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Analysis and Comment (197)

Sarkeesian has been the focus of much online hatred since she started her website Feminist Frequency in 2009. Sarkeesian has been the focus of much online hatred since she started her website Feminist Frequency in 2009. Anita Sarkeesian

Vitriolic abuse of Anita Sarkeesian: why the games industry needs her

Three weeks ago, well-known feminist gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to leave her San Francisco home due to an ongoing tirade of abuse and threats. Members of a vocal minority of online trolls…
In Indonesia, ranting online holds the risk of offending thousands of people and even jail time. In Indonesia, ranting online holds the risk of offending thousands of people and even jail time. EPA/ADI WEDA

‘Social media capital’ brews with hatred between us and them

“Unity in diversity” is how Indonesia likes to describe its multicultural country. But cyber-bullying cases in Indonesia’s active social media project a different view of how Indonesia’s diverse groups…
A still from the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s award-winning Be Deadly Online campaign. A still from the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s award-winning Be Deadly Online campaign. ACMAcybersmart/YouTube

Well-connected Indigenous kids keen to tap new ways to save lives

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North-East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
The filtering of Facebook’s news feed raises concerns – so why does it happen? The filtering of Facebook’s news feed raises concerns – so why does it happen? Geoff Livingston/Flickr

The dark art of Facebook fiddling with your news feed

Facebook’s news feed is probably the most-used feature of the social network. It organises posts, photos, links and advertisements from your friends and the pages you follow into a single stream of news…
Jennifer Lawrence’s naked photos were released online. Jennifer Lawrence’s naked photos were released online. EPA/Claudio Onorati

Who is to blame when iCloud is ‘hacked’ – you or Apple?

A hacker’s release of personal photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities on the internet on the weekend has again drawn our attention to the security of our personal information…
In China, former basketball star Yao Ming takes the Ice Bucket Challenge at his NBA Yao School in Beijing. In China, former basketball star Yao Ming takes the Ice Bucket Challenge at his NBA Yao School in Beijing. EPA/NBA Yao School

Critics pour cold water on the Ice Bucket Challenge: are they right?

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been called “one of the most viral philanthropic social media campaigns in history”. The campaign has raised the profile of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). But some…
Social and digital media perform a function that is humanising by connecting people and allowing freedom of expression. Social and digital media perform a function that is humanising by connecting people and allowing freedom of expression. Icons from Shutterstock

Speaking with: Robert Picard on democratising the media

Is social media really delivering on its promise of democratising communication? Or have we just replaced one model that privileges those with power for another? Dr Andrea Carson speaks with Professor…
For a cause to go viral, it has to garner widespread interest from enough members of a diversity of tribes, not just one. For a cause to go viral, it has to garner widespread interest from enough members of a diversity of tribes, not just one. Kymberly Janisch

The Ice Bucket Challenge and social media virality

The news that broke last night of the accidental death of the Ice Bucket Challenge pioneer, Corey Griffin, has come as a shock. The Ice Bucket Challenge, where people film themselves or friends dumping…
Facebook’s Messenger sparked the latest outrage over privacy - but should people be concerned? Facebook’s Messenger sparked the latest outrage over privacy - but should people be concerned? Flickr/Karlis Dambrans

How much do we really know about privacy on Facebook?

The recent furore about the Facebook Messenger app has unearthed an interesting question: how far are we willing to allow our privacy to be pushed for our social connections? In the case of the Facebook…
When employers look at lives online, what do they see? When employers look at lives online, what do they see? Dominic Lipinski/PA

New generation is happy for employers to monitor them on social media

Will employers in the future watch what their staff get up to on social media? Allowing bosses or would-be employers a snoop around social media pages is a growing trend in the US, and now a new report…
There’s a thriving community of Women against Feminism – but how do their claims match up to the reality of women’s lives? There’s a thriving community of Women against Feminism – but how do their claims match up to the reality of women’s lives? Screenshot from womanagainstfeminism.tumblr.com

Actually, women, you do need feminism

Australian university campuses last week marked Bluestocking Week, a celebration that remembers the first women who entered English universities in the late 19th century. Women in lecture halls were pioneering…
We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet and that’s not a good thing. We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet and that’s not a good thing. InfoMofo

Is anyone immune to the social media echo chamber?

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that as we spend more time communicating via social media, we are disappearing into bubbles. We receive information from the same sources and witness the views of the…
The Wall of Death at the former Auschwitz concentration camp – a place for solemnity, not smiles. The Wall of Death at the former Auschwitz concentration camp – a place for solemnity, not smiles. Nicole Low/AAP Image

Death tourism, Auschwitz selfies, and online souvenirs

Ouch. I think my entire body physically cringed when I came across the latest story of a misjudged tweet gone viral this week: the case of Breanna Mitchell, the naïve teenager and self-styled “Princess…
George Pell isn’t a personal devotee of new media, but he sees their value for spreading the word. George Pell isn’t a personal devotee of new media, but he sees their value for spreading the word. AAP/Paul Miller

Can the Vatican go viral? George Pell’s communication challenge

Imagine you were playing with your phone while you waited for the World Cup final to get underway and you suddenly saw a photo of the Pope Emeritus eating popcorn with the current Pontiff on your timeline…
Mario Goetze’s 112th-minute goal won Germany the World Cup final, but that match wasn’t the most tweeted of the tournament. Mario Goetze’s 112th-minute goal won Germany the World Cup final, but that match wasn’t the most tweeted of the tournament. EPA/Marcus Brandt

The World Cup that was: a look back through social media

On Sunday, Germany held the World Cup aloft after scoring a goal in extra time. Somewhat surprisingly, the final wasn’t the most tweeted event of the 2014 tournament: that title went to Germany’s demolition…
That sinking feeling - Facebook is in hot water over revelations about its news feed research. That sinking feeling - Facebook is in hot water over revelations about its news feed research. Flickr/mkhmarketing

Facebook puts ethics of research by private companies in spotlight

International outrage at Facebook’s study on thousands of its users without their consent has raised questions about the ethics of research done by private companies. Facebook’s Emotional Manipulation…
Facebook’s been playing with your emotions. Facebook’s been playing with your emotions. Flickr/Paul Walsh

Consent and ethics in Facebook’s emotional manipulation study

Significant concerns are raised about the ethics of research carried out by Facebook after it revealed how it manipulated the news feed of thousands of users. In 2012 the social media giant conducted a…
A new social media site has gained popularity in Australia. Experts say its anonymity opens up kids to dangerous cyberbullying. A new social media site has gained popularity in Australia. Experts say its anonymity opens up kids to dangerous cyberbullying. Shutterstock

Ask.fm: just asking for trouble?

Cyberbullying experts, schools and parents are concerned about another social networking site targeting teens. Ask.fm enables users to post questions; you sign up and people ask you or you ask other people…
Look to Twitter to see what Brazilians really think of the World Cup. Look to Twitter to see what Brazilians really think of the World Cup. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

View from Brazil: Twitter as a tool for protest – and procrastination

Twitter activity this week, just like the World Cup, has definitely not slowed since the opening match. Here, we look at the shift in conversation as the tournament begins to take shape – who is excited…
Waiting for the next notification. Waiting for the next notification. Sabphoto/Shutterstock

Our dependence on digital devices may affect sleep and memory

As smartphones have become ubiquitous, parents and teachers have voiced concerns that a technology-rich lifestyle is doing youngsters harm. Research on this question is still in its infancy, but other…
Andy Murray just found out he’s missing the Honduras Switzerland game. Andy Murray just found out he’s missing the Honduras Switzerland game. Jonathan Brady/PA

With clever marketing, Wimbledon can compete with the World Cup for viewers

For many sports fans, the final week in June signals the start of a fortnight to be spent enjoying the annual feast of entertainment, heartache and ecstasy served up by the world’s best tennis players…
Lucy had only added half her gloating honeymoon snaps when disaster struck. Lucy had only added half her gloating honeymoon snaps when disaster struck. Nate Steiner

Don’t panic about Facebook outages, the NSA has your back

Twitter made hay this week as Facebook suffered what has been described, perhaps a tad hyperbollically, as “the longest outage in recent memory”. That’s if your memory doesn’t stretch back much further…
Phil Neville told to stick to his day job. Phil Neville told to stick to his day job. Martin Rickett/PA

#WorldCup: tweeting football fans change nature of the game

Experiencing live football has never been so easy. And the enjoyment of following the action can now only be complete for many of us if we tune in to the global chorus of opinion that takes place on Twitter…
Social media for self-promotion contributes to the pressures of “fast academia”. Social media for self-promotion contributes to the pressures of “fast academia”. Tom

Status anxiety: should academics be using social media?

