A story in the New York Daily News this week should come as no surprise: Gangs, the newspaper reported, are using Twitter to conduct business, just like everybody else.
Young people are apparently engaging in verbal battles and planning violent attacks against competing crews on the social network.
One part of the newspaper story caught our eye: A Harlem pastor who runs a youth outreach ministry is monitoring gang traffic on Twitter, then dispatching volunteers to prevent or break up fights when he catches wind of trouble.
Regarding our recent story on the term “unfriend” being named the Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year, we heard from a number of people who say they’ve never heard anyone say “unfriend,” but rather, they hear and use “defriend” instead — as in, “I defriended her on Facebook because she was always sending me stupid quizzes.” Ammon Shea from Oxford University Press was gracious enough to talk to us again to clear up this “unfriend” versus “defriend” issue.
Also today: Part two of our interview with David Michel-Davies regarding the most important Internet events of the decade.
Today, Ammon Shea with Oxford University Press on why “unfriend” from the world of social media is the 2009 Word of the Year, and why “netbook,” “intexticated,” and “sexting” were also considered for the honor.
Facebook, Twitter and the tools that enable them sometimes get a bad rap. A recent example: a weekend article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which quotes mental health professionals who worry that addiction to our digital tools will lead to a breakdown of interpersonal relationships and a rise in attention deficit disorder.
A new study from the University of Minnesota does not address those issues but does suggest social networks are a good way to get young people engaged current events and civic affairs, and have much potential as teaching tools.
A new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that the Internet and mobile phones do not lead to social isolation, as some previous research suggested. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that people who spend a lot of time online have fuller social lives.
Activists working to develop an alternative American voting system have turned loose their first batch of software code for public review. The Open Source Digital Voting Foundation is spearheading a project to build new voting machines to replace proprietary systems currently in place. The group is in the second year of a an eight-year plan to produce a publicly-owned, open source election system.
We love MP3s even though they sound inferior to CDs. We can’t get by without our mobile phones even though they’ve tended to sound worse than land lines. We’re watching more TV shows and movies on our little computer screens, even as our big TVs sit idle in the next room. It’s the Good Enough Revolution.
In Wired magazine, Nicholas Thompson writes about system known as “Dead Hand.” It was designed by Soviet scientists in the mid 1980s to automatically retaliate against a nuclear strike from the U.S. Thompson reports that the purpose of Dead Hand, also known as Perimeter, was to make certain the USSR could hit back after being attacked, even if the Kremlin was destroyed. Thompson says Dead Hand still exists.