Entries in Social Networking (6)


Diaspora Co-Founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy Dies; Suicide Suspected

Respectance [dot] com(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Ilya Zhitomirskiy, the co-founder of a new social networking service called Diaspora, has died in San Francisco at the age of 22.

His death was "a possible suicide,” Officer Albie Esparza of the San Francisco Police Department told ABC News in a telephone interview.  She said police were first called on Saturday night.

According to Esparza, the case has been referred to the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office, which might need a couple of days to finish tests and confirm what had happened.

Zhitomirskiy was one of four schoolmates from New York University who started Disaspora in 2010.  They billed it as a site that was less centralized and more private than social network giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Diaspora was designed to not even have its own servers -- the computer banks that a centralized website uses to store users’ data.

“Diaspora makes sharing clean and easy -- and this goes for privacy too,” said the founders on Diaspora’s homepage.  “Inherently private, Diaspora doesn’t make you wade through pages of settings and options just to keep your profile secure.”

On Monday, even as word of Zhitomirskiy’s death spread, Diaspora announced it was inviting users to try a new, redesigned experimental version of the service.

A memorial site has been set up at

One visitor there wrote, “Thanks Ilya for Diaspora. You will always be remembered, missed and loved.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Social Networking Prohibited Between Students and Teachers

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo) -- According to Missouri Senate Bill 54 that goes into effect on August 28, any social networking interaction -- not just Facebook -- is prohibited between teachers and students.

It’s all part of an effort to "more clearly define teacher-student boundaries." However, KSPR reports that it’s only direct social media contact that’s prohibited; teachers are allowed to create Facebook Pages where all students have direct access to the teacher in a more public setting.

Senate Bill 54, also known as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, is intended to keep students from being subjected to sexual misconduct at school, compelling school districts to adopt written policies between teachers and students on electronic media, social networking, and other forms of communication.  Among the other regulations required by the measure: background checks for teachers, further definition of offenses for which a teacher can lose certification, and the elimination of the statute of limitations for specific sex crimes. 

It’s named for Amy Hestir, a now-40 year old woman who was abused in the 8th grade by a teacher who is still working in Missouri schools.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Happy Birthday Twitter! Microblogging Site Celebrates 5th Birthday

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- It's been five years since Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of sent out the first experimental tweet: "Inviting coworkers."

That's all it said.

This July 15 marks the five-year anniversary since became a public website, and like every Tweet since, Dorsey's was limited to 140 characters.

Since then, celebrities from Lady Gaga to Charlie Sheen to President Obama (or the staffers tweeting on his behalf) have mastered the highly truncated form of language that Twitter has made popular; others (think of Rep. Anthony Weiner) have been less adroit.

Twitter is now the 9th-most-visited site worldwide, according to the Web-tracking service Alexa. Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo may get more users, but they can't top Twitter for the sheer number of messages sent.

As of last week, Twitter said users were sending 200 million tweets per day, up from 2 million in January 2009. If you printed that on paper, at a rate of 20 tweets per page, it would fill the equivalent of 8,163 copies of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, the company said.

Despite the flighty name and the forced brevity of the messages, Twitter has become a major, and often serious, medium. From the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to the uprising in Egypt, it has been a way for people to connect, share links to pictures and news stories, or watch what is collectively on the world's mind.

And of course, it's become the gathering place for the rabid followers of pop culture icons.

Ashton Kutcher won the race to become the first Twitter member to 1 million followers, but he's since been passed by a few pop stars, a reality TV queen, and one commander in chief.

Twitter's San Francisco staff has not done much publicly to mark the day; they had more of a celebration in March, the five-year mark from when they put the site online for so-called beta testing. That kind of thing is common with tech startups; Google says it celebrates its anniversary on different days in September, "depending on when people feel like having cake."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Facebook Shutting Down Shop, Abandoning Users?

Photo Courtesy - NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rumors that Facebook will be shutting down on March 15 have gone viral across the web, causing users to question what will happen to their photos and other content that they have shared on the world's largest social networking site.

The flurry of online chatter that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company would shut down its servers comes just days after it had been valued at $50 billion after a $500 million infusion of cash by investment bank Goldman-Sachs.

The story seems to have been perpetuated by supermarket tabloid the Weekly World News, which Saturday published an article headlined "Facebook Will End March 15th!"

The Weekly World News, which is known for stories on alien abductions and the infamous "bat boy," also reported that Facebook indicated that users should remove all of their personal information and content from the site by March 15. According to the article, after that all photos, notes, links, and videos would be removed.

Facebook has yet to officially respond to the article. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Friends with Mickey? Latest Facebook Trend Has Users Looking Back

Photo Courtesy - The Walt Disney Company(NEW YORK) -- If cartoon characters are starting to replace your Facebook friends, take comfort. You're not alone. The latest fad to go viral on the social networking site has users changing their profile pictures to images of their favorite childhood cartoon characters.

On Facebook, images of the Flintstones, Thundercats, the Smurfs and other classic cartoon characters are taking over users' news feeds.

Previous Facebook memes have asked users to replace their profile pictures with images of their celebrity doppelgangers and had women post the color of their bras to raise awareness about breast cancer. Another recent viral campaign asked women to post suggestive status updates, such as "I like it on the floor" and "I like it on the kitchen counter." The messages referred to where women like to leave their purses and were intended to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Facebook Experiencing Second Outage in Two Days

Image Courtesy - ABC News(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Having trouble connecting to Facebook? So is everyone else. For the second time in two days, Facebook users reported problems Thursday with the popular social networking site. Some Facebook members said the site was slow, others said they couldn't access the website at all.

When contacted by ABC News, Facebook confirmed the problem. "We're currently experiencing some site issues causing Facebook to be slow or unavailable for some users. We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

ABC News Radio