by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 29th 2011 1:44pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 26th 2011 11:29am
from the overkill dept
California has now passed a law that will allow it to put people in jail for tweeting about a case as a juror. As that link explains, courts already have broad powers to penalize jurors who disobey court rules, including "improper" conduct or "interfering" with a trial. Thus, as Eric Johnson notes:
The current law seems to cover everything of substance. The only thing the new provision does that I can see is make it a jailable offense to use the internet in such a way that is neither improper nor interfering. I guess I don’t understand why we would want to jail jurors under such circumstances.It seems like a typical grandstanding situation, where a politician feels the need to "do something" about an issue that's been reported on in the press, without realizing nothing needs to be done.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 19th 2011 3:43am
from the customer-disservice dept
Obviously, a restaurant/bar has the right to refuse service to anyone. But it really makes you wonder what Down House general manager Forrest DeSpain was thinking. It clearly marks Down House as a place where any sort of criticism is not at all welcome. That's not going to attract a lot of customers. Sure, it sucks to have someone say something (very slightly) mean about an employee, but why not just try to understand it, or respond defending the guy without kicking the woman out of the establishment entirely.
Honestly, the part that struck me as most interesting in the article was another restaurant owner explaining how he used Twitter in a much smarter way (and almost entirely the opposite of the way DeSpain used it): to invite people who had bad experiences at other restaurants to his place instead:
"However you feel about Twitter, it makes a big difference," says Kevin Strickland, owner of Ziggy's Bar & Grill and an avid Twitter user, who runs the account for both of his restaurant's locations. "I depend on it. It allows me to have a dialogue with my customers, and they'll usually get a response from me."Which approach seems better for business?
Strickland emphasizes that Twitter should not be used by restaurateurs eager to take a crack back at unruly diners. "I've done the opposite," he points out, referring to times when he's seen patrons Tweet about a bad meal elsewhere, and inviting them in to have a better meal at Ziggy's on him.
by Marcus Carab
Fri, Aug 5th 2011 7:24am
from the the-baroness-does-not-approve dept
Butcherer79 points us to the latest voice in the Twitter-is-poisoning-our-children-or-something chorus: the eminent neurophysiologist Baroness Susan Greenfield, who has come out with a firm yeah-it-totally-is-I-bet stance. If there's a more suitable name for an arrogant Luddite than "Baroness Greenfield" I haven't heard it, and that combined with her overly condescending proclamations makes it hard to take her thoughts on Twitter seriously:
"What concerns me is the banality of so much that goes out on Twitter. Why should someone be interested in what someone else has had for breakfast? ... It reminds me of a small child (saying): 'Look at me Mummy, I'm doing this', 'Look at me Mummy I'm doing that' ... It's almost as if they're in some kind of identity crisis. In a sense it’s keeping the brain in a sort of time warp."
It seems like every time we think the "what you had for breakfast" hydra is slain, it rears another head. Anyone who still thinks such "banality" defines Twitter is clearly making their assessment based on bitter third-hand descriptions passed around the water cooler or, in this case, the House of Lords. The statement is reminiscent of one she made last year after noting that video games and "fast-paced TV shows" were also a factor:
'We know how small babies need constant reassurance that they exist,' she told the Mail yesterday. 'My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.'
That's what the Baroness really takes issue with: the way modern technology is "rewiring" our brains and altering fundamental cognitive patterns. She's not alone, of course: Techdirt recently covered another set of claims about our "rewired" brains, and the media love these stories.
While it is undoubtedly true that our brains adapt to the way we communicate (use of the word "rewire" is misleading at best), the flaw in all these arguments is the assumption that this is somehow bad or even unusual. The entire history of progress has involved changing emphases on various skills. The Baroness made this point extremely well herself, though she seemed to think she was supporting her own position:
'I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf.'
I think from this we can begin to understand her a little better. In her world, digital communication is a distraction from real life—you know, just like supermarkets. One wonders if she avoids working by electric light and shits out the window, too. And you know what? There may well be a valid psychological or perhaps even neurological argument for humans getting back in touch with their roots—but while I'm sure it's lots of fun to entertain those arguments, most of us don't have that luxury.
