Selfies Challenge Science Stereotypes

Goldman & Associates Blog

Selfies Challenge Science Stereotypes

SelfieScience has proved that selfies can change the way we view scientist. This heartwarming story in the Pacific Standard tells how one scientist led a research effort to show Instagram selfies can improve how people view scientist and science. In addition, the funding that was needed for the research grant was rejected, so he crowd sourced the funding through – social media. This isn’t the best way to fund science, but there is a wonderful and pleasant circular beauty to this whole story. It is well worth reading.

Grammar Will No Longer Be a Writing Skill

Diagrammed sentenceDiagramming sentences may go the way of the chalkboard and it might very well be unnecessary to take grammar classes at school in the not too distant future. That thought might be a bit of hyperbole; but after reading about a new product from Microsoft called Ideas, it’s not so big a stretch. At Microsoft’s Build developer conference, a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) product called Ideas was announced. It will suggest ways to rewrite clunky sentences, provide better synonyms “and alternate phrases to make writing more concise”, according to a story on BBC News. In essences, it could be considered a grammar tool. Ideas will initially only be available on the cloud for Word Online users starting in the fall.

Spotting Fake Five Star Reviews

5-star-reviewAspects of this issue have been discussed before here, but we’ll add some new points. It is estimated that half of all five star reviews are fake, so which ones should you believe? Yahoo Finance has a round table discussion with experts explaining how consumers can wisely use clues on which reviews have credibility. For the sake of their discussion, they focuses on Amazon’s five star product reviews, but mostly what they say is true for all platforms. Their recommendations include going beyond the first page of reviews, checking dates and reviewers’ profiles and checking for repetition. There are more suggestions. Most are common sense or become somewhat obvious over time if you use reviews. However, one key takeaway from the panel is overall they believe five start product reviews are a good means for consumers to learn about potential products, just use them carefully.

The Case for Using Business Jargon

box-clipartHarvard Business Review interviewed English professor Anne Curzan at the University of Michigan about the use of business jargon. She studies the evolution of language. Professor Curzan makes the case that using business jargon has value in making our language more robust and helps communicate complex concepts more easily. She also provides background on the sometimes surprising origin of jargon such as “touch base”, “synergy” and “outside the box”. We’re not fans of business jargon because it lacks communications inclusion, but Professor Curzan makes a good case for when it might be used, including for purposes of communications exclusion. At the link above can be found audio and a transcript of the interview.

Spending Too Much, Blame Social Media

Bling 2Social media gets a bad rap in a number of areas. Now there is a new one. As reported a few months back in The Washington Post, a group of American and Canadian economists are expressing concern about social media. They claim it could be the reason we are not saving enough. Their theory is a new take on “keeping up with the Jones”. People are posting cool things they are doing, have purchased, or are wearing. All tend to be focused on what they have spent their money on. To keep up, we are frantically wasting our incomes on frivolities instead of saving our hard earned paycheck. It’s the Goldman Blog sense that the medium isn’t the message, or the source of blame. Those who are prone to acting this way will do so with or without social media.

Who Are Twitter Users?

Twitter logo 3According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, Twitter users tend to be younger, wealthier, more educated and politically more liberal than the rest of the population of the United States, especially those who actually tweet. Interestingly, only about 10% create 80% of all tweets. Most Twitter users are on the social media platform to obtain “real-time information and reactions to the day’s events.” Men and women use Twitter about equally. You can get more interesting facts about Twitter users at the link provided above.

Rural Areas Not Covered by Local News

Newspaper foldedMany Americans who live in rural areas feel the local news doesn’t cover their area well. It makes sense since many rural newspapers are being bought by larger regional newspapers, or are going out of business. Media generally need as large and as dense an areas as possible to be financially successful. Assigning a reporter to a rural area to cover the local news is often not financially feasible. New research from Pew Research Center finds many rural Americans are noticing that the local news just doesn’t cover them. Roughly six in ten residents in urban areas feels they are being covered by the local news media, while only about four in ten feel that way in rural areas.

Is Radical Transparency Good or Bad?

Transparency (2)Lately, we’ve been pondering this question. Radical transparency has been touted in various opinion pieces as the savior for everything from journalism to social media to democracy itself. The idea is that radical transparency will build trust in those organizations that adhere to it. Being open about all sources of information, how they are funded and who is behind them seem like excellent ideas, at least on the surface. The dilemma with radical transparency is it often conflicts with privacy. When do all sources of information get revealed? Are there people who will be injured in the process who shouldn’t be? As with most things, the real challenge is finding the middle ground between the right to know and personal privacy. Editors and laws help serve that purpose, and more transparency might be best, but the reality is there will never be an answer that will make everyone happy. Radical transparency implies a move all the way to one side of the equation, which in the end might not serve us as well as we would like.

Has Growth in Social Media Peaked?

SelfieIt appears social media use among American adults has actually stopped. According to Pew Research Center, among almost all major social media platforms the percentage of American adults using them hasn’t grow over the last year. Some social media platforms are growing while others are decreasing, but the overall trend is no growth. This is surprising in the face of at least fifteen years of annual usage growth. What this is attributable to is unclear. It could be concern over privacy, lack of time, changing habits and demographics or something else. The research doesn’t say. The article examines usage among different age groups and social platforms. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues or changes since social media has become so ubiquitous in our society. Anyone care to make a prediction?

Apple News + A New Subscription Model

pexels-cell photo-607812 (4)Approximately 10 times more is spent in the Apple Store for apps than the next nearest phone app store. If anyone is likely to subscribe to a new news app, it is people who own iPhones. The hope of publishers and Apple is that Apple News + will be a big hit and garner volumes of users. The cost is $9.99 a month, with the revenue being shared by participants. However, it isn’t clear how the shared revenue will be distributed. All of this is somewhat of a wild west experiment and all the details are not available. What is known is that there is a combination of top newspapers and magazines that can be accessed by the app, but with some limitations. An article with more detail on Apple News+ appears here in The Atlantic. All this could be very good for the news business and publishers, but there appears to be a general distrust of Apple by the participants. Still, they are participating since it is obvious that a new subscription model for print news is needed.