Posts Tagged Facebook

Don’t Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It’s Your Fault | Wired Opinion |

Don’t Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It’s Your Fault



 Ben Wiseman

Are teenagers losing their social skills? Parents and pundits seem to think so. Teens spend so much time online, we’re told, that they’re no longer able to handle the messy, intimate task of hanging out face-to-face. “After school, my son is on Facebook with his friends. If it isn’t online, it isn’t real to him,” one mother recently told me in a panic. “Everything is virtual!”

Now, I’m not convinced this trend is real. I’ve read the evidence about the “narcissism epidemic” and the apparent decline in empathy in young people, and while it’s intriguing, it’s provisional. Lots of work offers the opposite conclusion, such as Pew surveys finding that kids who text the most also socialize the most in person. But for the sake of argument, let’s agree that we have a crisis. Let’s agree that kids aren’t spending enough time together mastering social skills. Who’s responsible? Has crafty Facebook, with its casino-like structure of algorithmic nudging, hypnotized our youth?

If kids can’t socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd—full disclosure, a friend of mine—has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives.

What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.”

It’s true. As a teenager in the early ’80s I could roam pretty widely with my friends, as long as we were back by dark. But over the next three decades, the media began delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories, and parents shortened the leash on their kids. Politicians warned of incipient waves of youth wilding and superpredators (neither of which emerged). Municipalities crafted anti-loitering laws and curfews to keep young people from congregating alone. New neighborhoods had fewer public spaces. Crime rates plummeted, but moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids’ after-school lives.


The result, Boyd discovered, is that today’s teens have neither the time nor the freedom to hang out. So their avid migration to social media is a rational response to a crazy situation. They’d rather socialize F2F, so long as it’s unstructured and away from grown-ups. “I don’t care where,” one told Boyd wistfully, “just not home.”

Forget the empathy problem—these kids crave seeing friends in person.

In fact, Boyd found that many high school students flock to football games not because they like football but because they can meet in an unstructured context. They spend the game chatting, ignoring the field and their phones. You don’t need Snapchat when your friends are right beside you.

So, parents of America: The problem is you; the solution is you.

If you want your kids to learn valuable face-to-face skills, conquer your own irrational fears and give them more freedom. They want the same face-to-face intimacy you grew up with. “Stranger danger” panic is the best gift America ever gave to Facebook.

 Don’t Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It’s Your Fault | Wired Opinion |


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Join the Ugly Sweater Party |

Join the Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly sweaters have taken over. Here’s why we love to bask in their hideous warmth

By Sarah Elizabeth Richards 


Christmas Sweater

Getty Images

Don’t put away your ugly holiday sweaters just yet. The holiday theme party craze has staying power this season. If you missed your local ugly sweater run billed as the “ugliest 5K on the planet” that’s held in 32 cities in the U.S. and Canada, you can still make the ugly sweater church potluck and tacky sweater pub crawl. Remember when we used to exchange ugly sweaters at white elephant parties? These days you can’t afford to give a good one away. You’ll need it for the surge of ugly sweater white elephant parties where you wear the sweaters and bring a different gift. An ugly dog sweater, perhaps?

There used to be a time when ugly sweaters were considered vintage kitsch as people discovered them in thrift stores or relatives’ closets and wore them as statements that softly mocked the manufactured holiday sentiment of 1970s Christmases. Or at least they generated a good laugh. I’m thinking of Bridget Jones’ favorite reindeer jumper worn by Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy.

Now ugly sweaters are so mainstream that the Whole Foods of Boston held the “tackiest holiday party of the year” last week. Bank of America released a commercial this season in which a couple used the cash back from their credit card purchases to throw an ugly sweater party. Coke Zero sponsored an Ugly Sweater Generator website this fall in which participants had the opportunity to design their own hideous garments. The company hired knitters to make the 100 most popular designs.

