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  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 21. April 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Research, ,   

    Erosion of News Reporting 

    The erosion of news reporting converges with chances to take messages directly to the public; http://eicker.at/NewsMedia2013

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 23. August 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Research, ,   

    Multitasking? No. 

    Multitasking? Cognitive, behavioral, neurological sciences are moving towards a clear no; http://eicker.at/Hyperconnectivity

  • Gerrit Eicker 17:31 on 11. July 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Repressive Regimes, Research,   

    Corporate Responsibility 

    Pew: How far will tech firms go in helping repressive regimes? Future of corporate responsibility: http://eicker.at/CR #CR #CSR

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:31 on 11. July 2012 Permalink | Reply

      In a new Pew Internet/Elon University survey of more than 1,000 Internet experts, researchers, observers and users, respondents were split when it came to imagining how they expect technology firms will perform between now and 2020 when confronted with situations in which some profits can be made only when they follow rules set by authoritarian governments.

      These experts say they hope the drive for corporate social responsibility (CSR) will have moved forward by 2020, but many expect this will not be the case. “Most companies will publicly state that they are doing everything possible to protect citizens while making countless concessions and political decisions that will end up harming citizens,” observed Danah Boyd, senior researcher with Microsoft Research.

      Some survey respondents predicted people will continue to innovate new technological approaches to work around restrictions. Jeffrey Alexander, senior analyst at SRI International, explained, “Far beyond platitudes like ‘don’t be evil,’ the engineers who develop new technologies will have both the inclination and incentive to design them to be resistant to central control and to undermine autocratic behaviors.”

      While about half of survey participants agreed with a statement that by 2020 technology firms “will be expected to abide by a set of norms-for instance, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) citizens being attacked or challenged by their governments,” about four in ten survey participants said they expect most corporations to avoid any future loss of profits by taking “steps to minimize their usefulness as tools for political organizing by dissidents,” thus limiting communication possibilities for those who have been using the Internet to voice opposition or demand rights. Many people said they expect the future to bring a mix of the two scenarios. An anonymous respondent wrote, “Both trends will continue in a kind of yin and yang struggle. There will always be black hats and Blackwaters, and there will always be white hat hackers and Wikileaks.”

      The experts surveyed noted that corporations cannot easily do right by everyone. “It’s a complicated world and these are complex technical systems that are rapidly evolving,” noted Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet und American Life Project, a co-author of the study. “Different global regions continue to be defined by different principles and principals and many of these experts believe that the future will yield mixed and situation-specific results. They were pessimistic about the prospect for any agreement on corporate norms that could always help good guys and always thwart bad guys.”

      Survey respondents were addressing these questions in the fall of 2011. “The question was written with the Arab Spring and the Great Firewall of China in mind, but it was answered at the time of headlines about the Occupy movement and the Bay Area Rapid Transit shutdown of cell service to thwart rumored protests,” said Janna Anderson, director of Elon’s Imagining the Internet Center and study co-author. “This motivated a few respondents to point out that one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. The wide range of possible outcomes in the answers can be represented by these two opposing statements made by anonymous respondents: 1) ‘The development of the Internet as a complex adaptive system will continue and attempts by governments to control information will be thwarted by complexity.’ 2) ‘All governments will want a kill switch, just in case.’

      Pew: “The moral obligations and competing values of corporations have been debated since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution: How do corporate leaders drive for profit maximization while ethically meeting the needs of communities and citizens? In the age of globalization and worldwide communications revolutions, these issues have taken a new turn. Activists in democratic countries have tried to get governments and companies to halt or limit the sale to authoritarian regimes of technologies that can be used to track, target, jail, or kill dissidents.”

      Pew: “Consumers will respond badly if corporations do not work for the greater good; Internet builders will continue to push for free flows of information. Some respondents believe that the trends both in market behavior by conscientious citizens and in technology development will generally move in directions that help protestors and dissidents. … A large portion of respondents to this survey question did not sign their responses. Some of their answers were relatively optimistic about the scenario in the survey where companies are compelled not to help those who treat workers and dissidents harshly.”

      Pew: “People will find ways to route around bottlenecks and/or innovate new systems that foster rights and freedom. A number of respondents were less focused on specific corporations and their behaviors than they were on the larger forces driving the structure of digital networks. They think people have a decent chance to hack their way around surveillance problems or find alternative tools for sharing information with fellow travelers.”

      Pew: “It’s not easy to do right by everyone; corporate leaders prefer to avoid politics; when possible, they do their best to suit humanitarian goals. … Some of the answers focused on the balancing act that corporations must perform as they try to sell goods and services, follow the rules of governments and norms of local cultures, and burnish their brand reputations. Each of these imperatives can push firms in a different direction.”

      Pew: “Corporate leaders use all of the angles to gain optimal business advantage. Sometimes they follow pro-democratic norms; other times they play by authoritarian rules. They can also set up subsidiaries in messy situations. A more hard-eyed analysis came from respondents who argued that corporate behavior was more guided by opportunism than altruism.”

      Pew: “A corporation’s purpose is to maximize returns. Both businesses and governments leverage technologies to meet their basic goals. Some respondents argued that the basic structure of capitalism is what drives the process of how companies engage governments.”

      Pew: “It’s not a matter of Western nations and their norms vs. authoritarians. ‘Democratic’ countries want to filter, block, and censor the Internet, too. Tech companies see cooperating with governments as a necessity. Some respondents were swift to note that there is not a clean dichotomy between the liberal West and its firms on the one hand and authoritarian regimes in other parts of the world. The interest in monitoring citizen behavior and at times cracking down on communications, they argued, is an instinct of governments in all kinds of societies. Technology companies have their own reasons for complying with leaders who want to exercise control over citizen actions.”

      Pew: “The result by 2020 will be a mix of the scenarios. Companies will bend to governments’ requests in some cases and respond to public sympathy for dissidents and protesters in others. A number of respondents challenged the premise of the scenarios. Most said the likely 2020 outcome will be one of the following: things will remain pretty much the same as they are now; it will be a mix of these scenarios; leaders of democracies are just as likely to ask technology companies to block, censor, and spy as leaders of autocracies.”

      Pew: “Different regions of the world will continue to be defined by different principles and principals, and companies will be forced to adjust to that. Some respondents were focused on the contingent nature of company behavior in different environments and stressed that there were not-yet-clear forces at work in both Western countries and other places that will likely influence how tech companies operate outside their home countries. Things might change when people in the developing world are enabled by technologies to begin to operate on a level playing field. Some respondents say the billions who will benefit might be much more motivated toward economic benefit and survival than by the ideals of civil rights.”