Of course, Baroness Greenfield is no stranger to exaggeration. She made headlines last September when, in a stunning display of ironically wrongheaded hyperbole, she compared Stephen Hawking to the Taliban for denying the existence of God (don't bother trying to figure out how that makes sense). Meanwhile, her crusade against the-kids-these-days has been going on for years—in 2006 she signed an open letter to the Telegraph on the subject penned by fellow techno-panicker Sue Palmer, and also decided to examine the issue with an all-party group in the House of Lords. It consisted of herself and "three former education secretaries, Baroness Williams, Baroness Shephard and Baroness Morris"—a roster that would sound more encouraging for a fetish party than for a group dedicated to exploring new technologies.
The Baroness is no doubt a skilled neurophysiologist, but she seems to be drawing bold and broad sociological conclusions based more on instinct than evidence. Worse still, she apparently takes it as granted that any changes are bad, as if the dynamic nature of our identity and our relationship with our environment is not the very essence of being alive. I'm getting philosophical, I know, but perhaps a little fresh philosophy is exactly what Baroness Greenfield needs—she seems to be stuck in the past.
Wed, Jul 27th 2011 1:09am
from the #140charactergoverning dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jun 20th 2011 9:21am
from the how-not-to-do-things dept
Apparently the folks who own the rights to the famed Peanuts comic strip empire see things quite differently. Over the past few weeks, the site Peanutweeter has received a bunch of attention with various websites writing about it and showing off some of the strips. The way Peanutweeter worked is that the guy behind it, Jason Agnello, would pair up a frame from a Peanuts cartoon with a semi-random tweet he would find that would match with the scene (and put the Tweeter credit below). Here are a few examples:
But even beyond the legal aspect here, let's discuss the basic common sense approach here. Now, obviously, Peanuts is a huge licensing business these days, but so is Garfield. In the case of Garfield, Davis and others quickly (and correctly) realized that such derivative works didn't harm or tarnish the brand in any way. Quite the contrary, it brought renewed interest in the strip, especially from an audience that might not normally care. On top of that, the friendly and encouraging approach resulted in a book from which they could all profit.
On the flipside, you have Iconix/Peanuts, who have just pissed off thousands of people online who followed Peanutweeter on Twitter and Tumblr -- and all for what? This was getting attention and getting people (who normally wouldn't) to think about Peanuts again. That's an opportunity. But it takes a special kind of lawyer to look at a great opportunity, and think that demands a legal threat letter.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 2nd 2011 12:40pm
Malaysian Man Required To 'Retract' Defamatory Tweet 100 Times On Twitter; Streisanding The Whole Thing
from the twitter-is-the-new-blackboard dept
1/100 I've DEFAMED Blu Inc Media & Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR Policies are untrue. I retract those words & hereby apologizeOf course, the end result isn't too surprising to anyone who understands the internet. The Twitter retraction barrage has, of course, attracted all sorts of additional attention, leading to the creation of a specific hashtag for the situation, #defahmi, and lots of additional Twitter conversation, much of it critical of Blu Inc. and Family Magazine -- including at least one tweet telling people to call the company to complain. It kind of makes you wonder if Fadzil agreed to this "settlement" knowing that it would backfire in a big bad way on Blu.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 20th 2011 1:59pm
from the vindictive-much? dept
OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!?Thing is, Comcast apparently is one of the sponsors of Reel Grrls. Now, a smart sponsor realizes that it doesn't always agree with those it sponsors. Otherwise, it comes off looking like propaganda, rather than reasonable sponsorship. So apparently, Steve Kipp, who is the VP of Communications at Comcast and who had been in charge of the sponsorship, sent Reel Grrls an email saying that due to the tweet, he would no longer sponsor them:
Malory: Please read the Tweet above. Given the fact that Comcast has been a major supporter of Reel Grrls for several years now, I am frankly shocked that your organization is slamming us on Twitter. This is not the first time either. I’ve seen at least one other negative Tweet about Comcast. I cannot in good conscience continue to provide you with funding--especially when there are so many other deserving nonprofits in town.The Reel Grrls folks, smartly, went to the press about this, leading to national press coverage, and to Comcast going into crisis mode (yet again) and backing down, promising that it would keep funding Reel Grrls. It also claimed that Kipp was "acting alone" and someone higher ranked than him was reaching out to the Reel Grrls to apologize:
I respect your position on freedom of the press. However, I hope you can respect that this Tweet has put me in an indefensible position with my bosses. I cannot continue to ask them to approve funding for Reel Grrls, knowing that the digital footprint your organization has created about Comcast is a negative one.
