World Wide Web

“We should be very afraid”…apparently

Why does TVNZ continue to parade Labour flunkies before us and pretend they aren’t. This one says we should be afraid.

Some government departments now have the ability to monitor New Zealanders’ online movements.

ONE News has revealed three ministries are trialling a system that’s catching public messages posted on social media.

Every tweet, Facebook post and video uploaded to YouTube could be of interest to government agencies.

“We should be very afraid. Now why are they doing this?” says Michael Bott, human rights lawyer.

Michael Bott is a failed Labour party candidate, and now he suggests we should be afraid that someone can hoover up publicly available tweets and Facebook messages.  Read more »

Twitter trying to deal with online abuse and bullying in Australia

Twitter is moving to ban online abuse and implement systems to control online bullying using their service.

INTERNET giant Twitter has moved to ban online abuse, as the Federal Government called on it to establish an Australian outpost to deal with community concerns.

The development came as still more victims of cyber hate campaigns came forward yesterday, including top surfer Laura Enever and TV personality Nathan Jolliffe.

Three days after The Daily Telegraph launched its #StoptheTrolls campaign, a Twitter spokeswoman finally responded to questions yesterday, saying the company was taking the issue of online harassment seriously.

“We take this issue extremely seriously and have recently updated our abuse policy to make targeted abuse against our terms of service,” Twitter spokeswoman Rachel Bremer said.

She did not specify when the policy was updated or what specifically had changed, however Twitter’s rules of engagement now clearly state: “Technical abuse and user abuse is not tolerated on Twitter.com, and will result in permanent suspension.”

Rules also include: “You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others” and “you may not publish or post other people’s private and confidential information”.  Read more »

Chart of the Day – Blogs Influence Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions

I found a very interesting article about the influence of blogs. Which is funny because I was once told by a media buyer that blogs were irrelevant.

The latest findings from Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report show that “consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase.”

In fact, blogs rank favorably with consumers for trust, popularity and even influence.

pr-success-for-inflluencers Read more »

Better commenters use pseudonyms, and Facebook squashes discourse

I use Disqus for my blog comments management. It continues to improve and adds significant additional functionality to the site without a massive overhead of extra plugins.

Disqus has conducted some research that shows that commenters using pseudonyms are “the most important contributors to online communities.”

The service gives each user the option of commenting with a Disqus account, a social media identity or anonymously. It says 61 percent of commenters use pseudonyms, 35 percent choose to be anonymous and 4 percent use their “real identity” verified by Facebook. It also says those with pseudonyms post the best comments, while anonymous comments are lower quality. One theory: People don’t mind being accountable online, but they don’t want it to blow back on their work or personal lives by using a real identity. A pseudonym protects them while providing a measure of accountability.

Once people settle on a pseudonym I think they do take more ownership of their comments. The anonymous cowards tend to junk up the comments and their flame attempts become frustrating to those who are trying to engage properly.

TechCrunch rolled out Facebook Comments in a bid to rid themselves of trolls and abuse. Facebook Comments of course works on publishing, in most instances, the real credentials of a commenter. hOw did that work out for them…turns out not so well:  Read more »

About Anonymous Blogging

When I first started the Blog I did so under a pseudonym…I did it for a number of reasons. The main one though was that I knew that no matter what I said or did people would say it was my father speaking or that I was doing his bidding. Likewise I used the pseudonym so no one would hold him accountable for what I had to say or did. So when I started blogging it was under the pseudonym Whaleoil.

Eventually I registered a domain name and people then found out who I was and as I predicted the accusations started. To this day whenever there is something that I have said that upset the more sensitive types they suggest that my father put me up to it or that he somehow can control a 43 year old man who lives his own life with a family of his own. It actually says a great deal about their sad little life that they believe the father is the man or the man is the father.

Anyone who knows me and knows my politics knows that Dad and I are seldom in agreement, and haven’t been since I was able to voice an opinion….though I must say he has become more tolerant of my view in recent times.

Anyway I thought I would share that because I read a post about anonymous or at the least pseudonymous blogging:

There’s something freeing, to be sure, about being able to say anything you want. You can engage in unfounded name-calling, or intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, or just generally behave like a twelve year old. And no one will know it’s you. And that’s why I don’t read many blogs that are written by people who prefer to remain anonymous or who write under pseudonyms when there isn’t really any reason for them to do so. In fact, I don’t think there are any blogs I read on a daily basis whose authors are anonymous. The anonymous or pseudonymous blogs are often just filled with cruelty, name-calling, and bad arguments. Indeed, there are a great many people who choose to write under an assumed name because they want to harrass or offend others.