      Pew: “Some warn that corporations could rival governments in influencing the digital future around the globe. A number of respondents took the view that firms, rather than governments, will eventually set the course of how protestors and dissidents might be treated.”

      Pew: “Some asked: How do we inspire freedom-enhancing practices? Through regulation? An organized global movement? Better childrearing? Several respondents mentioned the Global Network Initiative, a non-governmental organization formed in 2008 by a coalition of multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations, and universities to protect individual rights and prevent Internet censorship by authoritarian governments. Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo are active corporate participants, but survey respondents say it has not yet had significant impact.”

      Pew: “The scenarios presented in this question completely neglect other significant influences, locally, regionally, and globally. There were two other major themes that were most notably sounded by anonymous respondents. The first has to do with the limits and biases of the scenarios that were sketched out in the survey.”

      Pew: “Regulation, guidelines, standards, or principles may come to pass, but they won’t necessarily improve things. A second theme carried in a number of the unsigned answers was that there might not be a way for technology companies or anyone else to promote freedoms in authoritarian places.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:48 on 11. May 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Research, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Metaverse Research 

    Research in 3D virtual worlds and the Metaverse: current status and future possibilities; http://eicker.at/MetaverseResearch

    • Gerrit Eicker 09:48 on 11. May 2012 Permalink | Reply

      3D Virtual Worlds and the Metaverse – Current Status and Future Possibilities; Dionisio, Burns, Gilbert: “In the past three decades considerable progress has been made in moving from text-based multi-user virtual environments to the technical implementation of advanced virtual worlds that previously existed only in the literary imagination. …[P]rogressive capabilities enable them to serve as elaborate contexts for work, socialization, creativity, and play and to increasingly operate more like digital cultures than as games. Virtual world development now faces a major new challenge: how to move from a set of sophisticated, but completely independent, immersive environments to a massive, integrated network of 3D virtual worlds or Metaverse and establish a parallel context for human interaction and culture. …[C]entral elements of a fully-realized Metaverse: realism (enabling users to feel fully immersed in an alternative realm), ubiquity (establishing access to the system via all existing digital devices and maintaining the user’s virtual identity throughout all transitions within the system), interoperability (allowing 3D objects to be created and moved anywhere and users to have seamless, uninterrupted movement throughout the system) and scalability (permitting concurrent, efficient use of the system by massive numbers of users). … The first aspect of ubiquity – ubiquitous availability and access to virtual worlds – rides on the crest of developments in ubiquitous computing in general. As ubicomp has progressed, access to virtual worlds has begun to move beyond a stationary ‘desktop PC rig,’ expanding now into laptops, tablets, mobile devices, and augmented reality. … The second aspect – ubiquitous identity, or manifest persona – has emerged as multiple avenues of digital expression (blogs, social networks, photo/video hosting, etc.) have become increasingly widespread. … As long as virtual world developments move alongside general ubicomp developments, moving in and out of the Metaverse may become as convenient and fluid as browsing the Worldwide Web is today. … It is also possible that virtual worlds may take a leadership position in this regard, as virtual world artifacts may be more closely linked to one’s digital persona due to the immersive environment… Interoperability in virtual worlds currently exists as a loosely connected collection of information, format, and data standards, most of which focus on the transfer of 3D models/objects across virtual world environments. … [V]irtual world interoperability is not solely limited to 3D object transfer: true interoperability also involves communication protocol, locator, identity, and currency standards… The wide-ranging requirements and scope of digital assets involved in virtual worlds have the potential of making the Metaverse the ‘killer app’ that finally leads the charge toward seamless interoperability. … Scalability. Virtual world technologies are currently in an initial stage of departure from highly centralized system architectures… Going forward, an integrative phase is needed where the multiple independent research threads are brought together in complementary and cohesive ways to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. … Progress in virtual world scalability implies progress in the scalability of many other types of multiuser, multitiered systems. … There are several factors that promote optimism that a fully developed Metaverse can be achieved, as well as a number of significant constraints to realizing this goal. … [A] new generation accustomed to graphically rich, 3D digital environments [both virtual worlds and immersive games offered online and through consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox360, and Wii] is rapidly coming of age and will likely fuel continued development in all immersive digital platforms including advanced virtual worlds. … Along with forces that are propelling the development of the Metaverse forward, there are two significant barriers that may inhibit the pace or extent of this progress. The first pertains to current limits in computational methods related to virtual worlds. … In addition to conceptual and computational challenges, the development of the Metaverse may be constrained by significant economic and political barriers. Currently virtual worlds are dominated by proprietary platforms such as Second Life, Cryworld, Utherverse, IMVU, and World of Warcraft, or government-controlled worlds such as the China-based Hipihi. …[J]ust as the old walled gardens of AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy were instrumental in expanding Internet usage early on, but ultimately became an inhibitory force in the development of the Worldwide Web, these proprietary and state-based virtual world platforms have sparked initial growth but now risk constraining innovation and advancement. … [T]he advancement of a fully-realized Metaverse would likely be maximized by harnessing the same process of collective effort and mass innovation that was instrumental in the creation and expansion of the Web.

  • Gerrit Eicker 16:58 on 2. March 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Research, , , , , , , , , , , ,   


    Pew: What does hyperconnectivity mean today and for the future of individuals and society? http://eicker.at/Hyperconnectivity

    • Gerrit Eicker 16:59 on 2. March 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia: “Hyperconnectivity is a term invented by Canadian social scientists Anabel Quan-Haase and Barry Wellman, arising from their studies of person-to-person and person-to-machine communication in networked organizations and networked societies. The term refers to the use of multiple means of communication, such as email, instant messaging, telephone, face-to-face contact and Web 2.0 information services. – Hyperconnectivity is also a trend in computer networking in which all things that can or should communicate through the network will communicate through the network. This encompasses person-to-person, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication. The trend is fueling large increases in bandwidth demand and changes in communications because of the complexity, diversity and integration of new applications and devices using the network.”

      Pew: “Teens and young adults brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and who approach problems in a different way from their elders, according to a new survey of technology experts. – Many of the experts surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Internet Project said the effects of hyperconnectivity and the always-on lifestyles of young people will be mostly positive between now and 2020. But the experts in this survey also predicted this generation will exhibit a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience, and a lack of deep-thinking ability due to what one referred to as ‘fast-twitch wiring.'”

