social media

Wies van Erp / Flickr

You've probably heard about those studies where people are asked to rate their driving ability, and most of us rate ourselves well above our actual abilities.  Well, it's not just driving.  We tend to be overconfident in our knowledge, and it's become a lot more obvious in the Internet age. 

Michael Patrick Lynch takes a look in a pithily-titled book, Know-It-All Society.  It examines how social media amplifies our human failings, and leads to us valuing the expression of emotion (usually outrage) over the finding of truth. 


We connect with other humans in ways that could only be imagined years ago.  No, we don't have telepathy... not yet. 

But we do have all kinds of social media and ways to communicate on personal devices.  Plus other kinds of media only now coming to the fore, as demonstrated at EMCON, the Emerging Media Conference at Southern Oregon University. 

Caz Crozier is the student coordinator for EMCON, which is part of the University's annual SOAR event (Southern Oregon Arts & Research). 


Every click on the web can communicate your choices to computers, which then use algorithms to help you with next choices.  Which may be great if you're shopping for shoes or music, but a bit more concerning when the decisions reach the point of life and death. 

Doctors, pilots, and judges are among the people who rely more on computers for decisions now.  Kartik Hosanagar explains the situation fully in his book A Human’s Guide to Machine Intelligence: How Algorithms Are Shaping Our Lives and How We Can Stay in Control


We have so many pathways to communicate with people now... phone, text message, email... and that's before we even enter the realm of social media. 

Just the same, studies indicate people actually feel more isolated in this age of hyper-connectedness.  Dan Schawbel makes his living advising businesses on helping employees work well together, he's the research director at Future Workplace. 

And he looks at how managers can help co-workers feel authentic connection, in his book Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation


Facebook is not having a good year.  It has been in the news constantly for being a repository for fake news, and for its issues with handling of user information. 

Researchers at the University at Buffalo in New York are adding to the distress.  The researchers found that Facebook can make people feel excluded socially. 

And in turn, that makes them more susceptible to the persuasions of advertisers. 

Jessica Covert is the lead author of the study. 

Pete Souza/The White House

Countries prove all the time, through hacking and other means, that you can mess with your enemies without firing a shot.  The message is not lost on people who might otherwise be fighting wars. 

As journalist David Patrikarakos points out, war is a clash of narratives, and those narratives can be delivered by the internet, rather than bombs and bullets. 

He explains further in his book War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the 21st Century


Most teens have grown up with the internet and social media. Their parents and teachers have not.

Noted educator and "millenial and teen expert" Ana Homayoun has written a guide to help parents and teachers understand teens and tweens' social media lives, and to create structures and strategies to make sure that teens' virtual lives don't swallow their real lives. 

The book is called Social Media Wellness: Helping Teens and Tweens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World

JPR News

It's not just for catching up with old high school classmates: many people get news from social media. 

That should not be a huge surprise, as Americans have migrated to the web for their primary news sources. 

But going to Facebook is not the same as going to this and other news sites.  In fact, Nicole Dahmen at the University of Oregon says there are some dangers in getting your news just through social media. 

A Memoir Of Avoidance: "Will Not Attend"

Jul 27, 2015
Plume Books

Adam Resnick may not actually like people (he tells us he does).

But he certainly knows how to make people laugh; he did so for years as a writer for David Letterman's TV show.  

Resnick gives us a memoir in essays in his book "Will Not Attend;" it turns out he's hated parties since an Easter egg hunt went awry in his childhood.  

Be A Local Hero (Online)

Jul 28, 2014

Social media users love to tell their friends about what they're doing. 

It's really the point, after all--to keep up with your social network. 

So why not rack up some points for what you've been doing, if it benefits your community? 

That's the point behind "Be A Local Hero," a website started by Ashlander and Project A President Jim Teece. 

Penguin Books

That "club card" at the grocery store let the store know the kinds of things you are likely to buy, so it can offer you a coupon for a future purchase. 

And that's just one example of the ways in which data about us can predict future behavior. 

We put a whole lot of data out there through computer and social networks, and it can be and is used to make predictions.