At first glance, academia and social media might not appear to have an obvious connection. Social media use tends to be viewed as frivolous or as an activity undertaken for purely personal reasons, such…
The combination of social, mobile, cloud and data analytics is offering small firms new potential. The combination of social, mobile, cloud and data analytics is offering small firms new potential. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

Small business is missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution

Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers…
Watch your step in Copenhagen – no one else will. Watch your step in Copenhagen – no one else will. jacobchristensen

The 21st century bystander effect happens every day online

If you’re going to fall, injure yourself and need help, where is a good place to do it? Should you choose a busy thoroughfare or a deserted backstreet? Statistics and experiments in social psychology will…
Many trolleys have been reduced to roaming the countryside in search of work. Many trolleys have been reduced to roaming the countryside in search of work. Patrick Wilkin

Hard-to-please ‘fauxsumers’ pin it and save it but rarely buy it

Ever since there were shops, people have enjoyed window shopping. But a new phenomenon is emerging that takes the habit to the extreme. If you save things to your Amazon wishlist without ever actually…
Young Iranians, like these supporters of President Rouhani, must take care when expressing themselves not to push conservative clerical leaders too far. Young Iranians, like these supporters of President Rouhani, must take care when expressing themselves not to push conservative clerical leaders too far. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

‘Happy’ in Iran: the trials of the young and disenfranchised

In Iran everything is possible, and everything is impossible. – Football Undercover, 2008 Iranian filmmaker Ayat Najafi’s words sum up the conflicting nature of government policy on artistic expression…
Communities across eastern Australia are fighting against coal seam gas mining … and winning. Communities across eastern Australia are fighting against coal seam gas mining … and winning. Kate Ausburn/Flickr

New tactics see coal seam gas protests gain the upper hand

Community coal seam gas campaigns have had some big wins lately, most recently in the suspension of the drilling licence for CSG company Metgasco in New South Wales. Referred to the Independent Commission…
This should help David Cameron get in touch via Facebook - but only if you want him to. This should help David Cameron get in touch via Facebook - but only if you want him to. Chris Ison/PA

Facebook’s $500m advertising deal may clear up your newsfeed

Facebook has announced a long-term partnership with the French advertising conglomerate Publicis Groupe, a deal thought to be worth around US$500m over several years. The tie up between the world’s largest…
No need to learn Bieb’s moves, just set up an instagram and watch the fans roll in. No need to learn Bieb’s moves, just set up an instagram and watch the fans roll in. Ricky Brigante

When looking like Justin Bieber is worse than dodgy stock trading

A couple of months ago my 13-year-old son came to me with a true story. One of his acquaintances had given him control of an Instagram profile with roughly 3,500 followers as a gift. A few days later…
Mad Men has jumped the shark, people! Mad Men has jumped the shark. Mad Men has jumped the shark, people! Mad Men has jumped the shark. Tim Bradshaw

Oh, you have an opinion? Are you sure about that?

Tell us what you think about police brutality, organ donation, Obamacare, private schools, zoos, breast implants and stew. Tweet your instant reaction, share your perspective on anything on Formspring…
I sent a friend request so I’m pretty sure this is OK. I sent a friend request so I’m pretty sure this is OK. mattiasjajaja

Nothing is private once Facebook gets into your wallet

Facebook has been on a shopping spree in 2014. It’s looking to buy a drone company so it can bring the internet and Facebook to the remaining 6 billion people on Earth who aren’t already using it, and…
The world is watching, 24/7. The world is watching, 24/7. STR/EPA

After Pistorius, South African media won’t be the same again

The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius is changing South Africa’s media ecology. It is the country’s first criminal trial to be covered fully on social media and live television, and both journalists and…
Early exposure can lead to addiction. Early exposure can lead to addiction. Brit.

Screenagers face troubling addictions from an early age

In 1997, Douglas Rushkoff boldly predicted the emergence a new caste of tech-literate adolescents. He argued that the children of his day would soon blossom into “screenagers”, endowed with effortless…
Social media can elevate less tweet-savvy stars to trending status in death. Social media can elevate less tweet-savvy stars to trending status in death. EPA/ Facundo Arrizabalaga

Peaches Geldof and the new, hyper-experience of mortality

This morning I woke up, rolled over and, as I always do, scrolled through my twitter feed. Owen Jones – a British socialist – tweeted his shock that Peaches Geldolf, 25, had died. I immediately checked…
Hands up if you’re on Twitter. Hands up if you’re on Twitter. EPA/Al-Masry Al-Youm

When the town square is online, power lies with the people

In the age of information, we no longer need to leave the house to shape democracy. We’re heading towards a world in which the traditional sites of protest are sitting alongside online forums, which are…
Social media users should be careful about posting nasty comments online, after a NSW teacher successfully sued a former student at her school for defaming her on Twitter. Social media users should be careful about posting nasty comments online, after a NSW teacher successfully sued a former student at her school for defaming her on Twitter. shutterstock

Teacher defamation highlights social media’s legal perils

Last November, a young man was ordered by a NSW court to pay A$105,000 in damages for defaming a teacher at his former school on Twitter. The decision, which only came to light earlier this week, should…
@N has spent months trying to get his username back from thieves. @N has spent months trying to get his username back from thieves. Twitter

Joyriders make a black market of prestige Twitter handles

Joyriding – stealing a car just for the fun of it – is a signature act of troublemaking teenagers seeking excitement and a chance to show off their bravado. But while car theft is among the most common…
Pssst! Zuckerberg might be listening. Pssst! Zuckerberg might be listening. Quasic

WhatsApp? Even private chatter now exploited by billionaires

The much-discussed purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook this week should give us pause for thought regarding the real agendas behind such monopolistic acquisitions in the tech world. It’s clear that, with…
Mark Zuckerberg certainly thinks so. Mark Zuckerberg certainly thinks so. Patrick Denker

WhatsApp has everything Facebook needs to survive

Facebook has made a play for the mobile market by buying WhatsApp in what should be seen as a significant sign of the times. Desktop computing is the past and mobile access is the future. Facebook knows…
With the world’s eyes on Russia, anti-gay sentiment hasn’t alleviated. With the world’s eyes on Russia, anti-gay sentiment hasn’t alleviated. Flickr/jantangerine

A gay old time? Social media lessons from Russia

As the Winter Olympics in Sochi draw to a close, a brief survey of trending topics across social media and international press reveal some entertaining and frightening contradictions on the slippery slopes…
“Having a really hard time at the office today.” What can you believe in social media? “Having a really hard time at the office today.” What can you believe in social media? Apuch

Study shows concern over use of social media data in research

For researchers, social media is a veritable goldmine of opportunity. Every day, reams and reams of naturally occurring data are produced by users of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. At any given moment…
Or, eat, sleep, think, tweet. Or, eat, sleep, think, tweet. Guillaume Capron

The wrong online persona can make you a social media casualty

Anthony Fisher, a lecturer at Nottingham University, has become the latest casualty of unwise social media use after causing outrage with Facebook posts about his students and their intellectual ability…
Can’t we play a game now? Can’t we play a game now? flickingerbrad

Children’s attention spans at risk from too much screen time

From iPads to Xboxes, the modern child has a vast array of electronic media to help alleviate boredom, pass the time and play online games. Parents may often wonder about the impact such activities can…
No use waiting for a politician to turn up. No use waiting for a politician to turn up. Rebecca Sandover

While ministers dither on floods, social media springs into action

I’ve just returned from sandbagging near the swollen River Parrett at Langport, a town next to the flooded Somerset Levels. There, local people are using new media to take action in the midst of a disaster…
BuzzFeed won’t stay fresh forever. BuzzFeed won’t stay fresh forever. BuzzFeed

When the viral bubble bursts, will it take out BuzzFeed?

