Tag Archives: Social Media

Freedom of Speech in the UK



Law GavelIn the latest podcast, Todd rightly asks about the apparent lack of freedom of speech on social media in the UK. Undoubtedly, it’s a complex issue but it is becoming increasingly clear that the right to free speech is under threat here in Britain. In this post, I’ll look at some of the issues, but to start with, I am not a lawyer (thank goodness) and this doesn’t constitute legal advice.

Unlike the USA, the UK does not have a written constitution guaranteeing rights. The closest the Britain gets to this is the Human Rights Act (1998) which only came into force in 2000. The Human Rights Act is the embodiment in UK law of the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf).  The ECHR’s Article 10 provides the right to freedom of expression but as will be noted from part 2 of the article below, there are plenty of possible exceptions. I’ve embolden the part that is relevant to the discussion here.

“The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Obviously, the UK police do not pro-actively monitor social media looking for offensive posts. A complaint has to be received by the police based on someone taking offence at a posting on social media. The UK law has increasingly moved away from “offence intended” to “offence taken”. This was primarily done to increase the power of law in areas of discrimination, where people could avoid convictions by claiming that sexually or racially offensive language wasn’t intended in the way it was taken. Now the law supported those who were offended by the sexual or racial innuendo, regardless of intention. However, the “offence taken” law has grown out of its discriminatory roots to take hold in almost any area of offence.

Much as the compensation culture has grown, a similar one has arisen that “bad things” are always someone else’s fault and they have to pay. Although it started with physical hurt, this has gradually extended to psychological hurt and finally simple feelings. Instead of “sticks and stones will break my bones”, it’s “I’m going to tell on you.”

Finally, both the police and the legal system have increasingly taken a view of what’s legal and illegal rather than what is right and wrong. Consequently, instead of the police looking at the social media post with a bit of common sense and telling the complainant to grow-up, the police are now obliged to follow procedure and take up the complaint.

Overall, these changes in the law and approaches to policing now mean that abusive and offensive comments are taken much more seriously than before.

Let’s take a look at three cases that show the variety of circumstances.

The first tweet to come to widespread notice was Paul Chamber’s tweet in response to his local airport being shut because of snow. “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your (expletive deleted) together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” He was initially found guilty in May 2010 of sending a “menacing electronic communication” but fortunately eventually won his challenge in July of this year. The whole incident was farcical and made the law look stupid.

The second isn’t a tweet but a T-shirt worn in response to the shooting of two police officers that said, “One less pig perfect justice”, pig being an abusive slang term of the police. Barry Thew was jailed for four months for this, but many would have seen this as political commentary, particularly as it was about to be revealed that the police covered up their incompetence in a sporting disaster in which 96 people died by disgracefully blaming football fans killed and injured in the incident.

And finally, Britain has been embroiled in child sex abuse scandal involving a well-loved (but now dead) BBC TV personality. In the wake of this, a living person was named on Twitter as being a paedophile when he was wholly innocent and completely blameless. He’s now suing everyone who repeated the lie unless they apologise.

As can be seen, it’s a complex issue with both the freedom of speech under threat and the rights of others needing to be protected. The Crown Prosecution Service has recognised that there is potentially a problem and is intending to consult with the legal profession and social media companies. The Director of Pubic Prosecution, Keir Starmer, QC, has said that “People have the right to be offensive, they have the right to be insulting, and that has to be protected.

In a recent statement about another tweeting case, the DPP said, “Social media is a new and emerging phenomenon raising difficult issues of principle, which have to be confronted not only by prosecutors but also by others including the police, the courts and service providers. The fact that offensive remarks may not warrant a full criminal prosecution does not necessarily mean that no action should be taken. In my view, the time has come for an informed debate about the boundaries of free speech in an age of social media.

There’s hope yet.

Courtroom Gavel photograph courtesy of Bigstock.


App.net an Alternative to Twitter



App.net is a Twitter replacement which is based on a subscription. I joined 5 days ago. The cost is $36.00 which is a drop of about 25 percent from the originally $50.00 for the subscription. There is also a $5.00 monthly subscription available. Under App.net you own all your content If you decide to cancel your service you have 60 days to export your data. App.net has promise to make that exporting easy. They promise not to sell you personal data to advertisers or any other third-party.

Unlike Twitter, App.Net actively encourages developers to create third-party apps. Based on users feedback, App.net will distribute $20,000 among developers monthly. Right now there are over 30 mobile apps alone. Most are iOs based, there are some Android apps also and at this point only 1 mobile Window app. I expect more Windows mobile apps to be created once Windows 8 mobile comes out. There is a listing of all the available third-party apps for the various platforms listed on the App.net website. Personally on my Mac I am trying bothWedge and Appetizer. On the iPad I am currently using AppNet Rhino however Netbot by the same people who make Tweetbot just came out and it is also very popular. On my Android phone I am trying Robin which is invite only beta.

