Filtering Your Facebook Feed

In my Current Issues in Mass Communication class, there has been a lot of talk about social media because, of course, it is a major source of the world’s mass communication! We’ve talked about everything from Pinterest to Instagram, and we’ve also talked about Facebook, and how it may be on the decline.

I tend to agree with this. Facebook is probably my least favorite social media site (even though I check it constantly – ugh) because it tends to be so redundant. My favorite feature of Facebook is the ability to add photos (and to look at other people’s photos), but now we have Instagram and honestly I’d rather see one nicely filtered photo than a bunch of pictures of the same thing in a Facebook album any day.

Facebook just gets old. I mean, you run through your news feed every day and see the same people posting and the same people adding pictures and it’s just so darn annoying. It’s getting even worse as I get older.

Now, I see people my age (I’m 21) getting engaged and having kids and posting about it and it freaks.me.out. I see people posting about their amazing travels and I immediately have severe FOMO and have to remind myself that one day (after I make some money…) I can do cool things too!

So, with all the babies, engagement rings and wonderful landscapes filling my feed, I am overwhelmed and I am over it. Thank goodness Comediva came to the rescue. Check out this hilarious video “Facebook Fatigue” that so accurately describes many of us as we browse through Facebook.

 

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Think Technology Hasn’t Affected Our Brains? Think Again.

Technology is omnipresent – our society is constantly browsing the web, texting on our smartphones or glued to the television. And if you think that this constant devouring of technology hasn’t changed the way our brains operate, studies will prove you otherwise. While many experts have differing opinions on what technology has done to our brains, Mashable has compiled a list of 8 Ways Technology Has Completely Rewired Our Brains. Here it is…

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1. We Dream in Color.

A 2008, a study conducted at Scotland’s Dundee University showed that adults over the age of 55 who grew up in a household with a black and white TV tend to dream in black and white. Meanwhile, younger participants in the study, who grew up with colored televisions, tend to dream in color.

2. We Experience FOMO…

As a result of constant updates from social media sources, we experience this “fear of missing out” when we are not a part of the social activities lighting up our webpages. We worry that our lives aren’t quite as cool as the people’s around us, and we felt anxious and inadequate as a result.

3. …And “Phantom Vibration Syndrome.”

A 2012 study proved that 89% of 290 undergraduates report feeling “phantom vibrations,” the physical sensation that their phone is vibrating, even when it wasn’t. Something in us assumes that we must constantly be connected and communicating with those around us. Crazy.

4. We Can’t Sleep.

Many of us get in bed, and immediately play on our phones or tablets, or watch some TV, in an effort to fall asleep. Turns out, though, that this sleeping strategy may actually harm our sleeping patterns. According to neuroscientists, the light emitted by these screens affects our body’s internal light cues and sleep-inducing hormones. These lights may make our bodies feel as if it is still daytime, which can wreak havoc on our body’s internal sleep clock, making it much harder for us to fall asleep.

5. Our Memory Isn’t Great, And Neither is Our Attention Span.

With information available to us at the click of a button (thanks Google), people no longer feel the need to memorize facts, because, what’s the point? We rely on social media to remember a friend’s birthday, we use calculators for the simplest of math and we wouldn’t be able to get around town without our GPS.

In addition, the Internet has shortened our attention span. We feel antsy when we are forced to sit down and focus on reading a book, and we tend to only skim articles because they are simply “too long.” This is problem, particularly for the youth of the world, who may never develop serious concentration skills.

6. We Have Better Visual Skills…

A 2013 study showed that first-person shooter video games, like Halo or Call of Duty, have the ability to improve the player’s decision-making and visual cues because they force the play to react quickly to visual cues. According to the same study, gamers are also better able to detect contrast between objects in dim environments. In addition, strategy-based games like Starcraft have been shown to boost the brain’s “cognitive flexibility,” or the ability to multitask.

7. …But Poorer Impulse Control.

However, the same study found that games like Halo can prevent players from being able to tame their aggressive and impulsive behavior, because they can force players to make rash decisions without evaluating the situation first. Meaning, these players are prone to react immediately, with a great deal of hostility, in real-life situations.

