Twerking Hoax: Should We Be Mad at Jimmy Kimmel?

Alicia Cohn | September 11th, 2013

I fell for it. I shared the viral “Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches Fire!” YouTube video.

And then Jimmy Kimmel told the world they’d been punk’d. He and stunt woman Daphne Avalon staged the whole thing. “Thank you for helping us deceive the world and hopefully put an end to twerking forever,” the late night host told Avalon on his show Monday night.

I think twerking will survive awhile longer.

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Why Hashtags are Failing on Facebook

Lorraine Murphy | September 4th, 2013

When Twitter-style searchable hashtags were introduced to Facebook a few weeks ago, they were hailed by marketers as a brilliant, if long overdue, idea. Now they’re not so sure about that.

New data from a study by the analytics service Edgerank Checker indicates that hashtags actually serve to reduce the viral reach of posts (and, as a side effect, reduce engagement, which is the holy grail of every post, tweet, update, Instagram, and breath a marketer takes; do I sound bitter?).

Edgerank Checker looked at 35,000 posts, 6,000 of which were using hashtags. Well, that right there tells you that adoption is by no means universal. As explained on TheNextWeb, “hashtags on Facebook posts resulted in less viral reach, specifically that there was a decrease in the amount of engagement per fan and wasn’t affected by the size of the fan base — there’s no correlation that the more fans you have, the greater the positive impact on a brand’s engagement.”

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Texting While Driving: Why Are We Blaming the Senders?

Alicia Cohn | September 3rd, 2013

Does texting someone you know is driving make you “electronically present” at the scene of an accident? It might, at least in New Jersey.

A court there ruled last week:

We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.

It was probably only a matter of time before judges agreed with this kind of litigious logic

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Miley Cyrus Rules Twitter: Twerking Trumps Syria

Lorraine Murphy | August 28th, 2013

Long, long ago, the news didn’t used to be real until Walter Cronkite said it was. Nowadays, it’s often real at least as news before it even happens: See the Wikipedia entry for “WMDs” or just Google “Brangelina Wedding” for further details.

And anything on Twitter is de facto news. Remember, communications theory defines information as “anything which is communicated,” no matter how meaningless it may be. Oh, and it is.

They used to say “if it bleeds, it leads,” but as the Twitter stats of the past few days have shown us, that’s no longer the case.  This graph compares the Twitter mentions of the escalating civil war in #Syria with mentions of #Twerk. Click and prepare to be disappointed by humanity.

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HuffPost Bans Anonymous Comments, But Will It Work?

Alicia Cohn | August 23rd, 2013

The Huffington Post announced this week that anonymous commenters will no longer be allowed as of September.

One small step for HuffPo; one giant leap for the Internet?

HuffPo reportedly gets 25,000 comments every hour, and like pretty much any popular website that allows comments, most of them are not well-reasoned arguments and civil to the writer or other commenters.

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National Security? The Most Boring Tumblr Ever

Lorraine Murphy | August 23rd, 2013

Who doesn’t love, or love to hate, Tumblr? The popular I-Hate-My-Parents-And-Love-Porn-And-Sherlock platform is home to more raw emotion per pixel than any other site.

It just got a whole lot more grey flannel.

On the orders of POTUS, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has created a Tumblr. Yes, this is what orders from the president consist of nowadays. And it is hella dull.


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Big App Obstacle: Teens Want Privacy

Alicia Cohn | August 22nd, 2013

Not an easy sell: Teenage app consumers wary of privacy leaks.


App-makers beware: Teenagers are eager consumers, but the choice to download or not to download is often based on privacy concerns.

More than 50 percent of teenagers have downloaded an app to their smart-device, according to a new study conducted last year and released Thursday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project. But about half of those users also say that they’ve decided not to install an app after realizing they would have to share personal information in order to use it. That holds true for both boys and girls in the study, even though the guys were more active app-downloaders.

And another quarter of these teen users has uninstalled an app upon learning it was collecting personal information.

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On Facebook, A Mother Gets The Worst Dear Neighbor Letter Ever

Lorraine Murphy | August 21st, 2013

If you’ve always wondered where the worst person in the world lived, wonder no more.This viral post on Facebook proves they’re in Newcastle, Ontario.

Going viral over the weekend on Facebook and Twitter, hitting the mainstream media yesterday, and now getting the attention of the Canadian police, this viral, violet and violent screed was delivered to the family of an autistic child late last week. The unsigned, printed letter, on vivid purple stationary, (purple is for derangement and hatred, right?) complains that they have, apparently, allowed their autistic child to play in the front yard, and that the sender of the letter finds this offensive in the extreme.

Let’s just let the letter speak for itself, although what it actually says may not be quite what the sender intended. All [sic] of course, and we don’t pretend to get the number of exclamation points exactly right, since we can’t count that high.

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Teens Groping for Privacy Advice in Facebook Age

Alicia Cohn | August 16th, 2013

Today’s teens think nothing of sharing personal information online, but that doesn’t mean they’re oblivious to concerns about online privacy.

But don’t rush to target teenagers with yet another guide to dodging the NSA’s online spying habits (or just general invasiveness online). Teenagers prefer to rely on their own skill at finding and understanding privacy settings on their preferred social networking sites in order to keep their information safe, according to a new report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

“In terms of the privacy settings on their Facebook profiles, the majority of teens set their profile to either fully or partially private—regardless of whether or not they have sought out advice on how to manage their privacy online,” the report says.

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Bustle: A Man’s View of What Women Want

Alicia Cohn | August 15th, 2013

Ladies, it turns out we’ve been reading content for men.

It was news to me to read in new post that popular websites like Politico, TechCrunch, Business Insider, Mashable and Gawker are men’s sites. Fortunately, in the same paragraph — written by Bryan Goldberg, who founded Bleacher Report (another site for men!) — I learned that at last, there is a website for women and it’s called Bustle.

Goldberg announced the new venture on Wednesday by dissing women’s magazines like Glamour, Cosmo, and Vogue for having a minimal digital presence. Understandably, those women who have been reading Grantland and TheVerge–oblivious to the fact that such content is not “for” us–were confused and a little annoyed by Goldberg’s assumption that women have nothing to read on the Internet.

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