Last updated at 8:11 PM on 5th June 2011
- ‘Why give preference to Facebook, when there are many other social networks?’
In a controversial move the French government has said that it will enforce a law so that the words ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ will not be allowed to be spoken on the television or on the radio.
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s colleagues have agreed to uphold a 1992 decree which stipulates that commercial enterprises should not be promoted on news programs.
Broadcasting anchors from now on are forbidden to refer to the popular social networking site and the microblogging phenomenon, unless it is pivotal and relevant to a news item.
The word ‘Twitter’ will be banned from French radio and television news stations – unless the story is specifically about the microblogging site. Similarly ‘Facebook’ will be forbidden on French broadcasts, thanks to a 1992 decree
Christine Kelly, spokesman for France’s Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, asked: ‘Why give preference to Facebook … when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?’
In preventing French news broadcasters from mentioning Facebook and Twitter it means that the radio and television stations will not be able to urge their listeners or viewers to ‘follow us on Twitter’, for example – something that is becoming increasingly visible on other countries’ news channels across Europe and beyond.
Further, it limits those French channels and stations from developing and harnessing an online audience – something which is more important as technological advancements gather pace and news becomes more interactive and digital.
According to TechCrunch, they will only be able to provide ambiguous instructions, such as ‘find us on social networking sites’, thanks to the 1992 law.
Christine Kelly, spokesman for France’s Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), thinks that the government is correct to uphold this law.
‘Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition?’ she asked.
‘This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box — other social networks will complain to us saying, “why not us?”‘
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Around the same time Representative Weiner was dealing with the fallout of an apparent Twitter hack, Republican Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder also had a Twitter problem: an “unknown intruder” hacked into his official account. The hacker didn’t post lewd photos of the 68-year-old politician, but the offender did engage in some pro-Democratic tweeting.
Batchelder’s response? “Well, I won’t do any more of this … Twittering? We’ll avoid that at all cost. I didn’t know I had such a device.”
For many politicians, Twitter represents a Rumsfeldian “known unknown,” an expansive tundra of technology that simply exists and is filled with strange language, bizarre communication concepts, and millions of fans of some child named Justin Bieber. Nonetheless, campaigns have embraced the medium with varying degrees of success. Other Really Important People(TM) like journalists, communications staff and campaign advisors have also been tweeting up a storm since Twitter came online.
It’s been fascinating to observe how Twitter has affected traditional communication strategy over the years. As campaigns have adapted to the medium, there have been epic fails as well as laudable successes.
Drawing from those examples, here are 10 Twitter tips for politicians and the other Really Important People who surround them. Enjoy.
Campaign staffers often have personal Twitter accounts that they update throughout the day in addition to the official Twitter accounts they maintain. It’s a great way to get messaging out there that may not be the right tone for an official campaign account. Programs like TweetDeck and HootSuite allow users to add multiple Twitter accounts to a single interface to help seamlessly alternate posting between unofficial and official accounts. Sounds like a time-saver, right? That is, until your staffer tweets something like this to an official account:
“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”
That rogue tweet was posted to the American Red Cross Twitter account. The organization quickly deleted the tweet and responded with humor. It was a great example of how to respond to rogue tweets, but it also underscored how risky it is mingling accounts in a single Twitter client.
Rogue tweets are far more common than most people realize. They get deleted almost instantaneously (in the millisecond after a digital staffer has a heart attack but before the heavy feeling of doom sets in). Still, tweets are streamed and retweeted the second they’re posted, so even the quickest hand can’t undo the damage.
For example, the beltway got a giggle when President Obama (his account, that is) retweeted a promotion from a D.C. food truck. Recently, a Secret Service staffer accidently tweeted about how boring it was monitoring Fox News. A “ridiculously offensive” message was posted to Vodafone’s account, and Chrysler’s Twitter feed accidentally attacked all of Detroit for, of all things, driving skills.
One way to lessen the chance of such tweet crossover is to separate the personal and professional accounts in different programs. Banish one to TweetDeck and another to HootSuite and it’s likely never the twain shall meet. Another smart option is to update official accounts through Twitter’s website rather than an error-prone desktop client.
