Finding a mentor via online social communities

Finding a mentor via online social communities
from yahoo news / Reuters

By Kate Holton Thu Feb 21, 3:44 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) – “Lavenderblu” was a young girl when she got her first taste of domestic violence. After suffering at the hands of her father and witnessing repeated attacks on her mother, she ended up in a violent relationship of her own before finally managing to leave and find refuge with a women’s support group.

Now, at age 40, she is one of many mentors on the new social network Horsesmouth ( which has been set up to connect mentors with those who are looking for advice.

Launched only about a month ago, the site already has over 20,000 users and offers up mentors to discuss a wide variety of topics, form how to set up a business to how it feels to wear the Muslim hijab for the first time.

In launching the service, the site’s creator, MT Rainey, set out to bring a sense of public purpose to the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon, which allows users to contribute their own content to the Internet.

“No one was creating a social network for a public benefit or for the public good,” she told Reuters in an interview. “I wanted to create somewhere that was safe and somewhere that was fit for purpose, for meaningful interchanges online.

“If you’ve accomplished something, if you’ve been through something and if you’ve got over something, then you have wisdom,” added Rainey, who previously worked in advertising.

She said that people going through a difficult process need to talk, often to someone familiar with the situation, who has been in their shoes before.

“I found that people wanted to give something back,” Rainey said. “You don’t have to be middle-aged or retired to feel that way.”

The Horsesmouth is one of many mentoring sites to spring up recently and the phenomenon could become more important as once-powerful traditional bodies such as the church or unions start to lose their sway in certain countries.

“Physical geographic communities are breaking down and people through the Web are creating communities of interest,” Rainey said.


In the creative industries such as music, advertising, media and the arts, many are turning to the new social network set up by The Hospital Club group.

The private club opened in 2003 in a former London hospital and was based on the vision of musician Dave Stewart, who wanted a “creative melting pot” in the centre of the British capital where members could give something back to the industry.

Five years on, it has also launched a social network at, where users from those industries can post ideas, blogs and their work to communicate with others on the site.

“The key was to create a low pressure environment where people could interact with one another based on their own expertise … and where it is acceptable to approach people to ask for assistance,” said David Marrinan-Hayes, the club’s online manager.

He said the site would allow those entering the industry to post profiles and examples of their work online, meaning the potential mentor would be able to make a qualified decision on whether to provide advice or not.

“Also, we often find that people … need different pieces of advice from a number of different people,” he said.

“For a musician, they could need production advice or legal advice or marketing advice, and that very often doesn’t come from the same person. So three or four people could work together and we’re trying to create a space to manage that whole process.”

There is no charge for using Horsesmouth and TheHospitalClub, but some other mentoring sites like Imantri ( offer a choice as to whether you pay for the mentor or not.

Other sites offering mentors or advice include American-based, and the business network

Like Horsesmouth, Marrinan-Hayes said people were happy to help and impart their knowledge. And it can be rewarding for both sides.

“It just makes them feel good,” he said. “They feel like they have something to contribute.”

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Gunna Dickson)

Google to sell display ads in Web videos

Google to sell display ads in Web videos

found via yahoo news / Reuters

Thu Feb 21, 1:35 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Web search leader Google Inc plans to start selling ads to appear in Web videos and has signed up 20 customers, as it aims to do for videos what it has done for text.

Partners include YuMe, an online video advertising network, Brightcove, an Internet TV platform, and comedy site MyDamnChannel.

Brightcove, whose customers include CBS Corp, Time Warner Inc and Discovery Communications Inc, will begin offering the technology to its clients.

YuMe, a Redwood City, California-based start-up, said on Thursday, it will serve InVideo overlay adverts as part of Google’s AdSense for video beta advertising program.

Google has traditionally used AdSense for text-only advertising but said the video program extends its offer to targeted, contextually relevant video graphical ads and text overlays.

Google has been working on ways of developing advertising revenue for online video since it bought YouTube, the video-sharing site, in November 2006.

As Internet access speeds become faster around the world more television and Hollywood-produced video content is moving to the Web on sites like, owned by News Corp and NBC Universal, and, owned by Comcast Corp.

