Privacy: Going anonymous on the Internet

I personally like the fact that “ephemerality and anonymity" are now the rage on the Internet. I've been preaching for years to monitor your digital footprint, let's hope that awareness goes mainstream. In the meantime, there's a new trend going on and a backlash against images of perfect lives...
According to Kim-Mai Cutler in TechCrunch.com, social networks like Facebook have been all about parading your individuality, but that’s beginning to feel a bit passé. A new app called Secret, which launched last week, allows you to “share thoughts with friends without revealing who you are.” The app’s founder compares its appeal to that of “a masquerade ball”—“you know who’s on the guest list, but you don’t know who is saying what.” 

The anonymity encourages users to share things that “are a little bit more vulnerable, insecure, emotional, sad, goofy, or angry than what you might see on Facebook or Instagram, where people are trying to groom images of picture-perfect lives.” 

We seem to have somehow come full circle: “It is kind of absurd that people would need a mobile app to be more vulnerable or self-aware with their friends.”
 
The “theme of illicitness” that runs through Secret is part of its current allure, said John Herrman in BuzzFeed.com. The app’s promotion of anonymity is a direct response to today’s dominant Internet culture. Since Facebook became the big player, “real identity” has been the Internet’s default setting; now people are getting tired of that, and “anonymity is the deviation.” 

The rise of apps like Secret, Whisper, and Snapchat is clearly an outgrowth of the growing resentment over the way Facebook owns and exploits our online identities. They’re meant to challenge “the notion that the Internet should record and host everything that’s posted to it into perpetuity.”

Just don’t believe these apps will make you truly anonymous, said Selena Larson in ReadWrite.com. “It’s more difficult than you’d think to completely erase yourself from the Internet.” There are steps you can take, however, to “remove yourself” from the incessant scrutiny of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. 

First, download all the data associated with your social networking accounts, including archives of your status updates or contacts, then track down the “Deactivate” or “Close” options. Facebook makes this trickier than other networks; the company “doesn’t want to lose your data,” so actually deleting your account requires you to fill out a form and tell Facebook why you’re leaving. 

If you have long-forgotten accounts, a browser extension called “Just Delete Me” can help jog your memory, providing a directory of account deletion links for more than 300 sites. But you should be aware that “parts of your digital life will be chiseled into eternity—and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

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Social media: Now, even babies tweet

Many parents feel it’s essential to snap up Twitter handles and Gmail accounts for their kids before someone grabs those names.

“Harper Estelle Wolfeld-Gosk has 6,282 Twitter followers,” said Joe Coscarelli in NYMag.com. “She’s 2 weeks old.” The infant daughter of Today show correspondent Jenna Wolfe is just one of thousands of kids who have Twitter accounts that are written in their voices but are “set up, maintained, and authored by parents.” Here’s a sample of little Harper’s tweets: “Pooped AND pee’d on Dr’s changing table. Everyone laughed.”

Why bother with such twaddle? Blame both “everyday parental pride” and “tech-savvy paranoia.” Many parents feel it’s essential to snap up Twitter handles and Gmail accounts for their kids before someone grabs those names. Once those accounts are established, parents can’t resist the temptation to put wisecracks in their kids’ mouths. Some critics are calling this “oversharenting’’—sharing too much information about kids online, said Eliana Dockterman in Time.com. One study found that 94 percent of parents post pictures of their kids on the Internet, with newborns uploaded to Facebook an average of 57.9 minutes after their birth.

You won’t find my daughter there, said Amy Webb in Slate.com. My husband and I have decided we will keep all photos of and references to her off the Internet until she’s mature enough to decide what to post. Exposing your child on social media poses huge issues for his or her “future self.” Do you really want photos of your 5-year-old in a bathing suit circulating permanently on the Internet? Do you want Google and Facebook to start compiling data about your kids before they can even crawl, to be shared with advertisers or intrusive government agencies or unknown searchers? “It’s inevitable that our daughter will become a public figure, because we’re all public figures in this new digital age.” But it should be her, not us, who decides what’s in that public identity.

So, parents, please spare us, said Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon.com. All these babies tweeting and posting supposedly amusing observations on Facebook really is a bit much. “It’s like we all woke up one day in a mass version of Look Who’s Talking.” Children are not meant to be a “witty accessory” to your own online life. Besides, said Caity Weaver in Gawker.com, making sure your kid has the right handle on a Facebook and Instagram account 20 years from now is laughably shortsighted. It’s likely to be as useful as 1990s parents stockpiling “CompuServe screen names and laser disc players.”

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It's Time for Emojis to be More Diverse

"If these emoji are going to be the texting and Twitter standard, we think it'd be cool if they better reflected the diversity of the people using them" says Chris Gayomali. There are nine cat-face emotions, but not one black person.

Emojis have now fully embedded themselves into our digital vocabulary, showing up in everything from forgettable Katy Perry videos to comedians tapping rap lyrics into their iPhones. The sentiment behind emojis is nothing new, of course. It's why we started pairing colons with closed parentheses and cocking our heads to the side in the first place.

Now, should you find yourself in a situation in which words do not suffice, the iOS keyboard offers hundreds of emoji options for you to pick from. There are several pixelated yellow faces representing the full spectrum of boredom, for instance. There are at least 10 variations for hearts. There are emojis of gay couples holding hands, a smiling turd, demon masks, and a beaming cherub. There are white faces — both young and old — as well as tokenistic caricatures of what appear to be an Asian boy, an Indian man, and a family of Latinos.

What there aren't, however, are any emojis for black people. Not a single one.

It's an egregious omission, and one that's drawing the ire of a petition circulating on DoSomething.org, as Fast Company initially reported. The petition is calling for Apple to update its iOS keyboard to more accurately reflect the multitude of people who use it. It states:

Of the more than 800 emojis, the only two resembling people of color are a guy who looks vaguely Asian and another in a turban. There's a white boy, girl, man, woman, elderly man, elderly woman, blonde boy, blonde girl and, we're pretty sure, Princess Peach. But when it comes to faces outside of yellow smileys, there's a staggering lack of minority representation.

The conspicuous absence of black faces on the emoji keyboard is both "deeply troubling and probably racist," says Andy Holdeman at PolicyMic. The "easy answer" is that emojis were developed in Japan, where there aren't very many black people. But that's a cop out, argues Holdeman, considering there are also two different icons for camels. Yep. Camels.

Emoji was originally developed by Shigetaka Kurita, who engineered the expressive reaction faces many years ago, around the time Windows 95 first began taking off in Japan. In 2010, they were added to the Unicode Standard in other countries, including the United States.

