What is Twitter Jail?

Twitter jail is a mysterious place where you can be cast away by Twitter if you’ve been a bad tweeter and need punishment. Twitter does have this and can put you there — not physically, but your account is disabled from tweeting. Technically, I guess it’s your account that goes to Twitter jail, but the effect is basically the same.

It’s simple, really. To deal with some of the spam problems that plague the service, Twitter has introduced limits on how much and how often you can tweet. Its current limits are 100 tweets per hour, or 1000 tweets per day. The first limit seems ridiculous, but some Twitter accounts have been known to produce that many tweets. Usually, these are spam accounts that randomly @mention people on Twitter with spam links. Being sent to Twitter jail just means that someone who reaches the imposed limits can’t tweet until the limits reset themselves.

You can fully access your page, see everything, and change settings, but cannot post publicly until the limit is reset. There have been reports that the limit can reset itself before the hour time limit is up, so it’s a bit tempermental.

When first hearing these limits, it seems impossible that anyone could tweet 100 times in an hour or 1000 times in a day. But there are surprisingly many situations where this limit can be approached without the user even knowing.

It’s obvious for the first situation that a breaking news event like an earthquake, a famous person’s death, or the Emmy awards can set off a ticking time bomb that makes Twitter users tweet furiously.

Twitter chats can spontaneously erupt on occasion, and they can sometimes get heated enough to generate enough tweets to approach the limit more quickly than a user might realize.

Offline conferences are another way to reach a limit in a hurry. Things are constantly happening, and it’s tempting to trumpet to the world every little tidbit of exclusive information that’s reaching you in real time. You can really lose yourself!

It’s not certain how long you can stay in Twitter jail, but you must know that if you frequent it, you might find your account suspended for overtweeting.

Twitter’s limit is really for the benefit of its poor, overworked servers and not you; the company couldn’t care less what you tweet about (as long as it’s legitimate and not spam). But as far as spam goes, Twitter jail is one way to keep its traffic in check and protect its users.

Enjoy your tweetings; if you’ve ever gone over Twitter’s limit and wound up in Twitter jail, let us know and your experiences about it.

Google Social Search Gets More Social

Google has revamped its Social Search, integrating Twitter, Flickr, and Quora into a major part of the search engine.

Launched in 2009, Social Search puts search results from your friends at the bottom of the search pages. Until now, it has taken this information from social profiles that you have attached to your Google account.

Google’s new change will take those friends’ search results and put them prominently on the page, not just tucked down at the bottom. This major change will give users hopefully what they want to see faster. Using an annotation system, the friends’ results will have a note off to the side to show you where the results originate. The annotation will let users know their friends shared a blog post.

To work closely with Social Search, the appearance of these shared links will come to fill up your results. If someone you follow on Twitter shared an article you are looking for, the Google result will state that a friend “shared this on Twitter.”

As a final component to bringing everything together, Google is expanding its focus on user control. Primarily in Social Search, Google has overhauled its options page to give users the ability to both privately and publicly share and connect their social profiles on their Google accounts. Google has even gone as far as to suggest which profiles are likely to control by cross referencing from your friends.

One feature we were hoping to see but was not released in this update is Facebook “Like” data. This feature also powers Bing’s search by referring to what users on Facebook have “liked” and shared. Instead of perusing deeper Facebook integration, Google seems to have just opted for Twitter, Flickr, and Quora for reference.

Microsoft’s Bing Releases New Social Features

Today, the Microsoft search service Bing is completing its deployment of new social features that include built in support with Facebook.

Bing has been taking user surveys and feedback asking its users what it wants to see, Bing has finally responded with an even greater service integrating Facebook into the search service. Its main focus seems to be with usefulness, making all of the searching and user experience simple and concise for users.

One of the biggest adoptions of the integration with Facebook is the ability to see what your friends have “Liked” in relation to your search. For example: if you search for “Seattle steakhouse” under the top results you will see any steakhouses that your Facebook friends have liked.

Based on your Facebook settings, you could also show up in any of those searches as well. This is similar behavior to the way Facebook works. It’s important to note that you will not show up in Web searches on major search engines including Bing, just in Facebook Profile Searches within Bing conducted by your friends or friends of friends.

For under-aged Facebookers, this service will not be available until you are 13 or older.

The way customers can control the features (turning them on and off) remains the same, and you can learn more about the features themselves at Bing’s discover page.

Bing is definitely taking a step ahead by taking your Facebook friends into account and trying to give you a better overall user experience as well as a unique search to your Bing experience.

Apple Going Social With Its Forums

Why leave the end user to a mere forum when, instead, a company can provide a social aspect to solve problems as a community? This is exactly what Apple is looking to bring forth according to this article.

Apple is going social by providing an alternative to its forums in the form of a social tool where users of Apple products can find support topics that match individual needs. Now this is not to say that this is going to solve everyone’s problems overnight when they use this. But it might make working with others in a forum format a whole lot easier.

