LOS ANGELES — After five-straight trips to the NBA Finals, the Warriors aren’t accustomed to ranking at the bottom of the league in many categories. This preseason, however, has revealed a couple of potential vulnerabilities.“Between the rebounding and the fouling, those are the areas we’ve talked about the most,” Kerr said following Monday night’s preseason loss to the Lakers.Related Articles Warriors resemble team of old, Kevon Looney isn’t ready, and other thoughts from …
December 16, 2019
The new version of Digg has changed the playing field for two of its biggest constituents: power users and publishers. We discuss this with a long-time Digg power user. The latest version of social news site Digg is currently in restricted beta, with an additional 20,000 users added at the beginning of July. The new version adds the ability to “follow” people or publishers via a feature called “My News.” This will be the default Digg home page, and it’s prompted many to compare the new Digg to Twitter and Facebook. Another big change is that publishers may now automatically submit their content. This changes the game for both power users and publishers, because previously the secret to getting onto the Digg front page was for a power user to submit the story. That’s no longer the case.Power Users on DiggFollow ReadWriteWeb on the new DiggUp till now, the definition of a “power user” on Digg has been someone with the ability to make stories popular simply by submitting content or “digging” it up. There was also a lot of back-scratching that happened behind the scenes among both power users and publishers: ‘You digg my content, I’ll digg yours.’ Digg has attracted a lot of criticism in the past for these practices inside its community. Related Posts richard macmanus What Happens Behind The ScenesMany people aren’t aware of the amount of “gaming the system” which goes on in the social Web. I consider myself fairly naive about a lot of it. But I know this much: despite the altruistic front of many successful people in the social Web, many of them have gamed their way to the top.The following is how JD Rucker explained how Digg’s power users will (or won’t) adjust to the new Digg. It also reveals the power games that are played on the site:“They [power users] can still network via IM and control publisher accounts to keep themselves relevant, but the vast majority will fail miserably because they won’t be able to adjust to the new algo[rithm].They’ll spam, spam, and spam some more until they either give up and move on to other sites or abort operations altogether. Others are already planning on leaving. The “savvy” ones who have built-up networks not reliant on IM, [and] who will also have access to multiple and/or strong publisher accounts, will soar.”I asked Rucker what he meant by “control publisher accounts.” He replied with this generic example: “Bob Power User, who is getting paid by RandomDiggDependentSite.com, is currently using his and his team’s power user accounts to submit.” Rucker described this as “a small cottage industry.”That’s right, some power users control publisher Digg accounts. This practice will continue on the new Digg. A Whole New Ballgame: Let The Games Begin…We like to write about how wonderful the social Web is and how it has improved society and business. That’s certainly true, but the Web is also big business, and it is ruthlessly gamed by many social media ‘pundits’ and publishers alike. The new Digg is partly an attempt to clean up some of that on its site by preventing its power users from controlling the submission of content.JD Rucker stated in his post that the new Digg showed “guts” because it is such a big change. I agree. The new Digg cleverly mimics Twitter and Facebook, becoming a place where you can ‘follow’ influencers and publishers to get your daily news fix. What’s more, power users now have the opportunity to attract large followings, which is a chance for some of them to become influential personalities.However, the new Digg won’t stop the games of power users and the publishers who glom onto them. There’s too much (online) power and money at stake. It’s game on again!Follow ReadWriteWeb on the new Digg Simply put, Digg’s power users wielded a lot of power because they dictated which publishers got pushed onto the Digg homepage. Digg is a large source of traffic for publishers, particularly tech news publications. In the past, tech sites like Ars Technica and Engadget have received a hugely disproportionate number of Digg frontpages, compared to other tech sites, since they were favored by power users. With the new Digg, publishers may opt in to having their articles auto-submitted to Digg via RSS feed. But will this stop the gaming?How The New Digg Affects Power UsersWe spoke to Digg power user JD Rucker, a.k.a. oboy on Digg, to discuss the impact of Digg’s changes on his community. Rucker recently wrote a post entitled The New Digg: A Shift in the Balance of Power, which argued that “the new Digg will make many current ‘power users’ impotent” but also create opportunities for new types of power users. In an interview with ReadWriteWeb, JD Rucker explained that “rather than submit [articles], current long-time power users will be able to expose content that they like through their Diggs.”This list of diggs is similar to a list of daily tweets, since people follow what the power user diggs. It’s also similar to Facebook, because other users may ‘like’ what they digg by digging it too.The idea, said Rucker, is that the power users who succeed at attracting followers will become “tastemakers” – which is the term Digg founder Kevin Rose used when he announced the new Digg in May. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Tags:#New Media#Social Web#web A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit
November 28, 2019
OH, funny, awful things I remember about my childhood,” says the attractive dark-eyed girl in blue jeans and an FU’s T-shirt. She’s just come down from giving her two-year-old son a bath. Pausing to reminisce over a cup of coffee she might be any housewife taking a breather after a morning of household chores. She’s not, though. And her childhood, which she says was “magical” and “fairytale-like” was also full of embarrassments that she’s learnt to laugh about today. “On my first day in school,” she says, “the whole school came out to be photographed with me. I was three years old. For the six years I was in the convent in Srinagar I wasn’t allowed to eat with the other kids. My lunch came separately, and I ate it with a cousin in a separate little parlour. My class tests were sometimes rigged: I’d get full marks even when I’d made mistakes. Once an awful thing happened on sports day. I was made to win the one-legged race, when it was certain that another boy should have won it. Apparently he was told not to. He was so furious when I got the first prize, he picked up a clump of bicchu buti and ran after me, till I was taken howling home. Things became so bad that my parents were forced to send me to a public school.”Chauhan: ‘My class tests were sometimes rigged’This is Jyoti Chauhan, 26, daughter of the former maharaja of Kashmir, speaking about her years at Presentation Convent, Srinagar, from 1960 to 1966.”SCHOOL?” asks the portly member of Parliament, dressed in a carefully-chosen combination of sky blue and white: a white Cardin belt holding up his blue trousers, a blue silk handkerchief peeping from the breast pocket of his white jacket and an expensive Cartier watch shining on his chubby wrist. “For me going to school was like going home. When I went to Mayo aged nine, I lived in my own three-bedroomed bungalow on the campus, with its own drawing and dining, its own kitchen and large garden. I had three cars – a French Delage and two Chevrolets – and maybe a dozen polo ponies. A retinue of about 25 servants travelled to school from Gujarat with me. The comptroller of my household was my English guardian, Brig, Howson. I wore a white achkan, churidars and safa in class and was expected to dress for dinner in a black sherwani. If I wanted to invite schoolboys to eat with me, I had to write off letters weeks in advance. There were no dormitories, no common toilets or mess room. When Mayo became a public school from being a prince’s school in 1943 my parents were so worried about my discomfort, they rented a house for me outside the campus. Much to my irritation, servants would leave extra chocolates and biscuits in my room.”advertisementEveryday existence, as a result, can get sharply schizophrenic. Princely types may assume anonymity in the cosmopolitan life of New Delhi or Bombay but, back at the palace, life is slower to catch up.Jaideep Singh: ‘Going to school was like going home’This is Jaideep Singh, 54, formerly the maharaja of Baria and now a Congress(I) MP from Gujarat talking about his years at Mayo College, Ajmer, from 1939 to 1947.OBVIOUSLY, going to school for the maharajas will never be the same again. Even between the 1940s and 1960s things had changed – no dressing for dinner under stern English eyes for the young Kashmir princess – but what has changed in the 1980s? Everything and nothing.Twelve years after the last of their privileges was abolished by an act of Parliament, the scions of the erstwhile Indian ruling elite are trying to get their act together. They’re trying to joke about the old days, forget about the raw deal the Government gave them, and get a firm, new grip on their double lives.Some have cracked up under the pressure of change; others remain absurd social anachronisms pursuing obsolescent cultural codes; while others have adapted their inherited privileges of power and wealth to become captains of Parliament and industry. But the duality dogs them all.Last summer, the ailing maharaja of Jaisalmer died of a brain tumour. He was about 50. His widow, a beautiful Nepali princess, went into mourning inside the palace for a year. She was required to wear cotton saris of an indigo blue. She was expected to receive no male visitors, except the closest of relations. For a year she could not stir out of her apartment inside the sprawling fortress-palace. The maharaja had once been a politician.advertisementNot a very active one, being prone to bouts of drinking and depression. In later years he gave up Parliament, went back to the palace in Jaisalmer, and surrounded himself with his few old retainers and courtiers. “He never moved out of Jaisalmer,” says a close relative, “it was as if he had regressed into the past. He just chose to slide back into the old world and die.”Last year, the erstwhile ruler of a prominent city in Rajasthan held his birthday durbar inside the City Palace. Not a durbar in the old style – when visiting nobles would pay homage to the ruler by drowning him in gold sovereigns – but a celebration adapted to modern times. Old remaining members of the city’s nobility and their wives were invited to attend.The