Words to live (on the internet) by

They comment on other people’s posts.They like other people’s posts.They share them.They don’t always talk about themselves.They have kind words for other people.They help other people without expecting anything in return.Even so, they reciprocate when people help them out.They add positive energy to the net.They always try to see things from other people’s point of view.They genuinely listen.They stand up for people who are being hunted.They read posts before responding to them.

Thank you, Dave Winer, for reminding us that we don’t have to be part of the bad behaviour that seems to have become so much the norm on social networks. Small gestures by individuals can make a difference.

Source: What do nice Internet users do?

Why I won’t be using Twitter’s new content filters

Some new features to help you control what you see and who you interact with on Twitter

Twitter logo

Twitter opens a window on the world. We can see events as they occur through the eyes of first hand witnesses and we can discuss events and issues with others. We can be entertained. We can learn. We can expand our horizons.

Unfortunately, these positive experiences may be offset by exposure to trollish behaviour and harrassment.

Yesterday, Twitter announced two new features that will allow people to filter the content that they see in their notifications and main twitter stream. A new Quality Filter will suppress content that Twitter’s algorithm considers to be low quality, such as “duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated.” In addition, a new control will be added to the notifications pane to enable users to “limit notifications to only people they follow.”

Providing users with greater control over what gets into their Twitter feed will be welcomed by many.

I, however, do not plan to enable either feature. Why wouldn’t I use these features? For a couple of reasons.

First, because I curate my feed, the trolls don’t find their way into it. I am not a profligate follower. I don’t automatically follow everyone who follows me. I follow only those people who have caught my attention with their views and thoughtfulness or their humour or just the fact that they are interesting people. So, I rarely have the problem of seeing garbage content. And when I do see it, I unfollow or block the source.

Second, I don’t want an algorithm to make my content decisions for me. I especially do not want to be limited to seeing only the content of people whom I have already followed. I do want to be open to the person who I have never met but who comes into my notifications because he or she shares my interests and has responded to something I said. And that doesn’t mean just someone who agrees with me. It also means the people who disagree with me, but who offer something worth considering in their disagreement. I want to discover these people. Because contact with the people I disagree with is my protection against homophily, the tendency we all have to seek out and associate with the people we agree with, the people most like us.

Homophily is the enemy of open-mindedness. And my open Twitter feed, a feed that is open to discovery, is my protection against being trapped in the bubble of likemindedness.

And that’s why I won’t be using Twitter’s new filters. They may create a safer experience. But at a price. A price I’m not willing to pay.

WordPress 4.6 “Pepper”

Version 4..6 of WordPress, named “Pepper” in honor of jazz baritone saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard.. New features in 4..6 help you to focus on the important things while feeling more at home..

I have been using WordPress since I launched ProPR.ca over a decade ago in 2005. And one of the things I look forward to are the videos they include with the notification of each upgrade to the platform.

Today’s it’s WordPress 4.6, named “Pepper.” And the video is straightforward and helpful. It doesn’t oversell. It tells me about the major changes and then gets out the way.


Hey WordPress team: Well done!

Source: WordPress 4.6 “Pepper”

Email and Twitter messages give behind the scenes picture of Ottawa sinkhole crisis management

Correspondence from key city officials after the massive sinkhole opened up reveal a scramble to control the situation — and the message.

In mid-morning June 8,  a gigantic sinkhole opened up in the middle of Ottawa‘s busiest shopping district. When I say gigantic, the sinkhole was big enough to swallow a van.

Luckily, no one was injured or killed. But the sinkhole broke gas mains, disrupted electricity to nearby businesses and close down one of the busiest intersections in Ottawa for several weeks. It also flooded the tunnel for auto was new LRT line, which was being bored beneath the location of the sinkhole.

Ottawa Council was sitting at the time of the incident. And you can only imagine what went on behind the scenes as the Mayor and Councillors pressed city staff and emergency workers on the scene for information to respond to news media questions. Well, actually, you can do more than image it. Thanks to the Ottawa Citizen, which filed an Access to Information request for the communications relating to the incident. The City of Ottawa delivered texts from email and twitter. On Friday, the Citizen published the verbatim highlights of the communications between the Mayor, Councillors, staff and contractors. And it makes interesting reading for anyone working in a communications position who have yet to have their first experience in real life crisis communications.

