Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Mastodon Social

April 6, 2017 has opened as an open source open platform rival to to twitter.

Rather than gripe at the frustrating changes to twitter, which seemed to be designed to alienate users, Eugen Rochko has established an open source alternative,

I brought all my friends to Twitter back in the day. I kept promoting it to everybody I knew. I really loved the service. But it continuously made decisions that I didn’t like. So in the end I decided that maybe Twitter itself is not the way to go forward.

And it is growing like crazy.

To fund he has set up an account on Patreon, and so far, crowdfunding is keeping pace with the growth.

Mastodon Social is only one instance or node, there are many, with Mastodon coordinating.

The latest change on twitter is to remove who you are replying to from your tweet. Yes, this may save a few characters, but you may not wish to reply to everyone.

Mastodon has 150 characters as opposed to 140 characters of twitter.

Payment may also be made via bitcoin, but I would be much happier to see

faircoin and fairpay card used.

  • BTC address: 17j2g7vpgHhLuXhN4bueZFCvdxxieyRVWd

Personally I do not have too much of a problem with twitter, apart from the niggling irritating changes they keep making. I do have a problem with facebook and Medium, especially since the enclosure of the Medium commons.

The main site, or instance or node, appears not to be working.

I tried two more, same problem.

It was recommended I try

It worked, I am registered.

Octodon Social established by Alice Voidstar is also supported through Patreon and can pay via bitcoin, but again I would prefer to see faircoin and fairpay card.

  • BTC address: 1F3TeADq25W471a1G5W5gJJ1BWbQYn6Di5

But what is my account, how do I tell people, how do I communicate with others?

The main interface is an unbelievable pig’s ear.

Has nothing been learnt from twitter?

This needs to be greatly simplified, otherwise it will never take off.

I may of course be wrong. I find it kludgy, others like it for the greater control.

Maybe I will get used to it.

It would appear my account


Does this then replicate across the other instances?

For example

Apparently not.

I tried my first tweet.

Which wordpress fails to display, though Medium does.

One criticism, if post a link, does not display the link and image.

Yes, can click on details, but would be better to display, as anyone who sees, can see at a glance, worth further attention.

If message posted on one node, I assume propagates through the network.
What if node where registered is down? How does one send massages, access messages?

Does this imply have to be registered on multiple nodes, but then would not have multiple IDs?

I found, registered on one node, did not grant me access to another node.

Messages will propagate through the system, if node has set preference to be federated, otherwise will act as an isolated island.

Yes, good idea a coop, but I understand the reservations if enacted by p2p as not p2p.

Therefore this is what I propose.

Barcelona and Catalonia have a well established cooperative infrastructure, therefore, if Enric Duran Giralt agrees, I suggest they set up a cooperate node.

  • Catalonia #Mastodon #platformcoop #instance
  • fair coin and fair card

Once up and running, citizen-controlled Town Halls such as Madrid also establish a coop.

This would serve for all their messaging, plus part of the wider network.

In Athens and Heriklion they have established autonomous markets, have coop structure, use faircoins and fairpay card. Establish coops for their own comms, plus available to the wider network.

DiEM25 establish a coop for their comms and part of the wider network.

Enric Duran, has also suggested FairCoop members have servers, which is a great idea, as could then also serve as their comms network and form part of the wider network.

I have asked that Enric circulate these ideas.

This fits with my ideas of networks within networks, one network forms the node of the next network.

It also challenges rigid hierarchies, be they EU, Big Government or Big Business, and provides alternatives.

Next we need an open source alternative for Medium.

Ev Williams, backed by Vulture Capitalists, has decided to enclose the commons.

Medium may not have been designed  as a commons, but it is functioning as a de facto commons.

Now, without any consultation with the commoners, the writers and readers, Ev Williams decided to charge for access.

In doing so, he has alienated many of the commoners.

It would appear Ev Williams would rather act for the Vulture Capitalists than the commoners.

Many of the commoners have expressed a desire for an alternative to Medium, would appear to point in the right the direction of travel.

Brands pay Twitter to falsely appear in your following list

January 1, 2015

A Twitter advertising technique is perturbing people. Promoted brands like MasterCard and IFC are appearing in the list of accounts some users follow, even if they don’t actually follow them.

Sources familiar with the company’s advertising strategy tell me this has been occurring since early 2013, but the public has only just now cottoned onto it thanks to actor William Shatner (of Star Trek fame). Shatner brought attention to it after he saw that “MasterCard” appeared in his following list despite the fact that he didn’t follow it. He did a little investigation and discovered that the same promoted account appeared on Dwayne Johnson’s follower list, looking a little out of place given “The Rock” only followed one other account.

Twitter has long been a proponent of native advertising, making its money off promotions that look like a regular part of the Twitter landscape (instead of, say, a banner ad). People are accustomed to promoted accounts appearing in their regular feed and promoted hashtags in the trending topics section. But sticking brands in the list of who a user actually follows is a departure from the above examples.