YuMe said Google is one of the third-party feeds accepted by YuMe’s Adaptive Campaign Engine, which helps Web publishers in its network match each video ad impression with the best money-making ad placement in realtime.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke and Kenneth Li; editing by Greg Mahlich, Richard Chang)

Your MySpace Web Browser Is Coming

Article found via digg

Your MySpace Web Browser Is Comingflock myspace browser — Flock, the Mozilla-based social web browser has made the announcement that everyone has been waiting for: they will now integrate with MySpace. Building on the MySpace Developer Platform, Flock will allow users to surf the web with their MySpace friends in their sidebar. This integration will expose all of the . . .

Article is pointed to readwriteweb

comments at digg are always interesting of course.

I think this is an excellent idea, I am surprised it has taken so long to come out. I wonder if flock will have an exclusive with this, or if myspace will be opening up more and more and allow other browsers to do the same. Myspace at one time was disconnecting virtually everyone who started anything that pulled info from myspce. I remember when a program that would notify you when your myspace friends stalkies became single was sent off to the tech crunch deadpool because myspace was being so closed off.

Then facebook came out with some APIs to let developers use and integrate their social network, and google released it’s open source social apps, and now it seems that myspace is coming out of the closed off closet more and more. Good. Now if we can just get better data portability from all social networks, in a secure manner, along with more control over what is done with personal information and pictures etc, with these web sites.

AT&T Looking at Internet Filtering

AT&T Looking at Internet Filtering
Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:18 AM EST
Article found via Newsvine / Associated Press

AT&T Inc. is still evaluating whether to examine traffic on its Internet lines to stop illegal sharing of copyright material, its chief executive said Wednesday.

CEO Randall Stephenson told a conference at the World Economic Forum that the company is looking at monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, one of the largest drivers of online traffic but also a common way to illegally exchange copyright files.

“It’s like being in a store and watching someone steal a DVD. Do you act?” Stephenson asked.

AT&T has talked about such plans since last summer. They represent a break with the current practice of U.S. Internet service providers, who are shielded by law from liability if their subscribers trade copyright files like movies.

Stephenson said he still sees value in peer-to-peer networks despite some problems. The networks are increasingly used for legally distributed files like movie trailers and software.

Comcast Corp., the second largest U.S. Internet provider after AT&T, has chosen another way to deal with the congestion caused by file-sharers, by hampering some peer-to-peer traffic regardless of whether the content is legal.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said earlier this month it would investigate complaints from consumer groups and legal scholars that Comcast’s practice violates the open access principles of the Internet.

Americans more wired, new-media survey finds

Americans more wired, new-media survey finds
From yahoo news / Reuters
By Gail Schiller

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – About 38 percent of U.S. consumers are watching TV shows online, 36 percent use their cell phones as entertainment devices and 45 percent are creating online content like Web sites, music, videos and blogs for others, according to a new-media survey from Deloitte & Touche.

The findings of the online survey of 2,081 Americans, conducted October 25-31, were provided to The Hollywood Reporter before their official release next month.

The “State of the Media Democracy” notes that in Deloitte’s first edition of the survey just eight months earlier, 24 percent of consumers used their cell phones as entertainment devices, meaning that usage has soared 50 percent.

About 62 percent of “millennials” (consumers 13-to-24-years-old) are using their cell phones as entertainment devices, up from 46 percent in the previous study conducted February 23-March 6, 2007. And among Generation X consumers (25-to-41-year-olds), the number grew to 47 percent from 29 percent in the earlier survey.

About 20 percent of consumers said they are viewing video content on their cell phones daily or almost daily.

The percentage of consumers watching TV online jumped from the 23 percent figure reported in the previous study. Roughly 54 percent of those surveyed said they are making their own entertainment content through editing photos, videos or music, 45 percent said they are producing that content for others to see, and 32 percent said they consider themselves to be “broadcasters” of their own media.

“I think for advertisers one of the conclusions is you don’t make decisions to advertise either on television or the Internet when you want to hit all the demographics, but rather you need to have a multiplatform strategy,” said Ken August, vice chairman and national sector leader for Deloitte & Touche’s media and entertainment practice, which commissioned the study. “It shouldn’t be an either or proposition.”

Among the study’s other findings:

— 54 percent of consumers said they socialize via social networking sites, chat rooms or message boards, and 45 percent said they maintain a profile on a social networking site.

