Technology


fox-news-logoTrack Social has announced the winners of their 2012 Facebook awards, and the most commented brand in the world last year was none other than Fox News.  The cable news ratings champ averaged 7443.5 comments per day, which comes out to more than 2.7 million comments for the year.

Fox News was able to do this despite not being the most “liked” cable news channel on Facebook, that goes to CNN with over 4.3 million “likes”, compared to nearly 2.8 million on Fox News.  The liberal MSNBC is barely visible by comparison with just a little over 124,000 “likes” on Facebook, showing that social media isn’t important to the network at all.

First it was Diane Sawyer stating that the Occupy Wall Street protests had spread to more than 1,000 countries (the earth has 196 at last count), now someone at CNN decided that the Blackberry outage that hit the globe this week has stretched beyond our planet.

Looks like a couple of people need a geography lesson.

 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a bill that forces school districts to report any allegations of sexual abuse to state authorities within 24 hours but also in effect bans teachers and students from being connected via social networks.

This is what the bill says about social networks:

By January 1, 2012, every school district must develop a written policy concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communications. Each policy must include appropriate oral and nonverbal personal communication, which may be combined with sexual harassment policies, and appropriate use of electronic media as described in the act, including social networking sites. Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child’s legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian.

Missouri is the first state to truly address the tricky situation of exactly what type of relationships teachers and students should have in an age where social networks and texting rule the day for teens.

While Facebook may be convenient for both teachers and students school systems have many options available to them to foster communication which keeps things on a more professional level as they should be.   Now homework assignments and grades can be accessed online giving students instant access to the information they need.

If teachers want t communicate with students via Facebook then I suggest they do it through a school sponsored fan page.  This would be voluntary to join and all communications would be public protecting both parties.

In general I’m not in favor of using legislation to regulate when and where social networks can be used, but because of past abuses and the potential for future abuses I think schools need to set some ground rules and remind both teachers and students of the respective roles in the schools.  Social networks tend to blur those lines and not always for the better.

 

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Nearly 1,500 conservative activists gathered in Minneapolis yesterday to kick off the 4th annual RightOnline conference.

RightOnline which is billed as the anti-Netroots Nation conference has held its conference in the same city and the same time as the far left Netroots conference .  And this weekend it’s even at the same hotel that many of the Netrooters are staying at making for some interesting conversation in the elevators.

Yesterday attendees spent the morning learning how to be better online activists including beginners classes to the internet, blogging and Twitter as well as hearing from individuals and organizations who have been successful in using the internet to expose government corruption by using investigative journalism skills.

The opening general session included a parade of speakers from online activist Melissa Clouthier, @melissatweets, John Hinderaker of Powerline who announced the $100,000 Powerline Prize, Ann McElhinney who wowed the crowd with her crusade against CFL light bulbs and Conservatives in Name Only, Minnesota Rep. John Kline and concluding with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) who gave an impassioned plea to keep government out of regulating technology.

The afternoon was filled with more panels on activism  including a session on How to use the Freedom of Information Act Effectively and Internet Freedom.

The dinner was highlighted by the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund entertaining the audience with his story of growing up in California and insights to conservative icon Ronald Reagan.

After dinner the attendees were treated to the thoughts and musings of Andrew Breitbart who has doggedly pursued liberals by exposing their lies and hypocrisy on the internet and who helped bring down Rep. Anthony Weiner.

The evening ended with a screening of The Undefeated a new film by Steve Bannon about Sarah Palin and her amazing rise from an obscure mayor in Wasilla, Alaska to the GOP vice-presidential nominee in 2008 and now conservative heroine to many.

As Fund said earlier in the evening he noticed during his visit to Netroots Nation that everything they were doing focused on defense.  By contrast RightOnline is all about going on offense and not being complacent about the Republican victories  across the country in 2010 because the fight is far from over.

 

 

 

For reatively new Twitter users such as myself one of the most vexing questions has been to figure out what is the protocol for following someone who is following you.

In an excellent article on Mashable, Atherton Bartelby has posted the top reasons he won’t follow and I think they are right on target.

Here is a qucik review with my own thoughts;

  • No avatar-  How difficult is it to find a picture or graphic?  No avatar, no follow back.
  • No location, bio, website- How can anyone decide to follow back when they don’t know anything about you?
  • Website is MySpace- What serious Twitter user would be caught dead using MySpace as their website?
  • Following far more than you follow and no updates- This looks both predatory and stupid.  The whole point of having followers is to update them.
  • Profile refers to “internet expert”- I see way too many of these and based on their tweets they are lying for the most part.
  • Updates pushing products-  Very annoying.  We want a community not another bunch of hucksters.
  • Poorly constructed auto DM’s- I find the auto DM”s annoying, plus many of them run up my text charges and are very impersonable.
  • Updates harp on adding more followers- Guilty as charged.  Every once in awhile as I am about to hit another follower mark, 500, 600 etc… I tweet about it.  I realize that some feel that this is not a great way to use Twitter, but frankly it works.  Just don’t do it all the time.
  • Arguing- I’ll pass on this since I haven’t seen much evidence of this.
  • Not engaging followers- I have had some great “conversations’ on Twitter with my followers, but the more followers you have the harder it will be to engage a significant number.  Stay on topic and try not to bore people and you will be fine.
  • Updates Locked-  This one is mine.  If I can’t see what you tweet about I won’t follow.