I thought about that…and realised that the answer to the complaint that many in the left wing have about myself and David Farrar being int he media a great deal commenting is that we are in the media precisely because we are known, and we are prepared to wear our beliefs and opinions publicly. An anonymous blogger can hardly appear int he media. It is perhaps the single biggest reason that there is so few commenters fromt he left appearing, mostly because they are anonymous cowards.

Which leads into the argument for anonymous and pseudonymous blogging:

We’ve created a space where you can actually think and be different, be free of the norms, hierarchies and prohibitions of the “real” world, and be able to imagine alternative horizons of possibility. If you would really be willing to undo all of that just to prevent people from calling each other names on a comment board, you should really take a look at your priorities.

Which of course is complete bollocks. This is the exact reasoning behind the majority of the Labour and Union flunkies at The Standard remaining anonymous. They believe their anonymity means they create better writing. It is a specious argument and one that largely leads to their blogs becoming echo chambers.

I believe that if more of them “came out” that there would be a better more honest, reasoned, political discourse in the NZ blogosphere.

Begging for users won’t work

Check this begging video from Microsoft….to get people to use their Internet Explorer browser:

I’m not convinced…and not likely to ever be. Certainly not by hipsters who love cats in police uniforms.

Boris Johnson on Facebook and innovation

Boris Johnson has a wonderful way with words as he discusses the wonders of capitalism and why the British will never invent a Facebook. His explanation has many echoes for modern New Zealand too, where Labour and others constantly seek to destroy wealth.

As we gaze in stupefaction across the Atlantic at these spooling zeroes, we are forced to ask ourselves an embarrassing question: why isn’t Mark Zuckerberg British? There seems no reason in principle why we should not be equally blessed with the entrepreneurial drive that has produced Facebook, Google, Twitter and other such zillionaire-spawning companies. We have the right timezone for an international media giant; we speak the world’s language; our capital is one of the safest and most liveable big cities in the world. We have all sorts of geniuses installing themselves in the vicinity of Shoreditch’s Silicon Roundabout, and no less an authority than Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales says that London is now the world’s best place for an internet start-up.

It is not as though we lack potential Zuckerbergs. Our universities are pullulating with brilliant young men in T-shirts who like playing Call of Duty and have slight difficulties with girls. We are fantastically fecund at coming up with new games and new apps. The very concept of the World Wide Web was devised by London-born Sir Tim Berners-Lee. So why isn’t there a British Facebook? Why aren’t these billions about to explode into the pockets of people in this country?

Well, to see the answer, you have to go back to The Social Network, the wonderful film about the birth of the company. It was about the war between Zuckerberg and the preppy Winklevoss brothers over the paternity of Facebook. It was a feud that began at Harvard, and in many ways the environment resembled Oxbridge – gowns, rowing, fusty old traditions, oak-panelled dining halls. And yet what struck me as deeply un-British, and unlike Oxbridge, was the maniacal determination of these undergraduates to get rich, the single-mindedness with which they set about it – and their unalloyed joy in success. Making money seemed to them a good thing, even a great thing, and these days it is not clear how widely shared that assumption is in this country.

Let us imagine a British Zuckerberg. He and his fellow billionaires would be the object not just of envy, but of resentment. There would be debates in Parliament, instigated by Ed Miliband, about the scale of his prospective wealth, and whether it was tolerable in a fair society. Wherever he lived, the British Zuckerberg would be tracked down by anti-capitalist protesters, and even now, in all likelihood, the pop-up tents would be appearing on his lawn. His new-found wealth, in short, would not be the subject of simple amazement. It would provoke amazement and a fair degree of rage; and that – to put it mildly – is not a climate that is conducive to wealth creation.

It is one thing to object to bonuses that are explicitly funded by the taxpayer. It is another thing to start attacking “Mammon” of any kind – because as my old schoolmate Ed Miliband has found, it is very hard to make a distinction between “good” enterprises and “bad” enterprises, between good money and bad money, between profit that is socially useful and profit that is not socially useful. In the general confusion, there is a danger that banker-bashing will metastasise into an all-round scorn for all varieties of money-making instinct – and I can’t believe that is in the economic interests of the country.