      Pew: “These experts predicted that the impact of networked living on today’s young will drive them to thirst for instant gratification, settle for quick choices, and lack patience. A number of the survey respondents argued that it is vital to reform education and emphasize digital literacy. A notable number expressed concerns that trends are leading to a future in which most people are shallow consumers of information, and some mentioned George Orwell’s 1984 or expressed their fears of control by powerful interests in an age of entertaining distractions.

      Pew: “Some 55% agreed with the statement: ‘In 2020 the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are ‘wired’ differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields helpful results. They do not suffer notable cognitive shortcomings as they multitask and cycle quickly through personal- and work-related tasks. Rather, they are learning more and they are more adept at finding answers to deep questions, in part because they can search effectively and access collective intelligence via the internet. In sum, the changes in learning behavior and cognition among the young generally produce positive outcomes.‘”

      Pew: “This is the next positive step in human evolution: We become ‘persistent paleontologists of our external memories’ – Most of the survey respondents with the largest amount of expertise in this subject area said changes in learning behavior and cognition will generally produce positive outcomes. … One of the world’s best-known researchers of teens and young adults-danah boyd of Microsoft Research – said there is no doubt that most people who are using the new communications technologies are experiencing the first scenario as they extend themselves into cyberspace. … Amber Case, cyberanthropologist and CEO of Geoloqi, agreed: ‘The human brain is wired to adapt to what the environment around it requires for survival. Today and in the future it will not be as important to internalize information but to elastically be able to take multiple sources of information in, synthesize them, and make rapid decisions. … Memories are becoming hyperlinks to information triggered by keywords and URLs.‘ … William Schrader, a consultant who founded PSINet in the 1980s, expressed unbridled hope. ‘A new page is being turned in human history, and while we sometimes worry and most of the time stand amazed at how fast (or how slowly) things have changed, the future is bright for our youth worldwide…’ David Weinberger, senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet und Society, says values will evolve alongside the evolution in ways of thinking and knowing. ‘Whatever happens,’ he wrote, ‘we won’t be able to come up with an impartial value judgment because the change in intellect will bring about a change in values as well.’ Alex Halavais, an associate professor and internet researcher at Quinnipiac University, agreed. ‘We will think differently, and a large part of that will be as a result of being capable of exploiting a new communicative environment…‘”

      Pew: “Negative effects include a need for instant gratification, loss of patience – A number of the survey respondents who are young people in the under-35 age group – the central focus of this research question – shared concerns about changes in human attention and depth of discourse among those who spend most or all of their waking hours under the influence of hyperconnectivity. – Alvaro Retana, a distinguished technologist with Hewlett-Packard, expressed concerns about humans’ future ability to tackle complex challenges. ‘The short attention spans resulting from the quick interactions will be detrimental to focusing on the harder problems, and we will probably see a stagnation in many areas: technology, even social venues such as literature…‘ Masiclat said social systems will evolve to offer even more support to those who can implement deep-thinking skills. ‘The impact of a future ‘re-wiring’ due to the multitasking and short-term mindset will be mostly negative not because it will reflect changes in the physical nature of thinking, but because the social incentives for deep engagement will erode…‘ However, students who participated in the survey tended to express concerns about their peers’ ability to get beyond short-burst connections to information. … Annette Liska, an emerging-technologies design expert, observed, ‘The idea that rapidity is a panacea for improved cognitive, behavioral, and social function is in direct conflict with topical movements that believe time serves as a critical ingredient in the ability to adapt, collaborate, create, gain perspective, and many other necessary (and desirable) qualities of life…‘ Bruce Nordman, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and active leader in the Internet Engineering Task Force, expressed concerns over people’s information diets, writing: ‘The overall effect will be negative, based on my own experience with technology, attention, and deep thinking (I am 49), and observing my children and others. I see the effect of television as a primary example, in which people voluntarily spend large amounts of time in mentally unhealthy activity…‘”

      Pew: “The result is likely to be a wide-ranging mix of positives and negatives – and not just for young people – Many survey participants said always-on connectivity to global information is a double-edged sword. Dave Rogers, managing editor of Yahoo Kids, observed that there will be winners and losers as this technology evolves. ‘Certainly,’ he noted, ‘there will be some teens and young adults who will suffer cognitive difficulties from unhealthy use of the internet, Web, social media, games, and mobile technology. These problems will arise not because of the technology but because of wholly inadequate adult guidance, training, and discipline over young people’s use of the technology. But most teens and young adults will prosper as described in the first option. … The learning and cognitive development made possible by tablets is much more ‘natural,’ more in keeping with the evolutionary-driven development of young minds because it is so much less dependent upon cognitive skills that the youngest children have not yet developed…’ Computing pioneer and ACM Fellow Bob Frankston predicted that people will generally take all of this in stride. ‘We will renorm to the new tools,’ he said. ‘We have always had mall rats and we’ve had explorers. Ideally, people will improve their critical thinking skills to use the available raw information. More likely, fads will continue.‘ … Martin D. Owens, an attorney and author of Internet Gaming Law, also pointed out the dual effects of humans’ uses of technologies, writing, ‘Good people do good things with their access to the internet and social media – witness the profusion of volunteer and good cause apps and programs which are continually appearing, the investigative journalism, the rallying of pro-democracy forces across the world. Bad people do bad things with their internet access…‘ Jessica Clark, a media strategist and senior fellow for two U.S. communications technology research centers, was among many who observed that there’s nothing new about concerns over teens and evolving ways they create content and share it. ‘History is a progression of older people tut-tutting over the media production and consumption habits of those younger than them and holding tightly to the belief that the technologies of communication they grew up with are intellectually or culturally superior…‘”

      Pew: “This could have a significant impact on politics, power and control … Jesse Drew, an associate professor of technocultural studies at the University of California-Davis, echoed Braman. ‘My fear is that though their cognitive ability will not be impaired, their ability to think critically will be, and they will be far more susceptible to manipulation…‘ John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, observed: ‘The world is becoming more complex, and yet both old media (e.g., cable TV news) and new media (e.g., Twitter) are becoming increasingly simplistic. What passes for politics is increasingly a charade detached from actual governance.‘ – Paul Gardner-Stephen, a telecommunications fellow at Flinders University, said the underlying issue is that people will become dependent upon accessing the internet in order to solve problems and conduct their personal, professional, and civic lives. ‘Thus centralised powers that can control access to the internet will be able to significantly control future generations…’ … Fernando Botelho, an international consultant on technology and development, expressed concerns about humans’ tendencies to sort themselves in ways that may cause friction. ‘Humanity needs no additional help in dividing itself into groups that exclude more than include,’ he wrote. ‘The best way to unite millions and divide billions is nationalism, but the reality is that religion, politics, and so many other mental frameworks can do it just as effectively, and the internet enables much more narrowly targeted divisions so that we are not divided anymore into less than 200 national territories or three or four major religions, but into thousands or even millions of subgroups that challenge us to avoid the tragedy of the commons at a global level.'”

