Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Instagram aren't going to sell your pictures!

Instagrammed cup of (Costa) coffee

Anyone else have their Facebook feed clogged up today with friends absolutely horrified that Instagram were going to sell their pictures? Throughout the day, this same story came up time and again and it appears as though Instagram clocked on.

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram published a blog post about an hour ago to "eliminate the confusion". So what's the real story behind the new terms? No, Instagram aren't planning on selling your pictures. Systrom's wrote it quite clearly:

"From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."

First: "it is not our intention to sell your photos." Right, glad that's cleared up and now we can move on. 
Their initial terms and conditions stated (and as of publishing still state): "you hereby grant to Instagram a royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide licence to use the content you post on or through the Service...". Essentially, they realised their audience was not happy and decided to "remove the language that raised the question" and the controversy. Good move.

He starts by saying that "Instagram was created to become a business". There should be no shock there. Zuckerberg's not an idiot and he'll have seen a business plan with a decent strategy before he brokered the $1bn deal. Such a platform was always going to eventually succumb to advertising, and this should have been made evident after Facebook bought the company.

What's all this about advertising then - are they going to use our pictures to advertise the service?  Well, yes and no. If we go further down the blog post, it explains further. Like what currently happens on Facebook, if you follow a brand, or a business, your profile picture may appear in some kind of advert for them on the service detailing that you follow them and so, since we're friends, I should follow them too.

So your photos still belong to you, and the main difference is that you should expect some form of advertising to be weaning its way into Instagram. But weren't you expecting that sooner or later, anyway?

Originally published on my blog on journalism.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Using Kerouapp: Live Blogging the student protests

ave you heard of Kerouapp? It's not been used on many occasions but it's definitely a very useful tool. It first came to my attention during the Guardian's coverage of the French elections. Kerouapp makes the most of the combination of geotagging and Twitter and allows the user to connect a Twitter account to the platform. Every time you tweet (or tweet with a specific hashtag), the platform updates an embeddable Google map with the details of the tweet (and image if you include one). You can also cycle through all the messages, and the map will change depending on the location of the device when the tweet was sent.

The Guardian's use was quite neat - Henley travelled around the country interviewing people about their thoughts on the candidates and the elections, with the map taking you from Paris to Marseille to Toulouse and more.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Who am I?

10 years ago, the most important person in my life passed away. I've never written about this, or really put this down in words. There's always been a reason. I mean, it was my mother. The person who brought me up, worked hard so that she could provide me with the best education she could give me, helped me with my homework (I still remember her helping me write my first creative writing piece in Year 3. I had to write about one person in my family and inevitably I wrote about (and as far as I can remember, I also drew) my mum. For the writing part of it, she told me to write something along the lines of "She looks so young, you would barely believe that she's my mum!" I think the poor humour runs in the family if I'm honest!), and so many more things that a mother does and sacrifices for their son. It's difficult to describe just how much she did for me, and how much she meant - and continues to mean - to me.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

So I was wrong: Marine Le Pen got 20%

Marine Le Pen: Smiles All Round. Photography: Remi Noyon
Here are the most recent results of the first round (they are still being fully released as I write):
Hollande: 28.8%
Sarkozy: 26.1%
Marine Le Pen: 18.5%
Mélenchon: 11.7%
Bayrou: 8.8%
Joly: 2.3%
Others: the rest...

Would you know it? As I predicted, my predictions were wrong. And how wrong they were.

After all the support that Mélenchon appeared to have, and all the noise being made about him in the media, he must be disappointed with his result. I truly thought that he may catch the protest vote but even then, there was an abstention rate of nearly 20%, particularly shocking when you consider the wide depth of thought within the different candidates.

And then Marine Le Pen received nearly 20% of the vote. Nearly 1 in 5 French people voted for the National Front, a xenophobic and Islamophobic party, entirely against immigration, and a party that claims that it is the "only opposition to the left". Marine Le Pen's new approach has certainly brought in more youth and it is certainly worrying. No wonder there are immigr

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Predictions for the first round of the 2012 French Elections

I thought that I would make things a little more interesting by putting some predictions out there. I will mention that my predictions are often wrong so do not expect too much from them.

1st:  Nicolas Sarkozy
2nd: François Hollande
3rd: Jean-Luc Mélenchon
4th: Marine Le Pen

As you can see, I do believe that the Left Front candidate Mélenchon will have done enough to take some support away from both Hollande from left-wing supporters and also from Marine Le Pen, in terms of supporters who are fed up of the mainstream parties.

