Category Archives: Social Networks

PopeTube? The Vatican teams up with YouTube

The Pope is feeling a little left out as YouTube chugs on growing more and more popular, so the Vatican have decided to join in on all the fun.  The Vatican is expected to announce today that they have indeed made a deal with Google to create a channel on YouTube devoted to the Pope.

The move comes as the Vatican aims to appeal to the huge one billion Roman Catholic community around the world.  The channel will also be aimed at non-Catholics in an attempt to drum up some additional interest in the religion.

The Pope has even said to have specifically approved the move.  Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli has stated that Pope Benedict XVI is a “man of dialogue” and that he relished the chance to reach people and engage with them.  Celli also added that the Pope is “fond of new technologies” and the Vatican clearly see the potential of YouTube and the community that the site reaches on a daily basis.

The plans are to update the channel daily and will provide the service in Italian, German, English and Spanish.  The material for the channel will be made up from existing services such as radio and television that the Vatican already have in place.

A source at the Vatican said, “The faithful will be able to see the Pope and church events but we hope that those who are curious will also look.”

The director of the press room, television centre and Vatican Radio, Father Federico Lombardi, announced that the move was a  “real and tangible example of the Church’s commitment in the field of new technologies, to reach out to a global audience without regard for nationality or culture.” 

Other well known figures such as the Queen and President Obama use YouTube in a similar way and Google must be over the moon at the amount of attention that they will receive from such important backing.

The managing director of European sales and media solutions at YouTube, Henrique de Castro, highlighted how the website was a perfect way for the Vatican to reach the people that they wanted to.  “YouTube is a communications platform open to all, where users, institutions and content producers come together in a global meeting place.  We are honoured that the Vatican has chosen to use the site to communicate with people across the world, and delighted that our community will have access to the words of the Pope on some of the most important issues facing the world today,” said Castro.

This new development is truly an interesting move and should soon be adopted by many other important figures around the world.  It will be interesting to see what the next move will be after YouTube.  Perhaps PopeSpace or FacePope?  The Catholic News Service already has a presence on Facebook and runs regular news items and blogs and even has a message from the Pope dedicated to President Obama.

Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook will bring in charges in 2009

Social networking sites, such as favourites Facebook and MySpace, are set to jump on the greedy-train as news has surfaced that the sites are planning to charge good money to their users to partake in activities that they are currently taking for granted, such as uploading videos.

Director of research for technology and telecommunications for Deloitte, Paul Lee, claims that, “The book value of some social networks may be written down and some companies may fail altogether if funding dries up.  Average revenue per user for some of the largest new media sites is measured in just pennies per month, not pounds.  This compares with a typical average revenue per user of tens of dollars for a cable subscriber, a regular newspaper reader or a movie fan.”

Websites that provide their users with networking privileges such as poking your mates rely heavily on advertising to bring in the money to help pay for the domain, the employees and the Porsche’s.  However, apparently advertising is seemingly drying up and sites such as Bebo are apparently not turning out to be the lucrative business paths they originally were planned on being.

The sad fact is that, although you and I are more than happy to fill our MySpace page with our pictures and small thumbnails depicting our “friends”, we aren’t paying for the rights to use the site, and the advertising is clearly proving not to be enough for the sites to survive on.  In fact, Twitter is making such little money it doesn’t generate any revenues at all.  Not really the aim of any business.

However, there is no denying the website’s successes – in user numbers, not pound signs.  These social networking sites, and in particular Facebook, have been appearing more and more on mobile telecommunication networks, such as Orange.  A study by Orange discovered that 640,000 of its UK users would use their mobile handset to connect to the Internet to check their social networking accounts.

The Director of Products for Orange UK, Paul Jevons, claims that the high usage of social networking sites on the Orange network is incredibly substantial, saying, “We are seeing massive numbers of unique users and traffic in social networking and we expect that to continue.  A number of things have come together such as the tariffs and the handsets that really have kickstarted social networking on mobile phones.”

Facebook, however, can breathe a sigh of relief as it is bringing in SOME revenues due to a lucrative advertising deal made when Facebook was in its prime in 2007.

The months between June 2008 and October 2008 saw numbers of users of mobile handsets access these social networking sites raise by 277 per cent and a reason for this has been said to be the introduction of such tariffs as Dolphin which allow unlimited access to these social networking sites.  The recent success of the iPhone has also brought strong attraction to Facebook and other similar sites as the iPhone provides continually wireless Internet.

Fake Facebook Account Costs Man ?22k

A businessman whose personal details were ?laid bare? in fake libellous entries on social networking site Facebook has been awarded ?22,000 in damages today against a former friend who created the profile.


