Journal

My impression of the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Annual Conference (Part 1)

This is the first time that I've attend NAB/BEA, as oppose to the BEA (Broadcast Education Association) by itself. So, that means I'll been here in Las Vegas for ten days when I finally leave on Sunday. During my time here, I did manage to gather some really helpful hints. Most of them were posted on Twitter, however I figured that I could try to summarize and provide context to the conference.

1.) Broadcasters are storytellers with really cool tools and toys. It seems that the first couple of days that the sessions were focused on breaking down the key elements of the story and how the story should be framed in camera and enhanced with natural sounds and good B-roll. Broadcasters and other producers of content must also get their subject(s) to tell their stories so those stories are compelling to others.

2.) Everyone is dealing with the issues regarding new & social media. The majority of my third day at the conference dealt with strategies in the field of new & social media. Some where focusing social media as a way of finding new business leads. Some where focusing of repurposing old information to new media streams. I got to believe that these approaches will have problems. I'm still reminded of the lessons I'm learning from the "Clue Train Manifesto" (which is a great book). If we approach the audience as nothing more than revenue stream, your business will not survive. There must be a great effort in attempting to speak to an audience with a very human voice.

Well, that's a brief analysis of everything that I got out of NAB this year. However, there's no rest for me. Tomorrow starts BEA. So, good night everyone.

Twitter and its Impact on American Governance

I was happy that one of my articles was selected for Communication Currents, an amazing produced by the National Communication Association. Communication Currents is an online web magazine of the National Communication Association. This site is designed to translate current communication scholarship published in scholarly journals of the National Communication Association. Working from recently-published journal articles, Communication Currents makes scholarship available in a form understandable and usable for broad audiences, including communication experts working with lay audiences, instructors and students, the press, and other interested members of the public. Essays in Communication Currents highlight the relevance of communication scholarship; demonstrates the way in which communication impacts our world; and demonstrates the leadership of NCA in the study of communication.

My article dealt with how microblogging was being used by government official as a way of communicating with their constitnuents. The article can be found here.

Socializing in the "Awesome Depression"

Scott Brown wrote a really humorous article in Wired Magazine regarding how our generation would deal with a depression the likes that has only been seen by our great-grandparents during the "Great Depression."  The question that come from this half-hearted look into the future is what are we doing to prepare for the economic crash. The only point that really seems to be connecting many of the discussion I have found online is that networking will be more vital than ever before in order to find your next job. For the last three posts, I have been dealing with microblogging (specifically Twitter) and how information that an individual posts on these microblogging site can be used against them in the form of identity theft and data fraud. However, it is equality as important to maintain a presence on large social community like Facebook and Twitter to show people you are a.) an actual person and not a robot, b.) someone who has talents that can be used & c.) a "people person." As much as it pained me to use that last phrase, it really takes some "social capital" to be able to communicate with a wide array of people (like those present in an open social network like Facebook or Twittter). It would seem that this could be pretty for months to come. Therefore, it is important to use inexpensive resources to deliver your message and maintain your reputation in your field. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can help you with this mission.

Phishing on Twitter

It is a rare occurrence that I would stumble across a timely topic. However, it seems that my academic hypothetical discussion has turned into a real world threat. I've been working all day and I finished eating dinner when I see the warning issued by Twitter. The questions that I asked from the last post really seem to hit home. So, I felt that a quick response would be appropriate. (Man, 3 posts in one week!!!) The question of "do identity thieves twitter?" seems to be yes after this threat hit the network. Even though it was using the oldest phishing trick in the book and I hope nobody fell for this trick. But, I believe this is a scary point in the microblogging phenomenon. I gotta believe this is the first step in more sophisticated attacks on identity in the Twitter network. Because it is really easy to post information in this format, we can accidentally expose information that could be a treasure trove for social engineers and identity thieves. This would expand the damage that can be caused by black-hat Twitterer from harmless to harmful. The purpose of this post is not to scare anybody. The purpose is to create awareness about this situation and I hope people will be more careful about what they say on a microblog.

One More for the Road...

Twitterkins lead me down another thought path when he tweeted me "who'd impersonate me when they'd gain nothing? Do identity thieves twitter? Like, to make it 'look good?'" I really don't have a good answer to this question. Also, I figured that this question deserved more than a simple 140 character answer. So, I figured I would poke this topic one more time to see where it leads. I have to preface all of these statements by saying that Twitterkins is Paul F. Tompkins. He seems like a nice guy and technical whiz. First, it's pretty obvious that spam has appear in the Twitterverse and other microblogging communities. The question that comes to mind is why spam when the spammer has nothing to gain. Could it represent something viral? Could it make the spammer feel that they are control of the network by feeding it information or misinformation? Could it make the spammer feel that he or she lead the network to another source that could make the spammer money? Being a sociologist, I can not speak on motive. I can argue that it depends on the type of community, the information being shared and where the links used by the spammer take the community member. Second, let's approach the second question asked by Mr. Tompkins, "do identity thieves twitter?" I would focus on the term "identity thief." According to the wikipedia, an identity thief is anybody that uses fraud to "stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else." So, yes there are identity thieves in the harmless sense on Twitter. I can interact (and have had conversations) with the characters from the West Wing, Studio 60 and Mad Men. I doubt that the actor or actress who plays those characters are typing the Twitter posts. The benefit to those playing the characters on Twitter is that they get to play the characters they see on television. Mr. Tompkins is a famous cable show and someone could want to "play" PFT. Others have done research on being a "fakester" by adapting another persona. I have not research on this subject nor read deeply this research. The question I have is "is somebody using Twitter for a more harmful purpose (stealing money from others, causing harm)?" I doubt it, but I can't speak for certain.

Identity Validation Online

I was having a conversation with my wife about the Twilight Zone. Every year the Sci-Fi channel as a 24-hour marathon of most of the episodes. My wife was telling me about her favorite episode "The Changing of the Guard" and how it makes her cry everytime she sees it. During this talk, Paul F. Tompkins (PFT), the host of Best Week Ever and @twitterkins on Twitter was doing a running commentary on the episodes that were playing on Sci-Fi. I sent him a reply telling him my wife's favorite episode and he replied back quickly asking me about the episode. I explain the plot and told my wife that I was telling Paul F. Tompkins about the episode. She asked me the $64 million question... "How do you know its him?"

Hmm, that's a fair question. I told her that there were contextual clues present in previous postings done by @twitterkins. For example, he was having a Twitter conversation with John Hodgman (@hodgman on Twitter). PFT presented himself as an authentic to Hodgman and Hodgman validated him as being PFT. Hodgman talked about his Twitter experience on This Week in Tech. Therefore, I had good idea that I was replying back to PFT. However, let's say I had no real world methods of validating a person's online identity. How would I validate that the person I was talking to was actually the person I was talking to? If I had no real world contacts with the person, I guess the simplest way to validate the person's identity would be to look for virtual artifacts that already have been validated as being created by the person and look for similarities between those artifacts and artifacts presented to me by whomever I am talking to.