All the Gossip That’s Fit to Tweet

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In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, US media has focused much of its scrutiny on the Trump Administration’s possible ties to the Russian government. Although mainstream media coverage of possible ties between the Trump Administration and the PRC has been sparse, China experts have paid close attention to official and unofficial signs of the dynamics of emerging US-China relations.

When would Xi visit the United States, and where was the follow up to the New York Times revelations about deals between Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and China’s Anbang Insurance Corporation?

Reporters tracked foreign investment by Chinese corporations.

New York Times Reporter, Mike Forsythe:

Anbang Stories - Pinned on January 31

Anbang Stories – Pinned on January 31

 

 

 

 

On March 2, a rumor surfaced on Twitter via a Chinese businessman visiting Mar-a-Lago. 

On March 13, the news broke that Xi would be visiting Mar-a-Lago. 

Followed almost immediately by:

Conversation ensued:

 Who does own Anbang?

But, wait, what’s happening to the data on Anbang’s website?

Mike Forsythe tweeted: 

10:07am

10:09am 

12:10pm White House Press Briefing:

But then, late on March 14, Anbang released a statement saying there was no intention to invest in the Kushner property:

Following up with Anbang

Following up with Anbang

 

What will develop next? Think this story’s over? Don’t believe a tweet of it…..

NYT Reporter tracking Anbang financials

NYT Reporter tracking Anbang financials

 

 

#SnowDay on Twitter, or, how everything is political now

Twitter has always been one of the more politically conscious social networks. But in the age of the Trump administration, politics seems to pervade even the most seemingly neutral subjects. The snowstorm which hit the Eastern Seaboard today – giving students and workers an unexpected day at home – yielded a wide range of conversation on the #SnowDay hashtag,

First, there was food, and lots of it:

https://twitter.com/Katelynvanpeltt/status/841770516360921089

And there were carefully dressed toddlers:

But pretty soon, folks realized that the blizzard was not as boisterous as promised. The Weather Channel caught some of the flak:

… as did the entire notion of global warming:

… and some even thought that weather reports smelt like fake news.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this was not the only time that Donald Trump made an appearance on the hashtag. His supporters were out in force:

… as were several of his detractors.

https://twitter.com/copywronger/status/841633138862374912

https://twitter.com/Blurred_Trees/status/829747456095186945

Twitter has always been one of the more politically conscious social networks. But in the age of the Trump administration, politics seems to pervade even the most seemingly neutral subjects.

It seems that politics is never far from tweeters’ minds – whatever the weather.

A Snapshot of International Women’s Day in Tokyo and Serbia

By Sruthi, Mika, Dijana, and Maddie

What began as a 15,000-person protest against oppression and inequality in New York in 1908 is now a global event, with thousands of people from around the world  marching, walking out, and demonstrate for women’s rights.

On March 8th, women and men in small towns and large cities participated in International Women’s Day. Despite the shared goal among the protestors, each  community celebrated the event in its own way. Below are snapshots of how International Women’s Day was celebrated, discussed, and, in some cases, questioned.

Tokyo

Typically, there is not much protesting or marching in Japan, as people tend to avoid engaging in public discourse about politics or issues about women, especially in public spaces.

But at 2:30 PM on March 8th in Tokyo, marchers took to the street. The event was organized bythe Women’s March Tokyo Organizing Committee and took place between Aoyama and Shibuya in the center of Tokyo. Though the 300 people who participated did not match the thousands who marched in New York, Dublin, or other large cities, the protesters were passionate and drew attention of the press.

Translation:  “My first ever march!”

Translation: “Thank you! All the rage, concerns, and frustrations which I had experienced in the past… Thanks to everyone, I now realize that I am no longer alone and am energized by all of you. Let’s voice our anger together, and make Japan and the rest of the world a better place!”

Though may news organizations covered the protest, including a livestream from Huffington Post Japan, the national public broadcaster NHK chose not to. Many expressed their frustration with the decision:

Translation: “NHK sucks! They showed marches abroad, no mention about Japan!”

