Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Nielsen just dropped its Q3 2011 Social Media Usage Report, and some of the stats here are pretty interesting.

At a Glance:

  • Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet
  • Social media has grown rapidly – today nearly 4 in 5 active Internet users visit social networks and blogs
  • Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website
  • Close to 40 percent of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone
  • Social networking apps are the third most-used among U.S. smartphone owners
  • Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social network-ing through the Mobile Internet
  • Although a larger number of women view online video on social networks and blogs, men are the heaviest online video users overall streaming more videos and watching them longer
  • 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12 percent more likely than the average adult Internet user
  • 53 percent of active adult social networkers follow a brand, while 32 percent follow a celebrity
  • Across a snapshot of 10 major global markets, social networks and blogs reach over three-quarters of active Internet users
  • Tumblr is an emerging player in social media, nearly tripling its audience from a year ago

Here are a few of the graphics that go into a little more detail:


Any student of communications worth his or her salt will have studied the infamous Nixon-Kennedy Presidential debates of 1960. Why? Because they were the first ever televised presidential debates, and they marked an inflection point in American politics, where hearts and minds were not won merely by talented rhetoricians and charming radio personalities, but increasingly by physical appearances and a demonstrated ease in front of a camera.

As the story goes, Nixon was ugly and evil looking normally, but on the date of the first of the four debates he would have with Kennedy, his physical appearance was worse than usual: “Nixon had seriously injured his knee and spent two weeks in the hospital. By the time of the first debate he was still twenty pounds underweight, his pallor still poor. He arrived at the debate in an ill-fitting shirt, and refused make-up to improve his color and lighten his perpetual ‘5:00 o’clock shadow.’” I think we can all imagine.

However, Kennedy’s appearance was another story, “Kennedy, by contrast, had spent early September campaigning in California. He was tan and confident and well-rested. ‘I had never seen him looking so fit,’ Nixon later wrote.”

Whether Kennedy’s handlers were much more prophetic about the impact of TV, or whether Kennedy just lucked out, we may never know. What we do know is that Kennedy’s appearance on TV during that debate changed the path of American politics forever. A majority of Americans who listened to the debate solely via radio pronounced Nixon the winner. A majority of the over 70 million who watched the televised debate pronounced Kennedy the easy winner.

Are you beginning to see why this appeals to comms geeks? The suggestion that a newly introduced medium could so profoundly impact the perspectives of so many people in the context of a very high stakes popularity contest was tantalizing. It remains tantalizing today.

Fast forward 51 years to Obama conducting a Townhall meeting streaming on Facebook, and to GOP Presidential candidates using Twitter and Facebook metrics to potentially supplant traditionally collected polling information.

What would happen if you could use Twitter, Facebook or good old Google Analytics to accurately predict the outcome of the 2010 Presidential Election? Some growing social media analytics companies such as Likester are doing just that by measuring the uptick in popularity of pages and social networking presences. In fact, Likester accurately predicted this year’s American Idol winner way back in April.

But how scientific is this data, and what exactly is being measured? As Mashable reports, Likester mostly measures popularity and predicts winners based on the aggregation of “likes” on Facebook in concert with high-profile events. For the GOP debate, “The stand-out frontrunner was Mitt Romney, who ended the night with the greatest number of new Facebook Likes and the greatest overall Likes on his Page.” As we can see, Likester basically began the ticker right when the debate began and distinguished between unique “likes,” or “likes” that occurred after the debate had started, from overall likes. In the end Romney had 19,658 unique or new “likes” during the debate, resulting in 955,748 total “likes,” representing a 2.06% increase in overall “likes” during and directly following the televised debate.

Likester reported, “Michelle Bachmann ranked second in the number of new Likes on her Facebook Page.” In numbers that came out to 9,232 unique or new “likes,” 326,225 total, representing a 2.75% increase.

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Naturally, AdWeek threw their two cents into the discussion, arguing:

“Polling has always been an important element to any electoral bid, but now a new type of impromptu assessment is coming to the fore. Third parties, such as analytics startup Likester, are carving out a space for themselves by processing data that is instantaneously available.”

