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Author Archives: Gez

How to lose your job with Facebook

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how to lose your job with facebook

Here is a priceless example of why it’s really important to remember who you add on facebook.

Maybe just as important is to remember why you use Facebook/linkedin/Twitter/Whatevr.

If you use it for work or professional networking, don’t add “Stinky Dave” from uni and certainly don’t comment on his video of his dog trying to have sex with his neighbour’s cat.

Facebook does have settings to allow you do choose which content you share with whom. But it’s complicated and tricky to stay on top of it.

My advice is to use one SocNet for friends and one for work. And never the twain shall meet.

Proposition 8 – The Musical

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I’d like to write a concise, informative and amusing comment piece about the events in California surrounding proposition 8. Thankfully, those chaps at Funny or Die beat me to it in this video starring Jack Black and John C. Reilly. They say pretty much everything that needs to be said… in the style of an am-dram musical.

“Prop 8 – The Musical” from Jack Black

Excellent. You can follow the furore on Twitter by looking at this twitter search.

Kutcher wins – the video

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Further to my last post, Ashton Kutcher has won the race to a million followers. In true web2.0 style he live streamed his victory experience on ustream. 

more about “Kutcher wins – the video“, posted with vodpod

KutcherVSCnn.com is the app that delivered the news. He also raised a lot of money for a very good cause, so good on him.

Ashton Kutcher vs CNN – should I care who wins?

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At the risk of sounding like Social Media version of someone’s grandad, do you remember the days when Robert Scoble was top of the Twitter charts? Do you remember? You kids don’t know this but at the time his 25,000 followers were blamed for service outages. 25,000 was a lot in those days and Twitter couldn’t handle the load of all his followers looking at his updates at the same time on Twhirl. You won’t remember Twhirl. It was like those “Tweetdecks” that you kids use now but more green and with smaller text.

Ah May 2008. I remember it like it was only last year. How things have changed since then.

The battle for 1,000,000 followers is on.

Currently, the CNN breaking news twitter feed is Top of the Twops (not ‘arf) with 967,979 followers. Hot on the heels of this broadcasting giant is one man who likes to tweet. So which wit, which philosopher, which inspirational human being is deemed so important by the new Twitter masses that he or she has 959,259 followers and is challenging a global news corperation?

Ashton Kutcher.

(Note to self: try, really try not to be snooty)

So now Ashton, aided by Electronic Arts, is campaiging for followers so that he can overtake CNN and win the race to the big one oh oh oh oh oh oh.

Says Ashton:

“When I saw that I was approaching a million and that CNN was too, I thought this was really significant for social media. For one person to have the ability to broadcast to as many as people as a major media network, I think signifies the turning of the tide from traditional news outlets to social news outlets.

“Because with our video cameras on our cell-phones, on our picture cams, with our blogging, with our twittering and our posting and our Facebook accounts we actually become the sources of the news, and the broadcasters of the news and the consumers of the news. We have the potential on this day to turn the tide.”

Ashton Kutcher’s stance as the ‘everyman’ is a bit galling. As one YouTube commenter rather crudely put it:

He’s not the “everyman” you c**t muffin. He’s a fu**ing celebrity. His dumb face is all over every printed media.

Quite. Thanks to interestingperson121 for that quote. I added the asterisks.

I do like the fact that Ashton Kutcher seems to care about social media as well as the promotion he gets out of it. He obviously does all his updates himself and he also gets involved with video blogging on Qik and YouTube and… well I admit it: I dislike him a lot less then I used to. At least I don’t have to watch him acting when he’s on Twitter.

But I don’t really agree with him that his having 1,000,000 followers is a triumph of social media. It’s still a single source broadcasting to many. So it doesn’t matter if that source is CNN or Ashton Kutcher. In fact, if I had to pick one as the only twitter stream I could follow I’d plump for CNN. They really do have a lot of content. That’s why they are a news network.

The point is I don’t have to choose. I can follow as many people as I like and get content from them all. Whether it’s the BBC or a mate from work doesn’t really matter. I pick my crowd from which to source my wisdom.

And you know what? It goes two ways. I can tell people stuff I find interesting. It might be stuff i’ve found on the web or even thoughts that have formed in my own brain.