      Pew: “Many argue that reinvention and reform of education is the key to a better future – Respondents often pointed to formal educational systems as the key driver toward a positive and effective transition to taking full advantage of the fast-changing digital-knowledge landscape. … David Saer, a foresight researcher for Fast Future, said he’s a young adult who predicts a positive evolution but, ‘education will need to adapt to the wide availability of information, and concentrate on teaching sifting skills.’ … Larry Lannom, director of information management technology and vice president at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, said, ‘People must be taught to think critically and how to focus. If they are, then the network is a rich source of information. If they aren’t, then it will be a source of misinformation and mindless distraction…‘ Tin Tan Wee, an internet expert based at the National University of Singapore, estimates a slow movement to try to adapt to deal with the likely divide. ‘After 2020,’ he predicted, ‘more-enlightened educators will start developing curricula designed to tap a post-internet era. After 2030, educational systems, primarily private ones, will demonstrate superior outcomes on a wider scale. After 2040, governments will start realising this problem, and public examination systems will emerge.‘”

      Pew: “Teachers express many concerns; you can feel the tension in their words – A number of people who identified themselves as teachers answered this question as anonymous respondents and most of them expressed frustration and concern for today’s students. Several noted that they have seen things ‘getting worse’ over the past decade. Is this at least partially due to the fact that they are still trying to educate these highly connected young people through antiquated approaches? Perhaps those who have argued for education reform would think so.

      Pew: “Widening divide? There’s a fear the rich will get richer, the poor poorer – Teens expert Danah Boyd raised concerns about a looming divide due to the switch in how young people negotiate the world. ‘Concentrated focus takes discipline, but it’s not something everyone needs to do,’ she wrote, ‘unfortunately, it is what is expected of much of the working-class labor force. I suspect we’re going to see an increased class division around labor and skills and attention.‘ – Barry Parr, owner and analyst for MediaSavvy, echoed boyd’s concern about a widening divide. ‘Knowledge workers and those inclined to be deep thinkers will gain more cognitive speed and leverage,’ he said, ‘but, the easily distracted will not become more adept at anything. History suggests that on balance people will adapt to the new order. The greatest negative outcome will be that the split in adaptation will exacerbate existing trends toward social inequality.‘ … Alan Bachers, director of the Neurofeedback Foundation, said society must prepare now for the consequences of the change we are already beginning to see. ‘The presence of breadth rather than depth of cognitive processing will definitely change everything – education, work, recreation…‘ Tin Tan Wee, an internet expert based at the National University of Singapore, noted: ‘The smart people who can adapt to the internet will become smarter, while the rest, probably the majority, will decline. Why? The reason is simple. Current educational methods evolved to their current state mostly pre-internet. The same goes for a generation of teachers who will continue to train yet another generation of kids the old way. The same goes for examination systems, which carry out assessment based on pre-internet skills. This mismatch will cause declension in a few generations of cohorts. Those who are educated and re-educable in the internet way will reap the benefits of the first option. Most of the world will suffer the consequence of the second. The intellectual divide will increase. This in turn fuels the educational divide because only the richer can afford internet access with mobile devices at effective speeds.'”

      Pew: “Some say the use of tech tools has no influence in the brain’s ‘wiring’ – Well-known blogger, author, and communications professor Jeff Jarvis said we are experiencing a transition from a textual era and this is altering the way we think, not the physiology of our brains. ‘I don’t buy the punchline but I do buy the joke,’ he wrote. ‘I do not believe technology will change our brains and how we are ‘wired.’ But it can change how we cognate and navigate our world. We will adapt and find the benefits in this change.‘ … Jim Jansen, an associate professor of information science and technology at Penn State University and a member of the boards of eight international technology journals, noted, ‘I disagree with the opening phrase: ‘In 2020 the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are ‘wired’ differently from those over age 35.’ I find it hard to believe that hard wiring, evolved over millions of years can be re-wired. We can learn to use tools that impact the way we view things, but to say this is wiring is incorrect.‘ … Some analysts framed their arguments in more general terms and argued that there will not be significant cognitive change.”

      Pew: “Questioning the idea of multitasking; some define it to be impossible – Multitasking is a common act among today’s teens and 20s set. The semantics of the word have been argued, with many saying it is not possible to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. … ‘Regarding the word ‘multitasking,’ cognitive, behavioral, and neurological sciences are moving toward a consensus that such a state does not actually exist in the human brain,’ observed emerging technology designer Annette Liska. ‘We may make many quick ‘thoughts’ in succession, but human performance in any activity that is done without focus (often termed ‘multitasking’) is of significantly lower quality, including an absence of quality and consciousness. The word unfortunately perpetuates a false ideal of the human capacity to perform and succeed.’ … ‘I agree with all of those who say that multitasking is nothing more than switching endlessly from one thought to another-no one can think two things at once – but I don’t agree that this kind of attention-switching is destructive or unhealthy for young minds,’ added Susan Crawford, professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and formerly on the White House staff. ‘It’s just the way the world works now, and digital agility is a basic skill for everyone…’ Gina Maranto, a co-director in the graduate program at the University of Miami, said information multitasking is not a new phenomenon. ‘My father, a corporate editor, used to watch television, read magazines, and listen to the radio at the same time long before computers, cellphones, or iPads,’ she said. ‘On the whole, I believe access to information and to new techniques for manipulating data (e.g., visualization) enhance learning and understanding rather than negatively impact them…‘”

      Pew: “Contrary to popular belief, young people are not digital wizards – David Ellis, director of communications studies at York University in Toronto, has a front-row seat to observe how hyperconnectivity seems to be influencing young adults. He said it makes them less productive and adds that most of them do not understand the new digital tools or how to use them effectively. ‘The idea that Millennials have a cognitive advantage over their elders is based on myths about multitasking, the skill-sets of digital natives, and 24/7 connectedness,’ he commented. ‘Far from having an edge in learning, I see Millennials as increasingly trapped by the imperatives of online socializing and the opportunities offered by their smartphones to communicate from any place, any time.‘”