Serbia

Serbians also held a march for International Women’s Day, with news outlets estimating that as many as 600 people attended, though the Facebook post shows only 45 publicly said they attended:

In Serbia, many popular singers turned to social media to comment on women’s equality:

Jelena Rozga

Natasa Bekvalac

 But not all Serbians agreed with the meaning behind International Women’s Day and the march. For some, gender equality was not an issue worth protesting:

Translation: (comment 1)“What right do we lack??? If I am, as a woman, fed up from these feministic things, I wonder how men feel when they sleep with women with silicones but eat normal food only on Sundays at their mom’s’ house!!!…”

(comment 3) “Foolishness. You can vote, you have jobs, you can chose your careers, what do you want more? Stop bothering people.”

Inside Smash Summit – Spring 2017

In a house somewhere in Los Angeles, 16 people took turns fighting each other from March 2 to March 5, 2017.

It was the fourth “Smash Summit,” an invitational video game tournament of the top competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee players.  Although much of the event was livestreamed on Twitch, the event was closed to the general public.  The following is a collection of videos and reactions curated mostly from Twitter to try to capture the feel of the event (and also attempt to figure out what they do when they’re competing on stream).

As warm-up for the real tournament, apparently there’s a practice room packed with top Melee players:

To keep their energy up, the gamers have a stash of Monster energy drinks and string cheese.

https://twitter.com/MonsterGaming/status/837352687054180352

https://twitter.com/RagingCherry/status/837765014853341185

Most people play video games for fun.  But what do professional gamers do for fun to relax after a day of competition?

There’s some cornhole:

And every night ends with a game of Mafia:

Back to gameplay, this is what it looks like behind the match as players are on stream.

At the end of the weekend, Swedish player Armada (Adam Lindgren) won 3-1 in the Grand Final to seal his fourth Smash Summit championship for $18,006.80 in winnings.

This stream viewer is going to have to eat some plastic:

Some viewers appeared a little disgruntled with Armada winning all four Smash Summits thus far:

And others seem to accept Armada’s win as part of Summit and congratulated him:

Here’s the Twitter reaction from Hungrybox (Juan Debiedma), who won 2nd place after losing to Armada:

https://twitter.com/LiquidHbox/status/838608431883833344

And Armada goes home with this trophy on top of the $18K+:

Turangalîla-Symphonie

I initially planned on reporting Ohio’s primary election results through Tweets, Facebook posts, etc. Then, I did a little soul-searching tonight and realized that politics was the last thing I wanted to talk about, let alone report on. Instead, in a last-ditch effort, I decided to dig through Instagram and Facebook to report on the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Messian’s Turangalîla-Symphonie. I also wanted to try my hand at audio, which seemed like a particularly well-suited medium for a piece about classical music.

Lessons learned: finding actualities is hard for events like classical music concerts. There isn’t a lot to go on, maybe because of the nature of classical music concerts (recording is prohibited) and the demographic of classical music concert-goers. In this particular case, it was also difficult to find dissenting opinions (everyone really loved the concert). In any case, here’s my audio recording:

 

To accompany, here are a few Instagram images, a few tweets, and a video of the performance mentioned at the end of the piece:

 

Here’s the ondes Martenot, the electronic instrument in the piece:

#latergram #nyphil #messiaen #turangalila #ondes #martenot

A photo posted by Taylor White (@tdwmdmfa) on

 

These next two URLs are from the New York Philharmonic: the first is an instagram from one of the librarians who compiles sheet music for the musicians (and in this case got to sit in on a rehearsal) and the next is the video from Quartet for the End of Time — I incorporated the audio into my soundcloud piece.

