Digital Smarts Blog

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Cut, Paste and Collate – Not a New Obsession

Cutting, pasting, and collating – those aren’t new tools in the arsenal of human beings’ efforts to keep up with information overload. A fascinating article in the most recent Smithsonian magazine online discusses how, even in the 19th century, people used scrapbooking in a very similar way to try to cope with the radical case of information overload. 


Lab Rats for Facebook

Have a Facebook account? Well, welcome to lab rathood. That’s because it was recently revealed that Facebook has allowed researchers, both inside and outside the company, to manipulate users' news feeds to hide good news or bad news to see whether it affected the emotions of those users themselves. In other words, if they hid the parts of Facebook where people share joy with you, where they tell you about happy things, where the griping and grousing is balanced with baby pictures and bright sides, could they make you feel worse? And, guess what? It turned out that is exactly what it did to the aggregate of us. Facebook researchers have apologized, but the revelation has set off a storm of controversy centering on a violation of long-held rules protecting people from becoming test subjects without providing informed consent. But, on a positive side, as social media grows as a means for us to communicate, it will be important to study how media can provide insights into some of the deepest mysteries of human behavior.