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GoodReads Book Choice Awards 2012 Results Announced

The 2012 goodreads winners.
The 2012 goodreads winners.

More than 1 million votes were cast and the results are in for the best books in Goodreads 4th Annual Awards.

J.K. Rowling’s book ‘The Casual Vacancy’ won in the ‘Fiction’ category with 11,525 votes. The Edinburgh author got mostly positive reviews for her first book following the Harry Potter series.  The Guardian referreds to it as ‘a solid, traditional and determinedly unadventurous English novel’. It tells the story of the English town of Pagford, whose inner turmoils comes to the surface after councilman Barry Fairbrother dies and the community has to elect a new member in his place. It deals with issues relating to drugs, self-harm, and sex. It’s a drastic turn away from the warmth of Harry Potter.

The media hype around J.K.Rowling’s first book for adults has boosted sales. “We had a really steady flow of sales. We were lucky enough to get some signed copies, and they just disappeared before we could get a proper look at them ourselves” says Cat Anderson, a bookseller at The Edinburgh Bookshop in Bruntsfield. She also comments on the content: “It was quite hitting in terms of the social comments she is making, but I personally wouldn’t have put it in my top books list.”

In the Young Adult category, John Green’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ won a convincing victory with 37,438 votes. The story revolves around Hazel, who after being diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, was prepared to die until a medical miracle gave her a new chance at life. She later meets with Augustus at a cancer support group for kids. Their romantic relationship helps her get a new perspective on sickness and health and their influence on her identity and legacy. Ms. Anderson comments that: “Everyone who’s read it has been blow away by it. John Green is a beautiful writer.”

2012 has been a big year for Queen Elizabeth II, the top book in Goodread’s Biography category being Sally Bedell Smith’s ‘Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch’. There has been a sea of books talking about the Queen’s life  “The focus on her being a modern monarch is what has given Sally Bedell Smith’s edge over the others”, says Ms. Anderson

Here is a list of some of the winners and runner ups of the GoodReads Choice Awards 2012.

Fiction

‘The Casual Vacancy’ J.K. Rowling – 11,525 votes
“Where We Belong” Emily Giffin – 7,841 votes
“Home Front” Kristin Hannah – 6,072 votes

Non-Fiction

“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” Susan Cain – 7,532 votes
“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” Katherine Boo – 5,356 votes
“The Power of Habit” Charles Duhigg – 3,300 votes

Young Adult

“The Fault in Our Stars” John Green – 37,438
“Easy” Tammara Webber – 8,890 votes
“Slammed” Colleen Hoover – 6,495 votes

History and Biography

“Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch” Sally Bedell Smith – 6,507 votes
“Drift” Rachel Maddow – 4,313 votes
“Killing Kennedy” Bill O’Reilly – 4,280 votes

Fantasy

“The Wind Through the Keyhole” Stephen King – 8,226 votes
“The Woman Who Died a Lot” Jasper Fforde – 5,221 votes
“The First Confessor” Terry Goodkind – 4,510 votes

 What books would make it in your ‘Best of 2012’ list? Do you agree with the choices of voters at Goodreads?

That’s tweeting brilliant! Twitter is five years old

by Tom Barry

Twitter is 5 years old today. Picture: P McPartlin

 

Social networking website Twitter celebrates its fifth birthday today.

The micro-blogging site, which enables users to follow the antics of friends and celebrities via posted updates known as tweets,  was founded in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, and has since grown from the simple idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group to being one of the most popular forms of communication in the world and is today estimated to have over 200 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day.

Continue reading That’s tweeting brilliant! Twitter is five years old

Santa’s coming to Edinburghs nightlife

By Chris Enderby
Edinburghs first party of the holiday seasonOnly in its second year the snow party is hoping to repeat its huge success last year which lead to it being brought back for a second consecutive year.One of the events organizers  Stuart Ramsay was available for comment about the planned party.

The events boasting some really exciting options to bring the crowds in , from real snow to a reindeer rodeo ,who doesn’t love a bit of snow especially when it’s being fired from two large cannons onto the dance floor.

Clearly trading of the christmas vibe starting to fill the air the organizers are setting up for a large kick of to Edinburgh’s holiday Season.
However the reindeer rodeo did cause some  slight confusion and It was speculated if they were getting some real ones in however Stuart said ” Though it would probably be amazing ,mixing live animals with drunk students doesn’t always work well”.

so instead they have brought in a Mechanical bull and given it a bit of a face lift to get in the holiday spirit and now looking like a reindeer he’s waiting to test the students out at Lava Ignite.

