Tweeting for Freedom with Russia Watching

Bill Browder, a London-based investor who has styled himself as a nemesis to Vladimir Putin of Russia, documented the latest episode in his thirteen year game of cat and mouse with the Russian government, live-tweeting his brief arrest by the Spanish police on Wednesday.

Mr. Browder who was once the largest foreign investor in the Russian stock market ran afoul of Mr. Putin in 2005 and was kicked out of Russia. He was convicted of tax fraud in absentia and sentenced to nine years in prison. He documented Russia’s efforts to arrest him in a 2015 book, “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice.”

Unfortunately, our current White House resident who likes to tweet, but has not read a book since who knows when, will probably not benefit from knowing his story. Too busy tweeting lies that promote his agenda. So sad!

Ray Myers


Fighting Against Trumpism and Racism – Not a War of Words

It’s just too easy.  We can write blogs, tweet our anger about the state of affairs in the U.S. today, but do you often wonder about who is really listening or who really cares. It is all so easy and self-satisfying to let people know how angry and upset we are.  But at the same time, do we really begin to ask ourselves whether this is all having any impact?  Mere words may not be enough.  

I think the Bully-in-Charge (a.k.a, the so-called president) really has the upper hand.  He uses Twitter to communicate with all his adoring fans, and they really like it.  Nothing is really complicated – just listen to my harangues and we will all feel a lot better.  He will lead us in making America Great Again.  Just read and believe!  He is tweeting while “Rome burns,” and very few seem to really care.  I am sure we can all write statements in opposition to all this “fake rhetoric” but what have we really accomplished?  Many worry that ceaseles statement -writing is sucking us dry.

In a New York Times’ opinion piece on Sunday Tiya Miles wrote: “I doubt my own courage and wonder each day whether I could deploy my body beyond the relative safety of marches approved by permits.  But I am certain of this: The change we seek to make won’t be accomplished by words alone.”

Ray Myers

Too Much Information – There’s an App for That!

Some call it “pushing information to Internet users.”  In an age of data overload, social networks and information providers are competing to provide just the highlights you want when you want them.  News outlets send alerts with breaking news.  Twitter curators top tweets, and weather apps warn you of rain minutes before the droplets arrive.  No more surprises!  Not that there is anything wrong with that, unless you like to be surprised once in a awhile.

One such app, Notify from Facebook, proudly offers custom alerts from 70 sites to Phone screens.  You can build a notification experience that works for you!  No more bothersome news bulletins about  terrorism and ISIS if you don’t want them.  As the App advertises, “it is the most intimate way for you  and the  information you’re interested in to connect.”  What a convenience and a luxury!

Please believe that I am not opposed to the expediency and personalization (independence?) that the Internet brings us in learning about events around the world.  But at he same time, it seems that it can also insulate us in only those “worlds” of interest to us, if we let it.

Ray Myers

Social Media Photos and Privacy

Or maybe “user engagement” is a better way to describe how companies use photos you may have posted on Instagram or Twitter in online advertisements for their products.  For many companies using these photos on their websites or Instagram accounts is simply seen as a simpler and faster way to create a marketing campaign.  But this practice is now being scrutinized under the lens of the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) in the U.S.

For use of photos of children under 13 years of age, verifiable parental consent must be obtained.  Advertisers, however, may not be aware of these requirements or simply choose to ignore them?   Parents may be contacted by some companies and paid for the use of the photos, but this practice does nor appear to be the general rule.   Some experts argue that this ambiguity is being driven by a growing thirst to document our daily lives on social media.

I am not so sure that I would like my daily life documented on social media.  If I did, would anyone really want to follow it, photos included.  I don’t really know, but as President Bush once said, maybe I am “misunderestimating” it?

Ray Myers

Pardon my French, Parlez-vois le Twitter

Bonjour, mes amis!  Okay, that may be enough French for purposes of this posting.  But it seems as if the new French ambassador to the U.S. likes to tweet!  C’est vrai . . . enough already! While we still may have the overused, overclassified diplomatic cables bouncing across the Atlantic, this ambassador has decided to join the twenty-first century and let his “bon mots” (last time, I promise!) fly into cyber space. His name is Gerard Araud.

Quite a new day in international diplomacy, but I am sure M. Arauc is very much the exception to the rule. Who else would you have expected to lead the way – the Russians? once again the French have started a revolution in the name of individual liberty, just as they did a few centuries ago. N’est-ce pas, sorry.

Speaking of Twitter, I hope everyone reading this will continue, or begin, to follow TechtoExpress on Twitter: @RaymondMyers. Merci, fini!

Ray Myers