For now, all there is to do is wait. You can also read my analysis of the French elections so far here:

France 2012: The road to Élysée

Tomorrow, France will decide its representatives from a list of 10 candidates. The majority will receive a combined vote of less than 10%. Two weeks ago, Jean-Luc Mélenchon was part of that majority and yesterday night I went to Place de la Republique, the central area in Le Mans, to see a large screen displaying a live speech by the Left Front candidate. A few weeks ago, Mélenchon was barely mentioned; he wasn’t making enough noise to capture the attention of the French public. Yet, yesterday, there was a larger crowd than I have ever seen gathered in the little square.

Mélenchon has managed to garner support from around the country, while taking somewhat radical positions. One of his major arguments is that there needs to be greater wealth redistribution in France; as President, he would place a 100% tax on earnings over £300,000. He also speaks about the failure of neo-liberalism, and lambasts European leaders for their inability to deal with the economic downturn - a sentiment which Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has endorsed (though I'm not entirely sure he would agree with all that Mélenchon has to say!). This, coupled with claims that Sarkozy is a candidate of the rich, ensures that Mélenchon is providing a distinct voice; incidentally, Sarkozy did not help to refute this claim when he put away his €55,000 watch before shaking hands with supporters, inspiring rumours that he feared it might be stolen).

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spontaneity at TEDx Warwick 2012

Photography: TEDxWarwick
On 10th March, I attended TEDxWarwick 2012 for two reasons. The first was in my capacity as part of the speakers team and the second at part of the TSJ team covering the event (TSJ were the official media partners for the event). I joined TEDxWarwick in my first year at Warwick; I wanted to get involved in various activities and it was one of the first that caught my eye - and I am so glad I did. After the first event, I was hooked - I heard some fantastic speakers and the team environment was fantastic. So I re-applied and joined the team for the next event. And I did the very same a year later.

Yet the event this year was different - TEDxWarwick 2012 was taken to the next level and its new venue (the Butterworth Hall) could hold 1800 people. It still sold out. The event was once again brilliant and I can't imagine any of of the attendees having left the event feeling at least a little bit inspired or more knowledgable. I'm not here to talk about the event though - we will be publishing an article summarising the event in the next few days.

I want to talk about the moment when over 1000 people stood up and started dancing.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Kony2012 – Share intelligently, donate wisely

Screenshot from YouTube
Screenshot from YouTube

Fact: In 2003, Jan Egeland, then UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said, “The conflict in northern Uganda is the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today”.
Fact: 300,000 children are presently involved in over 30 conflicts around the globe, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
FactJoseph Rao Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been abducting children and using them as sex slaves or child soldiers for over 20 years.
Fact: Invisible Children (IC) have made millions of people aware of the situation in Central Africa through their Kony2012 campaign and should be commended for their admirable work.
Fact: IC have deceived millions of people into believing that by donating money, they will join an “army of peace”; in fact, the organisation is in favour of military intervention and supports the Ugandan military.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, allow me to briefly explain. In their words, Kony2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that “aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.” The video is about 30 minutes long and is well worth a watch.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Why David Thomas is so utterly wrong about why English students need not learn a foreign language

I was recently directed to a segment of the MailOnline’s website, RightMinds, and let’s just say that I was pretty disappointed by what I read. David Thomas, a journalist and author with a multi-lingual background argues that the 380,000 students in England who chose not to learn a foreign language are being sensible (it gets worse) because English is the second language of 85 per cent of Europeans.
This argument practically gives way to the idea that students in this country should be lazy; ‘Well they’re already doing it so we don’t have to.’ But the joke is not on them, it is on us. It is on those who truly believe that simply because others are learning our language that we should make no effort to learn another.

I struggle to understand the argument in any sense, especially as the journalist essentially nullifies his argument further on in his article by saying that due to writing books set in Germany, he now has “a tiny smattering of German, too”. When writing a book, you conduct detailed research on the area it will be set in, but learning any part of the language is, arguably, unnecessary especially if nearly everyone you’re working with speaks English anyway.

Regardless, Thomas continues to argue that learning a language is handy for proving on holiday “that you’re more sophisticated than the rest of the tourist herd.” What’s more, Thomas claims, “there’s absolutely no need to learn any one particular language unless you’ve got a specific professional use for it.”