— 85 percent of consumers still find TV advertising to have the most impact on their buying habits, but online ads are second best, with 65 percent of consumers saying they have the most impact, beating out magazines at 63 percent.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

More and more Americans getting hooked on electronics. There are many good and bad things I see with this news. We can share information and entertainment quicker, and I enjoy this new era of information sharing. I believe we will see more problems with technology compatibility in several areas as well. We already have competing formats with everything from software and operating systems, to different cell phone companies having various accepted formats for multimedia messages and such. There will certainly be much more confusion among people as to what works with what, but lets hope the barriers come down in those areas in the future as well. More on this in another post later.

It’s serious if you admit to your relationship on Facebook – and other social networks

From yahoo news / reuters

For college students, if it’s Facebook, it’s love

By Joanne Kenen Tue Dec 4, 7:20 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For the Facebook generation, love now comes with a drop-down menu.

With profiles on the Facebook social networking site ( almost de rigueur on college campuses, students can define their relationship status with menu choices ranging from “married” to that perennial favorite, “It’s complicated.”

“It’s complicated” could also describe the emotional calculations people in their late teens and early 20s make as they decide whether their relationships are what they call “Facebook-worthy.”

For Stephanie Endicott and Marcus Smallegan, first year students at George Washington University, announcing to the world that they had found love in a college dorm was a no-brainer.

“It was important for me to share this with my friends since I’m so far away,” Endicott, attending school 3,000 miles

away from her home in Maple Valley, Washington, said as she clasped Smallegan’s hand on a park bench on the campus.

“Neither of us had been in a really good relationship before and ours turned really good really fast,” added Smallegan, who had posted a relationship on Facebook once before, only to have that girl move out of state and break up with him via a text message on his cell phone.

Some of their friends, however, have had less harmonious Facebook experiences. Both Endicott and Smallegan know of other college students who thought they were in a relationship — only to have it all blow up when they tried to link their two Facebook profiles as a couple, an option that requires the consent of both parties.

“It was this major emotional crisis breakdown,” Smallegan said of a close friend at a Midwestern university who was heartbroken when her cyberlink was rebuffed by a young man who thought they were “just friends.”

Not all students post their relationship status. For some, it’s a matter of privacy. For others, it’s all about marketability.

“I have NEVER changed my Facebook status — it has always been single, even when I started to get involved with girls. I think it’s better this way, until you are VERY serious, because people look, people talk, etc., and unless it is super-serious it can ruin any chance with any other girl!” one young man, who asked that his name be withheld to avoid alienating his current and many ex-girlfriends, wrote in an e-mail.

But for many couples, being “Facebook-worthy” confers a status on a relationship.

When a couple was “going steady” in the 1950s, the young man might have let his girlfriend wear his Varsity team sweater or given her his fraternity pin. But the 1960s swept aside those rituals. Now the Facebook link has become a publicly-recognized symbol of a reasonably serious intent short of being engaged or moving in together.

“For those in a relationship, the theme that kept echoing was that Facebook made it official,” said Nicole Ellison, an assistant professor of telecommunication and information studies at Michigan State University who has studied social networking sites. “That was the term they used. And when the relationship fell apart, when you broke up on Facebook, that’s when the breakup was official.”

Facebook even produces a little red broken heart icon when a couple splits up.

Duke University student Adam Zell concurred. “Putting it on Facebook made it official,” said Zell, who had a “serious sit-down relationship talk” with his girlfriend last year after two or three months together. They made a joint decision to put “in a relationship” on Facebook, and link profiles.

Dave Berkman, who does mental health counseling at the University of Wisconsin clinic, finds that some students feel compelled to define themselves on a Facebook page, or to compulsively update their status over and over again.

“People are beginning to use it more than phones, more than text messages, more than instant messaging, even more than talking in person,” he said. “It speeds things up. People are prone to define where they are so they can show other people (online).”

If Facebook can certify a relationship, it can also destroy one. Ellison in her research learned of one young couple in a “Facebook-worthy” relationship. But he cheated with a young woman who naturally looked up his Facebook profile. When she saw he had an “official” Facebook girlfriend, she contacted the other woman.

“Then the two of them were in cahoots to make this guy’s life miserable,” Ellison said. “So if you are in a relationship and it’s listed on Facebook, don’t cheat.”

(Reporting by Joanne Kenen; Editing by Eddie Evans)

I know there have been many other social network dramas played out on Myspace and other social networks for similar reasons stated above. For a while there was even an internet service that would alert you to changes in a person’s relationship status. I have seen many a drama started up by comments from friends and people who change or don’t change their relationship stats to single, or dating, etc on myspace and other social networks myself.

