CDC Research: Hookah-Related Twitter Chatter

Research from the CDC: Hookah-Related Twitter Chatter (say THAT three times fast.) “From the full stream of tweets posted on Twitter from April 12, 2014, to May 10, 2014 (approximately 14.5 billion tweets), all tweets containing the terms hookah, hooka, shisha, or sheesha were collected (n = 358,523). The hookah tweets from Twitter users (tweeters) with high influence and followers were identified (n = 39,824) and a random sample of 5,000 tweets was taken (13% of tweets with high influence and followers). The sample of tweets was qualitatively coded for normalization (ie, makes hookah smoking seem common and normal or portrays positive experiences with smoking hookah) or discouragement of hookah smoking, and other common themes using crowdsourcing…. Approximately 87% of the sample of tweets normalized hookah use, and 7% were against hookah or discouraged its use. Nearly half (46%) of tweets that normalized hookah indicated that the tweeter was smoking […]

Does Facebook Lead to Dangerous Dieting?

Does Facebook lead young women to dangerous diets? “The study included 128 college-aged women who completed an online survey about their eating habits and their emotional connection to Facebook — such as how much time they spent on the social networking site and number of Facebook friends — and whether they compared their bodies to friends’ bodies in online photos.”

Politico Slams LOC’s Twitter Archive

Politico: Library of Congress’ Twitter archive is a huge #FAIL. “The archive’s fate is yet another example of the difficulty of safeguarding the historical records of an era when people communicate using easily deletable emails, websites that can be taken down in seconds and transient tweets, Vines and Snaps. But the library’s critics also see it as a cautionary tale from the 28-year tenure of retiring Librarian of Congress James Billington. During Billington’s time in office, say critics, the library has espoused grand technological ambitions but didn’t back them up with the planning, budget or nuts-and-bolts needed to turn them from buzzy news releases to tangible accomplishments.”

Stanford: Google Glass and the Elderly

From Stanford: Google Glass and the Elderly. “Glass will probably find its largest and most loyal customer base in communities dealing with old age. After all, there is a very large population of aging Baby Boomers set on a collision course with all the ills and predicaments that come with age. As Google Glass evolves, evaluation of its adoption to elder care service is vital for further program design and development. This study uses examples and surveys to evaluate the variables influencing the use of technology service programs by the elderly. A questionnaire survey was used to explore the technology acceptance of the elderly in a Google Glass based program. In addition, open-ended questions were used to elicit qualitative information regarding the experience of technology use. The results revealed elderly with higher social welfare statuses, better health conditions, and more frequent tech usage are usually more open to the idea […]

KevinMD: Why academic medical centers should be on Twitter. Right now.

An interesting blog post from KevinMD: Why academic medical centers should be on Twitter. Right now. “In recent years, the use of Twitter within medicine has increased significantly, and its uses are as varied as the persons and personalities who use it. For some physicians, Twitter is a method to connect with patients and for others, it provides an method to connect with and share research, insights, and anecdotes with professional colleagues worldwide. Furthermore, Twitter has become a powerful tool for the sharing of information at medical conferences via live-tweeting, and is even used in virtual journal clubs discussing new research or live twitter chats debating hot topics within health care.”

More People Getting News From Facebook and Twitter

Twitter and Facebook are being used more and more as news sources. “Fully 63% of Facebook users and the same share of Twitter users now say each platform serves as source for news about events and issues outside of friends and family—a share that has increased substantially from 2013, when about half of users of each platform (52% of Twitter users, 47% of Facebook users) said they got news there, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.” Another argument for transparent alogrithims in Facebook that make it clear why each user is getting the news they are getting.

MIT Did a Huge Study on MOOCs

MIT did a huge study of MOOCs. “The study, one of the largest ever undertaken on the topic of MOOCs, examined 68 courses offered through the edX platform, encompassing 1.7 million participants, 10 million participant-hours, and 1.1 billion logged events—or clicks, recorded by the edX servers. edX is an online, non-profit learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard in 2012.”