By making it look like someone follows an account that they don’t, it sends a false signal that said user cares about that brand. Although the brands are marked as “promoted,” it’s not necessarily clear that the user in question doesn’t actually follow the brand.

There’s ethical considerations to be had. Hypothetical examples: What if you’re vegan and don’t want people to think you’re following Burger King? Or you’re the CEO of Visa and don’t want people thinking you’re following MasterCard? Or you’re a pro-life activist and don’t want people thinking you’re following Planned Parenthood?

Once again, it appears Twitter’s product managersfundamentally don’t understand the way people use its application.


Reposted from Gigaom.

No, I do not want crap ads in my twitter feed. And is it my imagination there are more and  more of them?

And no, I do not want it faked to make it look as though I follow accounts I do not. This borders on fraud.

I usually ignore, or report as spam and block.

But occasionally I hijack.

Starbucks had a promoted hashtag in the lead up up Christmas. I simply used to highlight their tax dodging.

Three network had the gall to impose dumb tweets. Each time they did, I responsed with how crap their network was.

Guess what, these tweets dried up.

What it shows is a fundamental lack of understanding how users use twitter. We do not want to receive this shit, if we did we would follow you.

And if you have to promote your tweets, it shows you have nothing worthwhile to say.

Follow Amazon on twitter

October 19, 2014

How do you pursued people to voluntarily follow Amazon on twitter?

Offer them some free Bose music equipment.

Not even that, offer them the remote possibilty of some free Bose music equipment.

Instagram abuses its users

December 18, 2012

A dramatic shift in Instagram’s privacy policy means the company can now sell your photographs and use your images in adverts – without payment or notification.

Instagram has claimed the right use any picture uploaded to the service to promote its corporate customers’ products without any compensation to the user who originally took it.

Instagram violates users with terms and conditions

Instagram violates users with terms and conditions

I want to delete my Instagram account

I want to delete my Instagram account

Goodbye Instagram, you won't be missed!

Goodbye Instagram, you won’t be missed!

There are many brands that use Instagram right now to try to get a feel for how to engage with their followers. We will definitely be figuring out a monetisation strategy. When that will happen, I can’t comment, but it’s going to happen. — Carolyn Everson, Facebook vice president of global marketing

For Facebook, this is a case study in how to waste a billion dollars. The company bought a popular service, set about stripping it of what made it successful, and paved the way for the inevitable replacement. — Forbes

Having declared war on twitter, Instagram is now violating its users.

I have never understood why anyone uses Instagram. It is a rubbish application that turns good pictures bad. If you wish to process images, then use a software package like Paintshop Pro or Photoshop.

Facebook paid a ludicrous price for Instagram, far, far more than it was worth, for a trivial application that a couple of half decent software engineers could knock out in a few days. Facebook paid a high price because it was not the application facebook was buying, it was the user database. That gives an inkling of what your personal data is worth to facebook, a company that does not recognise personal privacy.

Following a stock market flotation, with shares going into free fall, facebook has been under growing pressure to milk its assets. Its assets is you!

Milk is the operative word. Users are being herded like cattle.

Once Instagram was acquired by facebook, it was obvious abuse of personal data was going to take place. The only surprise, is that it has not happened sooner.

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch:

People thought they were Instagram’s customers, but in reality users are Instagram’s product. It goes to show when respecting people’s data and privacy come into conflict with profit, there’s only ever going to be one winner. Users are now paying the price of Facebook’s acquisition of the company and unfortunately this kind of move will be seen time and time again as long as it is our personal data and advertising paying for services.

Last week, users found posting their Instagram pictures to twitter no longer worked. One good thing, I guess, fewer rubbish photos posted to twitter.

From 16 January 2013, new terms and conditions will be imposed on users. No choice, you are opted in by Instagram. The only way to opt out is to delete your Instagram account, but first delete all the information held, including all you pictures.

The new terms and condition are a serious breach of personal privacy, and quite possibly a breach of data protection across Europe. Users used Instagram to share with their friends, not to share with unknown third parties.

Basically in a nutshell, your pictures, personal information, can be shared with third parties, your pictures used in adversing campaigns.

Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook, its parent company, as well as outside affiliates and advertisers

All your personal information, including photos, is for sale.

You could star in an advertisement — without your knowledge

Your pictures, including of you or your friends, can be used in advertising campaigns. Let us say you hate McDonald’s, do not like Starbucks coffee or their tax dodging, how would you then feel to find they are using your photos to promote their products, how would your friends feel if pictures of them are used? And they can use your name. And you do not get paid, or even notified.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based advocacy group, said that the use of a person’s likeness in ads could run into some state laws protecting personal privacy.

Most states have laws that limit the use of a person’s ‘name or likeness’ for commercial purposes without consent. The legal purpose is to allow people to obtain the commercial value of their images and endorsements, which is a big issue for celebrities and others, but also a reasonable concern for Facebook users whose images are used by Facebook to encourage friends to buy products and services.

