Webometric Thoughts

July 20, 2009

Social Media Non-Adopters: Engagement v. Exposure

Filed under: BCSMC,Twitter,spam — admin @ 8:04 am

The topic of last Tuesday’s Black Country Social Media Cafe was Social Media Non-Adopters. Although the group chose the topic it was quite a quiet event, so we dumped the panel-at-the-front format in favour of a round table discussion. Despite the limited numbers (or possibly because of the limited numbers), it turned out to be a really interesting discussion, covering numerous different topics under the umbrella of ‘Social-Media Non-Adopters’; from the protocol of ReTweeting on Twitter to turning your avatar green for Iran![Nb. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of many social media campaigns].

The area of discussion I found most interesting was that of ‘Engagement v. Exposure’: When we encourage people to participate in social media are we giving them the support necessary to engage successfully and deal with the problems that come from potentially exposing yourself to communication with some of the world’s less desirable elements.

One seemingly innocuous example was that of retweeting, i.e., re-broadcasting a message in Twitter by updating with someone else’s message with ‘RT’ and the original messenger’s username at the front. Whilst a RT is generally seen as highlighting the noteworthiness of someone’s content, it can also be used to attribute content to a person who never twittered it. Such false-attribution could be anything from adjusting a comment for length, to attributing something embarrassing/slanderous to someone. Most such examples are examples of misinformation rather than disinformation; they are not deliberately trying to give a false impression. And most disinformation is more likely to be in an attempt to drive traffic than to be slanderous, for example:

‘RT @stephenfry Probably the most interesting person ever http://bit.ly/LnyqI

Which is probably more likely to generate traffic than the same quote without the Stephen Fry attribution.

Responses from Twitter show a mixture of those who accept the need for shortening tweets, and those who expect a carbon copy.

The problem of celeb-attribution-spam was the topic of a post at bloggingtips last week, unfortunately they are not all as obvious as this:

July 13, 2009

Free: Jesus v. the Radical Price

Filed under: Shelfari,Wikipedia — admin @ 10:57 am

Whenever I finish a book I update my Shelfari account; I enjoy being reminded of the books I’ve read, it’s amazing how quickly you forget them (and how few I actually finish). Anyway, today I added ‘Free’ to my shelf (after reviewing it over at the Online Journalism Blog) unfortunately someone has slightly edited the details:

(Nb. In case you haven’t read it, it’s nothing to do with Jesus).

Allowing users to contribute always risks the inclusion of misinformation and disinformation but, as with sites like Wikipedia, it is expected that the crowd will be self-correcting. However, unlike Wikipedia, Shelfari review the edits. Although the usefulness of the review is obviously open to question if they can’t spot such a glaring mistake in what is likely to quickly become a very popular book. Shelfari have managed to slow the self-correcting ability of the crowd, without the ‘review’ process adding any benefit!

July 6, 2009

Social Media: Partial-adopters

Filed under: Social Media — admin @ 6:47 am

Back in March Birmingham City University announced their MA is Social Media, eliciting the usual wave of irrational thought from the right-wing newspapers. Whilst such reactionary comments are to be expected from the right (the right are inherently irrational), there are also a surprising a number who should know better. Most notably my brother.

Last night I was talking to my brother about social media on the phone, specifically mentioning the Social Media MA at the University of Salford. He was less than enthusiastic about such courses. He doesn’t see social media as a revolutionary way to communicate with individuals, organisations and institutions that needs to be approached systematically if we are to understand it properly. Instead he sees it as just a natural part of his life that needs little further investigation. His approach seems to be to slowly integrate those technologies that create sufficient buzz amongst his immediate circle of friends: he joined MySpace, then Facebook, but Twitter hasn’t quite made enough noise yet. Whilst this may seem reasonable at first glance, when I explain that he is a final year journalism student and the university’s radio station manager, it becomes a slightly more concerning approach. There are few industries that have been effected as much by social media as journalism and broadcasting, and those who don’t fully realise the potential of social media will fail. If anything, my brother should be playing the role of social media evangelist rather than just following the crowd.

‘Slowly integrating the technologies with sufficient buzz’ seems to be the approach most people are taking to social media. Although the social nature of social media means that people generally get more from the technologies when their friends are signed-up, if individuals and organisations are going to make social media work for them more successfully then they need to embrace a more integrated and experimental approach.

The social media crowd spend a lot of time talking amongst themselves and talking to non-adopters. Maybe we need to spend a bit more time talking to the partial-adopters. We can’t expect everyone to be a social media evangelist, but maybe we could help the partial-adopters think a bit more about how they are using social media and what they want to get from it.

July 1, 2009

Fuck: What have you got to swear about?

Filed under: Twitter,Wordle,swearing — admin @ 8:40 pm

The words people combined with ‘fuck’ last Wednesday on Twitter (i.e., before the world went you-know-who crazy):
I may get this printed as a prompt card for when I get myself into arguments and my middle class background fails to provide me with the required lingo. Just take a selection of words, mix them up, and you’re “shit hot like fuckin transformers”.

[nb. This is absolutely the last Wordle].

Twittering Jackson

Filed under: Michael Jackson,Twitter,Wordle — admin @ 8:10 pm

As a follow-up to the last post it seemed appropriate to show what people were actually saying about Michael Jackson. A Wordle of the Twitter comments on Friday 26th June mentioning ‘Jackson’:

Personally I thought there would have been a few more negative comments, but seemingly most people really don’t speak ill of the dead.

That’s it…I promise no more Michael Jackson Wordles…although I may be tempted to post some other Wordles from my Twitter corpus.

[N.B. The words 'Michael' and 'Jackson' were removed from the Wordle as they far outweighed all the others.]

Seven Twitter Wordles: #MJ’s Death was massive!

Filed under: Michael Jackson,Twitter,Wordle — admin @ 6:53 pm

Despite a few problems with my programming, I finally got a random sample of the Twitter public timeline: the top 20 feeds from the Twitter public timeline were collected every 30 seconds over seven days. The Twitter updates were then put in Wordle (with the ‘common English words’ taken out).

Even mundane wordles can be interesting to look at. Over the week you can see just how small the trend words are in comparison to the mundanities of life. Then Michael Jackson died.

[you can click on pictures to enlarge]







The Twitter community soon get back on an even keel.

Personally I’m always surprised how little people swear on Twitter.

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