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Twitterati’s much ado about nothing

The folks behind the curtain at Twitter made a startling announcement via blog post Friday: The popular microblogging service can now block tweets that run afoul of the law on a country-by-country basis.

Censorship! The four-letter dirty word of the Internet! (Actually, it’ll take up 10 of your 140 characters, if you’re keeping count.)

The twitterati was in an uproar. They planned a #TwitterBlackout for Saturday that appeared – based on my completely unscientific first glance, at least – to have absolutely no effect on traffic over there.

Hey, considering users post a billion tweets every four days, you don’t really miss a few here or there.

… And that’s exactly how tweeters got it wrong.

See, Twitter’s “new” policy isn’t new at all, but nobody missed those few tweets here or there until the policy was in the spotlight.

The site routinely removes tweets that break foreign law – the blog post uses the example of pro-Nazi content banned in France and Germany – but until now, Twitter has done so on a global basis. Now the tweets can be removed from users in one country while still being viewable elsewhere. And should you find yourself in an affected country, Twitter has made no secret of an easy workaround.

Another non-change: Twitter’s policy on when it removes tweets. Tweets are removed reactively, not filtered. That means it takes a while. And that means future social media-fueled uprisings – a la #ArabSpring and #OccupyWallStreet – can carry on uninhibited. (Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing isn’t my call to make.)

The not-new “new” policy on removing tweets is not likely to affect Twitter’s popularity on a global scale. Did I mention the billion tweets every four days?

The site reports its user base numbers some 100 million, with 50 million logging in daily. It’s going to take more than a one-day blackout to make a dent in that.

ABB CEO’s thoughts on Thomas & Betts’ acquisition

The ABB Group, a Zurich-based maker of power and automation technology, is planning to acquire Memphis-based Thomas & Betts Corp., a supplier of low-voltage products.

Details will be in The Daily News’ Tuesday, Jan. 31, edition and at www.memphisdailynews.com.

Thoughts from ABB CEO Joe Hogan:

TDN Online (from the inside)

Hi. Kate here.

I’m The Daily News’ social media specialist, which means I sit at a desk surfing Twitter while TDN’s reporters and usual bloggers – Andy, Sarah, Bill and Aisling – are out covering Memphis’ business, government and community news.

I usually leave the blogging to them, but I’m popping by for a moment to mention what’s going on in The Daily News’ digital realm.

Traffic on Facebook and Twitter (here, here and here) has grown tremendously in the past year. You’re reading the blog right now. And The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com, is always evolving to bring you dynamic news, profiles and access to more than 13 million public records …

… Oh, and did I mention all our editorial content is free?

Industry leaders are taking notice. Editor & Publisher, the newspaper industry’s key trade publication, awarded TDN’s website two honorable mentions in the annual EPPY Awards, an international competition that recognizes the best media-affiliated websites. Also, the Tennessee Press Association awarded the site first place for Best Website in its division.

It was particularly special to garner those awards in 2011, The Daily News’ 125th birthday. It’s a little reminder of how much we’ve stayed true to our roots – providing public records and notices to Memphis’ business community – while expanding into so much more.

But we’re not resting on our laurels. Keep an eye on memphisdailynews.com for new features, including a videos section and more information on upcoming Daily News seminars and events. And, of course, we’ll continue to bring you Memphis’ best business, government and community news coverage.

Because Andy, Sarah, Bill and Aisling are out in the field, doing their thing.

While I’m here surfing Twitter. … Which is where I’m headed now.

/ks

Pastner takes on the media

Will Askew is a co-host of The Morning Rush on Sports 56 WHBQ weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

During the postgame radio show after the Memphis Tigers’ 60-58 win over Southern Miss Wednesday night, Josh Pastner criticized those he termed “radio heads” and said that “If you don’t think Houston is a good basketball team, you know nothing about basketball.” Certainly sensitivity to media criticism is nothing new; former coach John Calipari famously said he didn’t read the newspaper or listen to the radio while simultaneously locking out members of the media he deemed to be too “miserable.” Calipari, though, is widely regarded as somewhat paranoid, and as his teams were routinely making Elite Eight trips, there wasn’t too much to be miserable about.

Pastner makes no bones about the fact that he is an avid radio listener and consumer of all things sports. From time to time, he will just call in our radio show, the Morning Rush on Sports 56, unannounced if he hears us talking about a topic worthy of his input. I find it quite refreshing that a coach, instead of publicly denying any interest in the media while privately blackballing members he doesn’t like, admits to listening and is extremely accessible. This fits into Pastner’s personality; what you see is what you get. He is what he is, and he’s honest about it.

However, Pastner’s latest stab at the “radio heads” smacks of oversensitivity and is insulting to the intelligence of listeners. In his now a little more than two years as a head coach, Pastner has been handled with kid gloves. After being given a deserved free pass his first year when John Calipari left him with little to work with, Pastner was largely immune from criticism when last year’s much-ballyhooed freshman class failed to live up to expectations with a 4th place C-USA finish. As the freshman have become sophomores and all save Will Barton and his brother Antonio could be looked at as disappointments, as Wesley Witherspoon has plodded through his four seasons without becoming one iota better than he was as a freshman, as his team is routinely beaten by Top 25 opponents, the media has largely left Pastner alone. Why, then, is he so sensitive?

This is not to mention his comment about Houston, which is just insulting to people’s intelligence. His statement that “If you don’t think Houston is a good basketball team, you know nothing about basketball” is either an attempt to pump up a terrible conference opponent or is a Get Out of Jail Free Card in case the Tigers unexpectedly fall this weekend. There are good teams in C-USA; the Tigers beat one of them Wednesday night. But don’t try and sell me Houston, whose RPI is in the mid-200s. In fact, I would amend his statement to “If you THINK Houston is a good basketball team, you know nothing about basketball.”

Josh Pastner has done an adequate, if unspectacular, job as Tiger basketball coach. His team will win the C-USA Tournament and head to its second straight NCAA tournament. If he fails to make any noise there, Pastner’s long media honeymoon may finally be over. This team was expected to do big things, and if they don’t, someone will be criticized for it; that person is likely to be Pastner.
If he’s this sensitive about criticism now though, how will he react when the heat really gets turned up?

Dansette

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