//

Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” at the Temple of DendurWe’re live at The Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. You’re watching Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with Music Director Alan Gilbert on violin, Principal Cello Carter Brey, Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill, and Artist-in-Association Inon Barnatan on piano. NOTE: If you don’t hear sound, try going to around 1 min. 40 secs. in. #messiaenweek

Posted by New York Philharmonic on Sunday, March 13, 2016

Curating Breaking News: Explosion in Berlin

Even as the BBC and AP news alerts came in over the weekend, I found myself constantly behind the times — at least in terms of catching the initial reactions and isolating the on-the-ground perspectives among the innumerable retweets, news posts, and distant reflections.

Monday morning, I happened to catch a relatively smaller-scale story of a car explosion in Berlin only a few minutes after it was posted. Although it was still some hours after the occurrence, it was the best chance yet that I had to parse the social media ‘verse before it ballooned beyond all recognition. This Storify was the result.

Of course, the exercise was not without its challenges. A few reflections:

  • I purposefully chose an international news story because I wanted to experience the language translation issue. As I don’t speak German, I certainly was limited. Jumping back and forth between Storify’s more flexible search tools and the native Twitter site where rough translation is available was less than convenient.
  • I thought images would be a helpful shorthand given the language barrier, but this was less useful in this context since many were sharing the same 10 or so images that appeared to be originally distributed or picked up early by news agencies.
  • To that end, looking at Getty’s image feed on Storify was a helpful comparison tool. So was seeing the patterns of retweets and duplicated images in Storify’s chronological format.
  • In this case, at least, early reports — especially video — were heavy on the news reports. Perhaps the story was too small, in the scheme of things, or perhaps I was still too late to the API.
  • At least on Storify, Twitter was by far the most prolific source of content — by 100-fold, at least. It would be interesting to see what types of stories get more content generation more quickly on other platforms (and how that content might be leveraged).
  • Figuring out the right search terms and parameters to cut through the chatter on Twitter was a start — though never completely helped to avoid some of the more confusing hashtags (where did #russia come in??). Likewise, it does become increasingly apparent how little you know who the users on social media are, or where the line forms between actualities that are accounts vs. reactions.

Media crackdown in Turkey continues following Ankara attack

A car bomb ripped through the Turkish capital of Ankara on Sunday, killing at least 37 people in a massive explosion not far from parliament. The attack, which comes less than a month after another car bomb in the city left 29 dead, is the latest escalation in violence since a cease-fire between Turkish forces and Kurdish militants broke down in July of last year.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BC5zODlRW5J/?taken-by=batuhan0612

Fighting had been mostly constrained to the southeast, but citizens and outside observers alike fear this is only the beginning on widespread attacks on Turkey’s urban centers. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, however, they found information hard to come by:

2016-03-16

Reporters on the ground also had challenges getting information out:

A court order was allegedly given to restrict social media access after images of the bombing were shared online.

While Turkey’s media conditions have been in decline for years, some observers found the lack of information during a crisis particularly galling:

Still, some observers did sound a note of caution against the use of social media during a crisis.

That’s not fair. Social media can whip up a terrible panic unnecessarily. Having been involved in the Great Japan Earthquake I know first hand how unhelpful misinformation is.

Reddit_mediablackout

Experts say that the question of the next terror attack in Turkey is not if, but when. As the long shadow of violence from Syria and Iraq continues its spread inward, access to independent, verified information will remain critical — even as it continues to deteriorate.

Tsarnaev trial through tweets

This is my attempt to curate the tweets of the many journalists live-tweeting the Tsarnaev trial. After taking quite a while to collect all the data, I tried some pretty complicated things to try to group them about event chronologically. Ultimately the grouping didn’t ever work that well, and it still wasn’t producing a good summary. After trying a lot of different things, I found it was best to simply highlight tweets that had many more retweets than usual for that user, so I stuck with that approach to automatically choose which of the >10k of Tsarnaev trial-related tweets to highlight from these users.

I have had been having a bit of trouble debugging the second part of the timeline feature, but for now at least here is the semi-automatic livetweet summary of the Tsarnaev trial:

http://austinhess.github.io/twitter_project/