Tick Yes Blog

Tag - online content

Protect your content

The recent cyber attack on the Australian Defence Force shows that hactivists are targeting online content to make their mark

 
Anonymous are at it again. Back in February, The Message questioned whether the loosely connected network of hactivists was facing extinction as a result of concerted, coordinated action by international police forces.
This article led to the comment ‘We are still here’ being posted on our messageboard.
They most certainly are. It seems that barely any news event passes without Anonymous (or someone who would dearly like to be part of Anonymous) posting warnings. The recent, tragic radio station prank call furore is a case in point. As a result of nurse Jacintha Saldanha committing suicide after being duped by two Australian DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian from Sydney’s 2Day FM, Anonymous posted a threatening message on the Internet.
The message itself has been taken down from YouTube ‘as a violation of YouTube’s policy on depiction of violent activities’. However, this ABC News report on the sad affair carries extracts from it (from 1:12).

Some commentators have been quick to point out the irony of an organisation that dedicates itself to ‘trying to fight criminal activities by governments and corporations’ aligning itself with the Establishment response to the event. There is certainly some truth in that, but it also serves as proof that policing the world of online content is almost impossible.
ADF hacked

Indeed, online content itself is a prime target – as the Australian Defence Force can testify.
The Canberra Times reports that last month, a lone hacker committed ‘one of the worst known cyber attacks on a government organisation in this country’ by breaching a university database at the Australian Defence Force Academy and stealing the personal details of thousands of Australian military staff. The details were then posted on websites linked to Anonymous.
The hacker, known only as Darwinare, is quoted as saying that he was acting ‘for fun’ and was shocked at how easy it was to gain access to the information, adding that the whole attack ‘took like three minutes’.
It serves as a salient reminder to businesses and individuals alike that while utilising online and social media content is a wonderful marketing tool, you have to take steps to protect it and the malicious access that can be gained through it.
 
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Meet the misogynists

There’s much to like in the world of online content. But sadly, there’s also much to despise
While the Internet is a breeding ground for baby millionaires and world-changing innovation, it is also a breeding ground for bottom-feeding scumbags who – like cockroaches – unfortunately seem to multiply at an alarming rate.
That there are dodgy types online is certainly nothing new. As The Message explained when reporting on the desperately sad case of Amanda Todd, predators are never far away when online, just waiting to push their next victim to the edge of despair – or even over it.
A certain level of anonymity, the waft of fast cash and a coward’s taste for humiliating others combine to create a heady aroma that is to cyber-creeps as cow dung is to flies. While there is no shortage of awful females online, there seems to have been an upsurge of nasty misogynistic sites in the past few years. As a little public service announcement, we’ve rounded up three of the worst offenders…
Hunter Moore
Meet Hunter Moore, who is just the kind of man (and we use the term loosely) that you want to bring home to mum. Assuming your mum is the corpse from Psycho, that is.
Moore established a site called IsAnyoneUp that was shut down in April after he was bought out by an anti-bullying organisation. The site was a forum for ‘revenge porn’, where jilted lovers (mainly men) could submit images of their naked exes (who, surprise, surprise, were overwhelmingly women). The pictures were usually photos that had either been taken or sent during happier times, and were published with links to the victim’s Facebook page and other personal details.
A few days ago, Moore announced that he was going to reopen his site with all the old content under a different name. Even the fact that online vigilante/hacker organisation Anonymous has published Moore’s address and personal details online and released a video calling on its followers to hold Moore accountable for the content he publishes has failed to deter him.
‘I don’t really give a f—, to be completely honest with you,’ he told smh.com.au. ‘I make my money and pay my bills.’ What a charmer.
Creepshots.com
Creepshots is a website set up by a few self-proclaimed ‘family men’ who like to indulge in a bit of candid photography. Of women’s arses. The site encourages the submission of photos taken of unsuspecting women who look sexy (or not – there is an unhealthy number of photos that exist purely to ridicule).
It doesn’t take a criminologist to point out the link between men who get off on the fact that they have taken something from an unconsenting woman and men who get off on rape. It might sound extreme but the fetish at play is similar.
The men behind Creepshots facilitate the sharing of unwanted, uninvited images of women, and hide behind the excuse that if a woman wore something ‘sexy, tight or revealing’ she shouldn’t be surprised to end up on a website. Which sounds worryingly like the type of ridiculous rhetoric used by people intent on blaming rape victims for inviting it.
Roosh V
It’s no coincidence that this guy’s name rhymes with ‘douche’. In a depressing insight into the state of society, his books on how to ‘bang’ women in various countries have become widely popular. While these tomes appear at a glance to be part travel-guide, part self-congratulatory literary masturbation (full disclosure – no-one in our office could bring themselves to read one), his blog posts are something else.
They range from bizarre rants about Western women to a guide on how to cheat on your girlfriend without getting caught. Yep, he’s a charmer all right. His main thesis seems to be that feminism has corrupted women in the West to such an extent that he is forced to seek out women in South America, Eastern Europe and South East Asia who won’t be hung up on silly issues like wanting to have a job or wear flats.
Not only is this incredibly insulting to pretty much every nation of women he mentions, it also proves that the only women this man can have any romantic success with are not native English speakers. We’d hazard a guess that he’s slightly more tolerable when you can’t understand the pure Moron coming out of his mouth.
We’ll leave you with this particularly delightful quote from the man himself: ‘I’ve come to the conclusion that you shouldn’t listen to a woman about anything. I’ve observed almost no cases where a man’s status or position has been increased from following a woman’s advice or opinions, and it’s much more likely for him to be harmed from it.’
 