He also said that it was  “cavs(another name for Lava Ignite) biggest winter party and only happens once a year”  clearly a good enough reason to head down and check it out ,Coupling  once a year event with student Drinks prices makes it a very enticing night out for the young and the restless.

The “Snow Party” is also being marketed as a pre-exam party, now this may not seem like the greatest way to pull people in , Most don’t want to go out and become legless just before an exam .

That being  said however if your exams not on the 28th of November  and you’ve been cooped up for weeks studying a single night of to blow off the steam you’ve built up from staying in for weeks may be a good idea.

When  asked about this  Stuart  said ” we wanted to give students who’d been spending  6-8 hours a day studying for exams  a chance to unwind and let their hair down for a night”,
This would allow you to go into your exam well prepared and not totally  stressed about how your going to perform and trying to lock down that little fact that keeps slipping your mind.

Now many people have a Facebook account and you may be able to see this event from the link  posted in this article , after doing research for this event though and talking to some older people a realisation has dawned.

The era of Street Promoters for clubs is going the way of the dinosaurs , it’s a rare sight to see large teams of promoters out on the street handing out flyers instead they run one or two people for the whole night,
they do still go and flyer student living accommodations but honestly using Facebook and twitter is the main way for these PR staff  to get in touch with the people who are going to be coming to their club nights

Having  spoken with a few club promoters asking them why they use Facebook rather than the old-fashioned way of street teams and got some good responses , Craig Wilson who Promotes  a Friday night at Bacaro said that “using Facebook allows me to run my event without  being slowed down by the time of day. if I want to put out an event I can do it right then ,the weather doesn’t affect who see’s the event  and it also allows me to keep cost’s down” .

This is sound marketing  and as he said “It’s a business”  there for you to have a good time but also to make a profit.

Speaking with some door supervisors  from some various clubs in Edinburgh about whether or not they though Facebook was taking over from the more well know ways of getting people into clubs.

Craig Gamble who works a variety of establishments all over Edinburgh told me “It varies really , when I work at a bar or pub and they’re doing an event most of the folk come in with a flyer but then the bars only sent one or 2 folk out , at a large club night they sometimes don’t even bother with the token street team just relying on Facebook events and word of mouth”

We are a generation that’s grown up with Social media ,from  MySpace to Facebook .

As we’ve grown we have taken these tools that have grown with us into the real world  and starting putting them into use replacing systems that though sound in principle are now becoming dated as technology advances and allows us to access new media outlets to connect with people.

National news in brief

Expenses MPs to be tried

Three ex-Labour MPs involved in the expenses scandal, including Jim Devine of Livingston, have lost their final legal challenge to facing criminal trials. They had claimed they should not be tried as they were protected by Parliamentary privilege. Nigel Pleming QC, who represented Jim Devine, said had told the Supreme Court it was not “an attempt to take them above or outside the law”.

Cameron demands prosecution for violent students

David Cameron has called for the violent student protesters who attacked Conservative headquarters on Monday to be prosecuted with “the full force of the law”, while NUS Scotland President Liam Burns warned that the issues behind the protest must not be forgotten.

Child cancer death rates fall 60%

Cancer kills 60% less children than in the late 1960s, according to research from Cancer Research UK. Nearly eight out of every ten children now survive past the five-year mark with cancer, compared to less than three out of ten in 1966-70.

Harry Potter premieres in London

The red carpet premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One took place at London’s Leicester Square last night. The film adapts the first half of the final Harry Potter book, with the final part to be released in the summer of 2011.

Facebook sobriety test released

BNP Paribas Masters
Andy Murray has reaching the quarters in Paris

The Queen can heave a sigh of relief this week as, after the creation of the British Monarchy Facebook account, The Social Media Sobriety Test was launched to help users avoid posting drunk messages. The tool allows people to block themselves from using sites like Facebook if they fail a series of coordination tests.

Murray reaches French quarter-finals

Andy Murray progressed to the quarter finals of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris last night. Murray struggled through the early stages of the match, and was given a warning for throwing a ball in anger at one point, before defeating Marin Cilic 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-3.

