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Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
Ex Media Studies student at Swansea University. This blog is a collection of links, articles, academic reference and random thoughts.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The King of Pop is Dead and nearly took Google with him

Love him or hate him, pretty much everyone on the planet knows who Michael Jackson is and will remember the moment when they heard the news that the controversial pop star had died on Thursday 27th June 2009. A news flash interrupted my weekly fix of Question Time to broadcast the news and I knew this was going to be a big news event. As many other people did I immediately turned to the internet to "Google" the news of his demise. BBC news report states

Millions of people who searched for the star's name on Google News were greeted with an error page
.Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker confirmed this in a statement
"It's true that between approximately 2.40PM Pacific and 3.15PM Pacific, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson and saw the error page,"

It seems however that Google was not the only company who felt the strain of the public scramble to search for more information. The microblogging service Twitter is also reported to have crashed with the sheer volume of traffic by users. The BBC reports

Queries about the star soon rocketed to the top of its updates and searches. But the amount of traffic meant it suffered one of its well-known outages.According to initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts Thursday afternoon containing "Michael Jackson" totaled more than 100,000 per hour.

Many celebrities took to the internet in particular using Twitter to pay tribute to Michael Jackson.

Philip Schofield: Now sadly confirmed that we have lost such a gifted performer as MJ. What a terrible tragedy on so many levels.

Stephen Fry: Goodness. Michael Jackson. Poor old soul. Oh dear.

Demi Moore: I am greatly saddened for the loss of both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Especially for their children!

Ashton Kutcher: Now the ap confirms aswell. Rip Sending love and light to family and friend but especially his kids.

Miley Cyrus: michael jackson was my inspiration. love and blessings

Samantha Ronson: Say what you want about Michael Jackson's private life (just not near me) but NO ONE can deny his talent, his compassion and his legacy.

Peter Andre: "Michael Jackson dying is absolutely devastating. I am totally shocked. MJ, you're the best."

Lance Armstrong: Terrible news about Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett. My best to their friends, fans, and families.

As I said in the beginning of this article love him or hate him he was certainly one of the most famous popstars on the planet.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

ALLTOP - All the Top News

I have recently discovered a new way of collaborating a personal collection the most interesting news stories to me and the best thing about it, it is user friendly. Alltop is an “online magazine rack” of popular topics. The stories are updated every hour. Pick a topic by searching, news category, or name, and they will deliver it to you 24 x 7. All the topics, all the time.

Friday, 12 June 2009

State of the Twittersphere June 2009

Hubspot have compiled an interesting factfile using data on 4.5 million users they have collected from Twitter Grader.

For instance:

• 79.79% failed to provide a homepage URL
• 75.86% of users have not entered a bio in their profile
• 68.68% have not specified a location
• 55.50% are not following anyone
• 54.88% have never tweeted
• 52.71% have no followers

• The average user tweets .97 times per day
• The average user has tweeted 119.34 times in total
• The average user has a following-to-follower ratio of .7738

Some interesting Statistics on Tweets

users are frequently using Twitter to interact and communicate with other users rather than just answer the “What are you doing?” question.

• 1.44% of all tweets are retweets

• 37.95% of all tweets contain an “@” symbol (mentions)

• 33.44% of all tweets start with an “@” symbol (replies)

Many users are reaching the 140-character limit in an attempt to get as much content as possible into every update.

The report can be found at the hubspot website

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Flawnt's Blog of fictious wonder

This Blog is highly recommended

one idle day i realised that there was this ocean of readers out there (that includes you!) ever hungry 4 what the french deconstructionists so elegantly and underwhelmingly call “texts”. so i got me a twitter account and had my picture painted by one of the creative hoodlums sitting at the bottom of Sacre Coeur. (it’s his fault if i closely resemble dr franklin.)

i had no idea what 2 write though at first. this evidently was not a book, it was a totally different metaphor not yet chartered territory, a terra incognita and quite possibly mine 4 the taking. i new how 2 write whole books but i didn’t know how to brave this new bosom. so i lightly promised that i would dedicate a piece of writing 2 my first follower. this seemed 2 B in line with the medium.

An Odd message for Television

Great article as usual by David Mitchell in The Guardian

One of my least favourite programmes of the 1980s was Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead? I watched it anyway, of course. It was on.