Speaking of keeping things separated, I’m a big fan of bifurcating campaign Twitter accounts for currently elected officials. Having a “personal” official account and a more general “campaign” account keeps things neat and minimizes risks. The candidate account can establish personality while the campaign can tweet away more aggressively on volunteer recruitment and donations. It also avoids mishaps like the one now Senator Kirk suffered. He endured a nasty news cycle when his allegedly “personal” twitter account (@MarkKirk) tweeted while he was on military duty. Separate Twitter accounts also prevent the embarrassing story of, say, a “candidate” asking for donations while they are at a hearing or on the floor in Congress.
As the old saying goes, you’re known by the company you keep. Politicians have a threshold decision to make when joining Twitter: do they follow everyone back who follows them or are they more selective? For politicians who actually update their Twitter accounts themselves, following only a select few or no one at all is the best answer. For example, Senator McCaskill caused a stir by disclosing that her policy is not to follow anyone at all, but her reasoning about keeping her account “authentic” is sound.
The decision to either go “all in” with blanket follows or be more selective is a crucial one as the decision to go the latter route opens up any campaign to scrutiny. When an elected official chooses to follow a handful of people, it begs the question of “why them?” Representative Weiner is on the defensive for once following a porn star and a young girl who received the lewd tweet (he only follows some 200 people).
The route with the least liability? Stick with reciprocal follows for campaign accounts, or stay within the safe perimeter of other electeds and the D.C. cocktail circuit if you want a benign, low number of people to follow.
Tone doesn’t translate well into 140 characters. Snark sometimes doesn’t pop off the monitor (unless you’re following our very own @KagroX, who has one of the snarkiest Twitter feeds around). Some politicians, like Representative Weiner or Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey have a reputation for their quick wit, so snarky tweets are expected on their accounts and are taken in stride. Yes, even tweets like this one from Mr. Fritchey on Election Day:
For most politicians who spend their days tweeting bland campaign updates, however, a jolt of misunderstood snark can cause a media firestorm. Such was the case with Shashi Tharoor, a member of India’s Parliament who joked about flying “cattle class” with the “holy cows” on a flight. He apologized for the tweet.
If you’re in public office and not known as a jokester, it’s probably best to tag a snarky tweet (j/k, #justkidding, #snark, etc.) to avoid misunderstandings.
Once upon a time, we elected public officials based on a fairytale notion that we were selecting someone who represented us — even a better version of us. Someone smarter. Someone with tons of commonsense. Someone who can solve big problems.
Expressing complex political ideas in 140 characters is a problem. Some solve it more eloquently than others.
Take @BarackObama, for example. His tweets are elegant, compact versions of his press releases or public appearances. They’re fun size talking point treats: mini 140-calorie versions of his heavier stuff but still filled with tasty substance.
On the other side of the aisle, we have celebrities like Sarah Palin or politicians like Senator Chuck Grassley. Chuck Grassley is a prolific tweeter. He whittles his ideas down to the required 140 characters, but sometimes, he tries to jam too many ideas into that tiny space ands ends up sounding like an texting teenager (he’s gotten much better over the last several months).
In politics as in Hollywood, a lot of things are fake. Or quasi-real. Constituent or donor thank you letters are signed by staff that has perfected a politician’s signature and seemingly “personal” email accounts are actually managed by staff (really, Oprah, you have the patience to manage email@example.com?). Heck, even bills are signed by AutoPen. It’s not surprising then that the same faux authenticity has seeped into online communications as well. Some electeds are brave enough and savvy enough to manage their own Twitter accounts. Most have the accounts managed by staff.
That’s all well and good, but if you’re going to fake the “personal” account, do it well. Give followers a real picture, a snapshot of authenticity. That means avoiding referring to “yourself” in the third person (I’m looking at you, Mitt Romney). A lot of campaigns avoid the weirdness of self-referential tweets by making it clear when it’s staff writing in the third person versus the candidate (see @SenatorReid or @RussFeingold for examples). Still, third person use on Twitter has echoes of the archaic Facebook “is” status (“Georgia is…”).