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Wonderful world

With Christmas fast approaching, online content can remind us of all the good out there…
The fact is, Big Brother IS watching us. We’re reminded daily that our actions are being monitored, but all too often that reminder is one that makes us feel worse about the society we’re a part of, not better. Whether it’s chilling video footage of a woman’s last movements before she disappeared, chaotic scenes of violence in the Middle East or the senseless rampaging of a rioting city, CCTV footage is, as a general rule, pretty darn grim.
Just yesterday, the security footage that captured Norwegian Anders Breivik’s bomb attack in Oslo was released, showing in chilling detail the moments before and after the van exploded, killing eight people and injuring dozens.
Yet it stands to reason that if the cameras can catch all the awful things that happen in the world, they must catch at least some of the wonderful things as well. It’s this logic that drove social good foundation Love Everybody to create the following video… moments of positivity, bravery and human connection caught on camera. It proves a nice antidote to the usual security footage we see…

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The YouTube revolution

YouTube is changing the way television works – and is well placed to become the ultimate content provider
In just 11 years, YouTube has gone from novelty video-sharing site to serious media player. Not content with establishing itself as a legitimate alternative to mainstream television news, the Google-owned social media juggernaut is about to change the way television itself works.
In October last year, YouTube debuted its Original Channel in the US. Billed as ‘awesome content from the stars of music, TV, film, and sports, plus the world’s most innovative media brands’, it is effectively content created specifically for YouTube. Not content that is premiered elsewhere and then finds its way onto YouTube. But content that exists solely on YouTube.
It is a content model that has the potential to be a game-changer. In fact, Google is betting it can become a game-winner by extending the project to the largest European markets – France, Germany and the UK.
In all, 60 new channels will be available, all featuring broadcast-quality content from top producers including ITN and Hat Trick Productions. It means such high-profile TV stars as Jamie Oliver will now have a dedicated home on YouTube thanks to channels like the Jamie Oliver Food Channel.
Original content the key
‘The insight for us was that though some partners were making successful businesses out of creating content on YouTube, it was not happening at the scale or the pace that we would love to see it happening, or as widely in terms of genre,’ Ben McOwen Wilson, director of YouTube for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told the Guardian.
‘[Original Channels] is accelerating that, jumpstarting it, to get more partners working with us to create original content for the platform.’
The Guardian reports that YouTube is offering an advance to channels taking part, and will offer them a share of revenue once this is recouped. McOwen Wilson said YouTube had seen a huge number of pitches for the new channels, but wanted content that exploited YouTube’s interactivity and could respond to comments and shares among viewers, rather than lengthy pre-written series.
‘It is not a dumping ground. Some of these ideas couldn’t be done on traditional television, which couldn’t afford the specificity of the audience or the interactivity,’ he said.
Such a project doesn’t come cheap. The US launch of 100 channels, featuring content from CNN, MTV and ESPN, reportedly required an investment of $100 million from Google. A year on and YouTube is claiming 20 of those channels now generate more than a million views a week, with music channel The Warner Sound easily the most popular.
McOwen Wilson said YouTube is looking to expand Original Channels to other markets, including the rest of Europe and Asia. Stay tuned, Australia…
 
