September 29, 2013 |
Nature-watching - an outsider's hobby, right? Geese crisscross the sky, eagles nest all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey, hawks and falcons are on their way, and elk whistle ghostly in Benezette. But birders, hunters, conservationists, and animal enthusiasts of all furs are also turning to Twitter, Facebook, blogs, apps, and a proliferation of "hawk cams" and "eagle cams" to get their beast on. Here, as in so many realms of human life, social media help people build communities around shared interests.
December 28, 2014 |
Joyce Carol Oates has a point. The eminent writer was on Twitter Wednesday, discussing the political demonstrations throughout the country this year. She tweeted: "Critics of 'social media' need to acknowledge how, for all its flaws, this is a revolutionary new consciousness. " That's no writerly exaggeration. In a tumultuous year, much of the tumult was relayed, focused, stoked, and distributed through media channels other than newspapers, radio, TV, or film. From Hong Kong to Ferguson, from Mexico City to Philadelphia, social media repeatedly were harnessed to inform, create groups that shared goals and values, express outrage, solidarity, and aspiration, and organize protests.
October 3, 2012 |
NEW YORK - Police investigating two gangs called the Very Cripsy Gangsters and the Rockstarz didn't need to spend all their time pounding the pavement for leads. Instead, they fired up their computers and followed the trash talk on Facebook. "Rockstarz up 3-0," one suspect boasted - a reference to the body count from a bloody turf war between the Brooklyn gangs that ultimately resulted in 49 arrests last month. Authorities in New York say a new generation of gang members is increasingly using social media to boast of their exploits and issue taunts and challenges that result in violence.
February 26, 2014 |
Like most big events, the Sochi Winter Olympics was two sets of events in one: the actual Games (curling, hockey, the highly puzzling biathlon) and what social media made of them. Failed rings! Fashion uprisings! Mammalian hoaxes! The fastest-growing (and most hopeless) petition in Change.org history! Over on TV, the Games were great for NBC. Prime-time viewership averaged 22.1 million through Friday. U.S. teams had a bad last weekend, so viewership faded, but it should still land between the 2010 Vancouver Games (24.4 million)
April 15, 2012 |
Last year the world watched as Arab Spring protesters used the Internet and social media to organize demonstrations and to share them in real time across the globe, toppling Middle East dictators and reordering human history. This year, technology and social media sites, most visibly Facebook and Twitter, continue to have a dramatic impact on the political world. In January, millions of people signed online petitions and contacted members of Congress protesting efforts to pass poorly crafted legislation on online piracy.
January 26, 2012 |
Becoming a judge is unquestionably an honor, though the job does curtail your social life. Private clubs with restrictive memberships? Nope. Dining with local business or government officials? Bad idea. Commenting on current issues? Objection sustained. Now, add to the list of potential judicial pitfalls Facebook and other social media. Should judges disqualify themselves from a case involving a Facebook friend, even a friend they've never met in person? "The burgeoning use of social media is affecting all kinds of industries," said Lynn A. Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a judicial-reform advocate.
January 23, 2012 |
The death of Joe Paterno was two events in one. The first was the close of a life of heroic peaks and a tragic denouement. The second was the gigantic Internet shadow of the event: the tweets, blogs, posts, and retweets, reposts, and comments, from thousands, perhaps millions, of people across the Web. All major news events now cast this immense shadow. And it can affect the very news itself, as it did in this case. Sadness and snark. The Internet lets thousands of individuals post their reactions instantly - to anything, an index of immediate emotion.
February 29, 2012 |
Last week, the principals of Lower Merion's two public high schools explained in a letter to parents that they had learned of a YouTube video showing students engaged in "binge drinking, marijuana use, substance-induced violence and several dangerous situations involving drugs and alcohol in vehicles. " The letter warned of significant consequences for students (e.g., suspension from athletic teams) caught on camera engaging in such activities. The administrators added that this would be the case "even if they haven't had a sip of beer, but are found to have been 'in the room' at a party where alcohol is served.
January 14, 2010 |
The Haiti earthquake has launched a tsunami of sympathy, information and aid through social media such as Facebook, Flickr, Skype, YouTube and Twitter. The lightning worldwide response will likely reinforce what aid workers have known for years: Online media effectively get vital word out, often faster than mainstream media. "We have big presences on Twitter, Facebook, and of course on our blog," said Tom Foley, chief executive officer of the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross, "and I know that today we've dramatically increased the number of people who check in with us through those sites.
December 27, 2013 |
This is the year the social medium stopped being new and took its well-established place as an information source and cultural force - and farce. Not new anymore. Facebook, which turns 10, sort of, in February (when undergrad Mark Zuckerberg and pals launched Thefacebook.com at Harvard), is now a billion users strong. Its gewgaw, Instagram, the beautiful images-and-video site, passed 150 million in September. Meantime, Twitter is now big biz. At an estimated 462 million users in January, Twitter zapped past 500 million by June and now entertains an estimated 557 million registered users.