      Pew: “Hello! AOADD (Always-On Attention Deficit Disorder) is age-defying – Rich Osborne, senior IT innovator at the University of Exeter in the UK, said his own life and approaches to informing and being informed have changed due to the influence of hyperconnectivity. ‘As I am in possession of just about every technical device you can name and I am using just about every cloud service you can think of, you’d think I’d be all for this,’ he observed. ‘But I’ve started to wonder about how all this use of technology is affecting me. I strongly suspect it’s actually making me less able to construct more complex arguments in written form, for example – or at the very least it is certainly making such construction harder for me. Of course it might be other issues, stress at work, getting older, interests changing, any number of things – but underlying all these possibilities is the conscious knowledge that my information-consumption patterns have become bitty and immediate.’ … Heidi McKee, an associate professor of English at Miami University, said, ‘Nearly 20 years ago everyone was saying how teens were going to be wired differently, but when you look at surveys done by Pew, AARP, and others, older adults possess just as much ability and desire to communicate and connect with all available means.‘”

      Pew: “No matter what the tech, it all comes down to human nature – Human tendencies drive human uses of technology tools. Many of the people participating in this survey emphasized the importance of the impact of basic human instincts and motivations. – Some survey respondents observed that all new tools initially tend to be questioned and feared by some segment of the public. Socrates, for instance, lamented about the scourge of writing implements and their likely threat to the future of intelligent discourse. In his response to this survey question, Christopher J. Ferguson, a professor from Texas AundM whose research specialty is technologies’ effects on human behavior, noted, ‘The tendency to moralize and fret over new media seems to be wired into us.Societal reaction to new media seems to fit into a pattern described by moral panic theory. Just as with older forms of media, from dime novels to comic books to rock and roll, some politicians and scholars can always be found to proclaim the new media to be harmful, often in the most hyperbolic terms. Perhaps we’ll learn from these past mistakes?‘”

      Pew: “The most-desired skills of 2020 will be… Survey respondents say there’s still value to be found in traditional skills but new items are being added to the menu of most-desired capabilities. ‘Internet literacy‘ was mentioned by many people. The concept generally refers to the ability to search effectively for information online and to be able to discern the quality and veracity of the information one finds and then communicate these findings well. … Collective intelligence, crowd-sourcing, smart mobs, and the ‘global brain’ are some of the descriptive phrases tied to humans working together to accomplish things in a collaborative manner online. Internet researcher and software designer Fred Stutzman said the future is bright for people who take advantage of their ability to work cooperatively through networked communication. ‘The sharing, tweeting, and status updating of today are preparing us for a future of ad hoc, always-on collaboration,’ he wrote. ‘The skills being honed on social networks today will be critical tomorrow, as work will be dominated by fast-moving, geographically diverse, free-agent teams of workers connected via socially mediating technologies.‘ … Jeffrey Alexander, senior science and technology policy analyst at SRI International’s Center for Science, Technology und Economic Development, said, ‘As technological and organizational innovation comes to depend on integrating and reconfiguring existing and new knowledge to solve problems, digital and computational thinking will become more and more valuable and useful. While digital thinking may lead to excessive multitasking and a reduction in attention span, the human brain can adapt to this new pattern in stimuli and can compensate for the problems that the pattern may cause in the long run…’ Barry Chudakov, a research fellow in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, said the challenge we’re facing is maintaining and deepening ‘integrity, the state of being whole and undivided,’ noting: ‘There will be a premium on the skill of maintaining presence, of mindfulness, of awareness in the face of persistent and pervasive tool extensions and incursions into our lives…‘”

      Pew: “It is difficult to tell what we will see by 2020, as people and tools evolve – Duane Degler, principal consultant at Design for Context, a designer of large-scale search facilities and interactive applications for clients such as the National Archives and Verisign, said we’re already witnessing a difference in cognitive abilities and perceptions dependent upon the information/communication tools people are using, and not just among the under-35 set. ‘One thing these scenarios don’t speak to,’ he noted, ‘is the degree to which the tools themselves are likely to recede further into the background, where they become a part of a fabric for how people carry out tasks and communicate. This is likely to be a result of both technology (pervasive computing, context-aware interactions) and a settling in of personal/social habits. As a result, the dominant social and information behaviors are likely to be influenced by other factors that we can’t yet see, in the same way current social and information behaviors are now being influenced by capabilities that are predominantly five years (or at most ten years) old.’ … New York-based technology and communications consultant Stowe Boyd noted, ‘Our society’s concern with the supposed negative impacts of the internet will seem very old-fashioned in a decade, like Socrates bemoaning the downside of written language, or the 1950’s fears about Elvis Presley’s rock-and-roll gyrations. As the internet becomes a part of everything, like electricity has today, we will hardly notice it: it won’t be ‘technology’ anymore, but just ‘the world.’‘”

  • Gerrit Eicker 15:02 on 25. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Research, , , , , , , , , , ,   


    Pew: 87% Americans own a cell phone, 35% own a smartphone, 19% a tablet, 19% an eReader; http://eicker.at/Mobile

    • Gerrit Eicker 15:03 on 25. February 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Pew: “Currently, 87% of American adults have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an e-book reader, and 19% have a tablet computer; about six in ten adults (63%) go online wirelessly with one of those devices. … Among cell phone owners, 42% own a smartphone as of May 2011. This means that 35% of all American adults own a smartphone. … The financially well-off and well-educated – 59% of adults living in a household earning income of $75,000 or more are smartphone owners; 48% of those with a college degree own smartphones. Those under the age of 45 – 58% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 now own a smartphone as do 49% of those ages 18-24 and 44% of those ages 35-44. … 87% of smartphone owners use their phones to access the internet or email, with 78% of these users saying that they go online using their phone on a typical day. … As of August 2011, half of U.S. adult cell phone owners (50%) now have apps on their phones. … The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period. … Texting and picture-taking are the most common mobile phone activities – 73% of cell owners engage in each of these – followed by sending photos or videos to others (54%) and accessing the internet (44%).”

  • Gerrit Eicker 14:40 on 13. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Research, , , , , , , ,   

    Online News and Advertising 

    PEJ: Online advertising on news sites is still not targeted, neither by context nor behavior; http://eicker.at/NewsAdvertising

    • Gerrit Eicker 14:40 on 13. February 2012 Permalink | Reply

      PEJ, Who Advertises on News Sites and How Much Those Ads are Targeted: “A new study of advertising in news by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that, currently, even the top news websites in the country have had little success getting advertisers from traditional platforms to move online. The digital advertising they do get appears to be standard ads that are available across many websites. And with only a handful of exceptions, the ads on news sites tend not to be targeted based on the interests of users, the strategy that many experts consider key to the future of digital revenue. – Of the 22 news operations studied for this report, only three showed significant levels of targeting. A follow-up evaluation six months later found that two more sites had shown some movement in this direction, but only some, from virtually no targeting to a limited amount on inside pages. By contrast, highly targeted advertising is already a key component of the business model of operations such as Google and Facebook.