Calls for a more diverse emoji palette have been building in volume for a few months now. Even Miley Cyrus — whose recent indiscretions appropriating ratchet culture haven't exactly endeared her to the black community — rallied behind the cause back in December.

Support for better icon representation has been building steadily. Back in February during Black History month, users took to Twitter, Instagram, and other digital formats to call for more emoji diversity.

A lack of representation in something as inconsequential as dumb faces we text to each other is a firm reminder that racism isn't always explicit; more often, racism rears its head by marginalizing cultural influence in small, stubbornly ugly ways. "If these Emoji are going to be the texting and Twitter standard," write the petition's authors, "we think it'd be cool if they better reflected the diversity of the people using them." You can sign it over at DoSomething.org.

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No nudity after all: Google bans porn from Glass

So long, "T--s and Glass" says Chris Gayomali, Google is keeping it clean.
Google is showing that it's willing to be uncharacteristically draconian in order to endear Glass to the general public. And now it's borrowing a page right out of Apple's porn-free playbook.

After adult app developer MiKandi debuted its "T--s & Glass" app — which allows the Glasserati to record, share, and rate pornography hands-free — Google snuck in and updated its developer policy to bar sexy-time apps from the headset completely:

We don't allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Google has a zero-tolerance policy against child pornography. If we become aware of content with child pornography, we will report it to the appropriate authorities and delete the Google accounts of those involved with the distribution.

Although the Google Play store says it prohibits pornography, the Android marketplace is still flooded with apps with titles like "Big Boobs nude - Videos" and "Tear sexy girl's clothes."

As for MiKandi, it's back to the drawing board. The company promises to find a workaround so the truly dedicated can still ogle naked people inside a tiny cube of clear plastic. "When we first picked up our device, we were very careful to comb through all of Google's terms, policies, and developers' agreement to make sure we were playing within their rules," Jennifer McEwen, co-founder of MiKandi, told ABC News. "That was important to us to play in Google's boundaries."

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The Biometrics Boom: Technology can identify you by unique traits in your eyes, your voice, and your gait. Is there cause for alarm?

What is biometrics? It is the science of identifying individuals by their unique biological characteristics. The best known and earliest example is fingerprints, used by ancient Babylonians as a signature and by police since the turn of the 20th century to identify criminals.

But in the last decade there has been a boom in more advanced biometric technology, allowing people to be identified, and sometimes remotely tracked, by their voices, the irises of their eyes, the geometry of their faces, and the way they walk.

The FBI is consolidating existing fingerprint records, mug shots, and other biometric data on more than 100 million Americans into a single $1.2 billion database. When it is completed, in 2014, police across the country will theoretically be able to instantly check a suspect against that vast and growing array of data.

Law-enforcement officials are enthusiastic about this growing power, while civil libertarians are aghast. "A society in which everyone's actions are tracked is not, in principle, free," said William Abernathy and Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "It may be a livable society, but would not be our society."

How did the boom come about? The age of terrorism has created enormous interest in — and lowered resistance to — identifying and tracking individuals in a very precise way. "Biometrics represent what terrorists fear most: an increased likelihood of getting caught," said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.
Since 2002, the government has fingerprinted all foreign visitors to the U.S. at airports and borders, collecting approximately 300,000 prints per day. In Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have gathered iris data from 5.5 million people, to identify suspected insurgents and prevent infiltration of military bases. Fueled by the growth of iris scans in particular, the global biometrics industry in 2013 has revenues of $10 billion — and is expected to double that in five years.

How do iris scans work? Every person has unique patterns within the colored part of his or her eye. A device scans your iris and compares it with photos of irises on record, identifying people with accuracy rates of 90 to 99 percent, depending on the conditions and system used. Iris scanners are now widely used on military bases, in federal agencies, and at border crossings and airports.

An improved iris scan version can remotely assess up to 50 people per minute, making it possible to scan crowds for known criminals or terrorists whose iris patterns are on file. Facial recognition technology, which identifies people through such geometric relationships as the distance between their eyes, has also come a long way. The technology is still only about 92 percent accurate, but "the error rate halves every two years," said facial recognition expert Jonathon Phillips.

What other biometrics are there? The U.S. military is already using radar that can detect the unique rhythm of a person's heartbeat from a distance, and even through walls. That technology is being developed for use in urban battlefields, but may one day become a law-enforcement tool.

A person's gait, too, is completely individual, and the technology to recognize it has advanced to the point where a person can be identified by hacking into the sensor that tracks the movement of the cellphone in his or her pocket. "Because it does not require any special devices, the gait biometrics of a subject can even be captured without him or her knowing," said Carnegie Mellon University biometrician Marios Savvides.

What are the privacy implications? Civil liberties groups warn that if these technologies are not restrained by law, they could be used in truly Orwellian ways. No laws currently limit data collection from biometric technology or the sharing of that data among federal agencies.

Law-enforcement officials can use driver's license photos to identify or hunt for suspects, for example; the government or private companies could collect a person's biometric data without his consent and use it to track his movements. "That has enormous implications, not just for security but also for American society," said Chris Calabrese of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Is there any turning back? Probably not, especially now that private companies are embracing biometrics.
Already, TD Bank and Barclays Bank are using voice recognition technology to verify account holders. In the not-too-distant future, we'll be able to start our cars with our fingerprints, use facial recognition or iris scans instead of passwords on smartphones and other electronic devices, and have doctors check our medical records by scanning our faces.

These uses of biometrics will provide convenience and efficiency, but at a steep price in privacy. Iris technology that reads our eye movements, for example, will be able to determine what we look at in stores — then use that data to create highly personalized advertising aimed at what we've displayed interest in. "For companies and governments," said the ACLU's Jay Stanley, "the incentives associated with biometrics all point the other way from privacy."

Here in the U.S., proposals to put biometric data on Social Security cards have faltered because of concern among civil libertarians and conservatives over government overreach. But in much of the developing world, the concept of personal privacy carries less legal and cultural weight, and there a biometric revolution is taking place, with some 160 massive data-gathering projects underway.

Until the 21st century, more than a third of people in developing countries were not registered in any way at birth, making it hard for them to open bank accounts, get government benefits, or vote. Biometric IDs could change that.

India is taking the fingerprints and iris scans of all 1.2 billion of its citizens. Nandan Nilekani, the founder of outsourcing firm Infosys and the project's leader, says being identified will allow India's largely anonymous masses to claim services to which they're entitled under the law, rather than being forced to bribe bureaucrats. "Unique identification is a means to empowerment," he said.