I’ll give you instantaneously available, but, again, how scientific is this? After all, no one seems to be taking into account what I would call the “hipster correlate.” The hipster correlate is the number of Facebook users who would have “liked” a Romney or Bachmann or Ron Paul page in a stab at some hipster-ish irony, thus proving to those who check their Facebook page or read their status updates their outstanding skills of irony in becoming a fan of a Tea Partier web page, etc. If we’re really doing statistical regressions here, what’s the margin of error here, Likester?

Additionally, how closely can we attach the fidelity of someone who “likes” a Facebook page to a living, breathing politician? On my Facebook page I think I have “liked” mayonnaise, but if there were to be a vote between mayo and ketchup to determine which condiment would become the new official condiment of the U.S., would I necessarily vote mayo? That’s actually kind of a crap analogy, but you get what I mean.

Before we are forced to read more blogs and news articles (like this one!) pronouncing exit polls dead and Facebook and Twitter as the new polling media, I’d like to see a very solid research study conducted as to how closely becoming a fan of a political Facebook page correlates to Americans’ actual voting behavior. In other, more web-based marketing terms, what’s the voting conversion rate for political Facebook pages?

Has anyone seen anything like that?

In other words, please, social scientists and pollsters, show us whether yet another new medium is disrupting the way that Americans individually see and interact with their political candidates, and how that medium has begun to shape the way those political candidates are regarded by an American audience as a whole.

OK, stay with me, because this entry will be jam-packed with seemingly unrelated elements, but I promise (hope?) it will all come together in the end.

In today’s NYTimes Thomas Friedman wrote an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao called “Advice for China.” In the open letter, Friedman asserts that Jintao had asked for impressions about what has now been termed the Arab Spring (I wish that I were creative enough to attach a pre-landing page to that link that first asked, “Seriously? You don’t know what this is?” ).

In his column, Friedman reports,

“Our conclusion is that the revolutions in the Arab world contain some important lessons for the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, because what this contagion reveals is something very new about of how revolutions unfold in the 21st century and something very old about why they explode.”

As you can imagine, this particular article is chock full of rhetoric about how social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are changing the way that revolutions are born, are changing the way revolutionaries connect, etc. Read the article if you want the whole gist.

What stuck out for me in here was:

“The second trend we see in the Arab Spring is a manifestation of ‘Carlson’s Law,’ posited by Curtis Carlson, the C.E.O. of SRI International, in Silicon Valley, which states that: ‘In a world where so many people now have access to education and cheap tools of innovation, innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb.’ As a result, says Carlson, the sweet spot for innovation today is “moving down,” closer to the people, not up, because all the people together are smarter than anyone alone and all the people now have the tools to invent and collaborate.”

As someone who read Surowiecki’s “Wisdom of Crowds” and found it to be such a breathtakingly accurate portrait of why social media matters in a modern political context, this paragraph really struck me. I guess I’m wondering if we have, in fact, all agreed that “all the people together are smarter than any one alone.”

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I mean, I have personally read enough to be convinced that such a statement is quite accurate, despite my fears of groupthink and a mob mentality, I can see now very real and very tangible examples of why democracy is actually better than any other style of government (note please that I say better, not perfect). But have we all agreed on that?

I’m particularly inclined to believe in democracy as the best-yet model for government not only against the backdrop of what has been happening in the Arab world, but also because I have been reading up on my insects (cue the confused silence of the readers- Really? I thought that was an excellent segue).

Peter Miller’s “Smart Swarm,” is a great book for any communication or ‘wisdom of crowds’ geek. The book is sub-titled, “What ants, bees, fish, and smart swarms can teach us about communication, organization, and decision-making” and boy has it been teaching me a few things.

So far I’ve read about the fascinating networks and collaborative processes which exist inherently within colonies of bees, ants and termites. Difficult tasks such as locating new shelter, finding and foraging for food, and building a geometrically (and one might even say architecturally) complex living vessel are undertaken and achieved on a daily basis by insects to whom we ascribe the smallest of intellectual abilities. These insects all have different ways of building consensus about the best way to proceed. Bees have a special “figure 8” dance that they do in sequences at particular angles to ostensibly vote with a dancing fervor for their particular choice for the next nesting area. Ants leave scent trails behind them when striking out for food and the scent grows strong as more and more ants follow the same trail, collecting food and bringing it back to the rest of the colony.

