February 25, 2009

This Is Your Brain on Social Networks

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A British neuroscientist at Oxford University, Susan Greenfield, is warning that social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and Twitter are damaging the brains of young people.

Among the damage being caused:

– Shortened attention spans
– A lack of empathy
– Need for validation from others

What does this all mean? In her expert opinion, the advancing popularity of social networking can impede the ability of younger generations to communicate effectively in person.

Talk about taking the social out of social networking!

In her words…

“I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf.”

Ms. Greenfield also warns of a link between the rise of Internet use and increasing levels of Autism and ADHD.

Does the growing popularity of social networking worry you? Are you concerned about the next generation and the way they will communicate?

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February 24, 2009

Cellphones.Org Announces Blogger Appreciation Contest

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blogger-awards

Cellphones.org has announced a call for nominations for its 2009 Blogger Appreciation Awards. Noting that most bloggers are probably feeling the worldwide economic crunch, the prizes at stake would surely be a big help, especially if it would cover for a year’s worth of mobile phone bills up to $1,000, free cell phones and discounts.

Do you actively blog? Do you use a cell phone like most people? How would you like to have Cell Phones .org pick up the tab on your cell phone bill for a whole year? We at Cell Phones .org want to make your life a little easier and show you our appreciation for hard work you do. Interested? Read on:

Nomination closes on the 28th of February, after which the winners will be selected through voting.

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Exploring Social Media: Twitter is Broken, Now What?

Within the last few hours, Robert Scoble announced that “Twitter is broken” on his @Scobelizer Twitter account.

@loic: Twitter is broken and we all know it. But we muddle along anyway. Bring us better tools so we can view groups we care about.
Scobleizer – Robert Scoble

scoble-twitter is broken

We’ve talked about a lot lately here on the , including Oscar ads on Twitter feeds, asking why Twitter is useful to you, explaining social media and Twitter to your parents, about a UK company offering Twitter business resources, how Norway is using Twitter to fight with Microsoft, Twitter pop celebrities, $35 Million to keep Twitter going, Twitter phishing scams, the BBC Mumbai Twitter Debacle, the US Presidential Election coverage on Twitter, and how Twitter is still a niche but moving into main stream.

Even with all this Twitter news and information coverage, at the heart of it, Scoble is right. Twitter is broken. Now what? read more

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10 Tips For Benefiting From Unexpected Traffic

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Sometimes we will write something and it will unexpectedly deliver you lots of traffic without you needing to do anything.This happens surprisingly often after your blog gets established with readers and search engines.

While this is nice in itself, many people just bask in the reflected glory and do nothing. But there are ways to properly benefit from this attention … read more

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DailyFill.com launches; Predicts to surpass PerezHilton.com next month

Filed as News with 2 comments

dailyfillSlingshot Labs announced the launch of DailyFill, an entertainment news site catering to a celebrity-obsessed population. Through what it dubs as healthy dose of wit and humor, DailyFill provides a quick and entertaining way to access the most up-to-date information on celebrity news, fashion, and pop-culture.

DailyFill also announced a variety of content partnerships with leading entertainment publishers like New York Post, Elle, US Weekly, Gossip Girls, and Splash News.

DailyFill said that since its beta launch in late November 2008, its traffic has shown exponential growth and will surpass other celebrity and entertainment sites including Perez Hilton next month. Bold prediction.

By the way, Slingshot Labs is a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Given their resources, they should be able to surpass everyone by next month or stop giving this kind of bold prediction.

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Glam sells advertising on moderated Twitter feed of Oscars

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Selling advertising alongside unmoderated user-generated content can be tricky because it’s near-impossible to guarantee the quality of that content.

On Twitter, anyone can use a particular hashtag even if their tweet has nothing to do with the subject.

