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.


Courts using Facebook profiles as evidence more often

Posting your life on Facebook may not be the wisest move for criminals and those in civil lawsuits. Courts are using the information from the social networking site more often as part of their evidence.
One such case is that of Dennis Terry, a Newfoundland man who was going for a settlement after suffering whiplash from two car accidents in 2001 and 2003. Terry was hoping to get money for the harm his social life suffered after the accidents. Terry also claimed that he was unable to move well enough to play pool, a favorite past time.

Enter to the court Terry’s Facebook profile that showed he wasn’t really sitting at home by his lonesome.

CTV reports:

“He went to and hosted parties, attended weekend outings at summer cabins, drank alcohol frequently, smoked marijuana daily and appeared to have a number of friends with whom he communicated and socialized on a regular basis,” Adams wrote in his April 17 ruling.

“I find it incredible that Mr. Terry’s social life miraculously improved in the few months he was communicating on Facebook and that for the remainder of the time from 2001 to 2007 he essentially had no or little social life. Without this evidence, I would have been left with a very different impression of Mr. Terry’s social life.”

Terry had been hoping for a $1.5 million payout, he was instead given $40,000 for his pain and suffering.

Facebook
was used in a trial in Australia recently when Mark McCormack used the social network to track down a couple that owed him money. When the couple moved and were unable to be contacted through regular means McCormack turned to Facebook and it provided. The documentation from Facebook was excepted by the courts because it included their names, dates of birth and listed each other as “friends”.

Slashdot reports:

“Lawyers for Janice Roman, the defendant in the lawsuit, believe information posted on John Leduc’s private Facebook site — normally accessible only to his approved ‘friends’ — may be relevant to his claim an accident in Lindsay in 2004 lessened his enjoyment of life. As a result of the ruling by Justice David Brown of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, Leduc must now submit to cross-examination by Roman’s lawyers about what his Facebook page contains. Brown’s Feb. 20 ruling also makes clear that lawyers must now explain to their clients ‘in appropriate cases’ that postings on Facebook or other networking sites — such as MySpace, LinkedIn and even blogs — may be relevant to allegations in a lawsuit, said Tariq Remtulla, a Toronto lawyer who has been following the issue.”

One woman believes that Facebook and other social networking sites could prove to be more useful in court cases than DNA. Gill Smith whose son was murdered spoke out on the matter when it was revealed that up to 850,000 profiles of innocent people were part of the 4.5 million on an official database in the UK.

This Is Bristol
reports:

Referring to social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo, she said: “If people are law abiding, it shouldn’t worry them at all. I would be more concerned about what was on the Internet than having my DNA profile held on file because there is so much information out there.”

“What we campaigned for was taking DNA profiles with the permission of the individuals concerned,” said Mrs Smith. “We believe that if a policeman knocked on your door and asked for DNA, most people would say ‘yes, keep it’.

“It wouldn’t worry me if my DNA was taken. If all the records were taken at birth, no one could complain they were being singled out.

“In Europe they are digging up the soldiers from the First World War and using DNA so relatives can find out where their loved ones are – it’s not just for criminals. DNA profiling has other uses as well.”


The World’s Changing Into A Twitter Globe

Do you know who and Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams are? In the future school children may know them as well as they do Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs . They invented Twitter.

The trio formed the program that has turned masses into 140 character world chatters. Instant messages and social networking has been combined in a new arena allowing for people to communicate quickly at every level.

The media global world is able to know what is the hot minute to minute trends and issues in seconds. People are able to get their causes out throughout the global with a few quick strokes on the keyboard.

If you’re not sure that Twitter is really the wave of the future check out the major media news peddlers. Digital Journal, CNN, BBC, CBC and the like are all twittering. WHO and the CDC use twitter to inform the public about swine flu.

Twitter is also a marketer’s dream. Geelong Advertiser reports:

“It’s also much more immediate because you don’t have to send out a survey. The tools are really good for being able to listen hard and specifically, so in that sense it’s not a survey tool,” explains futurist Mark Pesce.

“This technology is easy to learn. It’s basically going to a website and typing in your business name, or your product name, into the search box and that’s it and you leave it there and you check it every once in a while.”

As Ashton Kutcher puts it:

I believe that Twitter is a stage for humanity and connection, not the triumph of technology. Right now the word revolution is spelled with 140 characters.


Google Goes To the Goats

Google is using an old fashion means to combat forest fires around its campus. They have ‘hired’ 200 goats to munch the grass and create buffer zones that firefighters advise dwellers in wildfire zones.

The company also hired a special shepherd named Jen, a border collie, to keep the troops in line. Not only are the goats working for less than most labourers they provide a constant source of free fertilizer.

Google reports:

“We have some fields that we need to mow occasionally to clear weeds and brush to reduce fire hazard,” Google director of real estate and workplace services Dan Hoffman wrote in a posting on the company’s official blog.

“Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we’ve rented some goats … to do the job for us (we’re not “kidding”).”

Of course the goats are not free. It actually costs about the same as traditional mowing would but without the use of gas powered mowers that cause a little more pollution.

The goats are not being used in areas where they could wander into a board meeting demanding more money, instead their are employed for peripheral fields.

CNET reports:

“A herder brings about 200 goats and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time,” a post on the official Google blog read. “The goats are herded with the help of Jen, a border collie. It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers.”