Links for April 14th 2009 through April 17th 2009:

  • Digging up dirt: Facebook spies for hire [The Age] – “Large companies and government departments are employing a new Sydney-based company to dig up dirt on staff by spying on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube posts. SR7 specialises in “online risk and reputation management” and claims to be the only company in Australia that actively monitors social networking sites on behalf of companies. It was formed about eight months ago in response to the growing trend for people to take conversations they would have traditionally had with mates at the pub on to their social network profiles. Few people realise these seemingly private sites are still public spaces. If controversial posts leak to the media, it can lead to brands suffering immense damage to their reputations. SR7 director James Griffin said business was booming following recent public relations disasters sparked by the stupid social network behaviour of a few rogue employees.” (The golden rule: if it’s online, presume it’s public!)
  • Twitter activist goes into hiding [The Age] – “The woman behind the mass protests which rocked the capital of Moldova last week has gone into hiding after the so-called “Twitter Revolution” forced a recount of the general election. Natalia Morar, 25, a Moldovan who has already been banned from Russia for opposing the Kremlin, feared arrest after organising a flash mob which ended with 20,000 people storming the parliament building. Protests began after a conversation between Ms Morar and six friends in a cafe in Chisinau, Moldova’s tiny capital, on Monday, April 6, the day after the parliamentary elections. The elections brought a larger-than-expected victory for the incumbent Communist Party. Suspecting vote-rigging, “we decided to organise a flash mob for the same day using Twitter, as well as networking sites and SMS,” …With no recent history of mass protests in Moldova, “we expected at the most a couple of hundred friends, friends of friends, and colleagues”, she said. “When we went to the square, there were 20,000 people””
  • Twitter Gets the Oprah Treatment [Bits Blog – NYTimes.com] – “It is the universal sign of a new idea going mainstream: Oprah Winfrey is bestowing her endorsement on Twitter. The woman who can single-handedly send a new product or book flying off the shelves has just joined Twitter.” I can’t wait for Oprah’s tweet of the month … 😛
  • Disney Templates is Today’s BIG Thing – APR 07, 2009 [Video] – “Looks like the Disney Vault has a purpose after all – to keep us from realizing how similar our favorite classic Disney movies truly are. According to this video, Disney only ever made one movie, and they’ve been tracing it ever since.” [Via]

Links for February 9th 2009 through February 16th 2009:

  • Vigilantes publish alleged arsonist’s image online [The Age] – “Facebook vigilantes, frustrated at a court order protecting a man charged with lighting one of the deadly Victorian bushfires, which killed at least 11 people, have published his photograph and address on the social networking site and threatened his life. The move potentially breaches an order suppressing his image and address amid fears of a violent backlash by angry victims. Victoria Police has contacted Facebook seeking the removal of the details and urged people to let police do their job. This morning the suppression order on naming the man, Brendan Sokaluk, 39, was lifted, but the order remains in place on publishing his street address or his image. At least two Facebook groups have been created to name and shame the alleged arsonist, and thousands of Facebook users have joined them. Membership is growing rapidly as word spreads.” (While I completely understand people’s anger, this sort of social networking lynch mob mentality is really quite dangerous.)
  • Fair Use Held Hostage by ABC-Disney [Just TV] – Jason Mittell’s tale of how aquiring copyright permission from ABC/Disney for a cover image for his new book, Television and American Cuture, became a debacle with Disney refusing to license the cover image unless the publishers licensed every internal Disney image – something that should be covered by fair use – but with the book already at the printers, the publishers gave into Disney’s demands. As Mittell notes, Disney are legally able to do this, but it’s a bit of a slap in the face for fair and educational uses.
  • Murdoch looks for new ways to monetise MySpace traffic [The Age] – “”Rupert Murodch has delivered a sobering assessment about the internet as a growth engine, revealing search and advertising revenues at News Corp’s Fox Interactive Media division – which houses the popular MySpace networking site – have stalled. The new-media unit, which has invested heavily to expand MySpace, contributed just $US7 million ($10.4 million) to News Corp’s $US818 million second-quarter operating income, the company said on Friday. There was a “slight downturn” in revenue at the social networking site, Mr Murdoch said. That compares to $US179 million News Corp made from newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and information services such as the Dow Jones news wire. Asked about his views on the long-term viability of the internet, Mr Murdoch said generating a return on investment for assets such as MySpace, which News Corp bought for $US580 million in 2005, was still a challenge. “I think we have to find new ways to monetise our huge audiences,” he told analysts.”