Social Networking

Dangerous Minds | FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK

Submitted by Sam Moore on
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Over a Dangerous Minds, a trenchant critique of Facebook's gonad-crushing "Sponsored Stories" strategy:
The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories. In a way, it means that Facebook is broken, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users. In the case of Sponsored Stories, it has meant raking in nearly $1M a day.
This will hit small publishers, mom-and-pop businesses, and non-profits like Kitten Associates hardest.
At Dangerous Minds, we post anywhere from 10 to 16 items per day, fewer on the weekends. To reach 100% of of our 50k+ Facebook fans they’d charge us $200 per post. That would cost us between $2000 and $3200 per day—but let’s go with the lower, easier to multiply number. We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month… a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year—wouldn’t you know it—right around the time of their badly managed IPO.

Full Story

Ashkan Soltani introduces MobileScope, an innovative approach to online privacy | TechRepublic

Submitted by Sam Moore on

Ashkan Soltani introduces MobileScope, an innovative approach to online privacy.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

Marketers are tracking smartphone users through "apps" - games and other software on their phones. Some apps collect information including location, unique serial-number-like identifiers for the phone, and personal details such as age and sex. Apps routinely send the information to marketing companies that use it to compile dossiers on phone users.

More, including a data visualization animation, here.

Now one of the researchers involved has announced MobileScope.

MobileScope is implemented as a web service - not as an app on your phone - I'm liking this approach.

Mobile Scope

Why is this kind of service necessary at all?

First off, most users probably do not realize their information is being transmitted to third parties — who they’ve never heard of or had a relationship with. Since there’s little transparency on these platforms, it’s unlikely anyone would know.

Second, these third parties often receive extremely sensitive information, such as your precise location information (latitude/longitude) and your device identifier, which is persistent for the life of your device and can often be tied to your actual identity.

I'll be signing up - see link below - and we'll see what turns up.

(Via Bruce Schneier.)

Signup Page

General Electric's Tumblr - actually worth visiting

Submitted by Sam Moore on

GE has this very intriguing Tumblr blog, with pix of various cool stuff from their labs. I have to admit just spending twenty minutes on this site totally changed my attitude about GE. Maybe they do have something going on after all...

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In the early 1900s, electric cars outsold gas cars. We found this electric car charger in our archives - it was used in both parking and home garages.

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A pulse-detonation actuator from our Energy & Propulsion lab. It produces high-pressure, pulsating supersonic jets, which help with airflow control in high-speed travel. Active airflow control reduces the drag, noise, and fuel consumption of an aircraft, making for smoother and more efficient flight.
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An X-ray control panel from 1921. It was built by Victor, which was owned by GE and became GE Medical Systems.
Tumblr llggfmgjoF1qk4ealo1 500This was one of our very early solar demonstrations - light would shine on a single photovoltaic cell, supplying enough electricity to power a motor. In 1939, GE went on to unveil the “Sun Motor” at The World’s Fair, a slightly larger version of the demo, that signaled GE’s vision for solar as a viable energy source.

20 Examples of Great Facebook Pages | The Best Article Every day

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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BSPCN has a gallery of 20 interesting Facebook fan pages, with brief commentary.

Our experience - especially with Covered in Cathair and Kitten Associates- has been that a Facebook fan page can be a great way of keeping your community involved and engaged - much better than a forum or blog, though those are great too. CiCH's fan page has become a key location for Robin's readership, and the Kitten Associates page has been invaluable especially in fundraising for the fosters.

What's frustrating about the BSPCN post, though, is there's no detailed indication of how the fan page is used, how it relates to the brand's web site, any cross-communication with Twitter, etc. I'd also be interested to know who in the brand marketing organization is populating these pages. I imagine it's different for each brand...?

I'd love to see an in-depth look at one of these pages, the team behind it, the community, and the overall communications strategy.

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Although only 15.4% of respondents to an eMarketer survey felt that Facebook had a significant ROI, this number is growing. Now is the perfect opportunity for your business to take advantage of the opportunities that social media offers for getting found by prospects and interacting with prospective customers. While other companies struggle with whether or not to participate you can be out in the trenches gathering fans and gaining evangelists.

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BSPCN post

Libya's revolution headquarters | Al Jazeera English

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Here's a fascinating look at how the Libyan opposition in Benghazi have been hacking their internet access and other means of communication, in spite of the regime's efforts to create a blackout across the country.

The top-floor internet centre began operating on Tuesday, explains Sanalla, a dual British and Libyan citizen who has spent the past four years studying medicine at Benghazi's Garyounis University.

Ahmed Sheikh, a 42-year-old computer engineer who works in civil aviation, rigged the room's internet system. A cable leads from a large satellite dish on the roof through a hole in the wall to a receiver, which then connects to wireless routers. Most of the laptops connect directly to the routers by Ethernet cables, though on Saturday afternoon, the connection was hampered by heavy wind, intermittent rain and cloudy skies.

