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Gaming the Social Media System


Here’s something for the crowd that loves the idea of social media for marketing to consider. In a recent development, a blogger at Alternet has revealed something I have long understood. Social media sites are gamed, with users cheating and banding together to artificially promote or bury certain material based on their own particular agendas. Harnessing the popularity of user generated reviews and standings, content is promoted through processes like “digging” and “like”. However,  users can easily utilize multiple accounts and form groups dedicated to issuing directives to promote content that otherwise would not gain popularity or prominence on its own.

In an even more distasteful twist, these users and groups can also use negative feedback and ratings to bury material, effectively destroying its chances to gain prominence on its own merits. While I have never been a big fan of sites like Digg or Stumbleupon and am often critical of the quality of traffic they produce, these antics reveal just how truly flawed and unrealistic the social media medium really is regardless of any opinions. Considering the amount of traffic to be gained if a submittal makes it to the front page of a site like Digg, it’s almost inevitable that there will be abuses. This latest revelation although touching on a politically motivated effort to control and censor politically charged material on Digg, raises the specter of fraud for the whole of the medium.

Are we to assume that this is isolated to this one particular group? Wouldn’t it be even more likely for spammers and black hats to have already been using just such practices? After all, the concept and execution is so simple that no special knowledge is required. If you can sign up for a site membership, you can game the system.

Digg is currently going through a re-launch phase where they will be updating algorithms and removing the bury feature altogether from the site. While this may help to alleviate the problem of cheating by burying good content somewhat, it’s unsure if it will end the practice of artificially manipulating the upwards performance of submitted content. Something to consider next time you’re wondering how in the heck a piece of drivel has ended up with 5,000 users promoting it.

Below is the original piece on this story at Alternet.


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Do Away With the “Two Party System”



Warning. Political ranting ahead……


While the partisan credulous bask in the false security of their “safe” jobs and precarious health insurance plans decrying the evils of their chosen opposition, Americans spend another day looking for work that doesn’t exist and grapple with the reality of being denied healthcare for easily treated illnesses because their own health insurance was cancelled when they fell ill. While the partisan credulous lockstep with their political idols and hold the party line regardless of its irrationality or consequence, Americans worry for their children’s futures.

 When politicians rally their faithful and the partisan credulous heed the call, they enjoin the mindless war of manufactured false ideologies, demonizing those who question or disagree. They attack and battle over ephemeral beliefs and impractical, nostalgic, obsolete and irrelevant values that should they win the war, hold no hope for repairing the damages caused by the battles. As this country continues to struggle with unemployment, recession, illegal immigration, and a changing world stage that threatens to thrust us into obscurity and irrelevancy if we cannot bring ourselves to face the facts of reality, the partisan credulous would claw each other like rats on a sinking ship; they will go down and drown like the rest, and all their clawing and biting will do nothing to stop the rush of the water.

We cannot continue to label and divide ourselves with ridiculous and asinine party affiliations. We cannot continue to judge the character and moral value of our fellow countrymen on their political leanings. This kind of internal division and strife is responsible for much of the senseless death and destruction that currently holds large portions of the globe in the grip of darkness. Do we really want to become like those nations divided by imaginary lines; where political murders are commonplace and no one trusts anyone? Where freedom is hollow and your neighbor may be your blood enemy simply because of his thoughts?

 We are rushing headlong towards a future where our country’s biggest threat comes not from some outside aggressor, but from within, from ourselves. Our national identity, our sense of community and country is becoming lost in a sea of uncontrolled and undirected immigration, confused incomprehension of constitutional law, ludicrous political correctness, greed, and unrestrained abuse of bastardized capitalist ideals. We have no right to point to the left and scream, “It’s all your socialist programs fault!”. We have no right to point to the right and accuse, “Your irrational right wing lunacy is tearing this country apart!”. We have only ourselves to blame.

We can only look to ourselves and realize that it is our own gullibility, credulous natures, and irrational behaviors that have allowed politicians and corporate leaders to exploit this nation and ourselves in their quests for power and fortune. It’s our fault we are in this mess and rather than accept responsibility for the mess, like spoiled children we point the finger and blame Johnny next to us. We don’t need a third political party to balance things out. We don’t need political placating and promises to “find a way to reach across the aisle”. We need to remove the aisle. We need to do away with the division.

We need to tell our politicians to stop the ideological warring, and get back to doing the job of running this country, of addressing the problems that plague us. We need to retake our country from those who have made the war of political ideologies the be all end all of the game. I say outlaw the organized political party. From where I am standing, I can’t see a single thing to lose by doing so. In fact, it looks to me like we have nothing to lose but one hell of a lot of dead weight.


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The Other 95%

 For those tired of the endless insanity that seems to make up politics today. Someones seems to have finally figured it out. The insanity is not the majority, it just gets more media time.



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U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Believe it or not, there is plenty of good information to be found at the Department of State’ website. Several department officials regularly post op-ed’s, and if you need to, you can verify or debunk inaccuracies found in others coverage of the dept’s officials, get transcripts, and basically find a wealth of info not normally covered by the media. As well as information, the Dept. of State has added interactivity to its site, and some of it is in all truth pretty cool. Check out Opinion Space  to see what I’m talking about.


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