Red Alert

Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

John Key’s “ghost followers” Part 2

Posted by on June 17th, 2012

Further to the previous post which analysed John Key’s Twitter followers and found an astounding 57% were not “real” followers, Boolean undertook a further analysis.

This time he analysed  John Key, myself, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, David Shearer and Gareth Hughes. The results are here

They show pretty clearly that we all have followers who are questionable. But the percentages for all, except Key are pretty standard. More than half of John Key’s followers don’t stack up.

I reckon that’s a bit odd. I’ll be undertaking a cleanout of my followers. And expect a bit of scrutiny of them.

I think the question that remains is how did John Key acquire nearly 30,000 bogus  followers?

John Key’s “ghost” followers

Posted by on June 17th, 2012


I was sent this link  a couple of days ago by which raises some interesting issues about the extent of John Key’s public support on social media.

To be fair I asked for an analysis of my own more modest twitter following to establish the extent of my “true” followers. The results of this analysis speaks for itself. (To see the comparison with my followers see below or click on the link).

Boolean has since done an update, which I’ll post shortly. But the question has to be asked, how come so many of JK’s followers are not real? Where did they come from? Can you “buy” followers?

Chris Keall’s recent article in The National Business Review had John Key @johnkeypm as ‘top of the twits’ with over 50,000 subscribers. With Newt Gingrich and Kevin Rudd amongst others being accused of buying Twitter followers I thought it would be interesting to investigate some of John Key’s followers.

In the comments for the NBR article MikePSmith suggested most of the followers were spambots with CK replying “overall it looks like most are living breathing New Zealanders”. I cast my eye over the followers and decided exactly the opposite: most of the following accounts looked extremely fishy.

The @johnkeypm account is a managed account – that is the man himself does not update it personally. Much like the man it is decidedly bland and delivers the party line more like an RSS feed.

To make the account look as popular as possible accounts that regular users block and report for spam are kept as active followers. If the account isn’t actually being used in the traditional manner those annoying spam accounts aren’t interfering with everyday use.

So with the help of Twitter API I analysed the followers of the @johnkeypm account. The results confirmed almost exactly what my eyes had already told me: most of the accounts were spambots, zombies, or worse.

With a very loose definition of an actual Twitter user as opposed to a spambot zombie (10 followers, 10 tweets, tweeted this year, have bothered to change the display picture from the default) the follower count falls to less than half at 22,000 accounts.
If you care to further refine the criteria to what most of us would consider regular active users the numbers just fall away. Limiting to accounts based in New Zealand (not fair to expats or those who choose not to disclose) then the numbers dwindle even further.

John Key probably remains New Zealand politician with the largest Twitter follower count but with a much smaller margin than the numbers suggest – if one is at all concerned about quality or real accounts.

UPDATE 15/06/2012
Other accounts will be analysed for comparison

Clare Curran @clarecurranmp
No avatar pic 8% (197 accounts)
No tweets 5% (115 accounts)
No followers 1% (15 accounts)
Inactives 22% (538 accounts) Corrected 16/06/2012
‘Real’ followers 85% (2076 accounts)

Update coming

Tweet away – if you are a journalist

Posted by on December 15th, 2011

Good guidance from the England and Wales Chief Jusice – but it does beg the question – what is a journalist ?

Guidance from lord chief justice means journalists no longer have to make application to tweet, text or email from courts

Journalists no longer have to make an application to tweet, text or email from courts in England and Wales following guidance issued by the lord chief justice, Lord Judge.

“Twitter as much as you wish,” he said as he delivered the guidance which takes immediate effect and covers the use of electronic devices including phones and small handheld laptops for live text-based communications.

The guidance extends that issued last December and now also allows members of the public to tweet, but they, unlike journalists and legal commentators, must seek permission from the court in advance.

Judges retain full discretion to prohibit any live text-based communication from court in the interests of justice, and permission from court may be withdrawn “at any time”.

