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Big brother is watching you shop. For the past 20 years, those who say that Big Brother is watching you have tended to focus their attention on bogey men such as the ubiquitous CCTV cameras, the National DNA Database and the US and Chinese governments snooping on emails. More recently, though, it's become clear that governments aren't alone in their interest. Companies, particularly those with big online operations, are building up increasingly sophisticated pictures of their customers - and their model is more Brave New World than 1984. Of course, concerns about online privacy are nothing new. They started way back in the dial-up age with worries that partners might find grubby sites in your browsing history, and then grew as knowledge of cookies spread and employers started castigating staff when they posted on Facebook that their boss was an idiot. In the middle of last year, it was reported that the travel site Orbitz was showing visitors who were using Apple Macs more expensive hotels than those who were using PCs.

Attention, Shoppers - Store Is Tracking Your Cell. This video is not currently supported on your browser. Continue reading the main story Video Like dozens of other brick-and-mortar retailers, wanted to learn more about its customers — how many came through the doors, how many were repeat visitors — the kind of information that e-commerce sites like Amazon have in spades. So last fall the company started testing new technology that allowed it to track customers’ movements by following the Wi-Fi signals from their smartphones. But when Nordstrom posted a sign telling customers it was tracking them, shoppers were unnerved.

“We did hear some complaints,” said Tara Darrow, a spokeswoman for the store. Nordstrom’s experiment is part of a movement by retailers to gather data about in-store shoppers’ behavior and moods, using video surveillance and signals from their cellphones and apps to learn information as varied as their sex, how many minutes they spend in the candy aisle and how long they look at merchandise before buying it. Photo. Smartphones are killing us — and destroying public life. The host collects phones at the door of the dinner party. At a law firm, partners maintain a no-device policy at meetings. Each day, a fleet of vans assembles outside New York’s high schools, offering, for a small price, to store students’ contraband during the day. In situations where politeness and concentration are expected, backlash is mounting against our smartphones.

In public, of course, it’s a free country. It’s hard to think of a place beyond the sublime darkness of the movie theater where phone use is shunned, let alone regulated. No observer can fail to notice how deeply this development has changed urban life. It would be unfair to say this person isn’t engaged in the city; on the contrary, she may be more finely attuned to neighborhood history and happenings than her companions. Consider the case of a recent murder on a San Francisco train. The incident is a powerful example of the sea change that public space has suffered in the age of hand-held computing.

TechCrunch. Is Facebook making us sad? Stanford University research and Sherry Turkle's new book Alone Together suggest that social networking may foster loneliness. There are countless ways to make yourself feel lousy. Here's one more, according to research out of Stanford: Assume you're alone in your unhappiness. Libby Copeland is a writer in New York and a regular Slate contributor. She was previously a Washington Post reporter and editor for 11 years. She can be reached at libbycopeland@gmail.com. Follow "Misery Has More Company Than People Think," a paper in the January issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, draws on a series of studies examining how college students evaluate moods, both their own and those of their peers.

The human habit of overestimating other people's happiness is nothing new, of course. In one of the Stanford studies, Jordan and his fellow researchers asked 80 freshmen to report whether they or their peers had recently experienced various negative and positive emotional events. As does the idea that Facebook might aggravate this tendency. Facebook is "like being in a play. Why Facebook Makes You Unhappy. The more you browse through your news feed, post comments and like posts on Facebook, the more likely you are to feel unhappy and dissatisfied with your life. It’s not that people gravitate toward social media when they’re feeling blue, found a new study. Instead, Facebook use actually seems to breed discontent. It’s still not clear why -- and it’s possible that only certain styles of Facebooking lead to distress -- but the researchers have some suspicions. “Given the public nature of these sites, people end up reporting a lot of the positive things going on in their lives, and a user of Facebook might end up with a biased impression of other people’s lives,” said Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

“So, they might feel sub-par compared to their friends and all the wonderful things their friends are doing.” Real-life relationships have all sorts of benefits, studies show. Facebook Is Making Us Unhappy, Fact. We Ask Top Happiness Experts For Advice On Switching Off (PICTURES) Unlike the Cyberdyne Corporation from The Terminator, we don't have to wait for Facebook to go sentient and start taking over the world by making decisions for us. We're already doing that ourselves. According to a recent study, psychologists have found that Facebook could be increasing our levels of unhappiness. If this sounds like something you think people have cooked up to crowbar you off Facebook, there is science behind it that confirms what we've known for a while: we need to start creating boundaries between technology and ourselves.

Study leader Dr Ethan Kross, from the University of Michigan in the US, said: "On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result - it undermines it. " Quite sobering, isn't it? So, what can you do about it? The first step is always the hardest.

"Secondly, all of us have a built-in need to communicate. Unsociable networking: Researchers say checking Facebook can make you miserable and jealous. Researchers say more than a third of users 'feel worse' after visiting the siteHoliday pictures and images of busy social lives 'the most depressing posts' By Allan Hall In Berlin Published: 10:30 GMT, 22 January 2013 | Updated: 16:04 GMT, 22 January 2013 Facebook 'makes you miserable': Study claims that site founded by Mark Zuckerberg, pictured at a conference in San Francisco, triggers feelings of envy Facebook can make you feel socially isolated and miserable because seeing friends' happy pictures triggers feelings of envy, two studies have found.

Academics claim one in three people feel worse after visiting the site and that their 'general dissatisfaction' with life had increased. German researchers from two universities studied 600 people and found that those who browsed without contributing were more likely to feel bad afterwards. The academics said people who surfed a lot on such sites were in danger of becoming socially isolated and depressed. Happy holiday pictures Birthday greetings. Social Screening: How Companies Are Using Social Media To Hire & Fire Employees. Are new technologies making us happier? Late one night, I was lying in bed, exchanging emails (regarding world domination) with my boss. When I could no longer keep my eyes open, I gently closed my laptop next to me and lay my head back on my pillows. A second later, realizing I needed to set an alarm, I opened up my Macbook Air again to shine light on the covers so I could find my iPhone in the sheets.

I sleep with both items every night that I’m alone and thought this moment of hardware dependency was kind of charming; I even debated tweeting about it for a second. Flash forward one month and I’m lying on a beach on an island an hour off the coast of Puerto Rico. When I wasn’t playing with my new Kindle, I was tweeting, Foursquaring, Instapapering, emailing and “ruining loads of great photos with crappy filters” as my boyfriend put it. “But look, 12 people hearted it!” At dinner that night (deep in a discussion on the psychology of online sharing) he pleaded, “Look, it’s not just you. I tried. But first, what is happiness? Employers warned about snooping on staff via social networks.

He said: “If an employer is too tough, they need to consider the potential impact of any negative publicity. Heavy-handed monitoring can cause bad feeling and be time consuming. "A manager wouldn't follow an employee down the pub to check on what he or she said to friends about their day at work. Just because they can do something like this online, doesn't mean they should. " Acas is also encouraging employers to promote the use of social networking websites in the workplace as a "key part of business and marketing". The recommendation comes despite a study by myjobgroup, a jobs website, which calculated that social media activity in the workplace costs the UK economy £14 billion a year in lost productivity last year.

The survey found many workers were in denial about the negative effects of using work time to look at social networking websites. Acas has advised bosses to draft their own social media policy in order to avoid staff confusion about what is and isn’t allowed online.