Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Hoodwink Twitter (Hint: It’s Easy)

How can you use Twitter to spread falsehoods? So easy! So many options! Here are three:

  • Make up a story about the death of a celebrity. Any celebrity.
  • Make up a story about Apple (AAPL). Any story.
  • Make up a story about Conan O’Brien and get the crowd at a Digg event to pass it along for you.

We saw the last one in action Saturday night at a South by Southwest event, when pranksters cooked up a stupid story about the unemployed talk show host, designed in part to promote a Web video studio.

This one didn’t get picked up by the mainstream press, but it did find plenty of takers for a while on Twitter.

CNET’s Daniel Terdiman, who happily participated in the hoax, describes it in great detail here. If you want the short version, here’s a video of the event’s genesis, provided by David Spark. Pretty simple stuff: Anyone can do it.

[Image credit: LiveFromAmsterdam]

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work