8. We Create More.

On a positive note, technology has enabled both artists and non-artists to connect and engage with creative media. Because social media promotes a culture of sharing, we all desire to share something creative of our own, possibly some great edited photos or a DIY craft we created. We desire to contribute to the world and engage with those around us in our creations.

So, what do you think? Do you agree that technology has changed the way your brain is wired?

Save Money, Use Mint

With the new year still fresh, many people are still adamant about sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions. According to the site Statistic Brain, 45 percent of Americans typically make New Year’s Resolutions. In 2014, the second most popular resolution was to get organized, while the third most common resolution was to save more and spend less. I think the two go hand-in-hand.

As a business major emphasizing in finance, I pride myself on being fiscally responsible (although some people prefer to call me “frugal”). But, as a poor college student, managing money can be stressful, and who needs extra stress these days?

As I admitted earlier, I am addicted to my smartphone and I know I am not alone in this sentiment. How does this relate to managing money? There’s an app for that!

If you’ve never heard of the app Mint and are struggling to manage your finances, go check it out (and download it!). If you don’t have a smartphone, the same services are available at mint.com.

mint.com

Mint.com is a free service that allows you to connect all of your bank accounts in one place. It monitors  your transactions from all of your connected accounts, and it allows you to create a budget for yourself. The budgets created are divided into categories, such as “food and dining,” “gas and travel,” and “entertainment.” Your transactions will be categorized, and the app will send you reminders when you’ve gone over budget in a given category. Additionally, the app sends its users a weekly financial summary.

It’s a safe and secure system that will help you manage your finances and achieve your financial goals. It’s simple to use, meaning anyone who has access to the site will be able to make use of the service.

If you, like many, are hoping to get organized and save more this year, check out Mint and allow technology to become your financial advocate!

Is Your Smartphone Stalking You?

Everyone has their own opinion regarding smartphones. Personally, I love mine (read: I am addicted to mine) and use it for virtually everything. My parents, on the other hand, think I am too “attached” to my gadget and use their own smartphones more sparingly than I.

Whether you love them, hate them or are completely indifferent to them, your smartphone actually tells a lot about you…via your WiFi signals.

SmartPhone-Location-Tracking

Recently, software companies have developed programs to track smartphone users as they mobilize through cities, by using data emitted on public WiFi networks. From this data, they are able to create profiles on various consumers that, while they don’t include a consumer’s name, tell a great deal about a person.

These signals can track where you work and eat, where you shop and exercise and so much more. While they claim to keep consumers anonymous, it’s hard to believe when so much of your lifestyle is being swept up by this data.

From the data, people are being clumped into lifestyle categories. For example, the software can monitor how often a person visits a yoga studio and thereby classify them as a casual, intermediate or heavy yogi.

So, while your name remains unknown to these companies, much more is known, begging the question–how do you feel about your smartphone knowing so much about you?

If you feel insecure about companies tracking you, here are methods to opt out of location tracking.

How Badly Do You Want the Job?

As a senior in college, I am facing a lot of uncertainty as I look ahead to my future. While I (luckily) have a job lined up for next year, I have no idea what city I’ll be living in and what exactly I’ll be doing on a daily basis. Kinda scary, huh?

And this sentiment isn’t just mine alone. I see confusion in the face of my best friends and my classmates, all of us wondering what exactly happens after May 11th. Where are we going? What will we be doing? And one of the major questions (and stressors) for a great deal of people graduating is whether they’ll even have a job post-graduation.

So, how far would you go to get the job you really wanted? Would you have a carrier pigeon send your résumé to a company you’d like to work at? Would you buy out a billboard saying that you’re seeking employment? Would you promote yourself on a personal website? If you think these questions are ludicrous because no one in their right mind would do such a thing…think again.

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While gimmicks to get jobs became common during the recession, these ploys have held on in the job market, where companies receive an average of 383 applications for every job opening they advertise. What makes applying for jobs even more difficult is that companies scan applicants’ résumés using a host of softwares that scan the documents for keywords and phrases, automatically discounting applicants who may just be missing the right word.

So, how does one get around this software? How does one stand out in this increasingly tough job market? Apparently, quirkiness is the answer. Whether it’s sending a YouTube video describing why you’d be the perfect candidate for a job or sending your application via a “message in a bottle,” companies, as of late, have seen it all.

So, the question begs itself, how far would you go to get the job of your dreams?