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Archive for August, 2010

It seems like an obvious thing but if you’re going to do something stupid, don’t use the most easily transferred and recorded medium to do it. It amazes me the stupid things people post online in ignorance of the power of the instant functions of copy, paste and forward! Following on from my recent post about politicians being ignorant to the power of Web 2.0, i thought i would take a look at a few examples that have popped up in the last week.

Facebook has been in the news this week for its lack of action over an alleged porn ring operating on its site. It has come under fire for shutting down the offending pages but not contacting the police. Whilst this issue goes to the heart of Facebook privacy issues ie. should it be Facebook’s responsibility to police its users and report any potential criminal activity, to me this case is a typical example of stupid behaviour on the web. Whilst sites like Facebook seem like an easy way to quickly and easy share illegal photos and videos, did the 11 arrested really think they would get away with using a website known for changing privacy settings and making you opt out, rather than opt in to increased public exposure?

Source: abc.net.au

A second case of stupidity this week has been the sackings of senior Victorian police who were caught sending emails “containing highly offensive material including sexual, violent, homophobic and racist content”. Up to 25 officers have been identified as having sent material, with 4 already sacked. It is disturbing that those who are meant to serve and protect the community have felt the desire to send such material, but again, how stupid can you get, sending things using your work email? The naivety is astounding.

Some cases of email, Twitter or Facebook fail aren’t intentional cases of willingly abusing the internet for criminal matters, some are just plain embarrassing mistakes made by the flick of a finger and sending something to wrong recipient or from the wrong account.

Source: ayoungertheatre.com

The National Theatre in the UK was a victim of such a discrepancy this week. An employee of the theatre company was clearly unaware that they were logged into the work account and not a personal Twitter account when they tweeted: “Well, Steve Norris is clearly a giant cunt“. According to A Younger Theatre blog, the offending tweet was removed 50 minutes and an apology issued to the company’s followers stating:

“Sincere apologies. The NT believes its account has been hacked. Earlier tweet in response to Standard article did not come from the NT.”

Whilst i think that is perhaps a clever way to deflect any potential fallout away from the company, to me the whole thing reads like a small mistake by not logging out of the work Twitter account before firing off an angry Tweet.  Synonyms for Churlish, a theatre student’s blog agrees, posting an open letter to the National Theatre, thanking them for the “passionate tweet about relevant issues”.

The final example i’ll leave you this week is not about stupidity when using the internet but a warning about modern technology. If you’re going to do something silly like put a neighbour’s cat in a wheely bin, make sure you’re not caught on CCTV when doing so.

Not only will you get caught by cat lovers distributing the video online to identify you, but you’ll be parodied forever on YouTube.

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As it is a Sunday i should be posting my weekly musing on digital media, however in light of last night’s depressing election result, i find myself unable to concentrate on anything serious. Instead i am following up on last week’s post by sharing some election YouTube hits. I promise i’ll be back on form next week. Maybe.

A few months ago these parody videos were doing the rounds. Users have made Hitler angry at the iPad, the vuvuzelas during the World Cup and even the new Star Trek Movie. Already someone has jumped on the bandwagon and made one for the election.

This video has been popular on my Facebook feed this week. According to The Age, this spoof of Labor’s term in power was made by a Taiwanese news service, who made the animation of Tiger Wood’s infamous car crash. If you enjoy this animation, it is worth checking out Next Media Animation’s YouTube Channel.

I am unsure whether this is a spoof or a real ad for The Australian Sex Party but either way i think it may have helped garner support for their Senate campaign. At the last count, they had attracted nearly 200,000 votes nationally, gaining them 1.99% of the vote.

Next i thought i would include an ad made by Bob Katter, one of the three independents who now hold the balance of power in the hung parliament. I’ll leave you with that thought cause it scares the hell out of me today.

But at least i should be happy it’s three independents and one Green. The ad was not actually made by The Greens but for the ABC’s Gruen Nation tv show. Sadly for some, the ABC’s charter prevented the ad from being used by the party.

And finally i will leave you with my favourite YouTube video of them all (and the one that most accurately reflects my current mood!)

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Source: arstechnica.com

Let me say something from the outset: I love elections. There is something twisted inside me that loves the frenetic energy of a good election campaign, the hint of change in the most base human competitions. I am no psephologist*. I love my elections for the drama and farce. Being a child of the MTV generation (thank you Bart Simpson) i have no concept of what elections were like pre-internet, when you actually had to engage in a debate for more than 3 seconds and sound bytes were broadcast nightly to the family wireless.

The internet is an election junky’s wet dream. The proliferation of social media sites and its predecessor, the good old anonymous hack website, has changed the way elections are run. Like it or not, that’s the reality of beast today. And thank god for that.

This election is the most mind numblying boring election i have ever had the (dis)pleasure of witnessing. Perhaps it is because i have removed myself from the party machine this year, but i am finding this election seriously dull. Most people would agree there is a severe policy vacuum and the offensive behaviour is out of control. Thankfully the internet is there to keep me entertained and amused in the lead up to d-day.

In light of this week’s implosion this week, i thought i would take a look at how election campaigns are fought online. Before i examine a few examples of internet campaigning backfiring during an election cycle, it is worth reading this little guide put together by e.politics. 6 Questions a Candidate Should Ask before Tweeting, Blogging or Posting a Status Update covers what seems to most people to be completely obvious: Would i say this to a reporter? Would i say this to an opponent? Is this TMI (Too Much Information)?

