M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook

Can you scientifically quantify social media opinion?

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Over at NBCNews.com, we’ve started publishing daily charts tracking what people are saying about the presidential and vice presidential candidates on Twitter and Facebook. Here’s today’s for the weekend (click here for the full-size version):

Full social media chart Aug 26 2012

In my analysis, I write:

In recent weeks, Obama has generally led Romney by two to seven percentage points in national polls, which carefully select their samples to reflect Americans most engaged in the election and registered to vote.

The picture is different among Americans who have gone online to talk about the election, however — NBCPolitics.com’s analysis indicates that that narrower but more diverse sample of the country prefers Romney by 36 percent to 32 percent overall and by 51 percent to 49 percent when they’re compared head to head:

'Intent to vote' sentiment Aug 26 2012

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Surprise! People are sophisticated

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Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET: Over at msnbc.com, I have a piece looking at how people have followed the Trayvon Martin case online. This is one of the projects we’re doing with Crimson Hexagon’s Forsight social media tools, which are explained in this post.

Although you might get the impression from news coverage of the case that the American public wants George Zimmerman’s head on a stake, what the American public has been saying on Twitter and Facebook and in online forums is much more nuanced.

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Is American intelligence on the right track?

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Over at msnbc.com, I have a report on the annual national intelligence assessment. In it, National Intelligence Director James Clapper told senators that al-Qaida could be receding to purely symbolic status, leaving the United States with the challenge of confronting numerous new, harder-to-get-a-grip-on security threats.

Read the details here and let me know whether you agree. And if so, how should Washington refocus its intelligence resources?

We also have a poll on Facebook: Is the U.S. safer today?

Written by Alex

January 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Reporting: For some churches, the Internet clicks; for others it doesn’t

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Over at msnbc.com, I have a long piece examining how religious institutions regard the Internet and especially social media:

[T]he Catholic Church has a long history of being an early adopter of new forms of media, going back to the 1920s, when Catholic priests pioneered radio evangelism, Campbell said.

At the same time, other religious institutions, especially traditional U.S. Protestant denominations, are still sorting through the challenges as well as the opportunities posed by the Internet, and particularly social media, according to church leaders and administrators.

“I think there’s a lot of groups trying to figure it out,” said John Davidson, a fundraising and ministry consultant for churchextension.org, which supports the ministry of the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ.

I talked to the Rev. Bobby Gruenewald, the “innovation leader” at LifeChurch.tv, a very sophisticated worldwide online ministry. He pinpoints the divide this way:

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Written by Alex

November 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

Police Blotter of the Day: Cops graciously accommodate crook

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“A fugitive fool who taunted cops on his Facebook page, ‘Catch me if you can, I’m in Brooklyn’ — has been captured by U.S. marshals.

“And guess where.

“Victor Burgos was sitting at a computer with his Facebook page open when a task force of marshals and NYPD detectives tracked him down in an apartment on Jefferson St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. …

“‘He told us via Facebook to come and get him and we did,’ Utica police Sgt. Steve Hauck told the Daily News yesterday.”

Full story (New York Daily News)

Written by Alex

July 29, 2011 at 6:22 am

‘This is about social networks that are beyond the reach of Mubarak’

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Cross-posted from Technolog: read in context

Large parts of the Internet essentially went dark about midnight Egypt time after the government of President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime ally of Washington, ordered service providers and cell phone companies to shut down.

While it looks like Egypt has been cut off — attempts to get to pretty much any Web site in Egypt are unsuccessful, and Twitter.com is unavailable inside the country — protesters and sympathizers have been able to get their message out through a variety of means because “what the government does is very effective for stopping the most basic users, meaning average users, the folks who probably aren’t Twitter users,” says Philip N. Howard, director of the Project on Information Technology and Political Islam at the University of Washington and author of “The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Information Technology and Political Islam.”

“Most of the folks who are tweeting are kind of the digital elite who can set up proxy servers and Twitter clients and get their message out,” he says. “It only takes a few thousand of those folks to feed the rest of us news about what’s going on.”

Here’s the text of our full conversation with Howard:

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Written by Alex

January 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

Why I’m leaving Facebook

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Goodbye, Facebook. I’ll miss the updates from my friends, but I won’t miss you or your always-changing, let’s-see-if-we-can-trick-users-into-divulging-all-their-info privacy shenanigans.

I won’t miss the flood of useless Farmville/Mafia Wars/You’ve-Earned-A-Star!/Support-My-Cause autogenerated spam.

I won’t miss your lockbox Terms of Service (which neither you nor I ever read all the way through) and their declaration that you own and can license all my content.

I won’t miss dreadfully misleading “delete account” process, which seeks to trick users into thinking they’ve deleted their accounts when they’ve actually only “deactivated” them — thereby leaving all their content on your servers to use as you wish.

It was fun for a while, Facebook, but now you’ve grown too big for your britches. I’m casting my lot with Twitter, instead (I’m at @MAlexJohnson).

Written by Alex

May 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm

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