What do these communications show? People doing their jobs, trying to separate conjecture from fact and attempting to provide an honest, but responsible picture for the media and public of what they know and what was happening. Among the highlights:

  • This really was a “near miss.” Two city buses passed over the road only minutes before it collapsed.
  • In a world in which citizens provide witness to remarkable events, it was ironic that one of the first people to post a picture on twitter was a CTV weather announcer. Some days, you’re just in the right place at the right time.
  • Trolls will be trolls. Amidst the otherwise dry exchanges of information are a couple emails best not responded to. One writer copies Ottawa Jim Watson on an email addressed to Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne sarcastically comparing Ottawa’s sinkhole to the province’s Climate Change Action Plan.
  • In the midst of things, you just have to find a moment to smile. One city staffer found humorous relief forwarding an article in The Beaverton that attributed the sinkhole to the weight of people waiting in line to use the bathroom at a nearby McDonald’s.

Bottom line: the emails give a good picture of a system working as it should. Contractors and staff getting to the bottom of things and working to fix them. Politicians responding to the public and media. A classic case of finding focus in chaos.

Source: Emails from city officials show chaos after Ottawa sinkhole opened

Perceived bias or real bias? Inside PR 451

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Twitter opens verification to everyone. Yahoo closes an era. Anthony Ponce is a backseat rider. And the New York Times Public Editor shines a spotlight on the importance of perceived bias.

Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley cover these topics on Inside PR 451.

#IPRMustKnow

RIP Yahoo

Yahoo once was the directory of the internet. So, we couldn’t let it fade into oblivion without marking the event.

Verify me, Twitter

It has been a widely-coveted symbol – the Twitter blue verification check mark. Now, we all can apply for it. Many will be called, but few will be granted? Have you applied for Twitter verification under the new process? Has your application been approved?

Backseat Rider

Anthony Ponce left his job as an on-air news anchor to spend full-time driving tax and posting the stories he picks up to his Facebook page. An interesting experiment. Politicians long have known that the best briefing they could get when visiting a city is the discussion with the taxi driver. They go everywhere and see everything.

Bias in News Media Redux

This is the issue we live with on a day by day basis. It’s also something which viewers of Fox News seem to accept, even welcome. Liz Spayd, the recently-appointed Public Editor at the New York Times reminds us that perception and reality do not necessarily converge when it comes to the issue of bias in news coverage. We’ve talked a lot about bias and personal perspective. And Spayd’s column brings us back to this topic.

Listen to the full podcast

Download Inside PR 451.

Google Play extends sharing with Family Library

…we’re introducing Family Library, a way for up to six family members to share purchases on Google Play. When you buy an eligible app, game, movie, TV show, or book in the Play Store, you can now share it with your family—across devices—with no additional sign-up fee...

Netflix does it. Apple music does it. Google Play Music does it. And now Google extends sharing purchases with family members beyond music.

That’s a good thing and probably can be seen as table stakes in the online media  rental and purchase marketplace. As a father, I’ve taken advantage of family sharing for several years. It has  proven a good way for  both Apple and Google to get my family members hooked on their services, so that when they leave home they set up their own accounts.

If you haven’t got family sharing yet, you should see it in the next few days.

Source: Google Play Family Library: Share what you love with the ones you love

Hey Twitter, What’s Happening?

…most [people] didn’t know or simply misunderstood what Twitter was for – many thought of Twitter primarily as a social network, a place to find and connect with friends and family members. Second, they thought if they wanted to use Twitter, they were “supposed to Tweet every day” and didn’t think they would have that much to say. We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do!

Twitter has problems. Growth has stalled, even shrinking. People who haven’t used it aren’t sure what it is. New users find it confusing and difficult to get started. Executives are jumping ship. And the Trolls keep popping up.