People follow politicians, pundits and others because they are genuinely interested in what that person has to say. Don’t ruin the suspension of disbelief by jarring followers with awkward third-person references. Keep language as colloquial as possible and try to capture a candidate’s personality — even if you are just “pretending” to be a Senator or Congressman for your job.
“RT does not equal endorsement.” It’s a standard disclaimer in many Twitter bios, especially those of journalists and bloggers. Yet even the best of disclaimers can’t protect a politician from a bad news cycle because of an ill-advised retweet. Earlier this year, Sarah Palin retweeted an anti-DADT tweet, prompting questions about whether she really agreed with the substance of the original tweet. Journalists and bloggers can get away with retweeting controversial tweets without attaching the presumption that they agree with the substance. For politicians, it’s a much trickier terrain that demands much caution.
The Google alert is already a standard weapon in any decent press shop arsenal, but too many campaigns ignore Twitter monitoring at their own peril. Real-time social media monitoring is a crucial part of any modern communications and rapid response strategy. It can give you a heads up on upcoming scandals and give you time to prep. It can also instantaneously flag a hacking so you can minimize the damage. In short, it can mean the difference between a PR hiccup and a PR massacre.
Whether an elected is in the middle of a campaign or not, safe seat or top-tier race, they should monitor their name on Twitter with all the gusto of a skilled opposition researcher. Because you can bet the other side sure is doing the exact same thing.
From the look of many political Twitter accounts, you’d think TomTom secretly installed a GPS tracking device in campaign BlackBerrys and iPhones. “Just left the Summer Festival in [enter name of swing county], met so many inspiring people.” “On my way to a business roundtable in [enter name of remote town to show you're 'on the trail'].’ “At the annual fundraiser for [enter name of universally laudable organization], so many people working for such a great cause.”
Strategically broadcasting an appearance at community events is a key part of a digital communications strategy. But it can’t be the core part of it. The most successful political Twitter accounts contain an attention-keeping blend of location-based tweets as well as more substantive tweets on policy or politics. For fantastic examples of how to use location based tweets in moderation, check out the leadership accounts on both sides of the aisle.
The takeaway? Twitter isn’t Foursquare. It’s Twitter. Appreciate the difference.
Think of Twitter like a newborn baby. You give the swaddled little bundle of joy to its grandma to hold and it’s all good. You hand your precious infant to your five-year-old niece to hold “just for a minute” and your heart pounds until you get her back “safe” in your arms.
Twitter is a delicate, vulnerable mode of communication. Aside from actual campaign events, it is the most public-facing of campaign interaction. Every tweet, every hashtag, everything is exposed and open to scrutiny. Electeds need to baby their Twitter accounts. Be overprotective. Give access only to those who have the discretion and skill set to minimize risks and liabilities.
“Social media gurus” and “brand evangelists” are a dime a dozen. Just because an intern knows how to use Facebook and Twitter doesn’t mean they should be given the keys to an online press shop. There’s no lack of brilliant digital minds out there. I had the honor of working with some of the nation’s best during the 2010 cycle, and 2012 is sure to bring a renewed focus on staffing up digital talent. A well-experienced digital strategist can use Twitter to raise money, persuade voters and influence media narratives. They’re well worth the investment.
Let’s call it the Weiner Rule. Whatever the truth is in that saga, the fact remains that direct messages on Twitter are dangerous and should be avoided by electeds at all costs. With mass campaign accounts that follow all supporters, it’s ok to DM a pro forma campaign welcome. But if a politician controls his or her own account, using Twitter’s direct message feature unnecessarily exposes them (no Weiner pun intended) to possible drama.
It’s not just that direct messages on Twitter used to be easily publishable or that they may be accessible by third-party apps. It’s not just that most Twitter clients make it pretty easy to screw up and accidentally send a direct message to the entire world. It’s that the ramifications of a misdirected direct message can be painfully embarrassing: one little slip up can change your reputation (and your campaign) forever.