BuzzFeed is enjoying a media honeymoon. More established outlets are publishing gushing pieces about the success of the site along with newer counterparts like Upworthy, without the normal scrutiny applied…
LinkedIn is focusing on a younger audience, targeting high school students. LinkedIn is focusing on a younger audience, targeting high school students. A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive/Flickr

LinkedIn for teens: how young is too young for a personal brand?

Despite recording revenue of US$1.5 billion last year, professional social networking site LinkedIn saw its shares take a 7% hit on Friday night, after its growth forecast disappointed the market. Since…
Recommended for me? Milk appreciation group? LIKE. Recommended for me? Milk appreciation group? LIKE. c r z

New mums shun Twitter and stick to baby-friendly Facebook

Although it might sometimes seem that your Facebook feed is overrun with chatter about babies, research from Microsoft has suggested that mums actually spend less time on the site after they have had children…
Twitpic does all the hard work these days, so A&R men don’t even have to leave the office. Twitpic does all the hard work these days, so A&R men don’t even have to leave the office. marfis75

Twitter data puts music moguls back in the game

Twitter has decided to woo the music industry with a promise to share data on up-and-coming artists in a deal that would whet the appetite of most music lovers. It makes sense for one of the largest social…
Slow motion version. Slow motion version. Sevitz

#neknomination: the internet has changed drinking games

Neknomination seems to have begun as a UK university phenomenon in 2012, but more recently burst into wider public consciousness in Australia, then South Africa and Canada. It has also been tragically…
Is it worse to be hated or forgotten as a reality-show contestant? Is it worse to be hated or forgotten as a reality-show contestant? Courtesy of Seven Network

My Kitchen Rules pair are all the rage on social media – for now

The launch of the current series of My Kitchen Rules has undoubtedly been successful, both in terms of television ratings and in capturing a social media audience, clearly winning the battle for the Twitter…
Happy decade, Facebook. You’ve come a long way. Happy decade, Facebook. You’ve come a long way. Creative Cakes by KeeKee

Write on Facebook’s timeline for its birthday – you’re still friends

When we think of tenth birthdays, we associate them with youth and the cusp of tweenhood, a life only just begun and about to get more exciting. But it’s different in the technology industry and, as it…
Facebook has changed much since the early days but it needs to do more. Facebook has changed much since the early days but it needs to do more. Flickr/niallkennedy

Facebook isn’t dying but it needs to evolve more

Researchers John Cannarella and Joshua Spechler from Princeton University made headlines last week when they predicted that Mark Zuckerberg’s almighty Facebook would shed 80% of its users by 2017. The…
Vincent F Hendricks likes this post, but in a sort of ironic, self-referential way. Vincent F Hendricks likes this post, but in a sort of ironic, self-referential way. Ksayer1

How Facebook changed what it means to ‘like’

The “like” is the predominant gesture on social media, whether you’re sticking to Facebook or shifting to Instagram. It may even be the most common gesture among humans nowadays. Some of us probably “like…
Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, the line between our personal and work lives is being blurred all the time. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, the line between our personal and work lives is being blurred all the time. Andalib/Flickr

Facebook is work, you just don’t know it yet

Social media presents many challenges for the world of work. One is the potential for employees' online comments when off-duty to become a fertile source of evidence for allegations of misconduct and grounds…
John Nimmo has been given eight weeks in prison for online abuse. John Nimmo has been given eight weeks in prison for online abuse. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Court sends the right message in sentencing Criado-Perez trolls

Two people have been jailed for making threats and sending abusive messages on Twitter to Caroline Criado-Perez, the feminist campaigner who sought to have a woman put on a British bank note. Isabella…
Can I interest you in the Acme Corporation? I’m hearing great things. Can I interest you in the Acme Corporation? I’m hearing great things. Rafael Matsunaga

When Twitter storms cause financial panic

On the morning of 22 January 2013 a story started to develop on Twitter about the imminent and unexpected resignation of Jens Weidmann, the CEO of Deutsche Bundesbank. The first documented tweet came at…
Caroline Criado Perez has spoken out about her experiences with trolls. Caroline Criado Perez has spoken out about her experiences with trolls. Canadian Pacific

Trolling stays with you, long after the abuse

As someone who researches online behaviours such as trolling, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking, I have, from time to time, ended up on the receiving end of abusive online behaviour myself. Out of a wide…
Caroline Criado-Perez learnt the hard way about internet trolls in 2013. Caroline Criado-Perez learnt the hard way about internet trolls in 2013. Chris Ratcliffe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The catfish, spies and regulators who changed social media

It was an extraordinary year for social media. We saw sites such as Twitter shift from being a fun pastime to a fundamental part of life. The change might not have been unexpected but each time a new incident…
The Arab Spring marked a shift in news-gathering methods used by journalists. But how reliable was the information, and what problems did it pose for traditional journalists? The Arab Spring marked a shift in news-gathering methods used by journalists. But how reliable was the information, and what problems did it pose for traditional journalists? EPA/Julien Warnand

Arab Spring: new media, new journalism, same old tensions?

The Arab Spring protests have presented interesting examples of the complex power relations between traditional and new methods of social media reporting in times of crisis. Traditionally, global crisis…
Clint Eastwood and his empty chair don’t let facts get in the way of a good narrative. Clint Eastwood and his empty chair don’t let facts get in the way of a good narrative. Lynne Sladky/AP/Press Association Images

All those likes and upvotes are bad news for democracy

Human beings have long been easily influenced by the opinions of others but the social media networks that have come to dominate our lives may be making this “social proof” a problem. A recent study in…
It looks like you’re playing a ukulele. Would you like to buy some quinoa? It looks like you’re playing a ukulele. Would you like to buy some quinoa? Lilah Shepherd

Computer sees your hipster haircut, sells you a plaid shirt

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, are developing an algorithm that aims to identify whether you’re a hipster, a goth or a punk, just from the cut of your social media jib. The team…
Your water-cooler moment 2.0. Your water-cooler moment 2.0. 'Pong

Twitter matters as science seeks to make a social impact

Scientists are increasingly turning to social media to publicise their research. While some see Twitter and Facebook as a bit of fun, others find online tools are becoming integral to their work. In an…
Bleuurgh, gross! Get it on Facebook quick. Bleuurgh, gross! Get it on Facebook quick. Nick Saltmarsh

Pics in the bin, Fridgecam and the digital war on waste

Our awareness of food waste is increasing all the time, yet we continue to throw away vast amounts of produce even when we don’t need to. We are getting tired of being lectured on our habits so its time…
Social media has long been said to enable “produsage”, where viewers can also be content producers. But new research shows this is not how we use these networks. Social media has long been said to enable “produsage”, where viewers can also be content producers. But new research shows this is not how we use these networks. The Conversation

Compulsive checking trumps content creation on Facebook: study

The democratising potential of social media have long been heralded. Successive government ministers, starting with Helen Coonan, Stephen Conroy and now Malcolm Turnbull, have all talked up the marvels…
I can haz online anonymous? Probs not, depending on your lingo. I can haz online anonymous? Probs not, depending on your lingo. striatic

The linguistic clues that reveal your true Twitter identity

Twitter is awash with trolls, spammers and misanthropes, all keen to ruin your day with a mean-spirited message or even a threat that can cause you genuine fear. It seems all too easy to set up an account…
Western media often falsely assume Chinese locals are desperate for news from foreign outlets. Western media often falsely assume Chinese locals are desperate for news from foreign outlets. shutterstock.com

To block or not to block: do Chinese audiences actually want access to foreign media?