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Tell us a story…

The accessibility of online content makes this a golden age for writers
Make no mistake, we are living in a golden age for writers. Not in the hazy, wine-soaked way that the ’50s were for the Beat Generation, or in the sharp, uncomfortable way that saw the late ’60s and early ’70s introduce revolutionary ideas and change the way people thought about everything.
Rather, this is a golden age for having your voice heard.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times: CONTENT IS KING in the attention economy – and the creators of that content are in a unique position. It has never been easier to share a piece of writing that moves you, or makes you laugh, or educates you. And by sharing, you take part in a global and ongoing curating project that propels exceptional content into constant circulation.
It means incredible writers are now available at the simple click of a mouse. But in case your friends haven’t been as share-happy as they could, we’re bringing you some recommendations…
Charlie Brooker
Charlton ‘Charlie’ Brooker is probably best known for his work as a columnist, first for The Guardian and later for G2, a Guardian supplement. His acerbic style and often outrageously offensive comments (in 2004 he wrote a piece on George W. Bush that ended with: ‘John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. – where are you now that we need you?’) have landed him in hot water from time to time. Predictably, though, that has merely ensured his words are passed around the Internet like virtual hot potatoes.
What to read…
A good starting point for those interested in learning more about Brooker’s work would be this piece on nightclubs and the fact that nobody ACTUALLY likes going to them. The standout para would have to be:
‘Clubs are such insufferable dungeons of misery, the inmates have to take mood-altering substances to make their ordeal seem halfway tolerable. This leads them to believe they “enjoy’ clubbing. They don’t. No one does. They just enjoy drugs. Drugs render location meaningless. Neck enough ketamine and you could have the best night of your life squatting in a shed rolling corks across the floor. And no one’s going to search you on the way in. Why bother with clubs?”
Cat Marnell
If ever there was a divisive figure, Cat Marnell is it. Trust fund-fed, openly drug-addicted and recklessly, relentlessly honest, this New York personality has been fired time and again for a range of offences that all boil down to her prioritising heroin and angel dust over covering stories assigned to her.
Formerly Beauty Editor for xoJane.com (Jane Pratt’s online magazine), Ms Marnell currently writes a column for VICE magazine called Amphetamine Logic, which often details past drug experiences that are, to say the least, somewhat confronting.
Of those who know of are, half seem to love her, the other half despises her and all of them holds serious fears for her health. But there is no denying that Cat’s frank, honest and erratic style makes for compelling reading.
What to read…
This piece that Cat Marnell wrote on the death of Whitney Houston encapsulates everything that is good about her writing. Clear, concise, at times deeply sad but never self-pitying, it turns Whitney’s life – and indeed, Cat’s own – as a modern-day fable about the loneliest times in an addict’s life.
Although undeniably challenging, it is a good introduction to Cat Marnell’s highly individual style.
David Thorne
We’ve posted before about David Thorne, but just in case you weren’t listening, this guy is really where it’s at for the LOLs. While some of his work has you cringing and feeling sorry for his victims, the majority of it will have you snorting into your morning coffee while trying to hide the screen from your boss.
One of the most eloquent internet pranksters, his email exchange regarding a drawing of a spider went viral some years ago and brought Thorne’s unique content offerings into the public eye.
What most may not know, however, is that there is a large (and constantly updated) body of work just waiting to be discovered on his website.
What to read…
Presuming you’ve already seen his spider masterpiece, so check out this email exchange with his neighbour. Gold.
 
