Bustle: Social Media Posts About Exercise Discourage Many Of Us From Working Out, New Study Finds. “It’s the most common time of year to join a new gym or to commit yourself to fitness routine. The festive period is long gone, and a feeling of determination for the new year is most likely sweeping through most of us. Many of us may feel encouraged by things we see on social media, from motivational quotes to commentaries on how working out can help our mental health as well as our physical health. However, new research has unfortunately suggested that users find social media posts about exercise are more harmful than good, in the majority of cases.”
Found on Academia.edu: Expressing and Challenging Racist Discourse onFacebook: How Social Media Weaken the “Spiral of Silence” Theory. “This article examines the discursive practices of Facebook users who use the platform to express racist views. We analyzed 51,991 public comments posted to 119 news stories about race, racism, or ethnicity on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News Facebook page. We examined whether users who hold racist viewpoints (the vocal minority) are less likely to express views that go against the majority view for fear of social isolation. According to the ‘spiral of silence’ theory, the vocal minority would presumably fear this isolation effect. However, our analysis shows that on Facebook,a predominantly nonanonymous and moderated platform, the vocal minority are comfortable expressing unpopular views, questioning the explanatory power of this popular theory in the online context.” I had not heard of the Spiral of Silence theory, but Briannica helped me out.
Forbes: Moving Beyond Social Media Towards News As “Big Data” In The Cloud Era. “Social media datasets have become one of the dominant ‘big data’ sources in the social sciences due to their widespread availability and machine-friendly distribution. Simple streaming JSON APIs offer realtime monitoring right out of the box and the vast and continually growing ecosystem of tools and workflows make it easy for researchers to get started. On the other hand, accessible social data is extraordinarily biased and reflects only a small portion of human society. The most widely used social data, Twitter, captures just a minute fraction of the world’s voices.”
Wired: How Does Photography Affect You? We Tried To Find Out. “At this point, people take more than a trillion photographs each year, the vast majority of which come courtesy of a smartphone. The cameras in our pockets may not be able to match high-end DSLR or mirrorless cameras, but they’re packed with sensors and software that can help us create stunning images instantly. We’ve responded by snapping pics at every conceivable moment, from mealtime to pilgramages to a day at the museum. We take photos of concerts, of our friends, of spectacles both planned and unplanned, and—depending on your age and social-media activity—of ourselves.”
Quartz: You can catch a mood from watching YouTube videos. “A new study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science is the first to measure the effects of YouTube videos on viewers’ emotional state, according to its authors, psychologists Hannes Rosenbusch, Anthony Evans, and Marcel Zeelenberg from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Previous studies have examined emotional contagion in text-based platforms like Twitter and Facebook, noting that feelings move online from one person to another just as they do in physical environments.”
The Next Web: The internet is toxic because humans are toxic. “Facebook’s problems can’t be solved with more data or better code. They’re simply the most potent and alarming example of the fact that the internet has failed as a public forum. Not long ago, the scientists and software developers who pioneered the World Wide Web thought it would democratize publishing and usher in a more open, educated, and thoughtful chapter of history. But while the internet and its offshoot technologies have improved society and daily life in many ways, they have been an unmitigated disaster for the way people communicate and learn.”
Online Journalism Blog: FAQ: Do you think that an increase in algorithms is leading to a decline in human judgement?. “The latest in my series of FAQ posts follows on from the last one, in response to a question from an MA student at City University who posed the question ‘Do you think that an increase in algorithmic input is leading to a decline in human judgement?’. Here’s my response.”