Posts tagged Social Media

Is flight MH370 the last mystery of the digital age?

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Was flight MH370 hijacked by terrorists? Did the pilot kill himself? Or was the whole plane swallowed by a black hole? When Malaysia Airlines reported that they’d lost contact with the Boeing 777 – which departed Kuala Lumpur on March 7th – it didn’t take long for the internet to respond. Uninformed speculation fuelled wild accusations and conspiracy theories, which unfolded in the following days like an erratically-written TV show.

A pilot came forward with the more believable theory of an electrical fire, backed up by a number of situational factors. But the disbelief that an entire plane could simply go ‘off radar’ buffered a frenzied media storm. Psychologists point out that people are inclined to see ambiguous events as the product of someone’s intentions rather than as accidental. And in a technological world, where everything is measurable and transparent, the prospect of a whole plane disappearing along with 239 passengers is unfathomable. As journalist Scott Mayerowitz aptly notes, “there aren’t supposed to be any mysteries in the digital age.

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With so many sources adding their voice to the narrative – from the population of Reddit to Courtney Love – establishing the truth is harder than ever. The World Economic Forum has flagged up this phenomenon as “a global risk of massive digital misinformation which could wreak havoc in the real world.” And there are real victims: consider Sunil Tripathi, the 22-year-old who was falsely accused of orchestrating the Boston bombings by millions of online spectators.” False information is particularly pervasive on social media,” agrees Walter Quattrociocchi of Northeastern University in Boston. “It fosters a sort of collective credulity.

As the story of flight MH370 continues to unfold before us, fresh speculation won’t be far behind. But it’s worth noting that the amount of shares a theory has won’t always align with how plausible it is. The truth has become a proverbial needle amid a haystack of shrewd, satirical and misinformed voices, but a healthy information diet can make all the difference between understanding and ignorance.

Intimate strangers: how Ellen Degeneres got three million retweets


It was the most retweeted tweet ever. Breaking off from her presenting duties, Oscars host Ellen Degeneres descended into the audience for the ultimate selfie, gathering together a gang of A-listers and handing Bradley Cooper her Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Slightly blurred and a little off-centre, but undeniably high-spirited, it’s now been retweeted over 3 million times. But speculation has since arisen about the authenticity of the gesture. Was this supposedly ‘spontaneous’ moment in fact a slick piece of product placement by a major Oscar sponsor?

Not according to Samsung, who claim the selfie was “a great surprise”. Awkward, when Wall Street Journal claims Samsung paid to have their product integrated into the show. Elsewhere, internet users were quick to pick up on the fact that while Ellen’s on-stage selfies carried a ‘Twitter for Android’ tag, while her regular backstage tweets were ‘Twitter for iPhone’.


But does anyone truly care either way? Polished images of the ceremony and its stars were beamed to televisions and computers worldwide instantly, but only selfies could provide that insider viewpoint onlookers were clamouring for: a peek through the back window, paid for or not.

Smartphones have created the illusion of direct contact between celebrity and fan – opening up a seductive new space that sits between the glossy distance of television and the complexity of ‘real world’ interaction. “The relationship [between celebrities and fans] is based on an illusion of intimacy,” writes Richard Schickel in Intimate Strangers: The Culture of Celebrity. “It’s the creation of an ever-tightening, ever more finely spun media mesh.” 

Even Ellen, a Twitter giant whose easy authenticity is her stock in trade, plays around in the murky waters of mediated ‘reality’ to keep her fans feeling close. Take the cluster of backstage tweets she posted using ‘Adobe Social’. The most likely reason? Her assistants were storing them up in advance and scheduling them to go live at just the right time.

