Talking Instagram and Facebook on ABC Media Report

The biggest media story last week was the billion-dollar purchase of photo-sharing service Instagram by Facebook — and I ended up talking about it on ABC Radio National’s Media Report on Friday.

If you’d like to explore further than my comments to presenter Richard Aedy, you might like the Wired analysis of the numbers compared with other internet startup buyouts, Paul Wallbank’s refutation of that analysis, and a witty piece in NYMag — as well as my own piece for Crikey.

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The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and there’s a version at the ABC website.

Talking total surveillance at the Sydney Writers’ Festival

I’m speaking at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival in a free session on Sunday 20 May called iSpy.

Even before Google controversially demolished the privacy walls between its various products, we were already living in the total surveillance society. With every keystroke we are voluntarily telling companies, governments and heaven knows who else an awful lot about ourselves. Should we be worried about the uses to which this information could be put? Technology writer Stilgherrian discusses the implications of what we share with social media consultant Thomas Tudehope.

I daresay I’ll be covering material like that in my Sydney Morning Herald story You are what you surf, buy or tweet, and the more recent ZDNet Australia story The Facebook experiment, but the conversation will be up to you, the audience.

The theme for SWF this year is “the line between the public and the private”. As artistic director Chip Rolley says in his welcome message:

The question of the limits of what is personal is one of the hottest subjects around.

“Privacy is for paedos,” ex-News of the World journalist Paul McMullan told the UK Leveson Inquiry into the media. Now, via Facebook and Twitter, we voluntarily tell the world things we previously might not have told even our loved ones. Investigative journalists thrive on leaks and finding out what others don’t want us to know. And the state knows few boundaries (personal or political) in its need to prevent another 9/11.

(If you want a high-powered discussion of these issues, Sydney Town Hall discussion on Friday 18 May with former High Court judge Michael Kirby, former director general of MI5-turned-thriller writer Stella Rimington, former CIA interrogator Glenn Carle, media and news blogger Jeff Jarvis and investigative journalist Heather Brooke.)

iSpy is on Sunday 20 May 2012 at 2.30pm at the Bangarra Theatre, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. It’s free, and you don’t need to book — but I’m told that it can sometimes get busy at SWF.

Before that I have speaking engagements on 27 April at DigitalMe in Perth and 11 May at the Saasu Cloud Conference 2012.

Visiting Perth for DigitalMe (and other diversions)

I’ll be in Perth on Friday 27 April to present at DigitalMe, one of a series of media140 events, the other two being DigitalBusiness on Thursday 26 and DigitalFamily on Saturday 28 April.

(These events are part of the City of Perth’s Innovation Month. It looks like there’s some good stuff happening, including the screening of some classic futuristic films.)

DigitalMe is a full day of activities that “takes the individual on a journey through the digital landscape of blogging, video, personal privacy, personal reputation, mobile web and social media helping to demystify the digital world and understand more about your personal digital footprint.”

My half-hour session at 2pm is “Destroying your world, tweet by tweet, like by like”:

Facebook, Twitter and social mobile applications encourage you to share your life. But what happens when you share too much? Every time you share, tweet, email or browse a website you leave a digital footprint that reveals far more than you may realise — or want. Find out what Facebook, Twitter and the secretive online advertising companies know about you and take control.

I covered some related themes in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald a few weeks back.

DigitalMe is being held at Northbridge Piazza. It’s free, but you’ll need to register online.

I’m flying into Perth on Thursday 26 April around lunchtime and leaving on Sunday 29 April in the mid-afternoon. My schedule is fairly open so far, so other diversions are welcome.

Talking iMessage and Path privacy fail on radio 2UE

So I ended up going quick chat just now on Radio 2UE just now about Apple’s newly-announced iMessage plans and Path’s privacy outrage.

While Apple’s iMessage isn’t new, extending the application to the Mac’s OS X desktop is, as are some of the iCloud-linked services. In part that’s shoring up Apple’s cloud services. And it’s certainly part of the threat to mobile telcos’ revenue that I wrote about for CSO Online yesterday.

The Path thing is just arsehattery of the first water.

Anyway, here’s the audio. The presenter is Tim Webster and you’ll also hear his regular guest Trevor Long.

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The audio is ©2012 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd, of course, but as usual I’m posting it here in case they don’t post it at their own website.

Google+ gives me grief, generally

It seems to have been my annointed role this week to press back against the rush to join Google+, the new social networking service (SNS) from Google.

It all began when I posted the Patch Monday podcast on, erm, Monday. “Can Google+ kill Facebook? Twitter?” I asked. But as I discussed the potential success of Google+ and its strengths and weaknesses compared with Facebook, I couldn’t help but think…

I don’t want to do this.

Join Google+, that is.

I’d first written about Google+ for Crikey a week and a bit earlier. It was a cranky piece. I speculated that Google would have to come up with something pretty persuasive to get people to migrate from Facebook.

That of course soon triggered one of the usual, predictable comments.

sorry im not on facebook, i dont need to be, i dont have a mobile phone, i really dont need one, i dont have a GPS, i have a brain and know how to get around, hell, i dont even have a watch, i do have a job , im thankfull of that and i do manufacture and retail a product that everyone wants.

… said William Magnusson, who also seems to live without capital letters, apostrophes or the ability to decide when it’s time to end his sentence and start a new one.

I’d expected that. But what I hadn’t expected was much of the reaction to my follow-up Crikey piece, There’s no way I’m handing over data to Google+, and to a lesser extent my ABC The Drum piece, Why rush? Let others find the Google+ privacy landmines.

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