Monthly Archives: June 2009

Oops…meant to post this a couple days ago.

So I was distracted by the cross country road trip with my husband and didn’t post as much in the last few days as I had planned.

One thing I have been using a lot is my account on, and I have to say I am just more and more impressed with the site. It is easy to update from wherever, by email you can post moments, video and pictures just like that. I am really hoping they come out with an iPhone app for the thing and then it will be perfect.

It has a great timeline feature, where you can follow a person’s timeline on a trip or through an event. There is a comment feature and places to comment. I really would suggest checking it out. I actually used it way more than Twitter during our cross country roadtrip.

To me the difference between the two is that thisMoment is a place to actually record those little moments (like staying in the smallest hotel room in South Dakota) to remember them later or share them with other people…and you can say more than 140 characters. Twitter is still the fastest way to transmit quick clips and information…thisMoment is where you can share things in more depth and store memories.

I recently was linked to Posterous, and wasn’t nearly as impressed. It is just another blog site. Unlike thisMoment, I do not see anything really new or inspiring about this site.

The last time I posted about thisMoment, I mentioned that I thought it might be a good site for the Coast Guard to try out. Here is how I see that working, if someone was underway…say on their first patrol to the Arctic, or doing ATON work, the story could be followed in the neat small clips and pictures that thisMoment allows. Instead of using Flickr, Twitter, and trying to come up with huge long blog entries they could post as much or as little as they want with simple emails. Using the email system would also be helpful because it can be a real bear trying to load a webpage when on a boat. This way if the person is just too busy or too tired to write anything really long they could simply say “Reached the ice today!” add a small picture attachment and hit send…there done, story told!

The easier the better!


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The subject of anonymous

Please note: The opinions expressed on this web site are mine and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, or Justice; the Coast Guard or any other office or agency of the U.S. Government; or any organization, corporation, company, or anyone else other than the author. Just reminding you.

The subject of anonymous bloggers and those who leave comments is not exactly a new controversy. Basically the moment you had a place where people could comment/speak without any major repercussions…here comes a whole lot of drama.

As much as I loathe the sociopathic, narcissistic personalities who think trolling is acceptable and flaming people worthy of wasting time on, the whole anon thing is a tough call for me…because while I see why it leaves the door open for idiots to be rude it is also the security that some people need to be honest or to protect their privacy.

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Michael Jackson’s death and the reliability of social media

So with the death of Michael Jackson today, Twitter has been abuzz (atweet?) as has Plurk, Youtube, Facebook, and just about every where else people can post their commentary for the death of the King of Pop.

Watching the news about Jackson’s death unfold was interesting because I was in the middle of BFE South Dakota and did not really have access to the TV, Radio or anything else other than my iPhone easily at hand (as I was enjoying being too lazy to reach behind my seat get my laptop and the Mifi out). So, I was poking around my Facebook and Twitter accounts when I saw people start posting about his death.  The only way I even heard the news was because I was looking at Twitter. What made the whole thing so interesting was that I saw at least 4 tweets from friends saying Jackson was dead before he was…and when I followed the retweet trail…I realized that people were just retweeting without following up on the news.

The kicker? Jackson was not dead when the tweets started saying he was, he was just in a coma. (Mind you within a short amount of time he was actually dead, but still)I found this out because I took the news with a “huh, I wonder if that is actually true” attitude and dug a little deeper.

Then the fake stories of celebrity deaths started appearing on the web and the sheeple on the social media sites (the ones who just follow along and retweet without thought) including the fake death of Jeff Goldblum (Yes the linked story is fake) and a whole bunch of nonsense about Harrison Ford.

What you have is a couple trolls thinking it funny to use the sudden death of one more celebrity this week (that is 3 in a week I think?) to stir things up . So, these people post outlandish stories about who also died and then a whole bunch of other people who don’t bother to check their facts pass it on.

This is overall a great example of how social media isn’t always a good thing, because sometimes the stories can run ahead of the actual facts. Okay, in some cases, like the fake stories about Ford and Goldblum…social media doesn’t just get ahead of the facts they don’t even have any foundation in reality. It’s like a game of telephone on steriods.

Today’s social media BS-pandemic is a pretty dramatic example about how people need to be a little more cautious about the information they take as “fact” when it comes to what they hear on any social media forum (or anywhere else for that matter). When you are reading something think about who is writing it, what agenda do they have…what credibility?

Heck, there are number people out there who will tell you all sorts of things about the Coast Guard (in case you haven’t been following the blog long I work for the Coast Guard), claiming that they have proof and facts… but in reality many of them are just trolls who have no proof of what they are saying (not even going to link to them, don’t feed the trolls!)…they are just disgruntled and want to stir $h1% up. Good for them, personally I would find a more satisfying outlet for my anger at the world, like underwater electric basket weaving.