Underage users are not exempt

Would you be happy to find pictures of your kids are being used?

Ads may not be labeled as ads

It gets worse. We usually know ads are ads. But what if they are not obviously ads?

You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

Want to opt out? Delete your account!

Do not like? Tough, you are automatically opted in. The only way to opt out is to delete your account. If you remain, you are deemed to have agreed to violation of your personal privacy.

This is like a rape victim being deemed to be a willing participant to rape because she did not scream out.

Instagram also reserves the right to share any cookie derived data with third parties.

The choice is yours. You do not have to be a willing victim to what amounts to rape of your personal data by Instagram. You can delete your account. And that is the recommended course of action.

Prior to deleting your account, you may wish to download all your pictures held on Instagram using Instaport (sign in with your Instagram account).

There are alternatives. You can upload direct to twitter, you can upload to twitpic (which will automatically post to twitter). Or try Snapseed.

If you know Instagram users (they are the ones who send out bad pictures), then please warn them and advise to delete their Instagram accounts. Even if they do not care about abuse by Instagram, make it clear you do (as they may be holding information, pictures, relating to you).

When you delete your Instagram account please advise all your followers on twitter with the hashtag #BoycottInstagram and tell them why.

Instagram may have been one of the fastest growing companies on the net. Let’s see how quickly we can kill it.

Instagram declares war on twitter

December 10, 2012

I stand with Twitter will you? — Bianca Jagger

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo sharing app, has disabled the feature that allows twitter to properly display its photos. In essence facebook is waging war on twitter using Instagram as its proxy.

I am at a complete loss why anyone would wish to use Instagram. All it does is turn good photos bad. I have yet to see one good photo after it has been bastardised by Instagram.

If you want to play around with pictures, then use photoshop or paintshop pro.

Since its acquisition by facebook, yet another reason not to use Instagram.

Facebook paid a ludicrous price for Instagram. An application that a couple of good software designers could knock out in a few days.

What facebook were paying for was the user base. If nothing else it shows what your personal information is worth to facebook.

And that is what this is about. Facebook wish to turn the internet into a facebook privately owned and controlled intranet. They want to know everything about you, not only what you are doing on facebook, but external to facebook.

Last month, Facebook proposed changes to its data-sharing rules that would allow the social network to use data collected by Instagram to “tell us information about you” and “improve the quality of ads.” The change will allow Facebook, which has more than a billion registered users, to build more complete profiles of its users – and target advertisements – using people’s personal data from its social network and from Instagram.

Never sign on to an application using facebook, as that gives facebook access to what you are doing. Always use personal ID and password.

It was very foolish of Paulo Coelho, someone who should know better, to change how wordpress-based blog, that no longer is it possible to comment by giving e-mail address, now have to comment via facebook. This immediately grants facebook to what you are doing external to facebook, who you are linked to. But worse, it grants a back door access to all your personal information on facebook (e-mail, place of work, friends, likes) to any malicious entity browsing the blog.

Paulo Coelho is not alone in opening a connection to facebook.

Pictures uploaded to facebook are not as secure as you may believe. Even if you have set high privacy settings, location and other information is available to third parties.

Never use facebook apps for the same reason. Delete all facebook apps, but not before ticking the box to delete data.

Instagram is breaking the way the net works. Social networks are just that, social and networks, Instagram is breaking the way they work. The intention being to force everyone to operate within the facebook walled garden.

There are superior alternatives to Instagram. Use twitpic, or failing that, upload pictures direct to twitter.

Lauren Weinstein’s Guide to Trolls

September 2, 2012

1) Trolls virtually always appear very suddenly, like a big, painful, pus-filled pimple. Typically they emerge (like a daemon from Hell) as a provocative comment on your thread, and it’s the first time you’ve ever heard of this individual. They are not to be confused with spammers, who represent a related (but largely orthogonal) class of social networking vermin.

2) Your first impressions regarding whether or not a comment has been generated by a troll will almost always be accurate. That is, if your gut reaction to a comment is that you’re being trolled, you will likely be very accurate in that appraisal. Outrageous and/or highly provocative statements designed to trigger emotional responses are their hallmark. Occasionally you’ll come up against a troll who takes a slower approach and attempts to draw you into a what appears to be a reasonable argument, but this is quite rare since most trolls aim to do maximal damage to as many threads as they can, as quickly as possible.

3) “Professional” trolls (“pro-trolls”) usually prowl public G+ postings explicitly looking to spread disinformation and propaganda — or even “simply” to disrupt threads — in furtherance of specific goals, often politically or racially oriented. Some of these trolls work in organized packs, sometimes with serious funding behind them as systematic social networking disruption agents. Despite the tone of their postings, professional trolls are usually not actually nuts or idiots, and are very goal-oriented.

4) Freelance (“opportunistic”) trolls usually work alone, and unlike “professional” trolls, they often *are* nuts and/or idiots. Their comments will be at least as provocative as those of pro-trolls, but may tend toward higher levels of wackiness that expose their lack of true goal orientation.