One must updates One’s status

Queen Elizabeth
The Queen's Facebook page joins her Twitter and YouTube accounts.

By Jessica Swift

Today’s launch of ‘The British Monarchy’ page on one of the world’s best known and most popular social networking sites has sparked some controversy.

The page was launched this morning at 8am, and just 2 hours later over 44, 000 people had logged on to ‘like’ it. While you cannot become online ‘friends’ with the queen herself, the page is set to provide daily updates on Royal events and regularly post pictures of the Queen and her family.  The page also includes a ‘Near Me’ application which allows people to find out about past and future Royal visits, events and ceremonies in their area. The page has received positive feedback from users worldwide, many of whom posting comments such as ‘Long live the Queen’.

Despite the page’s apparent initial success, other groups and events have popped up on the site asking and inviting people to ‘troll’ (intentionally cause rifts and arguments on the page by deliberately posting provocative messages and/or comments on a news group or message board) the Queen’s new page.

Already, the page has some negative feedback along with the positive majority (be it through comment screening or otherwise). For example, one Facebook user has commented ‘Why is my money being spent on this parasite when we [are] suffering massive cuts in our public services?’ and users from all over the world have posted their opinions on such matters.

The clear on-going debate over the need for a British Monarchy on it’s own page begs the question of the page’s popularity and success, as there is no question that some members of the site who have opted to ‘like’ the page have only done so in order to  voice their opposing opinions.

To ‘like’ ‘The British Monarchy’ on Facebook or join the discussion you can click here.

To visit her Twitter account click here.

To view the Royal YouTube channel click here.

Is the death of MySpace near?

MySpace Original Logo

By Celeste Carrigan

MySpace was one of the founding social networking sites, originating from California. The website appears to have been hit with the plague of Facebook with its death near, as numbers of users are low.

MySpace New Logo

MySpace has went under a major redesign in the  past couple of weeks to redefine it  as a  “new brand, website and a suite of products that together redefine the company as a social entertainment destination for Gen Y”

The redesign wanted to create a highly personal experience for people to discover entertainment on multi-platforms and connect with fans of similar interests. MySpace has always wanted to  be much more than friends keeping in touch, it is more an entertainment experience.

This appears to have come too late as it is losing a lot of money.  Last night the site that was once the world’s number one social network, was put on notice by its parent company, News Corporation.

Chase Carey, News Corp’s President has said that company was clear that MySpace “is a problem” with looses of £97m. Patience is running out with MySpace especially as the website traffic is still no where as high as it counterpart Facebook, even after the redesign and launch as a new brand.

The website has always been much more than just a social networking site for friends to keep in touch, it has always been a platform for musicians to get their music out to the world. Many music careers have been launched as a result of MySpace such as that of Lily Allen’s. This may be lost if the site  was to close. MySpace has made the world of entertainment a lot easier through social networking and viralling.

It was the second social network site to emerge in 2003, with sites such as Bebo and Facebook coming along a couple of years later. In 2005 it was reported that MySpace had more page views than Google.

The social network has taken the world by storm with many different sites available. If MySpace was to close will the social networking world notice? Has social networking only got place for one site?  Facebook was a small site created by Mark Zuckerberg and college friends and  has taken the throne as  the largest site in the world. It has also been embodied by Hollywood’s Silverscreen in the Movie “The Social Network“. Facebook appears to have taken the world by storm and squashed all those that came before him, is MySpace next?

Thousands set for RAF Lossiemouth protest

A tornado flies over the threatened RAF Lossiemouth base

By Andy Mackie

A facebook campaign against the closure of RAF Lossiemouth is expected to rally thousands of protesters in the town this Sunday.

The social networking site has already mobalised over 11, 000 followers across social and political divides. They include  MOD employees who were warned not to protest against the proposed closures.

Sundays rally in support of the under threat RAF bases in Lossiemouth and Kinloss has been organised by locals in conjunction with trade unions. The rally will be addressed by Alex Salmond, Iain Gray, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott in addition to John Divers, head of the local trades council.

Feelings have been running high in Lossiemouth since the bases commander Group Captain Andy Hine issued guidance blocking all staff from attending the rally. Hine has now backed down and stated: “Last week I issued guidance to all personnel at RAF Lossiemouth on engaging publicly or with the media about the future of the base. Unfortunately, some of the guidance regarding staff attending protests and rallies was not clear. Service personnel are not permitted to take part in political activities but MOD civil servants are free to take part in this type of event.”

