social media

[EVENTS] NET/WORK Baltimore job fair: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Photo from Technical.ly Philadelphia

Reserve your free tickets now for NET/WORK Baltimore on Thursday, February 20th. If their last event (Technical.ly Philadelphia, shown here) is any indication, it looks like it’ll be a great event for job-seekers!

Local tech news hub Technical.ly Baltimore is hosting a jobs fair on Thursday, February 20th at the Emerging Technology Center on 101 N. Haven St. in Highlandtown. With over 16 technology-related firms attending (and planning on hiring people now), this event is a must-attend for anyone looking for a job in web design and development, information systems, cybersecurity, game design and development, technology consulting, programming, mobile app development, marketing/advertising, or e-commerce. A number of Baltimore-based non-profit technology community groups will be in attendance, too including Accelerate Baltimore, Betamore, Digital Harbor Foundation, and Girl Develop It Baltimore.

Tickets are usually $5, but students with a valid ID get in for free. Check out the event site to learn more and reserve your ticket before the event sells out.

Some of the firms planning on recruiting at NET/WORK Baltimore include:

 

 

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[CULTURE] Fedora Shaming as Discursive Activism

Picture of guy wearing a fedora

Fedora Haters, Unite!

The seemingly universal hatred of fedoras that’s cropped up in social media circles over the past year or so has always seemed somewhat inexplicable. After all, what’s so bad about a hat that millions of men used to wear every day? Of course, the real reason that they’re hated isn’t so much the hat itself as the people who wear them.

An interesting new paper published in Digital Culture & Education by Ben Abraham entitled (not surprisingly) “Fedora Shaming as Discursive Activism” sheds some surprising light on the issue of fedora-hating and how sites such as Fedoras of OK Cupid (highlighted here in a blog post) that shame particular fedora-wearers who express particularly misogynistic attitudes (and other irritating people who post pictures of themselves in the hat) actually fits well into a long history of feminist discursive protest in online communities.   To quote the introduction:

In the following paper I present new research into a genre of feminist activism conducted on the social media site Tumblr, involving the curious choice to shame wearers of a certain type of hat. This choice might seem bizarre at first, but Fedoras of OK Cupid (FOOKC)1 belongs to an emerging form of feminist discursive activism that seeks to attach affective shame to the tropes and cultural objects associated with sexist and misogynistic attitudes and behaviours. Foundational research into online feminist activist communities has been done by Francis Shaw, who contextualises her research into “feminist discursive activism” within a larger challenge to theories of online publics and the problematic utopian ideals of participation.

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[SOCIAL MEDIA] Busting Social Media Myths

image of unicorn with rainbow

Image courtesy of Monica on Flickr

There are a lot of myths out there about social media.  Unfortunately most of them have only a passing resemblance to reality. Luckily there are people like Belle Beth Cooper at FastCompany who have taken the time to gather the facts in a really killer article.

Let’s bust a few myths using Cooper’s article.

Myth #1: Twitter is mainly used by teenagers and 20-somethings.

Fact: 55-64 year olds are the fast growing demographic age bracket on Twitter

 

Myth #2: Facebook hasn’t really made the jump to mobile very successfully.

Fact: 189 Million Facebook users are “mobile only”

 

Myth #3: 18-34 year olds are still watching lots of TV.

Fact: YouTube now reaches more adults in this demographic group than any TV cable network.

 

Myth #4: LinkedIn might be a good place to find a job, but there’s not much activity going on there.

Fact: 2 new people join LinkedIn every second.

 

Myth #5: Porn still accounts for most activity on the web.

Fact: Nope! This year social media passed porn as the #1 activity on the web.

 

Myth #6: It’s only the big brands that are using social media to market their products and services.

Fact: 93% of businesses are using social media to promote themselves.

 

Myth #7: Well, kids might be addicted to their phones, but adults aren’t so hooked.

Fact: 25% of adults aged 18-44 say they can’t remember the last time their phone wasn’t with them. Almost 75% haven’t been out of earshot of their phone for more than an hour.

 

Myth #8: Businesses have finally realized the importance of blogging.

Fact: Maybe. But they aren’t really committing any serious resources to it. While 62% of businesses say they have a blog or plan on starting one soon, only 9% employ a full time blogger.

 

Myth#9: Facebook users have become fanatical about protecting their privacy.

Fact: Maybe some, but 25% haven’t bothered with their privacy settings at all.

 

Surprised? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Read the full article to get all the details.

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[SOCIAL MEDIA] Teenagers saying goodbye to Facebook

Picture of Japanese girl on mobile phone

Teens seem to be ditching Facebook, especially outside the US. Image courtesy of Mark Hellen.

If you’re a social media veteran (or still in high school), you probably saw this coming for a long time. On the other hand, if you’re one of those folks who’s just now getting the hang of the whole social media thing, this may come as a shock (and a bit of a disappointment). Either way, the trend is pretty clear: teens are fleeing from Facebook to other, more mobile-friendly social media channels.

Hot on the heels of the big Twitter IPO last week, The Observer reports that the social networking giant is seeing a “decrease in daily users, specifically among teens” who seem to be switching to other networks.

Why are teens switching? The Observer article cites a number of obvious reasons: Facebook’s inability to really take advantage of mobile, competition from an ever-increasing number of apps, privacy concerns, and (understandably, though regrettably if you’re  a parent who’s just getting into the game) because (shockingly!) teens aren’t too keen about hanging out with their parents and families online.

