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29 Aug 2011 21:39


World: WikiLeaks criticized for releasing cables with names unredacted

  • redacted In recent months, WikiLeaks made a name for itself by releasing diplomatic cables with the help of media outlets that parsed through the data and helped ensure the data redacted names and other sensitive data from the cables.
  • unredacted Recently, however, WikiLeaks has gone back to simply releasing the cables on its own, using Twitter as a main mechanism. This time, however, the redacted names are staying in — giving officials and human rights activists pause. source
  • » Remaining defiant amid criticism: WikiLeaks did not take kindly to the New York Times portrayal of this story, by the way. “Sorry, NYT,” the organization wrote on its Twitter feed just as we were typing this all in, “It doesn’t matter how many sleazy hack jobs like Ravi Somaiya you hire, we’ve out published your Pentagon tabloid already.” Somaiya co-wrote wrote a fairly unflattering profile of Assange that ran with the diplomatic cables they published.

21 Aug 2011 00:09


About, World: Tips and tricks: How to follow the Twitter action in Tripoli

  • Recently, our friend Matthew Keys had a pretty good idea called Quotse. Pretty much, the whole idea is that he drops his news-gathering secrets to those who might find a use for it. The piece he wrote about YouTube searches for breaking news stories was particularly helpful. In that spirit, we’d like to drop a couple of suggestions of our own. How do you parse through Twitter during really complex cases like Tripoli, where you’re hearing things from so many directions that you may not know where to start? As you guys might have noticed last night, we had to change our techniques on the fly because Twitter changed the way its search engine works. Anyway, here are some tips we’ve built up from that experience, as well as things we’ve learned over the years:
  • Basic tools Some like TweetDeck; we don’t. You can get lost way too easily. Fortunately, there are alternatives like HootSuite, which does the same thing with less visual clutter. It’s good to be fluent with multiple Twitter apps. We also dig Echofon. Also, if you find certain users to be trustworthy, put them in a Twitter list. Here’s our Tripoli list.
  • Intermediate tricks One of our favorite tricks for following a breaking news story is to do a search for a topic with the name of a popular image service behind it. Examples: “tripoli yfrog,” “libya twitpic” or “#feb17 youtube.” The result? Sometimes you might catch things — amazing photos, for example — before anyone else. Be sure to credit the source.
  • Advanced queries Twitter supports searches which don’t seem particularly obvious. For example, you can search by latitude and longitude. Use this tool to find your location, then paste it into this setup: “geocode:(your code),15mi”. Now, put that into Twitter. Pretty awesome, right? It’s not perfect (there are false positives aplenty), but it’s a great start.
  • » The key part? Use your head. Not every piece of information is a gem. Confirm information as much as possible, don’t accept info based on one report, keep an eye on Twitter accounts that have proven trustworthy with information in the past, and keep changing your searches as stories evolve.

02 Aug 2011 22:46


Politics: More evidence that Newt Gingrich has lots of fake Twitter followers

  • At first, we actually thought it might have been a bug. We have seen some pretty low consumer ratios in our testing, but Newt’s was the lowest we had ever seen.
  • PeekYou CEO and founder Michael Hussey • Discussing (and possibly confirming) the rumor that Newt Gingrich has a lot of fake followers on Twitter. Here’s the thing, though — PeekYou noticed this on their own, weeks before it became a story on Gawker. The number — 8 percent real people — was so low that PeekYou actually thought it was a glitch. And here’s the interesting thing — according to PeekYou, if you take Newt’s fake followers out, Sarah Palin has more followers than he does. That’s kinda crazy, and PeekYou is doing some more research on the phenomenon for Mashable to figure out if the alibi we’ve heard about Newt’s follower count (that his follower count perked up once he was added to Twitter’s “suggested users” list) is plausible. source

02 Aug 2011 11:11


Politics: So, how did Newt Gingrich get all of his followers, anyway?

