Pies, Hacks and Tweets

Posted by Claire Burdett On July - 22 - 2011

The TWitter coverage of the 'Hackgate' (special commons committee questions to the Murdocks) enquiry was watched and followed on line by millions worldwiideIt’s been a fascinating week for news, with some really interesting stories erupting and rumbling all around social media, the internet and the media in general.

The #NOTW story has been omnipresent again. First we all woke up to the fact that @LulzSec had hacked the Sun’s website and the furious media speculation as to the hows and whys, and then millions watched worldwide on pretty much every available network to the Commons select committee’s questioning of Murdocks Senior and Junior – and, of course, the pie attack.

Most of them also seemed to be on Twitter, including @Lord_Sugar, who was less than impressed with the MPs questioning of Murdock Senior “Bloody stupid questions to Rupert about micro detail when N.O.W represents 1% of his empire. Waste of time trying humiliate the old man.”

The whole thing was a bit of a media circus, frankly, but it did spark a wonderful array of side comments  (@porridgebrain: In a minute James Murdoch’s going to remove his hair piece to reveal Voldemort’s face on the back of his head #hackgate), conversations (@charlesarthur: So Nick Frost as Tom Watson, Lucy Liu as Wendy… #keepcastingthefilm ..Keith Richards as Murdock Snr) and games, such as the Murdock bingo card and the Ask Murdock search engine.

Twitter does seem to have carved itself an invaluable niche as a social commentary running alongside most televised events do these days, and indeed the BBC announced this week that social data on a “second screen” is increasingly becoming a complementary experience (and yes, we all saw you check your Twitter stream @tom_watson!).

From that special parliamentary session, through The Apprentice to Wimbledon and Eurovision, Twitter has quickly become the social commentary feed of choice and it will be interesting to see if Twitter themselves can capitalise on this, brand-wise, and make this profitable with their plans to add sponsored adverts in the near future.

Twitter have had an eventful week all over really. As a further illustration of its increasing importance, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuala, is using it to help govern his country while he stays in hospital undergoing cancer treatment, while back at Twitter HQ they have nearly completed their $800 million funding round, which will value the company at approximately $8 billion, as well as cash out some of the company’s early employees and investors.

This is good timing as they have a new broom, Jack Dorsey, now in place at the helm following the departure of founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and Jack Goldman. Continuing Dorsey’s clean sweep, four key account managers, Kevin Cheng, Josh Elman, Anamitra Banerji and Jean-Paul Cozzatti, from the old regime were let go this week, so let’s hope it means that this increasingly important network can now begin to capitalise on what it has achieved to date and go on to bigger and better things.

And as the social networks become more and more embedded in our lives, Google and Facebook are spending increasing amounts lobbying those good folks in Washington to ensure that decisions on privacy and IP go their way, while DARPA have announced that they are offering $42 million in grants to develop what it calls a ‘science of social networks’ and NASA’s fierce embrace of Twitter and other social media to connect with the public is being seen as what might be the space agency’s saving grace.

Google is still attracting many column inches and although still getting variable reviews, it now has 18 million users and has broken records as the fastest growing social network in history. However, the rate of gain is beginning to slow and it has a long way to go before it will challenge the dominance of Facebook.

However, Google HQ seem pleased and has indicated that they feel they have got things right with Google + and that Google Labs, which was where new ideas were incubated, will be wound down. This is to be applauded we feel since so much of what Google has ‘incubated’ in the past has been way off target.

It will be interesting to see how it settles down as most people are seeing it as add-on rather than a replacement to the main players – except, we were interested to note, some of who might be called the ‘Google obsessed’, who have been a bit quick at shooting down even neutral comments about Google+ on Google+ itself, leading to an oddly aggressive and uncomfortable atmosphere there this week.

However, we have a sneaky suspicion that Google may have more aggressive plans than just being an equal player at the Social Network Grand Boardroom, and interestingly it has already made its first acquisition and bought Fridge for an undisclosed sum.

There have also been interesting figures out this week showing just how successful Apple has been with the iPad.  They basically created the market for tablets and are still the front runner by a long way (and deservedly so we feel), although we are keen to see what Amazon comes up with this autumn.

And as the UK State schools shut their doors for the long summer holidays, it has been reported in The Telegraph that the majority of us feel deprived without an internet connection. We can’t say we are surprised, especially as access to the internet has now been deemed a fundamental human right.

Thank you for reading our weekly round up… and on the subject of thank yous we particularly like this recent social development, which adds a human face via social thank yous to social location.

See you next week.

 

 

 

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