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The content liability

Can the law keep up with the evolution of search, social media and online content?
Trolls have been all over the Australian news recently, with high-profile rugby league player Robbie Farah and television personality Charlotte Dawson feeling the spite of the anonymous hate-mongers.
As a result, the politicians are getting in on the act, with NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell publicly offering his support to Farah’s demand for tougher sentences for trolling, and Prime Minister Julia Gillard subsequently agreeing to meet the Wests Tigers ace to discuss the matter.
It remains to be seen whether Australia will go down the UK path of introducing new laws that force websites to reveal the IP address of anyone posted offensive material so they can be prosecuted. But even if that does happen, will those laws be effective in legislating a medium that is so fluid and constantly changing?
There are even profound implications for brands that employ social media and content marketing strategies. As The Message reported last month, a new ruling makes Australian companies responsible for the comments posted by others on their corporate social media sites. But such a ruling can only take into account the platforms that are available now, not the ones that will, inevitably, have developed in a few years (and probably superseded today’s offerings).
Are libel laws outdated in the online content age?
And now search engines are being held responsible for the potentially libellous nature of people’s search terms. In Germany, the wife of a former German president has included Google in a legal action to stop rumours about her private life.
As the BBC reports: ‘When the name Bettina Wulff is typed into Google’s search engine, suggested search terms include the words “prostitute” and “red light district”.’
The search giant is being issued the same cease-and-desist order that has successfully stopped traditional German media outlets publishing allegations (supposedly spread to damage Mrs Wullf’s husband Christian’s political career) that she was once employed as an escort.
Google argues that the auto-generated text simply reflects what others are already searching for online and so cannot be construed as libel on its behalf. And while it may seem ridiculous that a search engine with hundreds of millions of random users is as potentially culpable as a magazine that makes a conscious decision to publish certain allegations, the law does not agree.
Indeed, in March 2012 Google was ordered to disable the autocomplete function relating to search results for an unnamed Japanese man, who said his name was being associated with crimes he had not committed.
The growth of social media and the spread of online content has been enormously empowering for individuals. But should companies then be held liable for the choices those individuals make?
 
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The future of online content

Old technology is changing the face of content – across a variety of fields
When it comes to online content, video is on the verge of winning the relevance race. Sure, some might say it’s not a competition, that traditional media can co-exist with new media with a bit of careful planning and a progressive outlook, but the fact remains that more and more of the content we’re sharing – and therefore consuming – comes in the form of a video clip.
The changing face of news
It seems inevitable that eventually, video will become the main – or at least the biggest – form of online content. At least that’s what HuffPost co-founder Ken Lerer told Mashable last week:
‘You pick the calendar year: When does the web become more video than not? Is it two years? Is it three years? Is it six years? It’s inevitable, and that’s why the time for video is now.’
Lerer has good reason to believe in the future of video – he is about to launch a video news site called NowThisNews that will attempt to compete with traditional, non-digital news channels.
The site focuses on video sharing and viewing through mobile devices, and has brought a number of big names in US media onboard to add weight to the project. While the site is yet to launch and therefore cannot yet be judged on its quality (or its breadth of coverage), we’re guessing that if technology merges with quality content, it could change the way people consume news and signal a big threat to the likes of CNN.
Education through video content
Education is another field in which video content is just starting to hit its stride. The Khan Academy and start-up Knowmia are two examples of how teachers and students can put video content to greater use.
Both sites feature an impressive catalogue of online videos covering subjects from languages to physics, but Knowmia looks likely to surpass the success of the Khan Academy, offering an interactive iPad app (described as ‘iMovie for teachers’) that allows educators to better illustrate their points in video form.
As more is learned about the different ways in which students learn, the availability of sites like these is a great step towards making sure no child is left behind.
Video and content farms
Just as it seemed content farming was on the way out, those cheeky web-ri-culturalists figured out how to translate it into video. Howcast is one such site, and although it can be classified as a content farm, it is essentially the video version of sites such as ehow.com, providing the creation and distribution of hundreds of thousands of instructional videos. While these videos are of varying degrees of quality, it is the grain of an idea that could translate into higher engagement, social sharing and better search results.
In the battle of the online content forms, it seems we’re all still looking for a bit more action.
 
