Robert Weller
Updated Dec 14, 2013, 8:21 AM
Stories and images from covering news around the world for more than 40 years.
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The Beginning

SOCIAL MEDIA




   The End of Privacy

   In this century it appears the loss of anonymity will be more shocking than the loss of virginity.

   Two events that resulted in deaths, and both involve the Internet at least tangentially, signal the need for a reexamination of privacy.

   Is it even possible in a world with surveillance cameras wherever you turn?  Drones aren’t only used in Afghanistan.

In the Princeton suicide case of Tyler Clementi his predator had figured out how to set up a remote control viewing of his sex with an older gay man.




    SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT LEGO MOVIES


    While the world was watching the Social Media animate the Arab World in real life, there was a dark side. Lego, on the other hand, seems pretty bright.

    Not nearly as violent as the video games my kids play.

    As I was updating on my Web page on the Columbine Massacre (I was the leading AP reporter) I couldn’t resist adding the Lego Columbine piece. It is Danish, a reflection of how Lego movies or clips or whatever they are know no boundaries.

    Tim Burton developed the stop motion animation, among others.


    SOCIAL MEDIA SHOWS PUTIN REMAINS BAD COP

    The good cop, bad cop drill was working well for Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin.

    Even my 20-year-old son was fooled by Medvedev’s good looks and Putin’s Mafia style. So was I.

    When Medvedev seemed to clash with Putin over what was going on in Libya it made him even more of a world hero.

    Everyone knew Putin was the chief don, but hoped somehow Dmitry would drive him from power. Medvedev seemed aware of how the world was changing because of social media. I even got a Tweet once from a page that was theoretically his.

    I recall Putin and Medvedev telling the U.S. not to get so uptight about Wikileaks.

    It was only a matter of time. Although the former Evil Empire managed to trick some liberals into opposing the denouement of Gaddafi, history readers knew it was Russian trash.


    HAS SOCIAL MEDIA MET ITS MATCH


    AURORA—In the hours right after the murders at an Aurora theater’s premier of the latest Batman film, crowd sourcing overwhelmed Twitter and some other social media.

    Twitter “throttled” its inputs, but messages popped up faster than anyone could possibly handle without a desk full of editors.

    Even then, how would an editor know if what was being said was real. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates complained about pranks, and said someone had pretended to be him.

    Hoaxes have always been possible. During the 1999 Columbine Massacre a hoaxster convinced a Denver television station that he was hiding in bushes and pleading to rescued.

    There is no doubt that Twitter and the rest of social media have value. They did help unleash the “Arab Spring.”

    However, in some cases, advocates used the social media to bring down governments and their agendas were clear but not their identities.

    During natural disasters, for example the New Zealand earthquake, authorities persuaded people to stay off Twitter so the few working lines could be used for emergencies.

    Another facet of news coverage seen today was that witnesses have seen so much violence on TV, movies and in some cases real life, that they were far more articulate.




    WHAT A TIME FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY TO PUBLICLY BECOME MONEY GRUBBERS

    One evening in Manhattan in the mid ‘70s I was leaving Rockefeller Center for home and the thunder began, heavy rain followed.

    I could have taken a subway, but chose to dance my way “Singing in the Rain,” literally.

The way things seem headed in a direction that if I tried it today the copyright police would be after me.

    These people want us to pay to watch 20-year Bond films.








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