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Archive for the ‘Crowdsourcing’ Category

How Not to do Social Media Case Study – Southern Illinois University Carbondale Facebook Page

November 9, 2011 1 comment

"The Net Interprets Censorship as Damage and Routes Around it" - John Gilmore

Right now, the Southern Illinois University Carbondale is in the middle of a contract negotiation dispute which has resulted in a strike by the tenured faculty.  As one would expect in a situation such as this, the faculty has urged its supporters to be vocal on the union’s behalf and some students took to the SIU Carbondale Facebook Fan Page to urge a resolution to the contract dispute.

Unfortunately, the SIU Carbondale administrators of the page began deleting those messages.  One report noted that they began by deleting only the messages of support for the faculty, but later began deleting all messages related to the dispute – and even went so far as to ban some users. Read more…

For Andrew – On Public Relations and Community Engagement

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

This evening I received a comment on a blog post I did about the “My GR Six” contest currently going on in Grand Rapids:

“At least they’re doing something besides taking pot shots from your lazyboy. What an asshole you are. No wonder you don’t have any friends. Lol.”
– Andrew | Submitted on 2011/09/08 at 5:02 pm

Though it perhaps didn’t come through in my blog post – I think the My GR Six crew are a great bunch of people.  I like Beth Dornan and John Gonzales quite a bit and even attended a recent Grand Rapids Social Media meetup to hear about the inception of the project.

While I’d never deny I’m an asshole, I do take exception to some of what Andrew said – chiefly the idea that I’m not doing anything.  For example – after the less flattering entries were frowned upon I thought it would be great if they could find a forum. Read more…

London Looters: Openly Committing Crimes in the Age of Radical Transparency is Stupid

August 10, 2011 3 comments

Looting in the Age of Radical Transparency

Hey kid – would you put down those Foot Locker boxes and have a bit of a chin waggle for a minute?

Martin Luther King once said “a riot is the language of the unheard.”  What’s burning up London right now is an unheard population, and while I can sympathize with the sentiment, the violence isn’t something that can be condoned and it’s utterly and completely daft.  Here’s why:

  1. London is one of the most surveilled cities in the world (just behind Chicago).  There are over 500,000 cameras throughout the city quietly recording with unblinking eyes.
  2. Facial recognition technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, and it’s so commonplace we all have access to it in Facebook.  The pool of photos is growing all the time, both on social networking sites and off in private databases.  Even if you’re wearing a mask or covering your face, it doesn’t matter because police will be able to match your clothing from other video footage when your face was uncovered.
  3. You can’t count on your friends because all it takes is an errant tweet or Facebook post to incriminate you.  Police are already watching for incriminating evidence of activities in process and arresting tweeting looters.
  4. Your technology can narc on you.  Given how prevalent mobile phones are in the UK and how flimsy the security is, it should be relatively easy for police to use scanners to identify all mobile devices within range of a certain area where the riots are taking place.  That would help kick-start any investigations or facial recognition searches.  Not only that, but if the companies that produce all the electronics that have been nicked in the past few days have added any sort of security to them, connecting to the Internet could identify a looter (or someone who received stolen property).
  5. London Police can crowdsource the investigation with ease.  [Update: ...and they already are] Back in 1997, a bunch of people in a neighborhood near Michigan State University rioted after MSU lost to Duke in the NCAA finals, burning couches, stealing and destroying property.  Even back then, there were plenty of people shooting video and taking pictures which the local police took and looped on a cable-access TV channel with a message inviting the community to tip them off if they recognized anyone in the photos.  That was 15 years ago – just think of how much easier it will be to crowdsource identification with Facebook ads or mobile apps.
  6. The evidence will stay around “forever.”  That means Law Enforcement can take its time with the investigation – as it does so, the technologies and pattern-recognition algorithms will continue to improve.  I’m also pretty sure England doesn’t have a statute of limitations – so prosecutions could happen even years after these fires have been extinguished.
That’s the new reality whether we want it or not.  The world is much more transparent, and we need to respond accordingly.  My hope is that this new level of disclosure enables important messages to reach their intended audiences without violence like this.