International reporting on China is dominated by stories of the Chinese government’s propensity to block access to a number of foreign online media outlets, search engines and social media forums. There…
Doing a PhD can feel pretty lonely but online social platforms are here to help. Doing a PhD can feel pretty lonely but online social platforms are here to help. PhD image from www.shutterstock.com

Doing a PhD can be a lonely business but it doesn’t have to be

Completing a PhD is no small feat. It requires both high intellect and a great deal of tenacity. But it can be lonely at the top, with many PhD students struggling with stress, feelings of isolation and…
Mamming involves resting breasts on a flat surface and taking a photo. Mamming involves resting breasts on a flat surface and taking a photo. Ondra Anderle

#mamming meme opens young women up to screening harms

Social media can help raise awareness of health issues, engaging people in discussion and encouraging them to take action. But thoughtless adherence to such trends has the potential to cause harm. New…
In the event of a crisis, turning to social media could mean the difference between life and death. In the event of a crisis, turning to social media could mean the difference between life and death. Dustin Diaz

When bushfires sound alarms, social media can save lives

These days, social media and online apps have become a major source of disaster information and warnings. But how much can we trust them? Today, more than 82% of Australians use the internet and 76% can…
NASA has built up a strong network of science enthusiasts who can step in when the agency shuts down. NASA has built up a strong network of science enthusiasts who can step in when the agency shuts down. NASA HQ PHOTO

How Twitter fans kept NASA alive during the US shutdown

Now that the US government is back in business, all “non-essential” services will resume. For 15 days we went without NASA’s full operation, US Antarctic research and federally-funded clinical studies…
The social aspects of streaming services are an opportunity for listeners to promote their tastes. The social aspects of streaming services are an opportunity for listeners to promote their tastes. Flickr/Joel G Goodman

Spotify: merging music with social media

Our relationships with music are deeply personal and intimate. But we shouldn’t forget that music is also an incredibly powerful social tool capable of bringing people together to share in an experience…
Does the Fail Whale loom on the horizon for Twitter after its IPO? Does the Fail Whale loom on the horizon for Twitter after its IPO? 铁蛋骑士

All that Twitters is not gold

Twitter has finally announced its much anticipated initial public offering, revealing at the same time some pretty impressive user figures. The IPO documents show Twitter has around 200 million monthly…
Tag me, tag me. OK I’ll do it myself. Tag me, tag me. OK I’ll do it myself. Ambuj Saxena

Narcissism on social media tells us a lot about ourselves

An increasing number of studies into the correlation between social media and narcissistic tendencies confirm what many of us already suspect. We see teenagers spending hour after hour with their phones…
Frustrated consumers can now get their own back online. Frustrated consumers can now get their own back online. Sybren A. Stüvel

Disgruntled customers waging a social media war

Social media may have done much for the world, but it certainly hasn’t made everyone happy. It’s not just trolls, bullies and pedants: regular customers are annoyed too. Take a glance at the twitter feeds…
Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, faces the challenge of adding value to the company’s shares, without detracting from the user experience. Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, faces the challenge of adding value to the company’s shares, without detracting from the user experience. AAP

Twitter’s IPO: what we know so far

In a tweet that could represent US$110 million for every one of its 135 characters, Twitter last week announced that it would be following fellow social network providers Facebook and LinkedIn in becoming…
Research suggests Twitter trends can accurately forecast stock market changes. Research suggests Twitter trends can accurately forecast stock market changes. www.shutterstock.com

How twitter informs the stock market

On April 23, the US stock market suddenly lost 1.5% of its value after news of an attack on the White House quickly spread from the (hacked) Twitter account of the Associated Press news agency. Within…
50 wpm, punctual, fast learner. Especially after a few Jager Bombs. 50 wpm, punctual, fast learner. Especially after a few Jager Bombs. upsuportsmouth

Your future boss knows what you did this summer: it’s online

Just over a fortnight ago, LinkedIn announced it is to make its professional network available to UK-based students aged 13 years and older; primarily as a way of enabling young people to leverage the…
For the first time in Chinese legal history, the court published transcripts of Bo Xilai trial via social media. For the first time in Chinese legal history, the court published transcripts of Bo Xilai trial via social media. EPA/Jinan Intermediate People’s Court

Fall of a princeling: Bo Xilai’s trial by Chinese social media

The trial of former official Bo Xilai is a significant benchmark for social media’s role in increasing transparency in the Chinese justice system, at least when it comes the trials of party officials…
Prime minister Kevin Rudd has tried to use social media to his advantage during the election campaign - but it has also been used against him, too. How powerful is it? Prime minister Kevin Rudd has tried to use social media to his advantage during the election campaign - but it has also been used against him, too. How powerful is it? @KRuddMP

Can social media swing votes in this election campaign?

As journalism professor David Maguire noted at the start of this campaign, prime minister Kevin Rudd has had such limited time in which to develop a social media strategy that he has “parachuted” in some…
Fame at last for the cast of Geordie Shore. Fame at last for the cast of Geordie Shore. Ian West/PA

Reality stars have their uses … for big business

The rise of social media over the past ten years has radically changed how we perceive “celebrities” and the corporate machine around them. While most of us understand what is meant by a “D-Lister”, complex…
Young people are uniquely vulnerable to bullying – as both victims and perpetrators. Young people are uniquely vulnerable to bullying – as both victims and perpetrators. kid-josh/Flickr

How can we protect young people from cyberbullying?

The recent arrest by Canadian police of two young people who allegedly shared a photo of a young woman being sexually assaulted has once again highlighted the danger that social media can pose for teenagers…
Which self are you expressing when you vent online? Which self are you expressing when you vent online? west.m

140 thoughtless characters cost dear in academia

The censuring of an academic in the US for sending out an offensive tweet has led many university tweeters to pause for thought. Geoffrey Miller, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University…
Whilst there are only a few instances of jurors taking to social media to discuss court cases, experts argue it is ‘the elephant in the room’. Whilst there are only a few instances of jurors taking to social media to discuss court cases, experts argue it is ‘the elephant in the room’. Shutterstock

Jurors and social media: is there a solution?

actually excited for jury duty tomorrow…it’s gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re GUILTY :P - Facebook post, 2010 Guilty guilty…I will not be swayed. Practicing [sic] for jury duty. - Twitter post…
That skinny latte was awesome? We knew before you tweeted. That skinny latte was awesome? We knew before you tweeted. Matt Biddulph

Algorithms can predict how tweets spread

The deluge of data we are subjected to daily can be a good thing sometimes. It gives us a wide-open window to look at people’s behaviour, say, through their use of social media. The obvious question then…
Analysis of Twitter timing can catch robots red-handed. Analysis of Twitter timing can catch robots red-handed. Flickr: Arthur40A

Human, group or robot? It’s a matter of timing on Twitter

A recent study of Twitter communication patterns has revealed that human activity on Twitter is easily distinguishable from other types of users. By analysing the timing of tweets, we were able to discover…
Gathering storm: today’s well-equipped rebel carries an iPad. Gathering storm: today’s well-equipped rebel carries an iPad. Mohamed Azazy/Flickr

Egypt uprising: much more than just a ‘Twitter revolt’

These days all you need to be a revolutionary is a mobile phone and a grievance. Some see what is happening on the streets of Cairo as the ultimate expression of democracy - millions of people using social…
Social media provides new ways for journals and scientists to interact. Scientists should take an active role in shaping this exchange. Social media provides new ways for journals and scientists to interact. Scientists should take an active role in shaping this exchange. Noura

Social media is shaping dialogue between scientists and journals

More and more scientists are communicating via social media to find, publicise and discuss current research. This trend has been highlighted in two recent papers that look at the influence of social media…
Mapping world domination. Mapping world domination. facebook

Facebook can calm angry investors by focusing on ads

At Facebook’s first annual general meeting since going public last year, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced a “barrage of complaints” from shareholders, worried that the value of their investment shows…
Scientists are using Twitter to charge up their impact. Scientists are using Twitter to charge up their impact. nicolasjon

