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September 03 2011

This Week in Politics & Digital: The Debate Edition

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This week’s convergence of politics and digital is all about debate and how it’s filtered through social media.

In the past week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum took on (and lost to) a college student, Google is ramping up for another GOP debate and we’ve got stats on how the Republican candidates stack up against each other on social.

This is the Week in Politics & Digital.

Santorum Video Goes Viral

When presidential candidate Rick Santorum visited Penn State, he probably wasn’t expecting an audience-made video to go viral. In it, he defends his stance on homosexuality. One student stands up to Santorum and the fireworks start flying.

The video has received more than 100,000 views since it was posted August 31.

Google Launches Site to Crowdsource Debate Questions

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Fox News and Google are co-presenting the next GOP presidential debate taking place on September 22. Google’s site, FOXNews/Google Debate, is collecting text and video questions from users to be asked during the debate. Users can also scroll though submitted questions and vote on ones they find most relevant.

Social Decision Releases Stats on the Republican Field

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Just listening to the media, it’s hard to tell which Republican candidates are at the front of the field. Social Decision, a news and analytics site, has put together a study with numbers from Klout and Real Clear Politics. The study shows Rick Perry owns the majority of Twitter mentions, with 30.66%. Michele Bachmann was best able to convert her tweets into action at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, while Newt Gingrich had the lowest poll numbers compared to his number of social media followers.

Image courtesy of Flickr, familymwr

More About: 2012 election, Politics, Social Media, week in digital politics

For more Social Media coverage:

September 01 2011

GOP Candidates to Face User-Submitted Questions in Google/FOX News Debate

Google has launched a comprehensive site allowing users to post and vote for questions ahead of the next GOP primary debate.

The upcoming debate, co-presented by Google and FOX News, will take place in Orlando, Florida on Sept. 22. Google’s site, FOXNews/Google Debate, is collecting text and video questions from users to be asked during the debate. Users can also weigh in on which ones they find most relevant.

While the format certainly allows for a lot of softball questions, there are also challenging topics like “What is your position on US/Israel relations? And in particular, whether you will or will not pursue a “two-state solution”?” submitted by Adam Hopkins from Farmington, Mass.

Those top-voted questions will then be put to the candidates during the debate. Google will also provide maps, facts and additional information to help the social discussion.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, more (accurate) information and public voice are always good things. What do you think of Google’s debate site crowdsourcing important discussion topics? Let us know in the comments.

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More About: 2012 election, crowdsourced, Google, gop, Politics

For more Social Media coverage:

August 26 2011

UK to Twitter, Facebook & RIM: We Won’t Ban Social Media

In a meeting Thursday with representatives from Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry-maker RIM, British officials made it clear that they will not restrict social media use during times of chaos.

“This was a dialogue about working together to keep people safe rather than about imposing new restrictions on Internet services,” a Facebook representative said in a statement.

Prime Minister David Cameron gave a reason to fear otherwise when, following riots that swept through the UK earlier this month, he told Parliament that the government was examining whether to ban suspected troublemakers from social media.

In anticipation of the meeting between UK officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and RIM — all of which make tools that were used by some to coordinate violence during the riots — human rights groups wrote an open letter to the British Home Secretary regarding Cameron’s comments.

Although fears that the UK would create restrictions on social media were dispelled, there was some conversation about how law enforcement might gain more access to information shared on social networks and between BlackBerry devices.

Gordon Scobbie, a senior police officer who leads the force’s social media efforts and attended the meeting, told The New York Times that Twitter, for example, might consider compelling people to use their real names instead of anonymous handles and that RIM has already agreed to provide the police with information from BlackBerry Messenger under some circumstances.

“When people use a telephone, under certain circumstances, law enforcement has a means of intercepting that,” he told The Times. “Just because it’s different media, we shouldn’t stand back and say, ‘We don’t play in that space.’ ”

Image courtesy of Flickr, Steve Punter

More About: facebook, RIM, twitter, UK riots

For more Social Media coverage:

July 19 2011

Jonnie Marbles Outs Himself as the Murdoch Pie Thrower on Twitter

The News of the World phone hacking scandal officially became stranger than fiction when a man interrupted the UK Parliament’s questioning of Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch Tuesday afternoon to push a pie (or a pie tin full of foam) into the elder’s face.

Besides reacting with a deluge of “humble pie” and “piegate” jokes, the Twitterverse immediately pointed to one man as the likely perpetrator.

