Study Shows Twitter Used Mostly By Urban Adults, And We’re Surprised at This?

Eweek reports that a study conducted by the Pew research center has found that Twitter is used mostly by people who :

1. USE the internet
2. Live in cities
3. Are YOUNG

Uh… why is this “news”? Obviously you need the internet to use Twitter. Obviously urban people use it the most.


Because they have social lives.


Just kidding. No, but seriously. Why would anyone care what someone living in the middle of a farm in Kansas is doing on Twitter? Suburban life seems like it would get boring real fast and pointless to announce to your street who’s house you’re going over after school or what cow you’re going to milk.



Is “Private Life” Becoming an Antiquated Phrase?

I just saw this slide on the Huffington Post’s top ten overrated things of 2010:

Tiger Woods’ Private Life

Har har. But this may not be far from the truth for the rest of us as well!

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have discovered that many sites are using the same bug to collect netizen browsing information.

“Our study shows that popular Web 2.0 applications like mashups, aggregators, and sophisticated ad targeting are rife with different kinds of privacy-violating flows.”

Not to worry, though. Apparently web browsers like Chrome and Safari automatically block the bug, but this issue begs the question:

Can we expect privacy in an internet age?

I think the definition of privacy is changing very quickly as we move away from old models and into a mobile, computer-based society, and this will warrant even more regulation.


Youtube’s Skippable Ads (An Example of On-Demand Consumership)

Oh, Google. The world is waiting for you to be the architect of peace, at this point.

This seems like a promising model that is less aggressive for the viewer and workable (in theory, so far) for advertisers. Google has announced TrueView Video Ads that will give the viewer the option to skip or watch an ad. Advertisers get charged only if someone watches their ad, which makes sense.

“We believe offering a cost-per-view video ad model is good for everyone: consumers choose ads that are more relevant to them; you more precisely find the audiences you want; and content creators continue to fund great content with an ad experience that is less intrusive. Our experience with Promoted Videos, which you buy on a cost-per-click basis, shows that viewers will choose to watch ads that are relevant and engaging.”

Viewers are forced to watch the first 5 seconds of any ad before they can opt out of it, and if the full 30secs are watched Google will charge.

This just another example of the media’s secular shift to customization. This model will help advertisers tailor their ads to viewership (like the way Facebook always seems to know that you’re secretly interested in Ugg boots or something).

A Way to Use “Check-in” Sites

One social networking dilemma has been how to reap benefits from mobile “check-in” sites, like foursquare. Well, retailers and sites may have found a way to do it, largely thanks to Black Friday.

Coke is using SCVNGR to get people to participate in a hunt that will “unlock secrets of the mall,” which, while the concept sounds fun and exciting—the slogan is really lame. Really? MALL secrets?

Yelp is also joining in on the madness by giving business owners a “check-in offers” option to promote foursquare.

With Yelp Check-in Offers, business owners can incentivize repeat checkins and reward patrons with three different offer types: percent off, free or fixed price offers.

This definitely seems like the coming of a new age of subliminal messaging and, as mashable puts it, ways to influence peoples’ behaviors.

Kind of creepy, kind of cool.

And You Thought McCarthyism Was Shoved Under the Mattress…

Well, as bedbugs are rearing their ugly heads nationwide (the Waldorf-Astoria?!! If the Hilton family brand is tainted, who the heck knows what other despicable obscenities could afflict us?!?), so are efforts to censor—wait for it—

The Internet.

The Combatting Online Infringements and Counterfeit Act (COICA) Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill uses IP addresses to create a blacklist of censored domains. According to, the Attorney General can place any “infringing” site on this blacklist.

Some things that are under the infringement umbrella include one-click hosting sites (Dropbox, MediaFire and Rapidshare), MP3 blogs and mashup sites (SoundCloud, MashupTown and HypeMachine), and sites that advocate p2p tech and piracy (,  p2pnet, InfoAnarchy , Slyck and ZeroPaid).

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)(1998) “prohibits circumvention of access control technologies employed by copyright owners to protect their works.”

“The DMCA also puts anonymous speech in jeopardy; misusing its subpoena power, copyright holders can attempt to unmask an Internet user’s identity based on a mere allegation of infringement without filing an actual lawsuit or providing the user any constitutional due process.”

The COICA bill actually passed through the Senate judiciary committee 19-0 this week, and while Epicenter claims it will “never pass the Senate before the end of the current Congress,” it’s still a pretty imminent worry.

This is an issue that will not be solved immediately and will continue to be a problem as long as people are making art and using the internet. However, what is frightening is that the internet has always been free territory, and the government’s attempt to regulate it is really alarming. If this bill passes, who knows when America’s internet will become a mine pit of censorship like China?

A Solution for Skimmers

Twitter shortens statuses, shortens urls, and now Longreads shortens internet articles.

Longreads’ premise is to collect, collate and curate long-form journalism for online reading. It started in April 2009 as a Twitter hashtag. Users who found long (1,500+ word) articles or stories could append #longreads to the article’s url and tweet it. Followers of @longreads would then get a daily river of lengthy, in-depth fiction and nonfiction from magazines, newspapers and online publications.

Readers, myself included, are daunted by article length. That’s one constant that transferred seamlessly from print and television: keep the main point (lead) within the first sentence to grab attention because the rest of the article will more than likely be left unread. Once the reader loses interest, one click can bring it back… along with another article.

Longreads aims to give lengthy articles a fighting chance at readership by shortening them. I think it’s a pretty cool idea; the site links to the original articles for people who are really interested, gives the wordcount of the original article, and also has a retweet function.

For the speed-centric future our culture is heading towards, this seems like it could be a way to keep important, informational articles from being passed over for less academic ones.

Further Reading:
Long-Form Journalism Finds an Online Friend

Journalists Support Controversial Wikileaks

(image via insurgentconsciousness)

It’s a story that has everything: a socially awkward protagonist, government secrecy, sex and blackmail.

A few weeks ago, this NYT article profiled Wikileaks founder and self-proclaimed “James Bond of journalism” Julian Assange and the obstacles he now faces after releasing confidential documents on the Afghan War. The article reveals that some of his own “comrades” are wary of the implications Wikileaks has on not only accuracy, but journalistic integrity as well, describing Wikileaks as a network beginning to internally rot.

However, a article reported yesterday that there is growing support for Wikileaks, according to a petition hosted by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (how convenient that the link is broken).

The article states that 113 journalists from 34 countries have signed this petition, created in response to the Afghan documents release.

You know, I’m not really sure where I stand on this whole Wikileaks issue. On one hand, it is a great resource for journalists and is definitely something that will keep the government in check. But on the other hand, I think we need to keep in mind that these documents are just that–isolated pieces of internet paper that can essentially be manipulated to fit anyone’s ideologies.

To be fair, though, Assange did use the prefix “Wiki,” and since when is it okay to use a wiki-anything as a source for an authoritative research paper? In that respect I feel that the site is basically a giant disclaimer for skepticism.

What I think is the bigger issue here is that journalists are supposed to use a combination of sources to create an article that informs its reader and provides the context with which the reader can make an educated decision. The journalist is the medium, the translator between politi-speak and the vernacular. Wikileaks undermines this by eliminating the translator, and  honestly, what person do you know will actually take the time to research both sides of an issue?

I think Wikileaks is valuable, but at the same time I don’t think the release of every single document in its raw form is the solution to checking the government.