"This morning I was shocked to learn that someone on my team reached out to you to withdraw our funding. I apologize for Steve's email, and assure you that Comcast's funding of Reel Grrls will continue," [Senior VP Len] Rozek wrote. "Comcast has long been a proud sponsor of Reel Grrls and your youth leadership development programs designed to empower young women through media production. Your organization aligns with our company's investment priorities, and your positive impact on the girls and women you serve in Washington is making a real difference here in Washington."In response, Reel Grrls has said that it will refuse funding from Comcast and, instead, will redesign its summer day camp program to "focus on free press issues." They also stated that, "We appreciate Comcast’s desire to rectify this situation and hope to encourage them to craft a corporate policy that clearly defends freedom of expression in order to ensure that this situation does not arise again."
by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 9th 2011 2:17pm
NY Times Ignores Its Own Reporter's Key Tweets In Patting Itself On The Back Over Speed Of Its Bin Laden Coverage
from the weak-sauce dept
- If you read Brisbane's story alone, you might not realize that many other news organizations had already reported the story before the NY Times did. You might also not realize that it was all over Twitter by the time the NY Times got around to it.
- Salmon points out a particularly damning point, in that Brisbane's coverage focuses mostly on the work of reporter Helene Cooper, who apparently heard from a source at 10:34 that Bin Laden had been killed. At 10:40, she got a story up on the NY Times site, and then another NY Times reporter, Jeff Zeleny, tweeted the story. But... that completely ignores the fact that Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff, Keith Urbahn tweeted the news at 10:24, and the only reason so many people found out about that was because it was retweeted at 10:25 by NY Times reporter Brian Stelter who added the details of Urbahn's connection to Rumsfeld, thus adding credibility to the report.
In other words, nine minutes before Cooper had the news, a different NY Times reporter had already tweeted about the news -- albeit unconfirmed. However, as Salmon notes, it really was Stelter's tweet that helped spread the news:
For a very different look at how the Osama news broke check out SocialFlow’s exhaustive analysis of 14.8 million tweets on Sunday night. As far as Twitter is concerned, the news was broken by Keith Urbahn at 10:24pm. But it really got momentum from being retweeted at 10:25pm by NYT media reporter Brian Stelter, who added the crucial information that Urbahn is Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff. Urbahn, here, gets the goal, but Stelter absolutely gets the assist:
- It gets worse. Remember, Cooper only found out the news at 10:34pm. And yet... at 10:33pm, Stelter (again) tweeted that a CBS News producer had confirmed that Bin Laden was dead, via a House Intelligence Committee aide. Brisbane ignores all of this and Salmon points out how ridiculous this is:
How come Brisbane is ignoring all this? Stelter was way ahead of the rest of the NYT, but Brisbane incomprehensibly discounts his excellent work. That might be because he doesn't consider tweeting to be part of a NYT reporter's job; it might be because he doesn't consider retweeting to be reporting. But Brian Stelter is a prime example proving that neither is true. Brisbane should have taken this opportunity to congratulate Stelter on a job extremely well done. Instead, he is completely overlooked, in favor of tweets from Zeleny and Roberts which came out more than a quarter of an hour after Stelter had publicly jumped onto the case. Which, of course, is an eternity in the twittersphere.
- Oh yeah, and throughout Brisbane's piece, at no point does he link to the tweets in question. Hell, he refuses to link to any non-NY Times URL.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 2nd 2011 12:34am