As with anything in the social networking sphere there will be varying viewpoints, but overall I think Bartleby has done a great job of summarizing some of the biggest dilemmas Twitter users face.

Conservatives who use the microblogging site Twitter now have a new web site to not only get ranked but to find new followers.  Yet as with all new sites this one could use some tweaking to make it more useful.

The site which is called Top Conservatives on Twitter or TCOT for short had close to 500 twitters ranked as of early this morning and continues to expand at a rapid pace.

When I learned about this page I submitted my info and the next day was ranked 79th.  As the day progressed I dropped to 96th and then to 101st early this morning.

The reason for my drop wasn’t due to my lack of using the service but due to the fact that I wasn’t adding followers fast enough to keep up with the competition.

As I looked at the rankings I spotted a flaw in my mind with the follower based rankings.  I was ahead of Mary Katherine Ham who is far for influential than I am but isn’t particularly active on Twitter.

If you look at the other names ahead of me and Mary Katherine you will find people that you never heard of and whose circle of influence is quite small in the conservative arena.  Also it isn’t clear that everyone on the list is actually conservative and many of them rarely issue updates.  What good is that?

I suspect a large number of the ranked twitterer’s are just looking for more followers and love the idea that they get ranked for just adding followers no matter what their political leanings are.

There are also people on the list who no longer have accounts on twitter for some reason, yet there they will probably remain distorting the rankings.

I readily admit that my criticisms are motivated by the fact that my ranking is lower than what I think it should be.  But I don;t see why someone with 700 followers but 100 updates should be ranked ahead of me when I have over 1,900 updates just because I don’t have as many followers.

There probably isn’t a best method for these rankings, but I think in fairness to the active twitterer’s some consideration should be given to the updates so that it doesn’t just become a horse race for followers.  Of course that isn’t perfect either as people could just send a ton of one word or spam tweets just to get their update count up.

In any event if you aren’t using Twitter you should and if you are conservative sign up on the TCOT page and get ranked.  I’ll even follow you.

For those of you that blog on a regular basis attending a seminar on blogs and using video probably is of little use.  But for activists attending this weekend’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington D.C. these semeinars and others like it are essential to train the base so that they can fight the left that has so effectively used the web to promote their variuos causes.

This morning I attended a “Blogging 101” course given by Robert Bluey, the Director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.  Bluey who at the age of 29 is a veteran in the blogging world is extremely knowledgeable and showed the audience how to start a blog, post an entry, add a picture or YouTube video and answered a host of questions.   I even picked a up a few things during the session as he used blogivists as the place to start a blog.  It was the first time I had seen this blog site which runs on a WordPress platform so it is very easy to use but geared to free marketeers.  Also since I have only started using WordPress recently I hadn’t looked into posting pictures and video and now I know how.  So watch out!

The second session was on using video and was taught by Mary Katherine Ham who is also another young veteran blogger and has worked for many conservative organizations in D.C.  She is currently with the Weekly Standard and appears regularly to discuss web related news and events on the O’Reilly Factor.

Her topic was how to use video and it was another useful lesson especially coming directly after Bluey’s beginner blog presentation.  Ham showed some of her favorite videos and talked a little about what type of equipment she uses and the length of the perfect video, somewhere between 30 seconds to two minutes.  If you look at most YouTube videos they rarely run more than three minutes and are often much shorter.  For the video audience they have to be.  The attention span of a YouTube user is very short so you have to hook them right away otherwise they will move on.  Producing the video by adding music or other graphics can really add to the video but it also increases the time spent editing the footage.  It can take anywhere from one to three hours or even more to get the video just right.  And yet the quality of YouTube videos is quite low so unless you are planning to use the video somewhere else it probably isn’t worth spending hours on to create a two or three minute version.

So today was all about training and these sessions and more were sponsored by the Leadership Institute in Arlington< VA.  Other training sessions included a Samsphere hosted by the Sam Adams Alliance which tends to be very techy but good amd some other training by the Lucy Burns Institute.

Tonight their is a dinner tribute ro Ronald Reagan and tomorrow we will hear from all sorts of conservative luminaries as well as panel sessions concerning Energy, Taxes and New Media to mention a few.

For more information on the summit visit the  Americans For Prosperity web site or follow the conference on twitter at #afp08.