Second Orwell blogging award to be judged by “Night Jack”

The second annual Orwell Prize for political writing to include a blogging category will include on its judging panel the surprise winner of last year’s prize, Night Jack, aka Detective Constable Richard Horton.

You may remember that the anonymous police blogger was outed by The Times newspaper and subsequently got into trouble with his superior officers.

Both he and former Labour MP Oona King will judge the political blog shortlist. [Read more…]

LinkShare affiliate network launches #tweetshop Twitter tool

Here goes with another company looking to help Twitter users (and itself) make money from the service.

Affiliate network LinkShare has introduced its #tweetshop service (yes, the service name is a hashtag) which allows users to easily link to affiliate products from a central interface rather than having to visit individual merchants, find and shorten URLs and then manually create the tweet.

LinkShare is keen to point out some “best practice” tips so that the service isn’t abused — you can bet it will be though: [Read more…]

Entrepreneur seeking love, creates infomercial

If you’re looking to find love online, perhaps you could take a leaf out of Tim Goggin’s book.

32-year-old San Diego resident Tim is an online entrepreneur who, frustrated with not being able to find true love in more traditional ways, created his own infomercial and web site to help him find the perfect woman. hopes to attract potential dates by showcasing his talents and interviewing his friends on the video, as well as offering a free meal date to successful applicants. [Read more…]

Social network contact management a pain, survey finds

A recent survey of European consumers has found that current social networks aren’t living up to expectations, either being too complicated to use or lacking features such as synchronisation.

3,000 consumers were questioned, with key findings:

  • 75% said that updating their contacts across social networks was frustrating
  • 82% wanted a solution to synchronise separate address books
  • 78% wanted a simple, easy-to-use solution
  • Most people wanted automatic updates from the friends on social networks, as well as being able to control over what updates they receive.

[Read more…]

Twitter needs a conscience for child protection, says social media moderation company

Branding Twitter a breeding ground for pedophiles may seem a bit strong, but it is true that unmoderated and un-policed services are a higher risk if children and parents don’t implement good Internet safety.

That being said, social media moderator company Chat Moderators’ director Rob Marcus has called for Twitter to take its social responsibility seriously.

“Sexual predation problems will always be worse on unmoderated sites that are attractive to children so it was only a matter of time before these serious reports began surfacing around Twitter,” he said.

“For an organisation with over four million users in the UK alone to operate without due regard to child safety concerns, and indeed to distance itself from them by asking to be viewed as a ‘content provider’ and not a ‘mediator’ is morally suspect.” [Read more…]

Gizmodo duped by scammers, publishes malware-laced ads


gizmodo-we-had-malwareWhen it comes to being scammed, even the big guys can be taken in from time to time.

Gizmodo, Gawker Media’s hugely popular technology/gadget blog, has had to apologise to its readers for allowing ads containing malware to be published on its site during the past week.

Their ad sales team was duped by an elaborate scam that would have infected some users with software that may have caused random passwords and possibly initiated phishing attacks. [Read more…]

At work Twitter usage costing UK businesses £1.4bn a year

Hands up if you use Twitter at work?

Thought so.

If you’re in the UK (and presuming you don’t own your own business) you’re part of a statistic that’s allegedly costing British companies £1.4bn ($2.3bn) each year.

The rising popularity of Twitter, probably fuelled by celebrities and TV magazine shows, means that on average 40 minutes each week by each British office worker.

The 1,460-strong survey by IT services group Morse drew the conclusion that Twitter was causing a “productivity strain” on business. [Read more…]

When Algorithms Go Bad: Facebook Recommends Exes and Deceased

FacebookI’ve already written today about Facebook’s new feature that shows you which of your friends might need a helping hand to gain more contacts or keep their profiles updated with photos or content, but apparently there are more disconcerting recommendations going on.

Think of it as the social network equivalent of receiving mail in the post for someone who has died (the exact reason for the problem is a bit different, but the distress is comparable).

The fact is, the algorithms that are supposed to help Facebook provide useful recommendations can only look at previous and current links between people, with no understanding of context.

That’s why Facebook has recommended that some users reconnect with ex-partners, or even with people who have died (presumably the deceased simply have dormant accounts on Facebook now).

Emotionally unsettling to say the least. [Read more…]

Bing and Google start to index public Twitter feed

We’ve already reported that Microsoft’s Bing search engine had started indexing prominent Twitter users’ tweets, but now Twitter has announced official support for indexing of tweet content by both Microsoft and Google.

Microsoft has announced that it now has access to the entire public Twitter feed and have launched a beta of Bing Twitter search (US only at present). [Read more…]

Is Lily Allen giving up blogging?

British pop star Lily Allen may be planning to quit most of her online activities, including her MySpace blog, Twitter, and email, according to the New Musical Express (NME) magazine.

She may even have given away her laptop and BlackBerry after new boyfriend Sam Cooper expressed his anger about her “social networking obsession”, offering her an ultimatum — him or t’Internet. [Read more…]