INSTAGRAM: 18 facts and statistics you probably never knew

Instagram is currently one of the world’s most popular social networks by usage and membership. Owned by Facebook, and lovingly known by its fans as simply ‘Insta’, the site is a valuable treasure trove of pictures and memories and offers a glimpse into the lives of its 600 million or so active users. While Instagram has developed a reputation as a bit of a narcissist’s heaven with many users flooding it with selfies, posing like there is no tomorrow, it also has become a valuable resource for creatives such as photographers and graphic designers to showcase their work, and many celebrities use it to give their fanbase a way of keeping up to date with their daily goings-on. And of course, if you ever feel hungry or have no idea what’s for supper tonight, then Instagram’s impressive collection of food photos is the ideal place for culinary inspiration. Not to mention those awesome filters.



With the help of content, social media and online marketing blog The Social Ms, here are twenty facts and statistics about the photo-sharing network you probably had no idea about.

  1. By the end of 2016, Instagram reported it had 600 million active users, that is, people who use their accounts and upload photos or images. This is an additional 100 million shutterbugs joining the service since September 2015
  2. Instagram has a rapidly increasingly ‘growth base’ with rises of 15 per cent, and there is no sign of it slowing down. In the United States alone (its biggest market), the number of users is expected to hit 116.3 million (34.8 per cent of the then population) and become the second-most popular social network, overtaking Twitter, fellow photo social network Pinterest and micro-blog Tumblr, according to recent figures by eMarketer.
  3. Not surprisingly, just like all social networks, Insta is a hit with the young ‘uns. For all age groups of Internet users, 28 per cent use it, 55 per cent of people between the ages of 18-29 are Insta-fanatics, forming its largest demographic, according to the Pew Research Center in the US. The centre also reported that 52 per cent of teens aged between 13 and 17 were also fans of Instagram.
  4. Instagram has good product loyalty. Fifty-nine per cent of its users post daily, and another 17 per cent use it at least once weekly, according to the Pew Research Center.
  5. The site has enjoyed massive growth rates in some subjects, according to MediaPost. Beauty (74% growth rate), ‘big box’ (128%) and household goods (149%) have been some of the most popular topics, at least for businesses using their Instagram accounts to promote their goods to private users. For the rest of us, I assume selfies probably have a growth rate of 100,000 per cent (I kid).
  6. Instagram is big money for marketers. In 2015, it netted advertising revenue of USD $500 million (GBP £407 million). It is expected that this year, Insta will make more money from its advertising platform on American mobile handsets than Google and Twitter, claims eMarketer.
  7. Although Instagram is US-founded and run by a big American tech company, most of its success has been from outside. Eighty per cent of its users are non-American.
  8. Over 80 million photos are uploaded per day. There is believed to be more than 40 billion images crammed into Insta’s servers and users generate an astonishing 3.5 billion likes per day, says ClickZ.
  9. The most prestigious account, going by popularity and celebrity anyway, is the one owned by U.S. singer Selena Gomez. She has 99.5 million followers allegedly.
  10. The most liked photo over all of Insta was one by reality show star Kendall Jenner. The picture of her lying on her back, eyes closed with her hair spread out and arranged into hearts got 3.5 million likes.
  11. If you post a photo, fifty per cent of comments will appear within six hours, meaning a good post will stick around and not get lost in the noise.
  12. Instagram is quite secure, with only eight per cent of its accounts said to be fake, according to an unnamed Italian security firm.
  13. Like any social network, people sometimes do get bored of posting or other things happen in their life that pull them away. The same Italian firm discovered that nearly 30 per cent of account are rarely used or inactive, usually posting one post per month or less, according to Business Insider.
  14. For businesses, Insta is marketing gold. Forrester published stats that suggest people engage with brands ten times more on Insta than they do on Facebook. Facebook ads are annoying, I grant you that.
  15. One-third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online.
  16. Fifty-three per cent of Instagrammers, as fans are sometimes called, are following brands.
  17. As humans love seeing faces, this fact is probably not surprising, but selfies and group photos on average are 38 per cent more likely to get liked, than other kinds of pictures, such as inanimate objects.
  18. The most Instagrammed food is… pizza.


HEM Bloggers List, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc.
Susanna Gebauer‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc.
“20 Instagram Facts And Statistics You Should Know” – Susanna Gebauer, The Social Ms/Friendly Fellows UG (haftungsbeschränkt) (23 September 2016)
IMAGE CREDIT: via Pexels (13 January 2016)



Journalists and students looking to maximise their newsgathering potential from online sources can now get involved in a special short course on advanced online research techniques organised and promoted by U.K. journalism news and skills website, the Half-Eaten Mind exclusively reports today.

Online research is now an essential part of reporting in the technological age, whether it is to gather information on the history of a local pub, archives of older news articles or political speeches, or for factual research for a breaking news story. By widening their own knowledge on a given subject via the treasure trove that is online research, journalists can help pass on the benefits to their readers, stimulating minds, disseminating facts for public discourse and remaining true to the journalistic ethic of informing.

