Casual Evangelist

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

House Leadership Moves to Silence Twittering Members

Posted by Andrew on July 8, 2008

I’ve been following and interacting with two members of the US House of Representatives, John Culberson, Republican from Texas, and Tim Ryan, Democrat from Ohio. It has been great and refreshing to have this direct line of communication with these two Members of Congress and gain insights into what’s happening on Capitol Hill, often a black hole of mystery unless it’s your full time job to know what’s going on.

Rep. Culberson just sent a series of messages on Twitter indicating that the Democratic House Leadership is requiring that he submit each message for approval prior to posting. This move apparently invokes a little-known broader regulation that all Member communications posted on any public social networking site receive prior approval.

While I’m not even in a position to shed light on the Constitutionality of such a regulation, it surely flies in the face of government openness and transparency? What is the Democratic leadership trying to hide or keep from the public? The beauty of Twitter and similar platforms is that they are open communications for public consumption. I’ll spare any conjecture regarding potential motives behind such a move, political or not.

The Sunlight Foundation should explore this and weigh in to see if this is an attempt to silence public communication from our elected representatives in government.

UPDATE: Rep. Culberson got some clarity. Time to end centralized control and censorship of communications from government and elected officials. Thoughts?

Here’s Rep Capuano’s letter proposing changes. I’m a dolt…I can’t make heads or tails of which way this letter is going.

UPDATE #2: George Donnelly has a great list of articles and posts about this issue. Aaron Brazell has some comprehensive coverage of the issue.

Update #4: A site has been launched: LetOurCongressTweet.org – produced by The Sunlight Foundation. Way to go!

UPDATE #3: Boehner Gets Involved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2008

CONTACTS: Michael Steel, Kevin Smith, Steve Forde – (202) 225-4000

Boehner Urges Speaker Pelosi to Shut Down Democrats’ Proposed Censorship
of the Internet

House GOP Leader Warns: New “YouTube” Rule Proposed by
Democratic-Controlled House Administration Committee “Would Amount to
New Government Censorship of the Internet”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today
wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), urging her to join him in opposing
a new rule proposed by the Democratic leadership of the House
Administration Committee that would require outside websites such as
YouTube to comply with House regulations before Members of Congress
could post videos on them. Under the proposal, the House Administration
Committee would develop a list of “approved” websites, and Members of
Congress would be restricted to only publishing content using these
sites. Calling it “new government censorship of the Internet,” Boehner
asked Speaker Pelosi to join him in opposing the proposed rule.

“The Internet is a powerful tool for promoting openness and transparency
in government,” Boehner wrote. “It has given individual Americans an
unprecedented window into the daily actions and policy debates of their
Congress. The result has increasingly been a better informed electorate
– better equipped with real-time information about what is happening in
their government, and more empowered to hold their leaders accountable.”

Highlighting the Democratic-controlled House Administration Committee’s
attempts to effectively shut down the free flow of information on the
Internet between Members of Congress and the American people, Boehner
assailed the proposed rule.

“If this proposed rule were to be implemented, Americans who currently
use free websites such as YouTube to obtain uncensored daily information
on congressional policy debates would suddenly be forced to visit
websites ‘approved’ by the House Administration Committee in order to
continue getting such information,” explained Boehner. “This would
amount to new government censorship of the Internet, by a panel of
federal officials that is neither neutral nor independent.”

Urging Speaker Pelosi to join him in opposing the Democratic-controlled
House Administration Committee’s planned actions, Boehner concluded,
“Millions of Americans get information about what is happening in their
government through the Internet and free websites like YouTube. I am
writing to seek your assurance that the Democratic majority does not
intend to deprive them of this right, and to request that you join me in
opposing the proposed new rules.”

Boehner’s full letter to Pelosi follows and is available by clicking
here
.

July 9, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

The Internet is a powerful tool for promoting openness and transparency
in government. It has given individual Americans an unprecedented
window into the daily actions and policy debates of their Congress. The
result has increasingly been a better informed electorate – better
equipped with real-time information about what is happening in their
government, and more empowered to hold their leaders accountable.

It has come to my attention that the Democratic-controlled Committee on
House Administration, at the recommendation of the Democratic chairman
of the Commission on Mailing Standards (Franking Commission), is
considering the adoption of new congressional rules that would
effectively shut down what has emerged as a free and helpfully
uncensored pipeline of real-time information between the American people
and their elected leaders. Specifically, the Committee is considering
the adoption of new rules that would require outside websites such as
YouTube to comply with House regulations before Members of Congress
could post videos on them. Under the proposal, the House Administration
Committee would develop a list of “approved” websites, and Members of
Congress would be restricted to only publishing content using these
sites.