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Your Outraged Internet Comments are only Making YOU Angrier

Don't like this blog? Probably best to keep it to yourself, according to Keith Wagstaff. Someone is always wrong on the Internet. Don't let it get to you.

Facebook, blogs, Reddit, the comments section of a website — no corner of the Internet is free from online rants. But while venting online might feel cathartic, it could actually make you angrier in the long run, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

As any online journalist knows, there are certain people who seem to revel in anonymously venting their anger. But what beleaguered writers may not be aware of is that there are two kinds of venters, according to the study: Those who feel relaxed and calm after reading and writing online rants, and those who become sad and upset.

The study did not determine why certain people feel better after indulging in outrage, but it did find that those people eventually ended up angrier.

Not only that, but the people who felt compelled to share their rage through a series of tubes claimed that "they experienced frequent anger consequences, averaging almost one physical fight per month and more than two verbal fights per month."

So yes, your suspicions were correct, that person insulting you every day on your blog probably does have an anger management problem.

The study prompts the question: Is there any benefit to writing seething rants online?

Not really. This jibes with past studies on Internet "discourse."

"At the end of it you can't possibly feel like anybody heard you," Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, told Scientific American last year. "Having a strong emotional experience that doesn't resolve itself in any healthy way can't be a good thing."

In the end, seeking out a flesh-and-blood human being to hash out a political argument with will probably make you feel better than writing in all caps on the Internet.

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'Deflower,' 'pornography,' and 'marijuana': The taboo words your iPhone won't spell

In case you weren't aware, Apple is a family company. Chris Gayomali informs us, Apple is keeping it clean.

The iPhone's autocorrect feature has certainly given the world its fair share of chuckles and book deals of questionable merit. But in less humorous news, it turns out that the iPhone refuses to preemptively fix a handful of so-called "sensitive" words, including "abortion," "rape," "murder," and more. A new experiment by The Daily Beast's NewsBeast Labs used a computer program to go through some 14,000 words that iOS 6, at factory settings, won't change if you make a slight spelling mistake:

In fact, previous iOS software, before spell check was introduced in April 2010, autocorrected many of the words the latest software won't. "Abortion," "rape,” "drunken," "arouse," "murder," "virginity," and others were accurately autocompleted under iOS 3.1.3.

Currently all new iOS devices ship with iOS 6, which includes spell check. Anyone who has upgraded their iOS since fall 2012 will have the latest iOS 6 software.

It's a bit strange, but it isn't entirely unexpected. Apple, which naturally refused to comment on the matter, is no stranger to pearl-clutching, as evidenced by its adamant insistence that the App Store remain PG-13.

Yet Apple's inability to comprehend that adults sometimes use adult language is oddly out of touch with reality. "My iPhone is not a dimwit. It seems to grasp and memorize names and phrases I use repeatedly. These may not have any significance to anyone beyond those who know me intimately," wrote CNET's Chris Matyszczyk in a 2012 column. "Yet somehow, it doesn't know s---."

That said, if you use a strange word not in Apple's standard dictionary enough (iOS 6 and up), it should save your dirty "slang, inside jokes, and abbreviations" in iCloud across your devices, according to Gizmodo. "S---head," for instance.

Head over to The Daily Beast for the full list of words your autocorrect doesn't recognize by default, which includes an eyebrow-raising array of Shakespearean gems and sailor-speak, such as "cuckold," "deflower," "marijuana," "pornography," and "prostitute."

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Why it's so difficult to ban revenge porn

Almost everyone hates it. But state legislatures are having a tough time fighting it. "Is Anyone Up" may be gone, but there are plenty of other revenge porn websites lingering in the dark recesses of the Internet.

Before it was shut down in 2012, the website Is Anyone Up was the leading publisher of revenge porn, defined as cell-phone nudes (or sexts) submitted by scorned exes, embittered friends, and/or malicious hackers posted next to the subject's name, location, and social media information.

The resulting outrage directed at the site and its founder, Hunter Moore (whom Rolling Stone called "The Most Hated Man on the Internet"), made it look like bans on revenge porn would be an easy sell to lawmakers.

So far, it hasn't turned out that way. Only New Jersey has a law on the books specifically targeting revenge porn.

In 2013, California is looking to punish anyone who posts nude or partially nude images of subjects who had a "reasonable expectation of privacy," including when the photographer originally had the subject's consent. If the bill is passed (it was), it would make posting revenge porn a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Considering no legislator wants to be considered "pro-revenge porn," it should sail through the legislature. However, that is what lawmakers in Florida and Missouri thought before similar legislation stalled last year.

So what's the problem?

The issue of who is responsible for the photos is a big stumbling block, writes Patt Morrison at the Los Angeles Times:

As with an actual paper-and-ink letter, does the recipient of the photo own the actual physical picture but not the content and therefore the right to reproduce it anywhere? Is the owner of the photo the person who took it or the person who appears in the photo? What if it’s one and the same, a "selfie"?

Revenge porn sites also have a lot of the protections enjoyed by sites like Facebook and Flickr. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, notes Somini Sengupta at The New York Times, third-party platforms are usually not liable for content generated by their users.

If prosecutors can't go after sites, they would have to go after users — who are often anonymous. If an image goes viral, that further complicates the issue of who is responsible for posting an illegal photo.

There are also First Amendment concerns, which have been raised by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

"Whenever you try and criminalize speech, you have to do so in the most narrowly tailored way possible," EFF lawyer Nate Cardozo tells KABC Los Angeles. He worries that Caifornia's bill "also criminalizes the victimless instances" — such as sites that host legal, consensual pornography.

Regardless of the legal complications, passing the bill sends a message to police and prosecutors, argues Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland. "It signals taking the issue seriously, that harms are serious enough to be criminalized," he tells the Times.
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How Mobile Phones Can Change the World

Happy holidays and happy new year to all! It's time to change the world :)

Since they were developed over 40 years ago, mobile phones have become somewhat of a phenomenon, with more and more emphasis going into design, innovation and creativity. In fact, mobile phones have got so big that it is expected that they will outnumber human beings in 2014.

But apart from using phones to text, call and update your Facebook status, mobile phone devices are being developed in such a way to help improve the lives of thousands of people across the globe.
Here we take a look at how modern technology is being used by charities, health bodies and governments to reduce poverty and improve living conditions for people who need it most.

Vodafone and GSK
At the end of last year Vodafone announced that it was to develop a partnership with GSK and the charity Save the Children in order to improve the healthcare of children in Africa.