So why do we love ugly sweaters so much? Well, besides being warmer than sparkly holiday tank tops, they’re fun in a geeky sort of way, explains Shelby Walsh, president of Trend Hunter, an agency that follows social and cultural trends. “What we’ve found is that glamorizing awkward has become the new cool,” she says, referring to the popularity of the Facebook favorite “These sweaters are getting tackier and tackier. It’s almost a competition to see who can make the most fun of themselves.”

In fact, the most devoted ugly sweater wearers have taken the fashion to a new creative level. ( published a slide show of some doozies.) People attach jingle bells, wear battery packs hooked up to blinking lights and glue on 3-D touches, such as cotton balls for snow or orange snowman noses. “It’s like Halloween for Christmas,” says Adam Paulson, a Chicago financial adviser who started a business selling ugly sweaters on the Internet with two friends in 2009.

When they launched the site four years ago, they scoured local thrift stores and sold 80 the first season. Now they have 10,000 sweaters in stock. Paulson’s favorite embellishments: A sweater with a baby doll in a cloth baby carrier that was sewn on the front. “It was supposed to be Baby Jesus in a Baby Bjorn,” he says. There was also a woman who wrapped garland around a green sweater and carried a star tree topper. “When she lifted her hand, she would look like a Christmas tree,” says Paulson, co-author of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On.

The ugly sweater trend strikes an emotional chord by connecting you to the Christmases of your childhood. According to Paulson, that includes parties with “old school” touches, such as the Chipmunks Christmas album and the yule log on the TV. “There’s an important nostalgia element,” adds Jennifer Baumgartner, a clinical psychologist and author of You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You. “You think about a relative or favorite teacher who used to wear them. When you wear your Christmas sweater, you’re celebrating that association.”

The phenomenon also facilitates social connection, adds Krystine Batcho, a psychology professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York who studies nostalgia. “Research shows that one of the most beneficial aspects of nostalgia is that it promotes a sense of belonging. You feel like you’re part of a little club where everyone gets the same joke,” she says. “With ugly sweaters, you try to out-dork each other and laugh. It’s a great way to combat holiday stress.”

Join the Ugly Sweater Party |


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Have banking and law careers gone out of style? – The Week

Have banking and law careers gone out of style?

More and more people are eschewing legal or financial careers for a chance to launch their own businesses or join startups


By Carolyn O’Hara, LearnVest | December 20, 2013 


Good luck, graduates.

Good luck, graduates. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters/Corbis)

In 2010, Daniel Devoe was fresh out of Boston University’s School of Law when he landed what should have been a dream job: A spot at Ropes & Gray, a major corporate law firm in Boston.

Seduced by the high salary and the firm’s international prestige, Devoe eagerly signed on as an associate. But he began having second thoughts within a few months.

“The prestige wore off very quickly,” the 32-year-old Devoe says. “It just wasn’t enjoyable work.”

It’s an increasingly common refrain among young professionals, particularly for those who work in finance and law. A generation ago, a budding career at a respected law firm or a Wall Street bank was the definition of professional success in America. But, for many nowadays, those career paths are fast losing their allure.

Instead, a growing number of people are eschewing traditional legal or financial career routes for a chance to launch their own businesses or join startups. They are enticed by the opportunity to do what they consider to be more innovative and more meaningful work, not to mention the chance to potentially build the next Twitter or Facebook — and take home a piece of an outsized reward.

According to a recent nationwide LearnVest survey, when respondents were asked to name the two most aspirational careers in America today, they chose C.E.O. (36 percent) and entrepreneur (28 percent). Lawyer and banker barely registered, with just two percent each.

“What we hear students tell us is that they want to be able to see the impact they have,” says Maryellen Reilly Lamb, the director of MBA career management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

In Devoe’s case, he spent over a year working late nights on tedious assignments before deciding that Big Law wasn’t for him. “I realized that the thing I really cared about was determining my own career path,” he says. “To do something I want to be doing — and not just for a lot of money.”

Spurred by the desire to one day launch a business, Devoe left Ropes & Gray and completed an eight-week course with the Startup Institute, which helps people pursue careers in the burgeoning field of tech. He now works for Drizly, an on-demand alcohol delivery app business, and although the transition hasn’t been easy, he’s much happier.

