Twitter goes back in time

29 02 2012

Twitter has partnered with a UK company called Datasift to provide access to Twitter data dating back two years (previously companies could only search the past 30 days and regular Joes could only search the past 7 days). Datasift analyzes the data (content and tone of tweets, location, social influence of the user, etc.) and then sells access to their database to companies looking for another angle on market research.

Privacy advocates are concerned that this is yet another example of a company taking advantage of troves personal data – but, to be fair, Twitter has always been a public social network. If you had expectations of privacy when you joined Twitter, then you didn’t do your homework.

Read the synopsis from the BBC.


Twitter and Egypt

26 01 2011

Apparently, Twitter, the popular social messaging service, was shut down in Egypt yesterday by the government. While social media has played a role in other disputes between a government and its people (notably Iran), it is difficult to determine the extent that Twitter (or Facebook or YouTube) are actually employed to organize social protests – especially in more volatile political climates. Certainly these technologies cannot be ignored, but are they as significant as we tend to claim? Time will tell.

Read more from the threat level blog at Wired.

Where are you now?

22 02 2010

Last week the BBC had and interesting story about a website called PleaseRobMe. The site was designed to make a point about how dangerous it can be to share precise location information online. Using automatic Twitter updates that were generated from foursquare (a social location network), two Dutch programmers created the automated site. They stress that the site was not created as a tool for criminals, but to remind people about the importance of information privacy. Now the programmers are willing to offer the website to a professional foundation or agency willing to raise information about privacy related issues.

Read more on the story from the BBC.

Social Network Suicide

13 01 2010

Ever wonder what it would be like to go back to the days before social networking? Remember when you actually hung out with real friends face-to-face? Remember what communication was like when it wasn’t mediated by a computer screen?  If you feel like unfettering yourself, a company in the Netherlands has developed a tool to get you off the social grid. Just visit the Web 2.0 Suicide machine and get rid of your (online) friends!