women were expected to dress in mandatory chiffon saris – preferably in the colour of Oxford blue. They sat apart from the men. rigid with formality on hard-backed chairs. When “His Highness” entered, they bowed low in greeting, hissing endless hukams and huzoors and, the more respectful among them, rapidly downed the ends of their saris in elaborate purdah.Waiters were carrying around trays of drinks-this was, after all, a bit of a party – and being good Rajput ladies few could decline. They were soon observed knocking back the whiskies inside their purdah. “It was the funniest sight on earth,” chuckled a younger Rajput who refused to resort to the double standard of sinning-unseen. “The only problem, of course, was they couldn’t light cigarettes. It would have sent their saris up in smoke.”Old traditions die hard. Especially for a group of people, some of whom claim direct descent from the Gods, who were born to rule. Transplanted into democratic India, greatness is thrust upon them. They still control large mandates in the states they come from.With their gilded palaces and carriages, their inherent religious and social superiority and enormous private wealth, they are figures of glamour and gossip. Back in their state they still personify the symbol of authority to the peasant. In contemporary life, they continue to represent a powerful lobby in the public eye.Everyday existence, as a result, can get sharply schizophrenic. They may assume anonymity in the cosmopolitan life of New Delhi or Bombay but life inside the palace is slower to catch up. “What can you do if old servants still touch your feet in Jammu?” asks Jyoti Chauhan.Raje: ‘I could never walk down a Gwalior street alone'”No. I could never walk down the street in Gwalior alone,” says Vasundhara Raje, a Gwalior princess who married the heir of the erstwhile Dholpur family. Both girls, whose respective parents are political veterans, admit that villagers prostrating themselves before their old rulers remains a common sight on constituency tours.Gaj Singh: ‘Coming home was a double shock’Gaj Singh, the young descendant of Jodhpur maharajas who was earlier India’s high commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, says that when “people touch my feet or prostrate themselves in villages, it’s not just a personal act; they’re paying homage to a symbol, to a tradition that still lingers.” Singh is affectionately called “Bapji”, even by his close family and friends though the nickname – literally meaning “father” – was coined by the people of Jodhpur for their ruler.A dapper 36, Singh divides his time between his homes in New Delhi and Jodhpur, looking after his properties and business interests which include the Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel now managed by a leading hotel chain. Brought up in England – he was four years old when his father died and he was invested as maharaja – he had just taken his degree at Cambridge and was returning to India overland with friends when he was hurriedly summoned home to face the abolition of privy purses.advertisementAs royal tours proliferate and palace hotels become more lavishly ritzy, some have discovered that if politics won’t pay, trading their name and assets might.”It was a double shock,” he says, “one of assuming responsibility and another of completely restructuring my whole life-style.”In 1971, the transition from Cambridge to Jodhpur was painful for Singh. In 1950, Jaideep Singh had made exactly the same transition – when his grandfather died suddenly – from Cambridge to Baria to face large assets, new taxation laws, settlements of properties and staff.”But the succession was kept alive because of privy purses and privileges.” He was not a ruling maharaja but the title and power remained. Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, 20 years later, was only ruler in name. “And my son Shivraj, now aged seven,” he says, “will have no official status whatsoever.”Still, signs of the old life linger. Gaj Singh makes it a point to be back in Jodhpur for important festivals like Holi and Diwali. On his official birthday – calculated each year according to the Hindu calendar – he has a little tea party which is announced publicly. “Not a durbar,” he clarifies gently, “we just put a small advertisement in the local papers.If any of the people want to turn up, they’re welcome.” But when he has a party in Delhi invitations with the Jodhpur crest and his title are sent out. Princely types of all age-groups show up in abundance. Introductions are made according to title and rank. Some semblance of protocol is observed in greeting and conversation. Women cover their heads with their saris discreetly. Men bow low to say khamagani – the Rajput greeting. The air is thick once again with the sound of hukam and huzoor.THE formality remains a part of life. “I just couldn’t be on first name terms with an older Rajput,” says Vasundhara Raje, “it would come naturally to address them as hukam or maharaj, to sit straight up before them, to mind my p’s and q’s in conversation. Unless they were younger or contemporaries. I would be expected to use their title when making an introduction or even when speaking of them with a third person.”Raje, a lively 32-year-old who lives alone with her 10-year-old son, says she feels embarrassed herself if she’s introduced as the “Maharani of Dholpur” and normally sticks to Mrs Singh when she meets new people. Adds Jodhpur: “I frequently check in as plain