Social Media Spam: Ick!

(NOTE: I originally wrote this for Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits blog. Since it’s also relevant here, I’m cross-posting it.)

What does "Digg bait" look like? These screen grabs from a site that sells dental insurance via an affiliate program show how out-of-place the article "Geek’s Guide to Getting in Shape" is. (Click to enlarge)

Well, I knew it would happen. Spammers have figured out how to game social media news aggregation sites like Digg, Reddit, and Newsvine.

On Nov. 21, blogger Niall Kennedy examined one example of this kind of spamming in detail, explaining how it happened and why it’s a problem.

Here’s his explanation of how this particular instance of social media spam worked:

"Last weekend I noticed a Digg submission about weight loss tips had climbed the site’s front page, earning a covetous position in the top 5 technology stories of the moment. The 13 sure-fire tips were authored by ‘Dental Geek’ and posted to the ‘Discount Dental Plan’ category on his WordPress blog. Scanning the sidebar links and adjacent content it was obvious this content was out of place on a page optimized for dental insurance. The Webmaster of had inserted some Digg bait, seeded a few social bookmarking services, and waited for links and page views to roll in, creating a new node in a spam farm fueled by high-paying affiliate programs and identity collection for resale."

Ick! Now, I’m all for posting valuable content as a way to engage communities and attract audiences. But this really crosses a line, I think…

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Buh-Bye Old Stars, and Good Riddance

Independent music journalist Michael Kirk.

This morning I was having an interesting conversation with my friend, independent music journalist Michael Kirk. We were tossing around observations on how the conventional "star system," at least in the entertainment business, appears to be waning with the rise of the internet — particularly with easy access to social and conversational media.

Anyway, with Michael’s permission, here are some excerpts from our conversation…

(READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE over at my other blog, The Right Conversation. You can comment there, if you like.)

Blogs: Popularity Doesn\’t Equal Influence

Technorati’s latest snapshot of blog influence (click to enlarge). Consider what this data really shows.

(NOTE: I originally posted this item on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits blog. I’m cross-posting it here because I think it’s also relevant to Contentious readers.)

On Nov. 6, Technorati published its latest quarterly state of the blogosphere report. Currently, this search service tracks 57 million feeds, mostly from blogs — with a strong focus on English-language blogs, especially from North America.

One of the most controversial sections of this report discusses a key concern for any media: influence or perceived authority. Personally, I think Technorati’s interpretation is rather awry…

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RSS-to-Javascript: Getting Buggy?

For a while now on several blogs I’ve been using the free tool RSS-to-Javascript to syndicate the content of certain feeds into sidebars. In the last couple of days, however, there seems to be a bug regarding this tool for at least one of my blogs, The Right Conversation.

I’m trying to diagnose this problem, and would appreciate any insight others could offer.

Here’s what’s happening…

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