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Pew: There’s a ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media

spiral-of-silence-theory-1-728We often think of the Internet as a breeding grounds for idea exchange — a place that lends itself perfectly to sharing viewpoints on topics both trivial and complex. But according to Pew Research Center, there’s something deeper happening in your social media networks that goes against what many of us may perceive.

What they’re calling a “spiral of silence,” Pew found that sites like Facebook and Twitter are often being avoided as outlets of discussion for political and controversial issues such as the Snowden-NSA revelations for fear that followers will disagree with the poster’s views.

Not only do those 1,801 people polled seem to have an aversion to airing out their opinions on social media, but Pew found that “people who thought their social media friends disagreed with them were less likely to discuss the issues in face-to-face gatherings, as well as online forums.” Still, 86 percent of Americans said they would have an in-person talk about the NSA’s mass surveillance program, though only 42 percent of Facebook/Twitter users said they would post about the issue on those platforms.

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The Twitter Feature to End All Twitter Corrections Mishaps for Newsrooms

twitterIf there is one thing I do over here, it’s complain about how news outlets correct themselves, rant about the ethics of reporting news on Twitter, and wonder about best practices on social media. Now, Twitter has added a feature where you can embed a tweet within a tweet, and my head has exploded.

This changes everything about the do’s and don’ts of reporting breaking news and correcting yourself on social media. It still has to be done manually and only from the desktop version of Twitter or the official iOS and Android apps. But it’s easy: you copy the entire url of the tweet you want to embed, add a little comment, and voila: the original tweet is there. Read more

Tow Center Gets Knight Support For ‘Journalism After Snowden’ Initiative

02a02a5a-c755-4650-a2b8-47fffbc0af8b_170x255Mass surveillance is a big deal, and Columbia’s Tow Center wants to ensure the issue gets the attention it deserves. The Journalism After Snowden project just got a boost worth $150,000 from the Knight Foundation, which will allow the Tow Center to explore how journalism will function in the age of surveillance.

The initiative supports a yearlong series of events and research articles in conjunction with the Columbia Journalism Review.

An #AfterSnowden event will convene in San Francisco on June 18, complete with solutions and best practices for addressing source protection and other issues in the current surveillance state. Plus, Edward Snowden colleague and The Intercept journalism Glenn Greenwald will round out the event with a presentation on his NSA surveillance reporting (consider brushing up on your Greenwald knowledge with an extensive piece I wrote after his SXSW talk earlier this year).

In a blog post for the Knight Foundation, Tow Center Research Fellow Jennifer Henrichsen and Research Director Taylor Owen wrote a fascinating explanation of the challenges set before us:

“Metadata can reveal journalists’ sources without requiring officials to obtain a subpoena. Intelligence agencies can tap into undersea cables to capture encrypted traffic. Mobile devices, even when powered off, can be remotely accessed to record conversations,” the two wrote.

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SXSWi 2014: Glenn Greenwald on Social Media, Surveillance and the Purpose of Journalism

greenwald-sxswSXSW attendees packed into an Austin Convention Center exhibit hall earlier this week to hear from a guest who wasn’t even in town — editor and journalist with First Look Media’s The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald.

Widely known as an associate of Edward Snowden, a former government employee who leaked hundreds of documents on the NSA’s surveillance program, Greenwald was invited to discuss his work and the future of democratic journalism via Skype. In his virtual conversation with Personal Democracy Media editorial director Micah Sifry, Greenwald was his usual unabashed, passionate self expressing his thoughts on the power of social media, government surveillance initiatives, constitutional rights and his role as a journalist:

On social:

For a man who is busy trying to expose what he believes are great injustices to the American public by reporting from all over the world, Greenwald is a pretty active Twitter user. And as the former Guardian writer said Monday, he’s a fan of the platform. “I actually do think it’s a really good medium.” Referring to social as the “biggest difference between today’s online journalism and establishment journalism,” he said its best benefit is that the availability of reader feedback it provides “keeps you honest.”

“I do think online interaction, unpleasant and annoying as it may be, is a really important form of accountability,” Greenwald said. In the old days, legacy media reporters and columnists “were completely insular people who spoke to the world in monologue form … to passive readers. Now, if you are a journalist, you’re going to constantly hear from people … who have a lot of important things to say.”

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Even Upworthy’s Corrections Are Designed To Go Viral

upworthycorrection_featuredYou’ve seen and no doubt probably shared a piece of content or two that came to your attention via viral news-worth-sharing aggregator Upworthy. But have you ever gone back to a piece you shared, or circled back to a piece you’ve already seen before?

No?

That’s the problem with corrections on the Internet. Nobody (OK, very few people) goes back to re-read or re-watch something they’ve already seen. Why would you when there are hundreds of thousands of other awesome videos that will make you cry or reconsider your life waiting for you to discover.

But what happens if that video or story misled you or contained inaccuracies? You’ll probably never know, or forget the source where you first saw that mistake appear. In a newspaper, clarifications and corrections are typically appended to the stories and appear in print, either near the masthead or in a standard area of the section of the paper. Blog posts often append updated information at the top or bottom, or strike-through info that comes to light as being wrong. But how do you get those misinformed visitors to come back to see that?
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