Thursday, March 10, 2011

Twitterverse - What You Want To Believe In


Vijay Sarma - Twitter

Regular updates, aphorisms, analysis and ideas.


We can see Twitter is being heavily promoted by our corporate media, even bizarrely as an activist tool for resistance when they usually ignore activists. Social networking is now really popular, but that's probably because it's not as effective as normal conversations in improving communication. In fact, the opposite may be true.

People should be careful. See evidence below on how Twitter and social networking tools affect our ability to communicate and make it tougher to want to talk to each other in the normal ways we used to. This destroys confidence in our ability to talk, reduces the number of words we can remember and use and more. And fast.

Global standardization of thought is part of "globalization" plans by central bankers at the top who control currency, credit and countries to make us easier to control. Using the media to encourage people to blurt random ego-syntonic feelings, or riff on mostly mainstream topics in 140 characters or less, may be part of the plan.

Online corporate and government surveillance isn't just to violate our privacy. It's to collect huge amounts of data to push trends and brainwash us easier. We can add the fact that governments are openly hiring armies of "sockpuppets" or fake online personas to talk to us in blurts and broken-english and control what we say.

When people need to learn about, understand and defend their families against the "new world order" being created by super-rich people working for global governance, the less we learn to speak about things, the harder it is to explain, talk about and do something about. This is probably accidental, so we should figure out what to do.

Social networking is what people are into, so it makes sense to do it, except to be careful how often. Our relationships get threatened by our inability to communicate, or lack of a desire to, which can leave us feeling isolated. Social networking can also lead to social constipation as we struggle to express our unique selves less.

Fortunately, changes to our cultures are happening so fast it's impossible to avoid noticing them, especially adults who've been around long enough to see many. As long as we take time offline to discuss them in detail with people where we live, we can work together to get our politicians and governments to help us handle them.


Vijay Sarma - Facebook

Regular blogs, occasional pictures, rare chats.


New York Times: Antisocial Networking?

"HEY, you’re a dork," said the girl to the boy with a smile. "Just wanted you to know."

Andy Wilson, 11, left, and his brother Evan, 14, go on Facebook in their treehouse in Atlanta.

"Thanks!" said the boy.

"Just kidding," said the girl with another smile. "You’re only slightly dorky, but other than that, you’re pretty normal — sometimes."

They both laughed.

"See you tomorrow," said the boy.

"O.K., see you," said the girl.

It was a pretty typical pre-teen exchange, one familiar through the generations. Except this one had a distinctly 2010 twist. It was conducted on Facebook. The smiles were colons with brackets. The laughs were typed ha ha’s. "O.K." was just "K" and "See you" was rendered as "c ya."

Children used to actually talk to their friends.


UK Telegraph: Mobile phone text messaging is making children more impulsive, claim researchers

Prof Abramson, an epidemiologist at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, said: "The kids who used their phones a lot were faster on some of the tests, but were less accurate.

"We suspect that using mobile phones a lot, particularly tools like predictive texts for SMS, is training them to be fast but inaccurate.


The UK Sunday Times: Why texting harms your IQ

That is the claim of psychologists who have found that tapping away on a mobile phone or computer keypad or checking them for electronic messages temporarily knocks up to 10 points off the user’s IQ.

This rate of decline in intelligence compares unfavourably with the four-point drop in IQ associated with smoking marijuana, according to British researchers, who have labelled the fleeting phenomenon of enhanced stupidity as "infomania".


One India: Facebook and Twitter affect teens' health

The research commissioned by Telstra also revealed that 65 percent of parents with children using social media say it distracts them from their homework, contributing to lethargic learning.

The research revealed 84 percent of 14 to 17 year old children use a social network and almost half of 10 to 13 year old use sites such as Facebook.


Suite 101: Health Risk of Social Networking

Lack of Time Results in Changed Behaviour

Social networks don't give their users the time to assess the value of each status update. The current incoming of new information forces the user to pass on to the next one without reconsidering what he just read or saw. In the long run, such a habit forms insensitive and numb personalities, as they are reading the most intimate and sometimes most horrible details of other's lives without the need of reacting to them as they would have to in a real conversation.


BBC News: Online networking 'harms health'

Dr Aric Sigman says websites such as Facebook set out to enrich social lives, but end up keeping people apart.

Dr Sigman makes his warning in Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology.

A lack of "real" social networking, involving personal interaction, may have biological effects, he suggests.

He also says that evidence suggests that a lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.

This, he claims, could increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and dementia.