It’s time for scientists to tweet

Social media is no longer a new thing. But to scientists it still might be. There are few who are starting to take advantage of social media for professional reasons. What can other scientists learn from…
Using social media to screen job candidates is a common practice, but recruiters should be wary of the pitfalls. Using social media to screen job candidates is a common practice, but recruiters should be wary of the pitfalls. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Social media puts HR ethics under the spotlight

Social media has definitely changed the game for job-seekers and recruiters. Traditionally, HR recruiters placed an advertisement, sifted through the responses, and interviewed the shortlisted candidates…
The murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher sparked much social media comment, some of which threatened to compromise the criminal trial of the accused. The murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher sparked much social media comment, some of which threatened to compromise the criminal trial of the accused. AAP/Facebook

Trial by social media: why we need to properly educate juries

This week, the Standing Council on Law and Justice (which constitutes the attorneys-general of the Commonwealth, states and territories) published a report on the impact of social media on juries. The…
A recent social media campaign for gay marriage has been criticised as ‘slacktivism’ and spawned a number of spin-offs. A recent social media campaign for gay marriage has been criticised as ‘slacktivism’ and spawned a number of spin-offs. Amanda B/Know Your Meme

‘Slacktivism’ vs ‘snarktivism’: how do you take your online activism?

Debate over the value of online activism has risen again in the wake of the highly visible Human Rights Campaign marriage equality campaign, which urged Facebook users to replace their profile photographs…
Is photographing dogs dressed in suspenders and stockings just another internet fad or a strange reflection on human sexuality? Is photographing dogs dressed in suspenders and stockings just another internet fad or a strange reflection on human sexuality? Sharp Daily

Dogs in suspenders. Yep, it’s a thing. And here’s why.

When I was little, maybe five or six, I got the idea to slip my spaniel’s feet into freezer bags and watch her slide around on the kitchen floor. Sure, this episode could have sparked in me a yen for further…
Facebook “slut shaming” pages reflect deeper problems with society’s discriminatory attitude towards women. Facebook “slut shaming” pages reflect deeper problems with society’s discriminatory attitude towards women. Flickr/Franco Bouly

Facebook misogyny: ‘slut shaming’ or just woman hating?

“Slut shaming” may be the latest cause célèbre to sweep to our shores, but it just looks a lot like old-fashioned misogyny. From the US-based Salon and The Guardian in the UK, to the Canberra Times in…
Technology such as the iPad has been found to affect our wellbeing both positively and negatively. Technology such as the iPad has been found to affect our wellbeing both positively and negatively. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

We could be superheroes: the era of positive computing

Digital technologies have made their way into all aspects of our lives that influence our wellbeing - affecting everything from social relationships and curiosity to engagement and learning. Psychologists…
As a publicly traded company, Facebook faces a responsibility to increase its revenue. But is its revamped news feed a step in the right direction? As a publicly traded company, Facebook faces a responsibility to increase its revenue. But is its revamped news feed a step in the right direction? AAP

The Facebook dilemma: how to raise revenue without being defriended

Late last week, Facebook broke the news of another major change to users' news feeds, sparking interesting discussion across the globe. Described by Mark Zuckerberg as your new “personal newspaper,” the…
Does your Twitter account have to die with you? Does your Twitter account have to die with you? Image via www.shutterstock.com

I tweet dead people: can the internet help you cheat your maker?

Can you believe it’s been a year already? I’m sure we all remember where we were when we heard the terrible news we’d lost Gregg Jevin. You know, Gregg Jevin? The Gregg Jevin? Don’t worry if the name doesn’t…
Raytheon’s “extreme-scale analytics” system can track people’s movements like never before. Raytheon’s “extreme-scale analytics” system can track people’s movements like never before. c-reel.com

RIOT gear: your online trail just got way more visible

The recent publication of a leaked video demonstrating American security firm Raytheon’s social media mining tool RIOT (Rapid Information Overlay Technology) has rightly incensed individuals and online…
How many likes for news that social networking can increase users' sense of wellbeing? How many likes for news that social networking can increase users' sense of wellbeing? owenwbrown

Thumbs up: Facebook might actually be good for you

We stalk our ex-partners on it, we are friends with celebrities on it, we play games on it, and we post photos of ourselves on it. But what are we really getting out of the time we spend on Facebook? We…
Does Google’s new map point towards the “wisdom of the crowd”? Does Google’s new map point towards the “wisdom of the crowd”? Google

Google’s map of North Korea stirs social media passion and tensions

News that Google has successfully constructed and published maps of North Korea is stirring the imagination of social media aficionados around the world, but may also stir international political tensions…
Twitter users are using the #auspol hash to pursue allegations against Julia Gillard. Twitter users are using the #auspol hash to pursue allegations against Julia Gillard. Twitter

Sleaze, smear and social media: how citizen journalists drove the AWU story

Recent opposition attacks on Julia Gillard’s ethics have been underpinned by an unprecedented underground online campaign prosecuted on social media. The questions raised by Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop…
Google Ingress turns walking the city streets into a game of territorial control. Google Ingress turns walking the city streets into a game of territorial control. Google

Turf war: pick your side and get outside with Google’s Ingress

Don’t read technology blogs? Then a new innovation in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMPORGs) may be passing you by. Perhaps, like me, such games have never been of much interest to you…
Those who see fit have everything they need to measure opinion, conduct sentiment analyses and sway opinion this way or that. Those who see fit have everything they need to measure opinion, conduct sentiment analyses and sway opinion this way or that. Ali Ali/EPA

Israel, Palestine and the benefits of waging war through Twitter

Warfare, as we know, has gone digital, its volleys and counterattacks rattled out 140 characters at a time. Historically, nation states with superior military prowess have been in a position of influence…
Hashtags embody the “digital” aspect of news. Hashtags embody the “digital” aspect of news. uwgb admissions

Hashing it out: Israel leverages the emergent power of the #hashtag

With #PillarofDefense, Israel this week launched the world’s first-ever hashtag-driven social media military offensive in Gaza Strip, followed by action on the ground. In direct response, the defensively-worded…
Gaza under Israeli Defense Forces fire as seen from the Israeli town of Sderot, which itself is the victim of rocket attacks from its Palestinian neighbour. Gaza under Israeli Defense Forces fire as seen from the Israeli town of Sderot, which itself is the victim of rocket attacks from its Palestinian neighbour. EPA/EDI Israel

#IDF v #Hamas: the new Gaza war in 140 characters or less

The hostilities between Israel and Hamas this week are just another sad exchange of munitions of no benefit for anyone, least of all the impoverished residents of Gaza. Rockets go one way, Hellfire missiles…
Obama’s victory tweet set Twitter records. Obama’s victory tweet set Twitter records. @BarackObama

‘Four more years’: that Obama tweet and the politics of intimacy

It’s been quite a year for tweeters. First we had the Twitter Olympics. Now, Barack Obama’s first impulse, on hearing of his re-election as President of the United States, was to tweet out thanks to the…
You like? You buy? Friends aren’t the only ones you share with. You like? You buy? Friends aren’t the only ones you share with. escapedtowisconsin

Facebook trials a new way to push your buttons …

Facebook is currently trialling a range of new buttons that could influence how your data is harvested. The trials have been construed by some observers as a response to the corporation’s anaemic share…
Academics freedom and university reputations are being tested online. Academics freedom and university reputations are being tested online. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Academics behaving badly? Universities and online reputations

Trying to control your reputation online is a bit like trying to clean up wee in a toddler pool. You are much more likely to get your hands dirty than achieve any kind of meaningful damage control. Many…
Facebook is no slouch at putting names to faces. Facebook is no slouch at putting names to faces. christoph_aigner

Facebook tagging and face recognition should be restricted

It may be time to move beyond Facebook’s assurance of its trustworthiness and specifically restrict the company’s use of face recognition. Changes within Facebook Europe would seem to suggest so. For gullible…
Personal insight can be gained from one’s use – or misuse – of social media. Personal insight can be gained from one’s use – or misuse – of social media. Olga Palma/Wikimedia

