Japanese authorities will soon trial a new warning system that would allow imperiled members of the public to contact the emergency services by sending messages on social networking sites like Twitter.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said it will test the system this summer, Kyodo reported via The Register.
The system, which will be based on a major disaster, will tap into the Internet, which is more accessible than telephone lines in times of disaster, and help in mobilizing prompter assistance, the officials said.
Lady Gaga has almost 30 million, Wayne Rooney nearly five million and David Cameron a more-than-respectable two million plus. But how many of their Twitter followers actually exist? The Guardian reports.
... British start-up company Status People has pledged to root out and expose the phantom, fake and fraudulent followers being used to massage the numbers claimed by celebrities, politicians and the merely insecure within the Twittersphere.
Almost every Twitter account has a small percentage of fake followers because, unlike Facebook, anyone can follow you – from a genuine friend to a computer-generated account set up to promote pornography. That freedom has created a market for the sale of Twitter followers. Scores of internet sites offer thousands of Twitter followers for small sums of money. According to the New York Times, it would be possible to buy 220,000 followers for £260.
The sites work in two ways. One kind of software identifies Twitter accounts that include keywords such as football, and "follows" these accounts in the hope they will reciprocate. Other programmes create artificial accounts and sell them by the thousand. On the Fiverr website, 2,000 followers can be bought for $5.
The International Olympic Committee and Twitter have worked closely in recent weeks to promote the microblog service as a means to engage with athletes, competitions and London 2012. But mobile social media users are proving so voluminous at some Olympic venues that they are now interfering with mobile networks on which the games themselves depend, the IOC says.
France's efforts to prevent premature leaks of its first-round presidential election results set the world of Twitter alight with jibes, jokes and cryptic messages recalling coded second world war radio transmissions. "Netherlands-Hungary qualify for return leg," said one tweet playing on the name of the Socialist challenger François Hollande and the origin of Nicolas Sarkozy's father. The Guardian reports.
Some tweets even referred to the coded messages broadcast by the Free French Force over Radio London to resistance fighters in France during the last war.
Twitter users had a field day concocting new names for candidates, imaginary news headlines of outcomes and officially unverifiable reports of partial results from remote overseas territories where voting took place on Saturday.
"According to observers returning from Syria, Russian tanks left at dawn, due to arrive in Paris at 20h," read one entry, alluding to a possible leftwing victory and closing time at polling stations.
On Tuesday American Express unveiled a new program with Twitter to let cardmembers sync accounts with the social network, and earn savings from big brands such as Whole Foods, Best Buy, and Zappos--just by retweeting certain hashtags. Fastcompany reports.
With the partnership, AmEx helps fortify its role as the credit card for the social media generation--and, apparently, following through on the whole Social Currency idea beyond offering membership points rewards.
... The process of syncing your AmEx account to your Twitter account is a quick, one-time process. Once linked, U.S. cardholders have the opportunity to earn rewards by tweeting special offers from hashtags. "Tweet #AmExWholeFoods, get $20 back 1x on next $75 in-store purchase," Whole Foods might tweet. Once the consumer tweets the #AmExWholeFoods hashtag, the offer is automatically loaded into that member's account, ready to be redeemed effortlessly the next time he or she shops at Whole Foods.
An Arkansas jury found Erickson Dimas-Martinez guilty of murder in March 2010. This past December, the conviction was thrown out. The reason: A juror had been tweeting during the trial. The Wall Street Journal reports.
This case and others across the country show how the use of social media is disrupting the jury trial. While juror misbehavior is nothing new, social media have made it extremely easy—and tempting—to break the rules, and lawyers are increasingly using that as a reason for appeals, legal experts say.
While most judges frown upon jurors' using their smartphones while sitting in the jury box, jurors typically have full access to social media outside the courtroom. The challenge for courts, legal experts say, is enforcing social-media bans during trials—which can last for weeks—at a time when authorities can't even stop some people from risking their lives by sending text messages while driving.
