Images, Hashtags & Montage: How #Twitter Brings Us Together, Subconsciously (via @socialmedia2day)

Today, Twitter unveiled its long awaited photo and video sharing, not only leaving the likes of Twitpic, Yfrog and Twitvid in the dust… with a twist: pushing hashtags. Watch Twitter’s new “Top pictures” and “Top Videos” soon becoming the latest buzz word in both social and mainstream media.

In watching the official unveiling video below, Twitter is smartly appealing to users’ love-hate relationship  with the ubiquitous 140 characters limit: too limiting to ramble but fantastic to consume and digest.

Twitter does this by upgrading the old age adage: “A picture is worth 1,000 words” by adding to it that “A hashtag is worth a 1,000 pictures”. Something a simple as a # and a word more meaningful than 1,000 pictures? Tall order you think? Maybe not so for those among us who dabbled with the use of hashtags on Twitter.

If you put the #perfectmoment hashtag side by side along with an actual picture of what someone decided it was the representation of a perfect moment; which do you think will be more powerfully meaningful? Your imagination or the visual representation of someone else’s judgment?

Like a smirk, a jaunty body expression, or a hushed voice, a hashtag can completely change the way we interpret a message, by jamming together our subconscious associations of the two (word and image). Just look at how people use hashtags; certainly there is a lot of standard informational tagging, but more and more, people employ hashtags for creative reasons which don’t necessarily follow from the content of their Tweets.

I’d never thought about it in those terms before, but after the article’s author makes that stellar point, I realized that the effectiveness of hashtags stems from the same basic principle of Eisenstein’s “montage theory” that guides modern film editing – the idea being, that our brains naturally form a connection between seemingly disparate ideas, a connection that allows us to “tell the story” of what happened bewteen two nonsequential film shots.

The principle is exactly the same as non-sequitor hashtags; they cause our minds to expand the interpretive framework we come to understand the statement/image/idea through, reshaping the message itself in the process.

The amazing thing about hashtags, and our ability to process nonsequential film images, is that even completely ostebsibly unconnected individuals can come to find a deep, universal connection with others, through their shared experiences and associations. You’ve felt this every time a theater has erupted in laughter in unison, or when you’re compelled to retweet that witty, ironic Tweet with a dozen other people.

As we start to understand memes, hashtags, trends, and other essential products of human communication, we are revealing, bit by bit, how fundamentally related we humans really are.

Hackers breached U.S. defense contractors

Unknown hackers have broken into the security networks of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and several other U.S. military contractors, a source with direct knowledge of the attacks told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear what kind of data, if any, was stolen by the hackers. But the networks of Lockheed and other military contractors contain sensitive data on future weapons systems as well as military technology currently used in battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Weapons makers are the latest companies to be breached through sophisticated attacks that have pierced the defenses of huge corporations including Sony (SNE.N), Google Inc (GOOG.O) and EMC Corp (EMC.N). Security experts say that it is virtually impossible for any company or government agency to build a security network that hackers will be unable to penetrate..

Well, that’s comforting.

Apple cracks down on MacDefender, prevents malware downloads with daily quarantine list — Engadget

Preconceptions aside, Apple products do occasionally spread viruses, and not just the biological kind, which is why Cupertino saw fit to equip Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard with a quarantine function to safely set malware aside. This week, however, Apple’s kicking those digital white blood cells into high gear, updating that quarantine list daily with a new background process. The company’s primarily got its crosshairs on the recent MacDefender scare, of course, but on the off-chance malware starts coming out of the woodwork, it sounds like you won’t have to wait for a formal security update to be forewarned of the dangers. If privacy’s your primary concern, however, you can also opt-out — take a gander at our source links to see how it’s done.

I’m generally not a fan of any software that monitors my activity, intercepting “risky” files on the fly, but not having to install a Malware update every day sounds like an idea Microsoft should steal.

Blip.tv Signs Distribution Deal With Fred, iJustine, And Other Collective Video Producers

Online video is growing up, and so are the young video stars who first found an audience on YouTube like Fred (Lucas Cruikshank) and iJustine. Both are part of the Collective Digital Studio, a talent management company of sorts for Web video stars. Today, the Collective is announcing an exclusive distribution deal with Blip.tv on behalf of its video artists, who can opt into the deal. Other Collective video producers signing up with Blip.tv include The Annoying Orange and Freddie W.

The addition of the Collective’s videos to Blip.tv’s arsenal is significant. Blip.tv is currently serving about 300 million video views a month. The Web shows that the Collective is bringing to the table attract about 200 million views a month. There is some slight overlap, but Blip.tv CEO Michael Hudack expects the deal will help Blip cross the 500 million views per month line by the end of the year.

Hopefully the next crop of candidates won’t make me want to stab my computer monitor in the CRT. Can people actually watch these shows?

Google +1 is Available Now: Why it Matters & Why it May Not Work

Google’s much-discussed +1 button became available for any and all website publishers today and it’s a social initiative with a uniquely Google twist. Web travelers will be able to click the +1 button on any web page or ad they want to recommend (just generally recommend!) and then that page will be privileged in relevant searches performed by their Google account contacts. Searches on YouTube will show +1 results from Google contacts as well.

Is this compelling for website owners? Yes, probably. For web users who would click the button? That’s much less clear. For search users? Time will tell, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

The single best argument for the +1 button is simply this: when I see a friend’s face pop up under a Google search, I’m about 1000% more likely to click it than another, because a couple months’ worth of experience has already shown those links are FAR more accurate. The simple truth is when I click a socially recommended page, 99% of the time I arrive at a page that I was looking for, and that beats Google’s recent success rate by a good 40%.

The biggest problem I see for Google, is that there’s no way to “go backwards” and hit the +1 button AFTER you’ve visited the page (without manually reloading/navigating). This seems like a pretty major oversight to me; who would recommend a page directly from the Search Results summary, without visitng it first? The initial rollout of the +1 button encouraged you to do exactly that.

I think the best solution would have been for them to use a Summify-style “masking” bar at the top of the page, to allow people to give feedback about a page they’re currently viewing, via a link presented in-line with the rest of the content.

U.S. probes Google’s serious China hacking allegation

Google announced on Wednesday that suspected Chinese hackers tried to steal passwords of hundreds of Google email account holders, including senior U.S. government officials, Chinese activists and journalists.

The claim by the world’s largest Web search company sparked an angry response from Beijing, which said blaming China was “unacceptable”. This pointed to further tensions in Beijing’s already strained relationship with Google and with Washington, which has been warily watching China’s moves in cyberspace.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Too many people depend on the free Gmail service to handle everything from emails to calendars to contact info, making it quite a high profile target with some very low-hanging fruit.