Great Leaps in Online Culture: A Leap Day Look Back at Life Online

Originally posted on OpenSalon.com

Happy Leap Day (if you’re into that sort of thing). This once-every-four-years phenomenon, an extra day, has been generating its fair share of online buzz since 1996, which is the first Leap Day I can recall that started with a morning log in via my Netscape browser.

Unlike this morning, when I was greeted with Leap Day headlines on Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter (from my iPad), in 1996 I might have read one or two pieces about Leap Day on AOL or in a Usenet group on my bright and shiny new Compaq PC. I’d recently given up trying to stay connected to the World Wide Web on my Macintosh LC II and the conversations on The Well because the PC was faster back in the dial up days. It could download a whole page, complete with graphics, in about a minute. This was the beginning of the end of anything resembling an attention span.

Flash forward to 2012. Life is not about computers anymore and what amazing things we can do with them but about how we can stay connected without being tethered to them. The extra phone line running across the living room rug to download email has been retired to the Smithsonian (alongside the horse and buggy).

Email itself is undergoing a bit of a transformation. Namely, how do we stop getting so much of it now that we can reach out for one another’s more immediate attention by texting, IM’ing and in a less-frantic-I-don’t-really-care-if-I get-a-response-or-not form, social networking. Social media, a term that in 1996 might have implied some type of contagious disease you could have contracted from sharing a newspaper or renting your videos from an unclean store, zaps us around the “interwebs” (for lack of us coming up yet with a better term) at the speed of light.

We’ve gone from Web 1.0 in the leap year 2000 to the blogosphere of 2004 to the social networking of Facebook and Twitter in 2008 and here in 2012, we are on the edge of our seats waiting for Web 3.0. Experts debate what that will really be, but it could already be here in the form of the power the Web is giving to the people. Ordinary people shaping culture online. Online culture.

Two recent events in this longer-than-usual February spark a trend of ordinary people coming out of our social network cocoons and taking control of social media. One was the online backlash against the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s threat to stop donating funds to Planned Parenthood. Two was last week’s outrage at the Virginia state legislature over a restrictive abortion the bill (the bill has since been revised to mandate a less invasive pre-screening procedure). A third really recent event (i.e., yesterday) basically has nothing to do with these first two, but signals a trend we’re going to need to keep an eye on. Real real-time. A NASCAR driver tweeted his status from the racetrack following a crash. Gives new meaning to texting while behind the wheel.

Where will be four years from now? That’s the real question. I may be writing a blog post from my steering wheel. Parked, I’m assuming. Mobile mobile blogging is probably not in the cards until 2020, at least.

Photo source: I took this photo of my laptop this morning with my iPhone, emailed it to myself, downloaded it into Picasa and slapped it into Blogger in less than 2 minutes.

Australian Political Dustup Leaves PM Gillard Firmly Planted with Both Shoes on Her Feet

Some 18 months ago Julia Gillard defeated unpopular sitting Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd and became Prime Minister of Australia, the all-in-one country and continent, home to about 21 million people.

Last week, Rudd quit his day job as Minister of Foreign Affairs to return to Parliament to try and unseat Gillard, an intra-party move in Oz that would be kind of like Hillary Clinton deciding she wanted to overthrow President Obama.

It didn’t work. As reported in The Spectator Australia, Gillard beat back the challenge “by a record 71 to 31 votes.” And the so-called “most unpopular Prime Minister in the history of Australia” lives to govern another day. Having recently made world headlines when an Australia Day near-riot by a group calling themselves the Aboriginal Tent Embassy forced Gillard’s security team to hustle her out of a restaurant, losing her shoe in the process, this Iron Lady lands with both shoes firmly planted on her feet – at least for now.

Australia’s Labor Party is similar to the American Democratic Party, opposed by the oddly named Liberals (read: Republicans). But, the Labor Party shenanigans set off by the return of Rudd (or “K Rudd” as the even more “most unpopular Prime Minister in Australia” calls himself) causes the Labor Party to resemble the current US GOP clown car of candidates for President.

Yikes. What has the Land Down Under gotten itself into?

Source: The Spectator Australia and KazzaDrask Media.

Women Rule the Internet: What People Are Talking about Online This Week: Feb 20-24

Actually, make that women and our supporters (which means men who truly love women) clearly rule the Internet. For the second time in a month, a controversial threat to women’s health, our bodies and our rights was beaten back in the court of online opinion.

A Virginia law that would have mandated any woman considering abortion would need to undergo an invasive and unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound before being “allowed” to make her choice was ruled by online backlash to be everything from ridiculous to rape. The outcry against this legislation was so strong that the right-wing conservative governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, a one-time supporter, vowed to veto it if it came to his desk. It didn’t. The bill in its controversial form is dead. And this victory is due in no small part to the way the story went viral way beyond the confines of the conservative crazies in Virginia to the public at-large. It was similar to the Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood hubbub just a few weeks ago. Score is now 2 for women, zip for those who mess with us.

But, could it be women are weighing in so heavily online against those who threaten our rights simply because a survey has revealed more women are addicted to the Internet than men? Well, in this case, that would be a good thing. We can get “help” for our addictions when, as the old bumper sticker used to say “U..S. Out of My Uterus” and any other body parts you’d like to tell us how to use.

Also this week, a judge in Ohio ordered a man who posted disparaging things about his estranged wife on Facebook to post an apology to her for 30 days on the social network. We know there are two sides to every story, so we’re not taking sides. Instead, we’re scoring this as a victory for anyone who has ever been harassed online by an ex.

Meanwhile:

And, how was your week? Catch up on these stories and more and join the conversation over at the Online Media Roundup.