Think the lewd photo sent on Weiner’s account was bad? In March, a Dutch politician mistakenly sent a very explicit erotic tweet to his followers (link, if you dare). He laughed it off, and his 200 or so followers didn’t seem to mind. But most direct messaging mistakes aren’t so easy on a politician’s reputation.
There is no constituent or voter outreach and no journalist banter worth the risk. So politicians, please, use email. Use instant messaging. Use snail mail. Use carrier pigeons. Anything is better than putting yourself directly in the line of fire with Twitter direct messages.
Do you have your own best practices for Twitter or other social media? Share them in the comment section below.
The social networking site Twitter has become popular among politicians eager to get out their message. However, after New York Congressman Anthony Weiner struggled to explain how an embarrassing photo went out to thousands of his Twitter followers, some may be having second thoughts.
CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that, of the 535 members of Congress, all but a handful use Twitter. The social network is now accessible on most mobile phones. Twitter’s reach gives users an unprecedented ability to promote their agenda, and themselves, 140 characters at a time.
“People like to vote for human beings, and Twitter gives a candidate an unparalleled opportunity to appear human, in real time, over time,” says Jonathan Abell with Wired Magazine
The politicians with the biggest Twitter following are the ones who, like Congressman Weiner, tweet themselves instead of leaving it to their staff.
“I’m tired of looking and feeling fat,” wrote Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, whose candid tweets have endeared her as many as 55,000 followers.
Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker has amassed more than one million virtual constituents, even though he runs a city of less than 300,000. Last winter, he used Twitter to locate residents stranded by a blizzard.
“It’s a powerful tool to connect with my community in ways that you really just can’t thorough the regular means of telephone, email or even going door to door,” Booker said.
However, the immediacy of twitter – just type and hit send – eliminates the opportunity for second thoughts, as some lawmakers have learned the hard way.
Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra got in hot water in 2009 for tweeting “just landed in Baghdad,” even though the trip was supposed to be a secret.
Last November, seven little words prompted now-retired Senator Chris Dodd to issue an urgent apology, after his account blasted profanity to nearly 13,000 followers, when he wrote: “U love torturing me with this s**t.”
Both men are still on Twitter, as is Congressman Weiner, who bragged digitally this week about all his new followers. For politicians seeking the spotlight, the online soap box is just too tempting.
—In the realm of
laws decrees that don’t make sense in the real world: France has officially banned Twitter and Facebook from being spoken by news anchors unless they’re part of a news story. Formspring must feel pretty lucky.
The ban comes out of a decree made back in 1992 that prohibits advertising for companies during news broadcasts. That is, of course, fair on paper. News ought to be objective and divorced from all those nasty corporate interests. Coming from that angle, you could make a case for France maybe making a blanket ban of any social network being uttered on air. As Christine Kelly, a spokesperson for France’s Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisue explained:
“Why give preference to Facebook, which is worth billions of dollars, when there are many other social networks that are struggling for recognition,” she told L’Express. “This would be a distortion of competition. If we allow Facebook and Twitter to be cited on air, it’s opening a Pandora’s Box— other social networks will complain to us saying, ‘why not us?’”
My initial reaction is, “…so?” Either let them “Join the conversation” or ban them, too. But things get tricky here because Facebook and Twitter, both American media platforms, are ubiquitous. You can’t turn a corner without them coming up in some way. What’s more, they’re becoming increasingly vital to a thriving social dialogue. Despite what some might believe.
So what? If Tumblr hit a critical mass of French journalists citing it in newscasts you’d ban it for objectivity’s sake? The measure is totally impotent. Even if a journalist says, “Follow us on your social network of choice!” that won’t prevent the viewer from going to their computer and looking up the story on Facebook or Twitter anyway. The ban only makes it harder for that viewer to engage with the story.
