PersianKiwi and the dangers of using Twitter in Iran

No one knows if “Persian Kiwi” or PK has any connections to New Zealand, however, it has definitely captured the attention of some media in New Zealand.

What it doe though is highlight how Twitter has become a key issue in Iran.

With the Iranian Government stopping the access to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, users have been determined to find ways of accessing these sites via proxies around the world.

Now it looks possibly like those who have succeeded in making it past the censorship gates are now being hunted by the government.

It shows how as time moves on and things progress, the same things happen in more modern ways.

I love this song by the Propellerheads (with the amazing Shirley Bassey) call History Repeating, where the key phrase is:

I’ve seen it before….and i’ll see it again

For Twitter, read Pirate Radio, read Rock n Roll.

The message will get out, Twitter is just the current medium.

One key difference is the access and the huge ability to disseminate information widely around the world.

Access because you can post to Twitter via your mobile phone or anywhere with internet access (providing you can circumvent the blocks)

And the ability to disseminate the information via the internet is so huge these days, and the inherent nature of the social networking sites makes this even easier for viral explosions of news and current affairs

Attack on Rugby Player Made Up

I posted earlier about a French Rugby player who was attacked on his way back to the teams hotel after playing the All Blacks in Wellington.

After pressure from the NZ Police based on their investigation he has admitted to making up the story to cover up his being drunk and falling over a table.

The award for stating the obvious must go for this

“I panicked and I dug myself deeper into a hole.”

Now the reputation clean up begins

Police Hoping for Internet Video Footage to Catch Assailants

Mathieu Bastareaud was attacked on the weekend after his tram has lost to the All Blacks on Saturday night. After leaving a venue to return to the team hotel he was attacked and suffered a suspected broken eye socket and needed four stitches to his face.

What makes this interesting, is that since there appear to be no witnesses and Bastareaud was unsighted, the police have said they are looking for footage posted on to the internet by the attackers.

Wellington area commander Inspector Pete Cowan said it was possible one of the attackers may have recorded the incident on a cellphone and police were monitoring the internet in case any footage surfaced.

Now, there have been plenty of people caught in the past from video footage of fights (in schools and other places), but have the Police now made it less likely the attackers will post the video knowing the Police are looking.

The lure of the infamy may be enough for these people to post the video, or they may not read or listen to the new, but it does seem strange.

Maybe they should monitor Twitter for mentions of it too.

What’s Hiding Behind That Shortened URL

TinyURL.com, bit.ly and the new su.pr from Stumbleupon are all tools you can use for shortening URL’s, especially useful for Twitter and other micro blogging sites due to their limitation on each message.

However, I had never thought of the possible implications of shortened URL’s, primarily the ability to hide any references to bad sites hosting malware, phishing scams etc.

I found this in my server logs when someone used longURL.org to expand one of my shortened URL’s for a recent post, most likely found on my Twitter account or Digg as these are common places to find shortened URL’s.

It really made me think about how blindly we click on shortened URL’s expecting them to go to where the description says they will.

Have you had any bad experiences with shortened URL’s taking you places you hadnt expect? Is this a huge problem waiting to happen?

Real Time Search with Collecta

With the launch of Bing and some of the responses by Google, Collecta is a new small player, that could actually be a forerunner for Real Time Search.

Using Google, Yahoo or Bing, finding social content has been difficult. Twitter, Facebook and other social sites have not been well indexed.

People often use Twitter for their real-time search, but it only searches Twitter, Collecta seems to get its data from many sources including :

  • Blog posts
  • Comments of Blog posts
  • Updates from Twitter, Jaiku, Identica
  • Photos from Flickr

Doing a search for “deepweb” (I had to do some market intelligence ) http://www.collecta.com/#q=deepweb gives up my most recent Twitter updates, which are also some of my latest blog posts, via Twitterfeed, plus an item from Reddit

The major search engines havent really tapped into this area of search yet, it will be interesting to see if Collecta can make some decent inroads before the big boys catch up.

It looks to be a great to for market intelligence so you can see where you, as well as your competitors show up in the social networks.

I have heard of some downtime and teething issues with Collecta, however in my few searches, it has worked fine for me.

Key Ranking Factors from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz

I love the video section at Webpronews, they have plenty of interviews as they travel the conferences including PubCon and the most recent being SMX Advanced in Seattle.

This video is one of the better ones as Rand Fishken covers off some really key findings from data collated on factors in ranking high in the search engines.