“The Smart Swarm” basically goes to some lengths to offer a window onto how specific populations of insects and animals can offer clues as to how consensus and productivity may be alternatively achieved. The problem with humans, it would often seem, is that we have these big brains and these big mouths. Both of those things often get in the way of us agreeing, and on getting things done.

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The principle behind all of these comparisons between insects and humans is the study of biomimicry, which, as Wikipedia describes, is “the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems.” For example, velcro is one of biomimicry’s earliest and most infamous products. [Would anyone like to go down the rabbit hole with me on this: please provide any comments or feedback on how you think biomimicry is generally regarded as a cool, smart-people thing, but anthropomorphism is generally considered to be the realm of lunatics and cat ladies.]

For communication geeks who love to examine how different groups of people can get together to solve big problems, this stuff is gold. If you’re a real biomimicry zealot, the amazing and tantalizing fact of it is that nature holds all of the answers to our problems already, as long as you’re ready to go out and closely watch it play out. Which brings me back to this notion of the democratization of information, which Cesar Alierta writes about in Chapter 1.4 of the Global Information Technology Report.

In the chapter, Alierta focuses mainly on ICT as the platform which brings about the democratization of information. But in reality, if you follow biomimicologists(?) like Miller, information is already everywhere around us, in nature, just waiting to be plucked and used to solve problems. Alierta refers to the so-called “Solow Paradox,” which asserts that “there is a lag between investing in or deploying ICT and the generation of positive effects on productivity.” And he goes on to say “no less important (than ICT to productivity gains) is the extent to which the impact of new technologies in the social sphere benefits the entire economy.”

But as most of us know, the investment in resources such as ICT is often a top-down decision, so naturally, if Friedman’s assessment is to be believed, that “innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb” we’re constantly giving the purse strings and the power to invest in better innovation to the wrong folks.

A hive of bees leaves the decision of where to locate the next hive squarely in the capable hands (wings?) of drone worker bees to go out in search of suitable locations and come back and perform a vigorous dance for the location of their choice until a decision is made through consensus. A colony of ants puts the decision for where and how to find food for the colony solidly in the hands of its forager ants, and as they forge new trails and leave their scents behind, more and more ants find and retrace those steps, making the scent stronger and stronger and creating consensus in that fashion. The difference is, these are largely decentralized systems of building consensus, making decisions, and acting in favor of the greater good.

Which all brings me back to Friedman’s assessment of the use of social networking and messaging platforms during the incredible revolutions of the Arab Spring! As Alierta writes in Chapter 1.4 of the Global information technology Report, “technological change has not led to a progressive isolation of the individual. Instead, technology is facilitating the emergence of how forms of interaction- among individuals, groups, and companies- creating a new kind of cooperative that overcomes limitations of space, time and place.”

In other words, the Arab Spring was inevitable both from the technological and biological standpoint. The accelerated adoption of mass communication technologies in the Arab world coupled with a new awareness of the fact that what had been done and how it had been done had been harming a greater community of people than had been felt before access to these ICT were available made the hive revolt against its nasty queens in favor of what is believe to be a system for the greater good- that is, a system closer to democracy.

Gee, I hope Hu Jintao reads my blog, too.

OK, so here’s the thing. I love Groupon, I really do.

From the beginning I loved the idea. I suffered painfully in the knowledge that I hadn’t come up with the idea, but I was kind of OK with it because I loved Groupon’s angry little vampire cat mascot,

its witty and irreverent writing style, etc. Plus, the deals were stellar! Groupon really came through for me on massages, on Christmas presents last year, on ideas for fun out-of-the-ordinary stuff to do.

But now, now Groupon has an obscene number of doppelgangers, and I’ve been cheating on Groupon a little bit with a number of different Groupon wannabes: • Facebook Deals • Yelp Deals • LivingSocial • SfGate deals…And dude, it has to stop! Not because I feel guilt or remorse. But just because I now receive about 300 emails every morning from all of these coupon sites. It’s not sustainable, people.

And the little excitement I used to have about checking out the deal of the day has gone- it has gone.

All that said, I’m stoked for the folks at Groupon about their IPO announcement. And I appreciate the manner in which CEO Andrew Mason made the announcement. Cute. However, given my own waning interest in group coupon sites, I really wonder if Groupon shouldn’t have jumped on that $6 Billion offer from Google.

