News & Current Affairs

June 26, 2009

Web slows after Jackson’s death

Filed under: Entertainment News, Latest — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — expressyoureself @ 11:35 am

Web slows after Jackson’s death

Google error page

The sheer number of queries concerned Google

The internet suffered a number of slowdowns as people the world over rushed to verify accounts of Michael Jackson’s death.

Search giant Google confirmed to the BBC that when the news first broke it feared it was under attack.

Millions of people who Googled the star’s name were greeted with an error page rather than a list of results.

It warned users “your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application”.

“It’s true that between approximately 2.40PM Pacific and 3.15PM Pacific, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson and saw the error page,” said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker.

It was around this time that the singer was officially pronounced dead.

Google’s trends page showed that searches for Michael Jackson had reached such a volume that in its so called “hotness” gauge the topic was rated “volcanic”.

Fail

Google was not the only company overwhelmed by the public’s clamour for information.

The microblogging service Twitter crashed with the sheer volume of people using the service.

Google user graph

Searches for topics related to Michael Jackson peaked at 3PM Pacific

Queries about the star soon rocketed to the top of its updates and searches. But the amount of traffic meant it suffered one of its well-known outages.

Before the company’s servers crashed, TweetVolume noted that “Michael Jackson” appeared in more than 66,500 Twitter updates.

According to initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts Thursday afternoon containing “Michael Jackson” totaled more than 100,000 per hour.

That put news of Jackson’s death at least on par with the Iran protests, as Twitter posts about Iran topped 100,000 per hour on June 16 and eventually climbed to 220,000 per hour.

Early reports of Mr Jackson’s death and the confusion surrounding it caused a rash of changes and corrections to be made on his Wikipedia page as editors tried to keep up with events and the number of people trying to update the page.

TMZ, the popular celebrity gossip site that broke the story following a tip-off that a paramedic had visited the singers home also crashed.

There was a domino effect as users then fled to other sites. Hollywood gossip writer Perez Hilton’s site was among those to flame out.

Keynote Systems reported that its monitoring showed performance problems for the web sites of AOL, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo.

Beginning at 2.30PM Pacific “the average speed for downloading news sites doubled from less than four seconds to almost nine seconds,” said Shawn White, Keynote’s director of external operations.

He told Data Center Knowledge that “during the same period, the average availability of sites on the index dropped from almost 100% to 86%”.

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June 24, 2009

Habitat sorry for Iran Tweeting

Filed under: Latest, Politics News — Tags: , — expressyoureself @ 6:04 pm

Habitat sorry for Iran Tweeting

Twitter page about Habitat, 24 June

Twitter users have not been impressed with the strategy

Furniture store Habitat has apologised for causing offence after accusations it exploited unrest in Iran to drive online Twitter users to its products.

Keywords – called hashtags – such as ‘Iran’ and ‘Mousavi’ were added to its messages so people searching for those subjects would see the firm’s adverts.

Users of the networking site reacted angrily and the posts were removed.

The retailer has said the use of the hashtags were “not authorised”, but declined to say who was responsible.

Contributors to Twitter posted messages claiming Habitat should be “ashamed” and saying it was “piggy-backing” on the political situation in Iran.

One of the controversial messages – called tweets – which appeared before being removed by Habitat, read: HabitatUK: #MOUSAVI Join the database for free to win a £1,000 gift card.

This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat – we were shocked when we discovered what happened
Habitat statement

In a statement Habitat said it had “never sought to abuse Twitter”.

One online communication expert told the BBC it was hard to imagine how such a “serious misjudgement” could have happened.

Twitter is a social networking tool that has been used widely by people inside and outside Iran to share information and eyewitness accounts, link to news reports and co-ordinate protests disputing the recent election result.

Users following conversations about what was happening in Iran searched for key words and in some cases were directed to adverts for Habitat.

Habitat added: “We would like to make a very sincere apology to any users who were offended by last week’s activity on Twitter.

“The top ten trending topics were pasted into hashtags without checking with us and apparently without verifying what all of the tags referred to.

“This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat. We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that has been caused.”

The business said it was “totally against” its communications strategy, that it had removed the content and would ensure it did not happen again.

They have used a political and human situation that many people are concerned about, to market their products… that is not right
Alex Burmaster, Nielsen Online

When asked whether an outside firm had been responsible for the strategy their spokesman declined to give details.

Alex Burmaster, communications director at research firm Nielsen Online, said while some companies had succeeded in the art of advertising within social networking sites, Habitat had got it wrong.

“What they have done is extraordinary, that they would even risk something like that.

“This could not have led to anything other than a consumer backlash.

“The bottom line is that it was a serious misjudgement. They have used a political and human situation that many people are concerned about, to market their products and services, and that is not right.”

He added that marketers had to be particularly careful about the way they used social media – more so than they would be in any other form of media – because consumers were more “in control”.

“Advertising in social media can be like gatecrashing a party. People who use social media are much less tolerant to have their conversations interrupted by advertisers.

“The art is in being able to tap into those conversations without alienating people.”

June 20, 2009

Schwarzenegger in LA plane drama

Schwarzenegger in LA plane drama

Arnold Schwarzenegger, file image

The governor seemed unfazed by the landing

A plane carrying California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has made an emergency landing in Los Angeles because of smoke in the cockpit.

No-one was hurt after a “quick, steep, but safe” landing, his office said.

The former film star was so calm about the incident that he immediately logged on to social networking website Twitter to share his experience.

“A little adventure just now when my plane made an emergency landing. All’s ok, though,” his message said.

The pilot diverted the jet to the Van Nuys airport 10 minutes before it was due to land at Santa Monica, spokesman Aaron McLear said in a statement.

Fire crews met the jet on the runway.

“Upon landing the governor exited the jet and travelled to his house,” Mr McLear said.

He added that the crew had done an “outstanding job” and that “everyone aboard landed safely and unharmed”.

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