Tutored by expert journalism lecturer Alex Wood and being held at the London offices of MSN, a news and internet services giant, the special bootcamp, which runs for one day, is designed to teach students how to quickly find the information they need, as well as acquire sources online for interviews and quotes. The course will also teach the skillful navigation of social media, which while being an excellent source of breaking stories and technical knowledge, can also be a minefield in sorting the facts from the fiction, spin and lies. This course will help media people sift though the online chatter to find the informational nuggets that to craft that influential front page story.

Wood, the editor-in-chief of The Memo, a newly-launched publication on technology, finance and culture news, who is also a visiting lecturer in journalism at London’s City University, will teach attendees how to get more out of the world’s most popular search engine, Google, how to sift through social media smartly, and show how to organise a ‘toolbox’ of useful technological aids to enable media workers to become better and more effective researchers. He has several years’ experience in training and advising journalists and was previously a founding editor of Tech City News, and is a renowned go-to expert on British technology and innovation.

You will learn how to:

  • Use advanced operators on search engines to source information;
  • Turn the idea of research on its head by making the most of influencers on social;
  • Identify where your community is talking online;
  • Set up alerts to monitor your research areas;
  • Organise and file your search results;
  • Set up a toolbox with the services and platforms you need for the future;

…and more handy search tips! (via

The bootcamp will take place on the 2nd December 2015, beginning at 10 am and finishing at 5 pm at the MSN UK offices in Victoria, London. It is of particular interest to journalists, public relations staff, communications specialists, fact-checkers and anyone else who wants to unlock the best and most accurate researching potential that the internet has to offer. The training at the course will also focus on the tools and techniques that writers can use to meet their research goals, while emphasising practical hands-on journalism knowledge.

Course attendees will be provided with a buffet lunch and refreshments (tea and coffee). The course fee is £240 (inc. VAT). The location address is: MSN UK, 100 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JX United Kingdom.

HEM Journalism Portal, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc., Twitter, Twitter Inc.
“Advanced online research techniques” – – Courses/Mousetrap Media Ltd
Getty Images via Zemanta.

TWITTER WEED WHACKERS: Solving the bot crisis with SM Cadman

If you’re a Twitter user like me, you’ll know that the social media network with the cute blue bird is full of great advantages. A cool interface, brevity of messages, lots of photos and now videos to comb through, and the level of interaction with other users is second to none. You can keep updated on things that matter to you, whether your favourite sports teams, celebrities, artists, politicians etc. as well as your family and friends closer to home. And of course block or mute anyone who does your head in.

But nothing is perfect in life. Not even Twitter. Aside from the occasional and mildly annoying drunken tweet or unsolicited direct message (DM) ….not withstanding the recent controversies surrounding racist and sexist trolls abusing people on Twitter…there is also the scourge of bots. Fake accounts with dodgy names and quotes clearly slurped off a website somewhere, gift-wrapped with a stolen display picture (usually some random meme or woman), or that God-forsaken egg that usually is served up as default, sadly not with some sausages or bacon as well.

These bad eggs are the bane of the Twitterati. Although the admin behind the site are very good at obliterating most of the fake followers, new ones take their place with the speed and intensity of mushrooms on the forest floor after a long rainy spell. Talk about putting too many eggs in one basket.

(c) P. Morris/SearchMuse

According to a filing made by Twitter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2014, it is believed that bots and spam bots account for 14% of Twitter’s active user base. That is around 23 million accounts out of the 271 active users on there. Many of these bots are programmed to retweet garbage or clickbait articles. Not all bots are bad, indeed some are fun (such as the Wiener Schnitzel bot that retweets you every time you mention that phrase) but there are concerns that some may be a gateway for hackers or data miners. Other bots are created to boost up follower numbers in that never ending popularity contest of ‘Who has the most followers?’. There are some companies that will for a small fee get fake accounts to follow your every move and tweet, and inflate not only your follower count but also presumably your ego as well. They do a relatively roaring trade despite Twitter rules of usage prohibiting tweeters from enlisting the services of such ‘follower farms’.

No-one, and I mean no-one is safe from the attention of the bots. Not even celebrities or politicians. United States presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton is said to have once had 2 million fake or inactive followers and that only 44% of her followers are real, living, breathing people. She has also been accused of plumping up her 3 million follower figures with fake accounts, according to British newspaper The Daily Mail. Over here in the UK, former Member of Parliament Louise Mensch found herself in a bit of bother after a Twitter statistics and auditing website determined that 97% of her followers are counterfeits. Several other ministers and low-level politicians in her party, the Conservatives, also found their accounts’ popularity called into question amid flying accusations of wholesale fake follower shopping to boost party morale.

