Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Trump starts governing, by tweet and before assuming office!

January 3, 2017

Donald Trump has found a new tool, a new weapon which seems to be a remarkably effective way of getting a favourable response.

Without debate and without even being in office.

The Tweet.

CBS: House Republicans decide to strip ethics change in emergency meeting

House Republicans agreed Tuesday to withdraw the rules change that would have stripped the chamber’s outside ethics watchdog of its independence and power after heavy public backlash and tweets of disapproval from President-elect Donald Trump.

Republican lawmakers agreed by unanimous consent in a closed-door emergency meeting Monday to strip the rules change from their overall rules package that the lower chamber is scheduled to vote on later in the day, according to a GOP aide.

This came as the new Congress was supposed to gavel in, and just two hours after Mr. Trump tweeted that congressional Republicans shouldn’t be wasting their time with a major ethics change.

trump-ethics-tweets

On Monday night, a majority of Republicans voted to rename the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to the Office of Congressional Complaint Review. The House Ethics Committee–whose members are lawmakers–will now oversee that outside office’s work.

Under the change proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, the outside office would not have been able to investigate anonymous tips, it couldn’t have had a spokesperson and it would have been barred from releasing its findings to the public. Members of the House Ethics Committee would also have been able to stop the office’s investigations.

Two tweets and he got the House Republicans to backtrack. In two tweets he manged to do what Paul Ryan could not. Note that Trump gave the House Republicans who had secretly voted for the rule change, a face saving way to back off by terming the ethics watchdog as possibly “unfair”.

It was a negotiation by twitter and a successful one at that.


 

Intrusive ads are counter-productive – at least with me

February 6, 2014

I must be representative of some consumers since I do buy stuff.

I even buy quite a lot of stuff on-line. Tickets of any kind (theatre, airline, museum, train, football, hockey bus ……), books, music, electrical and electronic gadgets and a host of small articles capable of being delivered by post. We book hotels on-line and sometimes pay on-line as well. We generally don’t buy food or clothes on-line but we do sometimes (at least my wife does) respond to the flyers dropped into our letter box by local retailers. Nearly all automotive products or materials for house repairs are bought physically and not on-line though we may have searched on-line.

But what I observe is that when I buy-on line it is from sites that I know or for which I have searched on-line. Never by clicking on an ad at another site. Even when I search I always hop over the paid ads which show up at the top of the search results. For a store to show up in a search result is much more important in getting my custom than in their advertising having been seen on another site. I cannot recall a single instance in the last year of buying something in response to an on-line ad. But what I also observe is that there is some threshold level of intrusiveness which leads me to remove sites from my bookmarks. If a site directs me first to full-page ads which I have to click away – and especially if they make it difficult to find the “close” button – then those sites get removed from my bookmark lists. I don’t watch videos on-line if their ads don’t disappear within 5 seconds. If my mouse, when hovering over text, brings up too many intrusive ads then the entire site gets onto my “black-list”. I don’t mind registering for some services at some sites but if that process takes longer than about 30 seconds (perhaps a minute) then that site never gets visited again.  Of course it could be that some of the on-line ads are having a subliminal effect and reinforce my perceptions when I search for on-line stores – but it is not very likely.

Even on TV and especially since the break for commercials is so long (in Sweden a commercial break lasts 6 minutes and there are not many ads of high quality), the commercial break either leads me to surf other channels or to go do something else. In the last year or two I notice that there are more TV programmes that I watch only up to the first commercial break because I then go and do something else and never get back in time to watch the rest of the programme. If it is a sporting or political event, then I may well return to the programme – after the commercial break. In any event the people paying vast sums for making and airing the commercials do not capture my attention. If anything they create a resentment in me since I am either a “captive audience” or am being coerced to view their “nonsense”. And it is the resentment which leads to the content being classified in my mind as “nonsense”. I never watch TV shopping channels but they clearly don’t have me as their target audience. The very existence of the commercials is leading me to strategies to avoid them!