The partnership might sound like an unusual one; a children’s charity, a mobile phone operator and a healthcare company don’t usually mix, but this project was aimed at creating an innovative way to solve health issues in developing countries with the direct use of mobile phones.

It might also surprise you to learn that despite Africa being notorious for its high levels of poverty, over half of its inhabitants own a mobile phone of some sort. Experts have therefore concluded that this could be the best way to increase vaccination rates in children across the continent. The scheme will send a simple text message to parents in order to inform them about the availability of vaccines in their vicinity, as well as giving them an easy option of booking future appointments with healthcare professionals.

Although the results of the programme have not yet been revealed, if successful, the scheme, which was initiated in Mozambique, will be spread across the whole of Africa. The aim is for the number of children who receive a vaccination for a preventable condition double from 5% to 10% within the trial year.

Mobile phones and women
Using technology to improve the vaccination rate in Mozambique isn’t the first example of using mobile phones to improve health and living conditions within developing countries, either.

For instance, in Tanzania, a project has been launched to help improve the education and care of new mothers and their babies. The scheme is supported by the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, and aims to give expectant and new mothers vital information about pregnancy, labour and post natal care via a simple text messaging service.

Mobile Technology Programme- the Cherie Blair Foundation
There are also programmes run by several charities which aim to narrow the gender gap in developing countries through the use of mobile phones.

The Cherie Blair Foundation has discovered that women in Africa are 23% less likely to own a mobile phone in Africa, 24% in the Middle East and 37% in South Asia. The charity has therefore founded the Mobile Technology Programme which aims to support women all over the world who want to get into the formerly masculine world of business.

Various case studies show that given the correct technology and training, female entrepreneurs have been able to set up and expand their own businesses via direct access to mobile banking, suppliers and customers.

As a result, obtaining a mobile phone has reportedly helped 83% of women to increase their income, empowering thousands of women all over the globe.

Healthcare in the UK
And it’s not just in African countries where mobile phones are becoming vital in improving living and health conditions; in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) has developed a scheme whereby it sends a text message to patients in order to confirm appointments and test results.

This text messaging service also gives users advice and information about all health issues, including smoking, obesity and travel vaccinations.

The future for mobile phone programmes?
The above are just a handful of examples of how mobile phone technology can change the way that people live their lives, and I expect that the handheld devices which we all take for granted will only go on to be used more and more within social and political spheres in developing countries.

Many mobile phone manufacturers have latched onto the business potential of these emerging markets, launching cheap handsets such as the Huawei Ideos smartphone which is available for just $80. That said, feature phones are more widely used in developing countries, with handsets such as the Nokia 100- which has a lengthy battery life- being highly popular.

However, some critics have accused mobile manufacturers of exploiting people in these emerging markets, claiming that even these cheap handsets are unattainable for those who live on less than $2 a day.

So while programmes aimed to improve social conditions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East appear to have some success, is it really a long-term solution to help the poorest of people in these regions? At what point will keeping up with the latest technological innovations become less of an opportunity and more of a pressure on precious financial resources?

Written by Charlotte Kertrestel from Mobilephones.com.
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The Top 10 Internet Trends of 2013

Everyone's talking tech again this year and NetLingo continues to track the most popular online trends. Shocking, innovative, and definitely a sign of the times, here are the The Top 10 Internet Trends of 2013.

1) big data - If you think all of the news about the NSA leaks is bad, you need to realized that no app is free; you pay for them with your privacyPrivacy is our right to freedom from unauthorized intrusion and it is eroding. Not only is the widespread use of email, apps, cell phones, and spyware documenting our every move, so are checkout scanners, electronic tollbooths, closed-circuit surveillance cameras, and other monitoring technologies. All of these make it extremely easy for “big data” to gather enormous amounts of information about us. Resist the desire to give away your information. Even though consumer advocacy and privacy watchdog groups are calling for legislated protection, we're way behind the curve. Your digital footprintstarts with you.

2) frape – An unprecedented amount of online violence dominated the Internet this year, from cyberbullying suicides to YouTube chemical gas videos to tweets threatening rape. Fraping is not as serious. Short for “Facebook rape,” it is when someone changes your profile pictures, sexuality, or interests on your Facebook page when you've left your account signed in and unattended. Always sign out of your online accounts.

3) hashtag - Newly added to Facebook this year, the hashtag has truly gone mainstream. Originally the domain of Twitter, the hash sign (#) is added to a word or phrase that lets users search for posts that are similarly tagged. It was nominated as “word of the year” by several organizations, and has even penetrated nighttime television in the video stream and on popular shows including #DWTS, “OMG, hashtag this is so intense. OMG, you talk in hashtags? Please hashtag stop!”

4) influencer - Leave it to online marketers to take social media and create another category: influence marketing carried out by brand advocates, specific key individuals who are active on social media sites and have "influence" over other users. These other users are considered potential buyers by online marketers who then orient marketing activities around the influencers (rather than the target market as a whole). In 2013 the adoption of social scoring in mainstream pop culture helped build personal brands that could generate millions of dollars in sponsored post revenue for the influencer, usually a celebrity.

5) listicle - Last year was infographics, this year it's all about listicles, in fact what you’re reading is a listicle! A combination of the words "list" and "article" a “listicle" is a short-form of writing that uses a list as its basic structure, but is beefed up with sufficient verbiage to be published as an article. According to a 2013 cover story byTimemillennials love listicles.

6) revenge porn - Imagine surfing the Internet and stumbling across pictures of yourself naked and finding out an ex had posted them to get back at you. That's revenge porn. It happens when people's intimate photographs and/or videos have been posted on the Internet without their consent, usually by an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. It includes "cell-phone nudes," or sexts, submitted by scorned exes, embittered friends, and/or malicious hackers along with personal info including the subject's name, location, andsocial media information. Nothing is private anymore. Don’t do it, and try not to let it happen to you.

7) selfie - A "selfie" is a self-portrait you post online. It is a picture of you that you took by yourself. Selfies are fun; sometimes it’s just an ego boost, sometimes it’s to update your twitterverse on where you are, sometimes it’s receipt porn, sometimes it’s to flaunt a picture of you in a white bathing suit for all to see on one of the many social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr. Voted the "2013 Word of the Year" by Oxford English Dictionary, the term can be tracked back to 2002 when it was used in an Australian online forum.

8) TBT & MCM & WCW - Throwback Thursday, Man Crush Monday, and Women Crush Wednesday are each considered Internet theme days on social media sites like Instagram, Tumblr, etc. :) TBT is when you post an old picture of yourself, MCM is when you (both men and women) post a picture of a man you have a crush on (usually a celebrity), and WCW is when you (both women and men) post a picture of a woman you have a crush on (again usually a celebrity). You'll often see #mancrushmonday or #womencrushwednesday trending online, indicating a lot of people are posting their crushes.

