When JP Morgan's Twitter account announced last month that "VC Jimmy Lee" take questions from the net with the #AskJPM hashtag, they should have been able to predict what was coming next: a stream of hilarious, vicious critiques of late-stage capitalism, banksterism, and financial corruption. One day later, the Q&A was cancelled. The astonishing thing isn't how predictable this was, but how anyone at JP Morgan failed to see it coming -- the greatest irony isn't the questions raised, it was the hubris in thinking that these questions wouldn't be raised at all.
The fiasco is being called one of the worst social media disasters in corporate history, and has spawned lots of creativity, including this video of Stacy Keach and a sock puppet performing the tweets and a Matt Taibbi-sponsored haiku contest.
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Michael writes, "When working on SurveillanceSaver (a screen saver displaying random unprotected IP cameras) in 2008, I placed early Twitter messages on the surveillance cameras' images. The results ranged from hillarious to Ballardian.
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"@TrapperBud: They rode a barge, like this one from 1925 (L-R: Matt Murphy, Jim Cooley, Frank Buckley, Malcolm and Allan Stewart."
Derryl Murphy writes, "Several years after my grandfather, Bud Murphy, passed away, I'm going through boxes of stuff I was given after his funeral and found some - not all, sadly - of his old diaries from when he trapped in the Northwest Territories from 1929 (when he was 18) and on with his father. I'm tweeting his diary entries in chronological order and accompanying those with photos he took from back then, as well as notes about where he was. I'm not reading ahead, and hope the entries about murder, suicide, and mayhem that I turned into the ghost story "Northwest Passage" (first appeared in Realms of Fantasy, and then in my Sunburst Award-nominated collection Over the Darkened Landscape) will appear. Follow his adventures on Twitter @TrapperBud!
Twitter's IPO prospectus provided a handy basis for measuring the value that each Twitter user has contributed to the company's valuation. Now Time has produced a handy calculator that tells you how much Twitter "owes" you based on the value you created for it (importantly, this calculator does not tell you how much you owe Twitter for the value it created for you). It's crack-like fun. (via Sean Bonner)
So far, so good for TWTR on the New York Stock Exchange! It priced its initial public offering at $26, and shares were changing hands at $46.71 shortly after 11 a.m. Assuming it holds, that values the company at $30bn or so.
[USA TODAY] — Rob
The WaterstonesOxfordSt Twitter account is staffed by someone pretty darned funny, as evidenced by The Call of Cthulhu, a series of tweets describing what happened when a patron read aloud from the Necronomicon and unleashed an Elder God.
The Call of Cthulhu
Attendees at New York Comic-Con were required to register their new, RFID-bugged badges online, in a process that encouraged them to link them to their Twitter accounts. Little did they suspect that NYCC would use their signups to send tweets from attendees' Twitter accounts, in a loose, conversational style ("So much pop culture to digest! Can't. handle. the. awesome."), linking back to NYCC's website, without any indication that they were spam. I'm reasonably certain that the fine-print on the NYCC signup gave them permission to do this stupid thing, and I'm also certain that almost no one read the fine-print, and that rather a large number of attendees objected strenuously to having their Twitter accounts used to shill for a service that they were already paying a large sum to enjoy.
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Teddy Wayne reports on a "postmodern art form"—the 160-character space that Twitter allow for biographies.
The standard bio is a staccato string of statuses and interests separated by commas or periods ... Beyond such clichés, the potential hazards of bios are well known to any social-media user: humble brags (“For some reason they put me in the movies”), unchecked self-promotion (“See my new movie, out this Christmas”) and the blandly literal (“I am a professional actor in a motion picture feature scheduled for wide release Dec. 25”).
After the jump, our Twitter bios for your psychoanalytical pleasure. (Whatever you do, don't follow me on twitter!)
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Jeremy Bornstein proposes a party game/Prisoners' Dilemma variant called "I Eat Poo," in which the players pass their phones to their left and invite the player there to type (but not send) an embarrassing message into their own Twitter account. Phones are handed back and each player gets to decide whether to allow the message to be posted, or to forfeit $20 to the message-writer; the phones are handed back to the message-writer, and the hand-over may also include a covert $20 payoff. The climax comes when the final accounting is made: if everyone has paid $20, or no one has paid $20, then nothing happens (the messages aren't posted). Otherwise, the paid-up don't get posted, the unpaid do, and the pot is split among the message-writers.
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On the night of August 20, 1863, proslavery guerrillas from Missouri set off to attack the antislavery stronghold of Lawrence, Kansas, burning it to the ground and killing at least 150 people. There's an organized reenactment happening on Twitter tonight and tomorrow, under the hashtag #qr1863. It features Twitter accounts for Lawrence townspeople of the time, as well as Union soldiers, and proslavery leader William Quantrill — all tweeting their perspective of the raid using real historical sources.
The hashtag is just getting started up now. The real action will kick in tomorrow, on the anniversary of the attack. Fascinating use of tech to draw attention to an oft-overlooked part of history!
EDIT: Reader slowglowing posted a link in the comments that allows you to see just the historical reenactment tweets, with none of the modern people getting in the way.
A pair of researchers -- one a grad student working at Twitter -- bought $5,000 worth of fake Twitter accounts (with Twitter's blessing) and developed a template for identifying spam Twitter accounts. The spammers were using cheap overseas labor to solve Twitter's CAPTCHAs, registering the new accounts with automatically created email boxes from Hotmail and Mail.ru, and spreading the registrations out across a range of IP addresses, courtesy of massive botnets of infected computers. Twitter nuked zillions of spam accounts and prevented new ones from signing up -- for a while. Quickly, the spammers adapted their tactics and went back to registering new accounts. The researchers, Kurt Thomas and Vern Paxson, presented their results today at Usenix Security DC, in a paper called Trafficking Fraudulent Accounts: The Role of the Underground Market in Twitter Spam and Abuse (PDF).
Update: Here's the full research team: "Kurt Thomas is a grad student at UC Berkeley who works at Twitter; Alek Kolz works at Twitter, Damon McCoy is a professor at GMU, Chris Grier is a researcher at ICSI and UC Berkeley and Vern Paxson is a lead researcher at ICSI and a professor at UC Berkeley."
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The Wall Street Journal's Katherin Rosman has learned of a secret subculture of users on Twitter notable for their nonsensical yet incisive humor. What would normally be well below the journal's radar has surfaced, it seems, thanks to the twitterers' "insincere engagement" with corporate-friendly advertweets. The most writheworthy cringe-moment is Rosman's quoting of a "tech entrepreneur" to speak for Twitter's "purists finding refuge in Weird Twitter."
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emojitracker shows "realtime emoji use on twitter." So much love and prayer. (Thanks, Sarah Smith!)
Toronto experienced 100mm of rain yesterday, resulting in widespread flooding. 300,000 people were without power for a time, and a GO commuter train had to be evacuated. Edward Vielmetti has rounded up some of the most dramatic photos tweeted by people on the scene.
July 8, 2013 Toronto flooding
(via Interesting People)