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  • Death of former Drudge Report editor Andrew Breitbart echoes across the Web

    The death of former Drudge Report editor Andrew Breitbart at 43 is echoing across the web. Breitbart’s website Big Government announced his death, saying that Breitbart "passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles". Once the news went public, it was picked up the Twittersphere and became a globally trending topic. A number of mainstream media outlets tweeted out news of Breitbart’s death: REPORTS: Andrew Breitbart dead, Age 43 tpm.ly/AlY9FD— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 1, 2012 Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart has died at the age of 43. FOX News Radio's @JaredHalpern reports:foxrad.io/44p— FOX...

  • Google’s new privacy policy now effective

    Google's new privacy policy went into effect today, despite requests from European regulators asking the search giant to delay. The move by Google to consolidate its privacy policy has raised some concerns around the information the company has on its users. "The new policy doesn’t change any existing privacy settings or how any personal information is shared outside of Google. We aren’t collecting any new or additional information about users. We won’t be selling your personal data. And we will continue to employ industry-leading security to keep your information safe," writes Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering at...

  • Can social media determine how trustworthy you are?

    As more and more services focus on the arbitrage of consumer-to-consumer transactions and rentals, the problem of trusting a stranger becomes a significant drag on success. The rent-out-your-home service Airbnb had a very bad and very public problem last year when a renter trashed and robbed a home. A new API designed for collaborative applications called Whit.li. claims to be addressing this very problem. It does so by looking at a person's social media activity and determines a trust score. Whitli Trailer SXSW 2012 from Emptyset Media on Vimeo.   Whit.li claims the app "magically divines your psycho-social profile". The company also has an...

  • And the most virused phone is…

    When it comes to making sure your desktop is safe from viruses you have a couple of options: Load it up to the hilt with protective software that you have to update obsessively, or opt for more secure systems such as Linux. But what about your phone? That’s totally safe right? Think again. Incidences of Malicious Software (Malware) designed specifically to attack phones are on the rise and Android is the prime target. New data from internet security company Kaspersky suggests that malicious programs targeting mobile devices increased 6.4 times in 2011 with a total of 5 255 new...

  • South African academic sparks racism in cricket debate on Facebook

    A row involving cricket, racism and a top South African academic has broken out on Facebook. After South Africa defeated New Zealand by six wickets in yesterday’s One Day International, leading political scholar Steven Friedman wrote a post expressing his concern about the fact that de Villiers had not mentioned the names of players of colour in his post-match presentations. For those of us who follow cricket -- have you noticed that our limited overs captain AB de Villiers has a speech defect?: he can't say the names of black players who do well. Today he got excited about...

  • How much online influence do you have?

    A number of years back, I read Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point which presents his thesis on why things "go viral". Its a very powerful book, even if it has received some interesting criticism. Bells started ringing for me as soon as I started reading a recent publication from a group of students at Oxford University titled The Dynamics of Protest Recruitment through an Online Network. The paper is a bold attempt to monitor the spread of information about a protest on Twitter, and it draws some interesting conclusions based on the results. Perhaps most importantly, these sorts of...

  • 5 Tips for making it big on social media

    "Going viral": the holy grail of geeks everywhere. The process is deceptively simple and organic reshares and reposts take many forms depending on the platform. A good way to think of the process is as if social media behaves like an amplifier for content created by other media, then chains of retweets by many users lead to observed trends that can then be monitored and capitalised on. So what are the drivers and mechanics behind self-replicating content? Here are five suggestions that can help improve content self replication properties. 1. The First 48 The vast majority of retweets happen within the first...

  • Everything you need to know about Facebook Timeline for brands

    Facebook’s announcement of Facebook Timelines for pages is pretty big news. Brands and businesses now have access to a host of new features which promise to leverage their Facebook platform and boost their engagement to higher levels than ever before. What’s all the fuss about? Timeline has already been rolled out to more than 800-million users? Last month, Facebook started rolling out Timeline to all its users and yesterday it announced the launch of an extension of the new platform to brand pages. But how does that help? Well, for starters, this offers a whole new bag of tricks for online...

  • 11 Webcomics worth bookmarking

    Just as books, magazines and newspapers have ditched a paper-only form, so comic books have taken up space on the web since the 1980s. The great thing about webcomics is that anyone can publish their own, using a variety of different styles and genres that range from avant-garde to comic strips. In 2007 about 38 000 webcomics were published online, but only about three percent of webcomic creators are financially successful. The first webcomic ever published was Eric Millikin's Witches and Stitches in 1985. T.H.E. Fox, created by Joe Ekaitis, followed shortly thereafter in 1986. Throughout the 90s, webcomics grew...

  • New online project looks to ‘highlight the human cost’ of Syria conflict

    Syria was one of the last Middle East countries to get swept up in the Zeitgeist of the Arab Spring. Things have not, however, turned out as well for it as they have for the likes of Tunisia. The country is locked in a state of turbulence, with a number of people having been killed in on-going protests against president Bashar Al-Assad. A new online project looks to memorialise those who have lost their lives while protesting the ruling regime. Faces of the Fallen describes itself as a “social journalism project highlighting the human cost of the conflict...

  • Timeline for brands is here. Now they have to make a hard decision

    So, Timeline is here for brands. It’s a good day. Lots of things to pin, star and more! Fantastic! But in this "everything's a story" world that Facebook is creating, brands have a big question to answer: “Are we going to create a happy-slappy version of ourselves or will we create the warts ‘n’ all, fallible, honest version of the huge, juddering beasts we actually are?” Will Domino’s pizza, for example, fess up to its previous issues with certain employees? What are the long and short-term ramifications if they do? As with most answers to these types of questions "it depends"...

  • Under the sea with the startup ecosystem [Infographic]

    Ever wondered how the startup world really works? Are you dying to know who the key players are in this mystical world? Do you lie awake at night cursing the sky hoping your anguish will penetrate the darkness and send you some answers? Well, it's your lucky day. The idea of a startup ecosystem is actually quite simple. There are 13 key players. Yep, it only takes 13 people to make a startup work. These fearless men and women venture out into dangerous seas braving the predators while eyeing out their prey. The team at udemy, a company whose aim is...

  • Facebook rolls out mobile ads

    Facebook’s decision to roll out Timeline to brand pages was pretty big news, but its decision to include ads on its mobile offering could affect the average user just as much, if not more. The social network made the announcement at its Facebook Marketing Conference. Sponsored Stories -- essentially posts from friends or Pages on Facebook that a business, organisation or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance people will see them -- will now appear on your Facebook mobile newsfeed. The Facebook log out page will also include advertising, with space for a large advert the size of...

  • YouTube goes wild for new ‘Avengers’ trailer [Video]

    You know the online buzz around a movie is pretty substantial when its trailer leaves YouTube’s view counter unable to keep up. The second trailer for comic-book based action flick Avengers Assemble has done precisely that in the few hours since being uploaded to the world’s most popular video-sharing platform. More usefully, the like button on the video had been hit over 7 000 times at the time of writing. The film stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. The film is directed by Joss Whedon, most famous...

  • Apple hits $500bn market valuation as stock continues soaring

    Apple’s stock market valuation rocketed past the US$500-billion mark in the wake of news that the Cupertino-based tech giant would be unveiling the iPad 3 on 7 March. Stock in the Cupertino-based tech giant has been on a continual growth trajectory ever since it announced stellar first quarter results. In fact the price of an individual share in the company recently went past the US$500 mark. This effectively meant that it was cheaper to buy an iPad 2 off the shelf than a single share in Apple. In going past the US$500-billion valuation, the price of individual shares rose to...