31 May 2013

Is Facebook censoring blog posts?

Facebook has recently been accused of censoring a political blog covering protests about the outsourcing of NHS contracts. Online censorship always sparks angry responses. One of the most cherished and greatest achievements of the Internet is the way it allows freedom of expression that bypasses traditional forms of media, something that can change society and have a profound effect, as seen in the events of the Arab Spring. The blog article in question covered a protest against NHS privatisation made by ‘The Artist Taxi Driver’, who pushed a toy pig five miles through London to Downing Street
27 Nov 2012

Which Unions are the most influential on social media in 2012?

Following on from the league table of trade union websites I produced earlier this year, I thought I’d look at who the most influential trade unions are in social media. It’s difficult to measure reputation on the Internet. However, with the increasing importance of social media – including retweets, likes, +1s, replies, and follower counts – the organisations I work with and advise are increasingly keen to keep score and compare themselves with their rivals, be they private sector or non profits. Social media influence is critical to unions as well as companies, and the unions I’ve worked
22 Oct 2012

What are the most popular union hashtags?

People who use Twitter will be very familiar with hashtags. A Twitter hashtag ties the conversations of different users into one stream, which you can then find by searching for the hashtag in Twitter. For example, searching for the hashtag #union in Twitter brings up the latest Tweets related to trade unions. Television, radio, magazines and websites all use Twitter hastags to encourage audience participation, and so people who are not on Twitter are increasingly being exposed to hashtags. Twitter is very popular in the union movement and union activists have even used hashtags to campaign
26 Apr 2012

The 'Girls Around Me' app

The recent furore over the ‘Girls Around Me’ smartphone app illustrates the increasing ease with which our movements can be tracked. The app was developed by Russian developer i-free and enabled people who had downloaded the app to view a map of women in the local area, along with names and even background information like relationship status, depending on the user’s privacy setting. The people who made the app were not illegally hacking into anyone’s system, but simply using publicly available information from services like Foursquare and Facebook. Foursquare is a system that lets people
24 Jan 2012

Predictions for 2012

Changes in technology and their impact on the world have been relentless over the last few years, and 2012 doesn’t look to be any different. Below is a list of predictions and trends for 2012. Social networking continues to dominate The number of global Facebook users reached 700 million in 2011, and is predicted to reach 1 billion in 2012. While growing fast in countries like Brazil, Facebook already dominates social networking in the West. Twitter’s rise, especially in the media, looks set to continue. Social networking played a key role in the civil unrest of 2011, most noticeably in the
13 Dec 2011

How much Klout do you have?

One website that has been getting quite a bit of press coverage recently is Klout. This is a new service that attempts to measure online influence by monitoring social networking traffic. It allocates a score of between 1 and 100 to individuals and organisations, with the higher the score, the greater the influence. The founder, Joe Fernandez, had the idea for the site when he broke his jaw and, unable to talk, took to Twitter in order to communicate. He soon realised the influence of the medium, and saw how useful it would be to measure this. Looking through the scores, they seem to reflect
06 Oct 2011

Cyber snooping by employers

The internet has led to an increasing clash between personal and professional lives. Once upon a time it was only your CV or application that counted when trying to win a job interview, but one new trend is to vet perspective employees using their online presence. It’s well publicised that many employees have got into trouble at work due to comments they’ve made on social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. A lot of organisations now have strict internet usage policies, and it’s estimated that 8% of companies have dismissed staff due to their online actions. What is less well known is
18 Jan 2011

Digital activism comes of age

The fallout over the publication of diplomatic information on Wikileaks illustrates how digital activism has come of age. As the US government put pressure on companies to sever ties with the international leaks website, groups fought back with a co-ordinated campaign. One group, calling itself ‘Anonymous’, proved particularly well organised. The credit card company VISA was one of those who suspended services in the aftermath, allegedly under political duress. Soon after, the VISA website was overwhelmed by a “distributed denial of service attack’’ (DDoS) by the group called ‘Anonymous’
22 Sep 2010

Facebook privacy and the launch of Diaspora

Social networking has been a major part of the rise of ‘Web 2.0’, a phrase coined to represent the move towards greater information sharing and collaboration on the internet. While MySpace, Twitter, Linkedin and others have played their part, Facebook dominates social networking. As of July, 500 million people around the world use Facebook actively. As people increasingly share information on the internet there have, however, been growing concerns about the privacy. Earlier this year, Facebook came under increased pressure over poor privacy controls and a lack of transparency about how it used