There is still, however, disquiet at the way in which Hines’ original statement was handled. Dougie Brownlie of the Public and Commercial Service Union (PCS) who represent the 800 plus civilian members of staff said: “While the PCS welcomes Captain Hines’ latest statement the anger of members is such that I would expect they will attend in large numbers.”

The campaign now enjoys cross party support in Scotland and all four major parties will be represented. Scottish Conservatie leader Annabel Goldie said: “Sadly, given the scale of the deficit, the defence review could not be pain free. I fully understand the fears and worries of the people of Moray and I urge our governments to work with the local community and local council to chart a way forward and to identify opportunities.Moray is an area of resilience with skilled and talented people and we must all do everything we can to help them through this challenging period. I have personally contacted both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence, and the Scottish Conservatives will continue to make the case for Scotland. It will be an honour to meet with and march with the people of Moray on Sunday”.

The SNP welcomed cross party support and local Moray MSP Richard Lochead said: “It is great news that Scotland’s party leaders are throwing their weight behind Moray’s cause. On 7th November local residents and supporters of the campaign from around Scotland will have their opportunity to show their support as well. I congratulate the rally’s organisers in Lossiemouth for the helping make the campaign to save Moray’s RAF jobs a national priority”.

The Scottish Labour and Liberal Democrat parties were unavailable for comment.

Facebook friendship pages controversy

By Chris Melvin

Boasting a growing 500 million regular users, the Facebook group have launched the latest new feature for their clients on the social networking site: the “friendship” tool.

The now widely recognised Facebook logo.

This software – befittingly titled “Friendship Pages” – will be installed on a rolling basis over the next few weeks and allows users to see a collection of common information between contacts: tagged photos together; mutual friends and likes; events attended together, and a section for wall posts and comments. This is not limited to solely a user and another – one can connect any combination of their contacts.  Other users can access the Friendship Page if said the users give permission via their privacy settings.

The tool aims to provide a new way of analysing information in order to tackle the complaint that easily keeping up-to-date with specific profiles is difficult for those with several hundreds of friends.

Facebook software engineer, Wayne Kao, commented on his involvement in the project: “for those of us who have worked on it, the best part is the human side of these pages. They can bring back memories, conversations and times spent together.”

However, there have been a hoard of complaints launched against the new implementation – most publicly on a blog posted on its initial US launch. One Facebook user, Lucy Michaela Adams (boasting over 750 friends), commented on the blog saying:

Example Friendship Page

“This is just an invasion of privacy.
Why not simply allow a user to view the history between oneself and a friend? Currently it is allowing anyone you are ‘friends with on Facebook’ to view how you interact with other people…its too much! By putting all the information together in one place it takes the fun out of Facebook […] surely this defeats the whole point of Facebook if people stop interacting with each other!”

Since then, a defiant Facebook Page appropriately entitled ““Opt Out of the FB Friendship Feature” has been created whose main concern is the lack of an option to block the application via privacy settings. The page, now showing 670 fans and growing, states in its info section that “[the application] is stripping the Facebook community of their right to Privacy and choice.” Many of its protesters state that the Friendship Pages are “creepy” and encourage “stalking”.

In contrast, many users do in fact welcome the changes, with several users agreeing with Kao. Lauren Davies, a member of Facebook, commented saying: “I don’t understand the controversy – it isn’t an issue of privacy at all. All the information that can be seen on the Friendship Pages can also be seen elsewhere, though less easily. There is just as much stalking going on, with or without the pages”.

The Facebook group have yet to comment on whether they will implement an “opt out” feature, though it is likely to be covered by their privacy settings.