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Apple of their eye

This content formula may be a little tired, but it’s certainly timely…
With the upcoming launch of the iPhone 5, Apple mania has reached fever pitch. There’ll be lines for blocks, people in brawls and one or two teens may even sell their kidneys to get their hands on one…
So with that in mind, we thought it topical to share this little video with you. Sure, the ‘Sh*t ____ Say’ meme has probably had its day, but we dare you to find an Apple fanboy who hasn’t uttered one of the following phrases…

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The content impact

New survey reveals how online content delivered via the Internet improves people’s lives
A global survey launched by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, reveals that the Internet – and online content – can and has had a positive impact on people’s lives.
The World Wide Web Foundation’s Web Index measures the economic, social and political impact of the internet, ranking 61 countries on criteria ranging from the proportion of people online to the amount of useful content available. Sweden topped the list, with Australia coming in eighth.
Berners-Lee said the survey filled a need for uniform and publicly available data that allowed comparisons between countries and identified areas for improvement: ‘At a base level, (we are asking) are people actually connected? Have they got something like a phone on which they can access the web?
‘On the medium level, there is the content. At the top, is (the Internet) really affecting people’s lives? Can you get a job on the Internet? Are you using it for health, for education? Is it affecting the way you run the country?’
Although most people in the West take online content for granted, the survey showed that Internet access remains far from universal. Only one in three people used the Web globally and only one in six in Africa, which is home to seven of the bottom 10 countries in the survey.
‘The high price of connectivity is stopping billions of people from achieving their rights to knowledge and participation,’ Berners-Lee said. ‘Costs have got to come down dramatically.”
Berners-Lee also said almost 30 per cent of the countries covered by the index faced moderate to severe government restrictions on access to websites, while about half faced increasing threats to press freedom:
‘The web is a global conversation. Growing suppression of free speech, both online and offline, is possibly the single biggest challenge to the future of the Web.’
The Web Index top 10
1. Sweden
2. United States
3. Britain
4. Canada
5. Finland
6. Switzerland
7. New Zealand
8. Australia
9. Norway
10. Ireland
The Web Index bottom 10
52. Nepal
53. Cameroon
54. Mali
55. Bangladesh
56. Namibia
57. Ethiopia
58. Benin
59. Burkina Faso
60. Zimbabwe
61. Yemen

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Trapping the zeitgeist

Why K-Pop is the coolest thing in online and social media content
For some time now, Korean Pop music (or K-Pop for short) has been making its way colourfully, bizarrely and oh-so-entertainingly into our collective consciousness. Interestingly, the increasing popularity of the music is due in a major way to the inexorable growth of online and social media content. So while the genre actually originated waaay back in the early ’90s (a time before online content and social media even existed in the modern sense), it is social media that has made it accessible to a previously inaccessible audience.
K-what?
For those of you not fortunate enough to belong to that effortlessly trendy and in-the-know population sub-sect known as Gen Y, here is a brief explanation…
K-Pop is the kind of ‘so-lame-its-cool’, surrealist, quirky, kitsch concept that is a perfect match for online content (particularly YouTube) and social media. It’s the kind of thing that starts out as an irony and somewhere along the line becomes absorbed into the zeitgeist, to the point where it’s hard to differentiate (even in our own minds) whether it is actually cool or if we like it because we’re trendy and ironic. Like moustaches. And hipsters.
Still don’t know what we’re on about? Then check it out for yourselves:

What you just experienced was Gangnam Style, the wildly successful K-Pop single from Park Jae-Sang (aka PSY). It is the most successful K-Pop single ever, and it has received well over 100 million views on YouTube.
A perfect content fit
As digital distribution and social media begin to play a far greater role in the world of music, it’s interesting to note that the parameters change a little bit. The video, for example, is far more important these days, as it provides the main method of social sharing and word-of-mouth marketing.
Far from being innocently unaware of its humorous appeal, we’d suggest that a vital part of K-Pop’s success has been its main players understanding how the genre translates into killer online content, and replicating the formula.
Whether it’s got staying power as a mainstream Western entertainment form remains yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: K-Pop has memed itself into the spotlight.

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