Personally I’ve seen more than my fair share of bots and dodgy Tweeters. On both my individual and blog accounts, I often receive up to five add requests from suspicious looking accounts. They are either accounts with Russian names and bios written in the Cyrillic alphabet or English language accounts with really strange names combining different ethnic origins. For example, recently I’ve been befriended by a Yuriko Dille, a Manika Boag, a Eustachius Knowler… other with half Arab or Indian or Japanese names affixed to Anglo-Saxon, Scottish or German surnames. They must shred up phone directories and randomly piece the names together like some sort of hellish Yellow Pages puzzle.

You can usually pick them off because their feeds are full of spammy retweets and their bio is some sort of quote. Other bots have nonsensical handles like @fnerit_elephantfartunicorn which is one of the main things I look out for when evading bots and fake accounts.

Last weekend I was having a Twitter conversation with a fellow blogger and keen writer, SD Cadman (a.k.a Sarika and Luna Elektra). Since we met on WordPress, we often have little chats of 140 characters or less, but this time there was a serious topic on hand. The conversation was inspired by an article I posted on @halfeatenmind about obtaining quality followers rather than just breaking numbers. We then got talking about fake followers, and how Sarika mentioned that they may well be bots sniffing out data for possibly nefarious purposes. We agreed that the worst bots were, in Sarika’s words, those that “act bloody human” or the “nonsense Factoid accounts”. We joked that we needed a weed whacker (a nice sharp blade) to remove these bots from Twitter like those pesky dandelions that never seem to give up sprouting over your smart well-manicured lawn.

Here’s a GIF she sent me to illustrate the frustration with these meddling dregs of AI….

(c) Tumblr via Giphy


In a nutshell, what Sarika proposed is that Twitter should have some kind of ‘Weed Whacker Award’ for the person who culls the most bots. That can mean ignoring them when they coming knocking at your account’s door, reporting them to Twitter, but most importantly of all, not adding them, as that gives them legitimacy and access to your followers list. Twitter does often undertake regular purges of fake followers, exterminating them like the filthy rats they are, but new ones keep cropping up. The winner of the bot wipeout can receive a certificate in the post or possibly a badge to go on their header or sidebar et cetera on Twitter. A sort of virtual Neighbourhood Watch against the fraudulent and fake. This would be a bit of fun, but also encourage people to look out for each other and protect against malicious hackers and other cyber-criminals and general online trouble makers.

Inspired by Sarika (SM Cadman), I’d thought I’d come up with a couple of designs for a ‘Weed Whacker Award’ badge if Twitter did such badges. If Dick Costolo, the Twitter CEO, is reading this, you can hire me and Sarika as your ‘creative consultancy team’ or whatever they call them in Silicon Valley. Free lunches and Segways would be a bonus.


Weed Whacker Award 1 pizap.com14299598637681

Weed Whacker Award 2 pizap.com14299625569931

Weed Whacker Award 3 pizap.com14299644459731


You can find out more about Sarika at her Twitter account @SMCADMAN or visit her blog at . She is a Canadian author, writer and blogger.


HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241


Part of the sourcing and writing of this article was done using my work computer at Informa in Euston. Many thanks to them –
“Twitter acknowledges 23 million active users are actually bots” – Judy Mottl, Tech Times/ (12 August 2014)
“More than 2 MILLION of Hillary Clinton’s Twitter followers are fake or never tweet – and she’s already under fire for ‘buying’ fake Facebook fans” – David Martosko, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd ()
“Does Louise Mensch have 80,000 fake followers on Twitter?” – Alex Hern, New Statesman (24 July 2012)
Sarika (now L. of teh Internets), Twitter/Twitter Inc.
“Blank white badge” – PSDgraphics/ (16 May 2011)
“Common Malware Types: Cybersecurity 101” – Nate Lord, Veracode/VERACODE (12 October 2012)
“Accueil” – Université d’Orléans
“BLANK – Create On-Site – Write-On – Solid Backgrounds, Borders, Parking” –, Inc.
“A Cute Collection Of Despicable Me 2 Minions | Wallpapers, Images & Fan Art” – ZQ, Bolts (18 July 2013)
“Millennium Bug V20.12” – Paul Morris, SEARCHMUSE (28 May 2012)
CC Search, Creative Commons
“Dandelion wish (88/365)” – John Liu, Flickr (29 March 2011)

THE HALF-EATEN TIMES: The blog’s very own e-newspaper

While being the next Rupert Murdoch or Lord Northcliffe is probably a very unlikely event for me any time soon – a lack of a gold-plated triple-password protected Swiss bank account not withstanding – it is however, stupidly possible for me, or indeed anyone, to have their own newspaper with content that interests them and their friends. No messy printing ink, whiny subeditors, or pleading with newsagents required. Just an invisible, hands-free, fuss-free ‘editor-bot’ who will pull off a carefully-ish curated selection of tweets, website links etc. to make that virtual front page.

Thanks to the internet, the Half-Eaten Mind now has an accompanying online rag, the Half-Eaten Times.