Facebook Statistics

15 Facebook stats courtesy of Experian

  1. Facebook.com received 9% of all US Internet visits in April 2012.
  2. Facebook.com received more than 1.6 billion visits a week and averaged more than 229 million US visits a day for the year-to-date.
  3. 1 in every 5 page views in the US occurred on Facebook.com.
  4. Facebook.com has received more than 400 billion page views this year in the US.
  5. The average visit time on Facebook.com is 20 minutes.
  6. The Facebook.com audience skews more female (56%) than male.
  7. Facebook.com became the #1 ranked website in the US on March 9, 2010.
  8. The term ‘Facebook’ is the most searched term in the US and has been for the past three years, starting the week ending July 18, 2009.
  9. Facebook-related terms account for 6% of the top searched terms in the US and Facebook-related terms made up 4 of the top 10 US searches (among the top 100 search terms for the 4 weeks ending May 12, 2012).
  10. Facebook.com users are highly loyal to the website; 96% of visitors to Facebook.com were returning (defined as visited within past 30 days) visitors in April 2012.
  11. 10 states account for 52% of visits to Facebook.com – California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina based on year-to-date average.
  12. The top states where users are more likely to visit Facebook.com versus the online population are: West Virginia, Kentucky, Maine, Vermont, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Alabama based on year-to-date average.
  13. The New York City DMA provides the largest volume of traffic to Facebook.com and the Charleston, WV DMA is the area where users are most likely to visit compared to the online population.
  14. Facebook.com is the top social networking site in the US, Canada, UK, Brazil, France, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore markets.
  15. Facebook.com is the top overall site in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Facebook.com ranks 2nd in the UK, Brazil, France and Australia.
Canvas8’s next event on 20th June will welcome Andrew Keen, author of the social media exposé Digital Vertigo, who will discuss the future of social engagement for brands.
Andrew will address the consequences of our connected world and provide a compelling counter-argument to grandiose social media claims. His unique interrogation is a cautionary tale for brands, forcing them to reconsider the legitimacy - and even necessity - of their social media campaigns.
Sir Martin Sorrell described Digital Vertigo “as one of the few books on the subject that, twenty years from now, will be seen to have got it right.”
Tickets are strictly limited and are available here.

Canvas8’s next event on 20th June will welcome Andrew Keen, author of the social media exposé Digital Vertigo, who will discuss the future of social engagement for brands.

Andrew will address the consequences of our connected world and provide a compelling counter-argument to grandiose social media claims. His unique interrogation is a cautionary tale for brands, forcing them to reconsider the legitimacy - and even necessity - of their social media campaigns.

Sir Martin Sorrell described Digital Vertigo “as one of the few books on the subject that, twenty years from now, will be seen to have got it right.”

Tickets are strictly limited and are available here.

If you’re a charity, don’t ask for money on social media.

The Klout backlash

This article on wired.com describes the growing frustrations with Klout, the online influence-measuring and rewards platform. In a world where Justin Bieber is perceived to be more influential than Barack Obama, and where your Klout score can determine your success in the job market, it is little wonder that people are beginning to appreciate the pitfalls of gaming social media in order to gain greater influence and respect. As the article’s author Seth Stevenson points out:

[On social media] the un-Kloutiest’s thoughts, jokes, and bubbles of honest emotion felt rawer, more authentic, and blissfully oblivious to the herd. Like unloved TV shows, these people had low Nielsen ratings—no brand would ever bother to advertise on their channels. And yet, these were the people I paid the most attention to. They were unique and genuine. That may not matter to marketers, and it may not win them much Klout. But it makes them a lot more interesting.

What Your Klout Score Really Means

We are all media. We’ve been saying it for a while, but every once in a while, a great set of pictures come along and say it for you, elegantly, and simply.







To learn more about influence, Klout, people as media and all that jazz, Canvas8 members can click here (oh, and you don’t need a high Klout score)

Social media, free speech and hate crime

This thought-provoking article on vice.com discusses the issues surrounding two recent cases of social media being used as a forum for expressing offensive and hateful opinions:

"…obviously people act differently on social media to how they do in real life. When you hold court in the pub with friends, it is still essentially a private act. You can perform in the same way and fulfil the same need to share ideas or thoughts on social media, but to several hundred people and potentially the world."

Whatever your opinions on the individual cases discussed, it is clear that there is a need for legislation to keep pace with the rapidly evolving ways in which social media is used and interpreted. And as the article points out, there is a huge contextual difference between traditional publishing and forums such as Twitter and Facebook.

As our relationship with the media changes and individuals become empowered to broadcast their opinions - however misguided - to the rest of the world, the debate around freedom of speech, censorship and fundamental human decency looks set to dominate social media discourse in the near future. And it will be a fascinating debate to follow.