Mr Singh into hotels and frankly I don’t care a hoot if I’m called maharaja or not.But I’m proud of my link with Jodhpur and would always like that to be known. Sometimes the title is used for courtesy, and sometimes for information.” But all of them admit to titles being useful, especially abroad.Many of them have learnt, through trial, error or plain necessity, that the aura can reap rich harvests. Some may have been driven to dipsomania trying to make it work, but the more enterprising have kept the maharaja industry multiplying. Hard sell has replaced the hard luck history of the early 1970s. Books on royal India get more numerous daily. Princely biographies are lapped up eagerly. As royal tours proliferate and palace hotels become more lavishly ritzy, some have discovered, that if politics won’t pay, trading their name and assets might.While the bigger guns among them have taken over the most prestigious segment of the hotel industry – the Kashmir, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Mysore and Gwalior families al; have palace hotels – and still others like the Baroda and Gwalior princes have major interests in the textile industry, it’s the smaller princes who’ve had to flog their treasures to survive.This has spawned an enormously successful trade in precious jewellery and antiquities which flow into the market from seemingly bottomless troves. The more illustrious among the families have converted sections of their palaces into museums and charitable trusts that enshrine their history and heirlooms. Smaller princelings have emerged as lounge-lizard wheeler-dealers who trade on behalf of their richer cousins.Dealing in money for the princes has been the hardest reality to accept. The commercial instinct was never particularly finely honed among ruling families – in fact it was plainly despised. “Most of the princes had no business acumen.When some ruling princes in my grandfather’s time began to speculate on the stock exchange, he used to scorn them. Rulers were expected to be above money,” says Jaideep Singh. Financial ineptitude has been the biggest scourge among princely families. Combined with family litigation it has abruptly ended many a noble lineage. Disaster stories abound on the princely circuit.A few years ago, Pratap Singh, the young maharaja of Alwar, shot himself through his head. Involved in a local property dispute he simply refused to permit city officials to enter with search warrants. Rounding up the horses off his stud farm, the odd remaining elephant, and letting loose his pretty wife’s pet lioness and army of Great Danes, he laid siege around the Phoolbagh Palace. For three days he held out.When the police finally infiltrated they found the young man dead. “He really believed in visions of ancient Rajput valour,” says a cousin of his, “he actually thought this was the way for a true Rajput to die than give himself up.”More recently, a younger half-brother of the Jodhpur family, stormed out of his Jodhpur home at night brandishing a sword. Apparently under the influence of alcohol his purpose was to reclaim an old property, a rest house, that he believed was rightly his. His body was later found hacked to bits in the dark by the same sword.Such instances, argue members of the inter-related princely network are rare. Younger members of the former feudal, and sometimes feuding families, disagree. “We’re a pretty confused, mixed-up bunch,” says a former ruler’s son, born after Independence, and brought up like a plain upper class kid, with a tough grounding in business management. “You’ll hear dozens of such stories. But they will all concern the pre-Independence generation who just couldn’t face the change. Many of them went bananas or retreated like ghosts into their palaces. We are trying to retrieve lost ground, in both politics and business.” Plain non-performance in politics has also terminated many a princely ruler’s career. “Previously you could have been elected on the basis of being a princely ruler,” says Rajmata Vijaye Raje Scindia, a Rajya Sabha MP. “Not any more, Ruler or not, you’re accountable to the people.” Adds Jaideep Singh: “Every single prince who fought the first election won it. If they fell by the wayside later it was because they didn’t know what was expected of them or they had nothing to offer to the people.””The fact that we’re princes is immaterial now,” says Digvijay Sinh, deputy minister for environment in Mrs Gandhi’s Cabinet, “What is important is our ability to stand up to time.” Sinh won his election from Surendranagar constituency in Gujarat which encompasses the old family state of Wankaner, on the plank of creating a new Central ministry devoted to environment and ecology.Like other successful erstwhile princes, he’s got there by turning his disadvantage into advantage. But does the royal order of old border on extinction? Princes may slowly disappear, but the concept of dynasty stays. A lovely princess from Central India with flashing eyes takes up the issue of what’s in a name – for that is the heart of the matter – sharply. “Dynasties,” she says,”never went out of fashion in India.The architectural follies of the maharajas were no more absurd or wasteful than the Asiad edifices. Our durbars were no more ostentatious than the Non-aligned meet. Palace intrigue in an old state was never more pernicious than New Delhi’s palace politics. Why crown us, then, with all the shame and jaded glory?” So what’s changed? Everything and nothing.