Mathew Firsht, who is the MD of Applause Store Productions Ltd, sued old school fried, freelance cameraman Grant Raphael, for libel and misuse of private information.


Deputy Judge Richard Parkes QC dismissed Raphael?s claims that the profile was created by ?mischievous party gate crashers at his flat?, and awarded ?15,000 for libel and ?2,000 for a breach of privacy.


Mr Firsht’s company, which finds audiences for TV and radio shows and provides warm-up services for live audiences, including the evictions on Big Brother, was also awarded ?5,000 for libel.


Mr Raphael of created a false personal profile, and a company profile called “Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?”, from a computer at the flat where Mr Raphael was living in London, in June last year.


Mr Raphael claimed that “strangers” who attended an impromptu party at the address that day sneaked off to a spare bedroom and created the profiles on his PC.


The profiles were on the site for 16 days until Mr Firsht’s brother spotted them and they were taken down by Facebook.


The judge heard that the private information concerned Mr Firsht’s whereabouts, activities, birthday and relationship status and falsely indicated his sexual orientation and political views.


It said that he was “Looking for: whatever I can get” in terms of relationships and was signed up to groups including Gay in the Wood…Borehamwood, and Gay Jews in London.


Mr Firsht complained about allegations that he owed substantial sums of money which he had repeatedly avoided paying by lying, and that he and his company were not to be trusted in the financial conduct of their business and represented a serious credit risk.


He accused Mr Raphael of bearing a grudge against him since they fell out in 2000 and of creating a false Facebook entry with the aim of causing him anxiety and embarrassment.

Culture of Connectivity

A new study conducted by IDC and sponsored by Nortel has concluded that so-called hyperconnected workers account for 16 percent of global business users today and the percentage is set to grow to 40 percent within five years.


Kelly Kanellakis, strategy and operations leader for the chief of technology officer in Nortel said, “The number of people moving toward hyperconnectivity is growing substantially.”? He reckons that in a few years, over 40 percent of the people will be what Nortel considers ?hyperconnected.?


The study examined the habits of 2,400 people in 17 countries. Respondents said that on average the each carry seven devices and used up to nine applications. While more workers in the IT and financial areas are hyperconnected the trend is evenly spread out among every industry.


While the US and China account for the highest average number of hyperconnected individuals, Canada and the United Arab Emirates had the lowest average number.


According to Kanellakis, the trend is largely the result of the newest wave of employees entering the workplace.

“Hyperconnectivity is not necessarily wanting to be connected all the time to your job or work; it’s wanting to be connected to your community. And your community can be a number of things. Sitting behind your desk, your community is your work. At home, your community is your family and neighborhood. If you’re skiing, then your community is skiers,” he said.


The desire of these users to stay constantly connected has led users to social networking sites like Facebook and other smaller segregated communities, kanellakis said.


“Everyone wants to keep communicating, and as we’ve been given more devices and applications, people use them. The more devices that are invented and come on the market the more people use them,”


He continued, “Their expectations are that they’re going to work the hours they are going to work, and they’ll have personal lives when they want to have personal lives,”


“More people are willing to connect to work in more places, but on the flip side, more people are doing their personal communication at work. We?re seeing a blending of work,” he said.


A recent report by InStat that looked at both the number of devices that people carry around and their weight found that the more people travel, the more devices they have.


“If you get into an airplane Sunday night and you’re not coming home until Thursday, you’re going to make yourself as comfortable as you can. Some people carry two laptops in addition to business cell phone, personal cell phone, Blackberry and the rest of that stuff,” said David Chamberlain, an Instat analyst.


Kanellakis, speaking about the hyperconnected, added, “In terms of the hours they connect and do their work, again, they are very different. We’re not enforcing on them they hours we need them to be productive. We are not saying, ‘At 9 a.m. you will start and at 5 p.m. you will stop.’ What we’re saying to them is, ‘Here’s a task you need to get done. At the end of this period you need to have this task completed. When you get it done is up to you.’ So now you can make the personal choice to drop of your kids at 9 and not start work until 9:30,” he continued.


The Old Bailey Goes Hi-Tech

Old BaileyIn a move which should eventually see all trial cases online going back to 1674, a group of universities have got together to set up a new online Old Bailey service using official documentation. Sheffield, Hertfordshire and the Open University have joined forces in a ground breaking move which will save time and expense for the raft of historians in the UK.

Until this service was made available the only way to investigate the Old Bailey hearings (going back to 1674) was via microfiche, a process which took researchers literally days and months to get the information they were after. However things have changed now and we see that 200,000 cases are covered on the site, which holds 120 million words and 110,000 pages, bringing the cases at the famous Old Bailey up to 1913.