Of course, I’m not exactly a visionary, so don’t take me too seriously. Clearly, there’s much more mobile and geo-location integration to come with group coupon sites, but doesn’t it all just end up amounting to “every store and restaurant and outdoor company is having an ongoing special!”? If anyone can offer a different vision for how group coupon-ing will evolve to become even more awesome in the future, rather than less awesome- I’d really love to hear it.

UPDATE: I’m not the only one with this question.

UPDATE ON UPDATE: The slide has begun.

Did anyone read (or care?) about the eG8 Forum that just happened in France? The one where G8 leaders are discussing the need for a set of guidelines for aligning governmental policies towards the Internet in all participating G8 countries.

No? I’m not surprised.

If you do care, check out the Infographic that Mashable published on the event. It’s humorous because of how it pits a net-hostile Nicolas Sarkozy against tech luminaries like Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt.

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I think my favorite tweet from the infographic is from JP Barlow who quotes Sarko as saying, “the internet is the new frontier, a territory to conquer” to which Barlow responds, “and I am in Paris to stop him.”

Jeff Jarvis, a favorite thinker/blogger of mine, tweeted, “at the #eG8 government acts as if it should protect us from the internet. Instead, the internet needs protection from the government.”

That sort of encapsulates why it is hilarious that a bunch of primarily European countries (plus the US and Canada) would think that the world would care about their opinions on how to regulate the internet. I mean, a) Most of the member countries in the G8 are not exactly internet or technological trailblazers, so who really cares what their thoughts are on the internet?; and b) The internet, as platform, and its network of global users (with the exception of China, perhaps) has proven that it will generally laugh in the face of anyone who tries to closely regulate it. After all, ardent internet users are usually light years ahead of the technological curve and the tactics of countries that would attempt to control them.

Which leads me to this: Thank you Sarko for this outstanding opportunity for me to vent some of my now-out-of-date frustration about France’s approach to the internet and web-based technologies.

Having worked briefly (6 months) with a “French web-based startup” while I lived in Paris, I’m going to argue that I have some right to write a bit about what I have observed of France’s relationship with the internet.

Please note, this is not a ranting session about France and its people. I really love France and its people. It is, in fact, because of my love for France and its people, I was seriously pained every day to observe what I did of France’s technologically masochistic tendencies

France is known for a great many wonderful things- things that, as I see it, are mostly rooted in tangibility- art, food, architecture, wine, the countryside, huge airplanes, cheese. France has also been recognized for its achievement of landmark historical intangibles, such as the French Revolution and the Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Unfortunately, those both date from the 18th century, and so here we begin to see the problem.

France has lost its ability to embrace and foster the intangible. As a result, in a modern world where elements of intangibility are widely regarded as the inevitable future of many markets and economies, France has fallen woefully behind.

But, if you look closer, there is strong evidence to suggest that France’s masochistic approach to technology and the internet was inevitable. Indeed, a disdain for intangibles is intrinsically French. As a largely hierarchical and bureaucratic culture, France is a country in serious need of more deregulation, decentralization and privatization.

As an example, when I worked at this Paris-based eCommerce firm, part of my responsibility as half of the team of two people who cleaned and organized the entire U.S. catalog of items for purchase (already ludicrous, no?) was to translate the items names and their categorization in the back-end catalog.

The unbelievable truth of this company’s strategy was that all translations and categorizations were completed relative to the original French framework. In the case of the U.S. site there was some added ridiculousness- the categories and terms for items were replicated and translated from the original French, into British English, and my job was then to translate those categories and items names into American English language equivalents.

So, there were whole sections in the food area of the online site dedicated to “French wines,” and “caviars,” and “puddings,”  but I had to go through an arduous process to create American food categories, such as “cookies,” “French fries,” etc. When I asked why we had to base our catalogue off of the French and British ones in the first place, thereby creating so much more work for ourselves than would have been necessary if we had begun from scratch with an American site, I was met with a stony stare. I was later informed that questioning the original French framework for categorization was just not done. An outstanding example of French pride, bureaucracy, hierarchy and lack of global insight all-in-one.

