Web 2.0

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 »

Sweden taking advice from Mallard?

? Mashable

A SMOG of such epic proportions that only Trevor Mallard could be the one advising Sweden on their social media experiment that has gone spectacularly awry:

The Swedish government has been handing over the?@sweden?Twitter account to a different citizen each week, and this week?s owner is steering the car right off a social media cliff.

The project began?in December, but an article in?The New York Times?brought the story to a new level of prominence Monday after a series of questionable tweets.

Tuesday, the current Swede behind the account,?Sonja Abrahamsson, doubled down on the controversial tweeting, as seen below.

When the project began as a means to promote Sweden as a tourist destination, Thomas Br?hl, CEO of VisitSweden, told?Mashable??No one owns the brand of Sweden more than its people. With this initiative we let them show their Sweden to the world.?

This may not have been what they were hoping for.

Go read the tweets and check the video…


Blogs vs Twitter and Facebook

? Cre8D Design Blog

Rachel Cunliffe blogs about the?differences?between Blogging vs Twitter and Facebook. Rachel did the re-design of this blog and I credit that re-design as one of the reasons why I am now the number 1 blogger. During the design phase Rachel provided some insights into blogging from a design perspective that I hadn’t thought of, we implemented those and they?have?been a big success. the blog is ever evolving…and Rachel continues to provide great advice.

Anyway that is just preamble as away of saying she knows what she is talking about when it comes to Social Media, Blogging and design. Listen to what she says:

  • Blogging requires more thought, reasoning for opinions, refining, details, deep expression and reflection than tweeting. Tweets are valuable for quick (incomplete) thoughts and light conversation but we often need more than that. Tweets are snacks between meals, signposts to feasts. The real banquets are blog posts.?Drew McLellan,?Sean Coates,?Jon Tangerine
  • Blogging helps you find like-minded people to talk to and work with and a sense of community (David Rhoden,?Rian van der Merwe)
  • Blog conversations don?t force you into an artificial relationship like ?Facebook friend? or ?Twitter follower? (David Rhoden)
  • Blogs are in a database that you own and control ? you can edit it or throw it away at any time. (David Rhoden,?Anthony Killeen)
  • Facebook and Twitter aren?t a replacement for your own personal history of things you want to say online. (David Rhoden)
  • Comments and discussions are there in context. (Anthony Killeen)
  • Blog posts are better indexed by search engines. When was the last time you Googled a question and got a Tweet or Facebook status update which answered it? (David Rhoden,?Jeremy Cook)
  • Blog posts are more educational, spread knowledge and are helpful to newbies. (Clive Walker,?Rafael Dohms,?Court Ewing)
  • Blog posts are timeless: they don?t expire. (Rafael Dohms)
  • Blog posts showcase your thinking as a professional and get your name out there. (Rafael Dohms)
  • Blogging takes more courage: tweets are easier to correct. Blogging opens you up to real critique and criticism.?Joe Leech)

There was a sense that true blogging was (and still is) about honesty, learning, growth. It was about opening yourself up to critique and trolls but also finding cheerleaders, mentors and fellow journeyers. There was a sense that we?re missing out on good insightful blog posts being written, and a proliferation of ?Top 10 ways to get people to link up to your blog?.

There was a sadness that blog comments aren?t so lively any more: the comments are disparate, brief and shallow.

I know that every time I blog, I feel rewarded: I?ve thought things through, I?ve learnt things and I?ve worried a teeny bit about what other people are thinking in response.

The best text information I find online is still via blog posts.
The best way I find out about deep thoughts friends or strangers have online is still via blog posts.
The best place to find tutorials, help and ideas is still via blog posts. I may get there via Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, but they?re signposts to the real content.

Snot is Ok on Facebook, but boobs aren’t

Snot is OK on Facebook but plenty isn’t, and now we know exactly how it is all moderated after details were leaked and posted all over the net:

Amine Derkaoui, a 21-year-old Moroccan man, is pissed at Facebook. Last year he spent a few weeks training to screen illicit Facebook content through an outsourcing firm, for which he was paid a measly $1 an hour. He’s still fuming over it.

“It’s humiliating. They are just exploiting the third world,” Derkaoui complained in a thick French accent over Skype just a few weeks after Facebook filed their record $100 billion IPO. As a sort of payback, Derkaoui gave us some internal documents, which shed light on exactly how Facebook censors the dark content it doesn’t want you to see, and the people whose job it is to make sure you don’t.

