The Tell-All Generation Learns When Not To, at Least Online [NYTimes.com] – Privacy concerns online cross all generational barrier, despite the myth of the millennial mindset: “The conventional wisdom suggests that everyone under 30 is comfortable revealing every facet of their lives online, from their favorite pizza to most frequent sexual partners. But many members of the tell-all generation are rethinking what it means to live out loud. While participation in social networks is still strong, a survey released last month by the University of California, Berkeley, found that more than half the young adults questioned had become more concerned about privacy than they were five years ago — mirroring the number of people their parent’s age or older with that worry. They are more diligent than older adults, however, in trying to protect themselves.”
Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative [Wired.com] – Ryan Singel takes Facebook to task for the continual failings in respecting user privacy both in terms of their architecture (so many things simply can’t be turned off now) and their policies (basically, screwing with privacy one step at a time, while using a raft of lawyers to ensure it’s not illegal … but maybe unethical). Singel argues that everything Facebook currently provides could be achieved by a series of open tools and protocols which provide real and clear choices about what we do and don’t share with the world. Singel argues we need to make these choices now because Facebook, for many, has almost become our online identity.
Zuckerberg’s Law of Information Sharing [NYTimes.com] – From November 6, 2008: “On stage at the Web 2.0 Summit on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, was cheerfully unruffled. Mr. Zuckerberg pinned his optimism on a change in behavior among Internet users: that they are ever more willing to tell others what they are doing, who their friends are, and even what they look like as they crawl home from the fraternity party. “I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before,” he said. “That means that people are using Facebook, and the applications and the ecosystem, more and more.” Call it Zuckerberg’s Law.” The great thing about controlling the privacy settings for more than 400 million people, is it’s pretty easy to change things so more and more and their information is shared … even if many users don’t understand how and don’t think this is what they signed up for!
The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook [mattmckeon.com] – A really useful inforgraphic by Matt McKeon which demonstrates five stages of Facebook’s default settings and how much information is public by default at each stage (short version: 2005 – not much; 2010 – almost everything!)
Most pirates say they’d pay for legal downloads [News.com.au] – Peer-topeer sharers want legal options in Australia: “Most people who illegally download movies, music and TV shows would pay for them if there was a cheap and legal service as convenient as file-sharing tools like BitTorrent. That’s the finding of the most comprehensive look yet at people who illegally download TV shows, movies and music in Australia, conducted by news.com.au and market research firm CoreData. The survey canvassed the attitudes of more than 7000 people who admitted to streaming or downloading media from illegitimate sources in the past 12 months. It found accessibility was as much or more of a motivator than money for those who illegally download media using services like BitTorrent. More respondents said they turned to illegal downloads because they were convenient than because they were free … [More results here.]
What Happens When You Deactivate Your Facebook Account [Read Write Web] – Facebook is a big part of millions and millions of peoples’ lives, but what happens when you pull the plug? Last night I met a man who walked to the edge of the cliff and nearly deactivated his Facebook account. He took a screenshot of what he saw after clicking the “deactivate my account” link on his account page – and it is pretty far-out. That man considered quitting Facebook because it was having an adverse emotional impact on him and I’ll spare him and his contacts from posting the screenshot he shared with me. I have posted below though a shot of the screen I saw when I clicked that button myself. Check it out. I bet you haven’t seen this screen before, have you? […] Can you believe that? How incredibly manipulative! And what claims to make. Facebook has undoubtedly made it easier to keep in touch with people than almost any other technology on the planet, but to say that leaving Facebook means your friends “will no longer be able to keep in touch with you” is just wrong.”
Return of the natives by Slavoj Zizek [New Statesman] – Slavoj Zizek gets stuck into Avatar: “So where is Cameron’s film here? Nowhere: in Orissa, there are no noble princesses waiting for white heroes to seduce them and help their people, just the Maoists organising the starving farmers. The film enables us to practise a typical ideological division: sympathising with the idealised aborigines while rejecting their actual struggle. The same people who enjoy the film and admire its aboriginal rebels would in all probability turn away in horror from the Naxalites, dismissing them as murderous terrorists. The true avatar is thus Avatar itself – the film substituting for reality.”
