Tag Archives | Social Media

Are Social Networking Websites Doomed?

social networkingSocial networking was supposed to gradually take over more and more aspects of our lives, but instead it may peter out into a sea of old people “liking” promotional posts from corporations.

The answer to the question of what will be the next Facebook could be “nothing”, as younger people appear to be abandoning social networking sites for messaging apps like SnapChat, which doesn’t involve profiles, personal data, companies’ “sponsored stories”, or their parents. Via Buzzfeed:

Facebook is the “most important” social media site for about 10% fewer teenagers than it was a year ago, according to a new PiperJaffray survey of over 5,000 teenagers. The teens surveyed are less interested in Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, and Tumblr too.

This suggests something bigger than a shift away from Facebook; it hints at what could be the beginning of an across-the-board teen rejection of traditional social networking as a whole.

This data measures sentiment, not usage stats.

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How To Shield Your Subculture Through Obfuscation

Are there still ways to keep secrets online? Final Boss Form writes:

A subcultural style [cannot] be “owned”. The only way to ensure that your aesthetic is not going to become used by others is to never share it with anyone. Another approach is to protect your aesthetic with physical violence (see: gang colors). Otherwise, once you allow your presence to be seen, it can be consumed.

Most communities protect their culture through some form of obfuscation. Some of this practice is incredible.

• Tum bl r an d LJ u sers sep ar ate w ords the ough o dd spacin g in o rde r to fo ol sea rc heng i nes.
• Chinese users hide political messages in image attachments to seemingly benign posts on  Weibo.
• General Petraeus communicated solely through draft mode.
• 4chan scares away the faint of heart with porn.
• More technically astute groups communicate through obscure messaging systems.

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How Your Social Media Score Will Shape Your Life Options

On the intertwining of social capital and literal capital, the Economist reveals:

Facebook data already inform lending decisions at Kreditech, a start-up that makes loans in Germany, Poland and Spain. Applicants are asked to provide access for a limited time to their account on Facebook or another social network. Much is revealed by your friends, says Alexander Graubner-Müller, one of the firm’s founders. An applicant whose friends appear to have well-paid jobs and live in nice neighbourhoods is more likely to secure a loan. An applicant with a friend who has defaulted on a Kreditech loan is more likely to be rejected.

An online bank that opens in America this month will use Facebook data to adjust account holders’ credit-card interest rates. Based in New York, Movenbank will monitor messages on Facebook and cut interest rates for those who talk up the bank to friends. If any join, the referrer’s interest rate will drop further.

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Your Facebook ‘Likes’ Reveal Far More Than You Realize

Algorithmic analysis of what you have “liked” gives everything away—your IQ, personality traits, drug usage, and even whether your parents divorced during your childhood, the Washington Post reports:

A Cambridge University study published Monday shows off how the researchers were able to figure out personal traits of individuals based on what 58,000 Facebook users decided to “like” on sites around the Web.

The researchers found that they could, for example, correctly distinguish between gay and straight men on the site 88 percent of the time by analyzing the TV shows and movies they liked. Similarly, they could differentiate between drug users and non-drug users with about 65 percent accuracy based on their expressed public preferences. The study even included “like” predictors that could tell whether users’ parents had separated when they were young versus whether they had not.

Researcher [said] that they hope this raises users’ awareness about the kind of information they may not realize they’re sharing with a wider audience.

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Program Uses Algorithms To Tweet As You After Your Death

If social media is what you did while alive, does this mean you are living forever? CNET News on the app Liveson, which continues to generate tweets based on your personality and syntax, in a sense preserving you into eternity:

You might think your online fans will lose interest when you kick the bucket, but an upcoming app says it will let you keep tweeting from beyond the grave.

LivesOn will host Twitter accounts that continue to post updates when users [die]. Developers claim the app’s artificial-intelligence engine will analyze your Twitter feed, learn your likes and syntax, and then post tweets in a similar vein when you’re gone. You’ll become an AI construct, a proverbial ghost in the machine.

The app will launch in March. People who sign up will be asked to appoint an executor who will have control of the account.