“It’s incredibly terrifying to go from a $200,000 salary to currently making no money and working for a startup,” he says. “There is a lot of risk, but overall, it’s definitely been a net positive. I am on the right track now.”

Why bankers and lawyers are so…yesterday?

The rising social cachet of entrepreneurial careers has been partly driven by Silicon Valley success stories — and partly by necessity. The weak economy following the 2008 financial crisis caused many big law firms and Wall Street banks to hemorrhage jobs, as well as cut back on the lavish compensation packages that they’d once offered to new recruits.

But despite the fact that those paychecks have mostly bounced back, along with the economy, the legal field is still struggling with a glut of new attorneys — many of whom can’t find work. According to the American Bar Association, barely half of all 2012 law school graduates had full-time, long-term legal jobs as of February.

And although Wall Street has fared better, big banks are facing tougher competition from technology firms to attract talent. At Harvard Business School, 18 percent of students in the class of 2013 went into the tech sector — that’s up from 12 percent in 2012. Among Stanford Graduate School of Business graduates, tech companies overtook financial services for the first time this year, with 32 percent of new grads accepting tech jobs and just 26 percent opting to head into finance. Just two years ago, those figures were 13 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

“We are definitely seeing more students who want to either start their own business or join a startup,” says Jonathan Masland, director of career development at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, who adds that students are attracted by the wealth of experience they can get working for a young, entrepreneurial company.

“If it’s an earlier stage business, you can have a greater impact as a recent MBA graduate,” says Masland. “You can wear more hats — the level of responsibility is much higher than a more structured, traditional firm.”

Having more responsibility was a key factor in Sara Shikhman’s decision to leave a promising law career. “I got into corporate law for the wrong reasons,” the 32-year-old University of Pennsylvania Law School grad says. “When I was going to college, I thought, O.K., what’s the surest way for me to make the most money? I could be a doctor. I could be a lawyer. What’s going to be quicker? The answer was lawyer.”

But for the first few years as an associate, Shikhman was disappointed when all that she was given to do was “very minor stuff,” she says. “I didn’t make decisions. And whenever I tried to be innovative, I was turned down. I didn’t want that kind of life.”

So despite having no experience with building websites or e-commerce, she took a risk and launched, an idea that emerged from a conversation that she had with a friend who had a brick-and-mortar furniture store but no online presence. The site took off — and Shikhman has never looked back: “Starting my own company has given me more freedom and flexibility.”

Startups as second acts

Treating a law or finance career as simply a stepping stone to an entirely unrelated career probably isn’t what most professionals have in mind as they slog through graduate school, often accumulating significant loans in the process. But they may just be following the jobs — at least in the country’s financial and legal capital of New York City. Based on data from the New York State Department of Labor, over the past six years, the number of people working in securities and banking fell by nine percent, while employment in the high-tech sector rose by 14 percent.

And at least some former Wall Street professionals say that their finance backgrounds have actually given them invaluable experience when it came time to launch their own businesses.

Olga Vidisheva, 27, says that she’s grateful for the two years she spent working as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs in Manhattan because it helped teach her the value of hard work. The first summer that she interned for the bank, she says, “I don’t think that I slept.”

But Vidisheva was frustrated by the fact that her job mainly entailed advising major companies on mergers, acquisitions, and other financial strategies. What really inspired her was getting into the operational details with clients. “I thrived on that, and thought, That’s what I really want to be doing,” she says.

The old mentality of choosing a career based on compensation is going out of style.

So in 2012 she launched her own fashion startup,, a site that aggregates and sells clothing, shoes, and jewelry from boutiques around the world. As testament to Vidisheva’s promising business plan, the site launched with backing from coveted startup seed investor YCombinator, as well as other angel investors. “I was one of the first non-technical people they’ve ever funded,” Vidisheva says. “But I think they understand that my skills [from finance] are very valuable as well.”

