If it's technology, I want to know about it.
Tag Archives: twitter
Are criminals using technology like Facebook, Twitter, Google Street View and/or Foursquare to help them commit their crimes? Click here to visit original post.
Take a look at this interesting infographic on Text Messaging statistics in the U.S. created by the graphics team at Tantango.com
Text Message Marketing by Tatango.
Holy smokes!!! I am able to even record video straight to the blog!? The video capture makes this a very nice experience. That settles it, the droid x is now my new video blogging buddie…if it works that is.
(Updates) Actually, it didn’t work. I need to pay for a “videopress” upgrade to post videos via smartphone. Looks like I’ll be upgrading to Videopress.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 28, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Astroturfers, Twitter-bombers and smear campaigners need beware this election season as a group of leading Indiana University information and computer scientists today unleashed Truthy.indiana.edu, a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation leading up to the Nov. 2 elections.
Combing through thousands of tweets per hour in search of political keywords, the team based out of IU’s School of Informatics and Computing will isolate patterns of interest and then insert those memes (ideas or patterns passed by imitation) into Twitter’s application programming interface (API) to obtain more information about the meme’s history.
“When we identify a trend we go back and examine how it was started, where the main injection points were, and any associated memes,” said Filippo Menczer, an associate professor of computer science and informatics. “When we drill down we’ll be able to see statistics and visualizations relating to tweets that mention the meme and basically reconstruct its history.”
The team will then generate diffusion network images that visitors to Truthy.indiana.edu can view as groups of nodes and edges that identify retweets, mentions, and the extent of the epidemic. Visitors to the site will also see the output of a sentiment analysis algorithm that examines and extracts mood-identifying words and then assesses them on a known psychometric scale. That algorithm identifies the meme on scales ranging from anxious to calm, hostile to kind, unsure to sure, and confused to aware.
Menczer got the idea for the Truthy website after hearing researchers from Wellesley College speak earlier this year on their research analyzing a well-known Twitter bomb campaign conducted by the conservative group American Future Fund (AFF) against Martha Coakley, a democrat who lost the Massachusetts senatorial seat formerly held by the late Edward Kennedy. Republican challenger Scott Brown won the seat after AFF set up nine Twitter accounts in early morning hours prior to the election and then sent out 929 tweets in two hours before Twitter realized the information was spam. By then the messages had reached 60,000 people.
Menczer explained that because search engines now include Twitter trends in search results, an astroturfing campaign — where the concerted efforts of special interests are disguised as a spontaneous grassroots movement — that includes Twitter bombs can jack up how high a result shows up on Google even if the information is false.
This is one reason Truthy.indiana.edu also relies on input from users to denote a meme as “truthy,” or misinformation represented as fact. Having a crowdsourcing component will help the data mining effort and hopefully keep the loop between social media and search engines honest, researchers said.
“One of the concerns about social media is that people are being manipulated without realizing it because a meme can be given instant global popularity by a high search engine ranking, in turn perpetuating the falsehood,” Menczer said.
As information scientists, the group is interested in understanding meme diffusion from various perspectives: Menczer, associate director of IU’s Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, focuses on data mining and meme burst modeling; Rudy Professor of Informatics Alessandro Vespignani‘s work relates to epidemic and contagion modeling; Associate Professor of Informatics Alessandro Flammini, also director of IU’s Complex Systems Program, conducts complex network analysis, especially related to online text and social media; and Johan Bollen, associate professor of informatics and computing, has a background in cognitive science and specializes in sentiment and mood analysis from online text.
The website’s name, Truthy, references a “stunt word” first employed by television comedian and political pundit Stephen Colbert in 2005 to satirize the use of emotional appeal as fact.
To speak with Menczer or other members of the Truthy development team, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dell turned heads last year when it announced it sold $6.5 million worth of computers via Twitter. Since then, a few companies have tried to replicate this feat – in some cases with clear success. The larger question, though, is not so much how can a company use Twitter to sell – but rather, what other uses can the micro blogging site perform for companies aside from general brand awareness.
Companies can be forgiven, though, if their thoughts first turn to sales. As it happens, using Twitter to make sales has not been easy to accomplish, according the Big Money blog. For a direct-sales company like Dell it is a no-brainer, it said.
Sony: $1.5 Million in Twitter Sales
It was questionable, though, whether big brands that rely on retailers to sell the product could also transact with their Twitter followers without aggravating their business partners. Sony’s European division decided to find out.
It recently offered 1,600 Twitter followers a chance to custom-build their own Sony Vaio laptop and get 10% knocked off from the final sale price. According to Big Money, Sony posted Twitter Vaio sales of more than $1.5 million during the limited-offer period.
Sony is taking a more nuanced approach to Twitter than Dell or other retailers that use it to offer coupons or other bargains. The company wants to maintain its relationship-driven communication with its customers. The dialogue, in other words, is just as important as the sale. That is why the company has no plans to bombard its Twitter followers with generic offers but instead will roll out specialized products “unique enough that will get the community buzzing.”
Dunkin Donuts: Win Free Coffee for a Year
Dunkin Donuts is another company cautiously feeling its way with a sales pitch to Twitter followers, writes the St. Louis Business Journal. The company has started to track dollars from Twitter by tallying the number of people who click through from a “Win Free Coffee For a Year Offer” on Twitter. Also users who enroll in the “DD perks” program are entered into a company database.
The company has a quantitative value for database members, although it will not disclose that number or the Twitter click-through rate, the Journal said.
Sears: Tweeting for Job Applicants
Sears is planning to use the site to post 7,000 job openings at Sears and K-Mart. (via the Los Angeles Times). The job tweets will be posted by TweetMyJobs.com, which allows clients to track the number of clicks on the jobs. According to Lance Brolin, a Sears human relations executive, the company wants to see how social media can best meet its employment and advertising needs.
