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This is how technology turns us into addicts


The World Health Organisation is to include “gaming disorder” , the inability to stop gaming, into the International Classification of Diseases. By doing so, the WHO is recognising the serious and growing problem of digital addiction. The problem has also been acknowledged by Google, which recently announced that it will begin focusing on “Digital Well-being” .

Although there is a growing recognition of the problem, users are still not aware of exactly how digital technology is designed to facilitate addiction. We’re part of a research team that focuses on digital addiction and here are some of the techniques and mechanisms that digital media use to keep you hooked.

Compulsive checking

Digital technologies, such as social networks, online shopping, and games, use a set of persuasive and motivational techniques to keep users returning. These include “scarcity” (a snap or status is only temporarily available, encouraging you to get online quickly); “social proof” (20,000 users retweeted an article so you should go online and read it); “personalisation” (your news feed is designed to filter and display news based on your interest); and “reciprocity” (invite more friends to get extra points, and once your friends are part of the network it becomes much more difficult for you or them to leave).

Technology is designed to utilise the basic human need to feel a sense of belonging and connection with others. So, a fear of missing out, commonly known as FoMO, is at the heart of many features of social media design.

Groups and forums in social media promote active participation. Notifications and “presence features” keep people notified of each others’ availability and activities in real-time so that some start to become compulsive checkers. This includes “two ticks” on instant messaging tools, such as Whatsapp. Users can see whether their message has been delivered and read. This creates pressure on each person to respond quickly to the other.

The concepts of reward and infotainment, material which is both entertaining and informative, are also crucial for “addictive” designs. In social networks, it is said that “no news is not good news”. So, their design strives always to provide content and prevent disappointment. The seconds of anticipation for the “pull to refresh” mechanism on smartphone apps, such as Twitter, is similar to pulling the lever of a slot machine and waiting for the win.

Most of the features mentioned above have roots in our non-tech world. Social networking sites have not created any new or fundamentally different styles of interaction between humans. Instead they have vastly amplified the speed and ease with which these interactions can occur, taking them to a higher speed, and scale.

Addiction and awareness

People using digital media do exhibit symptoms of behavioural addiction . These include salience, conflict, and mood modification when they check their online profiles regularly. Often people feel the need to engage with digital devices even if it is inappropriate or dangerous for them to do so. If disconnected or unable to interact as desired, they become preoccupied with missing opportunities to engage with their online social networks.

According to the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom, 15m UK internet users (around 34% of all internet users) have tried a “digital detox” . After being offline, 33% of participants reported feeling an increase in productivity, 27% felt a sense of liberation, and 25% enjoyed life more. But the report also highlighted that 16% of participants experienced the fear of missing out, 15% felt lost and 14% “cut-off”. These figures suggest that people want to spend less time online, but they may need help to do so.

At the moment, tools that enable people to be in control of their online experience, presence and online interaction remain very primitive. There seem to be unwritten expectations for users to adhere to social norms of cyberspace once they accept participation.

But unlike other mediums for addiction, such as alcohol, technology can play a role in making its usage more informed and conscious. It is possible to detect whether someone is using a phone or social network in an anxious, uncontrolled manner. Similar to online gambling, users should have available help if they wish. This could be a self-exclusion and lock-out scheme. Users can allow software to alert them when their usage pattern indicates risk.

The borderline between software which is legitimately immersive and software which can be seen as “exploitation-ware” remains an open question. Transparency of digital persuasion design and education about critical digital literacy could be potential solutions.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

By Jimmy
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Facebook glitch shared 14 million users’ private posts publicly


Mark Zulkeburgh.jpg © AP The setback comes as Facebook is trying to rebuild user trust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

 

Facebook said Thursday that it would notify 14 million users that posts they intended to share privately may have been published publicly, the company’s latest setback as it tries to rebuild user trust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The issue arose from a bug affecting Facebook’s “audience selector” tool, which allows users to decide whether to publish a post only to their friends or to a broader audience. The tool usually remains on the setting that was used most recently so that a user who only wants to share posts with friends does not have to keep selecting that option. But while the bug was active, from 18 May to 27 May, the setting was automatically changed to public.

“We have fixed this issue and starting today we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement. “We’d like to apologize for this mistake.”

Facebook said it had reverted the audience settings to a users’ prior preference. It will also show affected users a notification with an explanation and apology, and urge them to review any posts they made during the time period when the bug was active.

The company’s quick admission of the error appears to be part of its efforts to increase transparency and regain trust following the Cambridge Analytica revelations. This spring, Facebook was harshly criticized for failing to inform users whose data had been improperly shared with the political consultancy until more than two years after the Guardian had first reported on the issue.

The two privacy lapses involve very different types of data, however. Jonathan Albright, the research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, has argued that Facebook’s audience tools, which it often touts as giving user’s control over their privacy, should instead be deemed “publicity settings”, because they only affect the audience of information that a user chooses to publish.

The data involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal was the massive amounts of information that Facebook gathers from users’ online behavior – such as liking posts or browsing the web – in order to target them with advertising.