Edinburgh’s iconic homeless find a home in cyberspace

A string of pages on social networking sites have emerged paying tribute to some of the Capital’s most recognizable homeless men. Facebook has two pages dedicated to ‘Rastatramp’ – the Leith local whose nickname stems from his long gray dreadlocks and dark skin. Some of the posts left by ‘fans’ seem to be poking fun at the vagrant, however the majority seem to suggest a genuine affection for him, like Nicki Buntin who posted “This guy is a Legend… everyone from Leith knows him.. hes a real good guy, had many a convo with him ♥”.
Another of Edinburgh’s distinct individuals to attract attention on the web is “Beaverman” so-called because of his long mane of matted hair which looks similar to a beaver’s tail. Both men feature in the site Edinburgh Cult Celebrities appreciation thread and the Beaverman’s own Facebook page has over 4000 fans.
Of course it is unlikely that either of these gentlemen will have access to the internet and are probably completely unaware of their cyber popularity. Perhaps therefore those who have a genuine fondness or sympathy for these men could dedicate their time to something more worthwhile; imagine the impact it would make to charities such as Shelter if just a few of the Beaverman’s fanbase donated their free time to volunteer to help the homeless instead of surfing the net.

Online stalking a growing concern

With the advance of the Internet cyberstalking is becoming a serious issue

The world is changing.  Our parents and even our parents’ parents are likely to be savvy in the ways of text messaging and Facebooking.  The internet and other communications technologies are rapidly altering our social landscapes.  But as the excitement and euphoria from the initial newfound freedoms and avenues of expression have worn off there have grown widespread fears of the extent to which we have all been exposed.

Those who study these new modes of communication such as Dr Krotoski, who presented the BBC television series The Virtual Revolution, have warned that we will all increasingly have to “live like celebrities” wary of giving too much away in our interactions with the public realm.  Pictures and comments posted to sites like Facebook may seem innocuous enough, but potential employers are aware that a little online research can give them extra insight, and pictures of you and your mates drunkenly coning a statue might not give you the edge in that job application.

Even more of a worry though, is the phenomenon of ‘cyberstalking’ – so much so that The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has just announced new guidance to prosecutors promising to get tough on cyberstalkers.  This is made even more pertinent by the recent sentencing of Michael Williams – a postman from Cornwall who was given 8 years for sex crimes – using social networking sites to aid in finding and gaining access to hundreds of children.

Cyber crime has been a growing area of concern for governments and citizens alike for many years such as online fraud.  But the more recent rise of social networking sites has added a new dimension to the issue.  Williams represents an extreme case.  However, there are all sorts of electronic abuses, from the reasonably harmless obsessions of teenagers to much more serious criminal harassment.

Responding to the same issue, and announced just a day after the (CPS) declared new guidelines, the Electronic Communication Harassment Observation (Echo) survey was launched by researchers at the University of Bedfordshire on Friday.  It is commissioned by the charity Network for Surviving Stalking

The study intends to seek out people who have been stalked online or similarly harassed or threatened through electronic means such as email or internet chat-rooms, or on social networking websites like Facebook and Bebo.

This academic response to a developing problem in the electronic universe adds yet more strength to the view that the law and social conventions are playing catch up to technology which is transforming the world we live in.

Student president candidate withdraws from race

Nathan Sparling

A candidate for the Edinburgh Napier Student Association presidential election has withdrawn from the contest.

Nathan Sparling issued a statement this morning indicating that he felt unable to continue due to the ‘inappropriate actions’ of the NSA.

Mr Sparling also outlined his concern that he had received a ‘First and Final Warning’ from the elections committee without right of reply, saying: “It was the first I had heard of the complaint submitted to the Elections Committee, and I had not been given the right to respond.

“As you will be aware, it is also within my Human Rights to be given the right to respond to a complaint where disciplinary action could be taken.”

The warning was received after Mr Sparling had previously contacted Programme Representatives to inform them of an Emergency Senate.

Mr Sparling went on to register his disgust at the removal of The Journal by the NSA form all university campuses without the authority of the university, calling it a severe breach of Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

In a new development it has been revealed that until last night all students were able to view up-to-date election results. Visable were details of who voted, for whom and in what preference.

Mr Sparling has requested that the returning officer, Finlay MacCorquodale, transfer all votes cast for him to RON (ReOpen Nominations).

Students protesting the censorship of The Journal have already been urging people to vote RON in protest at the newspaper’s removal.

The NSA  has not commented so far on Mr Sparling’s withdrawal, the allegations within his statement or on The Journal protests.

Relief as ‘Rage Against the Machine for Christmas no.1’ Facebook page re-appears

For Jon Morter and his 700,000 avid followers, (and counting) of the Facebook page, ‘Rage Against the Machine for Christmas no.1′ it has been an exciting couple of weeks. However last night concerns were raised when Facebook’s most popular campaign page disappeared.