In other words, the same culture that allows for a ban on the display of religious clothing in public places, that mandates one style of handwriting for all, and only one version of its national language also has seemingly little concept of the importance of the globally diverse population of the internet, or from the opposite perspective, localization. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways I admire how the French hold on to their language proudly and refuse to compromise in its usage. But this linguistic pride and a nationally shared sense that their global relevance is slipping inhibits their ability to think globally, to develop a global mindset. France is still so stuck on how to force the world to recognize it as a great power, and to follow its models and its rules for governance, that it has forgotten that in order to be relevant, it must also be a part of the brave, new, global reality that operates within and without its own physical borders.

Unless France can begin to embrace the internet as central to its future, and foster more technological and, specifically, web-based innovation, it risks becoming increasingly irrelevant to the 21st century context. France is badly in need of a Twitter, a Facebook, or a Google of its own to send out as an ambassador and a symbol to the world- but from what I observed during my two years in Paris, it is a long way from achieving that. In the mean time, I guess we will all watch Sarko butt his head against some of the greatest thinkers and innovators of the 21st century, and try hard not to laugh.

Ooohhh ho ho! This one is good. Really, really good, people.

We interrupt our analysis of the 2011 Global information technology Report to give you news about some gossipy, tech rivalry backstabbing.

What do you get when you take one of the biggest powerhouse PR firms in the world and plug it in between two of the most influential global technology companies? Modern info wars, people. Modern information warfare!

As Dan Lyons wrote in his Daily Beast report on this, for the last week or so word got out that Burson-Marsteller had been retained to pitch an anti-Google PR campaign that urged credible news outlets to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy.

Word got out because Burson “offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.” The offer, it appears, was turned down by blogger Chris Soghoian who then publicized the emails BM sent him after they refused to reveal their patron.

Next, “USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a ‘whisper campaign’ about Google ‘on behalf of an unnamed client'” and after that, Facebook, it was revealed, was the crooked, Whispering Wizard behind the curtain.

This is the kind of stuff that makes comms geeks like me drool! PR, search and social networking combined in one story?

So let’s break down the elements that make this so juicy. First, for Facebook to be accusing anyone else of being flippant or irresponsible about user privacy is ridiculous. Plain ridiculous. When your founder and CEO is Mr. “Privacy is Dead,” you cannot take that position. Period.

Second, it’s so interesting to see Facebook getting upset about Google doing what it was invented to do, i.e. cull information from every relevant source on the net and organize it in a meaningful way to those searching for it. For Facebook to think that it would be immune to the reach of the Google information engine’s grasp is delusional. In essence, the crux of Facebook’s whole problem with this situation lies herein: “just as Google built Google News by taking content created by hundreds of newspapers and repackaging it, so now Google aims to build a social-networking business by using that rich user data that Facebook has gathered.”

Third, I love how Lyons cuts through all of that and gets down to the brass tacks: “The clash between Google and Facebook represents one of the biggest battles of the Internet Age. Basically, the companies are vying to see who will grab the lion’s share of online advertising.” Yup.

He continues, “Facebook has 600 million members and gathers information on who those people are, who their friends are, and what they like. That data let Facebook sell targeted advertising. It also makes Facebook a huge rival to Google.” There I actually don’t agree with him, because of what I see as their divergent relative scopes.

Although Facebook has done a remarkable job of positioning itself as a competitor to Google in the eyes of the internet public, it’s just not remotely possible. It is a David and Goliath story, where Goliath wins hands down, and then, laughing about squishing little David, goes outside to have a margarita in the sun.

Facebook’s scope started out much too small to then later tack and take on the search giant. Facebook wanted to provide an exclusive network online where people could share information about themselves with other people. Google began as a creature that wanted to dominate the world and all of its information, and has proven how badly by successfully venturing into myriad other arenas. Google aims to “organize the world’s information,” whereas Facebook’s stated goal is to…wait, what is Facebook’s stated goal? A cursory search came up with this article from the Observer about Facebook’s mission statement, which apparently started as “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” and has now, rather tellingly, become “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Interesting.