Of course, plenty of new law and business grads still jump at the chance to work 100-hour weeks for major firms and banks in exchange for a big paycheck and good job security. But it’s no longer a sure sell.

“There seems to be more emphasis nowadays on loving your work,” says 33-year-old H., who left a corporate law gig to start a math tutoring company, and blogs about the experience under the pseudonym Big Law Rebel. “The old mentality of choosing a career based on compensation is going out of style.”

But Vidisheva cautions that even though launching your own business may appear attractive, there’s a risk that it’s gotten too much social cachet for its own good.

“Humans naturally have a herd mentality — and entrepreneurship is now a herd,” she says. “Everyone wants to be in a startup. I get emails everyday with completely random ideas that they haven’t thought through — they just want to be a C.E.O. And you think, come on. Do you really think this is going to exist 10 years from now?”

More from LearnVest…

·         3 ways to tell you need a career change

·         Overstaying a (job) welcome: Tales in lost earning potential

·         6 high-paying jobs that could be in your future

 Have banking and law careers gone out of style? – The Week.


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Stoners: Jack in the Box wants your business – The Week

Stoners: Jack in the Box wants your business

Jack wants you to tuck into his tasty bunk bed

By Carmel Lobello | September 27, 2013




Yep, that's pretty genius marketing.

Yep, that’s pretty genius marketing. (Facebook / Jack in the Box)

Jack in the Box, following in the footsteps of the rest of the fast food industry, is making a bid for the late-night crowd.

The West Coast fast food chain just released its Munchie Meal Menu — four new value meal items the company says are designed for the “late-night” crowd.

The options include: The Brunch Burger, a burger with a fried egg and hash brown draped across the patty; the Exploding Cheesy Chicken Sandwich, a fried chicken sandwich drenched in melted cheese sticks and cheese sauce; Loaded Chicken Nuggets, chicken nuggets “drowning” in two kind of cheese, ranch, and bacon; and finally, the crown jewel of the menu — the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger, “sourdough grilled cheese on top, cheeseburger on the bottom,” as the press release put it, adding, “Tuck into this tasty bunk bed.”

Though the release is written in stoner-ese — they’ve found the “cure to mellow even the meanest manifestation of the munchies” — Jack in the Box denies trying to lure druggies to its drive-thrus. Keith Guilbault, vice president of menu innovation at Jack in the Box, told USA Today‘s Bruce Horovitz that the new menu is “targeted at folks looking for indulgent treats.” Horovitz says that includes “late-night shift workers and Millennials who get the munchies at odd hours.” (We’re pretty sure that just means stoners.)

But Jack in the Box, already known for stoner delicacies like the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich, isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel with this one. Competitors have been unrolling special menus for millennial night owls for years now: Taco Bell calls it the “Fourth Meal,” McDonald’s names it the “After Midnight” menu, and Wendy’s went with “Moonlight Meal Deals.” White Castle has been serving breakfast from midnight on since 2011, and even gave its official stamp of approval to the ultimate generation Y stoner movie, “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”

The restaurants are all trying capitalize on night-time business — “one of the few growth categories in fast food,” says Horovitz. But is blatantly aiming that effort at stoners “genius marketing or shameless pandering?” asks Ally Grigg, on the 5gbFree Blog.

She thinks the former. “Fast-food restaurants have caught on one of their largest fan bases: Teenagers and college students, especially those who like to eat at odd hours of the night.” It makes sense. “People who are stoned want junk food immediately without having to make it. They have money to burn and less of a sense of their responsibilities.”

 Stoners: Jack in the Box wants your business – The Week.


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Narcissism on social media tells us a lot about ourselves

Narcissism on social media tells us a lot about ourselves

Elliot Panek

Visiting Fellow at Drexel University


J5s6q5rq-1379955720Tag me, tag me. OK I’ll do it myself. Ambuj Saxena


An increasing number of studies into the correlation between social media and narcissistic tendencies confirm what many of us already suspect. We see teenagers spending hour after hour with their phones looking at Facebook, consumed with how they present themselves online and how others respond to their profiles. We read about self-obsessed celebrities promoting themselves on Twitter, even when they appear to be in the midst of a nervous breakdown. Narcissism on social media runs across the spectrum of users.

