You can find almost anything on eBay — Bob Russell knows this well. The 66-year-old found his beloved Austin Healey, 42 years after it went missing, on the online auctioning platform.
Russell, of Southlake, Tex., never stopped looking for his cream Austin Healey 3000 after it disappeared from his Philadelphia neighborhood in 1967, according to the original Associated Press report.
At the time, Russell was a student at Temple University. Years later, as a retired sales manager living near Dallas, he still eyed every Healey vehicle that passed by.
On May 11, years of scouring online car ads finally paid off. Healey immediately recognized the vehicle’s identification number on the eBay listing. He called the auctioneer, a Los Angeles-based Beverly Hills Car Club, that stopped the bid. The last incoming bid for the car was $19,700. Russell paid $3,000 for it in 1967.
“I hate to sound indelicate,” Russell told the unsuspecting dealer, “but you’re selling a stolen car,” according to AP. He had the car’s identification number, original key and car title to prove it.
The car dealer involved has received slack after allegedly trying to sell the stolen car back to Russell for $24,000. The dealer responded with a press release stating that they found the vintage Austin Healey on Craigslist and purchased the car from the New Jersey-based seller. All the paperwork matched up in this case, the dealer states. The N.J.-based owner had driven the car for nearly four decades.
“We are all very happy that Mr. Russell has gotten his car back,” wrote Versa Manos, a Beverly Hills Car Club spokesperson. “However, we are victims in this situation. We have lost $27,000, which is what we paid for the car, plus the cost to ship it to California.”
After Philadelphia police located Russell’s 1967 stolen car report, the L.A. Police Department impounded the car from the lot. Russell and his wife were able to drive off within a few weeks after the debacle started.
Image courtesy Flickr, den99
“Snape” and “Serverus” are trending, my Harry Potter obsessed daughter told me. “On Twitter?” I asked. Yes and the theory she had was that it had something to do with a push for a National Harry Potter Day or that Potter’s fictional birthday is on July 31. She was excited that the Tweeting world shared her obsession — except it didn’t.
She was a victim of Twitter’s new Tailored Trends.
Later that same week, a co-worker excitedly told me how a Mashable Story was trending globally on Twitter. “The whole headline!” she cried. Except that wasn’t so.
She, too, was a victim of Twitter’s Tailored Trends.
It’s been almost a month since Twitter unveiled Tailored Trends, a recalibration of the old Twitter trends algorithm designed to “tailor Trends based on your location and who you follow on Twitter”. Twitter even made this adjustment the new normal. Now every Twitter member’s homepage would list Trends that said more about them than they did the Tweeting activities of the world at large.
Allow me to explain.
Before this change, Twitter Trends were a great window into the wider-world of Twitter activity. It’s true, you likely tweeted about things that interested you and followed those with either similar interests or those who would provide you with updates that aligned with your interests. The great thing about Twitter Trends, which you could set to show worldwide, your country (including the U.S. — you can even filter by state), was that you learned about things outside your own particular passion.
I’ve always treated Twitter as a news feed. Like others, I learned of the deaths of both Steve Jobs and Whitney Houston first on Twitter. While Trends covers big stories they’re just as often a reflection of busy conversations about smaller news events or unusual, viral stories that had people talking (and Tweeting). I’d see a trending hashtag or term and click the link to learn more. I guess my doing so was sort of self-perpetuating, but I swear I learned about stuff I would otherwise have missed thanks to Twitter trends.
I truly believe this was always Twitter’s intention with Trends. Take a look at the mobile app and you’ll find Trends under the “Discover” tab. According to Merriam Webster, Discover means, “to obtain sight or knowledge of for the first time.”
The new Twitter trends, which most of you likely now have by default, is an exercise in navel gazing, searching for the unknown, but only within your known. It makes Twitter a much more local activity since it filters by your location and shields you from things you don’t care about because it’s based on who you follow. This change is like a leech on Twitter, sucking all the serendipity from the experience.
