Secrets of Silicon Valley – Review and Opinion

It does not matter whether you watched the above programme, you will read here about the far-reaching effects of social media on society.

The Persuasion Machine

The above documentary is a fascinating insight into the realms of a futuristic world that is here now, in Silicon Valley, and makes you think. Yes, really makes you think. Jamie Bartlett, a cool, bun wearing hipster, sets out on a expedition of self discovery concerning the effects of social media on society, culture and most importantly, you.

America has become a contemporary idyll that has to be sustained for many reasons but mainly, these days it appears, political aspersions by rich and powerful men. We were shown many interviews where Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook Founder, is forthright in his hope that Facebook will connect everyone globally and will also help society create a globalised world. Barack Obama was said to be a kindrid spirit and felt the same way and was shown on stage joking that he was the man to get Zuckerberg in the shirt and tie. By his second term he had mastered the ubiquitous social media and enjoyed the capabilities of the online platforms.

Ultimately, Facebook has helped Trump come to power and without Facebook, his Facebook writer, Theresa Hong, Cambridge Analytica, tells us “he wouldn’t have won”. Cambridge Analytica used data relating to around 220 million Americans to target potential voters and possible donations. These few words clarifies the effect of using social media for not only social interaction, but also fostering political influence. The social media campaign was submitted by teams of computer personnel from Google, Facebook, YouTube and other ‘creatives’. Hong even shows us the empty offices where they used to sit during the Trump campaign.

Facebook, with other platforms, finds out your intimate traits including political views, sexual orientation and personality. The concern is obviously the disruptive power occurring and a new unpredictable world throwing us all into a political turbulence, never seen before. The technology community has, indeed, “opened a can of worms” that it was, evidently, mobilising against. Freedom to connect doesn’t just let us share holiday snaps and family news, but also provides a world of targeted advertising and bombarding political views.

Jamie Bartlett finds out just how powerful Facebook is. It has huge repercussions for our society as the data informs how we think, what we like and how we like it! A psychologist Michal Kosinski shows Jamie how Facebook and internet driven data cleverly informs about personality, background, education, etc. here so people like Trump can turn the statistics into votes. The persuasion machine can now secure you a place in the White House. Allegedly, Trump spent eighty-three million dollars on his social media campaign. One hundred, almost identical ads, were placed in one day, to see which one did best. This constant stream of cosy ads aimed at families, must have driven the public mad. You can imagine what they thought -*All right! I’ll vote for you, just stop the ……. Ads!* Cambridge Analytica were using data on around 220 million Americans to target potential donors and voters. Armed with Cambridge Analytica’s revolutionary insights, the next step in the battle to win over millions of Americans was to shape the online messages they would see.

 

“An algorithm that can look at millions of people and […] hundreds of thousands […] of your likes can extract and utilise even those little pieces of information and combine it to a very accurate profile,” Michal Kosinski tells Bartlett. “It can also use your digital footprint and turn it into a very accurate prediction of your intimate traits, like religiosity, political views, personality, intelligence, sexual orientation and a bunch of other psychological traits.”

 

Just in case, you were smugly thinking they can’t find much about you because you don’t use Facebook, think again. Amazon, Google and other internet sites, drive data to inform the nerds, all about you. Well, that is what Jamie Bartlett appears to discover.

A clause relating to media legislation The Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was designed to make the internet safer, confirms the lack of responsibility of any media platform: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by anther information provider.”  This means the platform is not responsible for the content that is posted on it. Facebook does not own the information like Uber doesn’t own cars and AirBnB doesn’t own any property. Is this not just business and the formulation of an economy? The difference is the tech giants are not drilling for business they are generating it.

The trouble is this is infiltrating out lives and manifests a persuasion machine that is being exploited by, shall we say, unsuitable beings. As our visible footprint appears to revolutionise how democracy works, fake news is infiltrated online by emotion. It is not all about the written word but also inducing emotion by imagery. A picture of a sad looking Theresa May, which is easy to find, and a jolly Jeremy Corbyn, acting like he has won the election, plays on your psychology. This, I find hard to believe, but the point is illuminated by focusing on the fake news about Hilary Clinton, which may have lost her the election.

Social media and the internet seems to be having a profound consequence and projects negativity and misinformation that we haven’t had before. However, we’ve always joked never to believe what you read in the newspapers and the internet does provide us with an array of useful information. It is difficult to evaluate but maybe we will all become tired of social media. In fact, a recent study denotes that this is already happening with under 18 year olds choosing other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. Funnily enough, I spotted the article on my Facebook feed by Mashable UK here. My Facebook newsfeed shows a definite slow down of posting by ‘friends’ and more articles and ads. I find myself reading books more and getting out and about so although they reckon that people spend fifty minutes a day on Facebook, this I think, will change as we get bored with it. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but look at Twitter and how people got bored with that!

