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Analysis and Comment (86)

Think twice before you over-react. Jim Bourg/Reuters

#Ebola in the USA: don’t trust what you read on Twitter

Whatever you do, don’t turn to Twitter for news about Ebola. The volume and tone of tweets and retweets about the disease will make you wish you were watching the zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead…
Women ask why there aren’t more women in lists of top scientists. Katrina Cole

Women scientists get vocal about top billing on Twitter

A steady infiltration of scientists onto Twitter has accompanied the growing recognition that a social media presence is just as important as taking the podium at a conference. Social media is leading…
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…
Their football team might be out of the World Cup, but US viewership has skyrocketed during the tournament. EPA/Tannen Maury

Bigger than the Superbowl: the World Cup breaks viewing records

It’s official: more people in the US are streaming the World Cup than this year’s Superbowl, so it’s no surprise sports channel ESPN this week reported a 46% increase in viewership in group round games…
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…
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. 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…
Coca Cola is a major sponsor of the World Cup, but non-sponsors are capitalising on the tournament too. George/Flickr

Brands are big winners in the ‘first social media World Cup’

The 2014 World Cup has already seen a significant volume of Twitter conversation across a number of (English language) keywords, including #joinin, #worldcup, #Brazil2014 and #worldcup2014, as well as…
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…
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. 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…
“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…
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. 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…
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. 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…
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…
Advergames on mobile phones allow advertisers to directly target young children with games that promote unhealthy food. Toca Boca/flickr

Advergames play with nutrition by making fast food rewarding

Advergaming is a relatively recent approach to advertising that overcomes many of the limitations of traditional advertising. But advergames are increasingly being used by fast food companies to target…
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…
Twitter has been valued as high as US$31 billion, but can the valuation be justified? NYSE/AAP

Twitter’s IPO and the dark side of valuing companies

Social media darling Twitter ended last week with US$2.3 billion wiped off its market valuation, following a 7.24% fall in its share price on the second day it traded. Despite the slip, the share price…
The start of something beautiful? Garrett Heath

Twitter frenzy could generate another tech bubble

During the past few years, a strange evening ritual has begun to spring up around the City of London. Instead of heading to the local pub with their colleagues, city workers are flocking to cocktail parties…
It’s news, but not as we knew it. Andrew Matthews/PA

How Twitter has helped the emergence of a new journalism

Twitter’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) is due to take place on Wednesday. The company values itself at US$12 billion and expects to raise up to US$1.3 billion in sales. But let’s forget about the money…
Friend them, like them, poke them but are they really your friends? LarimdaME

Social networking is the new out-of-body experience

Is it possible to socially interact with another person in the absence of a body and the senses? Social networking allows us to present versions of ourselves. But when we use a computer to mediate our…
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…
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…
Twitter’s deal with the NFL will open a new stream of revenue in the lead up to their IPO. Shutterstock.com

The winners and losers in Twitter’s NFL deal

Twitter’s IPO filing has today revealed a loss of $US69 million on $US254 million in revenue in the first half of the year - which is up on the US$49 million loss in the same period last year. With results…
Walt and Jesse prepare for their red wedding in the final episode. deviantART

Twitter app stops you Breaking Bad news to good people

WARNING: This article contains a spoiler. Don’t worry though, it’s not what happens in the final episode of Breaking Bad. Even academics don’t get early access. This week, Netflix has created a handy service…
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. 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…
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…
Nothing on the box? The Home Office is providing a new source of entertainment. ukhomeoffice

Immigration arrests are not a spectator sport

In the week that saw the British press rightly condemning the use of Twitter to send violent threats to several women, the Home Office started to use the social media site to publicise operations to carry…
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…
Pop singer Justin Bieber claims 38 million Twitter followers - but are these as manufactured as his music? AAP

Not a BeLieber - twitter followers fake it both in name and nature

How many Twitter followers do you have? As a rule of thumb, the worth of a conventional blog can be measured by the number of comments it accrues per posting. If comments are the social capital of blogs…
The Boston Marathon bombings sent shockwaves across the world - how have the American people and the media reacted? EPA/Billie Weiss

Boston Marathon attacks: a very restrained US media and online response

Winters in Boston are bitterly cold and excessively long. So it’s little wonder that residents greet Patriot’s Day – the mid-April, Massachusetts-only holiday marking the Revolutionary battles at Lexington…
Queensland MP Andrew Laming’s inflammatory comments about violence in Logan were insensitive and misdirected. AAP/Lukas Coch

Unemployment not the cause of Pacific Islander violence in Logan

Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap? That’s how MP Andrew Laming responded to recent violence in Logan between Aboriginal and Pacific…
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…
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…
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: Olympics, interns and racism on Facebook

Following on from our previous coverage of the Australian Twitter news circulation index (ATNIX), here are the results for week 32 of this year. ATNIX tracks the sharing of links to Australian news sites…
If Twitter allows us to follow (and share) our interests, then can it make a reliable measure of influence for media groups? AAP/Tracey Nearmy/Twitter

How to measure influence: using Twitter to rate Australian news sites

News of significant job losses and organisational restructuring at Fairfax has thrown new spotlight onto the continuing transformation of the Australian media landscape. It’s clear that newspapers in their…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Brands like Qantas are finding controlling their message on Twitter is not easy. AAP

How not to use Twitter: lessons from Qantas and Westpac

For major brands, the road to social media infamy is paved with what seemed like good ideas at the time. Just this week, Qantas succeeded in having Twitter suspend the well-known spoof account, @QantasPR…
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…
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…
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. 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…
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…
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…
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…

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