By The Guardian

Uganda imposes WhatsApp and Facebook tax ‘to stop gossip’


Ugandans who use the internet messaging service WhatsApp will be charged a daily tax of 200 shillings ($0.05; £0.04) after parliament approved a controversial new law on Wednesday.

It comes into force on 1 July, and will also apply to other social media apps like Facebook.

Mobile money transactions will also be taxed, with a 1% levy on the total value of each transaction.

President Yoweri Museveni was quoted in Ugandan media last month as saying social media platforms are used “mainly for gossip”.

Human rights activists disagree. “It’s part of a wider attempt to curtail freedoms of expression,” blogger Rosebell Kagumire told Reuters.

At least three MPs have criticised the new rules as “double taxation”, according to the privately-owned Daily Monitor newspaper.

Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyaggulanyi, aka Bobi Wine – as well as Joshua Anywarach and Silas Aogon – said that because users access WhatsApp through taxed airtime, an additional tax would infringe their rights.

Another MP, Patrick Nsamba of the ruling party, said the tax will hurt the poorest most:

It is very easy for an MP to say that 1% is little money, but to people who earn less than a dollar a day, it is going to break their backs.”

Daily Monitor

What is Social Media Marketing? – Everything you need to know


The internet has changed the way we do things. This single entity has transformed how we consume data, replaced the way we obtain information and for businesses, given a new face to marketing. Word of mouth referrals have now been replaced by affiliate campaigns, and traditional marketing takes a second place to online marketing. Speaking of online marketing, of the many ways that can come in, social media marketing seems to be the new craze.

Like many others, I believe you must have heard about social media marketing at one time or the other. Like many people too, I know you have a lot of questions about it. How does social media drive sales and impact my business? How would purposing a sales campaign to go through social media help my business? In fact, what is social media marketing in the first place?

What is Social Media Marketing

You must have been looking for one Harvard-style definition, but you won’t get that here. Unless someone wants to intentionally make the whole concept difficult to grab for you, it is not something to fly out of your seat for.

In short, social media marketing can be defined to mean the process of marketing (either yourself, your product or your brand) through any of the popular social media outlets available. That includes all of Facebook, YouTube , Instagram, Twitter and so much more. https://jetpack.com/?aff=6647&cid=579302

Why do I Need Social Media Marketing?

You already have a good email campaign set up, you have some awesome affiliate campaigns in the bag and your advertisement game is top notch. Why would you add to that list by going the way of social media , right? Wrong!

Social media is the single largest community on the internet. Unlike websites and blogs, social media is like the ‘world’ of the internet, where there are actual people always interacting in the ‘community’.

That being said, consider the number of people that use social media. In Nigeria alone, NCC reports that about 91 million people use the internet. Compare those figures with the number of people your current marketing campaigns are reaching, and see if you would be asking the initial questions any longer.

How Social Media Marketing Can Help Your Business

Now that you have known what social media marketing is, and recognised that you need it, it’s time to see how it helps you. It’s all just talk and figures until we can figure out how this concept can work to your advantage. Some of those advantages you stand to enjoy are, but not limited to:

  • Increment in website traffic

  • Increment in the conversion rates of your website

  • Improvement of brand image and awareness

  • Enhanced communication with the target audience

  • Development of trust with the target audience who will see the human side of the brand

How to Get Started with Social Media Marketing

You have undoubtedly seen things from the point of view I’m trying to promote. Like a good businessman with an eye for progressive methods, I know you will be interested in starting out.

For now, though, this is where I will stop the narrative. Watch this space for exclusive tips on how to start a killer social marketing campaign to drive your brand to the next level. Till then, lets hear what you think, your opinions and ideas in the comments section.

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I won’t share my personal info on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg reveals


Of the hundreds of questions thrown at Mark Zuckerberg by US lawmakers Tuesday, none appeared to perplex the Facebook founder more than Senator Dick Durbin’s pointed query about where he slept the previous evening.


“Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” Durbin asked during an intense and closely-watched hearing about online digital privacy, and Facebook’s role in what happens to personal information once users join the platform.

Zuckerberg paused for a full eight seconds, chuckled, grimaced, and ultimately demurred.

“Um, uh, no,” he said.

And “if you’ve messaged anybody this week would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” the Illinois Democrat persisted.

Again, a similar unwillingness to answer.

Perhaps more than any other senator during five hours of questioning, Durbin’s everyman tactic put a finger on the crux of the issue surrounding Facebook’s failure to maintain control of the private information of tens of millions of users, amid a scandal over the gathering of personal data used to target political advertising and messaging during the 2016 presidential race.

“I think that might be what this is all about,” said Durbin, 40 years Zuckerberg’s senior.

“Your right to privacy, the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you give away in modern America in the name of connecting people around the world.”

Zuckerberg, who at 33 runs a multi-billion-dollar company with some two billion users, accepted personal responsibility for the leak of users’ data and vowed that the company will do better in guarding such information.

He also conceded Durbin’s point was a fair one. “I think everyone should have control over how their information is used,” Zuckerberg said.

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Source: Punchng.com

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