At the end of the day, this serves as a commentary on how powerful, in bad and good ways, the aforementioned networks have become. It can also be an example of the French holding their language and culture in perhaps too high esteem. Either way, it’s nonsense. [Huffington Post, ZDNET Image via Shutterstock]
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation into possible fraud in the state’s FoodShare benefits program found that some people are illegally buying and selling food stamps on Facebook.
The newspaper reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/l9d0IE ) that it found nine Facebook users in Milwaukee and about 70 users nationwide had posted to the social networking site to either buy or sell food assistance benefits illegally — or to help others do so.
State Department of Health Services spokeswoman Beth Kaplan acknowledges social networks could be used to scam the program.
“We have isolated reports of this activity, but no specific client information that could be investigated,” Kaplan said. “We take any fraudulent activity very seriously and would investigate any activity that occurs in Wisconsin and would make a referral to law enforcement if we suspect any criminal activity.”
Wisconsin’s $1 billion a year FoodShare program is run by the state and counties with federal money.
The Journal Sentinel found several examples of people looking to deal food stamps on Facebook.
Angel Gunn of Milwaukee wanted to buy the public food assistance benefits on Dec. 28.
“Do U anybody have any stamps for sell? If so contact me ASAP thank you,” she typed on her Facebook wall. Four minutes later, Gunn had a potential taker. In just over five months, she put out four other online requests for “stamps” and “food stamps,” though she claims none led to sales.
“There’s no evidence or proof that I received them,” said Gunn, a 29-year-old child care provider who recently had her license revoked for alleged fraud.
In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Gunn claimed she never defrauded the child care program and she doesn’t think she did anything wrong by posting a request to buy food stamps on Facebook.
She said she sought to buy FoodShare benefits to help purchase groceries for herself and her family because her own benefits weren’t enough. She claimed she didn’t know buying benefits was illegal, even though the state makes this clear in bold letters on the FoodShare application.
On May 3, Andrew Lovett of Milwaukee wrote: “I buy Quest inbox me,” referring to the Quest debit card used to pay benefits. In an interview, Lovett told the newspaper he didn’t buy a card that day, but did so at other times. Lovett said as a truck driver and single father, he had a hard time supporting his five children.
“They’re absolutely looking to do something illegal and they know it,” said Ed O’Brien, a former Chicago police officer and private investigator of public benefits fraud, who looked at the Facebook postings for the newspaper.
The Journal Sentinel’s review is another example of how easy it is to illegally sell the state-issued cards and benefits. In April, the newspaper reported that nearly 2,000 FoodShare recipients claimed they lost their card six or more times in 2010 and requested replacements— a sign of possible fraud.
Meanwhile, law enforcement and state officials are investigating allegations that nine Milwaukee County employees stole at least $290,000 from FoodShare over the last five years.
On Friday, lawmakers on the Joint Finance Committee voted to increase funding for uncovering fraud in the FoodShare program and to study the possibility of requiring participants’ photos on their Quest cards. Those budget provisions have to clear the Legislature and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker.
Those who deal the food stamps on Facebook say buyers typically pay 50 cents on the dollar for the benefits on Quest cards, either taking the card outright or borrowing it along with the seller’s private PIN number. The buyers get twice the food for their money, and the sellers get cash to use on non-food items.
Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee, said some of the Facebook updates she reviewed appeared criminal and that FoodShare recipients are told clearly that it’s illegal to buy and sell the benefits.
But Tussler said she believes the vast majority of recipients are honest and fraud is the exception. She said state officials should focus on the few violators and avoid actions that would end up hurting the majority of recipients who need the program.
“It doesn’t make sense to hurt the program because of a few people,” she said.
Tussler said some poor recipients make the bad bargain of selling their benefits for less than they’re worth because they have to scrape together cash for rent or car repairs.
Gov. Walker’s commission on fraud and government waste is looking at FoodShare fraud for a report due later this summer.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com
Gwyneth Paltrow gives the gift of Twitter
Yes, (Gwyneth) Paltrow has opted to “join the 21st Century” and, in turn, make Twitter and Facebook accounts. There’s not much to report on thus far, besides a photo of the Oscar-winning actress standing in what appears to be the outdoor kitchen of the future … today! with son Moses and a video in which she reports she is trying to hail a cab in New York City. Followers, including some other famous tweeters like Minka Kelly and Nicole Richie, will wait with bated breath to see what she says next. (“This is my second Tweet!” perhaps?)