Also, this wide reaching knowledge has been around for a long time and probably for longer than we realise. Information has always been extracted by ten yearly census, loyalty cards, where we live, if we go to a posh school or university. I’m not sure that the internet can be blamed for everything. Although I am continually shocked about how much people look at their phones and wonder what books are not being written and art not being created because of the mobile phone addiction.

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed social media for connecting with other people. It is a way of joining an interesting conversation but it just has to be contained. These days, blogging is my favourite way of communicating although originally, I favoured Twitter due to the micro blog element and fast moving commentary.

It is our responsibility to read and educate ourselves on these matters. There are plenty of outlets providing information on all sides of the political spectrum and if we, as a society, rely on Facebook then maybe we should broaden our horizons. Don’t you think?

 

Watch the programme here: Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0916ghq

 

Criticize (plus a way to do it properly)…

via Daily Prompt: Criticize

The first criticism is that this is spelt wrong. It should be criticise! Do you take criticism well? I do not. I have taken this somewhat innocuous word prompt to address the problem.

My issue is that with the age of social media, which, incidentally, I love, everyone has an opinion. Often a hysterical one. Although, to be fair at the moment, with all that is happening in the world, I understand.

However, if we debate some of the world’s most exacting problems, maybe perspective and new ideas can be made and resolutions established.

When someone gives you constructive criticism, in a well informed manner, are you happy to take this criticism? As long as the person can back up their comments, this is fair isn’t it? Particularly, if they are addressing a situation sensitively.

This is what is missing in the media and social media. Articles and commentary are often destructive. For example, I find myself irritated by the hysterical coverage of Brexit. This, I can assure you, is whether I agree with the article/post or not.

People accuse others of racism, greed, selfishness, ignorance, stupidity and so on. In my opinion, this is just as bigoted as the people they are accusing of being racist, or whatever.

Often the posts lack substance or evidence and are offensive. Surely we can follow our ideology and not always criticise politicians, women, men, the ageing population, millennials, etc, without reasoning and of course, being proactive.  Isn’t it best to write to a politician, magazine, online forum, or join a political group rather than moan aimlessly and publicly without substance? We make ourselves look stupid if we just rant constantly. Yes, we all moan but not daily and publicly. (Rant over.)

Recently, I’ve been reading about https://yougov.co.uk/ and will explore this avenue. It is a community where we can all share our views and share opinions. The information is analysed and the results are submitted to the yougov website. Maybe this is the answer…

img_0174

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow….

 

Being Social – Improving Twitter

copy-of-being-social

So with the demise of Vine, we are left wondering if Twitter is dead?  No, because Twitter still has plenty to offer.  For example, the latest news and opinions of top commentators, updates which cultivate connection and the way users can engage with random tweeters, without knowing each other. It remains easily accessible and a powerful way of real-time communication. Vine did not watch the competition and react fast enough when the platform, Instagram, began their video uploads and recent launch of Stories in August 2o16.

Social media changes at a rapid pace but it is important that everyone focuses on what they do best and not all become the same.  Twitter has always been innovative and to be fair, Facebook changed their format to include a news feed (2011) in the way that Twitter has always had.  So who is copying who?

Twitter, is still  improving and reacting to what users want.  The platform has developed many new aspects including Periscope, the live streaming video, the Hearts feature, which to my dismay replaced Favourites, and of course, Moments, to show us the best tweets in various categories.  The “In case you missed it” interrupting our timeline and the analytical information about specific tweets, are useful too.

However, it could improve further.  Twitter should cultivate subject pods.  Tweeters could write and interact about specific interests and events and enjoy conversations with like-minded people. This will support and capture an audience and enable it to spontaneously voice opinions thus creating intelligent Twitter conversations again.  The propagation of debate will seize back the purpose of Twitter and synchronise topics and news with the particular audience.  At present you have to make sure you follow an “influencer”. More subject pods will encourage Twitter to become the conversation platform, as it once was.

Furthermore, The Moments section could be updated more often, with in-depth analysis pertaining towards current news.  This could interact with twitter users thus making the platform even more interesting by observing other users’ opinions.  Additionally, Twitter is an excellent source of information but it could improve by providing more detail on why something is trending.  The #hashtag formulae still provides a vital tool for implementing the collection of tweets and tracking of interest, but the grabbing of popular, relevant tweets, on specific subjects, could also be stimulating for the tweeter.