5) Both in the case of freelance and pro-trolls, a quick examination of their G+ profiles and postings is usually extremely useful to verify their status prior to blocking. Dead giveaways of their “trollness” include either a stream of nearly identical postings, a variety of postings that tend to all be concentrated within the “troll zone” of inanities, or very few (even zero) postings of their own at all, the latter suggesting that they rapidly create new accounts as their previous ones become heavily blocked.

6) Without exception, trolls should be *immediately* blocked when detected. Unless threats or the like are involved, it is usually not necessary nor appropriate to also report their profiles. I recommend blocking troll profiles quickly and mercilessly, and not even bothering to flag the individual comments, again unless threats or other illicit behavior are involved. In cases of threats, etc., you may want to flag the individual comments, then block and report the troll’s account.

7) It is usually good practice to delete a troll’s comments from your thread, to avoid later legitimate commenters being drawn into the maelstrom. You may also wish to strongly consider deleting any responses to the troll that fed the beast, especially since leaving those other comments in place after deleting the troll’s comments tends to leave a disjoint comment flow that can be difficult for later readers to understand.

8) Whenever you block/report a troll, and/or delete their own comments and possibly other related comments, consider adding *your own* comment on the thread explaining what you have done. A note as simple as “Troll blocked and associated comments deleted” will usually be adequate.

9) Most importantly, show trolls absolutely no mercy. Block them immediately. Your threads are your responsibility, and you are under no obligation to host comments designed as weapons of destruction. Individual trolls rarely return — they usually move on quickly to greener pastures. Their entire purpose is disruption through asymmetric attacks. You should feel absolutely no hesitation at blocking them, and no compunction for having done so. The saying *Do Not Feed The Trolls* (DNFTT) holds true. Do not engage them in conversation. Do not argue with them — you might as well be arguing with a roll of toilet paper. Block them now. Report them if necessary. Clean up any damage they’ve done to your threads by removing their comments and related comments that could waste the time of other readers.

– – –

The wonders of social networking can only stay wonderful if we take individual responsibility to moderate, manage, and curate our threads, on Google+ or anywhere else.

This means taking our roles as thread creators very seriously, and not enduring the presence of trolls on our threads at any time — not for any reason. No excuses. No exceptions.

Together we can help make Google+ as troll-free as possible. Human nature being what it is, we will never be entirely successful at this effort. But we can certainly give it the ol’ college try.

— Lauren Weinstein

– – –

Although written specifically for Google+ Lauren Weinstein’s Guide to Trolls is equally applicable to all social media.

Trolls are the bane of the internet, nasty pathetic creatures who crawl out from under stones and delight in making other people’s lives a misery.

One troll, for reasons unknown, targets people linked to Paulo Coelho, he would send hate tweets on twitter, post nasty messages on facebook.

On TripAdvisor trolls post nasty reviews, though there is also a problem with rivals dishing the competition and glowing reviews by mates of the venue being reviewed.

There is a very simple rule for trolls: Do not engage, report and block.

Do not feed the trolls! If you engage, you encourage them and inflate their self importance.

On TripAdvisor report fake reviews.

Trolls never seem to learn. Periodically I have trolls, I block and report.

Trolls post messages on this blog (or try to). They get blocked. Any negative or abusive post gets blocked.

I have no problem with anyone posting a differing view. Occasionally they highlight I have made a mistake or got something incorrect or overlooked something.

Fake (best money can buy) reviews

August 26, 2012

Suddenly it hit him. Instead of trying to cajole others to review a client’s work, why not cut out the middleman and write the review himself? Then it would say exactly what the client wanted – that it was a terrific book. A shattering novel. A classic memoir. Will change your life. Lyrical and gripping, Stunning and compelling. Or words to that effect.

Todd Rutherford placed fake book reviews

Todd Rutherford placed fake book reviews

Does anyone read a book based on a review?

I do not as book reviews are meaningless.

Often they are pretentious crap. Try listening to the pretentious crap on BBC Radio 4 Front Row (especially when presented by Mark Lawson) and you get the idea. A programme that should have been scrapped years ago, as too often scraping the bottom of the barrel to pad out the programme.

A deposit in the Favour Bank. You write a good review of my book and I will return the favour.

A hatchet job, too often a hack who cannot write, and writes a bad review out of sheer spite.

Too often the reviewer has not read the book, or if they have they have completely failed to comprehend what the writer has had to say, but they are on a deadline, they are paid to churn out so many words.

The blurb on the back often bears no resemblance to the book. Did the person who wrote the blurb actually read the book? Probably not.

Books are hyped, could be baked beans, a commodity to be flogged, pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap (as Waterstone’s does).

An excellent example of a hyped book is 50 Shades of Crap.

There is now a new category, the paid for book review. A bit like you have an essay to write, you are not up to it, well why not pay someone to write it for you? It is called cheating.