Politicians are a flawed humans like the rest of us, but it never ceases to amaze me how they can too easily get lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to using the internet. As these examples show, they should be even more aware when using the internet, not less, if not simply because tiny f*ck up can instantly be cut and pasted across the internet for all to see.

Source: 3news.co.nz

This week’s case was an absolutely classic. Wendy Francis (@wendy4senate), a Family First Senate candidate in Queensland, this week started a firestorm, tweeting this doozy: “Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse”. After all hell broke lose on the site, including a classic tweet from @mariekehardy (At least I stand by my tweets Wendy Francis, you vicious, cowardly fuck. http://tinyurl.com/27mbrvm), Wendy removed the offending tweet. Sadly for Wendy the damaged had been done, with mainstream media going bananas. Wendy has since apologised for her “slip up“, offering a pallid apology whilst inexplicably mentioning the fact she had “given blood”. Luckily for Wendy, her party seemed unconcerned by this kind of behaviour and she is still on the senate ticket.

Others have been less lucky, who, after having made an online faux pas, have found themselves disendorsed and dumped before they have had time to take down *those* embarrassing photos from Facebook.

Source: theage.com.au

Hamish Jones is a sad example of this in action. During the 2007 Federal election, the Liberal endorsed candidate for the safe Labour seat of Maribyrnong posted a rant online about then State Public Transport Minister, Lynn Kosky, calling her a “bitch” and “f—wit” on his personal blog. Although many people had perhaps uttered similar sentiments of a morning when their train had been canceled, not all of them were running for a Federal seat. Hamish was forced to resign his candidacy, but not before The Age had trawled through his unlocked Facebook to retrieve this classic photo of Jones in Sombrero, conjuring up more of a uni student bogan feel, rather than serious conservative candidate.

The NSW Liberal has also disendorced another candidate in this year’s election for making anti-muslim comments on his Facebook site. David Barker has vowed to run as an independent after his comments that the Labour candidate was “a strong Muslim” and was helping to bring Australia ”closer to the hands of a Muslim country”. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Liberal party had this to say: ”Mr Barker has not conducted himself in a way that the Liberal Party expects of its candidates.”

I’ll leave you a piece published by The Age examining whether the mind-numbing qualities of this election has anything to do with the dumbing down of the election into 140 characters on Twitter. No comment.

*look this word up and use it your next dinner party. Sure to impress!

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Mid-week funnies

A friend sent me a link to this website. Not quite sure what it is but i like the ads!

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Source: ning.com

Yesterday i got an invite to join a Ning. After stopping giggling for long enough to Google what the hell a Ning was, i discovered that other than sounding like something out of Monty Python, a Ning is a like a paid private version of Facebook, allowing users to create closed social networks. I will blog more about my Ning experience once i have had a bit longer to explore it properly.

The Ning got me musing on strange names floating around the interwebs these days. MySpace, Facebook and Friendster are all obvious names that describe the contents of their site. But there are plenty that seem odd, so i have set out to find out the logic behind a few that i use!

Any traditional marketing guru will tell you that the key to an effective business name is something that is easy to remember, pronounce and relevant to the product. What i find interesting is that internet seems to have throw out these basic concepts out the window. In fact a weird and wonderful name is often successful simply based on the curiosity a strange word elicits.

Source: nuffnang.com.au

Source: overthinkingit.com

Nuffnang is a great example of this (apologies to @stokely). Nuffnang is a company that provides advertising on blogs. According to the founders, ’nuff nang’ is actually Jafaikan slang for “Real Good or Real Cool”. Jafaikan, for those not in the know, is “the word on the streets of young London”. Apparently my time in London was hanging in old London, cause i can safely say i have never heard nuff nang uttered before! The gang at Nuffnang (the website, not the London youngsters) have provided a nifty glossary in case you ever find yourself in the presence of Ali G and need to communicate.

Up next is Spotify, a music social networking site that allows users to share music by streaming rather than downloading, getting around those pesky copyright laws. What i don’t understand about Spotify is its name. According to Andres from Spotify, the name is a combination of ‘spot’ and ‘identify’. Clever? Sure! But is it really effective as a marketing tool for a music site? To me it sounds nothing like music but more a research tool.

Source: mattijs.web-log.nl

Flickr, is another example of an interesting name that doesn’t immediately reveal the site’s contents. Flickr is the photo sharing site that allows users to tag their photos and link to millions of the user photos across the world. As someone who goes by the nickname Flick, perhaps i am biased in my hatred towards the name, as it confuses me greatly when someone is discussing their Flickr site around me. Personal bias aside, i can see what they are alluding to, with the flicker of an eye as being like photography or that you can ‘flick’ through photos.

Whatever you think of the name, it’s a popular site.  Flickr’s front page speaks volumes. As am writing this on Saturday August 6 at 3.30pm, it’s counter tells me:

  • 3,293 uploads in the last minute ·
  • 160,129 things tagged with morning ·
  • 4.3 million things geotagged this month

Flickr’s continuing popularity demonstrates that despite a weird name, if you do what do really well, a weird name will soon become common place, just ask Google or Yahoo. There are plenty more examples you will come across every day. And for the record, Ning means peaceful in Chinese.

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