social networks

‘If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.’ –Anton Chekhov

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I no longer look at somebody’s CV to determine if we will interview them or not,” declares Teri Morse, who oversees the recruitment of 30,000 people each year at Xerox Services. Instead, her team analyses personal data to determine the fate of job candidates.

She is not alone. “Big data” and complex algorithms are increasingly taking decisions out of the hands of individual interviewers – a trend that has far-reaching consequences for job seekers and recruiters alike. […]

Employees who are members of one or two social networks were found to stay in their job for longer than those who belonged to four or more social networks (Xerox recruitment drives at gaming conventions were subsequently cancelled). Some findings, however, were much more fundamental: prior work experience in a similar role was not found to be a predictor of success.

“It actually opens up doors for people who would never have gotten to interview based on their CV,” says Ms Morse.

{ FT | Continue reading }

related { Big Data hopes to liberate us from the work of self-construction—and justify mass surveillance in the process }

my favorite fyad memory was bragging about smoking 16 pounds of pork butt & then my next post was “i’m in the hospital with diverticulitis”

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We tend to characterize art as “self-expression,” but that’s really more a description of bad art. The immature artist, as Eliot wrote, is constantly giving in to the urge to vent what’s inside, whereas the good artist seeks to escape that urge. […]

Social media turns us all into bad poets.

{ Rough Type | Continue reading | Thanks Rob }

Marty McFly: [seeing a holographic ad for Jaws 19] Shark still looks fake.

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Author profiling is a problem of growing importance in applications in forensics, security, and marketing. E.g., from a forensic linguistics perspective one would like being able to know the linguistic profile of the author of a harassing text message (language used by a certain type of people) and identify certain characteristics. Similarly, from a marketing viewpoint, companies may be interested in knowing, on the basis of the analysis of blogs and online product reviews, the demographics of people that like or dislike their products. The focus is on author profiling in social media since we are mainly interested in everyday language and how it reflects basic social and personality processes.

{ PAN | Continue reading }

photos { Neal Barr, Texas Track Club, 1964 }

I grow gnomic

“At Starbucks I order under the name Godot. Then leave.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub

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“Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg said. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.” […] While Zuckerberg promised that thefacebook.com would boast new features by the end of the week, he said that he did not create the website with the intention of generating revenue. “I’m not going to sell anybody’s e-mail address,” he said.

{ Crimson (2004) | Continue reading }

previously:

FRIEND: so have you decided what you are going to do about the websites?
ZUCK: yea i’m going to fuck them
ZUCK: probably in the year
ZUCK: *ear

In another exchange leaked to Silicon Alley Insider, Zuckerberg explained to a friend that his control of Facebook gave him access to any information he wanted on any Harvard student:

ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks

According to two knowledgeable sources, there are more unpublished IMs that are just as embarrassing and damaging to Zuckerberg. But, in an interview, Breyer told me, “Based on everything I saw in 2006, and after having a great deal of time with Mark, my confidence in him as C.E.O. of Facebook was in no way shaken.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

Ivan Ilych saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair

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People whose cellphones move at a certain clip across city parks between 5:30 and 8:30 every morning are flagged by Viasense’s algorithm as “early morning joggers.” When you give your smartphone permission to access your location, you may be sharing a lot more than you realize.

{ WSJ | Continue reading }

We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. […]

Table S1 presents a sample of highly predictive Likes related to each of the attributes. For example, the best predictors of high intelligence include “Thunderstorms,” “The Colbert Report,” “Science,” and “Curly Fries,” whereas low intelligence was indicated by “Sephora,” “I Love Being A Mom,” “Harley Davidson,” and “Lady Antebellum.” Good predictors of male homosexuality included “No H8 Campaign,” “Mac Cosmetics,” and “Wicked The Musical,” whereas strong predictors of male heterosexuality included “Wu-Tang Clan,” “Shaq,” and “Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps.” Although some of the Likes clearly relate to their predicted attribute, as in the case of No H8 Campaign and homosexuality, other pairs are more elusive; there is no obvious connection between Curly Fries and high intelligence.

Moreover, note that few users were associated with Likes explicitly revealing their attributes. For example, less than 5% of users labeled as gay were connected with explicitly gay groups, such as No H8 Campaign, “Being Gay,” “Gay Marriage,” “I love Being Gay,” “We Didn’t Choose To Be Gay We Were Chosen.” […]

Predicting users’ individual attributes and preferences can be used to improve numerous products and services. For instance, digital systems and devices (such as online stores or cars) could be designed to adjust their behavior to best fit each user’s inferred profile. Also, the relevance of marketing and product recommendations could be improved by adding psychological dimensions to current user models. For example, online insurance advertisements might emphasize security when facing emotionally unstable (neurotic) users but stress potential threats when dealing with emotionally stable ones.

{ PNAS | PDF }

related { PhD candidate in sociology explains his experiences working for Facebook }

photo { Albert Moldvay, A woman shops for a fur coat at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, 1964 }

‘Self-parody precedes selfhood.’ —Rob Horning

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Twitter co-creator whose real name is actually Biz Stone has a new project called “Jelly.” No one knows what it is, other than an epicenter of vagaries and tech intrigue. […] In a blog post on its mystery Tumblr, Jelly announced its latest financials backers:

Jack Dorsey, Co-founder and CEO of Square
Bono, Musician and Activist
Al Gore, Politician, Philanthropist, Nobel Laureate
Greg Yaitanes, Emmy Winning Director
Roya Mahboob, Afghan Entrepreneur and Businesswoman

[…]

By Jelly’s own admissions, the “product” is still in “early prototyping,” so these celeb investors aren’t even completely sure what they’re investing in. Whatever it is, it will have something to do with “mobile devices [taking] an increasingly central role in our lives,” since “humanity has grown more connected than ever,” and “herein lies massive opportunity.”