But it is interesting how the correlation varies between different sites. In a study we conducted on users of Facebook and Twitter, published in Computers in Human Behaviour, we wanted to understand how social media reflected or amplified narcissism. We measured this by asking questions about usage and personality assessments that revealed different narcissistic traits such as exhibitionism, superiority and authority.

We found some young adult university students who had scored higher in certain types of narcissism posted more often on Twitter. But those with narcissistic tendencies in middle-aged adults from the general population tended to post more frequently on Facebook. We concluded that those in middle age had usually already formed their social selves, and used Facebook to gain approval from their peers whereas narcissistic university students used Twitter to broadcast views to broader social circles.

Share and share a “like”

Studies also suggest a link between the amount of time spent on Facebook and the likelihood of showing narcissistic traits, in particular exhibitionism. However, the frequency with which users post status updates is a better predictor and so a less simplistic measure. We can also begin to dig deeper – if posting frequency is linked to narcissistic traits then it’s important to determine whether this applies to any kind of posting (like linking to a news story) or only postings related to one’s own thoughts, feelings, and accomplishments.

Future research would also determine whether narcissists differ from others in their expectations of how others respond to their posts. For those who receive many comments or “likes” on a picture or status update, frequent posting can be a means of conversation. If you’re a narcissist, how does it affect you if you post but don’t receive any feedback?

Research recently carried out at Penn State University also suggests that how we behave in social media reflects our levels of self-esteem. Participants were asked questioned about the types of personal data they included on their profiles, how often they changed and updated information and how they saw their self-worth. From this the researchers suggest that users with lower self-esteem continuously monitor their walls and delete unwanted posts from other users. From a practical perspective, the researchers suggest that app developers could develop ways of customising walls and profile pages to tap into these concerns.

Measure for measure

Social media use has developed over the years. So there is a risk in this type of research of producing fragmentary evidence that doesn’t add up to anything meaningful. And the more specific a measure is (measuring Facebook “pokes”, for instance), the more likely the practice that is being measured is to fall out of use, leading research to become inscrutable to future readers (what, exactly, did it mean to “poke” someone?).

Instead we need to consider the bigger picture by analysing attributes and behaviours that stick around long after the latest iteration of the most popular social media site has vanished. No one may be poking or tweeting ten years from now, but it’s a relatively safe bet that people will post information about themselves and their accomplishments with varying frequency and with various expectations about their audiences.

Moral panic

Some have responded to critiques of social media by likening it to the overblown “moral panics” over the effect of comic books and television on children. A common defence of social media (and media generally) is that its use is merely an extension of existing behaviour. Teenagers of yesteryear congregated in parking lots; today, they congregate online.

This outlook is productive because it helps us to avoid an irrational bias in favour of face-to-face interaction and against all things digital. However, it fails to acknowledge how certain attributes of online life – immediate gratification, the expanded audience – may fundamentally change how we interact and develop as human beings. Keeping on eye on the relationships between social media use and psychological traits such as narcissism helps us know whether certain kinds of online socialising strengthen our social fabric while other kinds divide us further.

More than a billion people now have Facebook accounts and we know that social media use is associated with desirable things such as increasing social support. It also appears to help those who are shy form meaningful relationships. But we have to understand the good and the bad.

Research findings on narcissism and social media use should help us fill in some of the missing pieces about how we are developing relationships and interacting in a digital age. We still don’t know whether social media itself causes increases in narcissism, if narcissists merely seek out social media, or if both form a kind of vicious cycle. The rapid, widespread adoption of any technology is oft met with the dual responses of fear and claims of exaggeration. Understanding the limitations of findings – and the benefits – is the best way to separate knowledge from controversy.

 Narcissism on social media tells us a lot about ourselves.


