Thinking with selfies Kath Albury @KathAlbury continues our edition of ‘The Person in the (Big) Data‘ by talking about her research into young people and sexting. Instead of educating those who worked with young people about social media and the digital, Kath developed an innovative Selfie Workshop with colleagues where she got participants to produce and reflect on their own selfies through the lens of introductory media theory. Instead of telling educators about sexting and social media representation, Kath facilitated an experience in which they would be directly involved. This kind of embodied learning is a wonderful way of generating new data about the social implications of mediation and offers the opportunity to engage directly to empower the community under study. How do selfies communicate a desire for intimacy? The Faceless Selfie: an exercise in communicating identity and maintaining ‘privacy’ within networked publics.
:: Authentic Happiness :: Using the new Positive Psychology Why Do We Share Viral Videos? Cats are everywhere online. They’re grumpy, they’re in business, they can play the keyboard, and even do chemistry. When it comes to shareable content cats definitely top the list, although there have been some serious secondary contenders worth noting, like screaming goats and Left Shark. And while you might have tried not to click on goat-related media, it’s unlikely you managed to avoid all of the Hotline Bling remixes that flooded Facebook, particularly if you have the site’s autoplay feature enabled. The most recent candidate for viral fame was Damn, Daniel, a high schooler made relevant by his stylistic display of his white Vans. All it took to propel him to the forefront of public consciousness was a pair of bright white sneakers and a little swagger. In 1976 biologist Richard Dawkins proposed that just as we ourselves are made up of discrete units (genes) which seek to replicate themselves to ensure their continued survival, so too is culture. Referenced: Atran, S. (2001).
Instagram and the Cult of the Attention Web: How the Free Internet is Eating Itself — RE: Write Time is more precious than money. Money is a renewable resource. Everyone always has the potential to make more money. Time, on the other hand, is finite. There are only so many hours in a day. The finite nature of time means that, in the world of the attention web, the competitive landscape is all encompassing. Coca-cola talks about trying to win “share of stomach”, acknowledging that they are not just in competition with the other players in the drink industry, but in competition with every other food company and restaurant for the finite resource of stomach real estate. As with all finite resources, there is a physical cap to how much time can be mined from the world, with population size as the forcing function. Grow the size of the population with internet access. Free up more time for the people who already have internet access. Or create more people.
Will the Internet of Things set family life back 100 years? This article is part of The Design Economy series. The Internet is disrupting the established rules that control the way we live our lives. From business, to entertainment, to government, we have already experienced the far-reaching effects of a technology that connects us in unprecedented ways. Now, with the advent of the Internet of Things (or IoT), ‘connection’ is evolving beyond our mobile phones, tablets and computers. It’s predicted that by 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the web, from cars and doorbells to your pet dog’s collar and the kitchen stove. While it is clear that the number and variety of connected devices is exploding, what is less clear is the social impact of this trend. Optimists would have us believe that the IoT will free us from the mundanities of running a household. Others point to it ushering in a major political shift. To date, the debate about the impact of IoT has focussed predominantly on these techno-legal-political narratives.
We calculated the year dead people on Facebook could outnumber the living By the end of this century, Facebook might start to feel more like a digital graveyard than a place for the living. Facebook has 1.5 billion users now. And according to the Digital Beyond, an online legacy planning company, millions of them are already dead. I asked a statistician to calculate the year it might happen, taking into account Facebook’s growth, demographic data about its existing global users and death rates from the Centers for Disease Control. I reached out to a dozen statisticians about the project and almost all of them said it was simply too complicated to calculate. We reached out to Facebook to ask if it had any projections for when this year would come or if it could tell us how many of its users have already died; it declined. While we think this date is fairly accurate, there are some flaws to the model. There is no crystal ball to determine how fast Facebook’s user base will grow or die.
What happens to Twitter bots when their makers die There’s no good way to ask people if they think Twitter will outlive them. I don’t mean any offense to Jack Dorsey and Co., but one must ask this awkward question when trying to find out programmers’ plans for their Twitter bots when they die. Bots (for lack of a better term) are programs that use an application program interface (API) to post to or pull information from various services, and they’ve have become ubiquitous on Twitter. There are bots that sort pixels, suggest Marxist startup ideas, or behave more like teens than teens. The people behind these artsy bots are a friendly, loosely-organized community of programmers, artists, journalists, and anyone else who feels like making bots. As part of that future, botmakers must consider what will happen to their script kiddies after they die. Usually, it’s “in the context of robustness in general,” which is to say the bot’s survival if routine changes happen, such as an issue with his web host or an API change.