In the meantime, mind the gap! (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

[Update: This just appeared on Mashable and is obviously highly-relevant recommended reading - "NYPD Creates Unit To Track Criminals Via Social Media"]

[Update II: Scotland Yard Confirms It's Using Facial Recognition Tech]

Six Problems With the @MyGR6 Contest

July 5, 2011 7 comments
A word cloud of the "My GR 6" entries thus far...

A word cloud of the "My GR 6" entries thus far...

A group of local corporations partnered with community leaders to create a contest called “My GR 6.”  The contest awards acclaim (in the form of billboard space) and prizes to whomever comes up with the best six words that describe the city of Grand Rapids (according to a panel of judges that aren’t yet disclosed).

While it’s great to see any effort to foster community pride and raise the profile of my home city, I do have some issues with how it’s being accomplished.  Here are a few of my concerns: Read more…

Flexing Your Social Network to Tag-Team Hunger With a Flying Elbow From the Third Turnbuckle

June 22, 2011 1 comment

Giving Hunger a Flying Elbow From the Third Turnbuckle (Ooh yeah)

Here’s an inspiring social media story for you:

For her birthday, my S.O. Adrienne Wallace decided to raise money for Kids Food Basket (a fantastic charity here in Grand Rapids).  She happened on the fundraising platform “Causes” that offers a robust set of features that plug directly into social networking tools like Facebook and set a modest goal of $500 in contributions in lieu of gifts for herself.

Causes accepts a variety of social media-friendly donation methods, offers fun and valuable analytics to engage one’s audience (tracking who was first to give, who gave most recently, who gave the most, and offers a chance for people to become “Sidekicks” by spreading the message beyond Facebook by emailing five other friends).  It also offers anonymity if donors desire that, and it allows the organizer to personally thank each donor. Read more…

Online Reputation Management for Crowd-Sourcing Platforms: Cleaning up After the “Bewildered Herd”

September 3, 2010 2 comments

As the Web 2.0 model has shifted to content being generated by users (often referred to as “crowdsourcing”) as opposed to administrators, it’s presented a somewhat novel problem of proofing the contributions of the masses.

The “Bewildered Herd” is a term attributed to Walter Lippmann who is one of the early scholars of journalism and public relations.  Lippmann’s contention was that the public was essentially too inept to govern itself and needed to have smart people make up its mind for it in order for society to function.  To wit:

“The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.”
(Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1922)

Crowdsourcing (originated by Jeff Howe of Wired) is explained by Clay Shirky below:

On the whole, user-generated contributions are amazingly effective and have accomplished a powerful amount of the work in building the Internet.  There are, though, occasionally problems.  Here are some of the sites I try to watch regularly for inaccuracies and misinformation:

Which crowdsourcing sites do you monitor for inaccuracies?

10 Amazing Videos of Lightsabre Duels (A Post Mostly Devoid of Intellectual Merit)

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Memes have long been the coin of the realm online, and now the tools are available for the average geek to act on his/her geeky impulses to mash the detritus of pop culture together to create new art forms.  It looks like this:

Sword fights = Cool.  Lightsabres = Cool.  Sword fights + Lightsabres = Nerdgasm.

In the course of my academic and intellectual pursuits (read: goofing around) I ran across an entire subculture of Youtube mashups where digital video artisans (yes, I mean artisans) photoshopped lightsabres into movie swordfights.  The process probably began with the Star Wars kid, and has gone deliciously viral.  Here are my 10 favorites:

1. Count Roogan vs. Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)

2. Cap’m Barbosa vs. Cap’m Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)

3. The Spartans vs. the Hordes of  Xerxes (300)

4. Arwen vs. the Nazgul (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)

5. Freddy vs. Jason (Freddy vs. Jason)

6. Deadpool vs. a Room of Thugs (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) – PS – I demand someone photoshop lightsabres over Wolverine’s claws IMMEDIATELY.

7. Indiana Jones vs. Egyptian Thug (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

8. Benjamin Martin vs. British Soldiers (The Patriot) – Incorporates blasters too!  Sweeeeeet.

9. Beatrix Kiddo vs. O-Ren Ishii (Kill Bill)

10. Robin Hood/Little John vs. Prince John’s Thugs (Disney’s Robin Hood)

[Blog Title courtesy the Linkbait Generator]

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