Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama vs. iPad - No Contest on Twitter

This past week saw two very high profile events dominate the mainstream media, President Obama's State of the Union address, and the public unveiling of Apple's iPad. After exploring the interesting Twitter relationship between Mariah Carey's and her breasts, we decided to ask a different question: What did Twitter users talk about more this week, Obama or the iPad?

As the Trendistic chart below for 27-29 January 2010 illustrates, there was no contest:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review of the Podcast for the Book "Read This First!"

I just had an informative few minutes listening to the first chapter of Ron Ploof's new book Read This First!. The book was made for people, especially corporate managers or anyone involved with marketing, who are faced with the challenge of dealing with new media like Twitter, YouTube, or podcasting, but have very little idea of what it is all about.

While Ron Ploof's book may not answer all of your questions, he does make it easy to for you to get in touch with his ideas. You can read the book, or be like me and listen to the podcast for free. Podcasts are a mystery to you? No, problem, just go to and play the chapters right on the site.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How Studying the NFL and Mariah Carey's Breasts Makes You Smarter about Twitter

The recent O'Reilly and Milstein book The Twitter Book is filled with all kinds of fun things to do with Twitter and Twitter related tools. Trendistic is one of the tools mentioned at the end of the book, and it allows you to compare how words or phrases trend over various time frames, including 24 hours, seven days, and 30 days for the basic version of the service. If you register, you also have a 90-day and 180-day trending option.

Just for fun, I ran a 30-day trend for the words, jets, colts, saints, and vikings. For those of you who don't follow the NFL too closely, these are the four teams entering the final round of playoff games before the 2010 Super Bowl. As you can see below, there were spikes in Twitter traffic that happened on the days that these teams played, with the Jets, representing the biggest NFL market, having the biggest spikes three of the four weekends. The one weekend where that wasn't true, was the day the Jets beat the Colts, and the word 'colts' had the biggest spike. To see the relationships easily, you may want to click the [hide] links below the graph to take out one or more of the terms.

Jets, Colts, Saints, and Vikings Graph

A much easier to understand graph that tracks the words "mariah" and "boobs" over the past week (14-21 January 2010), with both spiking last Sunday. The Golden Globes was on Sunday, and Mariah Carey wore an outfit that made it very, very, very easy to notice her breasts. The graph shows a not too surprising traffic relationship.

Mariah vs. Boobs

To see why this may be so, check out the following shot from the Golden Globes.

You may ask why do the comparison on 'boobs' and not 'breasts,' 'tits,' or any of a number of other well-known terms for female breasts. The answer is that when it 'boobs' was a far more popular term during the week the Golden Globes aired. However, the popularity of 'boobs' as a Twitter term rises and falls, as this 30-day trend for 'boobs,' 'tits,' and 'breasts' for 23 December 2009 - 21 January 2010 shows.

Breasts vs. Tits vs. Boobs

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Four Good Resources on Fair Use

One of the best recources anyone has when it comes to creating for web sites, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, and other content is the concept of fair use. Under some circumstances, the concept of fair use gives you the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment.

Three publications from American University's Center for Social Media provide a very good overveiw of many fair use issues that should interest creators of online content.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video helps helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use.

This document also tackles some common myths about fair use:

- If I'm not making any money off it it's fair use.
- If I'm making any money off it (or trying to), it's not fair use.
- Fair use can't be entertaining.
- If I try to license material, I've given up my chance to use fair use.
- I really need a lawyer to make the call on fair use.

The study Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video brings some order to the legal chaos that is user-generated video. Because of easily available editing tools like iMovie, and easy publication options like YouTube, all kinds of coyprighted work ends up in other people's videos. Using many well known online videos like The Evolution of Dance and Leave Britney Alone, this study describes nine common ways that people use the work of others in ways that may fit within the limits of fair use.

The video The Remix Culture: Video Fair Use Is Your Friend (see below), explains why the Code for Fair Use in Online Video got created, and how the Code can help you create online videos that employ fair use of copyrighted material.

Other resources that may be of interest include the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Fair Use, which discusses what documentary filmmakers currently regard as reasonable application of the fair use doctrine.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Resources for Finding Free Online Documents

One of the things that I do to track who is reprinting my online content is to set up a weekly Google Alert for various article and page titles. That is how I came across these two resources for finding free downloadable article: is an online document search engine that allows you to look for PDF, Word, and PowerPoint files. This service doesn't host any of the documents, it only provides a search service. Although it looks like this site launched only last August, it is already a very high traffic site, ranked as one of the top 5,000 domains by Alexa.

The site doesn't provide any information about its ownership or history. Although its servers are hosted by Google's servers, there is no indication that it is owned or controlled by Google. A article describes a test of the search engine with Google and found that the results for the same search was similar, but beyond that they had no further insights about this site. is a more narrowly focused document search engine, focusing only on PDF files. It provides more information to the user, including an index of previously searched files.