Tag Archives | Social Media

Why We Should Socialize Social Media

internetVia n+1, Benjamin Kunkle argues that social media mega-sites need to be turned into public utilities so as to save us all:

On November 6, Twitter went public, in the private sense. Twitter shares appear ludicrously overpriced. As John Cassidy of the New Yorker calculated, “Investors were paying forty-nine dollars per dollar of revenues, and five hundred and forty-one dollars per dollar of cash flow.” But large for-profit social-media services are contradictory entities at any price, because they attempt to profit from activity that, precisely because it is social, is basically non-economic and non-productive.

The IPOs of Facebook and Twitter should therefore be reversed, through the socialization of both companies and other social-media services that attain a similar scale. The time has come, in other words, to socialize social media.

Social media should be socialized because services tend to be or become monopolies.
Large social media companies—Facebook, Twitter—tend to lack competitors, for the simple reason that their platforms are not compatible.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What Witchcraft Is Facebook? Social Media and Hysterical Illness

800px-hysteria-e1287956169986Laura Dimon (demon?) writes at the Atlantic:

“Eerie and remarkable.”

Those are the words that Robert Bartholomew used to describe this past winter’s outbreak of mass hysteria in Danvers, Massachusetts, a town also known as “Old Salem” and “Salem Village.”

Bartholomew, a sociologist in New Zealand who has been studying cases of mass hysteria for more than 20 years, was referring to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693, the most widely recognized episode of mass hysteria in history, which ultimately saw the hanging deaths of 20 people.

Fast-forward about 300 years to January 2013, when a bizarre case of mass hysteria again struck Danvers. About two dozen teenagers at the Essex Agricultural and Technical School began having “mysterious” hiccups and vocal tics.

“The Massachusetts State Health Department refuses to say publicly,” Bartholomew wrote in an email in late August, “but I have heard from some of the parents privately who say that the symptoms are still persisting.”

The location might be eerie, but Bartholomew is not surprised by the outbreak in the slightest.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The NSA Has Built A Shadow Social Network With Your Profile On It

data_modelSatirical imaginings of the NSA creating its own online social network are actually a fairly accurate depiction of the reality, Techdirt reports:

The NY Times has an article by James Risen and Laura Poitras detailing how the NSA has basically built its own “shadow” social network in which it tries to create a “social graph” of pretty much everyone that everyone knows, foreign or American, and it all happens (of course) without a warrant.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

The policy change came in January of 2011, when the NSA was told it could start creating this massive “social graph” on Americans without having to make sure they weren’t Americans any more.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Fully Externalized And Hollowed Out Being

maskDoes an interior life still exist when all of our motives, quirks, and desires are quantified, quasi-monetary units? Via The New Inquiry, Rob Horning writes:

When the mechanistic imperative has been successfully internalized as the prevailing life style of our society, we shall find ourselves moving through a world of perfected managers, operations analysts, and social engineers who will be indistinguishable from the cybernated systems they assist.

The cybernated system might demand not conformity but constant innovation within constrained categories — the mechanistic imperative could be: CREATE! Creativity in personal expression is not immune to being bureaucratized.

The new fear is not that people will be all the exact same “blank” dispassionate drone — people’s identities are more variegated and articulated than ever — but that they will become indistinguishable from their social-media profiles, the mark of a systematized personality.

Indeed the sites propose that all of identity must be externalized in order to be authentic.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

China Criminalizes Spreading False Rumors Online That Go Viral

online rumorsWill the jails of the future be filled with those condemned for trollcrimes? ZDNet reports:

Online users in China who share false information that is defamatory or affect national interest will face up to three years in prison if their posts are viewed 5,000 times or forwarded 500 times.

This is a new judicial interpretation issued Monday by the country’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which defines the criteria for convicting and sentencing offenders who spread rumors online that defame, blackmail or provoke, China Daily reported.