Stalking your ex on Facebook is creepy … and bad for you

New research from Dr. Tara Marshall at Brunel University has found that Facebook surveillance of ex-romantic partners may disrupt post-breakup recovery and personal growth. That’s bad news, because earlier…
We’re with the brand: how do we judge authenticity online with so many fakers hiding behind the screen? We’re with the brand: how do we judge authenticity online with so many fakers hiding behind the screen? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Please RT: protecting your brand is no mean tweet amid a flurry of fake accounts

I am the FakeMarkRolfe telling you that all FakeMarkRolfes on Twitter are liars. And so is the real Mark Rolfe @Marcjohnr. I’ve started with a variation of the old liar’s paradox, not to explore logic…
Projects are underway to ensure the Paralympics doesn’t fade into the background. Projects are underway to ensure the Paralympics doesn’t fade into the background. EPA/Joerge Carstensen

Wikipedia will help create the most ‘visible’ Paralympics ever

The 2012 Paralympic Games open in London tomorrow morning (AEST). These Games will build upon the successes of Sydney and Beijing in making visible the ability of outstanding athletes. And they are taking…
Axel Bruns updates us on who’s been tweeting what from Australia’s news and opinion sites. Axel Bruns updates us on who’s been tweeting what from Australia’s news and opinion sites. Twitter image from www.shutterstock.com

Australian Twitter News Index: ABC, Assange and Abbott

Last week I complained about things getting boring. The previous Australian Twitter news circulation index (ATNIX) – an index of reader engagement measuring how links to Australian news sites are shared…
Julia Gillard yesterday blasted those on the internet for recycling rumours about her, part of what she calls a sexist campaign. Julia Gillard yesterday blasted those on the internet for recycling rumours about her, part of what she calls a sexist campaign. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Misogynists and nut jobs: Gillard stares down blogosphere

Prime minister Julia Gillard took aim yesterday at the “misogynists” and “nut jobs” on the internet posting about her conduct 17 years ago while working as an industrial lawyer. The Prime Minister said…
The Advertising Standards Bureau has ruled that comments and photos on the Facebook pages of VB and Smirnoff have breached the industry’s code of ethics. The Advertising Standards Bureau has ruled that comments and photos on the Facebook pages of VB and Smirnoff have breached the industry’s code of ethics. louisa_catlover

Ruling on alcohol brands' Facebook sites will shake up social media marketing

Recently, the advertising regulator has made what have been called “landmark decisions” relating to the use of Facebook by two prominent alcohol brands. Two weeks ago, the Advertising Standards Bureau…
Welcome to the #socialOlympics. Welcome to the #socialOlympics.

Social media winners and losers in the Olympics opening ceremony

Danny Boyle and his army of volunteers are to be commended on a stunning television production for the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. But if you only watched one screen, you missed a significant…
Kristen Stewart engaged in classic oversharing when she admitted to a dalliance with director Rupert Sanders. Kristen Stewart engaged in classic oversharing when she admitted to a dalliance with director Rupert Sanders. EPA/David Maung

Totes TMI: how Kristen Stewart embodies the modern trend of online oversharing

Along with Caltex job losses and concerns over whether Our Leisel has thunder thighs, I woke this morning to news that Kristen cheated on R-Patz. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson – for those not yet…
Does Western media jump on Chinese “censorship” stories with a little too much zeal? Does Western media jump on Chinese “censorship” stories with a little too much zeal? Thomas Hawk

Chinese internet censorship? Seeking the ‘truth’ on Weibo

Last week, Chinese internet users noticed the two Mandarin characters for “truth” could not be searched on Sina Weibo, the most popular microblogging platform in China. On July 12,Tom Philips, Shanghai…
It’s time for Australian broadcasters to get smart about how they show live sport. If they don’t, we’ll go elsewhere. It’s time for Australian broadcasters to get smart about how they show live sport. If they don’t, we’ll go elsewhere. Tim McFarlane

Australian media and the Olympics: prepare for further disappointment

The Olympic Games are a fascinating yardstick for how much things have changed in the preceding four years. As Beijing’s fake fireworks beamed across our TV screens, Kevin Rudd was still Prime Minister…
Within hours of launching, the New York Times Sina Weibo account was suspended. Within hours of launching, the New York Times Sina Weibo account was suspended. cn.nytimes.com

No-no on Weibo: China challenges the New York Times

The New York Times' (NYT) entry into the Chinese media market is off to a seemingly rocky start. Two days ago, the company launched its Chinese website – cn.nytimes.com – and a corresponding Sina Weibo…
Thanks to digital medium such as email and Facebook, privacy is being eroded in the workplace - yet Australians appear to show a worrying lack of concern about this. Thanks to digital medium such as email and Facebook, privacy is being eroded in the workplace - yet Australians appear to show a worrying lack of concern about this. Flickr/Nathan O'Nions

The end of privacy in the digital workplace

The development of digital monitoring and surveillance has increased dramatically over the past decade and pervades all aspects of everyday life, to the extent that most people don’t even notice it. In…
China’s citizens are catching up to the government-monitored web. China’s citizens are catching up to the government-monitored web. Mike Licht

Challenge 4: Authoritarian rule and the internet

In part four of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, John Keane takes a look at the Chinese regime’s troubled relationship with the cyber world. Global challenge 4: How can genuine democracy…
Bodies are prepared for a mass funeral at Houla, Syria on the weekend. Bodies are prepared for a mass funeral at Houla, Syria on the weekend.

Syria, social media and the failure of our collective memory

While the photos currently coming out of Houla look like scenes of an apocalypse, anyone with Syrian friends or connections has seen equally horrifying videos and photos circulating on Facebook or Youtube…
The Convergence Review came close to understanding the nature of user-generated content but not quite. The Convergence Review came close to understanding the nature of user-generated content but not quite. Flickr/Bruce Clay, Inc

Convergence Review: a bet each way on user-generated content

The Australian Federal Government’s Convergence Review, released yesterday, had a mammoth task. It was trying to establish just how to regulate the future standards, conduct, and technical aspects of today’s…
Kony 2012’s “Cover the Night” Kony 2012’s “Cover the Night” Flickr/Susrutac

Cover the Night and the missed opportunities of Kony 2012

The latest instalment of the saga of the Kony 2012 movement, “Cover the Night”, launches this evening. Comedian Aamer Rahman summed up the rise and implosion of the Kony2012 campaign when he said people…
Director James Cameron at the launch of the 3D version of Titanic. Director James Cameron at the launch of the 3D version of Titanic. EPA/Franck Robichon

OMG Titanic was like for realz #wtf

Trending on Twitter this week has been Gen Y shock and awe that Titanic isn’t just the name of a film. Apparently someone has accidentally stumbled onto the fact that the Titanic story was a tad more than…
Censorship has now caught up with new social media and technology in China. Censorship has now caught up with new social media and technology in China. Flickr/bfishadow

Weibo and Tencent suspensions show government still in control of social media in China

This week’s temporary suspension of comments on China’s two largest micro-blogging services Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo highlight the ruling party’s discomfort with social media’s growing popularity…
People have always sent each other letters, but now they can be worth “triple words”. People have always sent each other letters, but now they can be worth “triple words”. Brandice Schnabel

Words With Friends, Draw Something … are you addicted to social gaming?

