News in Short: Twitter use reached new heights during World Cup, Facebook struggles with users' deaths

by Knowlton Thomas


World Cup delivers largest-ever period of sustained Twittering

In post on the Twitter blog, employee Matt Graves said that the final match of the World Cup “represented the largest period of sustained activity” since the site launched. During the final 15 minutes of the game, Twitter was seeing over 2,000 World Cup-related tweets per second, being generated from over 170 countries in 27 languages. When Spain scored its winning goal, that number passed 3,000 tweets per second.


Facebook and death like oil and water: They don't mix

The New York Times recently went in-depth on the Facebook Graveyard: what happens when a Facebook users dies.

The daily American paper noted that when Facebook began, this was not an issue: users were predominantly young, and users were also significantly fewer. However, now the site has nearly 500 million users, and an increasing percentage of that are people over 60 years of age. This has caused many people who have died for any number of reasons to be immortalized on their Facebook page, almost as if frozen in time—but the site, as the Times eloquently puts it, "keeps on shuffling dead friends through its social algorithms." This means your best friend, who may have been tragically killed by an SUV two weeks ago, is still challenging you to Mafia Wars, or requesting that you  "reconnect" with them.

The article goes on to say that, following the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, members "begged" the company to allow them to commemorate the victims. Now, profiles can apparently be memorialized, which converts them into tribute pages that are stripped of some personal information and no longer appear in search results. Friends can still post messages on those pages. This essentially fills the role of a saddened friend or family member creating a group on their behalf. (But tribute pages have problems of their own: if a family member or friend joined the site post-death of their pal, they will never be able to view the tribute page. And there have been cases where the wrong person of the same name has been "put to death" online by Facebook.)

And, another trouble is, with 350,000 Facebook users per Facebook employee, it's difficult for staff to make sure users are dead—since that is one of few things the social networking giant can't find out about you easily.

All that's certain for now is dying today leaves a different impact on your loved ones. Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others, people are frozen in time and immortalized on the Internet. Leaving everyone wondering, is it a compliment, or just plain creepy to #FollowFriday a dead Twitterer?

San Francisco, California, United States

Twitter is a privately funded startup with offices in the SoMA neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. Started as a side project in March of 2006, Twitter has grown into a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices. In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens—from breaking... more

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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