My behaviour is surely influenced by the presence of ads on-line and commercials on TV. However, the behaviour engendered in me is nearly always counter-productive from the viewpoint of the advertiser. Maybe I am an untypical consumer – but I doubt it.  Which makes me wonder how effective some of this advertising is?

Certainly advertising agencies and the industry in general will never admit that there can be too much advertising. They get paid for exposure (or apparent exposure) and not for sales achieved. They don’t suffer any penalty for resentment caused or customers driven away. But I would suggest that there is a threshold – very low in my case – at which on-line advertising and commercials on TV become counter-productive.

I get virtually no text ads on my phone. I stopped using Facebook and Twitter some months ago so at least I am not harassed by their ads. But from what I hear, the intrusiveness of the ads on the social media are now leading to some people reducing their use and, in some cases, ending their use of social media. Social media and their business models are still evolving but the assumption that advertising revenues can keep increasing forever is fundamentally flawed.

BBCTwitter reports $645m loss for 2013

Microblogging site Twitter has reported a net loss of $645m (£396m) for 2013, just three months after its flotation on the New York Stock Exchange. The loss was expected by analysts, who highlighted Twitter’s revenues, which rose 110% last year to reach $665m.

But a reported slow growth in user numbers was a bigger concern for investors. Twitter averaged 241 million monthly users in the last quarter of the year, up just 3.8% on the previous quarter. That represents a slowdown compared with a growth rate of 10% seen at the beginning of 2013. Timeline views were down nearly 7%, suggesting users were refreshing their feeds less often.

“What this report will do is it will question how mainstream is Twitter as a platform,” said Arvind Bhatia, an analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach.

Shares fell as much as 12% in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

Will buying “likes” on Facebook and Twitter translate into votes?

November 29, 2013

Perception can be reality. And fake “likes” are being used to generate fake perceptions of popularity and goodness. Whether humans are dumb enough to be taken in by fake perceptions and whether perceptions can be converted into real voters and customers remains to be seen.

The assumption within the public relations and advertising industry is that  buying “likes” on social media actually leads to some advantage for the person/thing/company being liked. Clearly some companies perceive “likes” as being an effective – if unproven -advertising form. There seems to be no shortage of people offering ways of buying and boosting “likes”. Offers are readily available to arrange “2000 Facebook likes for only $17, or 5000 for $35 or 100,000 for $500”. Carlo De Micheli and Andrea Stroppa have been looking at Twitter and the underground market

De Micheli and Stroppa

De Micheli and Stroppa

 

We estimated fake accounts make up for 4% of Twitter’s user base

Does this make sense?

  • Facebook makes it harder to create fake accounts yet openly declares: “As of June 30, 2012, we estimate user-misclassified accounts may have represented approximately 2.4% of our worldwide MAUs and undesirable accounts may have represented approximately 1.5% of our worldwide MAUs. 
  • Every account can follow up to 2000 people. 
  • By statistically excluding overlapping fake accounts, just on the 12 main marketplaces (Fiverr, SeoClerks, InterTwitter, FanMeNow, LikedSocial, SocialPresence, SocializeUk,  ViralMediaBoost), it turns out there are around 20M fake followers on sale right now. 
  • Followers are sold at an average price of $18/1000 followers (barracudalabs). 
  • Sellers can make between $2 and $36 per fake account 
  • Multiplying it out definitely shows a multi-million-dollar market

Apart from entertainment figures wanting to boost their apparent popularity, the buying of “likes” has now become a routine matter for politicians facing elections. They are relying on the herd mentality to lead  to an increase of votes in their favour. The risk they take is that humans – when acting as a mob or a herd – don’t like acknowledging or being accused of acting like dumb animals. But the risk of this backlash is being taken as being small. Politicians in India are now all rushing to buy “likes” – as just another legitimate advertising ploy. They have been paying for favourable articles about themselves and negative articles about their opponents in the print media for many years. But even the most socially illiterate politicians – who wouldn’t know a tweet from a twit – are spending a great deal of money to be able to show huge numbers of “likes”!