I am fairly sure we’re going to see some bumps in the road as Apple makes the transition, but I believe this is going to work out for Apple and the users in the long run. Guess only time will tell.

[awsbullet:forum managing online]

Microsoft Pulls Sexting Ad To Promote Their KIN Phone

Microsoft originally had used an ad that showed a teen taking a picture of his chest under his shirt, which he than sent to a a teen woman. The ad smacked of a an approval of sexting and the company pulled the ad. Microsoft later stated that it took serious the problems associated with sexting, in light of some of the bad press that sexting has been getting lately. Consumers Report originally suggested that the ad came seriously close to promoting sexting which promoted Microsoft to reconsider running the advertisement.

In a recent news story it also states that:

A Microsoft spokesperson tells Consumer Reports, “Microsoft takes the issue of sexting very seriously and it was never our intent to promote it in any way.”

KIN1 Pictured Above
What do you think of Microsoft pulling the KIN advertisement? I personally believe that it was the responsible thing to do.
Comments welcome.

People Out And About Make Cities Secure

There should be an image here!Young people who have experienced threats and violence feel more insecure than others in urban public spaces, especially when alone. This is one conclusion from researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Gabriella Sandstig, researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences has explored how people perceive threats and risks in urban public places. More exactly, her research focuses on how a city’s physical environment — for example buildings and streets — interacts with the social environment and people’s perceptions of sharing the city with others. For example, a desolate parking garage in the night hours feels more threatening than the same place during the day when there are lots of people around.

The feeling of being alone is a strong factor behind people’s feelings of insecurity. People feel the most secure when they are together with friends or acquaintances, but being around many strangers, for example on a busy street, also makes people feel secure. In addition, her research shows that cities can be made more secure by creating a sense of community and togetherness.

‘We need to populate public spaces and make it evident that nobody is alone and that somebody cares about our public environment. It may be more effective to invest in more street lights — and make sure they are in working condition — than to pay for crime prevention measures,’ says Sandstig.

The most common reason people feel insecure is personal experience of threats and serious risks, which includes both having been victimised personally and having seen somebody else become a victim. Contrary to previous studies, Sandstig found that young people feel more insecure than old people.

The findings on the role of the media are quite complex. Sandstig found that while media reports in themselves do not affect people’s feelings of security, it seems that people’s beliefs about how media do their work play an important role. People who believe that the media often under-reports risks, threats and violence tend to feel more insecure than people who believe that the media’s coverage is correct or exaggerated.

Sandstig says that her study is the first Swedish study to more comprehensively explain the perceived sense of insecurity in urban public spaces. The study is based mainly on 2001-2007 data from the Swedish so-called SOM surveys, but also on two quantitative content analyses of threats and risks reported in the leading newspapers in western Sweden, Göteborgs-Posten and GT, from 1950 to 2003. The regional surveys targeted people in the Västra Götaland County and in the city of Kungsbacka. The study utilised simple random sampling and involved, in 2007, a total of 6000 individuals aged 15-85 from the Västra Götaland County and the city of Kungsbacka.

Gabriella Sandstig @ University of Gothenburg

[Photo above by Phillip Green / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:urban safety]

Are Social Networks Good For Our Social Habits?

There should be an image here!Living in the modern era has evoked a wide selection of technological resources available for use. One of these resources available is social networking, such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Are social networks beneficial to the social lives of Americans?

Are social networks increasing or decreasing human interaction? As a functional human being, socialization is necessary. Humans need to talk and express their feelings to others. Ever since the invention of the telephone, people could communicate instantly with no face to face contact. Over time, this has evolved to modern day’s social networking sites. Each of the three major sites, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter offer something different. MySpace provides users with a page where they can express their likes and personalities. Facebook allows users to quickly connect with each other through status updates and instant messaging. Twitter offers a way to quickly express yourself with people who choose to follow (get updates from) you. Quickly communicating has increased human interaction through social networking.

But are social networks destroying social circles and direct, face-to-face interaction between humans? Why go out to see your friends when you can have a video conference on ooVoo (a video conferencing application), talk to them through instant messaging on AIM (an instant message client), or play games with them through such services as Xbox Live (a service that lets you play games online)?

Though you can do all this from the comfort of your own home, people enjoy going out. Eating at restaurants, going to the theater, or shopping at the mall are all activities that require you to step away from your computer and physically go out. Of course you could make yourself a TV dinner and have a video conference, watch a movie on Xbox, while talking to someone through Xbox Live voice chat, or shop on Amazon while instant messaging, but it is not the same.

Even though social networking sites have become increasingly popular, people still enjoy going out and actively socializing face to face. In my opinion, social networks could never replace direct human contact.