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On The Reputation Score You Will Soon Be Assigned

Via the The New Inquiry, Rob Horning on how Facebooking will be mandatory:

There is good reason to be concerned about the various data pools of personal information being gathered by communications and social-media companies. It’s used to shape the material conditions of our lives — what we see, what we’re permitted to do, who will talk to us, what sort of service we’ll receive.

It’s no coincidence that [social media management site] Reputation.com is joining forces with the credit-score agencies, as the Economist reports. It’s an extension of the same racket, to create a reputation score that is as actionable as a credit score.

If the reputation score is applied to you, you will have to pay to try to improve it or “clean it up.” But for others, such a score can be used to guide decisions about whether you are worth knowing, worth having as a roommate, worth friending on Facebook, worth offering a microloan to, worth renting a space on Air BnB to, etc., etc.

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Fast Food Fight: “McDonald’s” Hacks Burger King’s Twitter Account

My guess is that Burger King’s password was “whopper” – any other guesses? From GigaOm:

Even by the standards of social media fiascos, this one’s a doozy. On Monday, Burger King’s official Twitter feed announced the chain had been sold to its rival and began posting pro-McDonald’s messages and tales of employee drug use.

The strange Twitter activity took place after hackers apparently took control of Burger King’s account and replaced its name and image with the McDonald’s logo. Here is a screenshot of what followers of @burgerking saw on Monday:

The blue checkmark beside the @burgerking name indicate that this is indeed Burger King’s official Twitter account. Other tweets included…

[continues at GigaOm]

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Netflix Pushes For Privacy Law Change To Make Your Viewing History Available To Advertisers And Government

Coming soon–an algorithm to root out criminals and agitators in advance based on Netflix viewing history. Truthout writes:

You might want to think twice about streaming that “subversive” documentary about the Weather Underground on Netflix. If Republicans have their way, you just might end up on a watch list somewhere. This week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the 1988 Video Protection Privacy Act, which forbids movie rental companies from sharing or selling their customers’ viewing history. The Senate is expected to take up the amendment soon.

If this passes, what you watch on Netflix may soon become public information that your friends, employers, and even the government will have access to. Netflix favors the law change because it will help them branch into social media…[with] enormous profit-potential in selling your viewing history to advertisers who can target specific demographics based on your preference in movies. Also unmentioned by Netflix is just who else might get this information once it’s taken out of the privacy lockbox.

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Big Business Is Gaming You

Your world is being gamed, reports Nick Wingfield in the New York Times:

Congratulations. Reading the first paragraph of this article has earned you a badge.

If this made-up award makes you feel good about yourself, then you are on your way to understanding gamification, a business trend — some would say fad — that aims to infuse otherwise mundane activities with the excitement and instant feedback of video games.

Many businesses are using these game tricks to try to get people hooked on their products and services — and it is working, thanks to smartphones and the Internet.

Buying a cup of coffee? Foursquare, the social networking app that helped popularize the gamification idea, gives people virtual badges for checking in at a local cafe or restaurant.

Conserving energy? More than 75 utilities have begun using a service from a company called Opower that awards badges to customers when they reduce their energy consumption.

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The New Soft-Focus Lens Of War

Via the The New Inquiry, Huw Lemmey on social media as tools of destruction:

By nightfall tonight that explosion which just shook your neighborhood, in one of the most densely populated areas on earth, will have been liked over 8,000 times on Facebook. Welcome to Gaza City.

The transmutation of territorial control today enters a new topography, an extension of the historical “propaganda war”: control of the networked space online. The IDF have run a comprehensive social media campaign from the first stages of the new assault, announcing the assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari on Twitter, followed up by YouTube footage of his targeted killing within minutes.

Far from embracing ideas of a futuristic, dehumanising warfare, the instagrams of IDF, processed through the various “retro” and “soft-focus” filters, serve a dual purpose. The first purpose is that of historicization. Much as the hipstamatic literally filters the contemporary condition through the lens of the ’60s and ’70s, the use of “retro” filters removes the images of today’s IDF from their context within the current campaign of blockade and air assault and reframes them as part of the Israeli foundation story.

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