      PEJ, Who is Placing Ads? – “Who is buying ads on news sites? The answer reveals part of the trouble the news industry is having findings its way in the new marketplace. Across these 22 news sites, the biggest single advertiser is the news organization itself or its parent. Ads promoting the organization’s own products, known as ‘in-house ads’ in industry terms, accounted for 21% of the online ads studied – more than any category. … The magazine websites studied here (time.com, newsweek.com, economist.com and theatlantic.com) ran the largest percentage of in-house ads, fully 50% overall, from economist.com at 40.1% on the low end to time.com at 56% at the high end. In the print version of these magazines, by contrast, 10% of the ads were promoting the magazine or its company (Time magazine 11%, The Economist 13%, Newsweek 4%, and The Atlantic’s print edition contained no self-promoting ads). – Newspapers contained the second-highest level of self-referencing advertising, 21% of the Web-based ads versus 9% of their print ads. … For these print-related outlets, though, the heavy reliance on self-promoted ads could reflect two different factors. First, the newspaper industry still relies on its print product for the vast majority of its ad revenues. At the end of 2010 (the latest data available) fully 88% of overall newspaper revenue came from the print product versus just 12% from the Web. … Another phenomenon could be the inability of the industry to draw advertisers-and thereby ad revenue-to their online space.

      PEJ, The Financial Industry: “The second biggest category of advertising online was one that played a fairly small role for news in legacy platforms, the financial industry. Ads for financial products or services accounted for 18% of all Web ads captured, more than triple that of the next biggest category, toiletries and cosmetics (5%). And on more than half of the sites, 12 out of 22, financial ads ranked first-above self-promotion. … These numbers stand in contrast with the small role financial advertising plays in most of the legacy platforms studied. Only magazines contained more financial industry advertising in their original platform than online.

      PEJ, Targeting: “The customization or targeting of ads based on audience data is one of the newer ways to serve advertisers interests-helping those selling goods to reach consumers perceived to be the most likely to be interested in and thus to act on their ads. In targeted advertising, in other words, the ads one person gets will differ from what another person receives, depending on their online purchase history, location and/or personal habits, even if they click on the same website at essentially the same time. … Overall, only a handful of sites exhibited high levels of targeting. A few more had a moderate level of targeting. Most showed no signs of targeting at all. … Overall, just three of the 22 sites exhibited high levels of targeting, defined here as at least 45% of the ads were different from one user to the next. … One question that emerges is whether targeting has more or less natural appeal on some websites than others. In other words, do national sites with their larger and more diverse audience pools lend themselves more naturally than smaller sites to the benefits of ad targeting? … Finally, on a few sites, there was evidence of another method of targeting-not according to users but according to news story. On a number of occasions, there was a close relationship between the content of the story and the ads displayed.

      PEJ, Use of Discount Sites/Coupons: “About half of the sites studied, 16 of the 22, carried some discount/coupon advertising. But on only five did discount ads make up more than 10% of all the ads studied. For the most part, sites that created their own discount programs tended to rely on these ads more. … Among nationally oriented sites, Yahoo News carried the greatest percentage of discount/coupon advertising, 15% of the ads studied. The majority of these were from the national services Groupon and LivingSocial. – The other two sites with the highest use of discount advertising, the Toledo Blade and Los Angeles Times, have created their own daily deal operations to compete with the national companies. … These were the only two sites in our sample that had tried their own daily deal style business, but they are certainly not alone. Various papers now have their own Groupon-like services…”

      PEJ, Format: “That leaves banner ads, classifieds, video and rich media as the four main kinds of ads news sites can offer advertisers. – Banner ads, the oldest form of advertising on the internet, make up the second largest percentage of ads on the internet (24% of total online advertising revenue). Going forward, most market analysts expect banner ads will represent a smaller portion of online advertising than search, but the category is still expected to grow. For instance, eMarketer predicts that banner ads will increase from $7.6 billion in 2011 to $11.7 by 2015, a bright spot for the news online. … Across these 22 news sites, that same tendency toward banner ads emerged; static banner ads made up nearly half (46%) of all the ads on news websites. Some differences in the style of ads used did emerge-mostly according to the legacy media genre, though individual sites did at times stand apart from their media brethren. … The Washington Post, on the other hand, relied on banner ads for just 18% of the ads studied. Instead, the site used sponsored links far more than others, 66%. Two other national papers, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, also used sponsored links more than static banner ads.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 16:03 on 10. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Altruism, , , , , , Emotional Climate, , , , , , , Nastiness, , , Offensive Images, Offensive Language, , , Personal Outcome, , , , Research, , , Social Climate, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Social in Social Networking 

    How social are social networkers? Pew: The tone of life and social climate on social networking sites; http://eicker.at/Social

    • Gerrit Eicker 16:04 on 10. February 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Pew: “The overall social and emotional climate of social networking sites (SNS) is a very positive one where adult users get personal rewards and satisfactions at far higher levels than they encounter anti-social people or have ill consequences from their encounters. A nationally representative phone survey of American adults finds that: 85% of SNS-using adults say that their experience on the sites is that people are mostly kind, compared with 5% who say people they observe on the sites are mostly unkind and another 5% who say their answer depends on the situation. 68% of SNS users said they had an experience that made them feel good about themselves. 61% had experiences that made them feel closer to another person. (Many said they had both experiences.) 39% of SNS-using adults say they frequently see acts of generosity by other SNS users and another 36% say they sometimes see others behaving generously and helpfully. By comparison, 18% of SNS-using adults say they see helpful behavior ‘only once in a while’ and 5% say they never see generosity exhibited by others on social networking sites.”