If this proposed rule were to be implemented, Americans who currently
use free websites such as YouTube to obtain uncensored daily information
on congressional policy debates would suddenly be forced to visit
websites “approved” by the House Administration Committee in order to
continue getting such information. This would amount to new government
censorship of the Internet, by a panel of federal officials that is
neither neutral nor independent.

I believe Members of Congress should have the ability to choose
whichever service they believe will best assist in communicating with
their constituents, and not be limited to only services “approved” by
the House Administration Committee or any other government entity. We
must encourage, not restrict, the free and open flow of uncensored
information between the American people and their elected leaders over
the Internet.

Members should be allowed to use technologies, websites, and services
(paid or unpaid) to communicate with their constituents via text, video,
or audio, so long as the content posted by the Member complies with
House rules and Franking content regulations. Members should be allowed
to use free communications and networking services so long as those
services are available on the same terms and conditions available to
others. This view has been expressed formally to the Democratic
Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Robert Brady, by
the Committee’s senior Republican member, Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), and
by Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Tom Price (R-GA).

Millions of Americans get information about what is happening in their
government through the Internet and free websites like YouTube. I am
writing to seek your assurance that the Democratic majority does not
intend to deprive them of this right, and to request that you join me in
opposing the proposed new rules.

Sincerely,

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)
House Republican Leader

#####

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Posted in Politics, The Social Web | Tagged: , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Get a Customized Twitterwhore T-Shirt!

Posted by Andrew on June 24, 2008

Scott Stead has started offering Twitterwhore T-Shirts, customized with your Twitter handle and “Follow me” on the back. Very cool. Coming from someone who always puts their Twitter name on their name tag at conferences to easily link up with and meet people I converse with on Twitter, I imagine this shirt will become a mainstay of Social Media and Tech events in the near future. Mine’s on the way!

Order your Twitterwhore T-Shirt Here!

I’ll post a pic when this WordPress bug is fixed.

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

BrightKite on Twitter is *Friendly* Spam

Posted by Andrew on May 9, 2008

The latest “gotta have an invite code” craze on Twitter is for Brightkite, the “location-based social network.” I’m not currently using Brightkite, but I can see the potential value of the service (find out where your friends are and see who’s near you, etc.). However, like other valuable Web-based services, such as Flickr, the Twitter interface is useless and only serves to spam your friends with irrelevant information.

In my opinion, Auto-Tweets from Brightkite users may have dethroned Flickr-generated updates as the king of useless and annoying Twitter spam. While the Twitter application by nature makes professional spamming ineffective by robbing the spammer of an audience, willing or otherwise, Auto-Tweet spam is different. It’s from your friends, and you don’t want to unfollow your friends. So you deal with it or face an unpleasant decision.

A typical Brightkite Auto-Tweet looks like this:

I’m at 123 Elm Street, Springfield KY (Springfield, KY)” and a link to a map.

There’s no context. Nothing about what’s happening, why you’re there, who you’re with, or what you’re doing. Just dry geographical information. What are Twitter followers supposed to do with this information? Hop in their cars and drive to your location? We don’t even know how long you plan on being there, and you may be gone by then. Hell, with gas prices these days, that could really dent the wallet.

There are a few useful Auto-Tweets, such as a new blog post or a WhyGoSolo event posting, both of which provide contextual information in the message as well as a call for interested parties to take action by clicking through for additional information. Looking at a map or viewing a blurry photo of your cat provides no value.

If you’re somewhere and want people to join you, by all means manually tweet it. And if you’ve taken a particularly stunning or interesting photo, provide your followers a link.

Go ahead, un-check that Twitter update box. Your followers will thank you.

UPDATE: Ike Pigott has initiated #darkanvil

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

Twitter Use Goes Mainstream?

Posted by Andrew on January 13, 2008

The other night at the tweetup I met Jeff Royce a real estage agent in Fairfax, VA who uses twitter to connect with other agents and thought-leaders in the industry. Most of those I converse with on Twitter are in the tech and web industries, and I had mistakenly assumed that the service hadn’t spread too far from such circles. Turns out, I was wrong, and happy to discover it.