There are many times when it is inappropriate to tweet. At dinner, for one. In the middle of a movie. And, in most cases, open heart surgery. TIME Techland reports.
Dr. Paresh Patel, however, had a good reason to tweet during a 57-year-old patient’s double-coronary artery bypass — to create awareness for Heart Month, an initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes in the United States.
Dr. Michael Macris, medical director of cardiovascular surgery at Memorial Hermann Northwest in Houston, performed the surgery while Patel performed the important duties of tweeting, taking photos and answering live questions from some of @houstonhospital‘s 4,910 followers, according to Texas Monthly.
The hospital then put together a Storify of the whole affair, which is both informative and very, very graphic.
When the administrative chief of this western Kenyan village received an urgent 4 a.m. call that thieves were invading a school teacher's home, he sent a message on Twitter. Within minutes, residents in this village of stone houses gathered outside the home, and the thugs fled. [via The Globe and Mail via @jranck.]
My wife and I were terrified,” said teacher Michael Kimotho. “But the alarm raised by the chief helped.”
The tweet from Francis Kariuki was only his latest attempt to improve village life by using the micro-blogging site Twitter. Mr. Kariuki regularly sends out tweets about missing children and farm animals, showing that the power of social media has reached even into a dusty African village. Lanet Umoja is 160 kilometres west of the capital, Nairobi.
Mr. Kariuki's official Twitter page shows 300 followers, but the former teacher estimated that thousands of the 28,000 residents in his area receive the messages he sends out directly and indirectly. He said many of his constituents, mostly subsistence farmers, cannot afford to buy smartphones, but can access tweets through a third-party mobile phone application. Others forward the tweets via text message.
"Good day to you all, I'm very happy today to launch my Twitter account. Thank you to all of those who would like to follow me," he said, in his first message, under the official Twitter handle @NicolasSarkozy
Saudi Arabian blogger Hamza Kashgari tweeted last week about an imaginary conversation with the Prophet Mohammad, writing he "loved the rebel in you" and that he "loved some aspects of you, hated others." CNet reports.
According to Reuters, the reaction on the Internet was swift and vitriolic.
First, there was a flurry of angry comments on Twitter - estimated at more than 30,000 in 24 hours. A Facebook page, "Saudi people want punishment for Hamza Kashgari," has quickly grown to more than 20,000 members.
...Kashgari has since apologized extensively for his tweets, and if he is repentant in court he could avoid the death penalty.
According to Channel 6 News, Twitter on Friday announced it has partnered with two satellite providers to make its messaging service available on satellite phones for the first time.
The new service via Iridium and Thuraya will allow people to share news and stay informed via Twitter even when they are in a war zone or an area affected by a natural disaster. It may also offer an alternative in countries such as China where governments block access to Twitter.
The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom announced this week that it would accept freedom of information (FOI) requests (used by the public and media to ask for access to government documents) via Twitter after launching its own account. The social network could possibly become a new tool for legal and government institutions who choose to join.
According to The Telegraph, people’s biggest pet peeves are too many hashtags, updates on day-to-day routines and negative tweets. The most hated tweet of all is the “conversation tweet,” in which two people have a private conversation (publicly) that everyone else could care less about.
Also not popular: Foursquare check-in tweets, because the only people who care where you just had breakfast are already following you on Foursquare.
The study was conducted with 1,500 Twitter users, who analyzed 43,738 tweets from 21,000 accounts. Some good news for Ashton Kutcher: Twitter users really like self-promotional messages from celebrities.
The weirdest thing about the rumor that Kim Kardashian gets paid $10,000 for a Twitter endorsement is that it’s true. New York Magazine reports.
The pay rate for endorsing companies like Old Navy, Toyota, Best Buy, and American Airlines is determined by the size of a celeb’s following and how that group responds to his tweets with shares and retweets.