      Pew, The tone of life on social networking sites: “At the same time, notable proportions of SNS users do witness bad behavior on those sites and nearly a third have experienced some negative outcomes from their experiences on social networking sites. Some 49% of SNS-using adults said they have seen mean or cruel behavior displayed by others at least occasionally. And 26% said they had experienced at least one of the bad outcomes that were queried in the survey. Those bad outcomes were: 15% of adult SNS users said they had an experience on the site that ended their friendship with someone. 12% of adult SNS users had an experience that resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone. 11% of adult SNS users had an experience on the site that caused a problem with their family. 3% of SNS-using adults said they had gotten into a physical fight with someone based on an experience they had on the site. 3% of adult SNS users said their use of the site had gotten them in trouble at work because of something that happened on the site. In addition, 13% of adult SNS users said that someone had acted in a mean or cruel way towards them on a social networking site in the past 12 months. Adults are generally more positive and less negative than teens about the behavior of others and their own experiences on social networking sites.”

      Pew, The social climate of social networking sites: “White adult SNS users were more likely than blacks to report their overall experience was one of kindness in social networking spaces (88% vs. 77%), and black SNS users were more likely than whites to report that unkindness was the prevalent tone (12% vs. 3%).”

      Pew, Altruism vs. nastiness: “Some 39% of adult SNS users said they frequently saw acts of generosity, 36% said they sometimes saw it, 18% said they saw it ‘only once in a while’ and 5% said they never saw it. … When it came to unpleasant behavior on SNS, adults have seen their share, but it tends to be evident to them far less frequently than it is to teen SNS users. … Some 49% of SNS-using adults said they saw mean or cruel behavior displayed by others at least occasionally, far lower than the 88% of SNS-using teens who said they had seen mean or cruel behavior at some point.”

      Pew, Offensive language and images: “Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they encountered such offensive content or language only once in a while or never. Specifically, the responses were: 11% of adult SNS users said they saw people using such language and images frequently, 15% said they saw others using such language and images sometimes, 38% said they saw others using such language and images only once in a while, 35% said they never saw others using such language and images. – Minorities, women, parents of minor children, and Millennials were the most likely to encounter offensive language, images, or humor.

      Pew, Positive and negative personal outcomes: “Some 76% of the SNS users said they had at least one of the positive outcomes we queried. Specifically: 68% of adult SNS users said they had an experience on the site that made them feel good about themselves, 61% of adult SNS users said they had an experience that made them feel closer to another person. … On the negative side, 26% said they had experienced at least one of the bad outcomes that were queried in the survey. Again, adult experiences on SNS are less likely to be harmful than the teen experience: 41% of SNS-using teens reported they had at least one negative outcome. … Among adults, some of these anti-social experiences are most prevalent among SNS users in the Millennials generation. This cohort of those between the ages of 18 and 34 was twice as likely as its elders to report that a friendship had ended because of an SNS experience – 21% of SNS-using Millennials said that had happened to them, compared with 11% of all other SNS users.”

      Pew, What adults do when they see problems on social networking sites: “It turns out that compared to teen SNS users, adults are somewhat more likely to stand back, not get involved, and ignore the offensive behavior. – For instance, 45% of adult SNS users who have witnessed problems say they frequently ignore offensive behavior on social network sites, compared with 35% of SNS-using teens who say they frequently ignore offensive behavior. Some 34% of adult SNS users say they never confront the person being offensive, compared with 21% of SNS-using teens who never take that step. … Unlike many other aspects of social networking site use, age does not matter when it comes to people’s personal responses when they witness mean or offensive behavior. Young and old have similar patterns of response. However, there is a split when it comes to the behavior of men and women. Men are more likely to ignore a problem they see on a social networking site and women are more likely to respond.”

      Pew, What SNS users see others doing when someone comes under attack on a social networking site: “When it comes to the general tone of conversation and interactions on social networking sites, adults often see others ignoring the problems: 45% of SNS-using adults who have witnessed mean or offensive behavior say it is frequently their observation that others just ignore the offensive behavior and another 28% say that others sometimes ignore the offensive behavior. Teen SNS users were even more likely than that to say they observed that others ignored the harassment: 55% of the teens who had seen mean behavior on SNS said that was frequently the response they witnessed. … The one noteworthy demographic factor here is that younger SNS users who had witnessed anti-social behavior on the sites are much more likely to see others join in harassment of someone on SNS than older site users.”

      Pew, Second thoughts about posting on social networking sites: “We asked all the online adults in our sample if they had ever decided not to post something online because they were concerned that it might reflect badly on them and 45% reported they had made that kind of decision. Interestingly enough, a greater share of online teens – 55% – had made a similar decision. – Among the online adults who were most likely to decide not to post something because of its impact on their reputation: Millennials (59%), those who live in households earning $75,000 or more (54%), and those with college degrees (51%).”

  • Gerrit Eicker 14:39 on 3. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Facebook Activity, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Research, Self-branding, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Facebook Friendship 

    Pew: Most Facebook users receive more from their Facebook friends than they give; http://eicker.at/FacebookFriendship

    • Gerrit Eicker 14:39 on 3. February 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Pew: “New study that for the first time combines server logs of Facebook activity with survey data to explore the structure of Facebook friendship networks and measures of social well-being. – These data were then matched with survey responses. And the new findings show that over a one-month period: 40% of Facebook users in our sample made a friend request, but 63% received at least one request, Users in our sample pressed the like button next to friends’ content an average of 14 times, but had their content ‘liked’ an average of 20 times, Users sent 9 personal messages, but received 12, 12% of users tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo … ‘The explanation for this pattern is fascinating for a couple of reasons,’ noted Prof. Keith Hampton, the lead author of the Pew Internet report, Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give. ‘First, it turns out there are segments of Facebook power users who contribute much more content than the typical user. Most Facebook users are moderately active over a one month time period, so highly active power users skew the average. Second, these power users constitute about 20%-30% of Facebook users, but the striking thing is that there are different power users depending on the activity in question. One group of power users dominates friending activity. Another dominates ‘liking’ activity. And yet another dominates photo tagging.'”

      Pew, Power Users: “Women are more intense contributors of content on Facebook than are men. In our sample, the average female user made 21 updates to their Facebook status in the month of observation, while the average male made six. – Facebook users average seven new friends a month: While most users did not initiate a friend request during the month we looked at their activities, and most received only one, an active 19% of users initiated friendship requests at least once per week. Because of the prolific friending activity of this top 19%, the average (mean) number of friend requests accepted was three and the average number accepted from others was four. Overall, some 80% of friend requests that were initiated were reciprocated. … Facebook users have the ability to unsubscribe from seeing the content contributed by some friends on their newsfeed. Less than 5% of users in our sample hid another user’s content from their feed in the month of our observation.

