The US presidential election seen from China. Web users share concerns over the impact of “Twitter bombing” on the upcoming US election. USUSAnd Darth Vader spends the day at Disneyland.
The US presidential election seen from China
China has been following the American presidential election very closely, and has often been a focus of attention in the race for the White House. Official Chinese media has regularly complained that Beijing is being used as a “punching bag” in election debate with the two main candidates promising to toughen up against China, which is accused amongst other things of taking Americans jobs.
But in this age of social networks, Chinese web users have also been showing an unprecedented interest in the upcoming election. Many followed the three televised debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney via the web, bloggers even translated the exchanges between the White House hopefuls, so they could be followed and understood by as many people as possible.
Analyses of US politics have also been highly popular on the Chinese blogosphere, where censorship is not as tight as with traditional media outlets. During his online talk show for example singer Gao Xiaosong was able to talk at length about how the electoral system works in the US; the program was watched over 1 million times in just a few days.
And with the Chinese Communist Party’s congress due to open in Beijing on Thursday, during which a new generation of leaders are expected to be placed in the party’s top positions, over the past few weeks there has been an increase in barely veiled comparisons between the two political systems.
This web user notes, with a hint of irony, that while the outcome of the American election is still uncertain, the people of China have known the name of their future president for months. This other blogger, takes a more direct approach and asks outright when the leaders of China will be elected by universal suffrage as is the case in the United States.
USA: "Twitter bomb" fears cast shadow over the election
Web users in America are voicing fears of the possible impact of “Twitter Bombing” on the outcome of the presidential election. Twitter bombs, a form of spam, are unsolicited Twitter responses sent via false accounts, retweeted multiple times by automated computer systems and orchestrated by the candidates’ campaign teams, or outside groups, so they become a trending topic on social networks. The objective is two-fold: it imposes a theme, but it also leads people to wrongly believe there is a groundswell of opinion on a particular candidate when in fact the trend is being manipulated by those trending the message.
Social media expert Panagiotis Metaxas has posted an article on the “Science Magazine” website saying it’s likely Twitter bombs will be launched in the hours leading up to the 2012 presidential election and that the bomb technique has unfortunately become common practice in the US in recent years and proven extremely effective in propagating information and misinformation fast, creating enough confusion to make a measurable difference in the election.
But Twitter isn’t the only social media platform threatened as the end of the presidential campaign draws nearer … search engines have fallen victim to “Google bombings”, which can consist of creating large numbers of links that cause a webpage to have a high ranking for searches on unrelated key words … Mitt Romney has been bearing the brunt recently, if you type in “completely wrong” to Google, you will be met with dozens of photos of the Republican candidate.
Over 20 million tweets sent as Sandy struck
Over 20 million tweets containing the words “sandy" or "hurricane" were sent between October 27 and November 2, as the super storm struck several countries, including the US.
The figures were released via a series of tweets on the micro blogging site’s official page. The company also reveals that on October 29, the day Sandy hit New York, search enquiries related to Sandy peaked at over 20 % of total search queries; impressive figures that illustrate once again the crucial role played by Twitter in covering the event.
Now trending on social networks
Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey in the US is asking celebrities for help via Twitter. He wants them to use their popularity to get fans involved in helping residents of New Jersey which was badly hit by hurricane Sandy. He took to the micro blogging site Sunday night, asking well known faces including teen idol Justin Bieber, actor Danny DeVito and singer songwriter Bruce Springsteen to spread the word and direct followers to the platform on which web users can make donations. The scheme is enjoying great success and Christie’s messages have already been retweeted thousands of times.
Video of the day
When Disney bought Lucas Film last week, Star Wars fans weren’t over happy, but Disneyland California has been celebrating the news by airing this video online. The viral clip was actually made last year to promote a Star Wars attraction at the theme park, and it’s now more newsworthy than ever!