Whatever it is, we’ll surely treasure it.
Remembering James Arness
To a generation of television viewers, Mr. Arness and “Gunsmoke” embodied a new, more adult vision of the mythic Old West: a quiet, vulnerable lawman facing not stereotyped villains and clichéd situations but a chaotic frontier freighted with moral judgments and occasional failure. He might be too late to stop a killing. He could save a girl from kidnappers, but not from her father’s brutality.
Audiences had long been accustomed to Western heroes who never were, having been sanitized by the trail songs of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and the righteous gunplay of the Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy. But Marshal Dillon never got the girl, did not love his horse, wore only one gun and fired it reluctantly, usually drawing last but shooting straightest in dusty street duels. Over the years, the marshal was shot 30 times.
Mr. Arness, a 6-foot-7 giant whose stoic personality was remarkably like his character’s, was ideal for the part. He had been reared in a family of Norwegian descent in Minnesota and became an outdoorsman who loved fishing and hunting. He came home from World War II a wounded, decorated and aimless veteran. He worked menial jobs, tried radio and was collecting veterans’ benefits when he drifted to Hollywood.
He developed slowly, appearing in 30 movies before his mentor, John Wayne, rejected the Dillon role and recommended him instead.
Will ‘Spider-Man’ musical rise from the ashes?
Source: Michael Musto on villagevoice.com
The biggest theater story in decades — for all the wrong reasons — “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” suffered a pulverizing parade of delays, damages and disses that made it the biggest punch line since “Punky Brewster.”
But then they shut the whole thing down to perform emergency resuscitation on the show and officially open it on June 14.
As a result, there will finally be a version that the critics can go to without hoping they won’t be noticed. …
So will it fly? Well, people do love a comeback, and this thing could surely rise from the ashes, flap its wings to the rafters and not fall on anyone.
After all, they said J. Lo would never come back!
Trailer for ‘Planet of the Apes’ prequel
Source: 24Frames blog on latimes.com
Origin story “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” whose theatrical trailer hit the Web (last week) ahead of its Aug. 5 release, offers its take on how the apes came to emulate and surpass humans, and right here on Earth.
The trailer for the James Franco film starts out like a standard-issue medical thriller — scientist tinkers with monkeys, leading to disastrous consequences … — before turning into a man vs. beast story with with echoes of “Avatar,” “Battle: Los Angeles” and other tales of the apocalypse. …
One of big questions that’s captivated the blogosphere since the film went into production is how the simulated apes — for the first time depicted using special effects, not actors in makeup — will appear in the film. They seem convincing enough here. But maybe more interesting is whether the prequel can avoid the sameness of a thousand other disaster movies and instead distinguish itself with the racial and social subtexts that have permeated the best moments of the franchise.
LOS ANGELES — Shaquille O’Neal announced this week that he’s
retiring from the NBA after 19 seasons. He shared the news on
Twitter, of course, where he has nearly 4 million followers — which
just goes to show what an engaging, larger-than-life presence he’s
been off the court.
That big personality has extended to movies, music and more, and
made Shaq a one-name pop culture icon. You can analyze the 15-time
All-Star center’s prodigious stats all you want and measure him
against the greats of the game, but here’s a look at the big man’s
five best performances outside of basketball (although pretending
to get along with former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant
deserves an honorable mention):
∫ Shaq the rapper: Plenty of athletes have tried to cross over into
the music business with varying levels of success. But Shaq
actually built a rap career in the ’90s, having recorded with the
likes of the late Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Warren G.
He’s recorded so many albums, he’s even got a greatest hits
collection. He’s used his rhymes to talk obligatory amounts of
trash, as he did in an infamous freestyle in which he, um, asked
Bryant a delicious question. But he’s also opened up through his
music: His 1994 single “Biological Didn’t Bother,” which became a
minor hit, was about his estrangement from his father, and it sang
the praises of the stepfather who raised him.