      Pew, Friends of Friends: “Your friends on Facebook have more friends than you do: In this sample of Facebook users, the average person has 245 friends. However, the average friend of a person in this sample has 359 Facebook friends. The finding, that people’s friends have more friends than they do, was nearly universal (as it is for friendship networks off of Facebook). Only those in our sample who had among the 10% largest friends lists (over 780 friends) had friends who on average had smaller networks than their own. – Facebook friends are sparsely interconnected: It is commonly the case in people’s offline social networks that a friend of a friend is your friend, too. But on Facebook this is the exception, not the rule. … As an example, if you were the average Facebook user from our sample with 245 friends, there are 29,890 possible friendship ties among those in your network. For the average user with 245 friends, 12% of the maximum 29,890 friendship linkages exist between friends. … At two degrees of separation (friends-of-friends), Facebook users in our sample can on average reach 156,569 other Facebook users.”

      Pew, Social Well-Being: “Making friends on Facebook is associated with higher levels of social support. Those who made the most frequent status updates also received more emotional support. … One key finding is that Facebook users who received more friend requests and those that accepted more of those friend requests tended to report that they received more social support/assistance from friends (on and offline). … There is a statistically positive correlation between frequency of tagging Facebook friends in photos, as well as being added to a Facebook group, and knowing people with more diverse backgrounds off of Facebook. … Those users from our sample who are intensive Facebook users are more likely to report that they attended a political meeting or rally. … Among these users, participation in Facebook groups, either by being added to a group or adding someone else, is associated with trying to influence someone to vote in a specific way.”

      Pew, Facebook Activity: “A consistent trend in our analysis is the lack of symmetry in Facebook activities. On average, Facebook users in our sample received more than they gave in terms of friendships and feedback on the content that is shared in Facebook. However, these averages need to be interpreted in context. This imbalance is driven by the activity of a subset of Facebook users who tend to be more engaged with the Facebook site than the typical user. – Our findings suggest that while most Facebook users in our sample were moderately active over a one-month time period, there is a subset of Facebook users who are disproportionately more active. They skew the average. … In general, men were more likely to send friend requests, and women were more likely to receive them. However, we did not find a statistical difference in the mean number of friend requests sent, received, or accepted between men and women. … Use of the like button is unequally distributed. Because of the intensive activity of the 30% of power users, the people in our sample pressed the like button next to friends’ content on an average of 14 occasions during the month and received feedback from friends in the form of a ‘like’ 20 times during the month. … Friendship numbers drive Facebook activity: Those who have more Facebook friends tend to send and accept more friend requests, receive more friend requests, and have more friend requests accepted. They ‘like’ their friends’ content more frequently, and are ‘liked’ more in return.”

      Pew, The Structure of Frienship: “As the common saying goes, a friend of a friend is a friend. But on Facebook this is the exception rather than the rule. … A network density of .12 is low in comparison to studies of people’s overall personal networks. A 1992 study found a density of .36 between people’s offline social ties. We suspect that Facebook networks are of lower density because of their ability to allow ties that might otherwise have gone dormant to remain persistent over time. … We expect that new Facebook users typically start with a core group of close, interconnected friends, but over time their friends list becomes larger and less intertwined, particularly as they discover (and are discovered by) more distant friends from different parts and different times in their lives. … How can it be that people’s friends almost always have more friends than they do? This little known phenomenon of friendship networks was first explained by a sociologist Scott Feld. Not just on Facebook, in general and off of Facebook, people are more likely to be friends with someone who has more friends than with someone who has fewer.

  • Gerrit Eicker 15:34 on 31. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Mobile Business, , Mobile Shopping, , , , , , Research, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Mobile Commerce 

    Pew: 52% of adult cell phone owners make their in-store decisions mobile, 19% purchase online; http://eicker.at/MobileCommerce

    • Gerrit Eicker 15:35 on 31. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Pew: “More than half of adult cell phone owners used their cell phones while they were in a store during the 2011 holiday season to seek help with purchasing decisions. During a 30 day period before and after Christmas: 38% of cell owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making, 24% of cell owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store, 25% of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else… Taken together, just over half (52%) of all adult cell owners used their phone for at least one of these three reasons over the holiday shopping season and one third (33%) used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store – either product reviews or pricing information.”

      Pew: “There are a number of demographic patterns in these survey findings. Specifically: Cell owners ages 18-49 are significantly more likely to use their phones for online product reviews than are cell owners ages 50 and older. Cell owners ages 65 and older are especially unlikely to do this-just 4% did so this holiday season. Urban and suburban cell owners are roughly twice as likely as rural cell owners to have recently used their phone to look up online reviews of a product they found in a physical store. Non-white cell owners are more likely than white cell owners to look up online product reviews, and those who have attended college are more likely to do so than those who have not. … Online price matching and looking up online reviews frequently go hand in hand. Overall, of the 33% of cell owners who used their phone recently in a store to look up either product reviews or prices online, roughly half (representing 17% of all cell owners) used their phones to engage in both of these activities. … One in five ‘mobile price matchers’ ultimately made their most recent purchase from an online store, rather than a physical location – When asked what happened on the most recent occasion where they used their phone to look up the price online of a product they found in a store, these mobile price matchers point to a range of outcomes: 37% decided to not purchase the product at all, 35% purchased the product at that store, 19% purchased the product online, 8% purchased the product at another store

      GigaOM: “This last piece of data shows the challenge for retailers, who lost about 5 percent of transactions that began with online price research, even though they have the customer in-store. That’s something that retailers have been increasingly sensitive about, especially with promotions like Amazon’s holiday offer to knock off $5 from certain products if users checked prices through Amazon. But the data also show how retailers can fight back. They obviously need to be aware of prices online, and they may look at ways to lower prices or match online prices in-store to remain competitive. … The challenge is still considerable for retailers of all sizes. Having consumers walk in with connected computers in their pocket means many of them can find a potentially better deal online or in another store. But retailers should be thinking about how to satisfy their customers’ shifting buying patterns.It’s definitely going to be harder for physical retailers in this new mobile-enhanced shopping era but there’s still ways to compete as buyers get a lot smarter.

      RWW: “The strategy revolves around having a strong mobile Web presence. That does not necessarily mean an actual native app. If you are in a retail store researching with your phone and you Google the product, the retail store should be one of the first results. With the location abilities of smartphones, the search could even tell you what store or neighborhood you are actually in. The retailer could then be able to offer a deal or an incentive to buy and offer to complete the transaction through the device. The mobile Web app could hook into your mobile wallet and bill you directly or instruct the consumer to see the cashier where payment could be made by either near field communications (NFC) or by scanning a QR code. The idea is to control both the research and the transaction. Channel the consumer to your product.

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