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Congress Rolls Out Carpet for Greedy Zuckerberg by Joe Guzzardi

Congress Rolls Out Carpet for Greedy Zuckerberg

Billionaires for Cheap Labor—that’s how Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s Washington D.C. trip should have been labeled. Zuckerberg met with Congress’ most influential leaders to push for comprehensive immigration reform, suddenly his favorite cause.

105769 600 Congress Rolls Out Carpet for Greedy Zuckerberg cartoons

Taylor Jones / Cagle Cartoons

Rolling two lies into one sentence, Zuckerberg insisted that increasing the H-1B visa cap “isn’t the big point” but that “addressing and helping out the 11 million undocumented is actually a much bigger problem.”

Silicon Valley, including Facebook, has for nearly two decades used the H-1B visa to displace American workers with cheaper, younger foreign-born labor. Facebook, like every high tech employer, has a vested economic interest in increasing the cheap overseas labor pool.

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg formed which describes itself as dedicated to moving immigration reform forward. Zuckerberg hired an in house staff of seven registered lobbyists and 20 outside advocates from Capitol Hill’s five most influential public relations firms to advance his anti-American worker agenda. A total of twenty-seven lobbyists dedicated to reforming immigration that will legalize at least 11 million illegal aliens and import millions more overseas workers spells bad news for unemployed Americans.

In April, Zuckerberg’s lobbyists scored a major victory in their ongoing efforts to undermine struggling Americans. By urging legislators to insert a few key words into the Senate’s immigration bill, S. 744, Facebook’s lobbying team enabled the company to circumvent an existing requirement that it make “a good faith effort” to hire Americans before petitioning overseas workers. As an added bonus, because of the repurposed Senate language, Facebook could also avoid paying higher wages to H-1B visa holders.

Facebook, advancing a third lie, wants Congress to believe that without more foreign-born workers, IT will collapse. Analysts have compiled a mountain of evidence that no IT labor shortage exists. In its 2013 study, the Economic Policy Institute wrote that “the United States has more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] occupations.” The EPI found that for every 2 U.S. students who graduate with STEM degrees, only one is hired into a STEM job. Furthermore, among those not hired 32 percent said that no IT jobs are available and 53 percent said they found better job opportunities outside of IT. These responses prove that the IT market is glutted and that its wages are substandard compared to other industries.

Zuckerberg’s alleged compassion for 11 million illegal immigrants is misplaced. He should consider hurting Americans instead. For the last three years, 57 million working age Americans (16-65) have been either unemployed or out of the labor market. Coincidentally, 57 million represents the total of new immigrant workers that S. 744 would allow to compete with distraught Americans for the small handful of available jobs. More depressing statistics Zuckerberg would rather avoid: median household income remains flat, continuing a decade-long pattern; nearly 47 million American live in poverty, 47 million receive food stamps, a total larger than many nation’s populations. Charity, Zuckerberg should be reminded, begins at home.

With a net worth of $22 billion, Zuckerberg is America’s 20th richest person, exactly the profile Congress loves. Bowing and scraping, big shots like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Leader John Boehner rolled out the red carpet for one of America’s most well-known but craven public figures.

Neither Congress nor Zuckerberg cares about Americans’ struggles. What they do care about is more money and more power. Whether Zuckerberg can successfully convince Congress to pass an immigration bill tripling legal immigration’s current annual flow is uncertain. What is known is that Americans, despite Zuckerberg’s widely disseminated misinformation, want illegal immigration ended and legal immigration dramatically reduced.

 Congress Rolls Out Carpet for Greedy Zuckerberg by Joe Guzzardi.


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LinkedIn Expands to Universities, Students


LinkedIn Expands to Universities, Students

by Nick Kolakowski | August 20, 2013

By locking students into the network early, LinkedIn can (at least in theory) maintain a user base for many years to come.

Targeting students is LinkedIn’s latest effort to build out its audience and features.

Get ‘em young: That could be LinkedIn’s new motto, after the professional-networking Website opened itself up to universities and students.