On that sliding scale, Snoop Dogg (6.3 million followers) is in the top tier of payments, on the upside of $8,000 apiece, while Paula Abdul (2.2 million followers) falls somewhere in the middle, in the $5,000-each range, and Whitney Port (800,000 followers) falls in the bottom tier, making around $2,500 per tweet.
According to Twitter blog, President Obama’s State of the Union address saw the microblogging service record more than three quarters of a million tweets relating to the speech. TNW reports.
According to Twitter, 766,681 tweets specifically mentioned “State of the Union” or its hashtag #SOTU while Obama took the stage. Other statistics revealed show that education, energy and jobs were the most discussed topics from the address, while 548 members of Congress joined in the conversation on Twitter.
The film is romantic comedy that looks at how young people use Twitter and social media in general. We should point out that this isn’t a look at its founding story — as The Social Network loosely was for Facebook.
The film is slated for release date on February 16, just after Valentine’s Day, and it will be in Bahasa Indonesia and not English, as is almost all of the promotional materials.
After some discussion here on Forbes about the validity of “influence” in social media, news that Twitter has a significant impact on scientific citations is something of a surprise. But could it be?
That debate has been ongoing in the science community through January. The possibility hit a wider public when Alexis Madrigal raised it in The Atlantic a couple of days ago.
The bottom line is simple: articles that many people tweeted about were 11 times more likely to be highly cited than those who few people tweeted about. Its implications are even more interesting. It generally takes months and years for papers to be cited by other scientific publications. Thus, on the day an article comes out, it would seem to be difficult to tell whether it will have a real impact on a given field. However, because the majority of tweets about journal articles occur within the first two days of publication, we now have an early signal about which research is likely to be significant.
The relationship is not even marginal. 11x more likely is a huge influence. The research appeared in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, and was conducted by its editor Gunther Eysenbach.
Last night, Birgitta Jónsdóttir — a former WikiLeaks volunteer and current member of the Icelandic Parliament — announced on Twitter that she had been notified by Twitter that the DOJ had served a Subpoena demanding information “about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009.” Salon reports.
What hasn’t been reported is that the Subpoena served on Twitter — which is actually an Order from a federal court that the DOJ requested — seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, and Julian Assange. It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks’ Twitter account.
The information demanded by the DOJ is sweeping in scope. It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the ”means and source of payment,” including banking records and credit cards. It seeks all of that information for the period beginning November 1, 2009, through the present. A copy of the Order served on Twitter, obtained exclusively by Salon, is here.
Starting this week, the official spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State will answer questions from Twitter users as part of press briefings held on Friday afternoons in January. TIME Techland reports.
The month-long experiment is part of the State Department’s “21st Century Statecraft” month, and is only part of a program of events that will also include state officials hosting what are being called “digital engagements across multiple platforms” to promote the Department’s support of the internet, social media and digital platforms of various flavors.
Journalists no longer have to make an application to tweet, text or email from courts in England and Wales following guidance issued by the lord chief justice, Lord Judge. The Guardian reports.
Twitter as much as you wish," he said as he delivered the guidance which takes immediate effect and covers the use of electronic devices including phones and small handheld laptops for live text-based communications.
On Wall Street according to Gawker, hedge funds are increasingly turning to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube trends to place social media driven bets in the "tens of billions of dollars," according to a company that sells them data.
Social media aggregator Gnip tells the Wall Street Journal that a handful of unnamed "macro quantitative funds" are using its data, along with complex computer models, to make bets on which way markets are moving. Assuming they're real and not an invention of Gnip's marketing department, these social-network-driven hedge funds join Derwent Capital, which made its name earlier this year as "the Twitter hedge fund."
There is actually a credible if unproven mechanism for how this might work: Twitter delivers the first word of Osama bin Laden's death, a trader makes an early and/or after-hours long bet on the overall stock market, which promptly spikes. Or, a Twitter rumor drives Latvians to pull money out of Swedish banks (true story!), which a trader already shorted when the rumor started trending.