At least Twitter is well aware that it needs to raise its game and is proactively making enhancements. It has introduced Hearts, Moments and In case you missed it. Also, increased tweet characters, as from now on, the use of various media attachments will no longer count as part of the word count.  However, the word count is part of the fun on Twitter so they should not to go too far with this.

Augmentation of the above is vital and although exacting to process, will make Twitter rise towards the dizzy heights it once was by accelerating growth and maintaining curiosity, awareness and responsiveness.  By retaining the short tweet but capturing emergent subjects, news and events it will stop the decline.

Don’t forget to follow! Thank you for reading my blog.  #Twitter #SocialMedia

Now on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Mishmashmediablog/?ref=bookmarks

and on Twitter https://twitter.com/mishmashmedia_

Being Social on Twitter

Many people ask me about social media because it is my field and they are fascinated. This maybe because I’m not a millennial. Far from it!! I got into social in order to help and support a friend’s business and quickly became hooked. Then I started working in the field. Even though I’m older, I love it. It is great to stay up-to-date with news, events, views, trends and let’s be honest, gossip. Twitter is my favourite because it is so immediate and time based.

So, if you want to get started on Twitter the best thing to do is search for your interests and follow the influencers in that field. Influencers are usually experts with a great following and a sensible place to start.

When you have discovered the relevant people/companies then have a look at their followers and follow them. Do lots of tweets using your knowledge and try to make them relevant and interesting. You may also be able to find meetings, publications and websites from this information.

Either do this by using a # or simply put the subject in the Twitter search engine. Although, this seems simple you will be surprised how many people lose interest, before they even start Twitter, because they don’t understand it. Myself included.

At least now Twitter suggests followers to help you get started. When I first used it, I gave up and only used it again to help promote a business a year later.

Retweets will send out the tweet to all of your followers thus promoting the tweet, far and wide. The Heart means you like the tweet and you can find a list of your likes on your profile, so it is useful, if you want to refer back to the tweet. It used to be called favourites.

The best way is to learn about social is start using it and then you learn. This is the best way to learn most things, isn’t it?

More social tips coming soon plus a post on how I think Twitter can improve.

copy-of-being-social

Don’t forget to follow! Thank you for reading my blog.

Now on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Mishmashmediablog/?ref=bookmarks

and on Twitter https://twitter.com/mishmashmedia_

Social promoting social

So how does social media promote social media? The most obvious idea is using other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Promote a blog, article or platform by ingratiating yourself with other users. Post a variety of shares on your page and other platforms will discover your information. Give comments and feedback. Show variety and post content that may interest others. Break news, give tips, memories or ask a question and be topical or historical.

Any new platform, Ideapod for example, could encourage interested parties to post Ideapod matters on their social media feeds and this will promote the site and encourage new readers and ideas. Of course it never easy but it always good to share ideas…

image

Hearts on Twitter? No, stay unique…

The tide has turned from Facebook copying Twitter towards the other way around. Today, we have hearts or “likes” on Twitter instead of favourites.
This is a shame because it is one of the reasons I liked Twitter. With the fast timeline it is prudent to bookmark stuff that concerns the user. Now you have to “like” the tweet. Maybe Twitter should have both like and favourite buttons? With Twitter we are losing the facility to save noteworthy, but not necessarily liked, material. Ideapod is different because it is relevant to like, comment and connect ideas and this works extremely well.
Whatever Ideapod does, it is important the platform stays unique and not get tangled up with the mainstream social media popularity contest that has become mostly a business model rather than a place to locate new information.
#socialmedia #Whatisideapod

Are we really addicted to the internet?

Recently, I watched a video about internet addiction, which made me question whether we are addicted.
The Internet has revolutionised how we work and play. It is a central point for an unprecedented accumulation of information. Collaboration and interaction between local or worldwide communities manifests a space where we are now able to write, read, learn, watch television, do puzzles, business and connect with friends, etc. Overall, the internet has replaced where and how we conduct our work and down time. Social media sites such as Ideapod enable knowledge dissemination so we become interested in not only new subjects, but write, research and debate about them too.
Therefore, we are not necessarily addicted, but need to enjoy life outside the internet arena. There is room for both. Perhaps it is a case of being resourceful with time? What do you think? Turn off your phone/computer/notifications for a set period? Have a tech free day? Now there’s a challenge!

image