Time Warner Cable: Customer Service Tweets
For the most part, though, companies are using Twitter to generate brand awareness and to follow their customers’ conversations. That has morphed for some firms into customer service outreach. Time Warner Cable just announced a new Online Customer Care Team @TWCablePhil that will use e-mail, Twitter, and other forms of social media to get customers help. Since its initial soft-launch on February 19th, the team has engaged over 1,500 customers via Twitter….continue reading.
When a user chooses the “Not Now” option, the friend request will be moved to a “Hidden requests” folder and the user will be able to go back later and approve or deny. If you go back later and then deny the request, Facebook will offer you the further option of marking the person as someone you don’t know, and then that person won’t be able to initiate a friend request with you in the future. So likely in effect this will mean a total block on this person.
As with the current system, none of these actions will be visible to the person that is getting denied / put on your wait-list.
By adding “Not Now” as an option, Facebook would seem to be making a smart play on two fronts: first of all, it is a way to make users feel less guilty when they don’t really want to be friends with someone, and on the other hand, Facebook might see some more connections as a result of this as some people may actually go back later and accept a friend request that they may have simply denied when that was the only alternative to accepting a friend request. Of course, Facebook thrives on friend connections, so any up-tick in those conversions can only help its network and bottom line.
We’ve sent Facebook an email asking when this option will be rolled out for the entire network, and what will happen to the current “Ignore” button, which seems to be absent in the screenshots taken by Inside Facebook.
UPDATE: Facebook just got back to us saying that the “Not Now” option will roll out over “the next day or two” and that it is indeed replacing the “Ignore” option.
Several days into the “shutdown,” the college’s inability to keep students away from social media is showing.
It was a bold ambition to begin with. Nationwide, 92% of students log into Facebook and spend an average of 147 minutes there per week, according to the Student Monitor. Harrisburg will not have a firm idea of how many students actually abstained from using Facebook and other blocked sites until it does exit surveys and focus groups. But Eric Darr, the provost behind the plan, says that based on his own anecdotal observations, the proportion of students who are actually going cold turkey is probably around 10% or 15%.
Meanwhile, some students have gone to great lengths to foil the university’s attempts to block them from accessing the sites on campus. Darr says he talked to three who hiked three blocks to log into Facebook from the lobby of a nearby hotel. Some particularly tech-savvy students have tried hacking the campus network to get around the block administrators put in place on Monday, says Charles Palmer, director of the university’s Center for Advanced Learning and Entertainment Technologies.
Still, the provost says that even if only a slim percentage of students actually renounce Facebook and Twitter for the week, the project will have been a success, if only because of the conversations it has started. The university never expected full abstinence from students, Darr says, nor was it trying to conduct a scientific experiment. “This extreme media coverage in and of itself is forcing more focus on social media,” he says, noting that he had just gotten off an interview with a radio talk show based in Seattle. “That was the whole point of this in the first place,” he says.
The proposed moratorium, originally reported last week by Inside Higher Ed, spread to some unlikely reaches, including a Latvian news site and NBC‘s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In his monologue on Monday, Fallon quipped that students assigned to write about the experience might title their essays, “We all have smartphones, dumbass.”
Not all, but some. “The blackout isn’t really that bad,” says Noel Stark, a junior at Harrisburg. “Anyone with a 3G phone can still view these sites on campus.” A number of faculty have also availed themselves of this workaround, says Palmer.
Then there is the fact, omitted from much of the media coverage (including Inside Higher Ed’s), that Harrisburg is nonresidential. Many students live nearby, but not under the umbrella of the campus wireless network. This means that while the college can try to prevent students from accessing social media sites in class, it cannot make students honor the spirit of the project once they get home. And it appears most students are not.
This is not to say the project has failed to inspire reflection. “Direct social interaction (aka the old fashioned face-to-face kind) seems to be increasing this week based on observation,” writes Rene D. Massengale in an e-mail. Massengale, an associate professor of biotechnology, says he has had thoughtful discussions about the project in his class. He says it has affected his interactions outside the classroom as well. “Sometimes I see a student I know with their head out of their PDA or computer, and I have to resist the urge to go introduce myself,” he says. “‘Hi, I’m Dr. Massengale — you know, that person who teaches your class.'”
Students in Harrisburg’s degree programs are required to have laptops, and, perhaps more than at many other colleges, students have their computers open in class. (“We are a paperless school,” says Mehdi Noorbaksh, coordinator of general education at the university.)
“It turns out that a number of them were on Facebook or chatting online,” says Palmer, the educational technologist. “We had one student who said, ‘I guess now I’ll have to pay attention in class.’ ”
“Some like it, some don’t,” says Gio Acosta, a junior. “Some say they’re getting [more] work done; some of them say, ‘I need my Facebook!’ ”
Acosta says he has been feeling the itch himself. Since being blocked from accessing the site on his laptop during class, Acosta has noticed an impulse to browse Facebook every 10 minutes or so. “I don’t know if that’s because it’s restricted, or because it’s part of me right now,” Acosta says.
He says he misses unwinding with Facebook between classes, when he does not have to be following a lecture but is still beholden to the proscriptions of the campus network. And Acosta has found it hard to keep track of his friends like he is used to, since most of them, remarkably, are more responsive to Facebook than to text messages. But while he is in class, the computer and information sciences major says, being barred from Facebook has helped him focus.
Once he gets home at night, though, Acosta says he makes sure to scratch that digital itch. “It’s fair game at home,” he says. “They didn’t make any rules about that.”