Why U No Want Facebook?

Why do people resist sites like Facebook and Twitter so much? Part of me thinks it’s because they want to be different and are afraid of actually liking it.  The other part of me thinks it’s a marketing problem. Often these sites are promoted as helping you make new friends. What if you like your current group of friends? Or, they’re advertised as letting you keep in contact “all the time”. Frankly this “always on” idea is a) annoying or b) creepy in today’s age.

How can social media be re-marketed to groups who resist the change so much? Calling all parents, political figures, highly-restrictive companies, older adults! For those who use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked in, G+ – why do you? What do you think would make your stubborn friends sign up? For those who don’t – why don’t you? What would need to happen to encourage you to participate?

-a frustrated social media  + accessibility researcher/graduate student

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Physical Predictive Analytics


Big data. It’s the buzz word used everywhere, usually thought of for use by tech companies such as IBM and Intel, but is now making it’s way into a variety of other companies – even Wal-Mart!

An recent article discusses the next big thing in big data. When dealing with a wealth of data, there’s:

  1. descriptive analytics – explains what has happened in the past
  2. predictive analytics – predicting future events
  3. prescriptive analytics – will predict the future, explaining why and “prescribing” some solution for what will happen

The article mentions self-driving cars as an example and how prescriptive analytics allows cars to handle left and right turns to happen in the future. However, I can see this playing a larger role in ubiquitous computing related to physical devices and sensors that control behavior in other ways. For example, take a thermostat which can use weather forecasting data to predict how weather will affect future A/C usage and issue bill ahead of time. The thermostat uses future forecasting and makes some decision (specifying a bill) based on household use. In what other ways can an abundance of big data and sensors play a role in the future of prescriptive analytics.

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A Nation Divided on Snowden


inspired by: http://www.people-press.org/2013/06/17/public-split-over-impact-of-nsa-leak-but-most-want-snowden-prosecuted/

I typically don’t take sides in political matters but I don’t think Snowden should be prosecuted at all. I understand the there-must-be-consequences-for-breaking-the-law rationale, but I think he made a contribution to the good of humanity. Now people might actually listen to what computer scientists have been saying for years in that all information is public somewhere and to be more conscious of what they’re putting online. 


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ponder this..

The most recent OpenIdeo challenge is asking people to think about how we should maintain a state of wellbeing and thrive as we age. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical research group, I think think poses an excellent question. With more people preferring virtual exercise, the rise of computer desk-jobs, and fewer people buying fresh (as opposed to canned and frozen) foods, how can we promote healthier lives as we age?

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A paper by Dr. Becca Levy shows not only did younger people have negative ideas about aging, but older adults often negatively self-stereotype themselves. And, these negative thoughts begin to form long before becoming an older adult. My solution to this problem? Older adults need to play an active role in new age culture. With my research, I plan to engage this demographic in today’s digital culture but also to link the virtual world with the real world, encouraging intergenerational collaboration both online and offline. While that may be a lofty and seemingly impossible goal, I don’t think we’re too far off. HCI researchers are developing tools to promote integenerational communication for family members. Collaboration is the next step, and we need to look beyond the family. Such a narrow point of view!

What to IDEO-ers think?

See for yourself.


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[bird’s] Nest

Thermostat Automagically Learns Your Heating Habits

This smart thermostat, Nest, is quite aesthetically pleasing. A red background means the heat is on, and blue mans the A/C is on. After 1 week, this thermostat learns the resident’s schedule and adjusts on its own. What’s even better is that is can predict when power prices will increase and adjust your thermostat accordingly. Perfect for a graduate student’s budget! These smart-stats aren’t new but at least this looks awesome. I’m glad we’re getting closer and closer to a complete Disney’s Smart House!

Retailing for $249 and coming out in November. 

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Post: Follow-up

Thank you to a reader of OnlineEducation.net who created this awesome infographic in response to a previous post. It points to an increase in moms using Facebook. In shock and horror, I was amazed that most surveyed joined the social networking site to keep tabs on their kids. As much as I suspected this may be true, I didn’t want to believe it! But do dads join for the same reasons? Everyone knows more females use SNS than males. Does this same increase exist for males? I suspect not, but I’ll wait for the next infographic!

Parents Facebooking Infographic

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Citizen Cartographers? Claim yourselves as crowdworkers!

Citizen Cartographers? Claim yourselves as crowdworkers!

A community of citizen cartographers have placed North Korea on the map! They’ve included detailed landmarks such as memorials, but also more controversial areas. Will this group map more? What excellent timing with the recent visit of Eric Schmidt. Coincidence?

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Crowdsourcing Creatively

XLVII Pepsi Halftime Show

Pepsi recently announced its plan to crowdsource the introduction to the Super Bowl halftime show featuring Beyonce. Fans can upload pictures @ halftime.pepsi.com/ showing their love for Beyonce and along with other prizes, lucky winners will have their photos shown during the intro. 

This is just one example of companies better engaging their fans (or just trying to cut costs of already-expensive advertising ventures) using crowdsourcing. What if we could go beyond just uploading photos? What if this could go beyond commercials? What will the future of creative corporate crowdsourcing produce?

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