Article by Mashable

According to several reliable sources, including a study by MIT assistant professor of Behavioral and Policy Sciences Damon Centola, allowing employees to browse the Facebook and other social websites actually increases their productivity.

While this statement seems completely backward at first, the research shows that giving employees short breaks to browse the web decreases their stress levels.  With these decreased stress levels comes increased productivity once the break ends.

Also, the MIT study revealed that the happiness of one individual can rub off on others.  When one person is happy, many other peoples’ days are brightened as well, so a staff of happy workers is a staff of productive workers.

The research used in the infographic also suggested that another way to make people at work happy is to, you know, let them go outside.  Yes, it seems that the idea of a paid recess period where employees could relive their youthful after-lunch breaks to play in the sun and fresh air is an idea that many fully grown adults would welcome with open arms.

From TechCrunch

It started with commenting on posts.  Then Facebook introduced the “like” button, which serves as a sort of “comment-lite,” allowing friends to positively acknowledge the activity of their friends without having to go through the trouble of formulating a complete response.

Now, Facebook is toying with the idea of a “hate” button, basically the evil twin of the like button.  No longer would people be forced to “like” statuses like “that car wreck broke my spine, doctors say I will never walk again.”

Also, it will surely be abused as an incendiary tool of Facebook drama, used by strongly opinionated individuals who wish to express their strong opposition to the opinions of others non-verbally.

All in all, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Sources at Facebook say that Mark Zuckerberg is predicting two billion “hates” on the first day should the button be implemented.  Facebook studies have shown that people dislike more things they see on the internet more often than they like them, so this new button could soon be a possibility.

From Time Techland

If you thought Bluetooth headsets were bad, you might not want to read the rest of this post.

Google is working on developing augmented-reality glasses under the title “Project Glass.”  These glasses would allow users to basically integrate computer functionality into every second of their waking existences.

They look like the top part of an eyeglasses frame, and from what the video shows, they let you do basically everything a smartphone lets you do, except that it is totally interactive with the surrounding world and projects the graphics right directly in the user’s field of vision.

While this technology looks impressive, it is hard to tell what the actual release of such technology would entail.  People would certainly be even more distracted and disconnected than they already are, and in certain situations, such as driving or walking through busy streets, the glasses could spell outright danger.

From Gizmodo

It looks like the reputation Macs have for being impervious to viruses may be in jeopardy.  There is currently a Trojan circulating around the web that has already infected over 600,000 Macs.

It doesn’t need a password to infect a computer, and it is written in a language unfamiliar to all except the creators of the trojan.

Fortunately, Gizmodo has provided these instructions to help Mac users find out if their machine has fallen victim.  F-Secure has a guide on how to disinfect a computer that has the trojan, although they suggest only advanced users attempt it themselves.

Retrieved from Time Techland

From CoolMaterial.

For some time now, Instagram has been a luxury afforded only to iPhone users.  The app makes it easy to take and share pictures across various platforms, all while adding interesting filters to make ordinary snapshots more unique.

Now, Android users can enjoy the same easy, fun photo sharing app that has been so popular on the iPhone.  And best of all, it’s still free.

From Mashable.

KONY 2012,” what is perhaps the most intensely viral video ever, made huge waves across the internet as it helped publicize the crimes of the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.

The video was shared millions of times on Facebook, Twitter, and almost every other web-based platform. While the video ultimately raised awareness for the cause, it suffered from its own share of controversy.

Many claimed that the viral spread of the video did nothing to help the child soldiers but garner global sympathy.  The director of the original video, Jason Russell, was arrested and detained in San Diego for vandalizing cars and engaging in lewd conduct in public shortly after the video became a web sensation.

Now Invisible Children, the foundation behind KONY 2012, has released a twenty-minute sequel entitled “KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous,” sans Jason Russell.

This video has yet to reach even 500 views, and it is doubtful that it will have the same viral impact that its predecessor had.  Still, only time will determine if this video reaches the same broad audience, or better yet, actually inspires direct action.




Found on CoolMaterial.

It’s no secret iPhone is a fantastic piece of technology.  It is a sleek, versatile tool for journalists that consolidates the functions of countless devices all into one.  However, it does have its limitations.

The new iPhone 4s camera is great.  Photos and video come out crisp and clear. The built-in microphone gets the job done, but users wishing to generate a more high-end product will be left wishing for something better.