Step forward Todd Rutherford, he offers the best book reviews money can buy. He even set up a website offering his service. He does not only write the reviews, he will place them for you.

He used to try and get books which his company published reviewed. Hard work. Why not do the reviews yourself, cut out the middleman? Why not go one step better and offer a positive review service?

At first, he advertised that he would review a book for $99. But some clients wanted a chorus proclaiming their excellence. So, for $499, Todd Rutherford would do 20 online reviews. A few people needed a whole orchestra. For $999, he would do 50.

Before he knew it he was raking in $28,000 a month!

According to  Bing Liu, a data-mining expert at the University of Illinois, Chicago, the wheels of online commerce run on positive reviews

The New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell wrote in 1964:

If there was anything the human race had a sufficiency of, a sufficiency and a surfeit, it was books … the cataracts of books, the Niagaras of books, the rushing rivers of books, the oceans of books, the tons and truckloads and trainloads of books that were pouring off the presses of the world at that moment … [so few would be] worth picking up and looking at, let alone reading.

Most of these books went to be pulped.

What Joseph Mitchell saw as a torrent, was a mere trickle to what we have today, a flood of books of Biblical proportions, thanks to self-publishing, now hyper-charged with e-publishing. And I am not counting blogs and tweets.

In 2006, before Amazon supercharged electronic publishing with the Kindle, 51,237 self-published titles appeared as physical books, according to the data company Bowker. Last year, Bowker estimates that more than 300,000 self-published titles were issued in either print or digital form.

It seems lost on those churning out this rubbish, that a) you have to be able to write and b) you have to have something interesting to say.

In theory a good review sorts out the wheat from the chaff. The job of a good editor in the days of gentleman publishers, when publishing was owned by people who understand and appreciated good literature, now we have the Murdoch family and other spivs and philistines out to make a fast buck with the latest best-seller, me-too copycat novel, and the pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap mentality of chains like Waterstone’s.

Job opportunities for hacks are a rarity these days with provincial papers going under and salaries no better than flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

With the service he was offering Todd Rutherford soon realised he needed help. He advertised on Craiglist for hacks. Within 24 hours, 75 wannabe hacks had taken the bait. He was offering $15 for a favourable review, a less than favourable review got half that. No surprise then the hacks churned out glowing testimonials for the books they were paid to review.

One of the reviewers earnt herself $12,500 in a few months. It goes without saying she did not read the books. She is co-founder of a PR company!

The end came crashing down when a young Oregon woman Ashly Lorenzana wrote about life as a working girl,  Sex, Drugs & Being an Escort. She did not feel she had got what she had paid for and said she could get a better service for $5.

The website is now for sale.

But not deterred, Todd Rutherford is developing a service where, for $99, he blogs and tweets about a book.

The word fraud comes to mind.

That is where bandcamp is a big plus. You listen, you decide, and if you like, you can download, share with your friends.

TripAdvisor is plagued by fake reviews and not enough is being done to weed them out.

There are glowing reviews, all singing from the same hymn sheet, clearly put there at the behest of the owner or management of the business.

There are bad reviews, owners of rival businesses dishing the competition.

Then there are the trolls.

There is also the problem of competence. Is someone who eats at KFC or McDonald’s capable of writing restaurant reviews?

Spam tweets offer twitter followers for sale. I block and report as spam. Any suspicious followers on twitter I delete.

If you have something worthwhile to say, people will follow you, they will re-tweet what you tweet. If you do not have anything worthwhile to say, do not tweet.

Tweetlevel is a better measure than crude number of followers.

All the reviews here, opinions, are genuine, nothing has been paid for!

Twitter, NBC, and the “Streisand Effect”

August 2, 2012

By now you probably know at least the outlines of the recent controversy surrounding Twitter, NBC, censorship, and the Olympics.

Let’s very quickly review.

Unlike virtually every other broadcaster on the planet covering the Olympics, NBC decides to delay and edit all non-Internet Olympic programming for prime time, explicitly suggesting that American audiences are “too stupid” to understand events such as the opening ceremonies without NBC’s “expert editing and commentary.” NBC raises ire in England when they cut a tribute to terrorism victims from the delayed, edited, U.S. version.

NBC proclaims that their approach has been vindicated, since viewership of their bastardized coverage is breaking records, and since they’re in business primarily to make money, not to serve viewers in any case. Observers note that since most viewers didn’t know how to use the Internet to find “illicit” live feeds, they’re like any hungry person — they’ll eat what’s put in front of them.

A journalist upset about NBC’s handling of Olympic coverage sends out a Twitter tweet with an NBC executive’s corporate email address, suggesting that viewers let him know how they feel about NBC’s coverage.

Twitter suspends the journalist’s Twitter account, claiming he violated Twitter terms of use related to “private information” and “information not already published on the Internet publicly.”

Mass interest in the story ensues, making the NBC executive’s email address one of the best known in the world.