“A fundamental aspect of the proper administration of justice is open justice. Fair, accurate and, where possible, immediate reporting of court proceedings forms part of that principle,” said Judge.

Facebook priorities

Posted by on October 12th, 2011

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Screen shot 2011-10-12 at 1.38.44 PM

Morality tale #2

Posted by on August 14th, 2011

Social order, corporate dominance vs free speech and the taming of the internet. How important is this?

Can and should governments be able to shut down social media and disable citizens access to the internet during times of social unrest? And if they can do that, what else can they do? Have a read of this:

One of the anti-riot measures recently suggested by British PM David Cameron is to prevent rioters from using Twitter and other social networking websites. Such a tactic, which was slammed as a trick resorted to only by authoritarian governments in the past, has had a great impact on world media.

The bold measure indicates that Britain is at its wit’s end on how to stop the country’s worst riots in decades.

Cameron’s suggestion to block social networking websites smashes basic concepts of freedom of speech in the West, which always takes the moral high ground in criticizing the reluctant development of Internet freedom in developing countries.

The violence has brought a comprehensive and diverse influence on the whole of the West. Created by globalization and the development of the Internet, the headache of governance suffered by developing countries has now spread to their developed peers.

Democracy and freedom of speech should have their pragmatic connotations and denotations. The Chinese edition website of the Financial Times carried an article on Friday titled “What is the bottom line of freedom of speech?” Fanned by the rapid development of the Internet, the requirement for freedom of speech is trespassing the boundaries of the current political system in the West, it warned.

I wrote a post in January about this after the riots in Egypt when the government attempted to shut down the internet. Back then it seemed unthinkable that a western democracy would contemplate such a thing. But in the UK that’s what’s now being discussed.

There is a much wider context to this debate. It’s called net neutrality. And yes, it’s about power and vested interests. So watch out.

Net neutrality is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. But all that could change.

I believe any government should be very very careful before it rushes out in the heat of the moment promising to shut down communication channel in order to preserve social order.  Doing that affects all of us. And some fundamental principles upon which our society and our political system is built.

Labour MPs answer your questions live on Facebook

Posted by on August 9th, 2011

Phil Goff has done a couple of live chats, with more to come. Tonight Annette King will be answering your questions from 7pm.

Submit your questions via the ‘LabourLive’ tab on Labour’s Facebook page.

You can ask anything you’d like (within reason) – funny or serious. We’ll be doing more of these over the coming months, but if there’s any particular MP you’d like to see, let us know.

Tweet of the Week

Posted by on July 24th, 2011

Moana is unable to post this week. I am the ring in. So I shall start with a King and end with a Queen (yes I will)

PS: I don’t think my layout is as good as hers

These words give us all strength and courage

NorwayUN NorwayUN

King Harald of #Norway: “when the nation is tested, the strength, cohesion and courage of the Norwegian people becomes evident.” #Utøya

15 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

and these

@andy_williamson Andy Williamson

RT Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg: “The answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity” Hope our world leaders are listening

23 hours ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Retweeted by Roselady64 and 100+ others

and these

olavkjorven Olav Kjorven

Deeply saddened by senseless attacks in Norway. Thanks for outpouring of support from around the world to a hurt but sturdy people.

17 hours ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

then there was this. Not so good

homebrewcrew Home Brew

‘Key uses Norway massacre to justify NZs military involvement in Afghanistan’. Can we please do something bout this guy in November people?

9 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

and the clash of stories

mingyeow Ming Yeow Ng

Via @dcurtis: Norway was attacked, Amy Winehouse is dead, Greece has defaulted, the US is about to, and New York melted. What a week :(

7 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Billy Bragg had this to say about the 27 club

billybragg Billy Bragg

It’s not age that Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain & Amy have in common – it’s drug abuse, sadly #27club

14 hours ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

and the final word goes to Her Majesty about “that other story” which, am pretty sure, won’t go away easily

@Queen_UK Elizabeth Windsor

No, Mr Murdoch, you cannot “pop round” after you’ve finished at the Commons.