Whitney, Grammy Fallout and Linsanity: What People Are Talking about Online This Week: Feb 13-17

After years of rumored drug use, rumors proved true, when pop legend Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills Hotel bathtub on the eve of the Grammy Awards. The cause was an apparent overdose of prescription drugs, but that’s not really important. Once again, the music world lost another individual who possessed a great talent, but at some point lost control of her demons. You will be missed Whitney. And, for anyone who doesn’t remember the highlights of your career, a handy 60-second video mashup is making the rounds.

While the Whitney story could have eclipsed the Grammy Awards, it didn’t. Social media reared its semi-ugly head, not once, but two-and-a-half times. One – when two women in the audience were observed tweeting or texting when they should have been on their feet applauding living legend Glen Campbell. Two – when what must be the year’s lamest joke (so far), people began tweeting “who is Paul McCartney?”. And a half – when Twitter death-hoaxed rapper Chris Brown.

By midweek (that would be Tuesday), the Grammys were largely forgotten and Linsanity was upon us. Now, at first glance, one automatically assumed this had something to do with the usual crazed antics of actress Lindsay Lohan, but apparently that’s “Lind-sanity”.

Linsanity is the phenomenon that is New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who scored more points (136) in his first five starts than any other player since the ABA-NBA merger. While Lin’s points per game dropped as the week went on, Linsanity has not stopped yet. After all, when Sarah Palin throws her support behind the hottest trending Twitter topic of the week, things have truly gone Lin-sane!

What else are people talking about online this week?

And, how was your week online? Visit KazzaDrask Media’s Online Media Roundup for the lowdown on all these stories and more.

Photo source: Gawker.com and Pacific Coast News.

Grammy Rhinestone Moment Ruined: A Time to Tweet About Glen Campbell or a Time to Rise?

 

I happened to flip on the Grammy Awards last night just in time to catch the Glen Campbell tribute. Not that I’m a huge Glen Campbell fan, but who doesn’t love to sing along to “Rhinestone Cowboy” and some of his other hits recorded over a 40+ year music career? On top of that, who doesn’t want to see how this living legend will fare on stage now that we all know he’s suffering from Alzheimer’s disease?

Like most big events you certainly don’t have to be there, or even watch on TV anymore thanks to social media. Had I not gotten home in time and really needed to know how Glen’s performance was going, I could have checked my Twitter feed. At least two women were actively tweeting and/or texting while Campbell was delivering his rhinestone-studded swan song and not taking part in the standing ovation.

Actress Kristen Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) was among one celebrity in the audience who chose to take in the moment and tweet later. When she did she called out the seated tweeting ladies with:

Tweeting from audience rather than standing and applauding a living legend like Glen Campbell is simply rude.

One of the culprits later admitted she was simply tweeting her love for Campbell.

We can save the argument as to when is the right time to put down your mobile device and be a part of what’s happening around you, rather than being the first one to tweet it, for another post. What we admonish the seated tweeter on is forgetting to properly refer to Glen Campbell as @GlenCampbell in her tweet.  Sheesh!

Source: Daily MailOnline.

Pop Singer Whitney Houston Dies – Twitter Scoops Mainstream Media

R.I.P. Whitney Houston (1963-2012).

When you came on the scene in the mid-’80s with that eponymously titled debut album I bought it in vinyl. A year later, my jazzercise class was still working it. You were huge. And even though my musical tastes had moved on by the time The Bodyguard was a hit film, and that annoying song you sang is still playing in a bank or a Walgreens somewhere every day, I didn’t hold it against you.

I read the tabloid headlines at the supermarket about your marital troubles with Bobby Brown and then your various drug problems and the repeated denials that you were gay (honey, didn’t you know you’ve truly made it when the gay and lesbian rumors start swirling?). Oh well. As life switched over from vinyl albums, supermarket tabloid headline grazing and video store rentals of Waiting to Exhale and the Preacher’s Wife to the more fast-paced world of iTunes, YouTube downloads and tweets, I guess I lost track.

Once again, it’s no surprise that a major news story breaks first on Twitter. Apparently, your tragic demise in a Hollywood bathtub broke over the Twitterverse a full 27 minutes before it was reported by the Associated Press. Mashable.com has dug even further into Twitter archives (yes, anything that happened more than an hour ago is considered an archive in this fast-paced social media society we inhabit) to find an even earlier tweet. That tweet gives us a shred of hope that maybe your death won’t be determined to be merely another pop star OD. Maybe you really did accidentally slip and fall into the bathtub.

Whatever the cause, Whitney, you deserved better. We deserved better. We can forgive you for that awful song from The Bodyguard, yes we can. But we can’t forgive you and that massive talent for leaving us far too soon.

Super Bowl XLVI in Tweets per Second (TPS)

Whether you tuned into the Super Bowl yesterday in spite of the sophisticated online analytic prediction that the New England Patriots would beat the New York Giants or just to see Madonna’s half-time mini concert, it seems you were logged into your Twitter account and duly reporting the developments.

According to Mashable.com, the game’s finale, in which the underdog Giants held on to beat the Pats 21-17, garnered 12,233 tweets per second (TPS). Madonna’s half-time show was tweeted at a rate of 10,245 TPS.

These tweets per second ranked numbers two and three, respectively on the all-time TPS list, which begs the question, what other world event has occurred that could possibly have topped either of these for G-Men or Material Girl fans?

Fortunately, it was not the Tim Tebow overtime touchdown pass a couple of weeks ago (which is number four in TPS on the list). The number one TPS event occurred over the buzz created by an anime movie. In December 2011, the Japanese TV screening of a 1986 movie Castle in the Sky generated 25,088 TPS.

Sources: Mashable.com and MediaBistro