Blogging in the Middle East: How Hazardous is it?

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Over the past several months is seems we have been hit with several horror stories coming out of the Middle East related to blogging. As more of the region has gained access to the internet, this has led to an influx of new people using this capability to express their opinions online in the form of a blog. Unfortunately, this has also led to more publicity for these people, and introduces them to people who disagree with their opinion. This has resulted in violent acts against these bloggers, sometimes even death. With the major news outlets picking up these stories, it can come across as the Middle East being very dangerous for bloggers. So we are here to try and answer the question, just how hazardous is it?

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The Politics Of Elections 2012: Who’s Dominating Social Media? [Infographic]

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Social media VotingFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, there are literally hundreds of platforms that Republican and Democrat candidates can utilize for the 2012 election cycle. While President Obama dominated the social media spectrum in 2008 this years elections have demonstrated a more acute understanding and implementation on both sides of the political spectrum.

The team at Viralheat put together in infographic that showcases not only the number of people supporting each political party but also candidate information.

As the infographic shows there is a new virtual tie when it comes to “Share of voice” on social networks” while the type of networks being utilized differ with President Obama dominating Facebook and Pinterest while Mitt Romney holds his own on Twitter. [Read more…]

Politicians Paying Bloggers For Positive Press?

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After the pay per post and pay per tweet fiasco’s that previously upset the blogosphere (mainly due to the lack of disclosure), it looks like blog readers may have to deal with a new scandal, one that could damage the reputation of conservative political bloggers.

“It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.” […]

One pro-Poizner blogger, Aaron Park, was discovered to be a paid consultant to the Poizner campaign while writing for Red County, a conservative blog about California politics. Red County founder Chip Hanlon threw Park off the site upon discovering his affiliation, which had not been disclosed. (Daily Caller) [Read more…]

Good News: Political Blogs May Be Regulated By The FEC

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It look like American bloggers could face a new threat that may make people think twice before criticizing their political leaders online.

Apparently the US government thinks bloggers are becoming a public hazard, and like a few other industries (i.e. airplanes, banks and nuclear power plants) need to be regulated by the government (in this case the Federal Election Commission).

The Obama administration has announced plans to regulate the Internet through the Federal Communications Commission, extending its authority over broadband providers to police web traffic, enforcing “net neutrality.”

Last week, a congressional hearing exposed an effort to give another agency—the Federal Election Commission—unprecedented power to regulate political speech online. At a House Administration Committee hearing last Tuesday, Patton Boggs attorney William McGinley explained that the sloppy statutory language in the “DISCLOSE Act” would extend the FEC’s control over broadcast communications to all “covered communications,” including the blogosphere. (Reason.com)

This law would probably extend to Twitter as well, not to mention Facebook too (the latter who is embroiled in another censorship case via Pakistan). [Read more…]

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…]

Note to Trafigura/Carter Ruck: you can’t suppress Twitter

No matter how hard a bunch of fat cat solicitors representing a globally polluting oil company try to suppress traditional reporting of what happens in British parliament, they have no control over Twitter and the blogosphere.

And that’s exactly how it should be.

The Guardian may have been placed in a farcical position where not only could it not report on a certain question due to be asked in Parliament this week because of an injunction, but it couldn’t even report what the injunction was:

Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian is prevented from identifying the MP who has asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question is to be found.

The Guardian is also forbidden from telling its readers why the paper is prevented – for the first time in memory – from reporting parliament. Legal obstacles, which cannot be identified, involve proceedings, which cannot be mentioned, on behalf of a client who must remain secret.

The only fact the Guardian can report is that the case involves the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, who specialise in suing the media for clients, who include individuals or global corporations.

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Tory mayor sends Labour blogger abusive email

The Conservative mayor of Barnet Council in London sent an abusive reply to a Labour party-supporting blogger who included him in an email criticising the council’s leadership.

Brian Coleman responded by calling blogger Roger Tichborne “an obsessive, poisonous individual”.

“You are an obsessive, poisonous individual and Labour Party member whose blog is full of lies, half-truths and misinformation.

“Do not email me agin.”

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Schwarzenegger Uses Twitter to Communicate with CA Citizens

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twitter-logo.jpgIn an exclusive interview with Mashable, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he loves Twitter as a mean of communication with the Californian citizen.

Q. How actively will you be monitoring the Twitter ideas shared through MyIdea4CA?

I have always been active in looking at ideas sent to me from my Twitter followers, so the MyIdea4CA website will be an even easier way to stay on top of this process.

He announced the launch of MyIdea4CA, a twitter aggregator following the hashtag #myidea4ca. The Governor will use the MyIdea4CA platform, or forum as he calls it, as a way to monitor what the citizens propose and hope to improve. Several ‘subforums’ are implemented via the use of multiple hashtags and can be followed on site, fe. Jobs and Economy. Ideas can be voted up or down by anyone and there is a negative threshold, hiding down voted ideas. [Read more…]

British government issues Twitter guidelines for its departments

TwitterFive months ago the UK government advertised for a director of digital engagement, and while that position is yet to be filled it’s clear that a lot of politicians are already using Twitter. Perhaps that’s why the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has drawn up a set of advisory guidelines on how to use (and importantly, avoid misusing) the microblogging service.

Neil Williams, head of corporate digital channels at BIS, has blogged, “Micro-blogging [has] a low barrier to entry [and is a] low-risk and low-resource channel relative to other corporate communications overheads like a blog or printed newsletter… I was surprised by just how much there is to say and quite how worth saying it is, especially now the platform is more mature and less forgiving of mistakes.” [Read more…]