But if you read between the lines in The Observer ‘s piece, you’ll see one other trend that doesn’t get much play in the US: believe it or not, the rest of the world doesn’t revolve around apps and networks developed by US companies. In fact, according to this report from McKinsey & Company, over 300 million Chinese use social media…and almost none of them are using Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

So is Facebook doomed? Not likely any time soon. With about 1.2 billion users, it’ll be sure to be with us for a long time to come. After all, AOL’s still around doesn’t seem to be doing too badly even though its dial-up users still account for 70% of the company’s profits.

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[EDUCATION] 7 Great ways to learn how to code

Chart showing the difference between a dreamer, a coder, and a hacker

Image courtesy of Paul Downey via Flickr

One of the most common pitches endured by freelance programmers comes from the enthusiastic, wanna-be entrepreneur who thinks that he or she has come up with the greatest idea for a web site (or app or technology) that the world’s ever seen. There’s just one problem: they don’t have the skills to create even a working prototype. So what do they do? They reach out to any coders who will listen to them for more than 5 seconds or who made the mistake of responding to their emails. And the pitch is always the same:

 

Budding Entrepreneur: “Hey! Listen! I’ve got this idea that’s gonna be the next Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Google! All I need is for someone to do the code! I don’t have any funding right now so I can’t pay you (though confidentially I’ve been working on a few angel investors and might have some funding coming through soon), but I’m willing to offer you an equity stake in my new company if you’ll do the coding for me! It’s the chance of a lifetime!”
 
Freelance Coder: “Uh…no.”
 
 

The problem is that everyone’s got ideas… but few people have the skills (or are willing to learn the skills) necessary to turn their ideas into something tangible enough to convince other people just how great their idea is. Those who have these skills — coders, designers, engineers, architects, Makers, etc.– acquired them with a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and hard work. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. The real key to success  having the creativity to innovate combined with the skills to create what you dream.

That being said, most people can learn how to code. Granted, you might not be cranking out new operating systems or single-handedly writing console games after a few months of practice, but you’d be surprised at what you can do once you know the basics and apply a little creativity. Better yet, these days there are a number of fabulous and free (or very low cost) ways to learn how to code online.

Interested? Check out 7 best ways to learn how to code on VentureBeat.

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[SOCIAL MEDIA] “Realface Glamoflauge” T-shirts designed to foil Facebook autotagging

Image of facial-recognition-busting T-shirt

Realface Glamoflauge T-shirts seek to disrupt Facebook facial recognition tagging

If you’ve been annoyed that Facebook plans to use facial recognition software to “autotag” images by finding faces of users in the pictures, you might want to try sportin’ a Realface Glamoflauge T-shirt, a shirt designed specifically to spoil Facebook’s attempt at linking everyone in the world together. Featuring multiple, distorted faces of celebrities, these shirts supposedly will bamboozle Facebook into tagging a picture of the lucky person wearing it with multiple links to the celebrity’s Facebook page.

The shirts bill themselves as “facial recognition dazzle” and were inspired by “the ugly T-shirt,” a concept first floated by cyberpunk author William Gibson. According to Wired, the shirts, designed by Amsterdam-based designer Simone C. Niquille, the shirts serve as a

 “facial recognition dazzle,” referring to a unique brand of camouflage employed by ships in World War I. Pioneered by artist Norman Wilksinson, dazzle camouflage involved covering warships in conflicting geometric patterns to throw off an enemy combatant’s ability to gauge their speed, range, size and heading. “The shirts attempt a similar strategy. They won’t keep your face from being recognized, but they will offer distraction,” he explains. 

Will they work? Only time will tell, though according to the aforementioned Wired article, Facebook recently acquired an Israeli-based facial recognition software company for around $60 million bucks. Even as rich as they may be, if Facebook is spending that kind of cash on facial recognition, they’re probably going to deploy it sometime soon.

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[NEWS] Why acquaintances might be more useful than friends…online and in RL

Picture of blue bow tie with skulls

Weak ties might be better
Photo by ambib

Wired has published an interesting excerpt from Clive Thompson’s “Smarter Thank You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds For the Better.” The piece looks at why often times weak ties — people on the fringes of our social circles (such as many of our Twitter followers or those Facebook “friends” we’ve never actually met) — can be more useful to us than our close friends for things like finding jobs, locating housing, or learning about some cool new band. The reason? Close friends suffer from an “information deficit” because they’re too close to us; we all more or less know about the same things. Weak ties, on the other hand, have a wider range of experiences than the people we hang out with all the time. One of the most profound effects of social networking technologies has been their ability to dissolve the boundaries between “strong” and “weak” ties. Just as the internet has made it so that reading a newspaper physically based halfway across the world is just as convenient as reading a newspaper published locally, social media has made it just as easy to hear from someone you’d never run into in real life as it is to pick up a piece of gossip from a friend you’re having coffee with every day.

To excerpt the excerpt:

In a world of status updates, tangential, seemingly minor ties become part of your social fabric. And they can bring in some extremely useful information.

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[NEWS] Facebook’s Zuckerberg says U.S. spying hurt users’ trust, calls for greater transparency

Mark-Zuckerberg-1During a speaking appearance hosted by Atlantic magazine that took place  in Washington, DC on Wednesday (September 18th), Facebook CEO Marck Zuckerberg said that he felt recent revelations of government spying have made internet users more suspicious and decreased their level of trust in the government and online companies, according to Reuters:

“What I can tell from the data that I see at Facebook is that I think the more transparency and communication the government could do about how they’re requesting the data from us, the better everyone would feel about it,” he said.

“From reading in the media, you couldn’t get a sense whether the number of requests that the government makes is closer to a thousand or closer to a 100 million. … I think the more transparency the government has, the better folks would feel.”

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