(c) HEM/ via
(c) HEM/ via
(c) HEM/
(c) HEM/

This special newspaper was launched on the 4th April 2015, just before its parent blog’s third anniversary. Created with the help and hosting of the Swiss curated newspaper site, the Half-Eaten Times draws on the sharing activity of lists and followers on the blog’s Twitter social account @halfeatenmind and curates interesting and newsworthy content, presented in a New York Times format for easy accessibility and browsing.

Like any good broadsheet, The Half-Eaten Times has a respectable and diverse selection of categories for our readers. Updated every 12 hours (twice daily), our e-paper features the latest picks of the current headlines in the HEM world, as well as subtopics covering leisure, entertainment, technology, sciences and business matters. Every contributor is a blogging citizen journalist (excusing the ones who are already journalists, of course) and every follower has the potential to make the news. News media at probably its most democratic.

In addition, there will be also plenty of news from all the world, supplied by our media partners.

Although I own the e-paper, I am not responsible for the content, which is picked up automatically by the curation technology that makes available to its users.

You can subscribe to the newsletter via email or social media, and special tweets and posts will be sent out every time a new edition of the Half-Eaten Times goes on the newsstand.

Have a leaf-through the Half-Eaten Times at the link below.

In other words….. “Read all about it!!”

I’ve also produced a banner advert for this new feature which may be included in the sidebar of this blog for maximum visibility, however my final decision is still pending. Using the now familiar HEM street sign logo, I was lucky enough to find the right visual elements to make this advert tie in with HEM’s header design (the original sunrise one with the silhouetted buildings) in the same way the e-newspaper’s name ties in with the blog’s name. Smart thinking eh?

(c) V.Shah/HEM/piZap and others.
(c) V.Shah/HEM/piZap and others.

The Half-Eaten Times….out now at your local PC screen and at all good tablets….for the cover price of £0.00 ($0.00 US/Canada; Rs 0.00 Mauritius, ₹00/= India)…you get my drift…Get your copy today! 🙂

Let me know what you think. I can also help you set one up if you need.

(c) V. Shah/HEM/
(c) V. Shah/HEM/







(c) V. Shah/HEM/
(c) V. Shah/HEM/
Vijay Shah
pagepeeker, pagepeeker SRL.
“Showing (19) Pics For (Click Here To Learn More Button Png)…” –

HEM TWITTERVERSARY: Celebrating one year on Twitter

As many of our blogging friends may know, the Half-Eaten Mind maintains a Twitter account, where I share the latest happenings and articles to come out of a partially digested brain. It just came to my attention that it has been exactly a year since we began tweeting our mind on one of the world’s most influential and bitesized social networks.

I was looking through my Gmail account from where I receive all mails regarding the HEM Twitter feed and came across one from the Twitter HQ in San Francisco, California, USA. It said:

“Happy Twitterversary!
You just turned 1.

Let everyone know that it’s your Twitterversary.”

So we’ve been one year on Twitter. That works out to 8,106 tweets, 2,001 followed accounts and 976 followers, as of Tuesday 24th June 2014. So we do not have the legions of followers of famous celebrity accounts like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, for example, but that’s still an impressive tally. Of course, I cannot stress enough that each and every follower counts… We are also big on multimedia. The HEM account currently has 92 videos and images uploaded.

(c) Twitter via Gmail
(c) Twitter via Gmail

So why do we have a Twitter account….?

Well it’s mainly a promotion tool for the blog. Our public face. As any online business expert will tell you, social media counts for everything in getting the word out and making your blog, in this case, more accessible. Twitter has millions of users and accounts and your tweets can very easily reach an audience far greater than word-of-mouth or paper-based promotions, perhaps more than the website or blog can generate itself.

The Twitter feed works functionally as a means of showing off new articles. Whenever a new blogpost goes online, a Tweet is automatically created by WordPress straight onto the HEM account. I then manually access the account and pin the tweet to give it prominence for any visitors. I also share other bloggers’ posts, with priority given to those who like articles on the blog. I’ll retweet the article on their site which I like as a reciprocated thanks for visiting the Half-Eaten Mind. I also retweet development from the Daily Post and Hot Off The Press online newsletters from WordPress and news stories furnished via Twitter or LinkedIn. I also retweet articles on blogging techniques or handy advice concerning the noble art of blogging.

I also use the account as a source for news and article ideas which feed directly into the blog. I follow several hundred news and media organisation accounts which provide breaking news and features which saves me having to sniff around the wider internet looking for that next ‘scoop’. Separate from the media section, there are many other bloggers who also tweet their work and I make it a habit to follow other bloggers, mainly those already following HEM on WordPress. We also have a contingent of followers who are Tweeps who are outside either blogging or journalism and media, both individuals and companies. I aim to follow everyone but currently we have reached our following limit which is imposed by Twitter and we cannot do much about it.

The account also has links with providers of journalism resources which is helpful for a bit of self-education and awareness on new issues and techniques affecting the world of news reporting across all platforms.