It also leads to people thinking their interests are much more important, relevant and exciting than they really are. Yes, I know my daughter loves Harry Potter, but Mr. Potter does not own the Twitter stream. Prior to this change, she would, almost daily, mention odd Twitter trends she’d stumbled upon. She had no idea that Twitter had made a change that, in a matter of weeks, would shrink her Twitter world. When she did realize what was going on, she was not happy.
As soon as my co-worker mentioned her Twitter Trend discovery, I told her to make sure Twitter wasn’t filtering her Trends for her. It was and once she changed it, she saw once again saw the Twitterverse with fresh eyes.
I know that some people find unfiltered or non-tailored trends useless because, as one Twitter follower told me “most are meaningless” to him. For him, perhaps the filtered view is a boon. For most, though, I suspect that what Twitter friend @ds_33 told me is true: It projects a kind of “confirmation bias”. Your Twitter feed becomes a kind of “yes man” for your interests and will also serve to verify your beliefs because the trends you see are all generated by the people you choose to follow (and even where you chose to live).
When Twitter announced Tailored Trends, it didn’t spend a lot of time explaining the reasoning behind the change. In a short blog post, Twitter simply said it wanted to show “emerging trends that matter more to you.” Twitter is right, of course, you will see what matters to you most. If you like your world small and self-satisfying, this is a good thing. If you want Twitter to open up your world, then do as I’ve done and turn off Tailored Trends.
It’ll be an eye-opener.
Love the “People You May Know” feature on LinkedIn? Then you may be happy to learn that Twitter is essentially copying the feature. Instead of a widget, though, Twitter will suggest potential contacts via a weekly email.
Twitter already offers suggestions for who to follow, of course, and those have gotten more prominent (and relevant) on the site as the company has refined the widget. It’s based on an algorithm that has gotten better and more personalized, and now even takes into account your location.
“People You May Know,” however, gets populated differently. Twitter said in a blog post that the people suggested are based on “signals” such as who your friends follow and the contact information imported by the people you connect with on Twitter.
As an example, Twitter says if several people you follow also follow someone, that person could come up as a person you may know. Twitter told Mashable “People You May Know” uses contact information this way: If your friend uploads his address book and it includes your email address, and then you sign up for Twitter with that email address, Twitter may suggest your friend to you as an account to follow.
In any case, Twitter users should begin to get suggestions via email in their next weekly update from the service. Don’t want them? It’s easy enough to turn off in your settings for email notifications.
The new feature strikes us as a little redundant considering the existence of to “Who to follow,” but we’ll reserve final judgment until we see the updates for ourselves.
What say you? Do you think “People You May Know” is extraneous, helpful or whatevs? Sound off in the comments.
Diana Nyad, a 62-year-old marathon swimmer from Los Angeles, Calif. is attempting to make history as she swims from Havana, Cuba to Florida, a distance of 103 miles, in what she calls the Xtreme Dream. Though Nyad’s in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, her support team is sharing updates from her journey on Twitter and her blog.
Nyad’s already encountered a storm and several jellyfish stings, though she keeps stroking at a strong pace, according to the team accompanying her who are updating her Twitter and blog.
The most recent blog post from this morning describes the conditions of her swim:
“We had quite a night. The weather was really ugly. All crew members safe. As of this morning, the weather is clear with light winds out of the SE. Seas are calm and Diana is swimming strong at 50 strokes per minute and has swum 33.81 statute miles. There have been no jellyfish sightings our experts report. Beautiful out!”
Her tweets include similar details from the experience:
This swim is five English Channels, with sharks and box jellies added.
— Diana Nyad (@diananyad) August 19, 2012
A runner struck with sharp pain can stop, sit down and stretch. A marathon swimmer can’t do that. ^MR
— Diana Nyad (@diananyad) August 19, 2012
At 8pm EDT “all hell broke loose here.” Out of nowhere, a squall “blew up very quick.” blowing Diana off course ^AdC diananyad.com/blog/squall
— Diana Nyad (@diananyad) August 20, 2012
Her website DianaNyad.com also includes a map of where she is in her swim between Cuba and Florida:
Nyad first attempted the distance from Cuba to the U.S. three decades ago when she was 29. Extreme weather on the course already teaming with sharks, jellyfish and pollution, left her heading toward Texas, rather than Florida.