The judicial interpretation also states that profiting from helping people delete posts is illegal, and anyone who gains more than 20,000 yuan (US$3,270) through this practice will see their case treated as “serious”. So far, prominent Chinese venture capitalist Charles Xue Biqun, investigative journalist Liu Hu, and Weibo users Yang Xiuyu and Qin Zhihui have been arrested and detained for fabricating online rumors.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Social Media Recruiting Grounds for Cults

hare krishna zombieForget tambourines and flowers, the new cults (and some of the old ones) are recruiting via social media.

Via The Kernel:

The days of wearing hooded robes and waiting for initiates to slink furtively into your taffeta-draped S&M temple are, sad to say, long gone. As any cult’s social media manager (bear with us) will tell you, the easiest way to find new members for your crackpot cargo cult is to use websites like Facebook to spread your messages – however bonkers they might be.

The Cult Information Centre defines as a cult as an organisation which among other things uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members.

So who fits the bill? Well, I know they don’t like being referred to as a cult, but the Church of Scientology certainly uses Facebook to share “resources” to both its existing members and people who haven’t encountered the “church” before.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Using Facebook For Witchcraft

CaptainAldenDenouncedOK, it sounds crazy, but sociologist Robert Bartholomew believes that Facebook and other social media platforms can give rise to Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI), also known as Mass Hysteria. Laura Dimon reports for The Atlantic:

“Eerie and remarkable.”

Those are the words that Robert Bartholomew used to describe this past winter’s outbreak of mass hysteria in Danvers, Massachusetts, a town also known as “Old Salem” and “Salem Village.”

Bartholomew, a sociologist in New Zealand who has been studying cases of mass hysteria for more than 20 years, was referring to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693, the most widely recognized episode of mass hysteria in history, which ultimately saw the hanging deaths of 20 women.

Fast-forward about 300 years to January 2013, when a bizarre case of mass hysteria again struck Danvers. About two dozen teenagers at the Essex Agricultural and Technical School began having “mysterious” hiccups and vocal tics.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Israel To Cover Tuition For Students Who Tweet Or Post Pro-Government Content On Social Media

israel

The Washington Post on the new propaganda distribution model:

Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks — without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said Wednesday.

The Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel online. It said students’ messages would parallel statements by government officials.

“This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption,” the statement said.

Israel isn’t the only country to set up such a system. In China, members of the so-called “fifty cent army” sprinkle positive, pro-government messages across the web and social media.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Data Analytics Firm Developing Sarcasm Detection App

shutterstock_656644-e1373035802202Via Slashdot

Oh, look everyone, a Sarcasm Detector. What a useful invention. This will go great for my iPhone!

French tech firm Spotter has apparently devised an analytics platform capable of identifying sarcastic comments, according to the BBC.

Spotter’s platform scans social media and other sources to create reputation reports for clients such as the EU Commission. As with most analytics packages that determine popular sentiment, the software parses semantics, heuristics and linguistics. However, automated data-analytics systems often have a difficult time with some of the more nuanced elements of human speech, such as sarcasm and irony—an issue that Spotter has apparently overcome to some degree, although company executives admit that their solution isn’t perfect.

“One of our clients is Air France. If someone has a delayed flight, they will tweet, ‘Thanks Air France for getting us into London two hours late’—obviously they are not actually thanking them,” Spotter executive Richard May told the BBC.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is Jay-Z Working for the NSA?

magna cartaWe all know that the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) is monitoring social network and other communications activity, so New York Times music critic Jon Pareles takes issue with Jay-Z’s deal with Samsung to make his new album “Magna Carta … Holy Grail” available only if you share all sorts of personal information:

In “Jay’s Back ASAP,” a song on a 2010 mixtape called “Creative Control,” Jay-Z was indignant about phone surveillance and bribing witnesses: “They tap, them feds don’t play fair/They pay rats to say that they’re part of your operation,” he rapped. But to market his new album, “Magna Carta … Holy Grail,” he didn’t exactly stand on principle.

Samsung bought a million downloads of the album, for $5 each, to be given away on July 4 — five days before the album’s official release — through a mobile application, JAY Z Magna Carta, on certain Samsung models.

Read the rest
Continue Reading