turner4D | Carpe Colloquium

 

Byrony Gordon of the Telegraph wrote in frustration this week about how social media is turning us into idiots. She chronicles several tweets and trends across social media in the aftermath of the attacks on Paris as evidence that, “…social media hasn’t just turned people stupid – it has also turned whole organisations into unthinking idiots whose knee jerk reaction in such situations is not to uncover the truth but get hits.” Gordon’s proclamation flies directly in the face of James Surowiecki’s notion of the scientifically-based “wisdom of crowds.” Surowiecki draws upon science-based analysis drawn from research on the Central Limits Theorem, which explains how large probability samples produce great estimates of phenomena in the real world. Gordon’s analysis draws conclusions from a far less systematically drawn sample. Her sample suggests that people feel less safe after the recent attacks in Paris, despite the reality that attacks like these have been happening around the world for a long time. Her analysis highlights specific examples of idiocy among the world of tweets and wall posts, such as the claim that the Eiffel Tower went dark for the first time since 1889 (a preposterous claim, for sure) and the massive number of…

Posted by Alan Rosenblatt in Social Advocacy & Politics, Social Media Read More

Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have all added or turned on features in the wake of the Paris attacks this past Friday, November 13. These features incorporate many of the behavioral uses of these platforms into their code. For example, Facebook turned on its “Safety Check” feature, where people can mark on their profile that they are ok instead of just posting something to your wall. The new app creates a featured post for your profile that says you are safe in the midst of a crisis or disaster. Like more common features on other social networks (e.g. @mentions, hashtags and the Quote Tweet functions on Twitter), these built in features are inspired by the ways people were using the platforms already. These new features typically make using the social networks easier for users and often help campaign organizers, too, but not always. And the new tools are not always received in the most positive light. For example, the Facebook Safety Check feature was not turned on for all recent crisis events, prompting criticisms by activists that Facebook was showing a bias turning it on for Paris, but not for attacks happening in other parts of the world. Read the rest of…

Posted by Alan Rosenblatt in Social Advocacy & Politics, Social Media Read More

Since the success of Barack Obama’s 2008 Social Media campaign, politicians in Switzerland know that the use of Twitter can be an important pillar in a digital campaign strategy. Nevertheless, Twitter still isn’t that popular in Switzerland, and it is still known as an elite network where mainly people from political, journalism/media and communications spaces are online. Some politicians, however, are beginning to realize the strategic potential of using Twitter. Because of the structure of the Twitter network in Switzerland, Twitter can be a good tool to manage relationships and influence journalists and social influencers. Despite its worldwide use, there are barely any research papers about the use of Twitter in Switzerland.  So for our bachelor thesis at the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich, my colleague Nina Rupp and I researched opinion leadership on Twitter within the Swiss parliament members. We investigated if there were different dimensions of online opinion-leadership on Twitter. For our methodology, we tracked data from 107 of the 246 parliament members who had a Twitter account by February 2015. After tracking data with the program R during two three-week periods, we performed a first cluster analysis to discover which…

One of the biggest criticisms of the current presidential election campaigns is that the candidates’ ability to entertain trumps their command and discussion of the issues. As this story goes, image appears to matter more than the ability to lead the “free world.” That is what is being said, but is it really true? Have presidential elections degenerated into White House Idol? Are we in danger of nominating Sanjaya for President? The latest trigger for this critique, Donald Trump’s hosting of Saturday Night Live this past weekend, is not something new to presidential politics. Hillary Clinton has appeared more than once on the show since the launch of her 2016 campaign. During the 2012 campaign, President Obama appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to “Slow Jam” the news. During the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton played his saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show. Even Richard Nixon appeared on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in 1968 to deliver the show’s signature punch-line, “Sock it to me.” These pop culture appearances by presidential candidates, challengers and incumbents alike, are nothing new. But while these appearances initially relied on the reach of the television shows where the candidates appeared and the subsequent reach of…

Posted by Alan Rosenblatt in Social Advocacy & Politics Read More

The refugee crisis in Europe continues. An estimated of 700,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe this year from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Africa and beyond. Most of them have spent thousands of dollars to take their families on this dangerous and unsafe journey. Despite the tragedy of the situation, a new development that has made it easier for refugees to move is surprising many veteran aid workers. Many of these refugees have been using technology, especially platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber and Google Maps to find their way to a “new home.” When they arrive, they know exactly where they are, where to go, and who to contact. They have already found the phone numbers of host country coast guards and even call them to come take them in safely. Through social media, refugees stay in touch with their families who live in Europe and other places. They are able to provide information to others on the best routes to take and to avoid the dangerous ones. Social media helps them also avoid the police, find “safe” people smugglers, as well as accommodations for their families. It is also the best way for these refugees…

Posted by Violet Tsagka in Seize the Conversation, Social Media Read More