New York Times: The Health Effects of Social Networking

Lady Greenfield (she’s a neuroscientist and a baroness) told The Daily Mail:

"My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment."

These remarks echo concerns that Lady Greenfield expressed earlier this month in a debate in the House of Lords, in which she said that social networking, as well as computer games, might be particularly harmful to children, and could be behind the observed rise in cases of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder:

"If the young brain is exposed from the outset to a world of fast action and reaction, of instant new screen images flashing up with the press of a key, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales."


Los Angeles Times: Women who post lots of photos of themselves on Facebook value appearance, need attention, study finds

A study on how people use social networking websites such as Facebook confirms what many of us suspected. Women who post loads of photos of themselves on their sites are conveying some strong personal characteristics, according to new research. These women are more likely to base their self-worth on appearance and use social networking to compete for attention.

The study involved 311 men and women with an average age of 23. In order to better understand aspects of social networking behavior, the researchers looked at the amount of time subjects spent managing profiles, the number of photos they shared, the size of their online networks and how promiscuous they were in terms of "friending" behavior. The participants completed a questionnaire designed to measure self worth and were asked about their typical behaviors on Facebook.,0,464632.story


Lisa Kift Therapy: Emotional and Relationship Health: Social Networking and the Problem of Over-Connection

Here are some indicators that social networking may be a concern for you or someone you know:

* focus and distraction problems

* less attention to important face-to-face relationships

* unhealthy meaning attached to the number of "followers" or "likes" attained

* compulsion to leave your real world – to the world of social networking- and ignoring obligations to work, family and friends

* discomfort with not checking for updates or responses for extended period of times

According to in the article, Excessive Internet Use is Linked to Depression, research has shown evidence that, "some users have developed a compulsive internet habit, whereby they replace real-life social interaction with online chat rooms and social networking sites. The results suggest that this type of addictive surfing can have a serious impact on mental health."


Ivanhoe Medical News: Health Behaviors Influenced By Social Networking

Social networking is taking over our society today, so much so that scientists believe even health behaviors are being affected, too.

Researchers believe that living in a network with close contact with people a person knows well and trusts affects his/her health behaviors. Redundancy is the key to change, when a person hears about the same idea multiple times they seem to change their habits to try out this new idea, and we see this redundancy happening most within dense clusters of connections.


Computer World: Army of fake social media friends to promote propaganda

It's recently been revealed that the U.S. government contracted HBGary Federal for the development of software which could create multiple fake social media profiles to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. It could also be used as surveillance to find public opinions with points of view the powers-that-be didn't like. It could then potentially have their "fake" people run smear campaigns against those "real" people. As disturbing as this is, it's not really new for U.S. intelligence or private intelligence firms to do the dirty work behind closed doors.


Daily Kos: The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All

According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HBGary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.


Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content. It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona. For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona. This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use.


To build this capability we will create a set of personas on twitter,‭ ‬blogs,‭ ‬forums,‭ ‬buzz,‭ ‬and myspace under created names that fit the profile‭ (‬satellitejockey,‭ ‬hack3rman,‭ ‬etc‭)‬.‭ ‬These accounts are maintained and updated automatically through RSS feeds,‭ ‬retweets,‭ ‬and linking together social media commenting between platforms.‭ ‬With a pool of these accounts to choose from,‭ ‬once you have a real name persona you create a Facebook and LinkedIn account using the given name,‭ ‬lock those accounts down and link these accounts to a selected‭ ‬#‭ ‬of previously created social media accounts,‭ ‬automatically pre-aging the real accounts.


Using the assigned social media accounts we can automate the posting of content that is relevant to the persona. In this case there are specific social media strategy website RSS feeds we can subscribe to and then repost content on twitter with the appropriate hashtags. In fact using hashtags and gaming some location based check-in services we can make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise, as one example. There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas


From another email, I found a government solicitation for this "Persona Management Software". [And a dozen job postings - Ed]

This confirms that in fact, the US Gov. is attempting to use this kind of technology. But it appears from the solicitation it is contracted for use in foreign theaters like Afghanistan and Iraq. I can't imagine why this is posted on an open site. And whenthis was discovered by a couple of HBGary staffers, they weren't too happy about it either:

The first email just had the title, "WTF Dude?"

The response email said, "This is posted on open source. Are you f--king serious?"

Here's the link to the solicitation at website "". Yes, that name doesn't sound like cronyism at all...


Twitterverse - What You Want To Believe In




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