Twitter early adopters are essentially bloggers and their readers (covering all industry or specialty areas). It will be interesting to see if it goes mainstream beyond early adopters, like Facebook …and MySpace before that. Where’s the tipping point?

UPDATE: In reply to Wayne Sutton’s question about why kids don’t use twitter: They don’t need to. They’re already social as hell. Twitter helps undo the social fracturing of adulthood.

[I’ll stop blogging about twitter soon…I swear.]

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Echo Chambers

Posted by Andrew on January 12, 2008

The polling-driven commentary leading up to the New Hampshire primary on cable news.

The conservative nature of talk radio.

Social media, scoble and facebook, data portability on Twitter.

Conversations, exploration and discovery, or echo chambers and self-validation?

New Hampshire voters stuck it to the echo chamber. The grassroots choosing candidates other than those favored by radio hosts. People are still throwing sheep at each other on facebook.

UPDATE: I had a few before writing this!

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tweetup Last Night

Posted by Andrew on January 11, 2008

The thing I like the most about Twitter in comparison to all of the other socnet tools out there (yeah, I’m talking about you, FB), is that it is so good at facilitating offline, in-person gatherings where you get to meet so many great people in your area. Last night, a bunch of DC-area twitterers (and Baltimore) met up at Jimmy’s Tavern in Herndon, and it was a great time with some people I’d previously met, and some I hadn’t.

Topics of discussion ranged from the new Nationals ballpark, the presidential race, blogging strategies, corporate social media strategies, why Peter Angelos sucks, “twuck” vlogging, web start-ups and venture financing, and, of course, Twitter. I will blog about some of these topics and the insights discussed soon, but until then, the shout-outs…

Steven Fisher
George Brett
Jill Foster
Susan Reynolds
Kate Reynolds
Bill Reynolds
Jeff Hibbard
Shashi Bellamkonda
Bob Mertz
Maria Norton
Nahum Gershon
Jonny Goldstein
Aaron Brazell
Nicole Brazell
Jimmy Gardner
Joe Loung
Sujay Rao – soon to be on Twitter!
Eric Blair

Good stuff y’all…till next time.

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Twitter = Human-Powered Recommendation RSS Engine

Posted by Andrew on January 9, 2008

Twitter = Human-Powered Recommendation RSS Engine

Three things I’ve noticed since I started using Twitter on a regular basis:

1) I’m using my RSS Reader much less
2) I’m visiting actual blogs more rather than simply reading posts in a reader
3) I’m discovering more interesting blogs and other content than when using blog search engines and the typical blog-post link love

On Twitter, I receive recommendations of quality content and interesting ideas, with links. You have your circle of friends that add value to your day, your work, your life. Whether they are in the same industry as you, or simply provoke you to think about things in new ways, you are exposed to ideas and timely content in new ways.

One tip: Add value as well, rather than simply getting value…

…and recognize echo chamber tendencies.

@vasta says Twitter is “collaborative human filtering”
@abacab says Twitter is “text-based CB Radio. For nerds.”
@sblowes: “if twitter is a productivity killer, seesmic is that on steroids.”
What is Twitter to you?

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Twitter is an Asynchronous Mobile Roundtable

Posted by Andrew on December 14, 2007

I haven’t been using Twitter for very long, but one thing’s clear: it isn’t microblogging. I started using Twitter because I felt that maintaining a traditional blog wasn’t well aligned with my ADHD or whatever it is that makes me think that something else is always worth paying more attention to until I pay attention to it and, well, I digress. To me, Twitter, with its glorious 140-character limit, was the ticket. Even with my attention span taken into account, I could do this. No problem.

Now I’ve got a few followers on Twitter, and a few more that I follow, and it occurred to me that Twitter isn’t microblogging, and it’s not a simple tool to let others know “what you’re doing.” It’s more like a group of people sitting around a table chatting, referring content, exchanging ideas, meeting up offline, etc. But you don’t miss anything if you get up from the table to grab a beer. And there’s not just one table, but lots of tables. Everyone has their own table, with their group sitting at the table, but each of those people have their own table. You’re sitting at their table, but you only see your table.

Explaining Twitter to the uninitiated is good times.

Maybe a more accurate term would be that Twitter is an Asynchronous Mobile Multiverse of Interwoven Roundtables. Weird.

UPDATE: Kids don’t seem to use twitter..they don’t need to. They’re already very social. Twitter helps undo the social fracturing of adulthood.

Posted in The Social Web | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »