(via Boing Boing) There's an artist named Michelle Vaughan, who has recently come out with a series called "100 Tweets."  It's 100 cards printed in different, randomly selected colors, featuring personally selected tweets.  This one is $90, but if it were much cheaper I'd get one for everyone in my school studying Journalism or Goverment.

Many of them are funny, but for the record, here are a few of my other favorites:

Syria Offline

An entire country has been pulled off the internet. I admit I haven't been following the events in Syria as close as I should have been, but yesterday I found out that the Syrian government appears to have shut down as much of the internet as they possibly can.  As of today, that includes some smaller internet services, not just the five major ISPs.  I've been following this liveblog on the topic:

Starting at 10:26 UTC on Thursday, 29 November (12:26pm in Damascus), Syria's international Internet connectivity shut down. In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.

Google is doing their part to help out, linking up Twitter with phone service so that anyone with a phone line can get voice messages out.  That news is via cnet, who also posted a video of the internet service being cut of, connection by connection, created by CloudFlare.

TechCrunch explains how Facebook is getting even worse

Yesterday on Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow posted a link to an article on TechCrunch, breaking down the ways that Facebook's new app interface is more manipulative and dishonest than their previous ones.  I haven't actually seen the new interface, because I've logged into Facebook about three times this month, and that was only to check for messages after someone told me they'd sent one. The article, 5 Design Tricks Facebook Uses To Affect Your Privacy Decisions, is an easy read, and has accompanying pictures to illustrate the problems.  The writer, Avi Charkham, points out:

Facebook keeps “improving” their design so that more of us will add apps on Facebook without realizing we’re granting those apps (and their creators) access to our personal information. After all, this access to our information and identity is the currency Facebook is trading in and what is driving its stock up or down.

Facebook's stock has not been doing well since the company went public.  It seems like the company's approach to solving this problem is going to be to try and extract even more personal information from its users.

For the record, Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter all have a very good track record for not exploiting their users.  If you're not ready to quit Facebook, a good first step is picking some of these other sites and getting active on them, as well.  Get your friends to do it, too.  Diversify your social presence online.  That way, no one service can hold hostage relationships that are important to you.

Facebook founder's family member announces via Twitter that she works for Google

(via Ana Ulin on Google+) Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg's sister, tweeted yesterday that she's working for Google now, after the company she works for, Wildfire, was acquired by Google.

Wildfire is an advertising app that helps organize companies' social presence or a more successful, targeted marketing campaign.  My main focus for this story is that the tweet was funny, but I also want to talk about the existence of third-party marketing organizations, especially backed by Google.

Unlike a lot of people on the internet, I don't think advertising is outright evil.  It needs way more ethical oversight than it has now, but there's a gem of value in there.  If you assume the basic goal of advertising is to connect a customer with a product they would benefit from, then advertising is a mutually beneficial relationship.  With more ethical guidance, the better the targeting, the more valuable the ads are to both the advertiser and the consumer.

We're not moving in this direction now, and even if Google wanted to, their obligation to their shareholders would probably prevent them pushing towards more ethics in advertising.  But I think it's a direction worth pursuing -- even more now that there are companies who specialize in organizing ad campaigns, so the advertiser companies can focus on the quality of their product.

Twitter's horrible ethical call

(via Boing Boing) Having just announced that I'm leaving Facebook, and having listed Twitter as an ethically superior alternative, I feel it would be irresponsible of me not to write about Twitter's blatant ethical breach that the Guardian wrote about last night:

Twitter has suspended the account of a British journalist who tweeted the corporate email address of an NBC executive. The reporter, Guy Adams of the Independent, has been acerbic in his criticisms of NBC's (awful) performance during the Olympics in London.

Adams has posted his correspondence with Twitter, which claims he published a private email address. It was nothing of the kind, as many, including the Deadspin sports blog, have pointed out.

This would be an irresponsible decision even in isolation, but Twitter is partnered with NBC for Olympics coverage, and according to the Wall Street Journal, they're hoping to use this opportunity to expand into a more profitable audience.

If [they don't apologize and reinstate the account], this is a defining moment for Twitter. It will have demonstrated that it can be bullied by its business partners into acts that damage its credibility and ultimately the reason so many of us use it as a platform. And if that's the case, there will be much less incentive to use it.

Guy Adams's account was unsuspended literally while I was writing this post.