However, the online publisher/advertising network Glam thinks it’s found a way to appease advertisers by guaranteeing a moderated feed of particular events via its “gWire” widget. read more

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TechCrunch Rumor Control Failure Brings Out the Torches

TechCrunch is feeling the heat from Erick Schonfeld’s story on Last.fm handing over data to the RIAA. Which got a pretty harsh denial, and to TechCrunch’s defense, they did update the post with more and more information. Most people are pissed, however, and rightly so. The story was false, and although it is presented as a rumor, it could be hurting Last.fm. As it were, I think TechCrunch is taking a bigger hit, in credibility, despite a surprising defensive post from Duncan Riley. See also Matthew Ingrams post on the topic, pretty sober as well. For more, check out Techmeme.

How much has this hurt TechCrunch, a blog with a lot of haters in the first place, and what could they have done differently? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

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February 23, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Proposals, Affiliates, Themes, and More

Happy Monday, folks! We’re going to start this week with something that’s probably a little too “under the hood” for most people, but indulge me for a moment. On the Movable Type wiki, developers are discussing a proposal to refactor the variable tags in MT. Sure, it’s not flashy stuff, but if you’re a developer interested in how improvements are made to open source projects, proposals like this are interesting to read.

Now, on to the plugins!

BlogShow — This Flash photo slideshow sports an impressive selection of features, including keyboard navigation and cross-platform support. Created by ITDR, the download available in the plugin directory is a trial version that can be used for up to five galleries.

Yandex OpenIDAndrey Serebryakov continues to make MT more useful to Russian bloggers. This time, he’s added support for logging in using a Yandex account, the largest Russian web portal.

Automatix LightBox — This plugin makes it easier than ever to add Lightbox functionality to your blog posts. Submitted by Mixel Adm, the instructions say just install, upload, and rebuild.

EchoCurrent Affiliate Product Optimizer — EchoCurrent is designed to show your readers affiliate products selected specifically for them. Created by Mike Ruggieri, this plugin will make it easy to put an “APO Zone” anywhere on your blog.

Photo Gallery — Last week, we discussed the changes Byrne Reese was making to his Photo Gallery plugin. Well now he’s got a release out. The old templates have been replaced by the new theme, and there’s even an upgrade script for people still using the 1.0 version of Photo Gallery.

Finally, the CMR Movable Type Styles Blog has a new template set: iNove. Based on a WordPress theme, this comes in both Classic Blog and Professional Blog versions.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

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The Year of Original Content: How to Fight Back Against Abusers

This blog has no brain - use your own - caution signI’ve declared this the Year of Original Content and I’m inviting you to help join the fight against those who abuse our content.

Scam, spam, splog, and scraper blogs are big business, taking in $3.2 billion dollars in 2007 just in the United States. Russia, China, Zimbabwe, and other countries are generating even more money with a variety of Internet scams. Many of these sites and blogs use our original content to generate that money, often from blogs that have no advertising nor direct income – making money from our hard work.

It’s time to fight back. It’s time to be proud that you are the unique voice in the wilderness. It’s time to honor your hard work and declare, “I decide who can and can’t take advantage of me!”

Here are some ways you can join the call to celebrate original content and fight back against those abusing our content without our permission. read more

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A Million Terms, A Million Contracts

The Facebook TOS debacle last week shined a rare light on the subject of rights we give away when we sign up to use site or service.

Though Facebook’s new TOS, which removed the clause that lets users end their license granted to Facebook by deleting their work, was both of poor judgment and very worrisome, it was likely much ado about. Not only was the TOS rescinded shortly after the controversy began, but even with the new TOS, Facebook’s rights were still limited by the user’s privacy settings.

What has gotten significantly less attention is the sheer number of TOS’ that most Web users sign just as part of being on the Web. In an age where almost every site is also a “service”, it seems we’re creating more accounts than ever and, with every sign up, signing away more and more of our rights.

Most of us have lost track of all the sites we have registered for, the agreements we have signed and few of us actually take the time to even skim the terms that we do accept. Our rights to our online lives are in millions of pieces, scattered across countless companies and sites.

Piecing them back together, if it became necessary, could be nearly impossible. Worse still, as many of these companies continue to expand and grow the rights they give themselves via their TOS,

It has come time to question our love affair for new services and the terms they force us to agree to and seek ways to streamline and simplify this very messy process. read more

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