New Media Index: Bloggers Ponder Artificial Life, Tweeters Poke Fun at LifeLock CEO

Bloggers were blinded with science — specifically the American scientists who developed the first living cell to be controlled entirely by synthetic DNA — while the identity theft of the CEO of LifeLock (dominated the Twitterverse, and the most-watched news and politics video on YouTube was a campaign ad for Dale Peterson, a Republican who is running for the Alabama Agriculture Commission, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index for the week of May 17-21.

The artificial-life story represented 20 percent of news links shared via the blogosphere, and it was followed by: the announcement that South Korea was formally implicating North Korea in a March 26 torpedo attack, at 8 percent; a column in The Washington Post by Dana Milbank saying recent GOP conventions in Utah and Maine signaled an increasingly radical Republican Party, also at 8 percent; a Supreme Court ruling that federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates considered “sexually dangerous,” even after they complete their sentences, at 7 percent; and YouTube’s fifth anniversary, also at 7 percent.

The report on LifeLock’s CEO — who had his identity stolen at least 13 times after including his Social Security number in ads boasting of the company’s ability to protect clients from identity theft — accounted for 24 percent of links shared via Twitter. The LifeLock brain lock was followed by: Apple at 9 percent, including iPhone enthusiast Billy Hime filming himself getting an Apple logo as a tattoo, and news that Apple will soon supply a longer-lasting Macbook battery; Playdom’s purchase of Acclaim games at 8 percent; a story on that Panera Bread launched a “pay what you want” nonprofit restaurant in Clayton, Mo., at 7 percent; and a BBC report about escalating hostilities between North and South Korea, also at 7 percent.

The Alabama campaign ad was followed on YouTube’s list of most-watched news and politics videos by: Miss Oklahoma being asked about Arizona’s new immigration policy during the 2010 Miss USA Pageant; footage of a man filming one train and nearly getting hit by another; a 54-minute documentary on the dangers of hyperinflation, produced by the National Inflation Association; and CNN story about a woman who gave birth and woke up in the hospital with her arms and legs amputated due to an infection. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.