Adventures in the Wild, Wild West: Media140 Perth [media140.org] – Official wrap-up post for Perth Media 140 (Feb 2010), including links to pretty much everyone involved and a snappy little video summarising some of the key themes (if you watch closely you can see what 10 seconds of my talking head looks like after presenting a talk in a room which is warmer that 40 degrees Celsius!).
Study: Ages of social network users [Royal Pingdom] – A really useful breakdown of social networking websites by age, including these stats:
“* Bebo appeals to a much younger audience than the other sites with 44% of its users being aged 17 or less. For MySpace, this number is also large; 33%.
* Classmates.com has the largest share of users being aged 65 or more, 8%, and 78% are 35 or older.
* 64% of Twitter’s users are aged 35 or older.
* 61% of Facebooks’s users are aged 35 or older. […]
* The average social network user is 37 years old.
* LinkedIn, with its business focus, has a predictably high average user age; 44.
* The average Twitter user is 39 years old.
* The average Facebook user is 38 years old.
* The average MySpace user is 31 years old.
* Bebo has by far the youngest users, as witnessed earlier, with an average age of 28.”
Twitter Hits 10 Billion Tweets [Mashable] – “It’s official: Twitter has surpassed 10 billion tweets. […] you can tell by the actual tweet ID numbers that we have crossed the magical threshold. The milestone shows that Twitter’s still growing at a rapid pace: it broke 1 billion tweets in November 2008 and 5 billion tweets just four months ago.”
The Director of Downfall Speaks Out on All Those Angry YouTube Hitlers [Vulture – New York Magazine] – “When the Conan-Leno debacle began, two things were certain: One, it would change the face of late night, and two, someone would apply it to the Downfall Hitler meme. When Oliver Hirschbiegel staged the famous bunker scene in his 2004 movie, with Bruno Ganz as Hitler, he wasn’t expecting it to be appropriated for comedy; a dramatic recreation of Hitler’s last stand is not exactly a laugh-out-loud subject. And yet the German filmmaker is pleased, nay, thrilled that YouTube enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret it to address anything from Hillary Clinton’s loss to the Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud. “Someone sends me the links every time there’s a new one,” says the director …”
Phone texting ‘helps pupils to spell’ [BBC News] – “Children who regularly use the abbreviated language of text messages are actually improving their ability to spell correctly, research suggests. A study of eight- to 12-year-olds found that rather than damaging reading and writing, “text speak” is associated with strong literacy skills. Researchers say text language uses word play and requires an awareness of how sounds relate to written English. This link between texting and literacy has proved a surprise, say researchers. These latest findings of an ongoing study at the University of Coventry contradict any expectation that prolonged exposure to texting will erode a child’s ability to spell.”
Serial Boxes [Just TV] – A draft of Jason Mittell’s “Serial Boxes: The Cultural Values of Long-Form American Television” essay which gives a very clear account of the different ways viewers engage with television, especially long-form serial television, in light of the shifts from live viewing as the only (or primary) choice to a market where box-set DVDs and the like encourage quite different modes of reception. Mittell also looks at the ‘re-watch’ projects and notes why they usually fail to sustain their initial enthusiasm and momentum.
Facebook sites inciting anti-Indian sentiment continue to flourish [The SMH] – “Facebook sites inciting anti-Indian sentiment continue to flourish despite protests from Indians in Australia. Groups such as I think Indian People Should Wear Deodorant, Stop Whinging Indians, and Australia: Indians, You Have a Right to Leave, have not been removed. Gautam Gupta, secretary of the Federation of Indian Students, said: “These sites must be shut down but, on the other hand, we must keep track of these hate groups being formed. They can be online or offline. When they’re offline we call them gangs. These are essentially online gangs.” More than half a dozen Australian groups that are specifically anti-Indian are still active on Facebook. On top of that, there are many broadly racist groups, including F— Off – We’re Full and Speak English or Piss Off!!!, which has 54,000 members and is growing at a rate of about 2000 people a week. “I don’t think it’s just a Facebook problem – it’s a social problem, a problem in the society,” Mr Gupta said.”