That’s many to many broadcasting. Throw in a dollop of conversation and that’s social media.

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Your personality is CRAP! (Google told me)

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This has been doing the rounds on twitter and emails today so apologies if you have already seen it.

Comedy value aside, I think this guy has more to worry about than his business cards.

His name is Joel Bauer; he’s apparently a hugely successful motivational speaker and I’m not about to knock him for that. Although, am I the only one who is a little scared of anyone describing themselves as a ‘motivational speaker’?

Maybe that’s why on his equally hilarious and disturbing website Joel chooses to describe himself as an Infotainer.

For those who don’t quite believe what you have just read, once more with feeling: an INFOTAINER.

Srsly…

Although I subscribe to Seth Godin‘s Purple Cow theory that it pays to be remarkable, I’m pretty sure it’s meant to apply to a business as a whole – not just a business card.

In any case, I don’t care how remarkable your business card is, if you convey yourself as having the blended personalities of Patrick Bateman and David Brent – the two most abhorrent characters in the history of fictional businessmen – you’re not going to appeal to me.

By putting so much stock in the business card, that most anachronistic 80s hangover of business tools, Joel has neglected the fact that his website and all his available online video content are conspiring to portray him as a complete arse.

If people want to know about someone they have met, they aren’t going to revisit the ludicrous card they have wedge in their pocket, they’ll Google him. And the returns for Joel Bauer, especially the video returns, make him look ridiculous.

Maybe he can spend the next 25 years picking up the pieces and repairing his online personal brand.

Oh and a usability point: if a card doesn’t go with all the other cards, it goes in the bin.

[Just trying out something sneaky with these links: Tom Knowles Joel Bauer Joel Bauer Joel Bauer Joel Bauer]

www.education.edu/education

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daily_mail_cannabisI’m getting sick of mainstream media reporting on non-stories tenuously associated to the internet just so they can write a headline that contains the name of the current “in” social media application. These headlines work especially well if crowbarred into a story about another hot topic that can be easily sensationalised. The resulting hot topic mash-up is guaranteed to sell papers and give Daily Mail readers something to get all frothy and indignant about.

Over the last couple of years the frequency and ridiculousness of these stories has escalated. Two years ago it was MySpace Thugs Trashed my House or similar and in the last year or so Facebook has been accused of being responsible for identity fraud, economic ruinmurder and cancer.

I was most pleased last month when eight newspapers and one news television channel were forced to apologise and pay settlement charges to a family after running stories describing how a “Facebook party” had gone “out of control” and that gatecrashers had “trashed” the house in Marbella. It came out that the news “journalists” involved didn’t know or didn’t care that the party wasn’t gatecrashed, only led to very minor damage and in any case was organised on Bebo, not Facebook.

The worst example of a paper using a web application to fabricate a story was last month when the Scottish Sunday Express, as Graham Linehan put it so well, won the race to the bottom by describing the impish Internet behaviour of Dunblane teenagers as “shaming the memory” of those who died in the Dunblane massacre 13 years ago.  They too were forced to apologise.

This year’s main headline-grabbing SM service is Twitter. So I shouldn’t be surprised that last week a story broke about the upcoming report by Sir Jim Rose that will make recommendations for an overhaul of primary school education. The leaked report features many recommendations including the teaching of health and environmental matters and that certain topics from history, notably WW2 and the Victorian period should not be taught at a primary school level. There is also going to be a recommendation that by the time pupils leave primary school they should be familiar with modern sources of information including blogs, wikipedia, podcasts and twitter. Guess what the headlines were?

Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up
The Guardian

Pupils ‘should study Twitter’
BBC online

This is a leak from a report recommending the biggest shake up of primary education in 20 years and they focus on Twitter? There of course followed lots of discussion on public phone-ins, panels shows and editors columns about how disgraceful and silly this was. Calm down everyone!

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Sing when you’re tweeting

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There comes a time in every young man’s life when he realises he’s not actually that young anymore. It happened to me when I discovered Radio 4, that long-time favourite of middle-aged, middle-class, middle England. Specifically I like the today show and the comedy.