(c) Half-Eaten Mind/Twitter
(c) Half-Eaten Mind/Twitter

“News & views of a partially digested brain – a news and features blog run by Vijay Shah (@VShah1984)”

All accounts added to our followers/following portfolios are sorted into one of several lists. That is partially because I am obsessively organised, but also to help place people and businesses into suitable categories for when, for example, I need to find a news story or locate a blogger. In return, we have been added and always subscribe to, other people’s lists. We consider it a big honour and appreciation of our work when we are added to your lists.


HEM Journalism Portal

This is for accounts on developments and reactions in the field of journalism. This includes educational accounts on the media, press freedom, influential and aspiring journalists, jobs, journalism tools and news on the industry.

HEM Friends & Fans

This is the list of all personal (not company) accounts we follow. Often many readers who visit our blog decide to subscribe to the Twitter account so get information at their fingers without needing to be on WP or overfilling their inbox.

HEM Businesses

These are miscellaneous businesses that follow us on occasions who are not connected with newswriting or reporting per se. It runs the gauntlet from South Asian promotional events, facts on whales and alcoholic drinks to flower deliveries, human rights and pubs in London.

HEM News Agency

Our largest list. This consists of mostly news media organisations and some journalists. A very important list as it supplies much of the blog’s news content when I am using Twitter. We follow both local, national (British) and international news providers from TV, online, magazines and newspapers, across language, political leaning and reporting style to aim for an unbiased and multi-angled coverage of the world’s news.

HEM Bloggers List

This is a special list for our fellow bloggers and friends, many who also follow HEM on our hosting blog platform. I always make a habit of responding to blogger’s comments on Twitter.

We are also proud to be a part of the following lists:-

‘Twitterversary’ is a portmanteau (word-blending) of the nouns ‘Twitter’ and ‘anniversary’. In its basic form, it is a fun way of marking your arrival on Twitter. The MacMillan online dictionary describes it as “the anniversary of the day somebody started using the microblogging site Twitter”

To celebrate the HEM Twitterversary I produced this cool graphic to illustrate social media’s impact on the blog and incorporating elements particular to HEM, especially our new “London road sign” logo and mascot Woodsy. The globe in space does look ‘pretty’ but it also reflects our focus on news from all four corners of the world, and the dominant blues and turquoises utilised in the original wallpaper image by Geralt chimes in nicely with the flock of Twitter birds. Twitter is valuable in disseminating both news and my writing to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter
“Lists” – Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter
“definition of Twitterversary” – MacMillan Dictionary – Open Dictionary
Twitter, Gmail via on site Snipping Tool.
Stock images from HEM off-site gallery (USB stick)
“Globe Earth World Globalization Planet Global” – geralt, Pixabay


UKIP RACISM FURORE: Candidate advocated deportation of black British celebrity

The UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), a right-wing party that advocates withdrawal from the European Union and massive cuts to immigration, has found itself in yet another racism controversy after one of its candidates suggested that the comedian Lenny Henry, who is black British, should be deported.

Warren Ellis & Lenny Henry chatting
Warren Ellis & Lenny Henry chatting (Photo credit: spiritquest)

The party, led by Nigel Farage, has recently taken significant ground in the UK’s constituencies as it challenges the traditional conservatism of the ruling Tories but has been caught up in scandals involving Islamophobic, homophobic, sexist and racist comments on social media and in public from some of its ministers and workers. One local election candidate suggested that Lenny Henry, a popular and long-established television personality, should leave Britain for a ‘black country’. Another, who is now under investigation by UKIP, tweeted comments that Islam was a ‘satanic religion’ and that Nigerians were ‘corrupt people’ while Africans should be left to kill themselves off. The same candidate, also said that Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour party, did not qualify as British but as Polish. Ed Miliband’s grandparents were Polish Jews who fled their homeland to escape Nazi persecution. Others have taken to social media to rail against Islam as “organised crime under religious camouflage” while likening the religion to Nazism, and suggesting that the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence has received a disproportionate level of attention, reports The Guardian newspaper.

William Henwood, the UKIP candidate for the area of Enfield, just north of London, allegedly made the ‘black country’ comment in response to a recent speech by Henry in which he criticised British television for not portraying more role models and characters from ethnic minority backgrounds. Henwood responded by tweeting the following comment “He should emigrate to a black country. He does not have to live with whites.”

Gareth Thomas, the shadow minister for Europe (representing Labour), said the Henwood tweets, as well as racial comments and tweets from other UKIP members should be seen as evidence that the party is “not fit to represent the country in Europe“. UKIP in return have denied that they are a sounding board for racists and insist that the party is “non-racist, non-sectarian”  and that members who express racist or prejudiced views would be expelled from the party. A statement from the party given to the Telegraph states: “..any comments made by members that fail to uphold these (non-racist) values will be duly investigated and acted upon“.

Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described Henwood’s comments about Lenny Henry as “absolutely disgusting”.