@JonnieMarbles seemingly outed himself when he tweeted “It’s a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat” shortly before the attack — thus borrowing a line from actual fiction.

According to a YouTube video spotted by the The New York Daily News that @JonnieMarbles posted online last year, his real name is Jonathan May-Bowles.

He describes himself in his Twitter profile as an “activist, comedian, father figure and all-round nonsense” and had earlier sent several tweets that indicated he was at the Murdoch questioning.

UK Uncut, an activist group whose logo May-Bowles uses in his Twitter photo, defensively tweeted that “The pie in Murdoch’s face was NOT a UK Uncut action, everyone!”

A video from Sky News shows May-Bowles being chased by reporters as police officers lead him out of the room where Murdoch’s testimony was taking place.

“I hope you appreciate the irony that I cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation,” he says.

More About: Jonnie Marbles, Murdoch, News of the world, pie, rupert murdoch

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July 18 2011

Facebook & NBC Team Up To Host Republican Presidential Debate

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NBC and Facebook are teaming up to co-host a broadcast of the U.S. GOP presidential debate before the New Hampshire Republican primary next year.

NBC will air the debate as a special broadcast of Meet the Press, moderated by the show’s host David Gregory. At the same time, it will stream live on Facebook “to create an interactive experience.”

Starting Monday, users can start discussions and post questions for the debate at either the Meet the Press or US Politics Facebook pages. Some of the questions posted on the pages will be used in the debate.

As the longest running show on television, Meet the Press is no stranger to hosting political discussions. Facebook is a bit newer to the role, but its importance as a political platform was highlighted by President Barack Obama’s successful efforts to use Facebook and other social media to mobilize young voters in the 2008 election.

Since then, Facebook — and social media in general — has become so much of a political tool that it hosted a live discussion with the president earlier this year. The upcoming debate in New Hampshire won’t be the GOP’s first debate that involves social media. The candidates are also scheduled for a Twitter debate on July 20.

Facebook first played a role in debate coverage in the 2008 elections, when it worked with ABC to involve its users. In that partnership, Facebook users were able to participate in Debate Groups, view behind-the-scenes footage and view Facebook polls, but this is the first time that the debates will be live streamed on the platform.

“Voters expect to be able to learn about and interact with candidates on Facebook,” said Joel Kaplan, vice president of U.S. public policy at Facebook, in a statement.

More About: 2012 election, facebook, New Hampshire republican primary, obama, politics

For more Social Media coverage:

July 16 2011

This Week in Politics & Digital: Cyber Security in The Spotlight

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The U.S. Department of Defense relies on an enormous system of networks, with 7 million computing devices and 15,000 networks in dozens of countries. These networks support the U.S.’s military, intelligence and business operations.

The security of those systems was a major issue this week, and we delve into it in today’s roundup of political news with a digital twist.

Department of Defense Creates Policy on Cyber Crime

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Cybercrime is on the rise. In recent months, hacking groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec have hacked or stolen information from high-level companies including Sony, PBS, the CIA, Bank of America and Viacom, to name a few. The U.S. government has been under pressure to come up with an effective way of dealing with cyberattacks, especially when the target is national security.

This week William Lynn, deputy secretary of defense, announced a comprehensive program called Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security. The program will share classified information with defense contractors and commercial Internet service providers.

“Our assessment is that cyberattacks will be a significant component of any future conflict, whether it involves major nations, rogue states or terrorist groups,” Lynn said during a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., according to a CNET report.

The Pentagon also recently announced that cyberattacks may qualify as acts of war.

Pentagon Hit With Cyberattack

The Department of Defense was the victim of a cyberattack in March when 24,000 files were stolen, a Pentagon official said this week. The nature of those files and the perpetrator of the hack were not shared publicly.

A report from the Department of Defense said that other nations, intelligence organizations and non-state actors are working to exploit and disrupt the Department of Defense’s unclassified and classified networks.

Image courtesy of Flickr, cabbit, Security and Defence Agenda

More About: cyber crime, cyber security, cyberattack, Department of Defense, department of homeland security, hack, hacker, hacking, Pentagon, politics, social media, week in digital politics

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July 15 2011

Tim Pawlenty: Social Media “Breaks the Stronghold” of Mainstream Media

Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota and aspiring GOP presidential candidate, says he’s embracing social media as a way to “break the stronghold” of the mainstream media.