Facebook has turned the stuff its millions of users post into gold. But perhaps just as important as the vacation albums and shared articles is the content it keeps out of user’s timelines: porn, gore, racism, cyberbullying, and so on. Facebook has fashioned itself the clean, well-lit alternative to the scary open Internet for both users and advertisers, thanks to the work of a small army of human content moderators like Derkaoui.


Blogging synchroncity

Blogging is funny…there are many days when I am writing about something or other and I read in my feeds a post that supports, enlightens or opposes what it was that I was writing about.

Today is no different. This morning I blogged about a stalker, and this afternoon I sat down to go through Mashable and they have an article about fake Facebook profiles and who typically sets them up.

I think the research is flawed. Mostly the people who set up fake profiles are creepy, bunny boiler type personalities intent on stalking. They are up to no good…they are either watching what you are up to but in a sneaky way knowing that due to their own crazy personality flaws and insane behaviour that you would never friend them if you knew who they were.

It is the same kind of behaviour that jealous and bitter ex-wives/husbands exhibit watching every move that their former partner does like they are some sort of crazed minder of their business. Then one day out the blue they just nut off blowing their cover and proving why in reality they are sad, friendless losers and have to pretend otherwise.

I had a mate who used to complain about his ex-wife’s new boyfriends, car, house etc…till I told him to get over himself, he gave her the flick and still he is thinking about her. Close the door and move on….or get back with them if you are so obsessed with their every move.

Then there are the “friends” that simply collect “friends”, the more in?the?news, or famous of high profile the better. Again this behaviour says more about them that it does about me.

Facebook does provide challenges though. I advise anyone who asks, especially politicians that Facebook is not a place for?proselytizing?your ideas. You are either talking with sychophants who agree with your every word or the enemy who are sitting waiting for our next social media screw up. Facebook for politicians should be tight, controlled and family and real friends only.

But then again we are only human and we fall for the trap of faux-popularity. My personal policy is to put it all out there…that way you can’t be blackmailed, can;t be accused of something you aren’t and you are never worried about what someone might say or think.

A good rule of thumb is never put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t put on a postcard…a little dated I know but it still holds true. The point is that anyone can get what you have on Facebook, it just takes time and these days not much of that.

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Social Media and Campaigning

Politicians the world have embraced Social Media but it is fraught with danger.

In the UK Ed Miliband might have stabbed his brother for the leadership of the Labour party but lost out to him for the award for best use of Social Media but also got severely ambushed.

The siblings were finalists in the British Computing Society?s MP Web Awards.

This time it was David who came out on top for the way he uses blogs, Facebook and Twitter to communicate with voters. The former Foreign Secretary was a relatively early political convert to social media and became the first Cabinet minister with a blog in 2007.

?Social media enables politicians to communicate and build a two-way conversation with their constituents and the public ? and that communication is vital,? said David Miliband.

?I?m looking forward to embracing the next wave of apps and online media.?

…This time the battle of the Milibands resulted in a win for the favourite. Since unexpectedly defeating his brother to become Labour leader, Ed Miliband?s use of social media has been sabotaged by political enemies.

His recent?#askEdM Twitter question and answer sessions?were targeted by trolls who bombarded him with embarrassing questions such as, ?do you feel bad about stabbing your brother in the back?? and ?will you be firing the person who suggested this??.

Heh, social media gives access but it also gives access to people like me, we watch, we wait, we slam.

New version of Gmail coming soon

via Mashable:

A new version of?Gmail?featuring a revamped look, redesigned conversation threads and improved search is slated for pending released, according to an official video that was mistakenly posted to Google?s YouTube channel.

Jason Cornwell, user experience designer for Gmail, unveils the new version in the video. The?Google Operating System?blog?spotted?the video and it has since been made private ? but not before YouTube user?crlsndrsjmnzhad time to repost it.

?Oops, you weren?t supposed to see that,? Gmail representative Andrea Freund tells?Mashable. ?Stay tuned, we?ll be sharing more info on Gmail?s new look soon.?

Helping Christchurch and New Zealand Rebuild #eqnz

Like most New Zealanders I have had a feeling of helplessness following the Christchurch earthquake. As much as many of us have wanted to go down there and shovel silt and help people repair their houses, it is not practical. Donations are great but it is not the same as actually doing something physical to help.

It is not just Christchurch that has taken a pounding. New Zealand?s economy has a $16 billion hole in it and this is going to hurt New Zealand for years, even as Christchurch is being rebuilt.

I read a brilliant article in the Sydney morning Herald?by Ben Groundwater entitled Friendliest people on earth need you … to visit:

Over here, calls have been going out for donations to help those affected, but we?ve had our own fair share of natural disasters lately, so it can be hard to keep doling out the dollars.