I think it is for Nigel Farage to make absolutely clear that that isn’t UKIP’s official view but also to explain why so many people with those kinds of views seem to be attracted to becoming candidates for UKIP,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics, a talk show by veteran BBC journalist John Pienaar.

Asked if he thought the comments were racist, he said: “Yes I do and that’s why I’d like to hear a very clear denunciation from Nigel Farage. I think it’s totally unacceptable, and he is as British as you or I are.

UKIP’s deputy chairman Neil Hamilton, a former Conservative MP, said Henwood’s comments were being investigated by the party but he claimed they were a “complete distraction” from the upcoming European election campaign and “every party” had “unknown” activists who “who may have said something unpleasant on social media“. Roger Helmer, a UKIP MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for the East Midlands region, said Henwood’s comments did not represent his party and were only being reported because of a conspiracy campaign against it. UKIP have frequently lambasted both the Tories and the opposition Labour Party for a smear campaign against it as the two larger parties attempt to salvage electoral losses swallowed up by UKIP’s growing popularity among their ex-supporters. Some Tories have even defected to UKIP in recent months.

English: Nigel Farage.
English: Nigel Farage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Henwood defended his comments in a report by the BBC, saying that the Lenny Henry and Islam tweets were not offensive. He told BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins “I think if black people come to this country and don’t like mixing with white people why are they here? If he (Henry) wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country.“. This comment was made despite the fact that Henry was married to a fellow comedian of  white British ethnicity and had made no suggestion that whites and blacks should lead separated lives. According to the BBC, Henwood who was preparing to stand for next month’s local council elections in Enfield, refused an interview on camera in the aftermath of his messages.

Earlier this week, UKIP ‘poster boy’ Andre Lampitt was sacked by the party after a string of racist and prejudiced comments made on Twitter in which he abused Africans and insulted the founder of Islam. He has previously appeared in UKIP television campaigns aimed at ordinary voters, as the party traded on Lampitt’s background as a house decorator. Lampitt, who was ironically born in Zimbabwe, also poured scorn on international aid organisations such as Oxfam and expressed pleasure from the AIDS epidemic in the African continent,  saying: “Inner peace will come when Aids does what it should and reduce African density.”, according to the Daily Mail. The UKIP video shows the white Zimbabwean dressed in builder’s attire while railing against immigration of blue-collar workers and tradesmen from the European Union. Facing the camera, Lampitt states that British tradespeople are losing out to the ‘lads from Eastern Europe’. Meanwhile, UKIP’s advertising policy for public billboards has also been slandered for being virulently anti-European. One poster depicts the British flag, the Union Flag, catching fire and burning away while a EU flag is revealed underneath. Another shows a split view of a British woman sitting on a crowded bus while a European bureaucrat sits comfortably in his chauffeur-driven limousine. One other UKIP ad features a local builder begging for spare change after losing his job and home thanks to cheaper competition from the Continent. It later transpired that the actor who modelled for that poster was an Irish citizen from Dublin who had lived in the UK for the past decade.

UKIP has stolen ground from the big three parties as it capitalises on voters’ disgruntlement over immigration and the track record of the current ruling Coalition, with significant gains being made among former Tory voters and the undecided. A recent Observer/Optimum poll found that UKIP have made 18% shares of the decided electorate. However the recent round of gaffes and controversies reported all over the nation’s media may almost certainly destroy UKIP’s chances of gaining seats in both Westminster and Brussels.

Lenny Henry, who comes from the West Midlands city of Birmingham, has not yet given any formal comment or statement regarding the Henwood tweets.

Facebook LINK
“Ukip candidates add to Nigel Farage’s woes with a barrage of racism” – Daniel Boffey & Lucy Fisher, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (26 April 2014) LINK
“Star of Ukip advert suspended for calling Miliband ‘not British’, attacking ‘evil’ Islam and saying Africans should ‘kill themselves’… and he is from ZIMBABWE” – James Chapman & Matt Chorley, Mail Online News/Daily Mail/Associated Newspapers Ltd (24 April 2014) LINK
“Ukip in new racism row after Lenny Henry insult” –  Tim Ross, The Telegraph/Telegraph Media Group Limited (26 April 2014) LINK
“UKIP candidate William Henwood defends Lenny Henry tweet” – BBC News Politics/BBC (27 April 2014) LINK
“Warren Ellis & Lenny Henry chatting” – spiritquest, Flickr (12 November 2011) LINK
“File:Nigel Farage of UKIP.jpg” – Euro Realist Newsletter, Wikimedia Commons (19 May 2008) LINK


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FOLLOWING FACEBOOK FRIENDS: Social network launches friend-tracking feature

CNN reports that the popular social network Facebook has launched a feature that enables users to track their friends while using the site. The new feature, which was officially rolled out this past Thursday, uses location information from satellites to tell Facebook users which of their friends are also available in the area they are currently at. The team behind the new technology have dubbed it the “Nearby Friends” feature. While it will make real-time socialisation away from the laptop much easier, there are also privacy fears, especially with the likelihood of stalkers or burglars using Facebook to track targets’ locations in order to carry out crimes and other nefarious activities.

