Tag Archives: Politics

I’ve got more Klout than Congress

31 Aug

Klout logo, Klout, the measure of social media influenceOr, did you know that you’re in the (online) presence of greatness?

Now, before we get any further, I’m just going to head this off at the pass, predicting e-mails and comments that I’m sure to receive:

“Maggie, that was a really great blog post, but you spelled clout wrong , it’s clout with a C, not klout with a K . You might want to go back and fix it.”

Actually, for once in my life, I didn’t spell something wrong. (Shocking.) Klout with a K is a proper noun, it’s a system that measures your social media influence . As Klout’s website puts it:

“Our friendships and professional connections have moved online, making influence measurable for the first time in history. When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others. Your Klout Score measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100.”

Mean GirlsSo, basically, it’s a an internet popularity contest, a measure of your social capital and personal brand. The higher your Klout score, the higher your social media influence. Klout uses gamification to draw you in and even gives you free stuff… so, it’s completely addicting. Getting free things because people like my Facebook status? Turning my social capital into real capital? Yes please! (Of course, the things you get are from paid advertisers who want you to use your social media influence to increase their social media influence…) Continue reading

Get ready for the 2012 campaign season — on your Facebook

18 Jun

Political Candidate with Social Media ButtonsMashable (via Social Times) is reporting that social media has a big impact on how we get our news and information.   (I’m thinking I might need to start a “well, duh” tag.)   We’re more likely to get information, to actually watch/read the information, and to share the information online than IRL.   Because of all this, “social media users are more likely to be influenced by Facebook “friends” than the evening news.” And in all of this, they’re using the term “social media voters”, a term that I’m going to wholeheartedly embrace. Continue reading

I spend 4 minutes every day working for the Department of Agriculture. And you probably do, too.

2 May

As today was my first day at my new job, I spent a lot of time filling out forms.  How many exemptions am I claiming on my taxes?  What percent of my income do I want to put into my 401(k)?  Do I want to participate in a flexible spending plan?  So, really, I spent a lot of time thinking about my income and how best to maximize it and, depressingly, how a larger part of it is going to taxes than ever before.  Apparently, since I got a raise Uncle Sam did, too.

My thinking about this today gives me the perfect intro to introduce you to some cool interactive infographics that I came across this weekend.  (Seriously, interactive inforgraphics are like the highlight of the Internet!) Continue reading

Rock, I mean Like, the Vote

1 May

Today SocialTimes introduced me to Likester, a new site which keeps track of real time trends on social media sites, particularly Facebook.  (Think of it as following hash tags to the nth degree.)  Although Likester also allows users to see trends within their group of friends, it’s bigger (and cooler) impact is in allowing people to understand what’s going on globally (and instantaneously).  As they say in About Likester:

What people are liking right now is really interesting, and worth calling out and celebrating. It’s usually very different from what they’ve liked since the beginning of time. Whatever trends are happening, anywhere in the world, you’ll likely be able to find evidence of them here. While we won’t attempt to explain them, some research likely would. You can filter trends by time period, such as “today”, and you can further filter by category (“People”, or “Websites”), as well as by any combination of city, state, or country. So you can see what restaurants are hot in Paris, France today. Or what websites people like this month in Seattle, Washington, United States. The possibilities are endless.

You all know how enthusiastic I am about the archival of the Internet.  But, this is even better, because it’s happening in real time and can have real time implications.  According to Social Times:

Do you want to be on top of the latest American Idol predictions? Then head over to Likester because the web site has successfully predicted the bottom three contestants on American Idol, as well as successfully predicting that Stefano Langone would be eliminated. 

Admittedly, that’s a silly example of Likester’s power.  But, swap picking the losing candidates of American Idol for picking the losing candidates of a national election and you’ll see the impact that Likester can have.  It allows for real time data about what people actually think and like (or at least what they want their friends to think that they think and like…), which has got to be better than the lies that they tell to pollsters.