While the majority of the information so far is a mixture of digital images of the actual court documents, those who have used the site are very impressed by the quality. As you might expect, the service hit the headlines in a blaze of glory and crashed the website!

There are many ways in which this excellent service will help historians and researchers of today, but there is also the potential for schools and universities with students now able to compare court life from nearly 400 years ago to that of today. On the surface the traditions many be the same and the look may be the same, criminal trends and sentences have changed radically over the years. Perhaps those days of years gone by may not have been as peaceful and safe as we often assume!

There are plans to continue adding court data to the site and bring it as up to date as possible, with may suggesting that it will become a mainstay for education and research buffs. The internet and the 17th century Old Bailey coming together, now who would have thought that!

Social Networks Back In The Firing Line

The Dark SideThe social network leader Facebook has been investigated by OFCOM, the telecoms operator, who found that over half of young children who have access to the internet have a profile on Facebook. This was not an investigation of Facebook as such, just a look into the world of social networks, a world which has become a little murky of late with many children thought to be at risk from predators.

OFCOM are in the process of putting together an array of recommendations for all social networking sites which will effectively block child access to certain areas and stop them from displaying information about themselves which might allow others to identify where they live, what they look like and even which school they go to. While the findings themselves are a little surprising, the growing threat to children is the most worrying factor to come to light of late.

Even though there are already many internet child lock systems on the market, there are concerns that children are easily finding ways around these. Social networks such as Facebook may well be forced to remove personal information from the millions of profiles which they hold on behalf of members, and introduce powerful new systems to spot predatory actions and flag them as soon as possible. As a consequence the race is now on to design and implement a system which is literally child proof and one which will not only enhance their experience online, but improve their security.

Social networks sites have long been a thorn in the side of the regulators and while problems have been flagged in the past, there is now a very strong movement towards greater security for users. There have been a number of dreadful incidents in the UK and around the globe which have highlighted the power of these networks ? and the way in which many people are abusing them.

Another Day Another Phorm Scandal!

Swag bagAs if the scandal surrounding the Phorm technology was not bad enough we have heard today that BT actually conducted yet another trial back in 2006 without the knowledge of those involved. It has been revealed that up to 18,000 surfers had their browsing activities collected and used to profile adverts at their specific interests. While BT will not provide further details about the trial, this is yet another situation where surfer habits have been used, possibly illegally, to sell adverts and advertising space. So what next?

The Phorm system basically allows companies to collect details of the surfing habits of those who visit their sites and then use this to target advertising specifically at those who might visit certain pages. Phorm is basically a next generation Web 2 advertising system, but there is currently a legal challenge going through the courts to see whether the system actually abuses the rights of surfers to use the internet in privacy.

This yet again highlights the potential income which online advertising can create and the lengths to which some parties will go in order to maximise this potential. Whether the system is deemed to be illegal or not, it flies in the face of basic business principle in that you do not collate private information about your customers without their knowledge. However, it seems that where the internet is involved there are very few boundaries which cannot be pushed further and further back.

If the ongoing court action goes against the likes of BT and the other companies involved (of whom there are many) goes against them, there is potential for massive compensation claims which could cause real problems for the industry. While in many ways nothing is sacred on the internet, this may just be one step too far and has the potential to blow a major hole in the ship that is the online advertising sector.

BBC Set To Tie-Up With MySpace

While there has been much controversy with regards to the power of social networking sites such as MySpace, BEBO and Facebook to name but a few, it seems that they have been welcomed into the fold by the BBC.? It has been announced that clips for their programs will be show on Rupert Murdoch?s MySpace social network, which has surprised many.? So have these networks finally been accepted by the mainstream media?

On the surface it looks as though these networks have been accepted with a whole host of media content and media delivery companies looking to cosy up to the like of Rupert Murdoch, however behind the scenes it may be a little different.? Since the success of YouTube and similar video sites, we have seen literally millions of illegal video clips and full movies appearing on sites such a MySpace.? While the likes of the BBC have sought retribution through the courts, the scale and number of video clips appearing is just unmanageable and it would cost a fortune to pursue each case through the courts.

Many have therefore taken the decision to use these social networking sites to advertise their programs in a more professional and market led manner.? The idea is that by giving an official channel where people can look at and even obtain clips of their favourite programs this will build the brand awareness of the likes of the BBC.? The more people who become aware of the depth and variation of programs which they have at there disposal the greater their viewing markets will become.? As we have all seen in the past, a fresh interesting video clip can soon go ?viral? around the world bringing with it a style of promotion which cannot be matched in many other places.

Over the next few years the relationship between online content providers and the likes of MySpace is set to become even cosier as they look to use each others strengths to promote their own services.