My name is Alexander Melton, and I am Mac user (yes, I have to put that first because it is very important to me). I am in 9th grade and am a full-fledged honor student. I have a 101.4 GPA (our school does not do 4.0 GPA, we do it like everything is averaged out of a hundred). I play the viola, which is like a violin that plays lower notes. I love technology how I use it in my life. I cannot go a day without using my iPhone. I also enjoy gaming. My favorite game is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

[awsbullet:social media market]

Kid Bloggers – Have Adults Ruined It For Them?

I was surprised when I read this that a recent study shows that teens are abandoning blogging. The numbers of teens who originally blogged has been reduced from a high 28% in 2006 down to 18% in 2009. There are many theories about why teens have reduced their numbers in the blogging field, some which is being blamed on adult bloggers. In another surprise teens have not flocked to Twitter either. It is estimated that only about 8% of teens Tweet.

Teens, not surprisingly, are a secretive bunch and shy away from being in the public limelight. So where are the teens hiding out at? How about social networks. It is estimated that 75% of teens have used one social network last year, with 55% still being social on a network today.

But what the study doesn’t say is why kids really have giving up on blogging. It merely states that ‘you know what they say – as soon as the adults show up, the party’s over.’

But is this really true? What do you think?

Comments welcome.



Are you as sick of status updates as I am? It seems like almost every online service these days contains some element that pretty much forces you to share a continual stream of updates with your followers. When you look at the success of services like Twitter and Facebook, it’s obvious that people are willing to do this, but there comes a point where you spend so much of your time thinking about what your next status update should be that you almost forget to live your life. A mobile service called Zokem will relieve you of some of your status update stress and serve as your social assistant.

The app is called Zokem, but the character that interacts with you is called Zoki. The cool thing about Zokem is that it utilizes your mobile device to figure out what you’re doing, where you’re going, and so on, and can then share this information as status updates to the services that you use. In other words, you just go about your business and let Zokem keep your social accounts updated with your activity when it suggests new updates. The app is available for a bunch of different mobile devices, and by using it, you’ll now be able to get back to living that thing you call a life.

China Arrests 5,394 For Internet Porn Or Is It Net Censorship?

China claims it is cracking down on Internet Porn and has arrested 5,394 criminals during the previous year. The Chinese governments states that the web sites they have closed down were havens for perverts and that those responsible would be prosecuted. But some are thinking that China is using the excuse of porn to close down web sites with anti government sentiment.

According to a Reuters article it states that:

With an estimated 360 million Internet users, China has a bigger online population than any other country. But the ruling Communist Party worries the Internet could become a dangerous conduit for threatening images and ideas.

The ministry did not say how many of the 5,394 suspects arrested were later charged, released or prosecuted.

The anti-pornography drive has also netted many sites with politically sensitive or even simply user-generated content, in what some see as an effort by the government to reassert control over new media.

China has banned a number of popular websites and Internet services, including Google’s Youtube, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, as well as Chinese content sharing sites.

So there you have it. China doesn’t like social networking sites in which free ideas and thoughts can be shared. The Chinese government considers such sites as a potential haven for anti government sentiments that must be squished.

Comments welcome.


FTC To Look At Facebook Privacy Concerns

Will Facebook Change Their Policy?

You may be aware that Facebook recently changed their privacy settings that by default allows anyone on the Internet access to your personal stuff. Though Facebook states that any user can turn this feature off, some consumer groups believe that this is a violation of privacy laws. Ten consumer groups have filed complaints with the FTC asking that Facebook be investigated for these changes.

In a recent article it also states that:

The move could push users to share more information to a broader audience, mirroring the structure of Twitter, the increasingly popular microblogging service. It also theoretically could create more opportunities for online marketers.

But Facebook’s privacy changes have elicited widespread criticism. EPIC said in its statement that the service “should not be allowed to turn down the privacy dial on so many American consumers,” adding that the changes “violate federal consumer-protection law.”

EPIC is joined in its complaint by groups including the American Library Association, the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation.

My personal belief is that Facebook is loosening their security in order to provide marketers access to the 350 million members. If anyone believes that the folks at Facebook set up the social networking site because they love you, you are sadly mistaken. The purpose was to make a buck. The buck making starts now.

But that is just my two cents. What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Health Insurers Caught Sending Virtual Money To Facebook Users To Oppose Health Care Reform

Health care insurance companies have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, sending virtual cash to gamers on Facebook. Known as ‘astroturfing,’ which means that it is a fake grass roots campaign by the insurance groups, here is how the scheme works:

Facebook users play a social game, like “FarmVille” or “Friends For Sale.” They get addicted to it. Eager to accelerate their progress inside the game, the gamers buy “virtual goods” such as a machine gun for “Mafia Wars.” But these gamers don’t buy these virtual goods with real money. They use virtual currency.

