Generals and chief executives should read Adbusters and watch Juice TV (MTV).  They will find that there is a deep vein of discontent throughout global communities which expresses itself in the dissident glossy magazine Adbusters (which challenges our consumer society) and ‘gangsta rap’ (which reflects the violent life of back street USA)… but then you knew that, didn’t you?

For me, those were Social Media well before Web 3.0 or the interactive web.

Of course, it is Social Media, web-driven, that this blog is concerned with, and I now regret spiking the news item that announced at the end of May 2010, that the American Army had arrested Bradley Manning for the leaking the video of an Apache helicopter killing unarmed civilians in Iraq.

I feel cheated because I saw the significance, but thought it would keep. Now it has hit the mass media (seven weeks after appearing in the Economist, June 12th 2010) and I am denied my scoop.

Manning is reported to have lifted 260,000 diplomatic cables and other sensitive intelligence onto a disk labelled “Lady Gaga”, while he lip-synched the words of her songs to pretend he was listening to the cd.  He released these items to Wikileaks, run by Australian former hacker, Julian Assange, who was home educated by a mother who felt that school would suppress his individuality.  President Obama has shrugged off the seriousness of this incident, but the FBI and others may still try to prosecute Assange.

So while it is the interactive web that excites advertisers and the uniformed services, the anarchy that the web provides was evident long before Google or youtube

Even popular music (not Lady Gaga, but gangsta rap) has been shown to promote lawlessness, according to Sid Kirchheimer, who researched the connection between video viewing and risky behaviours (Kirchheimer, WebMD Health News, March 3, 2003)

Kirchheimer asked: Does rap put teens at risk? And surveyed 522 black girls between the ages of 14 and 18 from non-urban, lower socioeconomic neighborhoods and found that those who watched lots of gangsta videos were:
ú       Three times more likely to hit a teacher
ú       Over 2.5 times more likely to get arrested  
(Retrieved by J Peart 29 July 2010 from

Perhaps Adbusters is more responsible.  Its editorial statement reads: “We are a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society”( ).

Also on the website, there’s a rather sweet misspelling which promotes the print version of Adbusters, and reads: “The Revoltion Issue #91 SEPT/OCT 2010”

WikiLeaks itself saw this moment coming in a leak on 18 March 2008.

The item with that date begins with the portentous introduction: “This document is a classified (SECRET/NOFORN) 32 page U.S. counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks.  (retrieved by J Peart on 29 July 2010 from

It then goes on to say: “The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD (Department of Defence) or elsewhere in the U.S. government are providing sensitive or classified information to cannot be ruled out.

According to WikiLeaks, the report recommends “The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Web site”( retrieved 29 July from WikiLeaks).

So if you watch Juice TV, read Adbusters or visit WikiLeaks regularly, youi will have a better idea of the true meaning of Social Media.

posted by Joseph Peart
Facebook seems to have survived the storm of protest from members when it exposed their security by enforcing changes that overrode some user privacy choices.  The problem hasn’t gone away however.

New Scientist, 5 June 2010, notes that Facebook chief, Mark Zuckerberg, ignores the human factor at his peril.  The 50 privacy settings with 170 options simply did not consider the human computer interface (HCI).

“It’s a problem for everyone involved in online self-publishing,” Anthony House of Google told an Index on Censorship in London, according to New Scientist.  House is European policy manager for Google and admitted, “We need to be more intuitive about human-computer interaction.”  He was referring to the automatic enrolment of Gmail users to the Buzz social network when they failed to opt out as the Buzz introduction appeared on their screen.

When Ann Blandford, an HCI researcher at the University College London investigated, she told New Scientist that she found the meaning of many privacy settings is obscure.  She proposed that we each be able to preview our social sites as if we were a stranger, a nominated friend or a friend-of-a-friend.  “I want to be able to log in as someone else and look at my online profile…” she said (p. 19) – an experience akin to an out-of-body experience!

If that seems slightly weird, how about something really creepy in the same issue of New Scientist?  You can use Lifenaut’s website  to create a basic visual interface of yourself (your auto-face may speak, wink or blink) which can communicate with your descendents long after you have gone.  You could choose to deploy Image Metrics’ software (at $US500,000 a crack) and create a much more lifelike digital version, which would be less frightening to your grandchildren. 

If you want to see these possibilities in a Scifi story, then watch out for the American TV drama Caprica, which replaces Zoe Graystone with an exact digital copy of her brain implanted into a humanoid robot .

The question is: how private would that digital shadow of yourself be if it is stored in the "Cloud" or would hackers sabotage your loving messages with hurtful fiction?

Submitted by Joseph Peart