Why join app.net

1. There are no ads.
2. It is a place where you can have great conversations.
3. At this point it is mostly celebrity free.
4. So far no annoying hashtag trends.
5. There is 256 character limitation instead of the Twitter’s normal 145.
6. Most third-party apps are set up to allow you to cross-post to Twitter.

The negative

1. You have to pay for the service
2. There is a small but growing membership
3. Not for someone who just wants to announce things
4. Your friends may not be on the service, so you will need to persuade them to join.

I am really enjoying App.net and if you join I am listed as klandwehr


What is the Future of Television



New Tek At the NAB show New Tek had a panel Broadcast Minds: The Future of Television with Leo Laporte of TWIT.TV,  Kevin Pollak, Award winning Actor and Comedian, Jeff Jacobs, Vice President, Production Planning, Strategic Initiatives & Business Operations of the MTV Music Group,  Bill Chapman, Vice President of Creative Development/Emerging Technologies of Turner Studios and Jeff Hawley, Director, Customer Experience Group. Yamaha Corporation of America. They discussed the future of television and media, if you are interested in media and where it is going you need to watch it. Among the areas they discussed are:

  • The importance of live streaming as an event.
  • People need to feel like they are a part of a community.
  • Engaging the viewer on the various platforms they are on.
  • Creative people are only limited by their own imagination.
  • Creativity drives technology and vice a versa.
  • Anyone can build an on-demand library of content.
  • The ability to store and send big data is a major cost concern.
  • Social Media has become an integral part of the whole process from creation to distribution.

This should only be the start of this dialog and it needs to continue both online and off.

Why Cable TV Subscribers Are Making It Miserable To Cut The Cord



This is what I look like waiting for TV shows to be released on Netflix. Not really – this is what I look like all the time. Image Credit – BigStock

There’s a new report out this week (to be filed in the “Duh” folder…right next to “No Kidding”) showing that some 2.6 million cable television subscribers cancelled their service in favor of Internet-based streaming services between 2008 and 2011.

Reported by Slashdot, Yahoo and others this morning, Canadian research firm Convergence Consulting Group summarized the following from their…well, research:

“We estimate 112,000 TV subscribers were added in 2011, down from 272,000 in 2010, and forecast 185,000 TV sub additions for 2012. 2000-2009 annual TV sub additions averaged 2 million. Based on our TV Cord Cutting Model (takes into account economic conditions, annual subscriber additions, digital transition), we estimate 2.65 million (2.6%) US TV subscribers cut their TV subscriptions 2008-11 to rely solely on Online, Netflix, OTA, etc, 1.05 million (1%) in 2011 alone. We forecast cord cutters will reach 3.58 million year end (3.6%) 2012.”

So, essentially, folks are fleeing traditional television for streaming services in decent numbers, but those numbers seem to be slowing. News reports on this are rounding up the typical line-up of culprits for this dialing-back on the rush to streaming – content limitations of streaming services (a.k.a. ‘ I can’t believe Netflix doesn’t have so-and-so) based on sluggish deals being struck by Netflix and others with studios and networks; and the ultimate price-tag of achieving a more robust catalogue of content will break the cost model for places like Netflix and their service will become prohibitively expensive. Continue reading Why Cable TV Subscribers Are Making It Miserable To Cut The Cord


What Social Media Really Deserves



Shitter Toilet RollHere at GNC, we pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our writing, but for one article only, it’s going to go down the pan….literally.

Much of the Internet is full of crap and Twitter is responsible for its fair share. Put the two together and you get Shitter, toilet paper printed with a Twitter feed of your choice. No, really.

It’s a bit pricey to clean up your number twos at $35 for four bog rolls but imagine the satisfaction you’ll get from wiping your arse with the musings of some Z-list celebrity. Alternatively you could view it as a post-modern critique of the “me” culture.

Perhaps “sheeting” will catch on as the verb of the year – remember you heard it here first!


Qubeey



Qubeey It happens to all of us, we follow so many people and companies on various social media sites that we miss the things we are really interested in. Let’s face it most of us have a handful of people or business that we are truly interested in, our family and close friends, maybe a company we are interested in or a favorite band. In the flood of social media, those are the things that are so easy to miss. That is the problem that Qubeey is trying to solve.

