Social Media and Politics: Truthiness and Astroturfing

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is a column I wrote back in November. I’m repeating it here because of connections to astroturing in the HBGary/Anonymous case.) Just how social is social media? By which I mean: Can we trust it as a measure of what people think, what they may buy, how they may vote? Or …

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Social Media and Politics: Truthiness and Astroturfing

(This is a longer version of my syndicated newspaper column) By Jeremy Wagstaff Just how social is social media? By which I mean: Can we trust it as a measure of what people think, what they may buy, how they may vote? Or is it as easy a place to manipulate as the real world? …

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The Shape of Things to Come

This is from my weekly newspaper column, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff We’re all touch typists now. Of course, the definition of touch type has had to change a little, since most of us don’t actually learn touch typing as we’re supposed to. Watch people tapping away at a keyboard and you’ll …

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We’re All Information Gatherers Now

When we talk about the future of newspapers, the future of education, the future of media, and the future of learning we tend to ignore the most important aspect. We tend to focus on information delivery and not on the nature of information seeking. We think, somehow, that we still need to get the same …

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Transparent Blogging: The Pronk Effect

We could learn some lessons about blogging, honesty, accountability and the distinction between public and private views from an unlikely source: the U.N.’s special envoy to Sudan. Jan Pronk, expelled last month for comments on a blog he was writing about the conflict, has replied to an email I sent to him shortly after he …

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The Unsocial Web

A piece by Donna Bogatin on why many more people read web sites liked digg.com rather than contribute to it has in itself spawned enough responses to become something of a summary of why the social web, citizen journalism, user-created content etc may not be quite the revolution it appears. Here’s how I see the …

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Opera Gets Widgetized

The Opera browser continues to impress, even as it becomes less and less relevant in the face of the mighty Firefox. This week Opera’s preview puts widgets on stage according to CNET : Opera Software on Tuesday plans to release a second preview version of Opera 9, the next version of its namesake Web browser. …

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The Smell of Sterile Burning

There’s a growing noise about Sony’s apparent attempt to install digital rights management software usually associated with bad guys trying to maintain control of a compromised computer: Mark’s Sysinternals Blog: Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far: The entire experience was frustrating and irritating. Not only had Sony put software on my system …

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On News Visualization, Part II

This week’s Loose Wire column in WSJ is about visualizing news. Researching the column I had a chance to interview Craig Mod, the guy behind the excellent Buzztracker. Here’s an edited transcript of our chat: Craig Mod: We have over 550,000 articles in the DB now, spanning back to Jan 1st 2004. “Buzztracker” went from …

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Porn Sites Aren’t Just About Sleaze Anymore

In case you needed a reason not to surf for porn, here’s one: Nearly all porn sites install some sort of spyware or adware on visitors’ computers, according to a survey released today by Eblocs.com, an anti-spyware vendor. The study “entailed visiting 100 porn sites and running multiple anti-spyware software programs… to identify any Spyware contaminating …

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