Your Facebook Posts Reveal More Than You Know

Did you know that clicking a ‘Like’ button on Facebook could determine whether you’re gay or straight, liberal or conservative, intelligent or not so much — even if you didn’t intend to?  Researchers ran tens of thousands of Facebook profiles and questionnaires through a computer algorithm to find the obvious traits, as well as the not-so-obvious connections. The results of the research have been posted in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this past Monday. If you would like to sample the method for yourself, you can check it out at YouAreWhatYouLike.

Some of the results are pretty obvious, meaning if you ‘like’ a page called “I’m Proud to be a Christian”, it’s pretty obvious that you are a Christian. The computer model puts “Sometimes I Just Lay in Bed and Think About Life” into the category for homosexual females, while “Thinking of Something and Laughing Alone” is linked to heterosexual females.

The results were analyzed to produce correlations in more than a dozen categories, including five different personality attributes (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional stability), which were the attributes analyzed on the “You Are What You Like” website. The other categories included IQ, religion, politics, sexual orientation, age, gender, race, relationship status, alcohol and drug use, tobacco use, life satisfaction, number of friends — and even whether a Facebook user’s parents had separated by the time the user was 21. Wow!

youarewhatyoulikeGraphic courtesy of YouAreWhatYouLike.com

The researchers’ computer model provided the best match at predicting black-vs.-white and male-vs.-female (95 and 93 percent accuracy, respectively).  The computer model could also correctly distinguish between Republicans and Democrats 85 percent of the time and between Muslims and Christians 82 percent of the time. The accuracy rates for predicting sexual orientation were 88 percent for males and 75 percent for females. You would think that reaching a result of homosexuality was easily determined by clicking the ‘like’ button for “Gay Marriage.” However, less than five percent of the gay users were fans of such an obvious page. For example, the computer model correlated the fan pages for Kathy Griffin and “Wicked, The Musical” with homosexual males, while matching heterosexual males to the pages for Bruce Lee and WWE wrestling.

Perhaps this will create a technophobia for many of you, or even so much as a Facebookophobia specifically due to the feeling of being violated by a computer program possibly determining your race, ethnicity or sexual preference. This type of program makes me ask about the ethics and privacy of doing something like this. Only about half of the survey takers (which was around 8 million total takers) gave their approval for their results to be matched with Facebook ‘likes’ on an anonymous basis, and of those, about 58,000 profiles were used for matching.  If your Facebook profile privacy settings are set to ‘public’, any of your page ‘like’ information could be sharing very private details with all sorts of researchers and marketers. Think about how marketers could use that private information to market to you. How would you feel if you were a heterosexual male who had clicked that you liked Kathy Griffin because you thought she was pretty, and in return received numerous ads on your Facebook page for homosexual products and events? And then your wife sits down at the computer as soon as you get up to get a snack…how do you explain that to her?

Personally, I think this is going too far and invading the privacy of social media users. What are your thoughts? Have marketers and researchers taken this too far? Is this unethical marketing?

Fashion of the Future?

Can you picture yourself walking down the street wearing a coat that could detect when your body is cold and automatically turn up the heat? Or eyeglasses (or even sunglasses) that could navigate you as you walk down the street wearing your stylish WARM coat to the hippest spot in town? And a watch that can read your text messages to you? These ideas may seem futuresque, but these new ideas for technology are closer to reality than you might think!

ImageWell, I wrote about Apple’s new idea for the watch a couple of weeks ago. This week, I want to tell you about what is next on the radar.  Google Inc., the world’s largest Internet company, has been testing augmented-reality eyeglasses that feature cameras and use voice recognition. The idea behind creating these fashion gadgets is to integrate technology into our everyday basics. Just thinking about these possibilities makes me want to buy a pair of jeans that would adjust to my thigh and waist size each day to always guarantee the “perfect fit”. Wouldn’t every woman love to own a pair of those???

So what does all of this new technology do besides create more techy gizmos and gadgets?  Well, developers say that it will create a more seamless experience with technology that involves fewer devices to carry around and less time digging through your purse or pockets.  But it also creates buzz. It includes the ABC’s of buzz marketing: Alphas – the prime influencers (Google’s execs that are raving about the Google Glasses), Bees – the messengers (all of the bloggers and news media relaying the message), and Consumers – all of us (looking for a new product that will set us apart from friends and neighbors). You could probably even say that Google has made some pretty good use of “crowdsourcing” – the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people. Google has done this and done it well by only offering the Google Glass to only a few select  individuals to participate in the Google Glass Explorer program, which you had to pre-order during the Google I/O 2012 conference last June or make it through the recently announced #IfIHadGlass application process. By doing this, those individuals feel like they have something the rest of the world wants to be a part of, but can’t until at least late 2013.  This allows those individuals to go out and tell the world about their privilege.

There are still numerous challenges to overcome before these types of techno-fashion gadgets will be readily available such as improving battery life, scaling the technology down and making the products affordable. The other task for companies to overcome is to convince consumers that digital devices and fashion can coexist.

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Currently, these wearable technologies exist in the sports and health markets. For example, goggles made by Oakley help to assist snowboarders with a display that integrates GPS capabilities, Bluetooth and sensors that gauge jump analytics such as distance, height and airtime. These goggles also have smartphone connectivity and the ability to locate and track friends on the mountain via an app. WOW! These are awesome! And could help so much in emergency situations on a mountain! Genius!

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Techy Valentine’s Day!