It was presented by gangs of children with different regional accents, which I suppose was meant to make it feel more inclusive. It didn't work on me. I found the accents alienating. They made me worry that those were the sort of children who would despise me and call me a "posh twat", a jibe my parents worked hard to earn the bare minimum to qualify me for. They scrimped and saved to buy me just enough privilege to make me contemptible.

And the thing I did have in common with the presenters - that I, too, was a child - just made me think: "How'd they get that? Why can't I be on TV maddening them?" Sometimes, things work out in the end.

The content of the show was the familiar series of tedious tasks that required items of stationery that I never possessed or physical activities that I was too weedy for. But my main beef with it was its title. That was the metaphorical photo of a cancerous lung on the cigarette packet of my viewing pleasure.

I was already aware that my predilection for watching hours of television every day was a terrible failing. The concerted censure of every authority figure left me in no doubt of what a betrayal of the opportunities of childhood that was. I should have been reading books or getting fresh air, bicycling around in crime-solving gangs and fishing in streams. Our bit of suburban Oxford seemed a bit short on streams or caves full of forgers, but then I'd never really looked.

Adults' sentences beginning: "When I was your age ..." never ended with: "I'd have given my eye teeth to be left alone to watch Knight Rider, so you go for it, lad!" What I was doing was an insult to children of the past and of fiction: to Coral Island and evacuees and a ha'porth of gobstoppers. I should have been going to Cubs or training for swimming badges. But most worryingly, I was putting my imagination in jeopardy. Because, as surely as carrots help you see in the dark and that you'll regret giving up the piano when you're older, television rots the imagination.

You don't have to imagine Star Trek - the aliens and lasers and spaceships are all on the screen in front of you. There are no gaps for your mind to fill - the art department has already plugged them with chipboard and silver paint. So reading, running around the garden, riding a bicycle or, most terrifyingly, interacting with new people are important activities that strengthen the ideas-generating parts of the brain that otherwise atrophy under the influence of TV.

"Get used to these more gruelling and effort-requiring forms of fun and you'll build the mental equipment for a fuller life," was the argument. A bit like the principle by which we're weaned on to alcohol: "It may not taste as good as Coke now but, you wait - oh, you just wait." Sadly, the latter argument was the only one I had the imagination for.

But among the advantages of becoming an adult are that people stop admonishing you and you're allowed the illusion of vindication about your childish choices. "I spent most of the Eighties watching TV and it never did me any harm," I can safely say, knowing that it's an experiment with no control. There's no other David Mitchell walking around with an imagination whose growth wasn't stunted by assiduously following the plot of Dynasty - unless it's that pesky novelist.

So it came as a shock when Jeremy Paxman stormed into the living room during Doctor Who and started hoovering under my legs and telling me to go outside. I protested that I'd finished my work, but he said it was a lovely day and that he'd give me 2p for every mare's tail I dug up.

I'm speaking metaphorically (a medical miracle, my old English teacher would say, after what all those episodes of The A-Team did to my brain). In a talk at the Hay Festival, Paxman called the public a "bunch of barbarians" because watching TV is our favourite leisure activity. He thinks we should go to art galleries instead.

I don't mind that he's biting the hand that feeds him. A healthy disdain for that hand is an attractive quality, I've always thought - that's probably why I'm more of a cat than a dog person. But has he considered what it signifies that it's he, a television personality - a highly respected journalist, certainly, but hardly a potential Nobel Prize winner - who has the prominence to make this unreconstructed appeal on behalf of the highbrow?

It means that he's what counts as highbrow now, a high-rent newsreader who's done a few books as TV spin-offs, the most recent of which he got another writer to finish for him. The fact that the likes of him are the focus of literary festivals is an index of how completely the cause he's arguing for is lost.

I don't rejoice in that. But as someone who can't spend more than a few minutes in an art gallery without developing a desire for a cup of tea and a sit down as all-consuming as a sudden realisation of diarrhoea, and who often insists on watching episodes of Homes Under the Hammer to their neatly decorated conclusions, it would be hypocritical of me to echo his moans. And I'm a beneficiary of dumbing down, too. Regurgitate half-remembered facts from your A-level syllabus on a panel show, I've found, and you'll get lumped in with the learned.

It's unkind to kick TV at the moment. It may still be our favourite leisure activity, but new competitors are threatening its solvency. Eschewing television for reasons of arty respectability is no longer a choice that can be made with confidence that the medium will nevertheless prosper. Even the most bookish may soon wonder whether they'd be better off with the devil they know.

The barbarians are switching off, but a glance at YouTube confirms that they're not necessarily doing anything less boring instead

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