There is, however, a win-win solution: spend your holidays this year in New Zealand. Give money by injecting it into the economy, and enjoy yourself in the process.

It?s not just friendly people you?ll find in NZ ? that?s just something I picked out because it was what impressed me the most. Scenery-wise, it?s like a little slice of Europe that?s been dumped in the middle of our ocean. Culture-wise, it?s a rich mix of Maori, Islander and Western customs.

Plus, there are hobbit-infested mountains, beautiful islands,?really high things to throw yourself off of, good wine,?awesome beer, world-class coffee, half-decent rugby players, and loads and loads of sheep.

This has got me thinking about what we can all do to help in the long term, and to grow New Zealand?s economy so we can rebuild Christchurch quicker.

What I have come up with is a massive internet campaign asking people to take holidays in New Zealand. Increased tourist numbers will give a massive boost to our economy, and is the one way our friends overseas can personally help us.

So I am asking all my family overseas to come home for their holidays every holiday for the next few years to show they care. I am asking my kiwi mates overseas to do the same thing. And I am asking all my foreign mates to come here for their holidays to help us all out.

I?ll be doing this with my blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. I?ll email all my friends in the next week or so, and I will call a few people too.

Can you all consider posting something along these lines, and encourage your readers to change their facebook status to

?Help New Zealand Rebuild. Take your next holiday in New Zealand?

Help New Zealand Rebuild. Take your next holiday in New Zealand

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And they wonder why I call them repeaters

Last week I blogged about Len Brown’s Christmas card and three days later the Herald on Sunday has a story about the very same thing. Google Len Brown Christmas Card and see what Google thinks. The Whale on top and The Herald several links down the page.

Yesterday I blogged about Japhet Simiona being hailed as a success story in a school bullying project. I broke that story, I published it first and loe and behold a NZ Herald repeater goes and does a story about the exact same thing. Now this is news and all good that it is exposed, but a little credit where credit is due is in order I think. (Note all the links…that’s how modern media does things)

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have broken stories and the repeaters ahve follwoed along one, two or even a week later. It would be nice of them to insert a line acknowledging where they heard about it from.

The thing is I know they heard about it from me?first, because they all follow my Twitter account and read my Facebook wall. I’m sure as hell not following them on Twitter.

When bloggers use news stories to highlight their opinion they politely provide a link to the source story, it would nice if churnalists and repeaters did the same.

I might have to start billing I think. Either that or the various schools of churnalism start teaching these chumps about ethics, how to google, how to link to sources and other useful topics instead of them sitting on Facebook and Twitter hoping a story will?land?in their lap.

UPDATE: Just had an email from Jared Savage…he has said that he got the story from other sources…and that he was going to email me last night because he knew I would do a post like this lol…?Good?on Jared for emailing me.

How to stop Julian Assange

Bruce Simpson at Aardvark has?stumbled?on the ultimate solution for stopping Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

The US government has a problem, a big problem.

Some little Aussie upstart by the name of Julian is telling all their secrets to an eager world.

He’s dumped hundreds of thousands of supposedly confidential communiques onto the internet and the US administration seem powerless to stop him.

Sure, they’ve exerted pressure on the likes of PayPal and MasterCard in an attempt to choke off the supply of money. They’ve recruited the patriotic support of Amazon to throw him out of their cloud, and they’ve even managed to coerce the English and Swedish authorities into arresting him on some allegations of sexual offending.

But so far, all this has proven is that the US government is completely incapable of reigning in the actions of Mr Assange and the Wikileaks organisation.

I think it’s time they called in the big guns.

And, when you consider how many people have been hung, drawn and quartered by the US justice system for allegedly downloading the occasional $1 music track, I think we know exactly who to call.

Heh…I can see where this is going.

The RIAA/MPAA consortium has been able to achieve things that nobody else in the world has.

They’ve been able to accuse people of crimes and then, with little more than anecdotal evidence, have those people hit with astoundingly high fines and penalties which far exceed the seriousness of their alleged crimes.

Surely, if they put the RIAA/MPAA in charge of handling the thorny issue of Assange, he’d already be rendered powerless and enjoying a little waterboarding in an off-shore US prison somewhere.

I mean, just look?at this case and you’ll see what I mean.

The recording and movie industry has managed to extract such incredible protection from the US government that it is surely now the most powerful “anti-evil” force in the land and thus, the perfect group to scuttle Assange’s attempts to release material that must surely be *copyrighted*, by dint of having already been published to a select few within government.

Ironic isn’t it. For exactly the same reasons as the recording industry can’t stop file sharing Wikileaks is destined to continue. Simon Power should take note in his bizarre attempts to control the internet.