9) twerk – No list in 2013 would be complete without the word twerk. Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMA’s generated an online buzz about twerking, a dance movement characterized by a rhythmic gyrating of the hips in a low squatting stance meant to elicit arousal or laughter in one's dance partner and/or audience. Its 15 minutes of YouTube fame was over by the end of this year after everyone and their mother went as a twerking Miley for Halloween.

10) 3-D printers- Once the stuff of science fiction, 3-D printers have rapidly evolved becoming smaller, faster, and cheaper. A basic, microwave-size 3-D printer now costs less than $1,000, making almost anyone a potential manufacturer, as was the case this year with the making of the first 3-D printer gun. There is speculation that someday 3-D printers could help us build a base on the moon so even though the 3-D printing trend is starting to take off, it’s one to keep an eye on in the future.

For more Internet terms and online trends, go to NetLingo.com! The Top 10 Internet Trends of 2013 is compiled by Erin Jansen, founder of NetLingo.com and author of NetLingo The Dictionary and NetLingo The List.

10 Tips for Avoiding the Tyranny of Email

Shane Parrish bets you can't even finish reading this story without checking your email once. Yeah, he says, it's time to power down:

"I've been giving a lot of thought to my habits recently and how they affect me. One thing I've placed an increasingly watchful eye on is email.

Email seems pervasive in our lives. We check email on the bus, we check it in the bath. We check it first thing in the morning. We even check it midconversation, with the belief that no one will notice.

John Freeman argues in The Tyranny of Email that the average office worker "sends and receives two hundred emails a day."

Email makes us reactive, as we race to keep up with the never-ending onslaught.

In the past, only a few professions — doctors, plumbers perhaps, emergency service technicians, prime ministers — required this kind of state of being constantly on call. Now, almost all of us live this way. Everything must be attended to — and if it isn't, chances are another email will appear in a few hours asking if indeed the first message was received at all.

Working at the speed of email is like trying to gain a topographic understanding of our daily landscape from a speeding train — and the consequences for us as workers are profound. Interrupted every thirty seconds or so, our attention spans are fractured into a thousand tiny fragments. The mind is denied the experience of deep flow, when creative ideas flourish and complicated thinking occurs. We become task-oriented, tetchy, terrible at listening as we try to keep up with the computer. The email inbox turns our mental to-do list into a palimpsest — there's always something new and even more urgent erasing what we originally thought was the day's priority. Incoming mail arrives on several different channels — via email, Facebook, Twitter, instant message — and in this era of backup we're sure that we should keep records of our participation in all these conversations. The result is that at the end of the day we have a few hundred or even a few thousand emails still sitting in our inbox.

Part of us likes all of the attention email gives us. It has been shown that email is addictive in many of the same ways slot machines are addictive — variable reinforcement.

Tom Stafford, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield, explains: "This means that rather than reward an action every time it is performed, you reward it sometimes, but not in a predictable way. So with email, usually when I check it there is nothing interesting, but every so often there's something wonderful — an invite out, or maybe some juicy gossip — and I get a reward." [The Tyranny of Email]

There are chemical reasons this happens that go well beyond our love of gossip. If we're doing something that pays out randomly, our brain releases dopamine when we get something good and our body learns that we need to keep going if we want a reward.

"Ironically," Freeman writes, "tools meant to connect us are enabling us to spend even more time apart." The consequences are disastrous.

Spending our days communicating through this medium, which by virtue of its sheer volume forces us to talk in short bursts, we are slowly eroding our ability to explain — in a careful, complex way — why it is so wrong for us and to complain, resist, or redesign our workdays so that they are manageable.
Life on the email treadmill

"If the medium is the message, what does that say about new survey results that found nearly 60 percent of respondents check their email when they're answering the call of nature." — Michelle Masterson

When you arrive at work and there are twenty emails in your inbox, the weight of that queue is clear: everyone is waiting for you.

So you clear and clear and clear, only to learn that the faster you reply, the faster the replies come boomeranging back to you — thanks, follow-ups, additional requests, and that one-line sinker, "How are you doing these days?" It shouldn't be such a burden to be asked your state of mind. In the workplace, however, where the sheer volume of correspondence can feel as if it has been designed on the high to enforce a kind of task-oriented tunnel vision, such a question is either a trapdoor or an escape hatch.
At the workplace it used to be hard to share things without a lot of friction. Now sharing is frictionless and free. CC'ing and forwarding to keep people "in the loop" has become a mixed blessing. Now everything is collaborative and if people are left off emails they literally feel left out.

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it." — Herb Simon

We live in a culture in which doing everything all at once is admired and encouraged — have our spreadsheet open while we check email, chin on the phone into our shoulder, and accept notes from a passing office messenger. Our desk is Grand Central and we are the conductor, and it feels good. Why? If we're this busy, clearly we're needed; we have a purpose. We are essential. The internet and email have certainly created a "desire to be in the know, to not be left out, that ends up taking up a lot of our time" — at the expense of getting things done, said Mark Ellwood, the president of Pace Productivity, which studies how employees spend their time.

Of course we can't multitask the way technology leads us to believe we can. "Multitasking," Walter Kirn wrote in an essay called "The Autumn of the Multitaskers," messes with the brain in several ways:"

At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires — the constant switching and pivoting — energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we're supposed to be concentrating on.

What does this mean in practice? Consider a recent experiment at UCLA, where researchers asked a group of 20-somethings to sort index cards in two trials, once in silence and once while simultaneously listening for specific tones in a series of randomly presented sounds. The subjects' brains coped with the additional task by shifting responsibility from the hippocampus — which stores and recalls information — to the striatum, which takes care of rote, repetitive activities. Thanks to this switch, the subjects managed to sort the cards just as well with the musical distraction — but they had a much harder time remembering what, exactly, they'd been sorting once the experiment was over.

Even worse, certain studies find that multitasking boosts the level of stress related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and wears down our systems through biochemical friction, prematurely aging us. In the short term, the confusion, fatigue, and chaos merely hamper our ability to focus and analyze, but in the long term, they may cause it to atrophy.

"In other words," writes Freeman in The Tyranny of Email, "a work climate that revolves around multitasking, and constant interruptions has narrowed our cognitive window down to a care, basic facility: rote, mechanical tasks."

We like to think we are in control of our environment, that we act upon it and shape it to our needs. It works both ways, though; changes we make to the world can have unseen ramifications that impact our ability to live in it.