It is a cube that sits on your desk top. It captures the information from those you are really interested in and saves them for you to view when it’s convenient. Qubeey also has more visual cues, videos and images than other methods have. It allows you to stay connected with out having a web page open. When you get home at the end of the day you can see that your favorite band has released a new album and has one of their songs on YouTube. Click on it and watch it. Maybe you get a kick out of the crazy things your best friend says on Twitter, but you miss half of them because you are at work, well no more. It also allows business to target people who are truly interested in them. You can also use Skype or GoToMeeting with out ever leaving Qubeey. No more having to have an extra window or tab open in a browser and then having to click on it everytime you want to check your updates. Qubeey sits on your desktop and notifies you when something important to you is posted. Qubeey is currently free and still in beta and unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet, Have you used Qubeey what do you think of it

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Steve Lee Wave of Tech

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Snoball: Making Giving to Charity Social



We’ve all done it, at the start of the year we say we are going to give more to charity. We all have good intentions, but unfortunately for most of us we often fall short and at the end of the year we are scrambling to make up the difference. Many times we fail miserably. The process starts all over again with the start of the new year. This is the treadmill that Snoball was created to stop.

Snoball is built around triggers. A trigger can be anything from contributing every time some one retweets one of your tweets, checking in somewhere using foursquare or perhaps a weather event to name a few. Businesses can also set up a trigger on Snoball, such as for every person who likes their Facebook page they will give a $100.00 to a specific charity.

When you sign up you choose what the trigger will be, how much you want to donate and what charity you want it to go to. You can also set the maximum amount you want to contribute per month. You can contribute to any charity that is listed with the government as a 501c or an 170c charity (charter school). If you don’t know what charity to contribute to Snoball highlights a different charity each month. You can also search for charities that are local to your area. You can search by keyword, and any charity with that keyword in its title will show up. Snoball is attempting to do a listing of charities by categories and they hope to have that available to roll out soon. Snoball itself is for profit, however any money that you contribute to the charity of your choice thru Snoball is tax deductible. At the end of the year you get a report on how much you contributed and to whom. Ninety five percent of what you contribute goes to the charity, five percent is used by Snoball to pay for processing fees and overhead. Have you tried Snoball, did it work for you or did you run into some problems.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine Podcast and Andy Smith of Geocaching World

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Roamz Consolidates Social on Your Phone



Roamz is a new app that aims to consolidate all of your different social media feeds, like Facebook, Twitter, 4Square, and others, into one location on your smartphone.  However, Roamz isn’t looking at your circle of friends, it’s looking at posts from those closest to you geographically.  This gives you a snapshot of what is going on wherever you’re at.

When you are at a location you can find exactly what is happening right there in real-time.  For instance, the Roamz rep in the video below explains exactly how the app worked for him on a pre-CES trip to Disney.  The app is free and currently available for iPhone only, but hopefully they will show Android some love in the near future.  You can visit them on the web at Roamz.

Interview by Courtney Wallin of SDR News.

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Social Media for Children – KidzVuz



KidzVuz LogoKidzVuz is an on-line community for children that lets them review and comment on kids’ gear. Andy and Don talk with co-founder Rebecca Levey about the site’s features and how they’re tailored to children.

Children are often left out of the on-line world as the major social networking sites such as Facebook enforce age restrictions on their members, and rightly so. KidzVuz encourages junior members to join in but addresses child protection issues by seeking parental permission, moderating all content and preserving anonymity. The site is completely COPA-compliant.

KidzVuz encourages children to upload video reviews of toys and games; to reward participation, many activities are turned into games with worldwide leaderboards. The site is categorised with different areas such as games, books and film. Food and travel has proved popular with children reporting back on family holidays.

KidzVuz is free to use by children and there is complementary blog for parents.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net, and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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Adobe Set to Launch SocialAnalytics October 20th



Social Networks have become big for individuals, but perhaps even bigger for businesses.  Almost every company today has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and if they don’t then they are looking at how to create one.  Many of those companies are also left wondering what all of it really means and what impact it’s having for them.  Web sites are old hat now – there are countless analytics programs to measure them, but social media can still be considered the wild west.

Today, word leaked out that Adobe will be showing off their new SocialAnalytics program for the first time tomorrow in Stockholm, Sweden at Munchen Bryggeriet.  SocialAnalytics is designed to let businesses know exactly what kind of impact their social media presence is having and what they can do to improve upon it.

“Adobe® SocialAnalytics is the first social media analytics solution to measure the impact of social media on business. It enables marketers to directly measure their social media efforts, and understand how conversations on social networks and online communities influence marketing performance. Using Adobe SocialAnalytics, marketers can manage their strategy and investments in social media based on measurable outcomes and in the context of broader, multichannel marketing efforts.”

This is very short notice, but Adobe’s Caroline Mildenborn provided this link to register for the event.  It’s a chance to see the software in-action for the first time and learn what it can really do and what kind of information it provides.