{ ValleyVag | Continue reading }

“Jelly” has been a closely guarded secret. […] Now, it has revealed itself. It’s a way to ask your friends questions.

Watch the video and be not amazed. Watch as, for the first time ever, a dude takes a picture of a tree in the woods and sends it to someone else because he doesn’t know what he’s looking at—Yahoo! Answers for the bourgeoisie.

Have you ever posted on Facebook, asking if anyone knows a good barber? Or tweeted to your followers asking if “House of Cards” is any good? That’s Jelly—a search engine that uses your friends—only more convoluted than ever before. […]

Jelly says “it’s not hard to imagine that the true promise of a connected society is people helping each other.” This truly is a revolution in engorged, cloying, dumbstruck rhetoric, a true disruption of horse shit. With Jelly, “you can crop, reframe, zoom, and draw on your images to get more specific”—you can also do that with countless other apps. But that doesn’t matter—this is a vanity project, remember. It’s an opportunity for Biz Stone to Vimeopine on the nature of human knowledge, interconnectedness, and exotic flora. It’s an app for the sake of apps—a software Fabergé egg.

{ ValleyWag | Continue reading }

‘Education costs money. But then so does ignorance.’ –Sir Claus Moser

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“News is what somebody does not want you to print. All the rest is advertising,” […]

In 2014, the fastest-growing form of online “content” is an epidemic of heartwarming videos (“One Mother Did Something Illegal To Help Her Kids, And This Cop Was Totally, Unexpectedly Cool”), funny lists (“33 Reasons Miley Cyrus Was Actually The Best Thing To Happen To 2013”) and click-bait headlines from sites such as BuzzFeed, Upworthy and ViralNova.

Rather than being found on news sites or through search engines, they flourish on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While reporters pride themselves on digging out bad news and awkward facts, these stories often appeal to positive emotions – affection, admiration and awe. They are packaged to make people share content with friends, and to spread like a virus.

Some of this is advertising – BuzzFeed designs viral campaigns for companies that are difficult to tell apart from its other output. Much of it has an advertising-like aspect. […]

One study of 7,000 New York Times articles by two professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School found that sad stories were the least shared because sadness is a low-arousal, negative state.

{ FT | Continue reading }

My advice to teens who DON’T want to get pregnant and become a statistic, in one word: anal

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The auto-playing ads will appear on both the desktop version of Facebook and the mobile app for Android and iOS phones. But the ads won’t gobble up a bunch of costly data while playing. Facebook said the videos will download ahead of time while the user is within range of Wi-Fi, not while using cellular data like 4G. The app has to be open for the ad to download. The video ad is stored on the phone – how much storage it takes up is an open question — and then played at the appropriate scroll point.

{ WSJ | Continue reading }

related { Facebook saves everything you type - even if you don’t publish it }

‘Repression is the only lasting philosophy.’ –Charles Dickens

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American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life… […] The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players. […]

By the end of 2008, according to one document, the British spy agency, known as GCHQ, had set up its “first operational deployment into Second Life” and had helped the police in London in cracking down on a crime ring that had moved into virtual worlds to sell stolen credit card information. […]

Even before the American government began spying in virtual worlds, the Pentagon had identified the potential intelligence value of video games. The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command in 2006 and 2007 worked with several foreign companies — including an obscure digital media business based in Prague — to build games that could be downloaded to mobile phones, according to people involved in the effort. They said the games, which were not identified as creations of the Pentagon, were then used as vehicles for intelligence agencies to collect information about the users.

{ ProPublica | Continue reading }

related { A Single Exposure to the American Flag Shifts Support Toward Republicanism up to 8 Months Later }

‘Deception is the knowledge of kings.’ –Cardinal de Richelieu

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For four years, Josh and I were Silicon Alley’s “it” couple. We met in 1996, when he was running the Internet entertainment site Pseudo.com and throwing Warhol-scale parties. […]

One morning, as I was putting on my robe, he announced that he was planning to have cameras installed all over the loft–above the bed, behind the bathroom mirror, inside the refrigerator, even in the litter box–and wire them to the Internet in the name of art. Art? More like porn, I said. But Josh calmly explained that we would never do anything that made us uncomfortable, and that he eventually hoped to sell unedited tapes of our lives to a museum. […]

As we were gearing up for the November launch, Pseudo tanked, as did the rest of the tech stocks. Josh’s share in Pseudo was now worthless, and the fortunes he made from Jupiter Communications were slashed. Meanwhile, he was sinking over $1 million into Living in Public, hiring me to produce the Web site, manage press and plan a launch party (I was not paid to live in public), and bringing in a team to rip open the walls and fill them with a complex nervous system of wires, cables and cameras.

{ NY Observer 2/26/01 | Continue reading }

photos { 1. Phebe Schmidt | 2 }

Otherness watches us from the shadows

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There’s a lot of bots on twitter. […] A prime example is @StealthMountain, which searches for people using the phrase “sneak peak” and replies with “I think you mean ’sneak peek’”. Effectively, a coder somehwere has used twitter to greatly leverage his ability to be a grammar Nazi. But worse, it appears that the bot exists just to rile people. While most people seem to take this correction in stride, @StealthMountain’s favorites list (which is linked from his bio line) is populated with some of the recipients’ more colorful reactions. You too, dear reader, can laugh at those victims, and their absurd, futile anger towards the machine.

At the most outrightly hostile end of the spectrum, we find the now defunct bot @EnjoyTheFilm, which searched for mentions of particular films or television shows, and replied with plot spoilers.

{ Aaron Beppu | Continue reading }