"You're getting two kilobytes a second, it's worthless," Sanalla told one of the other men trying to upload videos to YouTube.

At another laptop, 26-year-old Ahmed Yacoub was setting up an Arabic-language Wordpress blog: "The Voice of the February 17 Revolution" – named after the “day of rage” when the protests in Libya began to turn into a violent uprising.

Yacoub, who studies media and programming at Garyounis, said he and other Libyans gained "courage and guidance" from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Egyptians have been assisting the Libyan uprising, not only by ferrying aid across the liberated eastern border between the two countries, but by carrying media out of the internet blackout in Libya to upload in Egyptian border towns and by sharing tactical advice on how to confront a repressive government crackdown, Sanalla said.

Between the onset of heavy fighting on the 17th and the 21st, he said, protesters in Benghazi were suffering under a total internet blackout. Then Sheikh came and arranged his ad-hoc system. On Saturday, they had just arranged to make phone calls through the satellite connection and could now conduct Skype phone calls with the outside world. Sanalla had been reaching out to international media organisations such as CNN and the BBC using the program’s chat capability.

The crew in the room also administers the “Libyans” group on Facebook and tweets from the account "endtyranny01" – Sanalla's from when he wanted to remain anonymous.


Al Jazeera post

Gadaffi’s Mass text messages | Smart Mobs

Submitted by Sam Moore on

Screen shot 2011 02 26 at 12 25 08 AMApparently the Libyan government is trying to get mass SMS messaging going:

Sources on the ground in #Libya: Mass text messages being sent to users in support of #Gaddafi. Those who forward the messages to others are promised phone credits http://fb.me/AtidOJ1G
http://twitter.com/MAQAM

Twitter 25/02 11.15 ‘Reports from #Libya: Citizens of #Tripoli receiving texts offering 100 dinar credit if they send messages asking people to stay home today’ by @MAQAM.
9 minutes ago via Facebook

Another SMS from Libyana mobile phone provider. fatwa against watching Al Jazeera & other media channels #Libya #Tripoli #Benghazi via @flyingbirdies

It's not clear that this is having the intended effect, though, as messages asking people to act as if nothing happened only make sense if you're completely out of touch with the reality on the ground:

So the government is asking people to go back to work, but as I told you I don’t think that will be possible in weeks. There’s so much destruction in the city.


SmartMobs

Indiana Official: "Use Live Ammunition" Against Wisconsin Protesters

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Careful with that axe, Jeff...

An Indiana Deputy AG, Jeff Cox, has been fired for sending chilling messages via twitter and elsewhere, suggesting that riot police fire upon peaceful protesters at Wisconsin' state capitol building.

On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn't end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: "Use live ammunition."

From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police."

Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.

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This isn't trivial - the union-busting effort against those who serve the public is spreading to other states.

The incident seems all the more troubling now that the public-sector union fight playing out in Wisconsin is now headed to other states—including Indiana, where GOP senators Tuesday passed a bill that would abolish collective bargaining for state teachers. (Indiana's Republican governor walked back his support of the measure Tuesday after taking stock of the opposition.)

Mother Jones article, with screen captures of Cox's blogs posts and tweets

Opération Lybie - Refuse

Submitted by Sam Moore on

Screen shot 2011 02 22 at 11 39 39 AMOpération Lybie has organized a bunch of dialup numbers for Lybian citizens to use in case the government cuts off their internet access (see the similar effort at using POTS lines for Tweeting in Egypt).

I'm relaying a message from a Libyan citizen, who came on IRC channel #FDN to talk about opération "Libya White Fax".
The idea is to send a PDF document to the Libyan population via FAX (using traditional FAX or SIP) to a given list of Libyan phone numbers.

The faxed document contains a list of international phone numbers for dialup users to access so they can get back on the Net. Obviously this will be expensive, but it'll get around the "Internet Kill Switch" strategy.

One dialup service donor is France's FDN. Here's their statement (they started offering dialup during the Egyptian crisis).

Now I kind of wish I hadn't trashed all my old modems... who knows when we'll need these again?

Opération Lybie (scroll down for English)

Screen shot 2011 02 22 at 12 04 51 PM We Rebuild's Libya page has broader information on infrastructure and counter-censorship.

Middle East Protest Tweets Mapped

Submitted by Sam Moore on

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Virender Ajmani, who has a talent for Google maps mashups, has created a new one that lets you see Tweets in realtime from several countries in the Middle east that are experiencing popular unrest.

From the developer's blog:

Here’s a look at Middle East “Protests” on Twitter which are mapped out on Google Maps. This Google Maps Mashup shows the latest tweets from around Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Iran tagged with the respective country names. The map animates thru the latest protest tweets from the region. The tweets are displayed at geotagged location on the map at an interval of 5 seconds.

Mibazaar TweetMap page

Developer's blog

via BoingBoing

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