Forensic Linguistics and the Internet

Language use is so important, and the way you use language online can be incredibly unique! Check out this article on forensic linguistics. “Experts claim a regular anonymous internet user may be tracked through linguistic clues they unwittingly leave behind in their writing. According to Dr Tim Grant in an article for The Conversation, ‘everything from the way someone uses capitalization or personal pronouns, to the words someone typically omits or includes, to a breakdown of average word or sentence length, can help identify the writer of even a short text like a Tweet or text message.’ “

Google, Universities Working Together on Internet of Things

A group of universities are working with Google to develop a platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). “Carnegie Mellon researchers will work with colleagues at Cornell, Stanford, Illinois and Google to create GIoTTO, a new platform to support IoT applications. Initial plans for GIoTTO include sensors that are inexpensive and easy to deploy, new middleware to facilitate app development and manage privacy and security, and new tools that enable end users to develop their own IoT experiences.”

Is Google’s Ad Targeting Discriminatory?

Is Google’s ad-targeting discriminatory? “Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the International Computer Science Institute built a tool called AdFisher to probe the targeting of ads served up by Google on third-party websites. They found that fake Web users believed by Google to be male job seekers were much more likely than equivalent female job seekers to be shown a pair of ads for high-paying executive jobs when they later visited a news website.” Advertisers on AdWords CAN limit their ads to show only to males or females, but I can’t imagine why you’d do that with employment ads. Besides just being a stupid idea, can you imagine a corporation being busted for just showing executive ads to men (or just women)? They’d get sued into oblivion.

Terrifying Research on False Popularity in Social Networks

Terrifying research from the University of Southern California. The article is called The Social-Network Illusion That Tricks Your Mind. It’s about how human and social networks can be mislead into thinking something is common and popular when it’s not. “That’s interesting work that immediately explains a number of interesting phenomena. For a start, it shows how some content can spread globally while other similar content does not—the key is to start with a small number of well-connected early adopters fooling the rest of the network into thinking it is common.” What’s so terrifying about that? The issue is that Facebook distributes posts among friends based at least partially on early reactions to it. They may be applying a skewed amount of weight – and giving an untoward amount of power – to a small subset of users. This research could explain why viewpoints that are truly minority, or overtly antisocial, […]

University of Kansas Study on How Latinos Use Social Media

More studies on the use of Twitter, this time from the University of Kansas. “A University of Kansas professor has co-authored research examining the reasons Latinos and whites use the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, finding the former use them significantly more for advocacy and identity exploration than their counterparts. Mike Radlick, content creator at Come Recommended, a public relations firm in Maryland, and Joseph Erba, assistant professor of journalism at KU, surveyed 140 white and 115 Latino Facebook and Twitter users to determine why and how they use the platforms and the gratifications they take from them.”

Live Streaming: Social Control from Afar

Interesting article from MIT Technology Review: Live Streaming: Social Control from Afar. “…there is something about the dynamics of a remote audience that seems to inspire otherwise reasonable people to cause trouble. This was one of the lessons we learned from an experiment we conducted at the MIT Media Lab in 2001. The setup was that an actor equipped with a camera mounted on her forehead and a backpack full of electronics would do whatever the audience (the “directors,” connected via the Internet) collectively decided she should do. Directors could suggest and vote on actions; every few minutes the highest-rated one would be sent to the actor to carry out. She ended up dancing on the table and eating from other people’s plates. Suggesting something transgressive was irresistible. “

The Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress: Challenges for Information Practice and Information Policy

Michael Zimmer has a really good article at First Monday: The Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress: Challenges for Information Practice and Information Policy. “In April 2010, the U.S. Library of Congress and the popular micro-blogging company Twitter announced that every public tweet, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library and made available to researchers. The Library of Congress’ planned digital archive of all public tweets holds great promise for the research community, yet, over five years since its announcement, the archive remains unavailable. This paper explores the challenges faced by the Library that have prevented the timely realization of this valuable archive, divided into two categories: challenges involving practice, such as how to organize the tweets, how to provide useful means of retrieval, how to physically store them; and challenges involving policy, such as the creation of access controls to the archive, […]