The idea behind “Nearby Friends” is make it easier for people to meet up in real life and make their conversations face-to-face rather than via the site’s inbuilt chat service or wall comments. As CNN reporter Heather Kelly sums it up, the feature means that users can now be  “temporarily replacing Likes and LOLs with eye contact and actual laughter“.

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface
Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook also hopes Nearby Friends will promote more usage of its site’s features and that of its family member Instagram, the photo-sharing site that Zuckerberg bought for $1 billion in April 2012. People meeting up with the feature’s help might be more inclined to take selfies and pictures of the places they visit and upload them to Facebook photo albums and Instagram streams.

Nearby Friends will be made available to all users, but in a massive change from previous changes and innovations by the social media site, will not be automatically turned on for every user. Facebook’s earlier tinkering beneath the site’s bonnet has enraged users who felt they had been muscled in without giving formal consent, in addition to the site’s privacy woes – users often complain that Facebook makes its privacy setting deliberately difficult to find. Facebookers can opt out if they wish. Friends will not be able to see where you are unless you choose to enable live-tracking on your phone and make the correct choice in the site’s settings, which will go some way to reassuring those who are concerned about privacy, which Facebook has not always been on the ball with previous technologies.

People who do use Nearby Friends can set their location in a number of ways. They can opt to only show their general location, for example, just ‘London, United Kingdom’ with all of their friends, certain groups of friends (i.e. workplace, former school or college), or with a customised list that the user creates. Only friends who themselves have activated the feature will be able to see where you are. Turning the feature on shows a list of friends with the feature and their approximate locations. A push notification tells you how many friends are local. Opening the app will also let you know how far away they are from your current location and a timestamp displaying exactly when they were there last. You can also share your location to about half a mile’s accuracy with friends. It will even be able to show the locations of your associates across international borders.

The new app will prove useful to people coordinating large groups of mates on nights out or visits to concerts, to look for people who have gotten lost and also can have significant potential for travellers who can contact friends in the places they visit and take them on as unofficial taxi drivers or tour guides. It may even be a lifeline to those who normally travel and shop alone, as they can quickly meet up with any friends nearby, helping them feel possibly less lonely. Facebook has been criticised in recent years for allegedly isolating people with technology and keeping them only in interaction with their PC screens, despite its purpose being to make users more social and to supplement their real life activities. The new app is perhaps an attempt by Facebook to answer those criticisms.

People have the option to be selective about the locations they make visible. You can show your location sipping a latte at a local Starbucks or eating a burger and fries at the McDonalds in the centre of town, but can hide private places such as your home or place of work.

The app does continuously gather data even when switched off rather than standing by for a manual check-in. It will also save data listing places you were at in the past and not just places where you used the app to ‘check-in’ and announce your location to nearby friends. However the location gathering history can be switched off in Facebook’s settings, as well as delete all or certain locations from the log. However as the data will be stored on Facebook’s servers as with all other information shared on the site, people may be uncomfortable about a multinational corporation having a record of their every journey.

The new app shares similar aspects to established sites and apps such as Foursquare and Tinder, and is a sign that Facebook has seen greater potential in exploiting people’s wish to share location information. Facebook already has an option for people to tag themselves in status by linking themselves to the on-site pages of places like museums and restaurants as well as showing the rough location they are currently in. Rival social network Twitter also uses GPS technology to allow tweeps to place a location marker on their messages.

HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter LINK, Twitter LINK
“Facebook launches friend-tracking feature” – Heather Kelly, CNN/Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (18 April 2014) LINK
“Hands On With Facebook’s Nearby Friends” – Kurt Wagner, Mashable (19 April 2014) LINK
“File:Facebook mobile.png” – Trlkly, Wikimedia Commons (17 February 2012) *original copyright by Facebook, Inc LINK
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DPADD: The new social network for online gamers

Vijay Shah (reporter/editor)


In an online world dominated by social media, there’s always a new niche to explore and cater for. We have Twitter for soundbites big and small, MySpace for artists famous and not-so-famous, Instagram for the budding and experienced photographers, and not forgetting Facebook, the indefatigable selfie mill of choice. However, despite the dominance of the big name social media companies, many audiences are not yet represented with social networks, including online gamers. 

A new online journal and social network designed especially for online gamers plans to change all that. Dpadd, recently set up in Vancouver, Canada by a “one-man startup” headed by Clayton Correia, promises to give gamer guys and girls a chance to share their love of the console and keyboard with like-minded people, while keeping the dialogue spam-free unlike some competitors. Correia is a design expert who has previously worked with various other startups and technology companies before moving on to his own venture.