What part fake likes and dislikes are going to have in the Delhi elections next week and the national elections next year, remains to be seen. It could be quite effective in a city like Delhi where the penetration of social media among the new urban population is high  but among whom political awareness is still relatively new.

FirstPostIn a new sting operation, Cobrapost has revealed how certain IT companies in India are working to manipulate social media campaigns by buying fake FB likes and followers on Twitter, and running negative campaigns against rivals of their clients and also engaging in creating panic among minority groups. The report states that the most of these companies are working on the behest of BJP and Modi, but also work for Congress sometimes, and in addition manage campaigns for multinational firms, corporations etc as well. …….  In a statement to Firstpost, Facebook said that where fake likes and profiles are concerned, “It’s a violation of our policies to use a fake name or operate under a false identity, and we encourage people to report anyone they think is doing this.

CobrapostOperation Blue Virus also makes certain stunning revelations. If the claims of the companies exposed are to be believed, among political parties, BJP is at the forefront in social media campaign, so is its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, with scores of companies working overtime for him. This puts a question mark on the claims of the BJP leadership that there is a wind blowing in favour of their party and Narendra Modi. The larger-than-life-image that Team Modi has assiduously carved out for Modi over the past one decade may not be that real, rather invented, and is reminiscent of the Goebbellian propaganda, to sway the opinion of gullible public. It is no surprise then that even a milder criticism of the BJP’s star campaigner invites scathing attacks from his followers on social media, claimed to be in millions in count. 

Paul Joseph Goebbels would have been in his element.

 

Could twitter diplomacy be today as ping-pong was then.. ?

September 7, 2013

Forty odd years ago it was ping-pong diplomacy which was used to break the stalemate of the the China -US section of the cold war. (And where would Forrest Gump have been without it?)

The era of Ping-Pong diplomacy had begun .. (in 1971) ….  when the American team—in Nagoya, Japan, for the World Table Tennis Championship—got a surprise invitation from their Chinese colleagues to visit the People’s Republic. Time magazine called it “The ping heard round the world.” And with good reason: no group of Americans had been invited to China since the Communist takeover in 1949.

It could be an electronic “ping” from Iran to Israel in the 21st century.

Now it is Iranian tweets. Israel is “perplexed and pleased” at the messages from the new Iranian President and his Foreign Minister sending Rosh Hashanah wishes to Jews around the world.

Hassan Rouhani.

Hassan Rouhani. Photo: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Jerusalem Post:

Israelis reacted with a mixture of pleasant surprise and wary skepticism on Friday to reports that the new Iranian president and his foreign minister had both issued greetings to mark the Jewish New Year.

Relations between the two countries have been dire for years, with Israel threatening to attack the Islamic Republic over fears it is planning to build nuclear weapons that could one day jeopardize the survival of the Jewish state.

Haaretz: 

After sending out Rosh Hashanah wishes to Jews around the world, Iran’s foreign minister tweets that Iran doesn’t deny the Holocaust in response to a tweet by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter.

Reuters:

In a change of tone, his successor Hassan Rouhani and the new foreign minister, Javad Zarif, appeared to issue tweets in English wishing Jews a good Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish new year that is being celebrated this week. Iran has long declared an official respect for the Jewish faith while condemning Israel.

“Happy Rosh Hashanah,” tweeted Zarif on a profile that notes his career as a diplomat, academic and “Uni of Denver alum”.

The reported greetings came just as Israel was settling into a long holiday weekend and there was no official reaction.

But of course Iran has always held that it is Israel and not Jews that Iran is opposed to. Reuters continues:

Confusing matters, Israeli news websites quoted an official in the Iranian president’s office denying any New Year greetings had been sent and saying Rouhani’s English-language Twitter account, used during his election campaign, was not active.

There was no denial from Zarif and the minister went further to push back on a comment that Iran denies the Nazi Holocaust: “Iran never denied it. The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone,” he tweeted, apparently meaning Ahmadinejad.