NBC claims they only filed a complaint about the journalist’s tweet after Twitter itself suggested they do so, and NBC says they did not realize this would result in the journalist’s Twitter account being suspended.

Twitter admits that their team partnering with NBC for the Olympics did indeed notice the “offending” tweet and suggested to NBC that a complaint be filed. Twitter stipulates that while it’s possible to argue about whether the specific email in question actually contained private information, it was clearly wrong for the Twitter team to have triggered this chain of events.

Journalist’s Twitter account is restored (this might have happened anyway after a warning, according to normal Twitter policy).

I’m very pleased to see that Twitter has clearly admitted that proactive stream monitoring and dispute filing of this sort by Twitter itself are inappropriate, and that they will take steps to avoid this sort of confrontation in the future. The confidence of Twitter’s user community is perhaps its most crucial asset — once really lost it may be difficult or impossible to regain.

Of perhaps broader long-term interest is the whole question of public information and censorship on the Internet.

We can make short order of the “was it public?” question in this particular case.

The NBC exec’s corporate email address was of the form “” — a format that is not only highly standardized for public email addresses, but explicitly exposed on NBC Universal’s own media contact Web page.

What’s more, in this case the executive’s address was already specifically noted on various Web pages (including a page protesting NBC from 2011), making his address public by an even more obvious measure.

An argument has been made that his address didn’t appear on many pages, so it wasn’t “widely” known.

I don’t know what “widely” is supposed to actually mean in this context, but the bottom line is that a simple search would find his email address in seconds, so the absolute number of pages where the address appeared is really utterly irrelevant. One is as good as a thousand from the searcher’s standpoint.

Clearly, this email address was public. Twitter could have quickly made this determination to a reasonable level of confidence.

Which leads us to another question.

What if the journalist in this case hadn’t tweeted the actual email address, but rather tweeted the simple search terms required to find the address? What would Twitter have done in that case?

I don’t know the answer to this one, but the question itself points to the fundamental issue.

Attempts to control the dissemination of information on the Internet that has already been made public, are almost always doomed.

As regular readers probably know, I call this concept “public is public.”

We can be upset that certain information is out there, we can wish it weren’t,
we can dream of turning back the clock and stuffing the genie back into the bottle.

None of this will usually make any difference at all, except that efforts to limit the spread of such information will often trigger the notorious “Streisand Effect.”

The Streisand Effect — named for entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose efforts to block the dissemination on the Net of information regarding her Malibu home led to vastly more attention to that property than would have been the case if she hadn’t complained in the first place.

We see this sort of situation play out in various related forms again and again.

Efforts to takedown already published data result in even more copies appearing all over the Web, creating an impossible Whac-A-Mole nightmare for anyone trying to remove the data, and sometimes media attention that attracts orders of magnitude more people who then access the data.

In the NBC/Twitter case, that tweeted email address would have likely had virtually no impact if Twitter hadn’t suspended the account, creating a cause célèbre in the process.

That’s not to say that Twitter — like all Web services — doesn’t have a legitimate responsibility to act in cases of actual, real abuse.

But it’s important for us all to suppress the urge to err on the side of censorship, on the side of control. This is especially true considering the reality — like it or not — that once information is out there on the Net, it is in most cases effectively indelible, and that efforts to retroactively delete such data will not only almost always fail, but can easily do a great deal of collateral damage to innocents in the process.

You need not necessarily revel in this state of affairs, but it is the reality, and to fight against it is like trying to hold back the ocean with a sandcastle.

As always, I appreciate your thoughts on this and other issues, at my own email address of

And that’s one address you can share without fear of page takedowns, account suspensions, or even guilty feelings in the dead of night.



Posted by Lauren Weinstein on his blog.

#NBCFAIL Abysmal London 2012 coverage by NBC

July 30, 2012
twitter fail

twitter fail

London 2012 twitter fail

London 2012 twitter fail

London 2012 NBC greed

London 2012 NBC greed

London 2012 NBC fail

London 2012 NBC fail

NBC tape delay coverage is like the airlines: its interest is in giving you the least satisfactory service you will still come back for. – James Poniewozik, Time magazine TV critic

Who is running NBC? It appears to be entering the final for Olympic reputational meltdown in several categories at once. — julia hobsbawm

If we cannot rely on Twitter to protect our free speech, then it is no platform at all. #twitterfail #nbcfail. Prove me wrong, please. — Jeff Jarvis

If there was a gold medal for bad TV coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games then NBC would be the winner.

The delay to viewers is so bad that it is better to get live coverage on twitter.

Why a delay? Well it is all about greed. Slip in a few commercials, well actually quite a lot of commercials, 20 minutes of commercials per hour, and show at peak viewing times not when the events take place, then just to rub the viewers nose in it, announce the results on news bulletins before you show the ‘live’ event.

The opening ceremony was not streamed online.