Those of you who don’t subscribe to the Friday Night Comedy podcast really should.

The Now Show is on at the moment and among others it features regular contributor, Mitch Benn. If you don’t know Mitch, he makes up funny and topical songs all the time, which is great on the radio but must annoy his wife.

Anyway, Mitch is one of many comedians/broadcasters to have recently embraced Twitter (@mitchbenn if you’re interested). A couple of weeks ago I saw him tweeting that he had written a song about Twitter. It’s a funny commentary on how minor celebrities become obsessed with gathering as many followers as they can with no thought as to what conversations they should be having.

At least, I hope he’s joking – he might mean it.

Mitch Benn on Twitter – Download MP3


Here’s Mitch’s take on the ridiculous “schools to teach Twitter instead of history” story. I’ve got a post on this topic baking in the oven but for now I’ll leave it to Mitch. Here is his 1 minute lesson on ‘teh interwebs’.

Mitch Benn on teh Interwebs- Download MP3


A response from Wandsworth police

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Juvenal / Alan Moore

I think this is the last time I’m going to post about this. Pseudo-political wittering was not the intended use for this blog when I started it. However there has been a bit of a development since my initial post describing my thoughts on how the police use anti-terror laws to stop and search people. When I say people, I really mean me. Specifically me, in Clapham Junction on the 7th of March 2009. I know, I’m not a great philanthropist.

After the incident I wrote to a high ranking officer in the Wandsworth borough of the Metropolitan police to complain, making clear that I think randomly stopping members of the public with no reason for suspicion is complete waste of police time and the cause of unnecessary disruption and upset. I have since received a reply and engaged him in a brief email exchange in which I asked a few pertinent questions and a few impertinent ones as well.

My main gripe was that although I was told that I was stopped at random, the officer ticked the box stating I was stopped on grounds of “behaviour”.

section-441

You can see that there is no “random” box to tick. So as I am on record for suspicious behaviour I wanted to know what happened to that data.

Some of my questions were answered and some were artfully dodged. You’ll notice I’m not naming the high-ranking officer in this post. This is because he declined to go on record and asked that the contents of our email exchange were not discussed on this blog. In fact as soon as the word “blog” was mentioned he clammed up and told me he couldn’t help me further. (Bloggers! Aaaaaaaagh! To the hills!)

As I have no journalistic reputation to speak of, it probably wouldn’t harm me to post the email exchange in its entirety. However, I do have some respect for people’s wishes so I will only tell you some of the questions I asked and describe the answers I received.

My first question.

What happens to the record that I was stopped on grounds of “behaviour”? How long are the records kept? Are the records public? Can they be used by the police or any other government body in any capacity or investigation not linked to terrorism?

The response was rather shocking: turns out that stops are placed on the police stops database and are kept for seven years. They are not public records but they can be used by the police and certain government bodies in any other capacity not linked to terrorism.
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The 5 pillars of Social Media

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Seth Godin, in a bit of a D.H. Lawrence moment has attempted to define the 5 pillars of social media success. What makes a successful social web app? Why do people choose to visit online social sites?

He boils it down to these 5 points:

  • Who likes me?
  • Is everything okay?
  • How can I become more popular?
  • What’s new?
  • I’m bored, let’s make some noise

Seth points to Twitter as an example of an app that does all 5 very well. I would also include Facebook and to some extent Friendfeed.

I’m not sure about “is everything okay”. This implies that people are concerned with the status quo or have a certain neighbourly concern. I would probably replace that with “what are the people I know up to?” as I reckon there is more of a nosy neighbour factor.

But then again, who am I to question Seth?

 

Don’t let Twitter turn you into this guy

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This guy is causing me to have a crisis of twitter faith. Is this what I sound like?

OK he makes some good points.

Well, let me rephrase that: he makes some points. Eventually. After he’s stopped rabbiting on about burgers and how popular he is on twitter.

If you ever hear me using the phrase “informational yoghurt” without a trace of irony, you have my permission to shoot me. Unless for some reason I’m in the process of explaining artificial insemination to a child, then I might need to use the phrase “informational yoghurt”.

Social media “experts” everywhere (and they are everywhere) should be saying “There but for the grace of God go I”.

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