We need to stop wasting our energy in hating the disgusting affluence of the top 1 per cent, and we need to start doing more for the bottom 20 per cent. The poor and needy will always deserve help, in taxation and in philanthropy – but we can’t expect to generate either, on the scale of the Americans, if we continue to denigrate wealth-creators. In the US, unemployment is now falling sharply, in contrast to Europe and indeed to this country. Jobs are being created, not least because America is full of people who are not only scrabbling to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but who know that if they make it they will receive admiration from their fellow Americans, rather than chippiness and disgust.

I have no idea whether the myriad Facebook investors are correct in their potential valuation of this company. I don’t pretend to grasp the economics of the web, which seems to me to be a colossal destroyer of value, reducing the price of text, music, images and voice telephony to virtually nil. But one thing is for sure. If the Facebook bubble bursts, the investors won’t blame Zuckerberg. They will shrug their shoulders and gamble on something else.

It’s called capitalism. It’s about ideas, energy, innovation and reward, and we need to remember that for all its defects, humanity has yet to come up with a better way to run an economy.

Only in France

via Boing Boing

Only the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys could stuff up so badly.

 A French commercial court has found Google guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application and ordered it to pay a fine and damages to a French mapping company.

In a ruling Tuesday, the Paris court upheld an unfair competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against Google France and its parent company Google Inc. for providing free web mapping services to some businesses.

The court ordered Google to pay 500,000 euros ($660,000) in damages and interest to the plaintiff and a 15,000 euro fine.

The French company provides the same services for a fee and claimed the Google strategy was aimed at undercutting competitors by temporarily swallowing the full cost until it gains control of the market.

“This is the end of a two-year battle, a decision without precedent,” said the lawyer for Bottin Cartographes, Jean-David Scemmama.

“We proved the illegality of (Google’s) strategy to remove its competitors… the court recognised the unfair and abusive character of the methods used and allocated Bottin Cartographes all it claimed. This is the first time Google has been convicted for its Google Maps application,” he said.

A Google France spokesman said the company would appeal.

Of course Google could tell the Frnech to nick off, refuse to supply services to their piss-ant failed country and watch as they get left behind.

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Is the golden age of blogging over?

There is a fair bit of commentary around at the moment about the state of blogging. to be fair most of it is in the tech world where there is a sort of consensus that the golden age of blogging, at least from a tech perspective, is over:

The reasons, in brief: many top blogs have sold out; staff turnover saw “star” voices slip off the radar; younger audiences like social networking more; and advertising revenue is increasingly hard to get at.

All the reasons given are true, but they’re not reasons to believe that a golden age has passed. They’re phenomena in their own right, each with its own story, and only the last presenting a barrier to entry for newcomers. Epochal change makes for an epic narrative, but all this adds up to a simpler truth: media is a tough game and you won’t get far by copying what other people did years ago.

I have always said that New Zealand lags about 5 years behind the rest of the world and blogging here is no different. We are just now catching up with the advent of bloggers commentators that has been prevalent int he US and UK for at least 6 years.

Some don’t agree that the golden age is over. I’m with them:

“There are still plenty of people who love to write– not just share, Tweet and comment– for a living, and blogs are still the best platform for that. In many ways, professional blogging is just getting started. It’s a time when new entrants are jumping into the field with bold, fresh ideas, standing on the shoulders of the blogging giants that came before, taking a second stab at reinventing the new media landscape.”

In the 6 years I have been blogging there have been many blogs and bloggers not many of us stick around. There is a reason for that, it is bloody hard work. Your critics are instantaneous and not many can take the constant criticism and especially the nasty hate mail. I keep every email and one day I will publish them all. It will make a book of hate all by itself. This comment at Boing Boing though sums up blogging for me:

There was never a golden age of blogging, just a golden age of mainstream interest in what it all meant. Don’t worry about it; opportunity does not knock but once. You need obsession, a work ethic, and an uncommon voice. That’s tough, but that’s all. The rest is counting the hours, and we’ve all got plenty of those.

So readers what do you think…Has blogging done it’s dash?

Isn't Twitter wonderful

I love the way politicians have embraced Twitter. We get to share their every thought. More importantly we get to engage with politicians in different ways.

Kind of like this exchange between Jacinda Ardern and Regan Cunliffe.

Jacinda Ardern gets spanked on Twitter