19 Jul via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Double Dipton discovers social media

Posted by on June 27th, 2011

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Bill English has discovered social media. How on earth will he find time to answer one whole question per week?

Still, it’s more than he answers in Parliament…

Phil on Facebook

Posted by on June 20th, 2011

Phil is hosting a live Facebook chat tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5.30pm –

There’ll be 5 minutes of questions on each of the topics below (as voted for on his facebook page), then 5 minutes at the end to answer any general questions people may have.
– work closures & job losses
– minimum wage/youth wage/student loans
– Christchurch/EQC
– asset sales
– children/welfare reforms

Transparency the best option

Posted by on June 18th, 2011

Am pleased and heartened to see that Rob at The Standard has outed himself as a blogger. Brave and wise I reckon.

I understand why some people blog under a pseudonym. I understand why some comment on blogs and in social media under one. It’s probably better all round if we were ourselves. Unfortunately, the world of politics encourages secrecy and intrigue, and can punish honesty and transparency.

I’m all for open-ness. Sometimes that may appear to be a naive position. But in the long run it’s better for us all.

If you are full of doubt, have a read of this. I think it’s the best example so far of how transparency reaps benefits.

Greg Jericho, also known as Grog’s Gamut is an Australian public servant, blogger, and journalist. He came to prominence during the Australian federal election in 2010 when Australian Broadcasting Corporation director Mark Scott referenced his blog during a speech.[1] He was subsequently outed by News Limited journalist James Massola, a move that provoked widespread condemnation and criticism amongst the Australian blogging community.[2] After a break from blogging following his outing, Jericho has resumed blogging and providing opinion items for other outlets, including the ABC.

I don’t like the way Greg Jericho was outed (I was in Australia when it happened) but I think the way he handled it was great.

Twitter reshaping business practice. And politics?

Posted by on June 10th, 2011

Just came across this. On Twitter of course. From a Computerworld story

Twitter causing shift away from call centres: Australian bank

NAB says Twitter now a major channel for customer service and complaints

By Lisa Banks | Sydney | Thursday, 9 June, 2011

The National Australia Bank’s (NAB) customers are increasingly turning to Twitter to have their customer complaints and enquires dealt with, the bank has claimed.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on the role of social media in business, general manager of digital at the bank, Chris Smith, said NAB’s contact centre is no longer the first port of call for customers.

“We get 30 million calls a year — is it [our use of social media] measurable and can we achieve that ROI? We’re getting there,” Smith said. “Are people using social media instead of calling in? There is some channel switching happening.”

Smith said the bank’s use of social media only took off recently, with , and its ‘break up with your bank campaign’ being a major step up for NAB, which now employ five employees primarily for social media.

“We’re quite new and don’t have much of a background in social media,” Smith said. “We’ve had some footprints here are there, but last year our CEO said we had to get out into the Twittersphere and use social media better.

Very interesting stuff. Think it might be having an impact on politics and media too.

Facebook – Live Chat with Phil Goff today

Posted by on May 23rd, 2011

A long, lonely wait for Tremain

Posted by on April 21st, 2011

Tremain’s invited a bunch of people to his BBQ but looks like he’ll be waiting a while. Nice to see Stuart Nash enter into the spirit of things, though the fire engine might be overkill for just four people. Good to see Chris is giving the Stop Asset Sales campaign a good boost.


(Click here or on the image for a full-size version)

Create your own ‘nice to have’ poster

Posted by on April 7th, 2011

“This is not a time we can afford to indulge in “nice-to-haves”, even though sections of the population feel the loss of those services.” Bill English, 29 March 2011

This quote is from a speech that Bill English gave to public service professionals.

Show Bill and John what would be “nice to have” by going to here to create your own poster, email and share it with friends and family.