The Surprisingly Devious History of CAPTCHA Life in the Information Age changes so fast and so often that we often don’t even notice. Take, for example, the CAPTCHA system of internet user authentication, which became ubiquitous, then kind of sinister, then began to fade away. The word CAPTCHA is an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” The original system was developed in the early 2000s by engineers at Carnegie Mellon University. The team, led by Luis von Ahn (who calls himself "Big Lou"), wanted to find a way to filter out the overwhelming armies of spambots pretending to be people. They devised a program that would display some form of garbled, warped, or otherwise distorted text that a computer couldn’t possibly read, but a human could make out. The program was wildly successful. Unfortunately, the designers overlooked one very human trait: a need to get paid. Even with these spam farms, CAPTCHA was a solid product. But, as we said, this is the Internet Age.
Science Of Us: It’s Almost Weirder When Online Daters Don’t Lie A recent edition of Vows, the wedding-announcements section of the New York Times, featured a sadly familiar fact about modern dating: the groom wooed his now-wife with a fib. In an effort to figure out what would make his profile stand out, Scott Birnbaum created multiple profiles on Match.com and finally zeroed in on what had been holding him back: his five-foot-five height. And so he fudged it, giving his online self a three-inch growth spurt. His now-wife, Tracy Podell, caught on almost instantly upon meeting him; luckily for Birnbaum, she didn’t really mind. “I understood the reasoning and I thought it was funny,” she told the Times. “It’s not like he was doing something bad or wrong.” This is an attitude that other online daters would probably be wise to adopt, according to one analysis of 80 online-dating profiles. What they found will likely not shock you: Pretty much everybody lies. But there are ways to spot those liars.
Science of us: The Scientific Case for Instagramming Your Food The most important thing about a good food picture, as any amateur food photographer can tell you, is natural light. It’s why you can find particularly determined patrons of the food-photography arts looking like lost waiters — carrying plates of food to nearby windows just to take a picture. If there is no natural light, there is always the option of flash. Whatever route you end up taking, take comfort in knowing it has all been done before — there is now, in fact, an entire television series on FYI called Food Porn, dedicated solely to chronicling the world’s most Instagrammed dishes. The research included three studies with more than 120 participants in each. For the second study, the researchers wanted to further explore the difference between photographed healthy and indulgent foods. But the third study is where the perceived difference between healthy and indulgent foods began to converge.
Why is the internet such a creepily haunted place? —... Every day I experience a ghost. This ghost takes many different forms. Sometimes it’s a photograph uploaded to Facebook and stumbled upon at 2 or 3am, an old snapshot in which not all those photographed are still alive. When unexpected, the ghost can startle, even frighten, and lately the rate at which they crop up has been quickening. The pace of 2016 is even greater. Ghosts aren’t real, not exactly. The numbers aren’t declining. It has happened before. Get Aeon straight to your inbox Hydesville, New York; a dark evening in late March, blustery and cold. One rap, two raps – I imagine it like popcorn popping. The Fox sisters would soon devise a corresponding system of raps and alphabet letters, allowing them to string together messages from ‘spirits’, and with this the organised Spiritualist movement, a popular folk religious movement that swept the United States and Europe from roughly 1848 to the 1920s, was born. And this is, as it turns out, is a wildly popular formula.
Internet outrage, explained One of the most common human behaviors is also one of our most perplexing: Our tendency to get all worked up about other people's business. Anyone on Twitter knows that people will jump on a hair trigger to condemn the moral failings of others. Perhaps you'll remember when Justine Sacco, a former communications director with IAC, tweeted this: "Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. It was a dumb, dumb thing to say. If the ultimate purpose of punishment is to correct bad behavior, Sacco probably could have gotten the message after the first few hundred replies. Humans are the only species that enjoys punishing others "It seems like our brains are wired to enjoy punishing others," Nichola Raihani, a psychologist who studies human cooperation at University College London, tells me on a recent phone call. This is an evolutionary mystery for researchers like Raihani. And yet this this is a defining feature of humanity. We're even more likely to feel outrage on behalf of other people