They are everywhere: people in cafés or supermarket queues, staring at their smartphones with determined concentration, occasionally shuffling yellow tiles of letters to use all of them in a killer move…
Sydneysiders are spotting - and “status updating” - urban cockatoos. Sydneysiders are spotting - and “status updating” - urban cockatoos. chris jd/Flickr

Social media turns Sydney residents into cockatoo trackers

Loud, large and lovable, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has become a well known inhabitant of Sydney. It has always been present around the fringes of Sydney and west of the Great Dividing Range, but over…
The Kony campaign is not as accessible as it makes out. The Kony campaign is not as accessible as it makes out. BellaSalsaa

Kony 2012 and the case of the invisible media

Much has been said about Invisible Children’s video campaign to rally awareness towards the atrocities of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. But more important is what Kony 2012 means in our ongoing relationship…
Newman and Bligh face off in real life, but how do they fare online? Newman and Bligh face off in real life, but how do they fare online? AAP/Dave Hunt

Queensland election on Twitter: a scorecard for Bligh and Newman

With every recent election, in Australia as well as elsewhere, parties and politicians are adding further to their arsenal of digital campaigning tools. In the 2010 federal election campaign, my colleagues…
Pinterest’s tasty layout is only part of its appeal. Pinterest’s tasty layout is only part of its appeal. Pinterest

A new way to share – why Pinterest isn’t just another social network

“I’m still trying to understand the whole thing but there must be something to it. It’s really popular!” That’s my sister-in-law writing on Facebook in late January about Pinterest – one of the real up-and-comers…
Kony2012 seemed to be everywhere, but attention has now turned to the makers of the video. Kony2012 seemed to be everywhere, but attention has now turned to the makers of the video. Reyhan Dhuny

Viral video, gone bad: Kony 2012 and the perils of social media

There have been enough social media disasters of late to make one thing clear: manipulating sentiment through social networks is next to impossible. The McDonald’s #McDStories campaign in January was supposed…
Coles is among a number of companies that have misjudged social media campaigns. Coles is among a number of companies that have misjudged social media campaigns. AAP/Alan Porrit

Fishing for compliments: a dangerous marketing strategy

My central problem with branded clothing is my reluctance to actually be branded. Why on earth would I pay to advertise someone? When a Kiwi can make a motza from auctioning her buttock flesh to a strip…
Some 67% of organisations offer no training on social media use. Some 67% of organisations offer no training on social media use. Phillie Casablanca

‘Social organisations’ emerge but lack strategy and governance

Almost half of all businesses and organisations in the private and public sector in Australia and developed Asian countries are now using social media, according to research by KPMG. A new term – “the…
Tweet success and sweet success increasingly go hand in hand. Tweet success and sweet success increasingly go hand in hand. Scolirk

Field of screens: it’s sport and social media for the win

In the brave new world of contemporary sport-watching, the goalposts have moved. Watching the big game (once a simple matter of grabbing a beer and some chips and settling down in front of the television…
Comments posted by the writer have seen Twitter sued for defamation. Comments posted by the writer have seen Twitter sued for defamation. Mosman Library

Will Marieke Hardy’s Twitter case change Australian law for ever?

Twitter is being sued for defamation by a Melbourne man who was wrongly identified as the author of a “hate blog” directed at writer and TV personality, Marieke Hardy. Hardy posted a tweet last year to…
There’s no turning the tide when it comes to Twitter. There’s no turning the tide when it comes to Twitter. Rosaura Ochoa

King Canute is alive and tweeting … and he works at Sky News

The release of Sky News UK’s Twitter guidelines for its journalists – or rather, the Guardian’s not entirely disinterested commentary on those guidelines – has caused a bit of a stir across social media…
Going public is not without its risks, even for internet giants. Going public is not without its risks, even for internet giants. Peter DaSilva/EPA

Facebook IPO – what it means for Zuckerberg and you

Facebook announced overnight that it’s going to sell US$5 billion of shares in its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO). Company executives filed the official paperwork to get the IPO process underway…
Curtis Stone and Normie Rowe in a Coles ad that has attracted the ire of a fake Chopper Read. Curtis Stone and Normie Rowe in a Coles ad that has attracted the ire of a fake Chopper Read.

Chopper Read, Coles and Twitter: going down and staying down?

It is a very 21st century story. A Twitter account purporting to be that of noted Australian criminal Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read takes offence to an ad featuring ageing singer Normie Rowe and uses his…
Meeting requests, endless CC lists … is it time to try something new? Meeting requests, endless CC lists … is it time to try something new? Travelin Librarian

Should we send work email to the trash?

Email has moved from being the internet’s first killer app to being a productivity killer. You can make news by claiming to hate it, ban it or kill it. But the problem with email is not the technology…
Ilya Zhitomirskiy, left. To his right is Dan Grippi, one of the four Diaspora founders. Ilya Zhitomirskiy, left. To his right is Dan Grippi, one of the four Diaspora founders. Flickr/campuspartymexico.

Diaspora co-founder dead at 22

Diaspora co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy passed away over the weekend. The 22-year-old was one of four former NYU student developers of Diaspora, an open source social network platform that has been the basis…
Electronic tools can help advance research into rare diseases through creating virtual registries. Electronic tools can help advance research into rare diseases through creating virtual registries. Gautheron

Move over Dr Google, the future of health is social

Pretty soon, not being involved in social media will be just as implausible as not having a telephone. If my 80-year-old dad is on Facebook and women over 55 are the fastest growing demographic on the…
We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. We need to make sure quality is more important than quantity in our online engagement. Flickr/joshfassbind.com

Democracy drowned out by social media noise: bigger isn’t better online

Social media provokes some of the most voluminous and heated responses in two key areas of contemporary society – democracy and privacy. Promoting the first and threatening the second, social media is…
Unthink is positioning itself as a force of “emancipation”. Unthink is positioning itself as a force of “emancipation”. Unthink.com

Unthink rethinks online identity – and fronts up to Facebook and Google+

On October 25, Unthink invited public beta users to put aside their YASNS (Yet Another Social Network Site) fatigue. Since then, it claims to have attracted more than 100,000 registered users. The site…
Is Google in the clutches of a crisis? Is Google in the clutches of a crisis? dullhunk

Google has lost its Buzz and missed the Wave, but is there a Plus?

It’s hard to know what to think about Google these days. Financially, the company is booming, but its reputation has suffered following the lukewarm reception for Google+, and an embarrassing outburst…
The scorecard for Google+ to date shows pluses and minuses. The scorecard for Google+ to date shows pluses and minuses. Birgerking.

Why aren’t we using Google+?

Features are not friends. That’s the simple message to Google+ from 40 University of Queensland students after using the system since its invite-only launch in July. To say the service’s fortunes to date…
Have the #occupy protestors been gagged? Have the #occupy protestors been gagged? AFP/Timothy A. Clary

Did Twitter censor Occupy Wall Street?

In the age of social media, if we’re able to get online, engage with a few tools and connect our ideas to others who sympathise, we’re able to initiate social change. Or that’s the theory. The world begins…
Barack Obama’s web campaign helped him win the presidency. Parties should learn from it. Barack Obama’s web campaign helped him win the presidency. Parties should learn from it. Flickr/Scorpions and Centaurs

Democracy.net: How to create better political engagement

The increasing spread of information and communication technology has changed just about every aspect of Australian society – except democracy. The opportunities to engage citizens in the democratic process…
What we tweet, and when we tweet it, gives insight into global mood patterns. What we tweet, and when we tweet it, gives insight into global mood patterns. joelaz

I tweet therefore I am … following our collective mood swings on Twitter

I know my mood over the course of a day and so, it seems, does Twitter. Over the years there’s been a lot of work on mood cycles. Much of it has been based on neurochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine…
Zuckerberg’s big pitch is in, and it could make Facebook millions. Zuckerberg’s big pitch is in, and it could make Facebook millions. AFP/Kimihiro Hoshino

Facebook has changed – will you still feel the same?