Likester (and the million other services like it that are soon to be with us) will allow us to see what amounts to polling data instantaneously and probably to get predictions of returns way before the news networks are able to announce them.  (I always get my results online anyway – way faster, especially for local things, to go directly to the county Board of Elections sites and do a little bit of math.) Continue reading

God Save the Queen, or at least the monarchy

19 Apr

Today my blog got picked up on Freshly Pressed (“The best of 398,060 bloggers, 444,336 new posts, 429,604 comments, & 109,230,100 words posted today on WordPress.com.”) and featured on the front page of WordPress.  I had no idea that this had happened until I logged in to check my stats for the day (I usually get about 40 hits/day) and saw that I had over 1700 hits as well as a bunch of comments awaiting moderation.  Now I feel internet famous.  Obviously, this puts a lot of pressure on this next post…

Before my newfound fame and fortune (I made $75 for participating in a market research study today.  That counts, right?), I was going to write about the Royal Wedding and how we as Americans are “above it”, but obsessed anyway.  And how we as feminists are “beyond it”, but obsessed anyway.  (Although I’m going to duck away and obsessively hit refresh on my stats every few minutes, I’ve decided to stick with the topic.)  I’ve seen so much coverage from people who “don’t care” about the wedding, but keeping writing about it.  Really, I think I’ve seen more articles from “disinterested” writers than from those that actually own up to caring.  I’ll come clean from the start and say that I, personally, am stoked about the wedding.  I’ll be on vacation with my Mom on the 29th and plan on forcing her to wake up ridiculously early to watch it with me.  (By the way, Harry Potter’s riddikulus spell has completely ruined my ability to spell ridiculous or any version thereof.  Thank God for Spell Check.)

In “Beware the In-Laws”, Slate’s Christopher Hitchens spends most of the piece talking about how the royal family is an irrelevant (“A hereditary monarch, observed Thomas Paine, is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician. But try pointing this out when everybody is seemingly moist with excitement about the cake plans and gown schemes of the constitutional absurdity’s designated mother-to-be.”) and outmoded (“Together, Margaret and Charles set the tone for the dowdy, feckless, can’t-stay-married shower of titled descendants with whose names, let alone doings, it is near-impossible to keep up.”) institution.  But, Mr. Hitchens, if they’re so irrelevant, why are you writing about them?  To write a 1,000 word piece on a subject (Thank God for Word Count), I assume you have to care at least a little.  (No, things written for eHow don’t count.)  I love Slate, but I realize that its pretty guilty of creating search engine bait articles.  So, clearly someone at Slate thinks that their readers (or at least the Internet hoi polloi) care, too.

Bitch Magazine’s blog has a whole series (The Wedding March – unfortunately the series isn’t linkable, but their all linked off here) on the topic throughout which they make all kinds of snipes about the royals (Ex. “Prince William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, was an illustration of what happens when the fairytale ending fails to satisfy” and “Now that tuition fees have rocketed, fewer people from underprivileged backgrounds can afford university, and the much-vaunted social inclusion that allowed a girl from a reasonably well-off family to meet and marry a boy from an incredibly well-off (if deeply dysfunctional) family is at an end”).  Although I’m not too pleased with the series overall, I really liked one part of the last post:

“So is this wedding just the last hurrah, a decaying institution relishing its final moments of cultural relevance, or does the Windsor-Middleton union herald a renewed love of all things regal?”

As an American (and a feminist), I think I’m supposed to hope for the former.  But, I love the majesty of the whole thing.  Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I’m fascinated by the pageantry, the history, and the drama of it all.  I loved my British history classes and have even been known to read a Phillipa Gregory novel or two.  (Don’t judge.)  The history of the British monarchy is a great story and I don’t want it to come to an end.  I know that it’s a story that’s jumped the shark a few times and that none of the original cast of characters (or even any direct decedents thereof) remains, but I still love it.  At this point, it’s kind of like a really bad soap opera.

Yes, I recognize that comparing the House of Windsor to a bad soap opera is a terrible defense of the institution.  (Hey, it’s the same reason that I enjoy Sara Palin’s personal brand of crazy and I stand behind that strange fascination, too.)  But, actually, I think the pageantry of the royals has social value in and of itself.  Because we lack royalty in America, we focus on the first family and the perpetual first family, The Kennedys.  (They are called America’s Royalty for a reason.)  We follow the President on his vacations and comment on all of the First Lady’s dresses.  Think how much time and effort the White House must spend dealing with our entertainment.  It’s not really how I want the President and his staff spending their time.  I want them fixing the economy and getting us a budget, not worrying about the politics of the First Lady’s dress choice.

Having a monarchy takes this pressure off British politicians and let’s them focus on work.  One of my friends from college (of course I forget who), suggested that we instate an American monarchy.  It would have no power and would serves purely as paparazzi fodder.  It would provide people to attend ceremonial functions and ribbon cuttings so that the President could work on work.  Watching (okay, reading) the Royal Wedding coverage, I’m thinking that this is a pretty great idea.


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

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