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The Dumbest Thing Ever Said About Social Media

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Ready to hear the dumbest thing ever said about social media?

The central point here is whether Twitter and Facebook, as publishers of content, should be as accountable as traditional media. The problem is one of scale. Traditional media controls its content by employing finite numbers of staff, freelance journalists and news agencies. In contrast, Facebook have an army of "citizen journalists" numbering 500 million and Twitter 175 million and don't employ any of them.

Clearly, they are going to have to introduce a delay mechanism so that content can be checked before it goes up. There will have to be a completely different structure, which will be difficult when the whole thing about Twitter is its spontaneity.

[...]Twitter and Facebook are not blank sheets of paper. They are media publishers like any other. Social networking at the moment is like a pioneering goldrush; a real land grab. We have to get some sort of international arbitration set up, which the Americans would need to be involved in, and quickly.

Those are the words of words of the UK's self-proclaimed leading business and public relations consultant, Richard Hardgrove.

We suspect his hat may be "In this style 10/6." He is seriously calling for social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to put up a filter between the users and the Tweet button.

While he is correct that these sorts of sites are becoming important ways for people to spread news and other information traditionally left up to mainstream media, such as newspapers and television, his proposal is simply insane. Not only would it be virtually impossible to implement any sort of review process, it would undo the good these media have provided.

"Citizen journalism" has taken off specifically because there is no such filter. There is no editor in chief saying "this isn't news worthy" or "this might offend our readers and sponsors." The lack of any filters does result in a lot of idiocy, and plainly false stories being spread (Camping always said the world would end in October, this isn't changing his story; May 21st was judgment, not sentencing, so stop posting that damn story all over my Facebook wall).

But, these sites have also exposed holes in the mainstream media. Stories that would otherwise go untold show up on blogs. Ideas that can't fit into a 30 second clip are fleshed out, even if they do compete with space about news of what your puppy had for lunch. The last thing we need is for social media to become more like mainstream media. Even the mainstream media has noticed this, increasingly turning to blogs and ordinary folks for reporting.

Thankfully though, the Americans have already spoken on this issue. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects service providers from liability for things their users say. This goes from your ISP all the way up to the person who owns an unmoderated forum. We also have those pesky things called Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and possible even the Freedom of Assembly applies.

Individual speakers can still be held accountable, but trying to make Twitter responsible for every single Tweet is like making a bar tender responsible for every dumb thing said by a drunk patron.

On the other hand, Hardgrove does have a pretty fetching wife. If that's what having idiotic ideas gets you, then might we suggest that Facebook be required to purchase a business license for every city and county in which there is at least one Facebook user.

[Guardian]

Input Error: Money Can't Buy You Love

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Money can't buy you love, and a fat bonus check can't buy you productive associates.

New, from the Robot Pimp, a look at how your compensation plan might be making your associates into worse employees, and what you can do to fix the problem: Input Error: Money Can't Buy You Love.

Louisiana Contemplates 10 Commandments Monument

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In 2001, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore placed a stone monument of the 10 Commandments, weighing more than 5000 pounds, in the state courthouse. The ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and others filed suit in the federal court for the Middle District of Alabama. Moore lost, appealed the case, and lost again at the 11th Circuit. He refused to removed the monument, and was removed from office by a state ethics committee for violating the federal court order.

Now, the Louisiana House Committee for Government Affairs has unanimously approved a bill that would call for the placement of a similar monument on the state capitol grounds. The bill authorizes the monument to be up to nearly three times the size of the Alabama monument.

We're certain a suit will follow if the law is paced and the monument installed (or likely before it is installed, if anyone wants to go for an injunction). It's doubtful the location of the monument will make any difference, state property is state property. But, the key distinction between this case and the suit in Alabama is that Louisiana is in the 5th Circuit, so there is a possibility for a circuit court split.

Representative Patrick Williams, a Democrat from Shreveport, sponsored the bill. He, as you might expect, pointed to the historical significance of the 10 Commandments, but also made the funny claim that it is the source of all law.

...What?

The Exodus, the period during which the 10 Commandments were handed down, occurred sometime around 1300 BC. The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi dates back to earlier than that. And, of course the Egyptians had their own system of laws, and it's likely the Jews had some rules floating around too, or at least some strong guidelines. Then there's also the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations, that didn't just have laws, but taxes even! Try writing a tax code on two stone tablets.

Speaking of, if the 10 Commandments are the foundation for all laws, how do you derive import taxes from them? Or the mattress label regulations? Or exotic animal licensing?

Representative Rosalind Jones, a Demcrat from Monroe, pointed out that the state is the only in the union to have laws based on the Napoleonic Code, and that the capitol grounds have no monument to the state's unique legal system.

[Times-Picayune]

Herman Cain Says to Reread Some Document

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Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain gave a fiery speech discussing people who think we need to rewrite the Constitution.

...Not really sure who's calling for that, but Cain argues that what's needed is for people to get back to basics. Don't rewrite the Constitution, reread it. Typical Republic rhetoric, and frankly, people do need to spend a half hour actually reading the thing, maybe once every election cycle. But, Cain's speech has a strange twist to it:

 

...Yeeeah. That would be the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. That doesn't mean that the principles in the Declaration are any less important. Well, less important legally, but as far as our societal aims are concerned, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are pretty important.

Ordinarily this would just be a silly gaff, useful only to news outlets trying to fill a 24 hour news day. It's not like he was citing the Declaration as the basis of some controversial law, where it really does make a difference which document you're using.

But to make that mistake during a speech about rereading the Constitution. ...Fire your speech writer. If you don't have a speech writer, stop writing your own speeches and hire a speech writer.

Page 244 of 341

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