One blogger had this to say:

I still haven’t seen the opening ceremony from Beijing (same reasons, same perp), and I missed the one last night too. Well, I didn’t miss it exactly. When my tweet stream started lighting up late yesterday afternoon with visions of giant babies and Voldemort and flying bicycles and all the other British trippiness I ran to my TV. Work can wait, I want to see this! But I was blocked at every turn. Like an Iranian dissident I finally managed via a secret proxy to get a glimpse. But it lasted only a moment before some well-compensated gatekeeper sussed it out and blocked my subversive stream. I couldn’t deal with the asymmetry of the commentary without the thing, so I just shut down Twitter. Did you know that the in order to use the official iPhone and iPad apps from NBC to live stream events you have to subscribe to a particular set of cable companies, and furthermore you have to be subscribed to a short list of pay channels? The web is no more an open network. It has been reduced (and diminished) to mere media pipe that connects (only) to your monopoly owned app – It’s like the AT&T of old.

For the opening ceremony, instead of letting viewers sit back and enjoy it, they had to chat over the top. The assumption being the average American is too stupid to know what is going on (possibly true).

Not that the NBC presenters actually knew what they were talking about.

The appearance of Brunel: Oh my God, what is George Washington doing there?

For Tim Berners-Lee: Who is he?

I have paraphrased, but you get the gist and yes, it was this bad.

But the worst gaffe of the opening night was extremely offensive. The day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games, bombs went off in London, on the Tube and on a bus.

I travelled on the affected Tube line not long after and it was like travelling on a ghost train.

NBC edited out a tribute to those who were killed by the 7/7 bombings!

Now imagine had it been the other way around, the Olympics had been held in New York (God forbid) and the BBC had edited out a tribute to the victims of the 9/11 plane crashes.

We know what would have happened. All hell would have broken out.

The focus in the US has mainly been on the atrocious coverage, but for the treatment of the victims of 7/7 all I can express is disgust. It is difficult to see how NBC could have sank so low. And to date they have failed to apologise, merely come out with pathetic excuses.

Such though has been the outcry at their failings there is now a twitter hashtag of #nbcfail for people to use when venting their frustration on NBC.

What has been the reaction of NBC, have they got their act together? No, Instead they have run crying to twitter to have critical accounts blocked and twitter to their shame have acceded to the request.

Guy Adams, Los Angeles bureau chief for The Independent, lost access to his Twitter account because he revealed the corporate email address of an NBC executive Gary Zenkel ( on Twitter after complaining about the network’s Olympic coverage, he savaged NBC for making people on the West Coast wait six hours to watch the opening ceremonies and shared NBC Olympics.

People posting hate tweets and using twitter to abuse people is ok, but use your twitter account to highlight that NBC is not up to the job and your account gets blocked.

The same treatment has been meted out by twitter to those critical of the Olympic Games.

So much for twitter promoting free speech and being a neutral platform.

Twitter is now coming under as much fire as NBC. And deservedly so.

What we are seeing once again is the obscenity and all pervasive stench of corporate sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics. The parent company of NBC is one of the corporate sponsors.

Corporate sponsors of London 2012 Games do not own the Games, even though they behave as though they do.

Unlike the backward NBC which has nothing but contempt for its viewers and free speech, the BBC is trialling the broadcast of the future.

The 1948 Olympics saw outside broadcast TV. The 1984 Olympics saw HD which only now is coming into widespread use.

For London 2012 BBC is filming in Super High Vision (16x resolution of HD) and with 22.1 sound channels.

The difference between the BBC was expressed eloquently by Jeff Jarvis:

BBC is supported by its viewers’ fees. So the argument is that the BBC serves viewers because they’re the boss while NBC serves advertisers because they pay the bills.

For one the guiding principle is public service, the other it is greed.

That is why the bandcamp model works so well for musicians. If people listen, share and download music, the musicians do well, if the musicians do well, bandcamp does well.

Media savvy users in the US are turning their backs on the crap NBC London 2012 coverage and using TunnelBear and StreamVia to access the BBC superior coverage.

Using internet and social media

July 13, 2012
West End Centre cultural oasis in the cultural wasteland of Aldershot

West End Centre cultural oasis in the cultural wasteland of Aldershot

SHOCK NEWS! Twitter late at night is not a sedative. — West End Centre, 1-46am 10 July 2012

@keithpp what’s on details are on website. That is where you will find all the facts. . — West End Centre, 10 July 2012

Tweet us your favourite thought for today… — West End Centre, 1 July 2012

Is going to penalties footballers’ equivalent of an encore? — West End Centre, 24 June 2012

..and don’t forget farnborough event tomorrow either… — West End Centre, 22 June 2012

There are those who know how to make effective use of the internet and see what is has to offer: Paulo Coelho, Andrew Dubber, Steve Lawson, Imogen Heap, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood.

They see the benefits internet has to offer to creative artists.

There are those who see the internet as a threat to their business model, they fail to see the world has moved on, they try to criminalise people.