The gamers get virtual currency three ways:

  • Winning it playing the games
  • Paying for it with real money
  • By accepting offers from third-parties — usually companies like online movie rentals service Netflix — who agree to give the gamer virtual currency so long as that gamer agrees to try a product or service. This is done through an “offers” provider — a middleman that brings the companies like Netflix, the Facebook gamemakers, and the Facebook gamemaker’s users together.

It’s this third method that an anti-reform group called “Get Health Reform Right” is using to pay gamers virtual currency for their support.

Instead of asking the gamers to try a product the way Netflix would, “Get Health Reform Right” requires gamers to take a survey, which, upon completion, automatically sends the following email to their Congressional Rep:

“I am concerned a new government plan could cause me to lose the employer coverage I have today. More government bureaucracy will only create more problems, not solve the ones we have.”

This is a great way to get your cause noticed. Hopefully the people in Congress won’t fall for these fake emails of support and the lies they contain. It would now appear that social networking sites will be the target of any group that wants to advance their cause.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Can Your Facebook Friends Get You Labeled As Being Gay?

Two students at MIT were engaged in a term project about ethics and the law for social networking sites. During their investigation they stumbled on a situation in which they could actually determine the sexual preference of those who use Facebook by their online friends. The students used software to determine not only who your online friends were, but also gender and statistical analysis for their conclusions.

The study also concluded the following facts:

The pair weren’t interested in the embarrassing photos or overripe profiles that attract so much consternation from parents and potential employers. Instead, they wondered whether the basic currency of interactions on a social network – the simple act of “friending” someone online – might reveal something a person might rather keep hidden.

Using data from the social network Facebook, they made a striking discovery: just by looking at a person’s online friends, they could predict whether the person was gay. They did this with a software program that looked at the gender and sexuality of a person’s friends and, using statistical analysis, made a prediction. The two students had no way of checking all of their predictions, but based on their own knowledge outside the Facebook world, their computer program appeared quite accurate for men, they said. People may be effectively “outing” themselves just by the virtual company they keep.

The work has not been published in a scientific journal, but it provides a provocative warning note about privacy. Discussions of privacy often focus on how to best keep things secret, whether it is making sure online financial transactions are secure from intruders, or telling people to think twice before opening their lives too widely on blogs or online profiles. But this work shows that people may reveal information about themselves in another way, and without knowing they are making it public. Who we are can be revealed by, and even defined by, who our friends are: if all your friends are over 45, you’re probably not a teenager; if they all belong to a particular religion, it’s a decent bet that you do, too. The ability to connect with other people who have something in common is part of the power of social networks, but also a possible pitfall. If our friends reveal who we are, that challenges a conception of privacy built on the notion that there are things we tell, and things we don’t.

“Even if you don’t affirmatively post revealing information, simply publishing your friends’ list may reveal sensitive information about you, or it may lead people to make assumptions about you that are incorrect,” said Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights organization in San Francisco. “Certainly if most or many of your friends are of a particular religious or political or sexual category, others may conclude you are part of the same category – even if you haven’t said so yourself.”

Is this guilt by association? I believe it is. I am an devote Democrat but many of my very good friends and relatives are Republicans. We have an unwritten rule when it comes to discussions that we avoid two subjects, religion and politics. We respect each others opinions and do so in a civil manner.

But if these people are my Facebook friends, could one conclude that I am secretly a Republican?

Share your opinion and your thoughts and let us know what you think.

Boston Globe article is here.

NFL To Personnel – No Tweeting During Games

The NFL is taking a position that they do not want any NFL personnel to Tweet during game play. The problem goes back to the NFL draft when some personnel were Tweeting to fans their selection of players. Because of Twitter and Facebook availability to almost everyone in the world, The NFL is taking a position that Tweets of plays could interfere with media organizations reporting this information.

According to a recent news article it also states that:

The NFL said that it will let players, coaches, and other team personnel engage in social networking during the season. However, they will be prohibited from using Twitter and from updating profiles on Facebook and other social-networking sites during games.

In addition, they will not be allowed to tweet or update social-networking profiles 90 minutes before a game and until post-game interviews are completed.

The rules even extend to people “representing” a player or coach on their personal accounts.

The NFL didn’t just stop with the league itself, though. The organization also said that media attending games will be prohibited from providing game updates through social networks.

“Longstanding policies prohibiting play-by-play descriptions of NFL games in progress apply fully to Twitter and other social media platforms,” the National Football League said in its statement. “Internet sites may not post detailed information that approximates play-by-play during a game.

“While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., score updates with detail given only in quarterly game updates) so that the accredited organization’s game coverage cannot be used as a substitute for, or otherwise approximate, authorized play-by-play accounts.”

What’s next? Will the NFL try to prohibit fans at the stadium from Tweeting as well? Will the NFL some day resort to cell phone jamming at their stadiums?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.