This iPhone Boom Mic captures much better audio than the tiny built-in unit while remaining compact and lightweight.  And at a mere $40, it is much less expensive than buying a standard boom mic.

The mic has two modes; directional and super-directional.  Directional would be useful in a setting like a public presentation, whereas super directional would be ideal for interviewing without capturing unwanted backround noise.

Quality audio is what separates an average video from a great video. This mic allows for the capture of great audio without being bogged down by backpacks full of gear.  The sound may not be a great as a traditional setup would allow, but it can’t be beat for on-the-spot and on-the-go recording.

Mashable article by Sarah Kessler

Facebook and other social platforms have become a crystal ball for employers looking to learn a little more about their prospective hires than is usually shared in an interview.

While some people (employers, mostly) see this as a way to make sure that their employees aren’t liable to show up hungover every Monday morning, most people see it as a gross violation of personal privacy.  Among the detractors is Facebook itself.

Facebook’s terms of use specifically forbid giving out personal login information to anybody.

When reports of employers asking prospective employees for usernames and passwords to various social media accounts, Facebook initially seemed willing to take legal action in the interest of protecting the privacy of its users.  Now, it seems they aim to seek preventive legal protection for their users rather than launching legal assaults.

A Facebook spokesperson announced, “While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users.”

Employers asking for this personal information goes beyond simple prying.  Putting this information in the hands of strangers is like giving someone you don’t know a key to your online life.  Not only can they look at your private interactions with others, but there is always the chance that your information could leak somewhere and get into malicious hands, who could then use your accounts to do very real damage to your reputation, both online and in real life.

Nobody would expect you to allow an employer to ask for a key to your house so they could come rummage through your drawers.  In an age where social media is a very real part of many peoples’ lives, it must be treated as a real piece of private property.

Briggs Chapter 9

March 20, 2012 | Briggs, comm361, journalism  |  1 Comment

Many stories can benefit from the use of data.  Reliable data is something that is quantifiable and can be verified, and thus add credibility and transparency to a story when used appropriately.

Certain things, like names, titles, and locations are bits of data that can be easily sprinkled into a story.  Some other bits of data, like lists of hard numbers and figures, are better presented in alternative formats.

Spreadsheets are an easy way to visually organize data.  They are a much cleaner way to present data that would otherwise be difficult to recite in words, like the stats of a sport team’s starting lineup.

Data visualizations, like those created by Jess3 take visual data organization a step further by presenting data in a less formal, more interesting way.  A single visualization alone can become a story by itself.

Sometimes, different forms of data presentation can be merged for a heightened impact.  For example, a person could make a map online with links that pop up when rolled over showing the median income in the area the link is situated.

Briggs Chapter 8

March 20, 2012 | Briggs, comm361, journalism  |  3 Comments

Video is a great way to tell a story because it includes audio and visual elements.  It makes it possible to present actual footage from the event of interest or related footage while simultaneously providing audio and/or text narration.

It is becoming increasingly important for well-rounded journalists to possess at least basic video shooting and editing skills.  Video technology has progressed so much in the past decade or two that a single well-equipped person can do what used to take an entire crew and a truckful of equipment.

Producing a good video doesn’t even require a ton of gear.  Since video has become such a ubiquitous medium, the expectations of the audience have decreased.  More often than not, a video of lower production quality but covering an interesting story well will do better than a well-produced video on a story of lesser interest.

A decent video can be created using only a smartphone.  However, if the journalist has time to plan ahead, it is recommended that the journalist take a few small steps to ensure that the video carries the story as effectively as possible.

Stand-alone cameras will improve the quality of video, but they are by no means necessary to catch decent footage.  Many point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs have video capture abilities, and often produce very good videos.

Sound is critical in videos, so investing in a shotgun microphone or similar external device is worthwhile.  Dedicated audio capture devices ensure that you only capture the sound you want in your video, as opposed to capturing sound mixed with unwanted backround noise, which is usually the case with built-in microphones.

When shooting, avoid panning and zooming if possible.  Mix up the types of shots used to make the video more visually interesting. Once the video is captured, edit it in a way that makes the video as streamlined as possible.  Videos should be short to maintain the attention of the audience.

The final step in the video process is uploading the video.  YouTube is a popular video hosting site, and videos from YouTube can be embedded across a vast array of web-building platforms.  However, there are many different video hosting sites, many of which have unique benefits and capabilities.


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