social networks

The urb it orbs

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According to a study released this week by Brown University’s Department of Modern Culture and Media, it now takes only four minutes for a new cultural touchstone to transform from an amusing novelty into an intensely annoying thing people never want to see or hear again. […]

“We project that by 2018, the gap between liking something new and wishing yourself dead rather than hearing it again will be down to 60 seconds,” Levinson said. “And by 2023, enjoyment and abhorrence will occur simultaneously, the two emotions effectively canceling each other out and leaving one feeling nothing whatsoever.”

{ The Onion | Continue reading | via Nathan Jurgenson }

‘Society is not a disease, it is a disaster.’ –Cioran

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On Facebook, people frequently express emotions, which are later seen by their friends via Facebook’s “News Feed” product. Because people’s friends frequently produce much more content than one person can view, the News Feed filters posts, stories, and activities undertaken by friends. News Feed is the primary manner by which people see content that friends share. Which content is shown or omitted in the News Feed is determined via a ranking algorithm that Facebook continually develops and tests in the interest of showing viewers the content they will find most relevant and engaging. One such test is reported in this study: A test of whether posts with emotional content are more engaging. […]

For people who had positive content reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people’s status updates were negative and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results suggest that the emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks, and providing support for previously contested claims that emotions spread via contagion through a network.

{ PNAS | Continue reading }

polaroid prints { Barbara Allen photographed by Andy Warhol, 1977 }

‘You forget that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence: and the kingdom of heaven is like a woman.’ —James Joyce

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Fifty-eight adolescent girls and 60 young adult women viewed a Facebook profile with either a sexualized profile photo or a nonsexualized profile photo and then evaluated the profile owner.

Results indicated that the sexualized profile owner was considered less physically attractive, less socially attractive, and less competent to complete tasks.

{ APA/PsycNET | Continue reading }

photo { Dirk Braeckman }

‘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 }