lot of sense. Last question. What advise do you have for people just starting out in the field of online journalism? SO- Keep your blog layout simple and easy to read. Make your contact info readily available (you’d be surprised how many don’t do this) in case some kind of scoop lands in your inbox. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and actually pick up a phone and call a source, because 99% of your competition will take the easy route, giving you a leg up. That’s good advice from Mr. Owens. As traditional media moves closer to digital media the old tricks of the trade like confirming sources are as needed as much they ever were. Pulling up your sleeves and doing the hard work will in time see citizen and digital news have the same weight as old school print journalism.

Flickr announces new ‘Flickr 2 Twitter’ service

When Internet giants Flickr and Twitter team up, it’s huge news. Today the two photo-sharing site Flickr and the social networking site Twitter are announced the latest feature dubbed “Flickr 2 Twitter.”
The new feature allows Flickr users to automatically post images to Twitter. A press release from Yahoo (the company that owns Flickr) says, “Once authorized, members will be able to tweet photos from the “Blog This” button on their photo page or from their mobile devices.”

User’s photostreams be visible on their Flickr account, and their Twitter account will be updated in real-time with a fancy new Flic.kr shortened URL.

The feature has been in the beta testing for several weeks as Yahoo was gathering feedback from members. Today “Flickr 2 Twitter” is available for the more than 39 million Flickr members.

In order to use “Flickr 2 Twitter” members have to authorize Flickr to post to their Twitter accounts. After the authorization has taken place all members have to do when uploading new photos is select the “Blog This” button.

Flickr has also joined Twitter, so Twitter members can follow them at @flickr.


MySpace proposed restructuring will slash 300 international jobs

MySpace is restructuring its international operations in order to refocus personnel with a reduced area of territories. MySpace believes it will be able to retain a robust global consumer presence by doing this.
According to a press release from the company, MySpace’s international staff will be cut back from the current 450 international employees to 150. The company also announced four offices outside of the United States would be closed down according to a press release.

The MySpace offices in London, Berlin and Sydney would become the primary hubs for international operations under the proposed plan. Offices in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, and Spain would be placed under review for possible restructure.

Since the 2005 purchase of MySpace by News Corp., the company has faced difficulty adding to its user base. Facebook has surpassed MySpace in usage with more than 200 million members compared to the 125 million that are members of MySpace.

Jonathan Miller, the recently appointed CEO of digital media and chief digital officer at News Corporation has stated that MySpace had grew too big when one considered the marketplace in today’s economy.

“With roughly half of MySpace’s total user base coming from outside the U.S., maintaining productive and efficient operations in our international markets is important to users worldwide and our immediate financial strength,” said MySpace Chief Executive Officer Owen Van Natta. “As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the U.S., MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions. Today’s proposed changes are designed to transform and refine our international growth strategy.”

Last week MySpace announced the company was reducing its staff by 30 per cent within the United States.

Times Online reports:

Owen Van Natta, the chief executive, said: “As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the US, MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions.”

The total restructured work force for MySpace will go from 1,950 to 1,150.

The MySpace offices in Japan and locally owned MySpace China are not affected by the proposed plan.


Facebook May Start Vanity URLs This Week

Just like vanity plates for your car, Facebook will soon be offering vanity URLs for profile pages this week according to a reliable source to Tech Crunch.
There will be words that are in a blacklist according to Tech Crunch. Those words will include trademark infringements and many generic terms.

At this time Facebook profiles have been using user id numbers instead of words. Since March some Facebook pages have had the vanity URLs. Those who have the vanity tags are in a business relationship with Facebook.

The vanity URL is a useful tool on many other sites including MySpace and Twitter.

Facebook employees will get first dibs on the vanity URLs. Mark has already been taken by Mark Zuckerberg.


Craigslist Stopping Adult Ads, Will Lawmakers Go After Others?

Within seven days Craigslist will have removed the “erotic service” section from their US sites. This is a good step but what about ads in local newspapers for the same services? Will newspapers remove those?
New posting for adult services will now come with a price tag on Craigslist. The cost will be $10 for the first posting and $5 for any following posts.

Craigslist has been targeted by the media for having the ads after one of the ads lead to a murder in Boston. But what about crimes that stem from other newspaper adverts? Are they heading for the chopping block also?

Craigslist has worked with the police when an ad is targeted. An electronic trail helps to quickly catch criminals that use the service. They also post personal safety tips.

The craigslist blog reports:

Our announced intention to contribute 100% of net revenues for the “erotic services” category to charity has been fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled, notwithstanding criticism questioning our good faith in this regard. However, in light of today’s changes, and to avoid any future misunderstanding, we are making no representation regarding how revenue from the “adult services” category will be used. Our commitment to philanthropy remains, and craigslist will continue to develop its charitable initiatives.

Every week daily alternative papers features pages of sex ads. They find fund the smaller papers. Eye Weekly is one of those papers based out of Toronto. Owned by Torstar digital their adult ads are online but require a person to click a button saying they are 18.

When Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated to CBS, “It’s clear to everyone that Craigslist’s erotic services section was nothing more than an Internet brothel,” Madigan said in a statement. “I’m encouraged that Craigslist has agreed to fundamentally change how they operate and monitor their site. The steps they’re taking are the only effective way to prevent the exploitation of women and children.” Did she stop and look at the weeklies published in her state? The Chicago Reader has adult ads and it is online. Is Madigan going after this paper as well?

Craigslist is famous and that’s what makes it a target. If the lawmakers want to be fair though they need to either target all or none of publications that carry adult ads.