Ringleader, Jon Morter was concerned that the page had been shut down in a bid to halt the masses from buying Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the name.

The page went down last night (13th December), and had been inaccessible today, the day in which Morter’s minions intended to storm the charts by purchasing the 1993 hit.

Speaking to theglobalhearld.com Morter said,

“The group went down last night in which a member of Facebook’s PR team contacted to say it was a ‘bug’,” he continued, “Later in the evening the group returned as normal, but now it’s gone yet again I do start to be concerned.”

Jon’s main concern was that charitable contributions to Shelter had substantially slowed. Members of the group have so far raised in excess of £20,000 for the charity.

In a panic a back-up page was launched while Morter awaited another response from the powers that be at Facebook. However, tonight it would appear that all is well on the camp Rage side as the page is once again functioning as normal.

The track is available to download from various websites including, HMV.com, iTunes, amazon, Play.com and Tesco Digital – and looks to be giving Mr. Mclederry a run for his money currently sitting proudly at number 1 in the HMV download charts, while Joe McElderry sits patiently at number 3. Rage also reside the top spot in Amazon’s top downloads as well as number 1 on play.com. However bookies favourite Joe, currently retains the number 1 position on itunes.

Don’t believe everything you read!

By Andrew Donaldson

When Canadian Transport Minister Mike Baird sent a text message this week declaring “Thatcher is dead”, it didn’t take long for the news to spread like wildfire throughout Canadian politics.

Even the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, was led to believe that Baroness Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister, had died aged 84. Continue reading Don’t believe everything you read!

Text Messages Replace Greetings Cards

By Ryan Culling

A recent survey by a mobile phone price comparison website has found that traditional greetings cards are gradually being replaced by text messages, as people choose to show that they care with technology instead of paper and a pen.

The survey, conducted by the UK’s leading mobile phone price comparison website, www.rightmobilephone.co.uk, studied 1, 014 people.

Family members proved to be the most likely to receive a card, with 66% of people saying they would buy their immediate relatives a card for a special occasion. However, only 42% of people said that they would to the same for a friend.

Image Courtesy of rightmobilephone

Just under two thirds of people surveyed said that they would send a text message instead of a card to a friend. 31% of those people said that the reason for this was down to cost. 46% said that they texted because it was easier and 5% said that it was because they did not remember until the actual day.

When asked whether they thought it was unnecessary to send both a card and a text message, 83% of people answered yes. The survey also found that 91% of Facebook users send messages via the site to family and friends on special occasions after they are reminded on their social networking page.

Co-founder of rightmobilephone.co.uk, Neil McHugh, speaking about the  results of the research, said “Text messaging now plays a major part in most people’s day-to-day lives and it’s a quicker and much more efficient way of contact than letters or cards, especially with the recent postal strikes taking their toll.

He continued, “Texting is also a more cost-effective way of sending a message on a special occasion, as greetings cards can be fairly expensive and most only end up getting thrown away after the day. When you look at it that way, it’s no surprise that more people are texting ‘Happy Birthday’ than putting it in a card.”

Foolish Facebook Fraudster Caught In Cancun

By Michael McLintock

A man who has has been on the run from US authorities after allegedly stealing over $200,000  has been caught in a holiday resort in Cancun.

Mr Maxi Sopo learned earlier in the year that US authorities had gained information about his fraud and fled to Cancun, Mexico.

Picture of Sopo, provided by the Seattle U.S Attorney's office
Picture of Sopo, provided by the Seattle U.S Attorney's office

Sopo, 26, regularly updated his Facebook status to gloat about his life and how much fun he was having at the resort.  Sopo said he was “loving it” and boasted he was “living in paradise”

Michael Scoville, US Assistant Attorney who assisted in tracking down Sopo said that “He was making posts about his beautiful life and how he was having a good time with his buddies”

He then went onto say “He was definitely not living the way we wanted him too, giving the charges he was facing”

The Cameroon-born fraudster originally worked in Seattle nightclubs selling roses.

Sopo was caught when he befriended a former justice department official on Facebook.

It was revealed that a secret service agent, Seth Reeg, had traced Sopo’s Facebook page and tracked his friends list down, finding the former justice official.

Reeg contacted the former justice official who helped track down Sopo.

Sopo is currently being held in custody in Mexico waiting  to the US where he will stand trial facing charges of bank fraud.

