By Rob | 20 Feb 2014, 10:30am | Category: StatusPeople
We had a great night at #SMPRMeetup last night. For our first go I was really pleased.
We met some great people -- about 12 in all. Some new faces like @Darsie50 who learnt how to use a hashtag. And some old like @murphyL086 and @jonathanlea.
Everyone seemed to understand the aim. Which was to give people an opportunity to network with their peers and learn something. Plenty of business cards were exchanged. I gave a talk on Twitter spam and we had a great chat about it and social marketing in general. I'd like to thank everyone who attended -- it was appreciated.
We'll be running another meetup next month where we hope to have a PR expert discuss social marketing and PR. More info will follow in due course.
If you haven't already sign up to our meetups to hear about future events.
Speak soon and we hope to see you at the next meetup.
By Rob | 5 Feb 2014, 10:00am | Category: StatusPeople
As we now have a wonderful little community built around our Fakers App we've decided its about time we set up a meetup. This is so we can get to know all our social media marketing and PR friends better.
Based on chats with friends such as @andismit, @matt_hodkinson, @annemcx, @sidawson and @BridgetFSM over the last 6 months we've come up with a very simple format. Our meetup will have no sales pitches nor presentations. It will simply aim to offer you guys an opportunity to network and learn something from an industry expert who will give a short talk. Oh, and you'll be able to have a drink as well...
The first meetup will be on Wednesday 19th, Feburary at the Rose and Crown pub in Southwark. You can sign up here. We have the upstairs room and the talk will begin at 7:30pm, but we will be there from 6:30pm. After the talk you are free to stay as long as you want to network and enjoy a glass of wine or two.
We have one talk already set up which will be by me, @RobDWaller. I will discuss 5 Interesting facts about Twitter Spam. We are also looking to announce another speaker shortly.
Over the next 2-3 months we hope to turn this into a community of like minded individuals who can help each other in both a business and educational manner.
We hope to see you there. And please pass this on to those who may be interested.
By Rob | 23 Jan 2014, 12:45pm | Category: Social Media
Abuse on Twitter is an ever growing issue. Twitter is an open and relatively free network that allows a reasonable level of anonymity. As a result this provides some with the freedom to carry out abusive acts.
One case that has highlighted this issue in the UK in the last few days is that of @StanCollymore. For our American readers Stan Collymore is an ex-soccer player, he played for Liverpool, and is now a popular sports pundit. He has roughly 500k followers of which 10% are Fake according to our app.
At the weekend there was an incident in a game between Liverpool and Aston Villa. Liverpool were 2-1 down and in about the 50th minute of the game Luis Suarez won a penalty for Liverpool which Steven Gerrard converted. The game finished 2-2. After the game there was a lot of debate as to whether the penalty was legitimate and whether Luis Suarez dived.
@StanCollymore sided with those who believed Suarez dived and Tweeted this. As a result he received a torrent of abuse on Twitter, some of which is utterly appaling. I'm not going to republish the abusive content but it can be viewed on Stan Collymore's profile.
As a result of this abuse Stan Collymore has used his media position to highlight the issue. He has appeared both on TV and in the press demanding Twitter do more to stop the abuse. I quote...
I accuse Twitter directly of not doing enough to combat racist/homophobic/sexist hate messages, all of which are illegal in the UK.
Now I don't disagree with Stan's intent but I think it's important we try to put this issue in some perspective in terms of data and technical problems. I also think it's important to highlight that in most cases Twitter do their best and they have built a platform that for the great majority adds great value to their lives. So it should be supported.
So let's look at some of the stats...
As of August 2013 Twitter publishes 500,000,000 Tweets per day. That's a huge amount of data -- about 180 billion Tweets a year. In addition Twitter support 21 languages but according to Semiocast up to 61 languages are used on Twitter. Note only about 1/3 of users speak English.
So it should be clear to anyone that Twitter have a lot of very varied data to deal with.
In terms of abuse data according to the government roughly 2% of the population suffer some form of online abuse every year. If we apply this to Twitter it would suggest about 4-5 million users are abused or offended at some point every year. This therefore may result in up to 13.5k abuse reports per day.
Personally I think it's unlikely that Twitter have to deal with that much abuse data -- I could of course be wrong. But even if only between 0.00001% and 0.000001% of Tweets are reported every day. That's still somewhere between 500-5,000 message that Twitter have to assess in a whole range of languages. And they simply cannot remove accounts without carrying out a reasonable level of investigation. So a significant amount of resource would be required to do the job properly.
From a technology point of view there is also very little they can do. IP blocking won't stop bad guys from signing up. As Twitter say and all tech people know...
Why can’t Twitter block a user from making new accounts?
IP blocking is generally ineffective at stopping unwanted behavior, and may falsely prevent legitimate users from accessing our service.
IP addresses are commonly shared by numerous different users in a variety of locations, meaning that blocking a single IP may prevent a large number of unconnected users from logging into Twitter. In addition, IP addresses are easy to change and blocks can be easily circumvented by logging in from a different location, a third-party service, or one of many free websites or applications.
And as for age verification, that @StanCollymore suggests, I can't think how this would work or would improve the situation without significantly damaging Twitter as a network.
Then we have the issue of objectivity. And an important point about abuse or offence is that it is entirely subjective. Different people will react to abusive or offensive content in very different ways. In the case of Stan Collymore the abuse could be defined as close to objective as you can get. That is to say the great majority of people would recognise the content as offensive or abusive. However even in this case people will react differently to it -- some will choose to ignore it.
Let's take another example. When Margaret Thatcher died last year some people published on Twitter truly awful things about her that were deeply offensive and abusive. My question would be, do these people deserve to be punished or blocked from using social networks? While I may disagree with them I would say not.
Twitter will have to assess every abuse report in these terms. No matter what people think there is no definable scale of offence to work from. Because basically humans are more complicated than that.
Then there is the final issue of Twitter's seeming indifference to this case. But what should be grasped here is that @StanCollymore is simply just another Twitter user. According to our data he sits in the top 1,000,000 Twitter accounts based on followers, or 0.5% roughly. But this is irrelevant. @StanCollymore is just another Twitter user. If I, @RobDWaller, reported some abuse to Twitter I would be shocked if they responded by discussing the issue in the media.
Twitter have to treat all users in the same manner -- they can't have one rule for famous/powerful people and one rule for everyone else. As a user of Twitter I expect them to hold to slightly higher ideals than say the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...
Overall it is impossible to defend the abuse that @StanCollymore has suffered. And I feel very sorry for him and regret he has suffered such abuse on Twitter. However some perspective needs to be applied. Twitter have given the world an amazing tool for free. And they have huge data and social issues to manage as a result. Generally they do a great job because Twitter is an amazing place to engage with the world and meet new people. Yes there could be some improvements made, but they will take time to develop and deploy.
And finally to those of you who would demand our governments and state do more to crack down on abusive comment/speech online just remember the following. If we ever get to a stage where we are no longer able to question, satirise, attack or even abuse the rich and powerful it will be a far darker day for us as individuals than it is when we suffer abuse from some idiot on Twitter.
As always feel free to let us know your thoughts @StatusPeople or email@example.com. Or if you're feeling really passionate you can engage me directly @RobDWaller...