The world is currently embroiled in on- and offline discussions about changes that are affecting the lives of millions. The subject is not climate change, the global financial crisis, political upheaval…
The numbers in Manhattan streets are far outnumbered by those on social media. The numbers in Manhattan streets are far outnumbered by those on social media. Don Emmert/AFP

#OccupyWallStreet …? I’ll be there, but on Twitter

On Saturday, hundreds of protestors congregated in the Wall Street area of New York at the start of a protest dubbed #OccupyWallStreet. The aim? To “flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens…
It’s getting harder to know where home starts and the office ends. It’s getting harder to know where home starts and the office ends. webtreats

LinkedIn, Twittered out – the business and pleasure of social media

This week, the American National Labour Review Board ruled to reinstate five workers fired for complaining about a co-worker on Facebook. The board decided writing about work on Facebook was equivalent…
Is it time for the world’s dictators to “friend” online communications? (Headdesk) Is it time for the world’s dictators to “friend” online communications? (Headdesk) AAP

Dictatorship 101: killing the internet plays into the hands of revolutionaries

In the euphoria following the downfall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, Wael Ghonim, the so-called “hero” of the revolution proclaimed: “Technology played a great role here. You know, it helped keeping…
A battle is raging over search and serendipity online. A battle is raging over search and serendipity online. AndYaDontStop

Is StumbleUpon trumping Facebook in the internet attention wars?

The latest salvo in the internet attention wars has come in the form of figures from StatCounter. A relatively small content driving service called StumbleUpon drove more than 50% of all social media referral…
The UN is protecting your right to express yourself in social media. The UN is protecting your right to express yourself in social media. Flickr/-lucky cat-

Click, like, comment? The UN goes digital on freedom of expresssion

General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights may sound like something from a bureaucratic nightmare, but it drags your right to freedom of expression into the digital…
Social media is helping, not hindering, police efforts in the UK. Social media is helping, not hindering, police efforts in the UK. AAP

Don’t shoot the instant messenger: David Cameron’s social media shutdown plan won’t stop UK riots

There’s a colourful and evocative term among regular users of social media: “headdesking”. It’s what you do when somebody says or does something so stupid that your instant reaction is to smack your head…
The suspension of Google+ accounts has raised questions about the company’s aims. The suspension of Google+ accounts has raised questions about the company’s aims. yuichio.sakuraba

The name game: is Google+ building a cathedral or a bazaar?

The phrase “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” was coined by American computer programmer Eric S. Raymond to distinguish two different approaches to the development of software. The Bazaar was likened to the…
Can social media temper growing public antipathy towards political parties? Can social media temper growing public antipathy towards political parties? Mandel Ngan/AFP

A new way to engage? Obama’s ‘Twitter townhall’ comes to Australia

On Tuesday, the ACT government held Australia’s first virtual community cabinet using Twitter. Four ministers faced a barrage of tweets in an hour long question and answer session held with the electorate…
Some users have been automatically suspended from all Google services. Some users have been automatically suspended from all Google services. halilgokdal

Google+ requires real name, or else …

A fresh storm has blown into Google’s new Google+ service. The company has been suspending accounts because they contravene Google’s Community Standards – ostensibly to stop fake or spam accounts being…
Organising the information gathered during crises is key to better responses. Organising the information gathered during crises is key to better responses. Lindsay Hallam/AFP

Crisis management: using Twitter and Facebook for the greater good

With new technology comes new ways of communicating with one another in times of crisis. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow important information to be shared widely and instantaneously. But…
The way we communicate is changing and Al Qaeda have been ahead of the curve AFP PHOTO/DoD. The way we communicate is changing and Al Qaeda have been ahead of the curve AFP PHOTO/DoD.

How to communicate: Gillard should take a leaf out of Al Qaeda’s book

The nature of influence is changing, yet Governments, particularly in Australia have yet to absorb it. Influence is no longer wielded by pronouncements through traditional media sources. New media has…
Not sharing your password is one of the basic rules for online safety. Not sharing your password is one of the basic rules for online safety. Michael Reynolds/EPA

Obama’s not dead, but does Twitter need #better #security?

On July 4, a hacker took control of one of the Twitter accounts of US broadcaster FoxNews.com and sent out several tweets announcing President Obama had been shot. Because it was a national holiday and…
Women should be allowed to have fun, without the media judging them. Women should be allowed to have fun, without the media judging them. AAP/Jack Tran

The wilding of women: why the media should ease up on girls

Wilding, a word seldom used outside of sociology, describes compounded acts of immorality. Of teenagers, apparently, running amok. In packs usually, with rage and ribaldry in their eyes. I was thinking…
Health promotion has a lot of catching up to do on social media. Health promotion has a lot of catching up to do on social media. Steve Kay

Quit-smoking texts send clear message to outdated health promoters

Smokers who quit with the assistance of a text messaging service are nearly twice as likely to be smoke-free six months later than smokers with no support, according to a study published this week in The…
Google+ faces an uphill struggle to win hearts and minds. Google+ faces an uphill struggle to win hearts and minds. Google

10 reasons why Google+ will never be Facebook

Google is hoping that the saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again” will work out for them with Google+. Launched as a private beta version on Tuesday, Google+ is the search giant’s latest…
Your Facebook snaps now come with a hidden catch. Your Facebook snaps now come with a hidden catch. rishibando

Facebook and facial recognition – you’ve been tagged

Around 2 million photographs are uploaded to Facebook each day. As of this week, every new image will be processed by automatic face recognition software, designed to identify the people in the photographs…
Knowing me, knowing you: there is nothing we can’t view. Knowing me, knowing you: there is nothing we can’t view. tonechootero/Flickr

All-seeing eye: the future of surveillance and social media

Advanced surveillance and social media might seem like strange bedfellows. Until you look a bit closer, that is. Technologies developed for surveillance applications are typically designed with robustness…
Are privacy concerns irrational in the era of Facebook and Twitter? Are privacy concerns irrational in the era of Facebook and Twitter? qubitsu

Big Brother is watching, but it’s nothing to fret about … honest

It’s hard to discuss public surveillance without immediately being asked about privacy issues. As technologists working on computer-based surveillance, it’s tempting to say this is outside our area of…
Far from “outsourcing your brain”, social media allows you to build different relationships. Far from “outsourcing your brain”, social media allows you to build different relationships. AAP/Tracy Nearmy

Putting a price on friendship: why social media sites leave the Luddites behind

The executive director of the venerable New York Times has come out fighting against Facebook and other social media. Bill Keller has joined the conga line of commentators decrying the end of friendships…
Where we are says a lot about who we are. Where we are says a lot about who we are. tulja/Flickr

Location, location: who’s watching you (and why)?

PRIVACY – Your location is arguably more personal than your genetic profile; even identical twins can’t be in the same place at the same time. In terms of value, it’s on a par with your medical records…
Facebook is a key tool for the modern revolutionary. Facebook is a key tool for the modern revolutionary. AAP

Facebook is the new superpower

Facebook, with more than 500 million members, has now reached superpower status. If Facebook were a country, its supporters often say, its population would rank behind only China and India. But there is…
The works of a great writer precipitated the astonishing events in Egypt in February. The works of a great writer precipitated the astonishing events in Egypt in February. EPA/Misam Saleh

Forget Twitter and Facebook, literature provides the revolutionary spark

We are living in extraordinary times. People are using social media to campaign for freedom from their governments, but their ideas are built on a much more powerful medium: literature. Protests have swept…
Do you trust Facebook as much as you would your best friend? Do you trust Facebook as much as you would your best friend? Karen Bleier/AFP

Facebook and your privacy: friend or “unfriend”?

Unless you’ve been chained to a fax machine for the past seven years, you’ll have noticed that Facebook is immensely popular. Users numbered 641 million by February of this year. Making and maintaining…

Research and News (9)

Expert views of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protests that started in New York have proved contagious. Sit-ins and attempted occupations have spread…

Research Briefs (21)

Mainstream media leads, blogs follow

Stories appear in blogs and social media an average of 2.5 hours after achieving prominence in mainstream media – and just…

How to cope with angry customers online

New research suggests mirroring the in-store experience online is the best way to deal with negative feedback. Researchers…

Blogging may help new mums connect

New mums who read or write blogs are more likely to feel less alone compared with mothers who do not blog. The research found…

Women vital to the Arab Spring

Women played a central role in the 2011 Arab Spring through their influential use of social media. Courtney Radsch of Rice…

Virtual ostracism is real too

People who feel ignored or ostracised online experience the same emotions as those who encounter similar situations in the…