social media

10 posts

Implicit Outings on Facebook – The Paths of Marriage Series

websiteheader_nowavailable2_smallThis is the final post of the series that examines topics from the perspective of the characters in the upcoming novel, The Paths of Marriage which will be for sale starting 1 October 2014.

“The Implicit Outings of Facebook” is written from the point of view of the character, Deepa Deva.

Why hello there!

I’ve been on Facebook for a decade. Yes, a decade. Considering social media companies have used Facebook as the beacon of all things new age tech company is a total a mind boggler; when did it become standard that a company about ten years old has one of the longest histories in one of the most lucrative industries in the world? Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Bullying

Right now Gawker has a post up about a 15-year-old Staten Island girl who committed suicide after essentially being slut-shamed by her high school football team. As is becoming the macabre norm, the young girl took to Twitter leaving hints of her state of mind before carrying out the act two days later. “I cant, im done, I give up,” she said. What is going on? And why does it seem like “bullying” has taken on a whole new genesis in the last two decades? Continue reading

When Toilet Paper and Social Media Collide

Charmin toilet paper has recently ramped up their advertising in an attempt to either sell more toilet paper or completely freak out the public. Charmin has a history of unusual advertising. Their most famous ad campaign featured people who stalked grocery stores to furtively squeeze toilet paper.

Advertising toilet paper is a tricky business. You want people to be aware of your product without thinking too much about it. They should associate your product with cleanliness. You don’t want them concentrating too much on why they need toilet paper. This will only lead to unpleasant images associating with the product. Continue reading

Why is Rush Limbaugh Only Now Getting Stomped On?

But you can go away now, thanks.

My (former?) Jezebellian gal pal, Robyn Pennacchia (otherwise known as NotesFromTheUnderground) wrote a blog post on Monday that got me thinking about why Rush Limbaugh’s current rank foot-in-mouth incident is making bigger waves than usual – or perhaps more accurately, making bigger waves among his advertisers than usual. (At the time of this writing, Think Progress has the number of advertisers that have dropped Limbaugh at 43.) Continue reading

Can Social Media Plus Celebrity Make a Real Difference?

Way back in May of this year, Conan O’Brien featured a sketch on his TBS show highlighting a small alley in an industrial part of Van Nuys, California. The purpose of the sketch was to jokingly ask the city of Los Angeles and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to change the name of West Raymer Street to Conan O’Brien Blvd.

In the initial sketch, he showcases the surrounding area of the dead-end alley, which is located next to some railroad tracks. What we see is familiar to anyone with experience in industrial or less wealthy neighborhoods in many cities. There is abandoned furniture, graffiti and what looks like an abandoned vehicle. It’s neighborhood blight. Continue reading

Social Media and Public Works: Los Angeles’ Carmageddon Public Information Campaign

Apparently Hitler drives a Prius.

The 405 freeway is an important artery in Los Angeles, and is one of the main ways of connecting the Westside to the Valley. There isn’t a train or bus route that effectively duplicates the route that the 405 takes, so shutting down the freeway for a weekend to demolish the Mulholland Drive Bridge as part of a highway widening project was considered a big deal for the residents of those neighborhoods.  The build-up to the closing of the 405 was heralded by a massive public information campaign that could basically be summed up as “do not drive to the Westside on the weekend of July 16-17, because it will literally be hell on earth.” Granted, if Los Angeles, and particularly the Westside, were more multi-modal, the need for mass panic probably wouldn’t exist. It still would be a big deal but people wouldn’t be urged to just hide in their homes and barricade their doors. However, the information still needed to be disseminated. Continue reading

Social Media Makes Being Unemployed Tolerable and Terrible

Hello Crasstalk viewers! As my inaugural post to this dysfunctional, yet entertaining community, I thought I’d kick off by relating my musings on the intersection of two subjects in which most hardcore bloggers are sadly familiar: social media and unemployment. As I’ve recently taken on a new hobby (drawing circles), I’ll start out with this diagram:

Continue reading

Bette Davis Has Bad News For You, Baby – And Gossip Links

You want me to bring bail? Again? And what else? Booze. Performing poodles. Celebrities. And particularly Paris Hilton. Ah. I see.

I. See.

Look, darling, I’ve been meaning to say this for some time. I’m cutting you loose, sweetheart. Paying your bail is just throwing good money after bad, and as for performing poodles, well, I saw your last armpiece. Why don’t you give her a call? It shouldn’t cost you more than $25 for a full hour, or her flier is lying.
Continue reading

Why the Feds Don’t Need a New Social Media Wiretap Law

Are web 2.0 services like GMail, Facebook, and bit-torrent really making it harder for the FBI to wiretap people doing illegal things? Do they need congress to pass a set of laws to aid them in capturing someone who uses Facebook? As someone who works computer forensics with law enforcement agencies, I’d say no. Its not enough for them to get your data after a wiretap, they want it now!

Sure, if data lies on Facebook’s servers and not your local hard drive, the feds will have to get a separate warrant/subpoena for those locations. The government already can wiretap your e-mail using the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

CALEA requires telcos and ISPs to turn over real-time monitoring to the feds if they are presented with a wiretap order. If the FBI had it their way, when those providers get the wiretap order authorities would not only have access to your real-time data, but also everything stored remotely.

So you might not be updating your pics on Facebook, but since you logged in anyway, they’d have access. Its a scary thought that everything online would be this accessible. Compound that with the risk of warrantless wiretaps and it’s enough for normal people to be concerned about their privacy online.

The feds know how much they can push, though. They’ve decided that the best way for them to address real-time wiretaps is through a shady program known as “Going Dark.” It’s shady enough that the Electronic Frontier Foundation had to file a freedom of information act request to find out any info on it.

This program aims to offer “incentives” to software developers to join their program. What incentives they’re offering, they don’t say. This week a software security company was hacked and it was revealed that the government was paying them to write backdoors into software for them. Microsoft has long been accused of having a backdoor in all of their products for the NSA.

I’m guessing that the FBI is asking, politely, for similar things. I don’t know what incentives the feds could offer a company, but since the “Going Dark” program is multi-agency and spans defense, law enforcement, and the Department of Justice, they could offer all kinds of under-the-table deals that we’d never hear about.

One of the problems we’re going to face in the future is that the government has no real standards in terms of computing. One agency will run one piece of software, another will run a completely different piece, on a different platform. The government also gets bilked by IT companies. I’ve seen broke school districts paying $2,000 for a Dell workstation because that’s what their contract says they’ll do.

I’m sure the different federal agencies work in a similar fashion. I’ve given presentations at law enforcement seminars where the previous speakers were standing up and teaching computer crime units on how to use Google. (As in, “put what you want to search for in the text box, click “search!”) And while I’ve given presentations where people actually know what they’re doing, the majority however have no clue. The people who are dreaming up these projects are trying to win support from people who have absolutely no clue when it comes to technology.

Privacy might not be a major concern for you now, but if programs like “Going Dark” get slipped under the radar its going to be too late for any of us to have privacy online ever again.