Tag Archives | Social Networking

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.

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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.

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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.

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How to Become Internet Famous for $68

via Quartz plastic_face

Santiago Swallow may be one of the most famous people no one has heard of.

His eyes fume from his Twitter profile: he is Hollywood-handsome with high cheekbones and dirty blond, collar-length hair. Next to his name is one of social media’s most prized possessions, Twitter’s blue “verified account” checkmark. Beneath it are numbers to make many in the online world jealous: Santiago Swallow has tens of thousands of followers. The tweets Swallow sends them are cryptic nuggets of wisdom that unroll like scrolls from digital fortune cookies: “Before you lose weight, find hope,” says one. Another: “To write is to live endlessly.”

Swallow is a pure product of the Internet: a “speaker and thinker,” who specializes in “re-imagining self in the online age,” an apparent star of the prestigious TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference, and a hit at Austin’s annual art, technology and music event, South By South West (SXSW).

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Are Social Networking Websites Doomed?

social networkingSocial networking was supposed to gradually take over more and more aspects of our lives, but instead it may peter out into a sea of old people “liking” promotional posts from corporations.

The answer to the question of what will be the next Facebook could be “nothing”, as younger people appear to be abandoning social networking sites for messaging apps like SnapChat, which doesn’t involve profiles, personal data, companies’ “sponsored stories”, or their parents. Via Buzzfeed:

Facebook is the “most important” social media site for about 10% fewer teenagers than it was a year ago, according to a new PiperJaffray survey of over 5,000 teenagers. The teens surveyed are less interested in Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, and Tumblr too.

This suggests something bigger than a shift away from Facebook; it hints at what could be the beginning of an across-the-board teen rejection of traditional social networking as a whole.

This data measures sentiment, not usage stats.

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Boston Police Pose As Indie Rockers Online In Hilarious Fashion

“Whats the 411 on the local music show tonight?” …Life imitates art as authorities attempt, very poorly, to infiltrate and break up youth subculture by creating imaginary electronic personas, Slate reveals:

Boston police are finding out as their bungling efforts to infiltrate the underground rock scene online are being exposed. A recently passed nuisance control ordinance has spurred a citywide crackdown on house shows—concerts played in private homes, rather than in clubs. The police, it appears, are posing as music fans online to ferret out intel on where these DIY shows are going to take place.

This week the St. Louis band Spelling Bee posted a screencap of emails from an account that they believe was used by the police in a sting before their recent Boston show. It reads like an amazing parody of what you might imagine a cop trying to pose as a young punk would look like:

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NYPD’s New Facial Recognition Unit Using Instagram And Facebook Photos To Identify Suspects

Social networking sites are a great way to meet and connect with new people, such as cops. DNAinfo New York writes:

Police are searching for suspects’ photos on Instagram and Facebook, then running them through the NYPD’s new Facial Recognition Unit to put a face to a name, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Detectives are now breaking cases across the city thanks to the futuristic technology that marries mug shots of known criminals with pictures gleaned from social media, surveillance cameras and anywhere else cops can find images.

[An] official explained how the new technology worked after a recent street robbery where a woman reported her jewelry stolen by her gal pal’s boyfriend. She did not know his name, only that he was likely in photos on his girlfriend’s Facebook page. “We did not have his name, but we found a photo and the Facial Recognition Unit got a hit.”

The new investigative entity was formally launched late last year, with eight cops working in teams of four manning the operations.

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How Your Social Media Score Will Shape Your Life Options

On the intertwining of social capital and literal capital, the Economist reveals:

Facebook data already inform lending decisions at Kreditech, a start-up that makes loans in Germany, Poland and Spain. Applicants are asked to provide access for a limited time to their account on Facebook or another social network. Much is revealed by your friends, says Alexander Graubner-Müller, one of the firm’s founders. An applicant whose friends appear to have well-paid jobs and live in nice neighbourhoods is more likely to secure a loan. An applicant with a friend who has defaulted on a Kreditech loan is more likely to be rejected.

An online bank that opens in America this month will use Facebook data to adjust account holders’ credit-card interest rates. Based in New York, Movenbank will monitor messages on Facebook and cut interest rates for those who talk up the bank to friends. If any join, the referrer’s interest rate will drop further.

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Program Uses Algorithms To Tweet As You After Your Death

If social media is what you did while alive, does this mean you are living forever? CNET News on the app Liveson, which continues to generate tweets based on your personality and syntax, in a sense preserving you into eternity:

You might think your online fans will lose interest when you kick the bucket, but an upcoming app says it will let you keep tweeting from beyond the grave.

LivesOn will host Twitter accounts that continue to post updates when users [die]. Developers claim the app’s artificial-intelligence engine will analyze your Twitter feed, learn your likes and syntax, and then post tweets in a similar vein when you’re gone. You’ll become an AI construct, a proverbial ghost in the machine.

The app will launch in March. People who sign up will be asked to appoint an executor who will have control of the account.

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On The Reputation Score You Will Soon Be Assigned

Via the The New Inquiry, Rob Horning on how Facebooking will be mandatory:

There is good reason to be concerned about the various data pools of personal information being gathered by communications and social-media companies. It’s used to shape the material conditions of our lives — what we see, what we’re permitted to do, who will talk to us, what sort of service we’ll receive.

It’s no coincidence that [social media management site] Reputation.com is joining forces with the credit-score agencies, as the Economist reports. It’s an extension of the same racket, to create a reputation score that is as actionable as a credit score.

If the reputation score is applied to you, you will have to pay to try to improve it or “clean it up.” But for others, such a score can be used to guide decisions about whether you are worth knowing, worth having as a roommate, worth friending on Facebook, worth offering a microloan to, worth renting a space on Air BnB to, etc., etc.

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