On Facebook, he wrote: “We condemn the massacre of Jews by the Nazis and we condemn the massacre of Palestinians by the Zionists.”

Iran is home to the second largest Jewish community in the Middle East – albeit only a few thousand people following mass emigration last century. It denies Israel’s right to exist but even Ahmadinejad embraced some Jews – as long as they rejected the Zionist movement that established the Israeli state.

Neither Rouhani or Zarif mentioned the word “Israel”.

Perhaps it is the right time – with Syria in the background – for an Israeli “pong” to Iran’s “ping”.

Twitter effectively accepts that it is a publisher and responsible for content

August 3, 2013

I have no doubt in my mind that social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are – in fact – publishers. They benefit from the advertising revenues raised on the back of their “reach” and must be responsible – and accountable – for the content they publish.

The abuse of a number of women on Twitter in the UK has now led the head of Twitter UK to personally apologise and for Twitter to now take a number of steps to prevent this kind of abuse. It is a tacit admission of responsibility for their content and completely undermines their previous stand that they are not a publisher. Even though Twitter is “requesting” its users to exercise restraint, their “commitment” makes it clear that Twitter is taking responsibility – even if only implicitly – for ensuring that their users exercise the proper restraint.

A well deserved pat on the back for Twitter (assuming they don’t back away from this commitment and later try to pin the blame on irresponsible users).

Tony Wang apology (Twitter UK)

Tony Wang apology (Twitter UK)

BBCThe boss of Twitter UK has said sorry to women who have experienced abuse on the social networking site. Tony Wang said the threats were “simply not acceptable” and pledged to do more to tackle abusive behaviour.

The apology came as Twitter updated its rules and confirmed it would introduce an in-tweet “report abuse” button on all platforms, including desktops. Police are investigating eight allegations of abuse including bomb and rape threats made against women.

Two people have been arrested in relation to Twitter rape threats against Labour MP Stella Creasy and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who received the threats after a campaign to have Jane Austen on the new £10 note.

Three female journalists said they were subjected to bomb threats on the site.

The revelations sparked a backlash online, with a petition calling for Twitter to add a “report abuse” button to tweets attracting more than 124,000 signatures. In a series of tweets, Twitter UK general manager Mr Wang said: 

  • “I personally apologize to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through. The abuse they’ve received is simply not acceptable”.
  • “It’s not acceptable in the real world, and it’s not acceptable on Twitter”.
  • “There is more we can and will be doing to protect our users against abuse. That is our commitment.”

In an earlier message posted on its blog, Twitter’s senior director for trust and safety Del Harvey and Mr Wang said the company had clarified its anti-harassment policy in light of feedback from customers.

They said: “It comes down to this: people deserve to feel safe on Twitter.”

The company has clarified its guidance on abuse and spam – reiterating that users “may not engage in targeted abuse or harassment”.

The “report abuse” button already available on the iOS Twitter app and mobile site will also be rolled out to the main website and Android app from September, Twitter said.

Ms Harvey and Mr Wang wrote in their blog: “We want people to feel safe on Twitter, and we want the Twitter rules to send a clear message to anyone who thought that such behaviour was, or could ever be, acceptable.”

Facebook and Twitter are “publishers”, not merely “couriers”

July 30, 2013

Social media like to claim that they merely provide a “platform” or  are just “communication enablers” or only provide “communication media” and therefore that they are not responsible – and should not be held responsible – for the content they disseminate.

But they protest too much.

It is quite wrong to compare Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn to a telecommunications enterprise or a postal service or a courier service or an e-mail service provider. In all of these a specific identifiable “sender” directs a communique to a specific, identified “receiver”. The carrying of the communique to the specific receiver is the service provided by the communications enterprise and is not in any sense “publishing”. The service provided by the social media is more than just the provision of a soap box in Hyde Park (a platform) or the provision of a Board or a Wall in a town square onto which a newspaper could be appended. Any website could be a platform for comments but the website owner must take ultimate responsibility for the content published on the web-site.