Sopo’s accomplice Edward Asatoorians, was convicted by a federal jury in Seattle last week.

Sopo, if convicted, is expected to receive a sentence of roughly 30 years.

Getting started with Twitter

By Jodi Mullen

Tonight the News Room bar on Leith Street will play host to Edinburgh’s first ‘Tweetup‘, an informal gathering for local users of social networking phenomenon Twitter. The meet follows the success of last month’s Edinburgh Twestival, a charity event which saw Twitter users raise thousands of pounds for good causes.

Twitter courtesy of searchengineland
Twitter courtesy of searchengineland

Over the last few months Twitter has become something of a media darling, with news organisations, including the BBC, and a host of major and minor celebrities jumping aboard the bandwagon. But the service, heralded as ‘the next Facebook‘ by some, has alienated many internet users who have questioned whether it’s anything more than a new way to waste time.

So what is Twitter exactly? In a nutshell, it’s a way to exchange short messages, also known as ‘tweets’, each no more than 140 characters long, over the internet. Subscribing to another user’s tweets is as simple as choosing to ‘follow’ them. The updates will then show on your own Twitter page, along with those of anyone else you follow.

Naturally, Twitter is reciprocal in nature. Just as you’re free to follow other users, they’re also free to follow you and view your tweets. Messages can be sent to other users by adding ‘@’ and their username at the beginning of a tweet – so, for example, replying to me on Twitter would just involve beginning the message with ‘@jodimullen‘.

Unlike Facebook and other popular social networking services, follower lists on Twitter are rarely confined to real-life friends and colleagues. With millions of users around the world, it’s easy to follow anyone who grabs your interest and build up a network of hundreds, or even thousands, of people you’ve never met but with whom you share interests.

The nature of individual tweets and their actual worth has been hotly debated by social media experts. Critics point out that at their worst, tweets can be little more than constant updates from boring people with nothing better to do, made all the more obnoxious by the fact that they can be shared with such a vast audience.

However, others have pointed to the many positive uses of Twitter. The service has become almost omnipresent amongst technology and IT professionals and has proved an important means of communication at various conferences and networking events. Many companies now issue announcements about software updates and new features over Twitter as it’s often the fastest way to disseminate information online. It’s an excellent way to share links and to make contacts online and has already become an indispensable networking tool for thousands of users.

And when Twitter has broken into mainstream news, it has usually done so in spectacular fashion. The service underpinned much of the Barack Obama’s online campaign in the run-up to last year’s presidential election and his team were praised for engaging with voters via the latest technology. More recently a group of mountain climbers in the Swiss alps were rescued after one of the team posted to Twitter that conditions had become dangerous and that members of the party were missing. His followers were able to alert the authorities and the climbers were airlifted to safety, though one man died on the mountain.

The service has also attracted a number of celebrity users, with Stephen Fry being one famous early adapter. Fry holds the record for the highest number of Twitter followers for a single user – well over 300,000 at last count. He has used Twitter to keep in touch with his fans as well as promoting his latest work. Jonathon Ross, Russell Brand and Alan Davies also have strong online presences, with ever-increasing numbers of followers.

Getting started with Twitter is easy – simply create an account at the service’s website, find some likely people to follow and start tweeting! For those interested in meeting Edinburgh’s Twitterati in the flesh, there’s still room for a few more at tonight’s Tweetup but the last few places are expected to go quickly.

Facebook crime

In an effort to combat crime in the United Kingdom the Home Office has decided to use the Facebook program, which would allow the site’s users to submit intelligence about criminal activities in the country.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Taylor said today that the police were proud to be the first force in the country to use the new technology, which demonstrated their commitment to explore all avenues available to the force to help fight and detect crime.

He said officers have developed an application for the social newworking site that allows users to submit intelligence about crimes, adding that “It has been developed to raise awareness of local appeals.

Rob Taylor also noted  that after installing the application on their profiles, users also got a news feed regarding incidents and links to the force web site.

“Facebook has 59 million users, seven million of which live in the UK, so we realised that this was an excellent way of spreading our messages to people on a more personal basis.

“This application allows the police to further raise awareness of incidents taking place within our local communities in a bid to gain more intelligence and bring offenders to justice,” Rob Taylor said.

Facebook, along with its main rivals Bebo and MySpace, lets users set up personal web pages and communicate with each other.