Attention means being present. Being present helps mindfullness. Thanks to an environment of constant stimulation the biggest challenge these days is maintaining focus.

"Immersing myself in a book or lengthy article used to be easy," wrote Nicolas Carr in an essay entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"

My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I'd spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That's rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I'm always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
Carr wrote an excellent book on the subject, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. If you don't have the time, or attention span, to read the book, you can watch the video.

Reading and other meditative tasks are best performed in what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a "state-of-flow," in which "our focus narrows, the world seems to drop away, and we become less conscious of ourselves and more deeply immersed in ideas and language and complex thoughts," Freeman writes.

Communication tools, however, seem to be working against this state.

In Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csikszentmihalyi writes:

In today's world we have come to neglect the habit of writing because so many other media of communication have taken its place. Telephones and tape recorders, computers and fax machines are more efficient in conveying news. If the only point to writing were to transmit information, then it would deserve to become obsolete. But the point of writing is to create information, not simply to pass it along. In the past, educated persons used journals and personal correspondence to put their experiences into words, which allowed them to reflect on what had happened during the day. The prodigiously detailed letters so many Victorians wrote are an example of how people created patterns of order out of the mainly random events impinging on their consciousness. The kind of material we write in diaries and letters does not exist before it is written down.

It is the slow, organically growing process of thought involved in writing that lets the ideas emerge in the first place.

In The Tyranny of Email, Freeman sums up the multitasking argument:

Multitasking may not be perfect, but it can push the brain to add new capacity; the problem, however, remains that the small gains in capacity are continuously, rapidly, outstripped by the speeding up and growing volume of incoming demand on our attention.
Why is it so hard to read these days?

In his essay on Google Carr writes:

It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of "reading" are emerging as users "power browse" horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.

Some of this is due to changes in the medium itself. Newspaper articles are shorter and catchier. Text has become bigger. We're becoming a PowerPoint culture. We need bullet points, short sentences, and fancy graphics. We skim rather than read. Online readers are "selfish, lazy, and ruthless," said Jakob Nielson, a usability engineer. If we don't get what we want, as soon as we want it, we move to the next site.

But all of this has a cost.

"What we are losing in this country, and presumably around the world is the sustained, focused, linear attention developed by reading," said Dana Gioia, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. "I would believe people who tell me that the internet develops reading if I did not see such a universal decline in reading ability and reading comprehension on virtually all tests."

"If the research on multitasking is any guide," Freeman writes in the The Tyranny of Email, "and if several centuries of liberal arts education have proven anything, the ability to think clearly and critically and develop an argument comes from reading in a focused manner."

These skills are important because they enable employees to step back from an atmosphere of frenzy and make sense in a busy, nearly chaotic environment. If all companies want, though, is worker bees who will simply type till they drop and badger one another into a state of overload, a new generation of inveterate multitaskaholics might be just what they get. If that's the case, workplace productivity isn't the only thing that will suffer.
Freeman concludes his book by offering several tips you can do to take back control of your life and the mental space email is consuming.

1. Don't send

The most important thing you can do to improve the state of your inbox, free up your attention span, and break free of the tyranny of email is not to send an email. As most people now know, email only creates more email, so by stepping away from the messaging treadmill, even if for a moment every day, you instantly dial down the speed of the email messagopolis.

2. Don't check it first thing in the morning or late at night

Not checking your email first thing will also reinforce a boundary between your work and your private life, which is essential if you want to be fully present in either place. If you check your email before getting to work, you will probably begin to worry about work matters before you actually get there. Checking your e-mail first thing at home doesn't give you a jump on the workday; it just extends it. Sending email before and after office hours has a compounded effect, since it creates an environment in which workers are tacitly expected to check their email at the same time and squeeze more work out of their tired bodies.

3. Check it twice a day

Checking your email twice a day will … allow you to set the agenda for your day, which is essential if you want to stay on task and get things done in a climate of constant communication.

4. Keep a written to-do list and incorporate email into it

5. Give good email

6. Read the entire incoming email before replying

This seems like a pretty basic rule, but a great deal of email is generated by people replying without having properly read initial messages.

7. Don't debate complex or sensitive matters by email

8. If you have to work as a group by email, meet your correspondents face to face


9. Set up your desktop to do something else besides email

As much as you can, take control over your office space by setting aside part of your desk for work that isn't done on the computer. Imagine it as your thinking area, where you can read or take notes or doodle as you work out a problem.

10. Schedule media-free time
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Does social media make us smarter?

Turns out there are some benefits to shrinking your attention span to nothing!

As reported by Monica Nickelsburg, on any given day, the average American teenager spends more than 7.5 hours online and uses his or her cellphone 60 times. While these numbers strike fear in the hearts of parents and crotchety novelists lamenting the loss of a more meaningful existence, there are some real benefits to a technology-saturated life: Young people spend far more time consuming new information, honing verbal concision, and interacting with a diverse audience than they have at any point in history.

Social media might render us mean and unhappy, but it also makes us more intelligent, according to a new study. Research suggests social media can improve verbal, research, and critical-thinking skills, despite popular concern about the damaging effects of the internet on impressionable youths.

Stanford professor Andrea Lunsford collected 877 freshman composition papers from 1917 to 2006 to study the ways technological advances have changed the quality of writing. Often the biggest complaint about "digital natives" is lazy prose — a tendency to use abbreviations and poor grammar — but Lunsford's research suggests that's a myth. She discovered there was virtually no change in the number of errors in composition papers over the past century. She also found that by 2006, papers were six times longer, more thoroughly researched, and more complex than those written in 1917.

"Student writers today are tackling the kinds of issues that require inquiry and investigation as well as reflection," Lunsford told The Globe and Mail.

Of course, major advances in education over the past century need to be accounted for when reviewing Lunsford's findings. But there is one change inextricably tied to social media: Young people spend far more time writing outside the classroom than ever before. They spend hours on extracurricular composition in the form of tweets, texts, emails, comments, photo captions, and discussion boards.

It's easy to write this off as meaningless chatter and narcissistic navel-gazing, but Lunsford's findings suggest it does influence quality of writing. Sites with character counts, like Twitter, are particularly beneficial because they teach users to be economical with language.

Digital connectedness can also provide students with a greater sense of purpose in their work. Writing for an engaged, responsive audience often motivates people to make their work more compelling, even if they're just composing a 140-character tweet.

Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better, explains why this wide range of readers is beneficial:

One good example is allowing children to write for this incredible, global audience. When kids are writing a paper for a teacher, they sort of don't care, because they know the teacher doesn't care, they are being paid to read this, it's just an assignment and a grade. But as soon as you connect them with an authentic audience, the same way adults do on blogs and Twitter, the kids completely throw themselves into the work.

Once they saw their first comment from someone outside the classroom, their entire world shifted, because they understand they are thinking publicly, and that catalyzes them to produce something better. They go over their work and ask others to critique it before posting. Teachers who had struggled to get kids to write a two-page book report suddenly found they would willingly compose a painstakingly researched 35,000 word walk-through of their favorite video game.

That's not to say social media doesn't have negative effects. Even Thompson and Lunsford recognize that the impact of technology on young minds is complicated. One clear casualty of the digital revolution is our attention spans. Ten years ago the average attention span was 12 minutes. In just a decade it's been reduced to five seconds.

"The distraction issue is real and significant, you can't get certain types of important thinking and work done if you're constantly darting around from one thing to another," Thompson told The Verge. "The problem is, we currently have this information ecology that has been designed to capture as much of your attention as possible."

Research also suggests that Facebook can contribute to feelings of sadness and dissatisfaction. But these symptoms of social media, while unfortunate, are not inconsistent with Lunsford's and Thompson's findings. After all, if history is any indicator, unhappiness and intelligence are not mutually exclusive.

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Could a social media eraser law save an over-sharing generation?

California's pending Internet "eraser button" law gives minors a way to (partially) expunge their digital footprint.

As reported by Peter Weber, California's legislature recently passed a landmark law giving minors the legal right to scrub their Internet history clean. That means, if Gov. Jerry Brown (D) doesn't veto the bill, anyone under 18 will be able to digitally erase any Facebook harangue, indiscreet Instagram, impolitic tweet, or any other web posting that doesn't age well.

The new law will protect "the teenager who says something on the Internet that they regret five minutes later," said California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D) after the upper chamber cleared his bill on Aug. 30, sending it to Brown's desk.

"Kids and teenagers often self-reveal before they self-reflect," agrees James Steyer at Common Sense Media, which pushed for the California law. "It's a very important milestone."

Who would oppose such an act of humanity? After all, people can often have their juvenile criminal records expunged or sealed when they turn 18, so why not extend the same courtesy to job-seekers trying to rid Google of that embarrassing photo they sent to their boyfriend in high school?

There are some open-Internet advocates who oppose the law on the idea that regulating the Internet always had unintended consequences. "We are principally concerned that this legal uncertainty for website operators will discourage them from developing content and services tailored to younger users, and will lead popular sites and services that may appeal to minors to prohibit minors from using their services," the Center for Democracy and Technology told California lawmakers, to no avail.

More sympathetic critics of the new law also "warn that in trying to protect children, the law could unwittingly put them at risk by digging deeper into their personal lives," says Somini Sengupta in The New York Times. "To comply with the law, for example, companies would have to collect more information about their customers, including whether they are under 18 and whether they are in California."

And then there's the possibility that teenagers will come to think of the law as a sort of digital version of the Amish Rumspringa — go do whatever you want, you crazy kids, and all will be forgiven when you come to your senses. The Internet, of course, doesn't work that way.

"Before minors celebrate by temporarily posting offensive jokes or pictures, the bill wisely provides that there is no guarantee removal by the initial website ensures complete elimination of the materials from the entire web," says Travis Crabtree at eMedia Law Insider.

Not only doesn't the law require the internet companies to remove the data from their servers, Crabtree notes, it also "only applies to content actually posted by the minor and not those pictures posted by the teen's friends who have less scruples."

It's not that California couldn't fix those shortcomings. In Europe, for example, an EU electronic data protection directive lets all Europeans — not just minors — "object to the processing of any data relating to himself," says Eugene K. Chow at The Huffington Post.

So when then-Formula One chief Max Mosley discovered in 2008, on the website of Britain's News of the World, that anyone with a Internet connection could watch a covertly recorded video of his participation in what the website alleged was a "sick Nazi orgy" with multiple prostitutes, he could do something about it. Mosley had "the legal grounds to sue Google in Germany and several other countries," says Chow, and he "could even compel the Internet giant to filter out the raunchy videos."

The European Commission's proposed "right to be forgotten" law would take those privacy rights and turn them up a few big notches. The controversial proposal would essentially give all Europeans the right to demand that tech companies erase any data they hold on a petitioning individual. The European Commissioners are still trying to work out how to best balance privacy rights and free speech concerns, but if we give teenagers an internet "eraser button," why not adults, too?

For one thing, the U.S. is not Europe, says Chow at The Huffington Post:

Despite the American myths that tout the individual as the pillar of society, European privacy laws have a more deeply rooted respect for individuals as evidenced by Europe's long tradition of prioritizing people over newspapers, photographers, and more recently, tech companies.... American laws frequently prioritize free speech at the expense of individual rights.

Nobody is arguing California's SB 568 is a perfect solution to the looming problems of a generation that seems to collectively have little hesitation about posting embarrassing and career-limiting stuff online, but at least the Golden State is taking a stab at the problem.

And while a national law would have a bigger impact, what California does matters, attorney Mali Friedman tells The New York Times. "Often you need to comply with the most restrictive state as a practical matter because the Internet doesn't really have state boundaries."

So if you're an Internet firm, you "may have to reassess the cost-benefit analysis of collecting certain types of data from minors," or even whether it's worth letting them use your site or app, says Cynthia Larose at Privacy and Security Matters.

On the other hand, she adds, if you worry that, "given the types of things minors deem appropriate to post on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, our country won't be able to produce an electable candidate for president in 40 years," laws like California's internet "eraser button" will help ensure that "many more of our children could become president someday."
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Learn 21st Century Language Skills

This is an interview by Ultimate Spelling Bee with Erin Jansen of NetLingo :)

Long before computer jargon and “text speak” became part of the ongoing argument about spelling skills and the development of the English language, Erin Jansen saw the need to collect and document all of the terminology associated with the digital world, and the virtual world that followed. Now her site is the top-ranked resource for information on the language of the internet, of mobile chatting, and of 21st-century communication in general. We talked to Erin recently about the website, and how the English language is growing and adapting to keep up with the ongoing cyber-evolution of our world.

US: You were a pioneer in classifying and tracking the terminology associated with computers back in the mid-1990s and your website now covers vocabulary used in all aspects of the digital world, from the internet in general to blogging, texting, gaming, and marketing. What has been the biggest change in “cyberspeak” you’ve noticed over the last 15 years?