  • This crazy story’s been floating around the ether over the past day or so suggesting that Newt Gingrich’s campaign staff used a service to pay for most of his million-plus Twitter followers — a number which is ahead of every other presidential candidate besides Obama. But did he? A conflicting story’s been floating around suggesting that Newt has all those followers because he was one of the first Republican politicians on Twitter’s suggested user list, which to us sounds more realistic. No matter the case, the evidence is clear that Newt Gingrich is a social-media trailblazer who was one of the first politicians to use Google+. We’ll keep an eye on this one. source

31 Jul 2011 20:07


Culture: Reasons to beat your girlfriend: None. Next trending topic, please.

  • The next time someone tries to convince you that feminism is no longer necessary because women are totally equal with men, roll your eyes as hard as you can. And then point out that, even in this day and age, ‘ReasonsToBeatYourGirlfriend’ is something that people think is funny. It’s a trending topic on Twitter. Hooray for the whole, entire world!
  • Jezebel writer Erin Gloria Ryan • Offering a spot-on take for the most tasteless trending topic Twitter’s had in a long time. Hey Twitter, do you pay someone to edit your trending topics for potentially offensive topics, and if so, did they take a day off? Your algorithm does not have a way to detect taste. You guys have a big staff and a lot of money — show some responsibility for your product. source

28 Jul 2011 14:30


Tech: Twitter revamps ad offerings to entice more advertisers

  • “Promoted tweets” will now show up directly in Twitter users’ feeds. But they won’t be like ordinary tweets — they’ll appear near or at the top of users feeds, with a little promoted thing nearby (see above). Before, promoted tweets would only show up if a user searched for something relevant — now they’ll show up if you follow a company’s account. “When we decide to follow a favorite brand, business or charitable organization, we expect to be among the first to get a special announcement, access to exclusive content or a great offer,” Twitter stated in a blog post. “That’s why starting today, we’re introducing a way to ensure that the most important tweets from the organizations you follow reach you directly.” Essentially, advertisers pay to ensure visibility. source

04 Jul 2011 16:31


U.S.: Follow the leader: Joe Biden has an official VP twitter account

  • A few days after President Obama started tweeting, our VP is too. Well, it’s not really him, but it still shows how hard the White House is trying to reach people through social media. Sure, it’s kinda lame, but it’s also pretty cool – after all, they wouldn’t be trying things like this if they didn’t care, right? It’s also pretty interesting to note that Joe Biden had a Twitter account back when he was a senator, but it hasn’t been updated since August of 2008. source

30 Jun 2011 13:18


Tech, U.S.: Obama’s high-tech version of Fireside Chats — via Twitter

Obama is really embracing this whole Twitter thing. On July 6, he’s going to be on Twitter talking about the economy, hashtags and all. Be sure to tune in to talk to our prez … virtually. source

27 Jun 2011 14:27


Tech, World: Fun fact: Chinese Twitter clone nearly as big as Twitter itself

  • 57% the share of China’s microbloggers that use Sina Weibo — a Chinese Twitter clone; that’s roughly 140 million users (compared to Twitter’s roughly 200 million worldwide)
  • 87% the share of China’s total microblogging activity that goes through Sina Weibo; not bad for a former Yahoo-like portal site that’s stretching its wings source
  • » This is pretty huge. China has more internet users than any other country, and Sina is dominating their microblogging market. They’re trying to make themselves more than just China’s Twitter, though; they want to add more Facebook-like features as well. But that won’t be easy. Competition is fierce, because no single social media site dominates and the company faces strong competition from RenRen and Tencent. On top of that, though, Sina has to police its users and censor them if they’re talking against the government — something Twitter doesn’t have to do. Regardless, this sort of outside-in social media cloning is pretty fascinating to us.

20 Jun 2011 17:50


Politics: NRSC’s Twitter retweets fake @BarackObama posts

  • action President Obama recently made it known that he’d be writing some of his own tweets on his popular Twitter account. This is really an inevitable intersection of social media and politics, and we’ll admit, it’s sort of cool to read a tweet sent by a sitting U.S. President.
  • reaction The National Republican Senatorial Committee, conversely, has been tweeting for a while. When Obama started tweeting, the NRSC began retweeting faked posts designed to look like Obama wrote them; they’ve done the same to Harry Reid and Tim Kaine. source