ENTRIES TAGGED "social media"

What I learned about #debates, social media and being a pundit on Al Jazeera English

Why I'll be turning off the Net and tuning in to the final presidential debate.

The Stream - Al Jazeera EnglishEarlier this month, when I was asked by Al Jazeera English if I’d like to be go on live television to analyze the online side of the presidential debates, I didn’t immediately accept. I’d be facing a live international audience at a moment of intense political interest, without a great wealth of on-air training. That said, I felt honored to be asked by Al Jazeera. I’ve been following the network’s steady evolution over the past two decades, building from early beginnings during the first Gulf War to its current position as one of the best sources of live coverage and hard news from the Middle East. When Tahrir Square was at the height of its foment during the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera was livestreaming it online to the rest of the world.

I’ve been showing a slide in a presentation for months now that features Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” as a notable combination of social media, online video and broadcast journalism since its inception.

So, by and large, the choice was clear: say “yes,” and then figure out how to do a good job.

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Data is the real business model for social

IBM's Marie Wallace on the unrealized potential of social data.

As social media websites gather ever-growing data stores, they might be better served by finding ways to make profitable use of that data instead serving ads as their chief means of raising revenue. While the data might give them the information they need to serve more targeted ads — although in my experience they still have a ways to go with that — the real value in the site could be the data itself.

Of course, if social sites start selling data to the highest bidder that leaves open questions of data ownership and privacy and finding ways to strip personal identifiers.

Marie Wallace (@marie_wallace) is social analytics strategist for the IBM Collaboration Solutions division. She has spent more than a decade at IBM working on content analytics, and her experience uniquely positions her to address questions regarding big data, social media and analytics. Our interview follows.

Social media’s real value might not be in selling ads, but in the data they are collecting. Why do you think that is?

Marie Wallace: The reason ad targeting has worked so well for search is because it’s aligned and supportive to that particular activity; when I am searching for information about products or services I am happy to get ads that may help direct my search. Ads are somewhat analogous to a value-added service and social search makes the ads more personalized and relevant, which is why Google has invested so heavily in Google+.

The key is that in most cases ads only work in a search-like context, however with most social media sites people are not going there to search. They are going to converse with friends and family, which makes ads interruptive and frequently invasive. This is further exacerbated by mobile, where limited real estate makes ads even more offensive as they are distracting and clutter the screen. Social search is one example of a service that sits on top of social data, but there are a whole plethora of other services that social data can drive — from market research to consumer/brand engagement, social recommenders, information filtering, or expertise location. Read more…

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President Obama participates in first Presidential AMA on Reddit

The President's participation in a user-driven Q&A was a notable precedent in digital democracy.

Starting around 4:30 PM ET today, President Barack Obama made history by going onto Reddit to answer questions about anything for an hour. Reddit, one of the most popular social news sites on the Internet, has been hosting “Ask Me Anything” forums — or AMAs – for years, including sessions with prominent legislators like Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), but to host a sitting President of the United States will elevate Reddit’s prominence in the intersection of technology and politics. AllThingsD has the story of Reddit got the President onto the site. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian told Peter Kafka that “there are quite a few redditors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and at the campaign HQ — given the prominence of reddit, it’s an easy sell.”

President Obama made some news in the process, with respect to the Supreme Court decision that allowed super political action committees, or “Super PACs,” to become part of the campaign finance landscape.

“Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it),” commented President Obama. “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

President Obama announced that he’d be participating in the AMA in a tweet and provided photographic evidence that he was actually answering questions in an image posted to Reddit (above) and in a second tweet during the session.

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On email privacy, Twitter’s ToS and owning your own platform

The lesson from this week's #TwitterFail is that publishers of all sorts should own their own platform.

If you missed the news, Guy Adams, a journalist at the Independent newspaper in England, was suspended by Twitter after he tweeted the corporate email address of a NBC executive, Gary Zenkel. Zenkel is in charge of NBC’s Olympics coverage.

When I saw the news, I assumed that NBC had seen the tweet and filed an objection with Twitter about the email address being tweeted. The email address, after all, was shared with the exhortation to Adams’ followers to write to Zenkel about frustrations with NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, a number of which Jim Stogdill memorably expressed here at Radar and Heidi Moore compared to Wall Street’s hubris.

Today, Guy Adams published two more columns. The first shared his correspondence with Twitter, including a copy of a written statement from an NBC spokesman called Christopher McCloskey that indicated that NBC’s social media department was alerted to Adams’ tweet by Twitter.

The second column, which followed the @GuyAdams account being reinstated, indicated that NBC had withdrawn their original complaint. Adams tweeted the statement: “we have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request. Therefore your account has been unsuspended.”

Since the account is back up, is the case over? A tempest in a Twitter teapot? Well, not so much. I see at least four different important issues here related to electronic privacy, Twitter’s terms of service, censorship and how many people think about social media and the Web.

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Four short links: 16 July 2012

Four short links: 16 July 2012

Open Access, Emergency Social Media, A/B Testing Traps, and Post-Moore Sequencing Costs

  1. Britain To Provide Free Access to Scientific Publications (Guardian) — the Finch report is being implemented! British universities now pay around £200m a year in subscription fees to journal publishers, but under the new scheme, authors will pay “article processing charges” (APCs) to have their papers peer reviewed, edited and made freely available online. The typical APC is around £2,000 per article.
  2. Social Media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide — from the Wellington City Council in New Zealand, who have been learning from Christchurch earthquakes and Tauranga’s oil spill.
  3. Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments: Five Puzzling Outcomes Explained (PDF) — Microsoft Research dug into A/B tests done on Bing and reveal some subtle truths. The statistical theory of controlled experiments is well understood, but the devil is in the details and the difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory [...] Generating numbers is easy; generating numbers you should trust is hard! (via Greg Linden)
  4. Data Sequencing Costs (National Human Genome Research Institute) — Cost-per-megabase and cost-per-genome are dropping faster than Moore’s Law now they’ve introduced “second generation techniques” for sequencing, aka “high-throughput sequencing” or a parallelization of the process. (via JP Rangaswami)
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Top Stories: July 2-6, 2012

Top Stories: July 2-6, 2012

Reevaluating criticism of visualizations, why websites still matter, Amazon as friend and foe.

This week on O'Reilly: Andy Kirk made the case for open-minded criticism of visualizations, Brett Slatkin explained why you still need to own a website, and Greenleaf Book Group CEO Clint Greenleaf discussed the complicated relationship between publishers and Amazon.

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You still need your own website

You still need your own website

Brett Slatkin on the federated social web and why a website still matters.

Brett Slatkin's hope for a federated social web hasn't worked out as expected, so he's shifting perspective from infrastructure to user behavior. Here he explains why you shouldn't abandon your website for third-party platforms.

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Preview of HIMSS 2012

Collaboration, trust in platforms, and application of social media are key health IT trends.

Brian Ahier says we're at a pivotal moment for healthcare and health IT. Many of the core issues that will shape these domains in the years to come will be discussed at the upcoming Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference.

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Big crime meets big data

Big crime meets big data

Data and social media are being used against us in creative new ways.

Marc Goodman, consultant and cyber crime expert, explains how criminals and terrorists can put data, automation, and scalability to effective use.

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Can the People's House become a social platform for the people?

The combined potential of social media and legislative data took the stage at the first congressional hackathon.

Leaders of the House of Representatives met with Facebook developers and open government advocates to talk about how technology can improve the legislative process. New prototype apps hint at the future that awaits the "People's House" in the 21st century.

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