But back to the matter at hand- there’s no doubt that Google has performed so well in other arenas that they are well positioned now to really take on the social angle. And as Lyons points out, they have already begun, “Last month, Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page sent out a memo telling everyone at Google that social networking was a top priority for Google—so much so that 25 percent of every Googler’s bonus this year will be based on how well Google does in social.” That may be the first sound of the bugle in Google’s hunt for Facebook’s market share that should play out over the course of the next few years. But if this was Facebook’s “shot across the bow” in that race, then it has made them look, well, ridiculous.

Fourth, I find it interesting how Facebook took down some of Burson-Marsteller’s credibility with it. In politics, usually when a smear campaign is run, the focus of criticism for having done so falls largely upon the candidate himself or herself- and discussions generally center on their morals or ethics for having chosen to go that route. Occasionally the blame falls on the chief campaign manager for having persuaded them to do so, but generally not. In this case BM seems to have taken a lot of the heat for attempting to carry out orders under a condition of anonymity.

This political angle begs a few questions. Namely, in an era when civic engagement is diminishing by the minute for a largely apathetic American audience, are huge corporations fighting the new political battles for our attention? It’s safe to say that large technology corporations such as Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook are much more relevant and identifiable to your average American than would be the 2008 class of Presidential candidates. With this new era of political and business landscapes converging, will the political and business practices of smear tactics converge as well?

The White House finally came forward last week with the decision not to circulate the graphic images that confirmed Osama Bin Laden’s death, and I immediately I believe I heard people around the U.S. (and the world, perhaps?) breathe a mostly collective sigh of relief. Or was that just me?

It is a favorite pronouncement that we are now an image-driven culture, focused chiefly on video, photos, and graphics to learn, retain and discuss the world around us. This pronouncement is made, particularly, in the context of discussions about the RSS-ification of news and information, where all the news that’s fit to print is expected to fit into 140 characters.

See, as the thinking goes, our brains are attempting to consume so much more information than ever before, so the introduction of new forms of media and imagery (read: not text) will help our brains to better retain and render more realistic those discrete and fast-coming pieces of information.

Whatever the strategy of getting information to us, as consumers of information, it is still worth fighting for the chance to use our own discretion when it comes to how we, as humans, want to digest our information. Often we seem to have no choice- the newspapers, site managers, TV and movie producers and editors do that for us. But when we are presented with the choice, many of us would still choose not to see graphic images of death and violence.

[I can already hear the devil on my shoulder wanting to advocate for his side of the story, so as an aside, I will say that I do believe there is power in images. And I believe that things can be rendered more real in our everyday lives by seeing them, even if only through a photographer’s lens. That is often a good thing, particularly for the politically sheltered and/or apathetic masses. But I also believe that things can be too real, and hinder a person’s ability to move on with their life. Or images can be so real, but so simultaneously staggeringly outside the context of someone’s own experience that they  are unreasonably and ineffectively disturbing. I believe the release of images of OBL’s death would have such an effect for many Americans.]

Which is why, I believe, so many Americans have keyed in on the photo taken by the White House photographer and posted on their Flickr feed, of Obama’s staff watching the live feed of the raid in Pakistan.

This photo has become the focal and symbolic  photo of the moment that OBL was killed, and has stirred so many different reactions. For me the photo is staggering on a number of levels:

1)      President Obama is not front and center.

2)      The expression of Secretary of State Clinton’s face (whether she likes it or not)

3)      The fact that we are experiencing the ultimate surveillance moment- through the eyes of someone who was watching the scene through a camera lens, we are watching those who are watching live footage of what was happening.

4)      It is perfect voyeurism, but it is also intensely primal. We are observing the reactions of other human beings to an event we know we must also react to. In their reactions we search for our own feelings about the event, and we take cues.

Incredibly, in their recent Opinionator entry, Gail Collins and David Brooks  brought up pretty much everything that I was thinking when I first saw this photo, but it’s something I think everyone should take a look at, because there is so much to discuss within the limits of this image.

On a similar note, and related to my earlier post about the news of Bin Laden’s death and the role of Twitter in breaking that news, here are some outstanding digital images of the flow of information across the Twitter-verse in the hours preceding and following the White House announcement, care of the SocialFlow blog.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the company, SocialFlow is a social media optimization platform that is used …to increase engagement (clicks, re-tweets, re-posts and mentions) on Twitter. Our technology determines the optimal time to release the right Tweet based on when your audience is most receptive.”