Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fox Searchlight Releases Movie Trailers Via QR Codes

Martha Marcy May MarleneSo has anybody else noticed all these scanable bar-code thingies all over the place recently? I mean, you can't go anywhere without seeing them. I've seen them in magazines, on products in a store and even on the ketchup bottles at Applebee's! These little things are known as QR codes and if you scan them with a bar-code scanner app on your smartphone or tablet, then you can win stuff and be entered into things.

Well, Fox Searchlight is taking these QR codes to a whole new level. Instead of doing the traditional process of releasing teasers and trailers for its upcoming movie Martha Marcy May Marlene, set to hit theaters on October 21, the film company is instead rolling out an elaborate QR code campaign for the film.

The studio has put these little codes on ad materials, like posters, theater standees and coasters, in New York City as well as Los Angeles. There are two separate trailers for the movie embedded within the codes. According to Fox Searchlight, this is the very first time the studio has exclusively released trailers via QR code.

If you are one of the unfortunate people who doesn't live in either New York City or Los Angeles, then you can always access the QR codes online through a website that is designed to emulate the theater standees.

The film stars Elizabeth Olsen, who just so happens to be the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Academy Award nominee John Hawkes. The plot focuses on a young woman who has problems reconnecting with her family after escaping a cult. The film made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival back in January where Sean Durkin, director of the film, won the U.S. Directing Award in the Dramatic category.

Source: Mashable - Movie Trailers Released Exclusively Via QR Code for The First Time

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Police to Start Monitoring Facebook

Police using FacebookThe rise and relevance of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter never ceases to amaze me. The vast popularity of sites like these is astounding and the way they have begun to shape our world into something revolutionary is mind-boggling. In recent social media news, the NYPD has just opened a social media tracking unit.

This news comes in the wake of some earlier reports that prisons will be cracking down on the profiles of inmates using sites like Facebook and Twitter in order to perpetuate crimes while incarcerated. Facebook will pull profiles of California inmates in order to make any type of use of the site by inmates even more difficult, if not impossible.

These new crime divisions will be headed up by the new Assistant Commissioner Kevin O'Connor and will monitor social media sites for potential wrongdoings. In a post from, "Criminals have been known to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media [sites] to choose targets, boast about crimes or alert one another about the location of police."

While this may seem highly illogical, sites like Facebook and Twitter have led to the capture of multiple criminals, even before a unit was dedicated to monitoring them. After the recent Tottenham riots and looting, a man posed for a twitpic with what he had stolen and was later arrested as a result of the picture. Yes, that actually happened, you can't make up someone who is that idiotic.

Over here in the United States, a man was arrested by the NYPD back in March for murder after bragging about killing a gay teenager at a house party on Facebook. This prompted Kelly to advise officers to monitor house parties advertised on Facebook more closely in order to prevent something like this from happening again.

Online police divisions are not a new invention, however. "To Catch a Predator" was proof enough about how police monitor chat rooms that have the potential to catch people engaging in sexual perversion or potentially unlawful activities. As social media use has grown, police are taking special measures to employ the sites just as criminals do in order to stop potential crimes.

So the next time you decide to do something unlawful, how about you don't plaster it all over one of the biggest social media sites in the world? If you are going to do that, then you might as well just walk into the police station with all the evidence of your crime and your hands already cuffed.

Source: CBS News - NYPD opens Social Media Tracking Unit

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Teacher-Student Social Networking Banned in Missouri

According to Missouri’s Senate Bill 54, which was just signed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, all forms of social networking are now prohibited between teachers and students. ABC News said that this does not mean just Facebook. It means any social networking "that is exclusive and allows for private communication."

So why has this legislation come about? Mashable said that "inappropriate contact between students and teachers is at the root of the legislation," which is "designed to protect children from sexual misconduct by teachers, compelling school districts to adopt written policies between teachers and students on electronic media, social networking and other forms of communication."

The bill states: “Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.”

The bill also requires that all Missouri school districts develop a written policy that addresses the "appropriate use of electronic media" by the start of the New Year. The policy will include the guidelines for social network use.

So, how exactly has this been received by Missouri? Well it does seem to give residents the idea that they should not trust teachers, but Mashable said that “on the surface this seems like a good idea.” However, they did point out that "inappropriate relationships will be hard to detect, especially since teachers and students engaged in such relationships would probably be concealing their communications, electronic or otherwise."

A very key word in the law is “exclusive.” This means that teachers will still be allowed to set up social networking pages that are focused on friendships, class work or program support. These will be okay as long as the site is public and available to all. However, Missouri teachers are still not exactly happy about the law. Some claim that sites like Facebook are a valuable tool because they allow students to bring up issues to teachers that otherwise might be uncomfortable for them to talk about face-to-face.

Randy Turner, a middle school communications arts teacher in Missouri's Joplin School District, blogged that the law was signed "in spite of the positive effect that teachers and students being Facebook friends had on Joplin Schools' effort to locate students after the May 22 tornado.[and] in spite of considerable evidence that social networking has been a positive force in education, and little or no evidence to the contrary."

"For some students, that move could very well prevent them from confiding in a trusted adult friend who might be able to help them get through serious problems in their lives," writes Turner.

"For Joplin students, that could be dealing with the aftermath of losing their homes and having their lives uprooted on May 22. For others, it may be confiding in just the kind of horrific crime that the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act is supposedly designed to eliminate," she adds.

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