In the past year, the company has tried to handle these problems in a substantive way, introducing a raft of improvements, including better integration and display of videos, less restrictive character limits on tweets, an easier way for new users to find and connect with people,  longer and easier direct messaging, and a new timeline algorithm that shows you the top tweets that you missed when you were signed off. And in the past few weeks, it has added a raft of deals to live stream MLB and NHL games.

Now, the company is ready to reintroduce itself to the world – with a new video ad campaign headed up by the tag line, “What’s Happening.” The campaign emphasizes video of recognizable events, highlighting Twitter as a place not just to talk about what is happening, but to actually see what is happening.

I use Twitter constantly as a news feed. News about what my friends think is important. News about what is happening in the world.

I can’t imagine a world without Twitter. So, as an avid user. I wish them well. And hopefully, the last line in their blog post announcing the campaign will in fact prove to be true: “This is just the beginning!”

Fingers crossed for Twitter.

 

Source: See Whats Happening | Twitter Blogs

Post Ghost’s battle with Twitter raises issues that just won’t go away

Post Ghost logoPost Ghost, a service that preserved deleted tweets, was told to cease doing this by Twitter. Post Ghost complied and shut down its service. But it did not go quietly. They published an Open Letter to Twitter, arguing that the deleted tweets of people with very large followings could have as much impact on public issues as the tweets of politicians. Citing deleted tweets about the Brexit vote by British celebrities with large followings, they say, “the ability to reach millions of followers instantly and leave no trace is a massive and growing power, and one that is currently completely unchecked and undocumented.”

The Post Ghost letter raises important issues that have been debated before and will continue to be debated. And that’s just what Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley do on this week’s Inside PR podcast.

You can listen to the entire episode on the Inside PR blog.

The most neglected device in the office

Look around your office. What device has been on your desk longer than any other device? And what device has changed the least? The odds are, it’s your telephone.

Goodbye-Phone

Now ask yourself could you live without that telephone? A few years ago, the answer to that question would have been an emphatic “No.”Today, however, for most of us the answer probably is that we would just as soon do without this old-fashioned device.

The time has long passed that there was anything remarkable to noting that our communication had moved from voice telephone calls to email, to text, to Skype, to messaging, and to apps like Slack. If you’re like me, the phone may ring two or three times in a business day. And when it does ring, you look at the old-fashioned interface and wonder why it needs so many buttons for such a simple dumb task as a voice call.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that businesses are making the move to eliminate the desktop telephone.

My company, Thornley Fallis, is one of those businesses. A couple years ago,  we made the move from owning our own email servers to running our company through Microsoft Office 365 as a cloud-based subscription service. At that time, we retired our old-fashioned PBX and replaced it with a VOIP telephone system.

Now it’s time to make the next move. We are introducing Skype for Business onto the computers and mobile devices of our team. As we do this, we are experiencing the convenience and increased efficiencies of being able to launch voice and video calls with two or more people people using the devices that we use most. We can share documents and have calls involving two or more people, put them in our schedule or start them spontaneously with the click. It just feels more contemporary.

So far, we’ve been doing this internal to our team. The next step: adding access to the public switched telephone network, including teleconferences through it. That’s not a huge final step. But it will be a tremendous step for the people I work with.

Once we make this move, calls will come directly to our computers, tablets, or phones. Each of us will have our own number and it won’t matter to anyone whether we are answering at our desks in the office, at our kitchen tables at home, or in a hotel room on the road. We’ll just be there. We’ll just be accessible. And will be able to work whenever, wherever, and on the terms that we dictate.

So shed a tear for the old-fashioned desktop telephone. It was our constant companion for decades. But no more.

Announcing an Application Process for Verified Accounts

There goes the neighbourhood. Now we all can be sure that we are who we think we are. Twitter will verify it. 🙂

Verified accounts on Twitter allow people to identify key individuals and organizations on Twitter as authentic, and are denoted by a blue badge icon. An account may be verified if it is determined to be of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by public figures and organizations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.

Source: Announcing an Application Process for Verified Accounts