“The old way was the semi-monopolistic providers of content would pipe the news into you and cover the angle or spin that they thought was appropriate,” he tells Mashable. “Then you’d be out of the loop until the next day or until 10 p.m. Now the consumer’s more in charge.”

Pawlenty recently surpassed 1 million views on his YouTube Channel. His Facebook Page has 103,000 fans and he has more than 44,000 followers on Twitter.

Those stats pale next to President Barack Obama’s, who Pawlenty acknowledges is “very influential in this space.” Yet Pawlenty says that the 2012 U.S. presidential election will be different than it was in 2008. “If you want to fight the next war, look at what he did.” Pawlenty says he isn’t sure what the next big digital component will be, though location-based services may be a factor. (Pawlenty says he’s still assessing Google+.)

His next push in social media is TweetMyJobs’ American Jobs Conference on Twitter July 19. Pawlenty will deliver the “tweetnote” for the event, which seeks to help unemployed people find jobs using social media tools. “This forum is dedicated to being very innovative and forward-thinking,” Pawlenty says.

More About: 2012 election, gop, politics, Tim Pawlenty

For more Social Media coverage:

July 14 2011

July 13 2011

The Man Who Hunted Bin Laden Exposed in White House Flickr Photos

“C.I.A. John,” the AP-profiled analyst-of-mystery responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden for more than a decade, has been spotted in a photo posted to the White House’s Flickr account.

The Observer now claims to have used the photo to identify John — John is his middle name — though it has yet to publish his full name. In exchange for keeping mum, The Observer reporter Aaron Gell was granted off-the-record conversations with John’s associates.

“An acquaintance volunteered that he recognized the man in the photo and proceeded to put a name to the face,” Gell writes of the identification. “A few web searches turned up details of the man’s personal life. In college, he’d played basketball. No superstar by any means — he was mostly a practice player — he’d been aggressive enough to catch the eye of the team’s coach, who later spoke glowingly of John’s unusual shooting style.”

The photo at the center of the accidental reveal is one of the now famous behind-the-scenes Situation Room photos the White House uploaded to Flickr in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death.

“C.I.A. John” makes an appearance in two of these photos, one clearly depicts the proclaimed hero standing tall in the back of the room, behind Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta, with his eyes shut as President Obama addresses members of the national security team on May 1, 2011.

How do we know that this is, in fact, “C.I.A. John”, the man the Associated Press calls the most important person in the hunt for bin Laden? As The Observer notes, “the story also dangled a more tantalizing clue.”

That clue actually comes in the second paragraph of the piece. “Hidden from view, standing just outside the frame of that now-famous photograph was a career CIA analyst,” the AP reveals.

After the AP piece was published on Tuesday, July 5, Cryptome’s John Young took just nine hours to locate John in the photos.

“He did it with the sort of simple deductive reasoning that wouldn’t be out of place in a Miss Marple novel,” Gell writes. “It seems that although the man’s face was cropped out of the famous Situation Room photo, his pale yellow necktie was not. He also appeared to be unusually tall. The White House, as part of an all-out effort to trumpet its signature intelligence triumph, had released a number of photos on that day to media outlets around the world. Mr. Young simply checked the administration’s Flickr feed for shots of a man with the same build and taste in neckwear.”

Now, John’s appearance in the official press photos is raising questions as to whether the White House intended its hero to be publicly celebrated after all. Some, like Young, believe this incident to be intentional, while others will find this to be an epic blunder of an administration that has been perhaps too avant garde in its approach to social media.

The White House Situation Room Flickr Photos

Obama in the Situation Room

President Barack Obama makes a point during one in a series of meetings in the Situation Room of the White House discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is pictured at right. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Obama in the Situation Room

President Barack Obama listens during one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Preparing to Address the Nation

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office before making a statement to the media about the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. The President made a series of calls, including to Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and others, to inform them of the successful mission. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Preparing to Address the Nation

President Barack Obama edits his remarks in the Oval Office prior to making a televised statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Obama and Staff in the Situation Room

President Barack Obama talks with members of the national security team at the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Obama and Staff in the Situation Room

Staffers get a key update on the progress of the bin Laden compound raid. A confidential document has been pixelated in the foreground.

More About: C.I.A. John, flickr, osama bin laden, president obama, social media, the observer, White House

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July 08 2011

This Week in Politics & Digital: Party Crashers

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President Barack Obama’s Twitter town hall was the big news this week.

The media buzz surrounding the event may have possibly dissuaded Republicans and Democrats from planning big announcements or dropping presidential aspirations. However, the town hall — with Obama receiving and answering questions via Twitter — was a bit of a political free-for-all, as the GOP rose up to publicly ask and retweet tough questions about Obama’s plan for America.

But that wasn’t the only party crashing that took place — look through these quick hits from the past week and let us know what you think. This weekly series picks out the week’s top stories in the intersection of digital technology and politics.

Republicans Jump On Obama’s Town Hall

After 94,000 tweets and 61,000 questions, it’s safe to say that Obama’s Twitter town hall was sort of a big deal. The event was the first of its kind as Obama took the social platform to address the American public’s questions and concerns. Some people, however, felt that Obama wasn’t really looking to answer questions, but just deliver his same old talking points.

The president didn’t address many popular and heavily retweeted questions, including a slew of sometimes relevant, sometimes snarky quips from Republicans.

Of those questions, Obama did answer one from @SpeakerBoehner, the account for House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner: “Will you outline a plan #4jobs – other than more spending — for the American people?”

However, Obama did not address Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., challenge to a debate on the economy or other questions like this one from @OrrinHatch: “You said it wasn’t a good idea to raise taxes in a recession but that is all you offer now to fix debt. Why?”

GOP Announces Social Media Champion

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It was a busy week all around for Republicans. The House Republican Conference recently announced the results of its New Media Challenge, an NCAA-style knock-out bracket designed to get more Republicans online and to suss out which GOP politician reigns supreme in social media, OhMyGov! reports.

House Rep. John Fleming, R-La., took the top honors for the second year in a row. Points were awarded for amount of follows, likes and views across social platforms earned during the competition. Members were also encouraged to submit best practices to be shared with their colleagues each week.

Fox Gets Hacked, Tweeting Fake News of Obama Assassination

Someone crashed Fox’s Twitter party with a well-timed, but serious hack of its political news account. Hackers took control of @Foxnewspolitical in the wee hours of Monday morning and used it to tweet fake news about President Obama’s assassination, including a glib congratulations to Vice President Joe Biden on his new “promotion.” The Secret Service is investigating the hack.

Images courtesy of Flickr, monkiemag, Ol.v!er [H2vPk]

More About: barack obama, Fox, gop, hack, john fleming, politics, president obama, republicans, Town Hall, townhall, twitter, week in digital politics

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July 07 2011

OPEN THREAD: Do Twitter Town Halls Serve the Common Good?

Some may say U.S. President Barack Obama’s first Twitter town hall Wednesday marked the beginning of an era.

Twitter users, lacking press passes or Washington insider status, had their first opportunity to ask the president their most challenging questions. That is, if they could get one of their 140-character submissions chosen from the more than 70,000 tweets submitted to the town hall.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey moderated the conversation with Obama. Users could submit questions to askobama.twitter.com, a site hosted by Twitter, or by using the hashtag #AskObama.

On July 20, Republican presidential candidates will debate via Twitter as well. Unlike Obama’s Twitter hosted town hall, the debates will be hosted by 140townhall.com, an unaffiliated site created for the upcoming debates.

These new political platforms raise some important questions about the role of social media and national politics. Has Twitter become an irremovable part of the upcoming elections and should it temper its implicit support for one party over another? Of all the many questions, the one we’d like to pose to you is this:

Question: Twitter may be good for social networking, but is it bad for politics?

Let us know what you think and join the conversation in the comments below. What side are you on?

More About: barack obama, jack dorsey, open thread, politics, social good, twitter, twitter town hall

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July 06 2011

Obama’s Twitter Town Hall By the Numbers [STATS]

Behind-the-scenes details are starting to pour in after the #AskObama Town Hall event earlier this afternoon, where Twitter users got to pepper the President with 140-character questions.

According to both Simply Measured and TwitSprout, more than 70,000 tweets were sent during President Obama’s first Twitter town hall.

The most frequent points of discussion in these tweets, which included either the #AskObama hashtag or mentioned the @townhall username were jobs, the economy, housing and the legalization of marijuana.

The jobs, economy and housing questions make sense in the context of the town hall parameters, but the mention of marijuana legalization might surprise some.

According to TwitSprout’s #AskObama Twitter Dashboard, the most retweeted question asked: “Would you consider legalizing marijuana to increase revenue and save tax dollars by freeing up crowded prisons, court rooms.” The President did not address that tweet.

When it comes to the location of tweets, the majority came from major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, with the most coming out of Washington D.C..

Check out more statistics from the folks at Simply Measured.

Tweet Volume

Throughout the event, the number of tweets stayed steady.

Data from Simply Measured.

Conversation Topics

The bulk of the conversation on Twitter focused on jobs, debt and taxes.

Data from Simply Measured.

Follower Growth

Most of the growth in followers to Twitter's new @townhall account took place in the hours leading up to the event. During the town hall itself, growth was steady.

Data from Simply Measured.

Tweet Location

Big cities led the conversation, with 14% of tweets coming from Washington D.C. alone.

Data from Simply Measured.

More About: #askobama, barack obama, obama, politics, president obama, stats, twitter, twitter town hall

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President Obama Sends First Live Tweet at Twitter Town Hall [PIC]

President Barack Obama is answering questions from Twitter users in a live Twitter Town Hall event hosted by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. The President kicked off the event with his first ever live tweet to commemorate the occasion.

Obama referred to himself as “the first president to live tweet.” He then took to a nearby computer to tweet the following: “in order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep – bo.”

While Obama’s Twitter account has been active for several years, the president first sent a “real tweet” on behalf of the American Red Cross Twitter account in January 2010. In June of this year, the office of the President announced that Obama would begin to pen his own tweets with the -BO Twitter signature and do so regularly.

Today’s Twitter Town Hall is only the latest example of the president’s interest in social media. In May, the president named Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to his National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

More About: barack obama, president obama, social media, Town Hall, tweet, twitter

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July 05 2011

What Should Mashable Ask Obama During His Twitter Town Hall? [POLL]

U.S. President Barack Obama will be holding the first Twitter Town Hall, where he will answer questions about the economy and jobs via Twitter, Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.

Mashable wants to help your voice be heard. We’re going to send @barackobama a question from our @Mashable account, and we want you to have a say in what we ask. Vote on which tech-related tweet we should submit:

What should @mashable ask President Obama during Wednesday’s Twitter town hall?online surveys

Be a part of the Mashable Community voice. What question do you think Barack Obama should answer about tech and the economy? Let us know in the poll, or vote on our Facebook page.

If you have an alternate idea, let us know in the comments. Every suggestion will be taken into account.

More About: barack obama, community, obama, Town Hall

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“The Rent Is Too Damn High” Guy Gets a Documentary [VIDEO]

Jimmy McMillan may have been toiling away at his political career for nearly 10 years now, but it took YouTube fame to catapult him into the public eye. Now he’s the subject of a new documentary — titled Damn! — premiering in August.

The film, which garnered funds via a Kickstarter campaign and has been making the festival rounds, will be released on DVD and digital download on August 16. You can check out the full trailer above, premiering exclusively on Mashable today.

Since the advent of the shareable, Internet video (starting with pre-YouTube classics, like the Star Wars kid), we’ve been seeing a new brand of star: The Viral Everyman, a unique brand of celebrity whose relevance is not based so much on talent or perseverance, but novelty and entertainment value.

Some have gained fame and fortune as a result of their sudden celebrity (see: Antoine Dodson). Others, like Golden Voiced Homeless Man, Ted Williams, have had a harder time with the sudden fame.

That’s the conceit behind Damn! “Documenting this journey, the film is able to raise many difficult, yet critical, questions,” says director Aaron Fisher-Cohen. “Are viral hits victimized by the media or are they complicit? Have we all been transformed into attention-mongers, willing to sacrifice dignity for, now quantifiable, views on a screen? What drives some individuals to seek this sort of attention, and what compels society to grant it to certain people over others? How does social media drive these sensational events and people? How is our increasingly diminishing attention span affecting the state of politics?”

The film follows McMillan throughout his 2010 New York gubernatorial campaign, under the now famous — and much-remixed — party and party line, “The Rent Is Too Damn High.”

“This is the first documentary that I am aware of that captures a subject as their viral fame unfolds,” says Fisher-Cohen. “It exposes how unlimited access to media, and the ability of most individuals to produce their own, has changed both us and the media-conglomerates. While it does not offer any solutions, I believe it highlights how critical it is that these questions be taken seriously.”

More About: Film, Jimmy McMillan, video, viral video, youtube

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Radiohead Joins Chinese Microblogging Site

Despite being rather outspoken about China’s human rights track record, Radiohead has just set up an account on one of the country’s most popular microblogging sites, Weibo.

Weibo is located on Chinese Internet portal, Sina.com, and is basically the Chinese version of Twitter. Radiohead’s page went up Friday and has already amassed close to 70,000 fans. So far, the band has only posted one message, reading: “testing the weibo…” Scores of users have responded to the brief message with requests for a concert in China.

According to the Associated Press, such an event seems unlikely, as all bands must be approved before performing in China, and Radiohead has played Tibet Freedom concerts and shown its support for Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist, Liu Xiaobo, who is currently incarcerated.

Weibo has confirmed the validity of the account, but no one has heard anything from Radiohead’s camp as to why the band joined. We’ve reached out for more information.

More About: china, music, radiohead, social media, twitter, weibo

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Secret Service Investigating Hack of Fox News Twitter Account

The Secret Service said Monday that it will investigate the recent hacking of the Fox News political Twitter account. Hackers took control of the account on Sunday and used it to tweet fake news of President Obama’s assassination.

Fox News said in a statement that it had alerted the Secret Service of the incident and was told by spokesperson George Ogilvie that the law enforcement agency would do “appropriate follow up.”

Meanwhile, the Think Blog at Stony Brook University said that it had spoken with a representative of the group that claimed to be responsible for the hack, The Script Kiddies. Late Sunday night, the hackers changed the logo of the Fox News account to a Script Kiddies logo and referenced the group, tweeting at the @AnonymousIRC account, for instance, that “TheScriptKiddies would love to assist.” These tweets were removed before the six tweets regarding Obama’s fake assassination were posted on Monday. Several Script Kiddies accounts that bragged about the hack have also been removed.

The Secret Service, whose job it is to protect the president, has made it clear that it doesn’t take talk of the president’s assassination lightly, even on social networks. When a Facebook poll asked “Should Obama be killed?” in 2009, the Secret Service tracked its source to a juvenile (no charges were filed). Similarly, two Twitter accounts that tweeted “ASSASSINATION! America, we survived the Assassinations and Lincoln & Kennedy. We’ll surely get over a bullet to Barrack Obama’s head” and “You Should be Assassinated!! @Barack Obama” after the healthcare reform vote last year both inspired Secret Service investigations.

More About: anonymous, fox news, hackers, Secret Service, The Script Kiddies

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July 04 2011

The History of America, As Told by Facebook [PIC]

In honor of Independence Day, The New York Times visualized America’s would-be Facebook profile in its Op-Art section, translating the history of the U.S. into Facebook’s iconic narrative structure.

The piece (below), “Like It or Unfriend It?” was created by novelist Teddy Wayne, Vanity Fair staffer Mike Sacks and designer Thomas Ng.

The graphic recalls a similar piece published by Slate‘s Christopher Beam and Chris Wilson in May, which chronicles recent U.S. events in an imaginary Barack Obama Facebook feed.

Last year the Washington Post published pieces of a real Facebook feed in “A Facebook Story: A mother’s joy and a family’s sorrow” to tell the tragic story of a young mother’s illness and subsequent death.

All three pieces acknowledge a new kind of plot structure told through the incremental and often brief updates we post on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Notably, all three pieces subvert the reverse-chronological order in which these updates are normally displayed.

Image courtesy of Flickr, ladybugbkt

More About: america, art, facebook, facebook page, social media, the new york times, united states

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Sends First Tweet

Vice President Joe Biden’s office sent out its first tweet on Independence Day.

Although the @vp Twitter account was created on June 28, the Vice President’s staff waited until July 4 to tweet: “VP & Dr. B [Dr. Jill Biden] hope you take time to think about our troops & military families this Independence Day, Happy 4th from OVP! @joiningforces.”

The White House Blog wrote that Vice President Biden’s office joined Twitter in preparation for the first ever Twitter Town Hall with President Obama, scheduled for this Wedensday at 2 p.m. EDT.

The tweeters behind the account promise to keep followers updated on the activities and news surrounding the Vice President’s executive actions and travels, as well as “a behind the scenes look at Veep-life.”

More About: Joe Biden, News, polics, social media, tweet, twitter, vice president

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