Food marketing, blogging, and how not to respond to reviews [unwakeable] – Lisa Dempster explains how the over-the-top response of the owners of Melbourne restaurant Lord of the Fries to a fairly harmless review in her blog illustrates how business, restaurants and anyone else should spend a little more time understanding how their customers use and converse using social media. Short version: don’t Twitter angry and then delete critical comments on your own Facebook fan pages!
Warcraft and Twilight Fans Make Wikia Profitable [RW Web] – “According to this year’s Comscore stats, consumer publishing platform Wikia has surpassed DIY social network competitor Ning for monthly unique visitors. Since July 2008 the company’s traffic has more than doubled from 2.8 million to 6.5 million unique US visitors per month. Despite abandoning Wikia search in early March, it seems Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has built another great company. As of this evening, Wikia’s CEO Gil Penchina is announcing the company’s profitability due to its custom sponsorships program. … Best known for its “enthusiast” wikis, Wikia hosts more than 50,000 fan sites including the Star Wars Wookieepedia, Harry Potter Wiki, Twilight Saga Wiki and World of Warcraft WoWWiki.”
Find Creative Commons Images in Google Image Search [Google OS] – "Google Image Search added the option to restrict the results to images that are licensed using Creative Commons, a list of flexible licenses that allow content creators to share their works with the world. The options aren't yet available in the interface, but you can use the search box below to find images that are licensed using some of the most popular Creative Commons licenses…" (I'm looking forward to this being implemented in the advanced search options, it'll make finding CC images even easier!)
UK CVN Killer Flu – Killer Flu game; not bad at breaking past the pandemic hype and seeing how different types of flu can and can't spread and mutate: "Killer Flu!! Or, maybe, “non-killer flu” to describe the current outbreak of swine flu! Here is a game that allows you to learn more about how the influenza virus is transmitted and how it changes every year – which explains why you can get more than one dose of the flu over your lifetime and why vaccines need changing every year. We also hope it will be a bit of fun."
Facebook racial taunts [WA Today] – "A rapidly expanding social networking site has been slammed for its racist taunts against immigrants to Australia. The Facebook Group, F*** Off, We’re Full, has nearly 65,000 members and believes any immigrants coming to Australia must adapt to what it calls the ‘Aussie lifestyle.’ “This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity,” the site states. “As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.” The website is full of debate on its discussion board. The latest topics put up for comment include: Will Indian race-rioters be hunted down? and All foreigners need to be euthanised." (Another disheartening reminder that racism is all too alive in this day and age.)
Twitterers defy China's firewall [BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific] – "On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen killings, social networking sites such as Twitter and the photo-sharing site Flickr were blocked in China in an attempt by the government to prevent online discussion on the subject. But Chinese twitterers proved that there are ways to get round the great firewall of China. … Besides the Tiananmen anniversary itself, what seemed to be most important to Chinese twitterers was the blocking of sites. Advice on how to access Twitter – by using a proxy, VPN (virtual private network) or Hotspot shield – spread around quickly. While some were clearly annoyed at this interference, others did not lose their sense of humour. One user congratulated his fellow twitterers with "Happy Chinese Internet Maintenance Day!"."
War and Social Upheaval Cause Spikes in Zombie Movie Production [io9 – Chart Porn] – “There’s been a huge spike in the production of zombie movies lately, and many of them seem to be inspired by war. Everything from 28 Days Later to Zombie Strippers make explicit reference to wartime, as did seminal 1968 zombie flick Night of the Living Dead. Is there really a connection between zombie movies and social unrest? We decided to do some research and find out. The result? We’ve got a line graph showing the number of zombie movies coming out in the West each year since 1910 — and there are definite spikes during certain years, which always seem to happen eerily close to historical events involving war or social upheaval.”
Beatles make digital debut in new game [The Age] – “The Beatles are coming to a game console near you. For the first time, the legendary group’s music will be featured in the lucrative video game market in a deal with MTV Games and Harmonix, creators of the Rock Band series. The game is scheduled to make its debut in time for next year’s holiday season. “The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out,” Paul McCartney said in a statement. The game will not be titled Rock Band, but will work with the existing instruments – a guitar, drums and microphone. Game developers were cagey about whether new instruments, such as a keyboard, would be incorporated.” (One final frontier for Paul McCartney to get royalties … and, yes, I suspect when this comes out he’ll get a few of my hard-earned dollars!)