Having seen this time and time again, and not just in reference to the Coast Guard,  it can be pretty irritating watching someone who obviously has a personal agenda make things up and try to pass them off as fact. Or, just as irritating the people who take everything they read as fact and pass on the stupid. I wonder how Goldblum felt when he found out that he had been declared dead by the internet?

Seriously? Make it a habit of looking at the about page for any blog you read, and following the weblink/bio of anyone you are looking at on Twitter. I don’t know about you, but I want to know who it is I am reading. After looking all that information about the author up,  I still follow up on what they said before I pass it along. Why? Because that is the responsible thing to do.

Social media can be a good thing, a great thing even, for education and broadening your understanding of the world through interaction with the human factor on a global scale…but there are a lot of trolls out there and just like you wouldn’t trust everyone you meet at a bar, people really need to check their facts before reposting information (or believing it) online.

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An aside- follow up to Iran post

Remember how I mentioned Neda and posted her video a couple days ago talking about Iran and how they were reported to be building one of the most advanced internet firewalls yet? Seems a firewall isn’t enough as reports are now that Neda’s family has been kicked out of their home and her body was buried without their knowledge and the proper rights.

If Iran was trying to make the world forget about her, that was completely the wrong way to do it…if this story in the Guardian is true they just made her a bigger martyr.

Their actions are violent, their burial of Neda was disrespectful to her family, and their firewall might be mighty I still argue is too little too late…you can’t unspill the blood that has splashed in the eyes of millions around the world. When Iran suddenly goes silent, Neda and others killed in the conflict will still be dying over and over in full view of the world.

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The AP, the social media policies they apply to their people…kind of surprising.

Armed service, military….major wire news service. Which do you think would be really restrictive on social media outlets? If just asked randomly I think most people would expect that the Coast Guard  as an armed service would probably have more strict rules than any media agency when it comes to regulating it’s personnel in the realm of social media. Yet from what I am reading and hearing, it looks like the AP wins on the strict social media rules. This kind of surprised me since, well, it is the AP…you know media? freedom of speech?

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So I am checking out a new social media site called, which I will be experimenting with during my roadtrip with my husband from New Orleans to the West Coast.

Mostly it is an excuse to play with a new site and so far I am really enjoying ThisMoment. It has a smooth easy to use interface that is seamless and very dynamic. It is like Twitter meets Livejournal with a dash of Flickr and Youtube.  I think I am going to have a lot of fun with this.

Coast Guard application wise,  I think would be really sweet for an underway blog to get a deckplate level view following a Coast Guard crewmember.  You know me always thinking about how social media tools can be used for the Coast Guard…this one could be pretty cool.  Of course there would be security concerns (on the site you can release your location for example) but really? I think it could be a really great way to show what it is like, and because of the way it is set up it would be fairly simple for someone underway to keep up with on a multimedia level that is missing from Twitter. Pick an enlisted crew member, a non rate or whoever wants to, that is on their first underway trip to the Arctic, or someone who is doing their first patrol to wherever and share that experience. Not something for constant use like the Compass, or the Commandant’s blog, but for shorter term story telling.

So I am on tinkering around. Yes I know, I am also on Twitter (Tweetdeck I ❤ you), Facebook,  this blog, etc…how will I keep up with it all. Luckily much of it is integrated together and really when you think about it they all serve different functions. Twitter is a quick and easy way to give people updates (so I can stop answering the pesky question of where in the country I am now 15 times a day) and to share links for information. Facebook is obvious, a place to talk to friends share pictures, etc.

More to follow as I get more time to play with the site.

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Iran building towards a social media/internet black out?

Opposition supporters clash with riot police in Tehran, 20 June 2009

Opposition supporters clash with riot police in Tehran, 20 June 2009

In case you have been living in a cave for the last week or so (or have been otherwise cut off from communication not just by the Internet but around the water cooler, phone and everything else) here’s what is going on. There was an election, and a bunch of people were not happy about the results of the election. Instead of sitting around whining about hanging chads and complaining to their friends over a beer about how their party was robbed…the people of Iran are staging massive protests. Unlike here in the US where they use non-lethal weapons (Pellets, tear gas, firehoses) first…the Iranian protesters are being shot, beaten with clubs, tear gassed, you name it.

Sad to say but this is not the first time protesters somewhere in the world have been killed for standing up for something they believe in (coughChinacough) but the way the world is seeing and hearing about the whole thing is something considerably different than before. It isn’t the news media bringing us what is going on. It is social media.

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