Google Making Street View Anonymous

Google Making Street View Anonymous

from yahoo news / PcWorld

Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Fri Nov 30, 2:50 PM ET

In the face of ethical concerns, Google is considering changes to its Street View Google Maps feature that would protect the privacy of those it photographs.

When Street View is rolled out in Europe, Google will alter Street View photos to make sure that faces and license plate numbers are no longer visible, and the company is also thinking about doing the same with the U.S. version of the product, said Jane Horvath, senior privacy counsel with Google.

Developed by Immersive Media, Street View lets users click on a city street and then see a panoramic photograph of the area. The pictures are taken by special 360-degree cameras roof-mounted on Volkswagen Beetles that cruise around town, constantly snapping photographs. The photos are often so clear that people on the street can be identified.

Soon after its May launch, photographs of scantily clad women and men apparently entering adult book stores or strip clubs appeared, and privacy advocates complained that the Street View was invasive. Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kevin Bankston was photographed by the service and was among those who complained.

Google responded by creating a way for people to remove their photos, but in many other countries the company will have to take the more aggressive privacy measures. “In other jurisdictions… like Canada and the E.U., when we launch our product there, we’ll be under an obligation to ensure that faces are not recognizable, nor are license tags,” Horvath said at a Thursday discussion at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. “As we launch those products we will be thinking within our product teams whether this is something that we’d like to do within the U.S. also.”

Street View maps are available for 15 U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

In the U.S., Google can legally publish photographs taken in public places without securing permission from people who happen to pop up in the shots, but this practice violates privacy laws in many other countries.

And even if it’s legal, some may still be uncomfortable with the photographs, Horvath admitted.

“It’s sort of that ‘ick’ feeling that something makes you feel uncomfortable,” she said. “Our products are not static and we’re always open to changing them to make sure our users feel comfortable and trust us with their information.”

“I think this calls into question the whole idea of whether privacy is something that needs to be regulated by law or if there’s this other concept of privacy that we need to look at, which is the right to autonomy.”

Glad to see that google is making some changes to account for privacy with people. Theere has been much debate about google’s (and other search engines and internet sites) disregarding privacy for users in many ways. Something positive with internet user privacy is always good to read.

Online Protests force Social Network Facebook to change

Protests force Facebook to change
From the BBC News – UK

Facebook members have forced the social networking site to change the way a controversial ad system worked.

More than 50,000 Facebook users signed a petition calling on the company to alter or abandon its Beacon advertising technology.

When Facebook users shopped online, Beacon told friends and businesses what they looked at or bought.

Many considered the data sharing to be an intrusion that exposed them to more scrutiny than was comfortable.

Privacy please

In response to the demands, Facebook’s 55 million members will have more control over whether data about what they do online is used for Beacon.

Before the changes, Beacon was an “opt out” system and many complained that they missed the chance to avoid using it when it was introduced in early November.

Now Beacon will be an “opt in” system that only tracks data if explicit permission is granted to Facebook to do so.

More than 40 websites, including, and Blockbuster, signed up to use Beacon software on their webpages and report what Facebook users did when they visited.

Snoozing child, AP
Beacon embarrassed many doing Christmas shopping online
Activist site MoveOn was at the forefront of protests against Beacon and set up the petition to gather signatures on 20 November.

“It also says a lot about the ability of internet users to band together to make a difference,” said Adam Green, a spokesman for MoveOn.

Facebook apologised for its actions via a letter on its website.

“We’re sorry if we spoiled some of your holiday gift-giving plans,” read the letter. “We are really trying to provide you with new meaningful ways, like Beacon, to help you connect and share information with your friends.”

Industry commentator Om Malik said Facebook users had to be certain to opt out completely from Beacon otherwise Facebook would still collect data from partner sites – even if that data was not shared more widely.

The changes to Beacon may not be the last that Facebook has to make to the technology.

Two rights groups, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, are believed to be compiling a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission about it.

People sure are funny. I wonder how long it took to get those 50,000 facebook users signatures for a petition. Now consider how long it takes to get a petition for other important things like local law changes, or political issues. Perhaps people will see the power here and we can look forward to faster changes in other aeaof life with social network technology helping to lead the charge. Perhaps Digg will begin to incorporate on site petitions for things.