LinkedIn’s University Pages offer schools a place to post updates about campus news and activities; they can also link to famous alumni, who will doubtlessly love when a couple thousand students try to connect with them all at once. But it doesn’t end there: starting September 12, LinkedIn will let high school students onto the network, so they can explore their future alma maters’ Pages.

Some 200 universities are setting up LinkedIn Pages, including NYU, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and more.

Why this aggressive expansion into a younger demographic? Today’s students are tomorrow’s cubicle bees and entrepreneurs; by locking them into the network early, LinkedIn can (at least in theory) maintain a user base for many years to come. (It’s safe to presume that at least a fraction of these young users will eventually engage LinkedIn’s paid services, which makes this initiative a long-term revenue play.) Building a substantial base among students could also help LinkedIn head off future competition, such as Facebook moving more aggressively into the careers space.

As a publicly traded company, LinkedIn has a responsibility to its shareholders to keep growing revenue and profits in perpetuity. That means expanding into new verticals, and buttressing its existing features to appeal to more people. Over the past several quarters, the network has made subtle (and not-so-subtle) upgrades to its news feed, user profiles, and other elements; according to some pundits, it’s only a matter of time before it makes a broader effort as a content aggregator .

“It needs to build engagement: it needs to be the platform that businesspeople will want to check in on every day,” Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry recently wrote in a column in The Kernel . “It needs to become useful, not just for recruiters and sales-people (and, now, social media mavens), but for the everyday businessman.”

LinkedIn evidently believes that, in order to seize those everyday businesspeople, it needs to make an aggressive play for students. But with the minimum age for LinkedIn now at 14 years old, how will the service deal with the inevitable privacy and security concerns—thorny issues for pretty much every existing social network, including Twitter and Facebook?

Jeffrey Chester, head of the Center for Digital Democracy, told The Wall Street Journal that LinkedIn’s controls are already robust, but that it could put more safeguards in place. “Companies have to go the extra mile in terms of transparency and control,” he told the newspaper.  “They can’t treat teens as little adults.”

 LinkedIn Expands to Universities, Students.


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Narcissism And Social Networks – Technology News – redOrbit

Vanity Revealed: Facebook Is A Mirror And Twitter A Megaphone

June 12, 2013

Image Credit: B & T Media Group Inc. / Shutterstock


Michael Harper for – Your Universe Online

Though they are both social networks, Facebook and Twitter could not be more different in many ways. One is packed full of games, pictures and relationships. The other is filled with links and short bursts of information and opinions. Yet as social networks, they have both had significant effects on how we communicate and, ultimately, how we view ourselves.

Now a new study from the University of Michigan (UM) has quantified why different age groups use these mediums and how they use them. To put it plainly, the UM research team claim that Facebook is a mirror and Twitter a megaphone, though different age groups use them in different ways.

“Among young adult college students, we found that those who scored higher in certain types of narcissismposted more often on Twitter,” said Elliot Panek, who recently received a doctorate from UM. “But among middle-aged adults from the general population, narcissists posted more frequent status updates on Facebook.”

Adult narcissists on the other hand prefer to use Facebook to let others know more about them — how they feel, what they think, and what they’re up to. The research team found that Facebook is better used by these adults because they already have their social circles defined. Therefore they curate the ideal image they’d like to have for themselves and rather then send off short 140-character rants about their beliefs, likes and dislikes, they prefer to maintain the reputation they’ve already earned from their peers and gain social acceptance.

Younger narcissists, such as college students, prefer to use Twitter as a megaphone. Here they can broadcast their feelings to the world while finding other social circles of like-minded individuals and join in on going conversations about whatever they feel is important.

“Young people may overevaluate the importance of their own opinions,” Panek said. “Through Twitter, they’re trying to broaden their social circles and broadcast their views about a wide range of topics and issues.”

The researchers were also curious if the participants in the study were growing more narcissistic as a result of their social networking usage, or if they were only looking for an outlet for their self-centered ways.