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I will dive into a couple of fun little technology related ways to celebrate, whether you have a special someone or not.  One thing in common with each of these ideas below is that they are all different ways of mobile marketing. What makes mobile marketing different from other forms of marketing is that it is highly personal and it is rich but simple. A cell phone is a very personal item that consumers don’t typically share with anyone else. It goes pretty much anywhere you go and it’s customized to reflect your own personal values through different apps, features and photos. Mobile marketers must also remember to keep their advertisements simple in all aspects from design to delivery, which means that the experience has to deliver a clear message that is easy for the user to participate in.

Office Cupid
So, for anyone who may have an office crush on someone and wants to “let the cat out of the bag”, this one is for you! Digital agency R/GA is offering up free assistance for you hopeless romantics.  By going to the agency’s website, then entering in the object of your affection’s Twitter handle and a tad bit of personal information, Office Cupid will make a “Valentweet” for you. I offer a large amount of caution if choosing this option. It would be super embarrassing to either have Human Resources come knocking on your cubicle or perhaps to get turned down.

The Anti-Lonliness Ramen Bowlanti-lonlinessbowl
For anyone who is single, and plans on eating a bowl of Ramen noodles or whatever kind of soup you choose for Valentine’s Day, this gadget is for you! So, buy yourself a new outfit, hit the spa and then treat yourself to dinner.  But, have you ever tried to browse Facebook or the Internet while eating out of a bowl? Well now there is something called the “Anti-Lonliness Ramen Bowl.”  The bowl has a built-in iPhone dock. I have to admit, it’s kind of cool! You know you want one!

Homemade Gift Ideas
LovestagramAccording to a recent survey by deals site Offers.com, what your special someone wants most is something that is heartfelt and homemade (hint hint!). So, instead of trying to throw some terribly fashioned creation together with your child’s craft supplies, perhaps consider Lovestagram, which is a simple Valentine creator that will generate a sweet little storyline made out of your shared Instagram photos. The catch is that you both have to have Instagram accounts. But sounds pretty cool, especially for a person who loves photos!

One more idea for a homemade/heartfelt gift idea is a love poem, that is deemed to actually be good, by using the Instant Poetry App. And one that I have used several times throughout my years of marriage, your own personal coupons. Well, my version was old skool, by using pen and paper. But, there’s more technology savvy ways of doing this now. You can create your coupons as “G-rated” or not by using Americangreetings.com.

Most importantly…have a Happy Valentine’s Day! …couples or not!

iWatch – Tick…Tick…

I’m sure we have all wondered what Apple would come up with next. iPods, iPhones, iPads. What’s next? Well, it appears that rumors are out that Apple is working with its major manufacturing partner, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. to explore things beyond the smartphone and tablet…to create an iWatch. The New York Times cited “people familiar with the company’s explorations,” who said the watch-like gadget would be made of curved glass. Corning’s Willow Glass, or tough Gorilla Glass, is used on the iPhone, as well as other smartphones.  As Corning notes about Willow Glass: It will “help enable thin, light and cost-efficient applications including today’s slim displays and the smart surfaces of the future. The thinness, strength and flexibility of the glass has the potential to enable displays to be ‘wrapped’ around a device or structure.”The New York Times calls this “Disruptions: Where Apple and Dick Tracy May Converge“.

iWatch

I wonder if the new iWatch will eventually evolve to have web 3.0 and include the capability to gather information about the user? Will it have Siri built in? Will it have mobile widgets? Will it have the capability to capture comprehensive website data such as names, email addresses and other profile information? Will banner ads begin scrolling across the screen when it detects movement? Advertisers will find a way to inject their ads into any type of mobile device. It will only be a matter of time before they figure out the best and most effective way to use the new iWatch for this very purpose.

PebbleOther recent smart watches that have been placed on the market are the Pebble, which retails for $150, which launched via Kickstarter.  The Pebble can show incoming calls, emails, calendar alerts, Facebook messages, weather alerts, Tweets and more.

COOKOOThe other is the COOKOO Connected Watch, which retails for $129, and uses either an iOS or Android app to let the user know when there is an incoming call, an appointment or a new Facebook message.

FREE?! – It can’t be!

This week, our class was discussing what it takes to make a successful website for a company.  It’s pretty much a unanimous consensus that if a business plans to be successful in the future, it needs to make sure that its website is mobile ready since the majority of people will be accessing websites via mobile devices by 2015. The use of mobile apps were mentioned in one of our discussion posts. Mobile apps are a great way for businesses to move toward being “mobile ready.”   Businesses can even make their own mobile app for FREE! WHAT?!?!?! Nothing is free anymore! But, yep! You can build an app for your company for free. Amazing! This idea could be brilliant for small business owners who may not have the time, large enough staff or budget to do something so helpful to an organization.  Granted, building an app is not always going to be beneficial for a company, but there are a lot of small businesses that it could and would be helpful for.

This could be a great way for photographers to help promote their business and allow customers to easily and quickly share their latest photo shoot images with their friends and family, as well as purchase images.  Showing your awesome family photos to your friends and family is most likely going to make others want to get their adorable children or family some awesome photos too, so guess what? More business.  This could also be very helpful for small retail shops to allow their product to be sold in a mobile format and would also allow for the stores to announce any sales or special store hours or events. I have also used apps to get a discount/coupon for frozen yogurt. 🙂

Below is just one example of a free app builder site (theAppBuilder).

freeappI am sitting here pondering how I can use this for my photography business, as well as getting my husband’s high-speed internet company to begin using this. He could allow customers to see how much bandwidth they’ve used per month (because there are charges for going over their allotted bandwidth), pay their bill, change their package, receive push notices when there is a network outage and/or scheduled maintenance to be performed, and even provide education on how to troubleshoot when they cannot get their internet at home to work properly, and even have a trouble ticket that they could submit if they are unable to resolve their connection issue to request assistance.

What types of small businesses do you think apps would be beneficial for and how?