Some of the key points I thought were:

  • Optimised Title Tags are very important (can’t emphasise this enough)
  • H1 Tags (Generally the main heading) are not as important as expected
  • Onsite optimisation (Content, keywords, alt tags, description and title) only seems to make up around 25% of the ranking factors, the rest are inbound link related 
  • Links from separate domains are important, rather than many on one domain

Have a look at the video, it is a good insight from one of the acknowledged experts in the field.

The age of the Attention Seeker

All bow down to the internet, that which allows us all to publicise ourselves to the world.

I blogged a while ago about the guy made famous for the phrase “Don’t Tase Me Bro” when he heckled a political address, which appeared to be a choreographed attempt for attention.

The power of the internet now provides the platform for anyone to have their say and be heard. Even Ashton Kutcher is talking about social media democratising the internet.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog. You may have read about the blogger who wrote about a fictitious pregnancy and who chose to carry her terminally ill child to term rather than have an abortion because of her deep Christian faith.

This is another example of the behaviour that the internet can drive. The lady in question, Rebeccah Beushausen, has apologised for her actions:

In her apology, Beushausen said she began writing the story as therapy but became addicted to the attention it generated. She said she lied “to a community of people whose only intention was to support me through this time and that is wrong, and for that I am sorrier than you could know.”

It is the addiction to the attention that fascinates me. I know when I have a blog post that generates plenty on visitors and comments, I get a bit of a thrill knowing that people think I have something interesting to say. (I hope that is why they read it 😉

Addictions can be powerful things and the internet is an ideal vehicle for addictions to be fed. Online gambling is hugely popular (a post I did on online poker is my most popular!), and adult content is easily accessible to those who want it.

We just need to be able to tell the difference, this hoax went on for two months before being found out. While not overly damaging, it was interesting to see some of the comments about any repercusssions:

Police Sgt. Randal Stumpf said his department was not investigating.

Don Blumenthal, an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University who specializes in Internet security and cybercrime, said it’s difficult to prosecute such cases.

It’s hard to establish jurisdiction and even that a crime has occurred, and few people have the legal skills to prosecute such cases, said Blumenthal, who previously led the internet investigations center at the Federal Trade Commission.

“It’s an area of law that needs a lot of development,” Blumenthal said.

All hail the attention seekers!

The Twitpocalypse – Oh dear

Will it rival Year 2000? Will it make the world grind to a halt?

Of course not it’s only Twitter, but for some it is the end of the world as we know it if Twitter goes off-line.

Just like those people who need therapy every time their Blackberry stops working, Twitter is an addiction for some and the news that Twitter may have a capacity problem shortly, has people all a twitter (and adding to the potential problem by twittering about the subject, duh)

I haven’t gotten o the point where Twitter is a big deal to me personally or that I am ultra reliant on it for business, however, there are businesses that are reporting more and more successes from using Twitter to market themselves, these are the people that need to be the most concerned.

To me, it will be, well…. meh

Now if my internet access failed, now that would be the end of the world!

Claiming David Bain is guilty online could get you sued

Reading Stuff today, I came across an article that talks about how posting comments claiming that a person is guilty of murder (in this case David Bain) can get the poster in trouble.

I know that there are some really blurry lines when it comes to what you can and can’t do online. Most people will be unaware of the risks they may be taking by (in some cases) commenting or speculating about legal matters.

For the record, David Bain was found not guilty of murdering his family 13 years ago in a retrial.

There are Facebook groups you can join called “David Bain is Guilty”

Legal opinion in the article says that these people are open to defamation cases if Bain decided to take action. Whether he would bother after 13 years of fighting the original conviction is up for debate, but it hilights a real issue in the openness of the internet and the ability to discuss and provide opinion on current events.

One key commnet was this:

People could also be sued if they wrote on their personal Facebook page that Mr Bain was guilty.

“(Also)
if they put it up on somebody else’s site, then if David Bain wanted to
sue he could sue either the person who posted it or the person who is
hosting the site, or potentially the web server (ISP) itself,”

The culpabilty goes far and wide, not only the poster, but the site owner, host and ISP.

I don’t expect this to cause people to stop commenting or tweeting about current events, but it does show that the laws have not caught up to what is happening online.

In a separate case showing some judges are getting a better grip on it, name supression was denied due to the inevitability that the names would be found and published.

Is this a good thing? Name suppression is there for a very good reason. How well the legal system adapts to the online age and particularly social networking will be interesting to view.