Here’s mine:

Nice to have

Jane Young – social media and political change

Posted by on January 30th, 2011

Jane Young is a leading journalist from Invercargill who now lives in Montreal. Her Pundit blogs are always worth reading. This one on the role of social media in revolutionary change is great.

A new generation of practical revolutionaries in the Middle East is daring repressive regimes to bow to popular reform rather than resort to brutal crackdowns. They are armed with little more than the power of social media and a belief that the basics in life trump Islamist ideology. 

No wonder dictators and fundamentalists fear social media as it seems to have played midwife to an extraordinary revolution unfolding before our eyes in the Middle East


Social media has political power, and has done since text messaging rallied crowds whose sheer force secured the ousting of the Philippines’ Estrada at the turn of this century.

The Chinese, Burmese, Iranian and other repressive regimes work tirelessly to shut down any dissident behaviour that threatens to go viral, but with US assistance to the tweeters and facebookers, the mobile phone users and the rest of the texting generation, surely the autocrats can be left playing catch-up.

Once the the world is delivered the genie of information and pictures, they can’t be stuffed back in the bottle. It is fair to say that stage has been reached.

Iranian citizens put up a gallant fight against all odds with their tweets and phone videos, and while they did not win immediately, they must take heart that the Tunisian domino with its perceptible shift from ideological politics to the call for practical improvements and good governance will eventually reach them…and hopefully their Muslim counterparts and Arab neighbours in the region. This new generation deserves indigenous democracy that is creatively and tirelessly supported by the both the wider Arab world and the West.    

New candidates, new pages, worth watching

Posted by on January 29th, 2011

It is going to be an interesting year for how candidates use social media. I blog a bit here and have fun with my 5000 Facebook friends. But some people do these things really well.

Have a look here to see how David Clark who will be the next MP for Dunedin North has an interesting page. And tick “like” to keep following.

Think the list should have included Lol

Posted by on January 7th, 2011

Got sent this via media release yesterday. Pity it didn’t include Lol!

My views on that expression are reasonably well known.

Lake Superior State University releases annual list of banished words

Topping this year’s list were the words “viral” and “epic,” followed by “fail,” “wow factor,” former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s “refudiate,” and the expressions “man-up” and “I’m just sayin.”

Words like “epic” and “viral” may be a common part of students’ vernacular, but could get you shunned by Lake Superior State University.

The college, located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, released its annual list of “banished words”, words that were nominated by voters to be “banished” from people’s vocabulary for being chronically overused and misused.

If we started a list here wonder what would top it?

What is social media doing to us?

Posted by on December 31st, 2010

Wouldn’t mind your views.

Read this story the other day. Think the view that we’re becoming more stupid is rubbish. Though don’t much like the acronyms and emoticons in social media.

Did like the comment that:

Social media expert Laurel Papworth said it was out of fashion to use the term LOL (laugh out loud).

My view is that social media is fast-tracking a global comunication evolution.

Might have some more substantial things to say about this after a  bit of a holiday.

Happy digital Christmas

Posted by on December 24th, 2010

I think this is an appropriate way for me to say Happy Xmas to you all. I discovered this last week but waited to post it until today as it is fitting. Kiwiblog got in first, but that’s okay.

I’m not particularly religious (though I do say the odd Hail Mary in a tight spot). But this crosses all boundaries. And is pretty cool.

Hope you all have a safe and truly happy Xmas and get to relax, and hug each other a lot (well hug the people you like).

Clare x

Hat tip: Hamish Saxton

Does John Key know he’s our latest follower?

Posted by on November 28th, 2010

John Key is following Red Alert on Twitter. Good on him. Keeping up to date.

Every time we do a post on Red Alert, it gets automatically posted onto Twitter. John Key is now a follower. Means he doesn’t have to regularly check in to Red Alert, he can just follow us on Twitter.

Presume he made the decision himself!