When Paulo Coelho saw a man on the street selling pirate copies of his books, he went over to have a chat, he wanted to talk to the man. But the man saw it as a threat, ran away. Paulo Coelho wanted to thank him for taking the trouble to make more people aware of his books.

When people download music from Steve Lawson and share it with their friends, he does not think OMG, this must be stopped. He is pleased that they are taking the trouble to tell people about his music. No one tells it better than the people who like it.

Marketing people and PR and lobbyists I ignore. They are paid liars.

Critics I ignore. They rarely know what they are talking about.

If people tell me read this book, listen to this music, I usually ignore them too.

I make my own mind up what to read, what to listen to.

There are though rare exceptions. A friend has a vast record collection. If he says something is worth listening to I will give it a listen.

When a friend gave me The Eight to read, I read it. She brought if from the US to Istanbul. I passed it on and it is now in Moscow.

The best advice to a musician is be on twitter. It is far more important to be on twitter than a record label. You do not need a record label, but you do need twitter.

But if you feel you really need to be on a record label, then sign up to Any And All Records.

Having a twitter account is not in itself enough, you have to use it effectively. What is it you do? Only you know the answer, but that is what you tweet about. If you are a baker you tweet about bread. A restaurant the dish of the day. A musician the latest album you have released, the next gig.

Social networks, split it down.

  • social – interaction
  • networks – many to many

It is not broadcast, one to many.

Do not tweet drivel. Not unless you want to piss people off, be followed by trolls and be seen by the people you need to communicate with as a total dick head.

One of the worst examples I have seen of the use of twitter is by the West End Centre, a cultural oasis in the wasteland of Aldershot. Occasional useful tweets lost in a sea of juvenile drivel. If the West End personnel wish to tweet juvenile drivel to their mates, that is fine, but do so from your own personal account, not an official account.

Asked repeatedly to please restrict to what is on and other useful, relevant information, their response was look at our website, do not follow us, our customers like our informal style.

Style is not a problem, it can be formal or informal, content does matter.

Yes, you can go to their website. Twitter should be to compliment their website, to deliver timely information.

Yes, you do do not have to follow them on twitter. But if everyone took that advice, they would have no followers. One assumes they want followers, want people to attend their venue, but people will only do that if they know what is on.

Anyone who has the audacity to highlight the West End Centre as an example of poor use of social media gets subject to a torrent of orchestrated abuse.

Some people like a venue, like the buzz, the atmosphere, meet their mates, it is almost irrelevant what is on.

With a few notable exceptions, I am the opposite. I will only go if there is something worth going to. I am hard to reach. But if you get me there, and I like, I am more likely to tell others.

The Barn is a cutural space in Farnham. Literally a barn. It is hidden in a courtyard, blink as you walk by and you would miss it. The West End Centre would be well advised to look at how they use twitter (unless of course they wish to remain a laughing stock).

The only criticism I would make of The Barn is that too often they tweet a link and nothing more. They need to say what it is about, else why visit, or you visit and find of no interest and will be less inclined to follow the next time. Nothing worse than wasting time following dead ends. Also make use of hashtags to reach beyond their followers.

For a musician being on bandcamp is as essential as being on twitter. People can listen to your music (I assume you want people to listen to it), can share with their mates (no one can like your music until they have heard it), can download high quality audio files, buy albums.

Although you do see the posting of individual tracks on bandcamp, it is primarily for albums. For tracks, work in progress, soundcloud is better, and you can always then collect together into an album on bandcamp.

For writers, the equivalent of bandcamp is wattpad, though personally I like bandcamp a lot more than wattpad.

This month bandcamp passed an amazing milestone: $20 million direct into the pockets of grass roots musicians.

If you can produce high quality video, then vimeo and youtube are a must. Please do not upload rubbish from a mobile phone from a pub. You are not doing yourself any favours. If you are good, then you want people to see you are good. If you are crap, well there is not a lot can be done, but as they say, practice makes perfect.

The Crypt Sessions are a good example of excellent videos.

If you were applying for a job, you do not perform at your worst, not unless it is the local Job Centre forcing you to apply for some McShit job you do not want.

A blog is useful, but only if you have something worthwhile to say and can write (or if you cannot write you have to have something very worthwhile to say).

I was talking to a guitarist busking on the street. He said he wrote a blog. He was busking around Europe, he wrote about the places he visited.

An excellent blog and a must for musicians, is the blog written by bass-player Steve Lawson.

Another good blog is that written by nine-year-old Martha Payne. She is currently on holiday and has invited in guest bloggers. NeverSeconds has clocked up over 7 million hits!

For a how to then Music in the Digital Age by Andrew Dubber is a must read!

A picture tells a story. For individual pictures use twitpic, for albums flckr or facebook.

With facebook beware it is a walled garden, you do not wish to see people forced to join to see your pictures. Construct tunnels through the wall.

The one place not to be apart from legacy reasons is myspace.

Then tie it all together. In the blog embed an album from bandcamp. Tweet about the gig you have just written about on your blog.

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