To conduct their research, Panek and team found 486 undergraduates, the majority of which were female around 19-years old. These participants answered questions about their use of social media and took a personality survey to assess their narcissism, self-sufficiency, exploitativeness and other traits. Next, the researchers found another group of 93 adults, mostly white females aged 35-years old and asked them to complete a survey.

After compiling the data, Panek says adults ultimately use social networks to display their narcissism, albeit in different ways.

“It’s important to analyze how often social media users actually post updates on sites, along with how much time they spend reading the posts and comments of others,” he said.

As for whether social networks lead to narcissism or vice versa, Panek’s study was inconclusive.

This study is now published online in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Panek was joined in his research by fellow UM researchers Yioryos Nardis and Sara Konrath.

 Narcissism And Social Networks – Technology News – redOrbit.


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The Feds’ ‘Ultimate Solution’ to Curb Distracted Driving | Autopia |

The Feds’ ‘Ultimate Solution’ to Curb Distracted Driving




Photo: Ryan Harvey/Flickr

NOVI, Michigan — Distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people each year in the United States, a figure that represents about 10 percent of all traffic fatalities. How many of those people die because they were fiddling with their phones or navigating their navigation systems isn’t clear, but no matter. The feds say they’ve got “the ultimate solution” for curbing the use of mobile devices while we’re mobile.

Nathaniel Beuse, associate administrator for vehicle safety research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says government regulation coupled with standards set by automakers and the electronics industry could reduce fatalities. He says we need “a technological solution, some sort of innovation” in which the device or the car would recognize when the driver is using a mobile device and deactivate it.

“This would be the ultimate solution,” he says.

Federal regulators want to make it impossible for you to send a text, update Facebook or surf Instagram while driving, a campaign that could have as big an impact on mobile phone manufacturers as automakers. This spring, the NHTSA and its parents at the Department of Transportation laid out — in a 281-page report (.pdf) — several guidelines for accomplishing this.

As we noted at the time, a key objective is limiting the amount of time a driver takes his eyes off the road or hands off the wheel, with a maximum of two seconds for each input and total of 12 seconds to complete a task. NHTSA wants automakers to make it impossible to enter text for messaging and internet browsing while the car is in motion, disable any kind of video functionality and prevent text-based information such as social media content or text messages from being displayed.

Beuse, speaking at the Telematics Detroit 2013 conference, says two paths could be taken to this destination. The first is less than feasible because it would require drivers to physically connect their smartphones or mobile devices to the vehicle’s embedded system, disabling functionality while the car is in motion. You can see the problem with that idea.

“[We would need] 100 percent compliance to get drivers to pair their phones,” Beuse said. If such integration isn’t user-friendly and dead simple, “[drivers] will be right back to using their handhelds.”

That makes the second idea far more viable: a proximity sensor, in the vehicle or the device, that recognizes when the driver is using the device and requires them to pass it off to a passenger. Think of a seatbelt chime, but more annoying.

This isn’t the first time NHTSA and the DOT have required companies to eliminate certain distracting features while driving. The most obvious example has been disabling video playback while the car is in motion. But Beuse admits the NHTSA must “figure out how to monitor compliance.” And this won’t just extend to automakers, but the automotive aftermarket that produces in-dash stereos with increasingly complex functionalities.

NHTSA and the DOT, led by outgoing honcho Ray LaHood, have made distracted driving a signature cause during the past four years. Although distracted driving is indeed a problem — the phenomenon accounted for 3,331 fatalities in 2011, up from 3,092 the year before — it’s hard to know just how many crashes and deaths resulted from the use of mobile devices behind the wheel.

“If you look at crash data, there are a number of crashes that are due to distracted driving,” Beuse says, but “our data is not refined enough to pinpoint [the exact cause of those] crashes.”

What’s going to be more difficult is to get what NHTSA wants: 100 percent compliance from automakers, consumer electronics companies, aftermarket manufacturers and the public.

“We can’t force consumers to pair their device to the vehicle,” Beuse says. “We need a technological solution.”

 The Feds’ ‘Ultimate Solution’ to Curb Distracted Driving | Autopia |


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