Facebook and Twitter disseminate their users communiques to a general audience without discriminating as to who may receive the communique. Their business models rely on this audience being as large as possible. Their advertising revenues depend upon the dissemination being as wide and as “indiscriminate” as possible. They are not so different to a radio or a TV broadcast where the broadcaster tries to reach as large an audience as possible. The broadcaster is clearly responsible and accountable for the content of the broadcast. A free newspaper being distributed at all Metro stations but where revenues are dependent upon advertising also has a responsible publisher. Any advertising revenue accrues to the publisher.

The clincher for me is that the placement of advertisements based on circulation is decisive proof of the existence of a publisher. All published material does not contain advertising. Not all advertising is proof of the existence of a publisher. A billboard or sandwich-board owner for example, is not a publisher. But the mere existence of advertising based on circulation numbers or “reach” or any similar parameter is conclusive proof – I think – of the existence of a publisher. And it is the person or organisation responsible for the circulation who takes the advertising revenues and in consequence must be the responsible and accountable publisher.

Freedom of speech does not really enter the argument. The publisher may choose to publish whatever he pleases. He may refrain from “censoring” his users if he so wishes. Or he may – at some cost – ensure that the content he publishes meets criteria that he sets himself. But he remains responsible and accountable for what he publishes. Facebook and Twitter cannot abdicate their responsibility because they choose not to exercise the quality control they could.

It seems to me to be self-evident that Facebook and Twitter are not “billboards” or “sandwich-boards” but are full fledged “broadcasters”. And a broadcaster is a publisher. They could take responsibility for the content they disseminate if they wanted to. It just costs. They can be held accountable for what they indubitably do publish – and they should.

Good grief! “Unfriending” leads to avoidance in real life

February 5, 2013

This may not be bad science but it could be a gross exaggeration of its importance to call it trivial science. A study based on 582 responses gathered by Twitter no less! Unfriending someone on social media can apparently lead to real life avoidance. Almost a profound finding.

How does such nonsense get funded? And why does it ever get published? and reported? But it got presented at a Conference in Hawaii. All is explained.

Science Daily:

Unfriending someone on Facebook may be as easy as clicking a button, but a new study from the University of Colorado Denver shows the repercussions often reach far beyond cyberspace.

People think social networks are just for fun,” said study author Christopher Sibona, a doctoral student in the Computer Science and Information Systems program at the University of Colorado Denver Business School. “But in fact what you do on those sites can have real world consequences.”

Sibona found that 40 percent of people surveyed said they would avoid in real life anyone who unfriended them on Facebook. Some 50 percent said they would not avoid the person and the remaining 10 percent were unsure. Women said they would avoid contact more than men.

At this point I had to throw up.

This rubbish comes out of the University of Colorado department of Computer Science and Information Systems.

More shame to them.

 

So, once upon another time, I closed my Twitter account

November 1, 2012

Once upon a time I opened a Twitter account.

I found

  1. I followed nobody and nobody followed me
  2. I had no messages – of 140 characters or less – that I desired to paste indiscriminately and with no defined recipient on the Twitter noticeboard.
  3. When I wished to just write something – not specifically directed to anybody – it was easier to do it on my blog where I was not constrained to 140 characters
  4. I had no desire to let the world in general know what I was doing. Where I desired someone or some people to be informed about my activity – or inactivity – email and mobile phone texts were sufficient to my needs and were not constrained to 140 characters.
  5. I found my blog to be my extended space which provided an open access to the world but where I didn’t much care whether anybody read what I had written or not. What was important to me was clearly the writing of the post. The reading of the post by others was an incidental consequence of no great significance (to me).
  6. I found I used communication primarily as a tool to mobilise actions or to induce desired behaviour in others. Here the transmission of an information package was necessary but  the transmission had to be well directed. Indiscriminate transmission of information was ineffective, irritating to the unintended reader and wasteful. To be effective the information package needed direction and needed to be complete for the intended purpose.
  7. Transmission of truncated and incomplete information led – more often than not – to misunderstandings and invoked unwanted responses
  8. Transmission of information without any purpose was not of interest to me
  9. Reading tweets written by twits did not seem to provide any value to me

