Hi, please


Many of you may have heard of a website called Gawker.  Gawker is an NYC-based blog that is focused primarily on media and celebrity news/gossip.  Gawker has a feature called Gawker Stalker – which as you might guess from the title, is a map (of course, it’s a Google map) showing a combination of all the celebrity sightings that people have seen and tipped off the Gawker people.

Obviously there have been a lot of privacy issues as a result of this site, especially with the large amount of people out there with smartphones that can email Gawker from wherever they are.

I know that YouTube is not allowed but since I have seen others break the rule I guess I will too, but only for the class’ benefit.  This is a great clip of late night host Jimmy Kimmel taking on Emily Gould, the former editor of the site on how dangerous the Stalker feature can be.

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And here is a fascinating New York Times article that Emily herself wrote talking about the impact working at Gawker had on her personal and professional life.

So, I am interested in pursuing the Gawker Stalker to see how/if any of the other local social media tools that others have mentioned (FourSquare, Twitter local) are interrelated.  Lots of celebrities are on twitter and may be disclosing their location anyway.  Class, do any of you read/tip off the Gawker Stalker?  Do you think this is a good idea for the next travelogue?

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  1. Leslie 16:18, Feb 1st, 10

    Hey Alex- sounds like an interesting topic. I’ve never used the Gawker Stalker, but I can see how this little social media tidbit could be pretty annoying for celebrities. How much worse, though, is the Gawker Stalker than paparazzi and celebrity “news” magazines? Yes, the Gawker Stalker makes it easier for the info to be dispersed, but is it negatively hurting or just outright annoying to celebrities the way that paparazzi can be? It seems pretty harmless in nature- just a normal person updating to a website. Do you think readers are getting this info fast enough to act upon it? Do they rush to the site of the celebrity spotting, resulting in the celebrity being swarmed by fans? It would be a fun experiment to see after reading a post on Gawker Stalker, how quickly you can get to the actual place!

  2. HoniehBarak 19:07, Feb 1st, 10


    I have never been to the site before, and I just took a peek. It looks pretty cool and informative, by accident I clicked on Gawker Stalker and didn’t realize that you had mentioned it is a google map. Nonetheless, this relates well with what we are learning as far as privacy is concerned and I think this is a very interesting topic. It is similar to Perez Hilton, but the fact that actual people update this site with sightings is scary. Usually celebrities or high profile people avoid the paparazzi, now the paparazzi are ordinary citizens, similar to the citizen journalism we spoke of last week.

    As most of know, we spot celebrities all the time, I never took the time to think about posting a photo or updating a status saying I saw them. Maybe I might just indulge in this sort of activity once in a while.

    I think its a great idea for a travelogue, I’m just wondering what other new media tools you can compare it with.

    I would actually be very interested in seeing how many hits this site has and how many people read through it on a daily basis.

    Sitemeter.com actually shows you their top rated hits, and Gawker is on there, but I’m not sure how valid these results are. I will search for you once I have the ability to use Google products again and see what I come up with. You can also take a look at the sites listed there, and possible compare and contrast with those.

  3. nadine 23:15, Feb 1st, 10

    This could be fun, would you like to stalk? I am sure you could compare it to Twitter! You could either address it from the invasion of privacy perspective, or as a deliberate PR tool for celebrities- http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/twittering-celebrities-take-fans-backstage-in-their-lives/
    I don’t believe that Gawker Stalker puts people more at risk than Google! It is so easy to find personal information on the web- have you ever googled yourself? You could also check out software or professional companies that erase personal date for you on the Internet (to “clean up” your online history). Related to the two topics: the problem is that nowadays gossip is set in stone! We would never have such a gigantic memory ourselves!

  4. Harris 15:03, Feb 2nd, 10

    Imagine a situation where you and I become celebrities even if we don’t want to (because of alleged subversive activity, political beliefs, or ethnic profiling) and our Google data is connected to our sightings. That’s a perfect way of keeping track of terrorists, but since they are all in the mountains of Afghanistan where this system doesn’t work, it’ll be used on US citizens only :)

    Thinking of it, could this work in the mountains of Afghanistan? Afghan villagers could see pictures and profiles of wanted terrorists on a device and add their sightings to a Google map, so a US drone could go bomb them? Not a bad idea, is it?

    Alexandra, this is an amazing idea because of its technosocial implications.