∫ “Shaq vs.” (2009-2010): The short-lived ABC reality series
provided Shaq with a great
opportunity to show off one of his more endearing traits: his
ability to goof off and toy with his own image. He’d take on
various athletes and celebrities in their own arenas, usually with
amusing results. In the Justin Bieber episode, for example, he
challenged the pop star to a dance-off and a bowling competition.
He swam against Michael Phelps, boxed Oscar De La Hoya, tried to
out-cook Rachael Ray and crammed more hot dogs in his mouth than
eating champion Joey Chestnut (albeit with help from other
∫ “Blue Chips” (1994): For his film debut, the former LSU star
plays a character named Neon Bodeaux, a monster from the Louisiana
swamps. The younger (and much leaner) Shaq and his then-real-life
Orlando Magic teammate Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway co-star as a
couple of the prospects coveted by a hotheaded college coach (Nick
Nolte). Shaq’s first appearance on screen in director William
Friedkin’s film is epic, a thunderous mix of slo-mo and dramatic
lighting. “He ain’t just big, Pete, he’s quick,” a friend tells
Nolte’s character. “He’s totally raw — he’s never been coached.” He
quite simply dominates, just as he would in real life for much of
his lengthy career.
∫ “Kazaam” (1996): Shaq’s next attempt at big-screen superstardom
wasn’t quite so successful. This supposedly family-friendly comedy,
in which Shaq stars as a rapping genie who bursts out of a boom
box, currently has a whopping 4 percent positive reviews on Rotten
Tomatoes. That’s right — it received one positive review. As
directed by former “Starsky and Hutch” star Paul Michael Glaser,
“Kazaam” finds Shaq protecting a young boy from neighborhood toughs
and promising, in song, to “green egg and ham it.” So bad, it’s
∫ Shaq the statue: Shaq became a fan favorite no matter what city
he was playing in, but he wowed them in Boston — where he made his
last stop, with the Celtics — by doing absolutely nothing. Last
fall, he tweeted that he’d be heading to Harvard Square to pose as
a statue. And that’s exactly what he did: He sat motionless for an
hour, which drew a swarm of onlookers. People elbowed their way
through the crowd to get close and several posed for pictures with
him. One woman even offered him free burgers but he wouldn’t budge.
Why? Why not. But for someone who’s known for his charisma, he was
∫ Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic
Christy Lemire through Twitter:
Originally Published:Sunday, June 5th 2011, 8:55 AM
Updated: Sunday, June 5th 2011, 9:39 AM
Do you believe Rep. Anthony Weiner’s statement that his Twitter account was hacked to send out a lewd photo?
From the moment a lewd photograph of bulging briefs was sent to a 21-year-old college student from Weiner’s Twitter account last Friday, the married congressman has been on the defensive.
He first tried to laugh it off, then did a blitz of media interviews in which he insisted he didn’t send the photo – but couldn’t be 100% sure that it wasn’t his crotch shot.
In between nonanswers, he oddly tossed out double-entendres and Weiner jokes.
“He’s a Shakespearean figure in some ways. All the traits that make him a star – intelligence, wit, humor, his belief he can quip his way out of anything – trip him up,” said one former colleague.
Weiner, the once and likely future city mayoral candidate, had been a darling of the liberal left since the national health care debate, when he made a quixotic stand on the House floor for single-payer health care.
That move – independent and smart – was vintage Weiner, friends said, but also under-scored his love of the spotlight.
So his ditching of a planned speech before Wisconsin Democrats Friday – he told organizers he needed to spend time with his family, including his Washington insider wife, Huma Abedin – highlighted how messy the fallout was, pals said.
The online drama began May 27 when the photo appeared in his Twitter stream addressed to journalism student Gennette Cordova of Seattle, making it visible to all of his more than 40,000 Twitter followers.
