Posted in 21st Century life, Internet statistics, online communication, online data collecting, web research

Twitter’s Got Bots: Lots of T​hem

Pew Twitter bots

Twitter is becoming a more influential part of everyday 21st Century life. However, we all need to understand that not all tweets are sent by people.

Recently Pew Internet researchers designed a Twitter study aiming to figure out what portion of tweet traffic comes from bots. Bots are automated programs that tweet or retweet information around the web, but they do so without the help of people.

Bots are not necessarily bad or nefarious. Tweets that announce weather, traffic, remind you of a concert starting time, or warn communities of nearby problems serve a constructive purpose, but they are often sent by bots.    Continue reading “Twitter’s Got Bots: Lots of T​hem”

Posted in 21st Century life, anonymity, anonymous apps, commenting, digital world reading habits, ethical behavior, hate groups on the web, online hate, parents and technology, raising digital kids

Is Hate Speech in the Connected World Here to Stay?

Expressing hate is so easy with just a few taps on the keyboard.
Expressing hate is takes just a few taps on a keyboard.

Hate speech has been around for a long time, but the connected world has amplified it. Sometimes hateful and threatening comments on social media and in comment sections feel like they are run-of-the-mill daily events. Sadly, Twitter, an awesome social media communications platform — one that I and many educators use and adore — has offered one of the easiest pathways for hate speech amplification. Twitter makes it easy to be “sort-of” anonymous.

For a good overview of Twitter’s online hate problems, take a few minutes to read Jim Rutenberg’s New York Times article, On Twitter, Hate Speech Bounded Only by a Character Limit. Rutenburg shares some of the hateful accusations he’s received and talks about the challenges that Twitter faces with so much hateful, accusatory, and threatening speech. He notes that Twitter, which is no longer growing its subscriber base, is now for sale. Gutenberg speculates on who might purchase it. “You have to wonder,” he writes, “whether the cap on Twitter’s growth is tied more to that basic — and base — of human emotions: hatred.”                                                    Continue reading “Is Hate Speech in the Connected World Here to Stay?”

Posted in digital learning, digital parenting, online safety, online security, parents and technology, scams and fraud

That Nasty Spam Won’t Affect Me … but It Did!

I know a lot about technology. I’ve taught people from preschool to aging seniors. I write blogs, participate in social media sites, and love my e-mail. I know enough to keep my digital accounts out of danger, until now, that is …

On Thursday early evening, I came home, terribly tired — maybe too tired to work on technology tasks. With a cup of tea, I sat down to look over my blogs and Twitter account where I discovered a funny message, from someone I know and respect. That Tweet reported on a not-so-nice Tweet about me, and I only needed to click on the link to check it out.

Now I have been teaching digital common sense and responsibility for nearly 20 years. I have made presentations to kids, parents, teachers, church members, seniors, and even newly arrived  immigrants about taking care, not opening attachments, and not clicking on links. But in this case, I did not even think about it. I clicked, and the naughty link did its work, sending out copies of the message to every one of my followers.

Continue reading “That Nasty Spam Won’t Affect Me … but It Did!”

Posted in online security, privacy, Twitter hoax

Twitter Hoax — Watch those Tweets!

If you use Twitter, watch out for a spam tweet — usually a direct message tweet that tells you about a “crazy personal message.”  Do not click on the link that accompanies the message. If you do you may send out the hoax to your Twitter followers. If it goes on for too long before you do anything, it may also send out a message from your account.  Oh, and the original message may come from someone you know, like, and trust. Mine did.

Because it’s a scam, do the following things.

  • Change your Twitter password.
  • Disconnect from all connected accounts such as Facebook, newspapers, Linked-in, etc. Wait a day or so to reconnect.
  • Log out all devices.
  • Restart all devices as needed.

You should be ok.  However, keep an eye out on your Twitter account.

Posted in digital parenting, electronic communication, family conversations, parents and technology, social media, social networking, teaching digital kids

Twitter Stats for the State of the Union

Politico, a Washington weekly newspaper that meticulously covers all things political, published this nifty Twitter graphic illustrating the tweeting environment during 2012 State of the Union (SOTU) speech. The data collection begins around 9:05 and continues until 10:40 eastern time. President Obama entered the chamber around 9:05 and the Republican response ended around 10:40.

The infographic includes a huge amount of data, illustrating the times (and issues), when the frequency of #SOTU tweets went up, and other hashtag (#) topics that people included in their tweets.

Twitter’s infographic illustrates an enormous amount of social networking activity. Use it as a classroom or dinner table conversation topic. providing a glimpse into real-time civics and history.

Posted in digital parenting, parent child conversations, parent education, parents and technology, social media, social networking

Learning More About What You Don’t Know

I am just back from a huge technology conference in Philadelphia, the International Society for Technology in Education(ISTE), and I blogged from the event uploading nine or ten entries on a separate MediaTechParenting page. I also tweeted — sometimes using Twitter myself and at other times just watching, reading, and processing the tweets of others.

During the week — before, during, and after the conference — Twitter was my most important communication too. Over the four days it let me know where especially great workshops and presentations were occurring, helped me discover other people who shared my interest, kept me up-to-date about who was blogging, informed me about presenters who were sharing resources beyond their presentation rooms, and yes, even announced the location of the special snacks each afternoon. Without the #ISTE11 Twitter handle, and also the continuing backchannel tweets on #edtech and #edchat, my week would have been slower, less interesting, and nowhere near as dynamic.

Continue reading “Learning More About What You Don’t Know”

Posted in acceptable use, digital citizenship, digital parenting, leaving comments online, online education, parents and technology

If Every Family Had a Blog…

How would digital literacy and behavior improve if more families saw blogging as a way to communicate, connect with extended family members, and teach their children the basics about global communication? Would they be thrilled that their children had a big head start developing digital citizenship skills? Would they be delighted at all of the writing taking place and take pride as they watched children develop stronger writing skills?

Blogging is safe and easily managed. While we’ve all heard the scary stories, such as people going online and writing mean comments or nasty rumors that go public or even viral — in truth just about all blogging is safe and fun. Blogging teaches people to write, revise, write more, and publish for a community of readers.

Imagine, for a moment, if a family with two children, age five and seven, along with a bunch of relatives, starts a blog.

  • Family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins write, post, and comment. Parents are editors and managers, at least at the beginning, modeling and demonstrating how to use technology (social media) appropriately. Gradually family members share responsibilities.
    Continue reading “If Every Family Had a Blog…”