Monthly Archives: November 2009

Google plays the free speech card

Google has been forced to defend its refusal to filter inappropriate or offensive material that appears in its search results.  It is apparently responding to criticism following the appearance of a racist depiction of Michelle Obama towards the top of its search rankings. Google argues that it is simply refecting the range of opinion that appears [...]

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Facebook gets usefully boring

Clay Shirky is always good for a soundbite.  One of his more sage-like comments is that “Tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.”  Facebook is now officially boring and all the better for it.  This means that initiatives – such as Marks & Spencer’s use of Facebook to organise a live web chat [...]

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The apathy of crowds

Social media is often credited with reviving the democratic process, heralding a world of instant access to our political masters and open and honest debate.  Unfortunately, as Daniel Finkelstein pointed out in his Times Opinion piece yesterday, the public (by and large) “are serenely indifferent” to the world of politics.  It is not that the [...]

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The map of the book

We may have struggled to sell the film rights to Crowd Surfing, but at least we now have a map of the book, courtesy of Pete Shannon.  Looks like he has found a clever way to capture the key points from business books and help the rest of us avoid having to read the books [...]

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The stiff upper lip starts to tremble

It may have started with the strange outpouring of collective grief that followed the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, but the British have become a nation of public mourners.  Whether lining the streets of Wootton Bassett – as yet another coffin makes its way back from Afghanistan – or marking the death of a [...]

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Trust & social media

It takes a brave person to challenge the social media hyperbole, so hats off to those brave people at Lightspeed Research, who have just published a research study suggesting that we don’t necessarily trust the information we are given via social media.  They may be entertaining, they may provide us with new ideas, they may [...]

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Twitter & the threat to democracy

Two very interesting articles were published over the weekend, analysing the implications of the recent Twitter-based protests against Jan Moir’s criticism of Stephen Gately’s lifestyle; Andrew Neil’s allegedly racist insult of Diane Abbot (when he described her as a chocolate hobnob, in an extended riff on people as biscuits); a typically close-to-the bone gag by [...]

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