The photo was a crotch shot of a man in form-fitting underwear that left little to the imagination. It was quickly deleted, and Weiner tweeted that he had been hacked.
“More Weiner Jokes for all my guests,” he wrote.
By Sunday, Weiner’s spokesman Dave Arnold was resolute: “This is intended to be a distraction and we’re not going to let it become one. Anthony’s accounts were obviously hacked. He doesn’t know the person named by the hacker, and we will be consulting on waht steps to take next.”
Cordova, when interviewed last Sunday by the Daily News, said she had never met Weiner and simply followed him on Twitter along with other famous people.
“All of this is so outlandish that I don’t know whether to be pissed off or amused, quite frankly,” she said.
By Monday, Weinter gate showed no signs of stopping. Weiner and his staff again called it a “distraction” and termed it a “prank” – but stopped short of denying that the congressman was in the photo.
Liberal websites targeted conservative blogger Dan Wolf, who uses the handle “patriotusa76,” as the person who spotted the photo among Weiner’s tweets and sent it to biggovernment.com, which broke the story.
EAST ST. LOUIS – The seemingly innocent computer clicks of
teenagers “liking” a product on Facebook has touched off a legal
fight over whether the social networking giant can allow those
clicks to drive advertising.
St. Louis law firm Korein Tillery filed a lawsuit against Facebook
last week in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis claiming minors’
names and pictures are being used for advertising and marketing
without parental approval. The suit, seeking class-action status,
is similar to at least two others filed against Facebook in other
The lawsuit names as plaintiffis Melissa Dawes and Jennifer DeYong,
two Madison County mothers who the firm says are upset about
Facebook exploiting their children for corporate interests.
Facebook has become fertile ground for advertisers hoping to
connect with young people but also has faced increasing questions
about protecting its users’ privacy and personal information.
The site has harnessed its power by allowing its 500 million active
users to endorse companies, products and services that advertise on
All users are able to click a “like” button on a company’s Facebook
page, which is then announced to the users’ friends via the “news
feed.” The user’s name and profile picture is then visible to
friends who visit the company’s Facebook page.
Teens, like adults, are also able to “like” various advertisements
and Facebook pages, ranging from designer jeans to the latest Lady
The issue the lawsuit poses is whether those teens’ parents need to
sign off before their kids’ “likes” are used to drive
“We believe this suit is completely without merit, and we will
fight it vigorously,” said Andrew Noyes, a Facebook
Similar suits have been filed in New York and California.
Asked what damage has been done because of the advertising, Steven
Katz, an attorney with Korein Tillery, said it is “the invasion of
privacy for commercial interests.”
Dawes and DeYong could not be reached for comment. Katz declined to
discuss his clients, saying they wanted to protect their
Korein Tillery has a history of big-money class-action suits,
including a $10 billion trial verdict against Philip Morris in
Facebook declares to users when they register that “your name and
profile picture may be associated with commercial, sponsored, or
related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by
us. You give us permission to use your name and profile picture in
connection with that content, subject to the limits you
Users have to OK the non-negotiable statement to register.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday states that minors lack the capacity to
consent and agree to such terms. The suit estimates that more than
14 million U.S. residents younger than 18 are Facebook users.
Aaron M. Zigler, another Korein Tillery lawyer, said parental
approval is critical.
“A 16-year-old can’t get a tattoo,” he said, “or get a credit
Marc Rotenberg, executive director for Washington-based Electronic
Privacy Information Center, said the suit poses a “fascinating
The inability to use a person’s name or likeness for commercial
purposes without their consent “is one of the most well-established
privacy claims in the United States,” said Rotenberg, who also
teaches information privacy law at Georgetown University. “It’s not
at all clear that Facebook can assume it has the right to make use
of a minor child’s image for its own commercial benefit.”
Such lawsuits date back to 1905, when the Georgia Supreme Court
ruled that a man’s right to privacy was violated when an insurance
company used his picture in a newspaper ad without his
“Regarding Facebook, the company has always pushed the envelope on
the use of its users’ images for commercial purposes,” Rotenberg