Twitter is just another medium. The message inherent in this medium is that the tweeter is so obsessed by his own ego that he must broadcast his indiscriminate, purposeless, directionless, 140 character snippets about his life to the whole world. In short that the tweeter is a twit. Perhaps the medium has its uses. But the medium encourages a general “dumbing-down” of transmitted information. It uses “black and white” when “full colour” is available. It downgrades the quality of the information transmitted.

Bad information leads to bad communication which gives bad actions.

It does not seem to add any value for me.

So, once upon another time, I closed my Twitter account.

Essence of a Manager

Chapter 4: Communication: Hearing What Isn’t Said

Communication is the tool that a manager must make use of to mobilise actions from his chosen actors. Communication is a process and not a singular event. It extends from the meaning that he selects and then through all the subsequent steps of converting the meaning into a message which he transmits as information making up a communiqué directed at a particular recipient. The process continues till it is received, interpreted and reconverted into meaning in the recipient’s mind. But the process is not complete until the manager gets the feedback confirming that his intended meaning has been successfully transferred. The manager retains responsibility throughout the entire process. Language and culture enable communication and are not barriers. Focusing on the recipient leads naturally to the process required to generate the desired meanings in his mind. Any manager can make himself into a good communicator. Some will have to work harder at it than others. But being aware of the steps contained within a communications process is where the learning starts.

Twits tweet

November 1, 2012

twit – A silly or foolish person.
to twit – to be in a state of nervous excitement: “we’re in a twit about your visit”

Are all tweeters twits? Is it only twits who tweet?

But there are many types of tweeters:

  1. Low-life tweeters who merely follow: They are rarely interesting except in contributing to trends. This group includes journalists and groupies. Journalists sift through tweets as if rummaging through dustbins looking for a scoop. For groupies there is the delusion of participation; instant and vicarious gratification. Twits
  2. Rich and famous tweeters: These are the people who need their egos to be constantly fed, who must live in the public eye and need reassurance that their fame still lives. They live in perpetual fear of the loss of their fame. Twits
  3. Politicians: They think that their expositions of political policy in 140 characters or less can get them re-elected or make them popular or can get out the young vote or ……..? Twits
  4. Activists, revolutionaries and rabble-rousers: They hunt for subjects to hang their punch lines onto. Success is in getting a trend going or getting a flash mob together. Twits
  5. Would be socialites and socialists. They set up their stalls in the hope that their 140 characters will be perceived as funny, witty, sexy, profound or insightful. They are easily gratified and are quite happy to have manged to expand a thought into something as long as 140 characters. Twits
  6. Corporate tweeters: These are usually overpaid and underworked PR types or advertisers selling something (usually something quite unnecessary) and who live in a fantasy of creating a “hit” or a “best-seller” in 140 characters or less. Twits
  7. Updates
    1. Re-tweeters: Who have nothing original to say for themselves but who try to remain in the thick of things by re-tweeting. Twits

I am unable to find a category of tweeters who could be considered high-class.

There may be tweeters who are not twits. But that remains to be demonstrated. The empirical evidence suggests that all tweeters are twits.

My hypothesis is that only twits tweet. 

“The medium is the message” – Marshall McLuhan

Perhaps the message of the Twitter medium is that the tweeter is a twit.

Anders Behring Breivik: The baby-face pictures concealing a lunatic killer

July 24, 2011

A baby-faced killer in the pictures of himself in his manifesto.

Anders Behring Breivik  (Andrew Berwick)

Justiciar Knight Commander
Knights Templar Europe
Knights Templar Norway

His Twitter profile is here:

anders behring breivik twitter profile

The Google cache of his Facebook page is here 


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