The founder of Dpadd has a profile on the site. (c) Dpadd
The founder of Dpadd maintains a profile on the site. (c) Dpadd

Operating in a similar fashion to the popular online book club/sharing website Goodreads, Correia’s concept enables users to record every game they play, rate and review titles and manage a wishlist of games they want to play. Gamers can share updates with their friends and industry professionals, meaning that gamers can not only improve on their game skills, but potentially help input into the development of forthcoming titles. Dpadd also offers an all-in-one profile for gamers to manage their existing accounts like Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Steam and Twitch. 

Users can also keep track of important milestones, like high scores and trophies, giving good ammunition for some online boasting. There’s a 40,000-page games encyclopedia of both the latest releases and more established titles.

Dpadd opened its doors to the gaming fraternity on October 7 after seven months of development in beta stage, with tests carried out by an exclusive batch of invitees.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a promotional piece. However the Half-Eaten Mind did not accept payment for writing this article.

All information and images courtesy of Clayton Correia at, Vancouver BC, Canada.

PHOTO MOMENT: My Twitter images from this week

Vijay Shah

I have been a very happy bunny this week. I have booked two weeks worth of annual leave from work to recharge my batteries and get away from the corporate stresses and strains, as well as a chance to catch up on some housework and badly needed ‘me time’. So far I have spent a lot of my time off relaxing. I recently headed down to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford to buy clothes (I was running short on vests!! :/ ). I have helped my sister with her child psychology course…and tomorrow I have to get up early as I and some friends are heading to Thorpe Park by car. So this week has been quiet, busy and crazy so far. Not including the lost hours playing Candy Crush and Criminal Case on my Facebook, or watching James Bond films.

Having this time off means I can work on my blog. During these kinds of holidays, I aim to release a post on the Half-Eaten Mind once every two days, instead of once/twice per weekend under normal working conditions.  Today I thought I would share with you some of the pictures I have posted on my personal Twitter account. I have been a Tweep only since September last year, but only recently realised how easy it is to post pictures along with a tweet. Well I can be a bit slow off the mark sometimes. At first I have been posting my own taken photographs directly from my smartphone. I usually do this to share any appealing photographs I have taken of landscapes or buildings, as well as images that have some significance to me, or help me tell the story of my life.

Nowadays in addition to that, I have been pulling images from Facebook. I save them in a designated folder on the laptop and then upload them as links on Twitter. It’s incredibly easy. When you compose a new tweet, you just click on the camera icon underneath the space where the tweet is to be written. A window will appear where you choose the image you want, upload, and hey presto. It’s sorted. Easy as that. It can do wonders for your Twitter popularity among your followers. Even the news media accounts I follow do this. Photojournalists, not surprisingly, are heavily reliant on this of media dissemination. I also upload these pictures though to give an insight into my personality. What makes me shocked, what makes me laugh, what makes me ‘me’. I can also appreciate the beauty of an image and I strongly wish to share that with my followers, and now I want to share them with all of you.

Below are the images I have tweeted since I started doing this, along with a reproduction of the accompanying tweet for contextual purposes. If you want to see more, and there will be plenty more, you can follow me on this handle @VShah1984

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy!! 🙂

(7 Jul) Mauritius flag badge
(7 Jul) Flag pins Mauritius England – celebrating my dual heritage.
(7 Jul) The ‘About’ page of the Half-Eaten Mind blog – old design @halfeatenmind
(7 Jul) Floods in Port Louis in March 2013 – In remembrance to the 11 who didn’t make it.
(8 Jul) Well it’s not quite Wednesday yet but you get my drift…
(8 Jul) A puppy encounters a praying mantis (Time to say “aaawwww”) @AnjiShah
(9 Jul) Awarded to Arjun for spending every hour of every day capping zombies on Call of Duty….
(9 Jul) Rehabilitating inner city gangsters? #nurseryrhymes #gangsters #futureperfect
(9 Jul) #opticalillusion #advertising #van #car #itsatrap
(9 Jul) Don’t make any ‘bomb on board’ jokes!
(9 Jul) A sunny view – the ArcelorMittal hookah pipe and Stratford’s Olympic Stadium @ArcelorMittal #E20 #stratford #skyline
(9 Jul) Ram-Sita…Jai Shri Ram!
(9 Jul) A funny way to disguise a juggernaut-level prang on your vehicle. Just be sure to use waterproof marker!
(9 Jul) I Sverige katter ges gratis inträde till nattklubbar.
(9 Jul) I’m actually trying to shift the beer gut…but still…
(10 Jul) Laziness…it’s not just a skill, It’s an art
(10 Jul) Life…. #life #changes #facebook
(10 Jul) The Cat and Lord Buddha. #buddha #nirvana #pets #innerpeace
(10 Jul) Now where did I park my Maserati?
(11 Jul) Jai Shri Hanumanji…
(11 Jul) …and thy shall wrapped in thine offending bubble wrap and fed to the flames. #hell #BubbleWrap #Annoying
(20h) Jai Sri Ganesh.
(20h) The downside of the British summer, as expertly explained by our special guest from the Hangover movies. #Summer