Are you interested in following extreme athletes on Twitter? Let us know what you think of Diana’s social presence in the comments.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday announced the city’s first Digital Toolkit for small businesses, a new education program aimed at helping the small businesses of New York City develop their online presence and social media strategies. The program will be administered by the city’s Small Business Services department at their local education centers throughout the five boroughs.
NYC’s Digital Toolkit is of a series of courses that will explain how a small business can incorporate technology and social media into their business strategy for marketing, sales and customer service. It will also include an online component with best practices and website design templates.
“The digital toolkit will help New York City’s entrepreneurs with the resources they need to engage more consumers online,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The web can open up worlds of opportunities for these businesses, but many of them presently lack even their own website, let alone a social media campaign.”
“Mashable is proud to work with Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York to create this program that will help the small businesses that run the city that never sleeps,” said Stacy Green, Mashable‘s head of marketing and communications. “We’re happy to share our digital expertise to give back to the city where our company is headquartered.”
Tumblr and Weebly provided customized website templates and Google provided information and best practices for search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
New York City’s Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne will launch the Digital Toolkit and teach the program’s first course on Thursday, September 20th.
The Digital Toolkit grew out of a survey done by Small Business Services which found that the city’s small businesses were most interested in learning how to incorporate social media and website design into their business strategies.
This program is part of New York City’s effort to bring a digital focus to all New Yorkers through The Digital Roadmap. Other recent initiatives include turning payphones into WiFi hotspots and rolling out a map of all the tech companies headquartered in New York last June.
For more information go to: http://www.nyc.gov/html/index.html
The viral picture of the model was posted by someone pretending to the man on the left.
1. This picture of swimwear model Kate Upton and someone claiming to have been her high school boyfriend went around the world yesterday after it was posted on Reddit.
BuzzFeed reported on the picture and we said we’d update if we found out any more about the claim. We messaged the Reddit poster, the elaborately named Coolsexguy420boner, to ask him what the story was.
We can now reveal that the person in the picture is not the Redditor who made the original boast: pictured next to Kate is 22-year-old student Jeffrey Allen, currently studying for a masters degree at the University of Florida.
Coolsexguy420boner claimed he had a brief relationship with Upton but then split up with her. The story and picture went viral and appeared on dozens on news websites in the US, UK and elsewhere, as the Reddit thread grew and grew. But Allen knew nothing about it.
He tells BuzzFeed: “I didn’t post this picture, I had nothing to do with it. I saw people were posting about it and it went from Reddit to BuzzFeed, it just went crazy. It was a life-changing day.”
2. So who did post it? Allen says an old schoolfriend was behind both the post and the ridiculous Reddit username.
Allen tells BuzzFeed this person posted the picture in an attempt at attaining kudos and notoriety through Reddit – only he was a little bit too successful as the story took off internationally.
“I knew exactly who it was. I knew he went to (the same school) and there were only a handful of people who could have had that picture,” he says.
“There was a post (on Reddit) from when she was 18 and he just wanted to one-up it for the karma. He feels really bad about it now.” (Karma is Reddit’s system whereby users recommend each others’ posts.)
Allen tells us he was friends with her but they were not romantically involved.
Allen says the picture must have come from an old Facebook album and was posted, along with the high school romance story, as a way of boosting his Reddit karma. It was taken at a birthday party in April 2007 when Allen was 16 and Upton was 15.
He says the speed and extent to which the picture took off globally surprised the poster, who has been in touch to apologise.
BuzzFeed sent a private message to this account yesterday but received no response – the account now appears to have been deleted.
3. So he could only watch on with horror as a picture of him and Kate went viral.
Allen kept in touch with Kate for some years – she would occasionally send updates on how here shoots were going, before she found the kind of stratospheric fame she now enjoys. But he has no idea if she’s aware that a six-year-old photo of her and her old schoolfriend caused a mini media storm.
Understandably, Allen says he’s just happy to clear up the whole matter and get back to normal.