EJ: The biggest change in cyberspeak over the past 15 years has been the increasing use of acronyms and text shorthand, and specifically the use of numbers and symbols within acronyms and text shorthand. For example, 10Q means thank you; 143 means i love you; 182 means i hate you; 9 means a parent is watching; 99 means a parent is no longer watching. This kind of code has evolved rapidly into what is known as leetspeak.

9 means a parent is watching; 99 means a parent is no longer watching. This kind of code has evolved rapidly into what is known as leetspeak. - See more at: http://www.netlingo.com/#sthash.221FCWNG.dpuf

Here’s one of my favorite quotes: “The digital frontier is a nurturing place where verbs and nouns are not only born, but in fact bear offspring.” —Don Altman

US: Here at Ultimate Spelling we’ve frequently discussed the topic of texting, and whether or not using abbreviations and acronyms has a negative impact on spelling skills. What’s your opinion on this?
EJ: I do not believe the use of abbreviations and acronyms while texting has a negative impact on spelling skills, it’s simply another way of talking or writing. While I don’t think this kind of shorthand is appropriate for school course work, I do think it can spur on the creative writing process. So the challenge for educators is to encourage creative writing in the first draft, but by the final paper, make sure the student is using proper grammar and spelling.

Here’s another favorite quote: “No language as depending on arbitrary use and custom can ever be permanently the same, but will always be in a mutable and fluctuating state; and what is deemed polite and elegant in one age, may be accounted uncouth and barbarous in another.” —Benjamin Martin

US: AFAIK, UNOIT, and HTNOTH look like serious cases of misspellings, but they’re fairly common acronyms used in text messages. In general, do people use acronyms like these rather than the phrases themselves, when they’re typing out e-mail messages or other non-texting communication?
EJ: Many people use these kinds of acronyms on a regular basis while others do not, it depends on the person. I continue to receive new acronym submissions on a daily basis, and I continue to see this type of shorthand even on social networking sites, not just in email or text messages. I get the feeling that people either love acronyms and use them as often as possible, or people don’t like acronyms and use shorthand sparingly.

Another favorite quote: “A dictionary is an historical monument, the history of a nation contemplated from one point of view, and the wrong ways into which a language has wandered … may be nearly as instructive as the right ones.” —Richard Chenevix Trench

US: The acronym WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) has been around long enough that it’s actually become a spoken vocabulary word, pronounced WIZZ-ee-wig. It’s even listed in the Oxford English Dictionary! Do you think that this illustrates the next step in the evolution of the English language?
EJ: I absolutely think that acronyms and tech talk in general illustrate the next step in the evolution of language. On a recent episode of the popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars” one of the stars was “talking in hashtags” when she said “OMG, hashtag intense” to refer to a posting she made on Twitter under “#intense” at which point the host responded “You talk in hashtags? OMG, please hashtag stop.” Acronyms and tech talk crossed over into mainstream media in the early 2000′s with the popularity of social media sites. NetLingo continues to track all of these terms as they keep evolving, and the good thing about the website as oppose to printed versions is that it is always updated and always growing. (The first NetLingo Dictionary book published in 2002 had 500 pages while the website had 5,000 pages; now in 2013 the website has 10,000 pages, it’s unrealistic to publish all of that in a book.)

A quote to help illustrate: “Telephone books are, like dictionaries, already out of date the moment they are printed.” —Ammon Shea

US: One of the sections of your website is titled “Top 50 Internet Acronyms Parents Need to Know.” What are the issues that come up between parents and kids, as far as “net lingo” is concerned?

EJ: The issues that come up between parents and kids as far as “net lingo” is concerned are primarily that parents don’t understand what kids are saying when they are texting and they don’t know what they are doing when spending time online. This is a problem because kids are often approached by strangers online. The statistics say it all: 95% of parents don’t recognize the lingo kids use to let people know that their parents are watching. One third of kids have been contacted by a stranger and half of these were considered inappropriate. 75% of youth who received an online sexual solicitation did not tell a parent. 81% of parents of online youth say that kids aren’t careful enough when giving out information about themselves online. These are unfortunate facts and it is why I try to educate parents about the lingo used online, and the need to stay engaged and set rules around online usage.

Here’s a cute joke to help illustrate: “The linguistics professor was explaining to his class that there were languages on this earth where a positive and a negative was always positive, some where this was always negative, and some where a double negative was in fact a positive, but that there was no language on earth where a double positive was a negative. To which a student at the back of the class called out, “Yeah right!” —Anonymous

Erin Jansen is the founder of NetLingo.com and author of “NetLingo The Internet Dictionary” and “NetLingo The Largest List of Text & Chat Acronyms.”

The Great Digital Con Game

Have you ever stopped to think about the politics or economics of social media and digital sharing? Jaron Lanier has.

Stop “offering yourselves up on a platter,” said Jaron Lanier. In today’s world of social media and digital sharing, we upload, tweet, instagram, share, and “like” with abandon. But have you ever stopped to think about the politics or economics of this new world order?

Take Instagram, for example. “When photography happened on film, a company like Kodak directly employed 140,000 middle-class people,” all making money from the products it created. Today, we have Instagram: a company that recently sold for $1 billion, employs 13 people, and “makes money off content that others—that is, you—create.”

You young people ought to wake up. By buying into the digital lifestyle, “you’ve become passive little playthings of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, screwing yourselves over for their profit.” The sad thing is that this isn’t “some evil conspiracy that’s taking away your future.” You’re giving it away!

“You’re sending all your data to companies in California so that they can sell behavioral models of you to whoever pays them the most to manipulate you.” And in exchange, what do you get? A chance to promote yourself? Likes and retweets? Reputation? Goodwill? Those “informal online benefits” are great, but be warned: “You can’t retire on them.”

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How Google Makes Its Money

For a company that for the longest time was touted to "not have a product," Google is doing plenty well, and is poised to bring us all into the new age of connectivity. The editors at Best Accounting Schools decided to research the topic; below are some key facts and figures. Click here for the infographic!

Google made $33.3 billion last year
- With 97% ($32.2 bil) coming from online ads
- Making Google Ads more valuable than Panama (GDP)[3]
- And the 31 poorest countries in the world combined
- 70% of this revenue is from adwords, which allows business to advertise by popular keywords

Most expensive keywords
- 1. Insurance: $54.31 per click
- 2. Mortgage:$47.12 per click
- 3. Attorney $47.07 per click
- 4. Loans:$44.28 per click
- 5. Credit $36.06 per click
- 6. Lawyer
- 7. Donate
- 8. Degree
- 9. hosting
- 10. Claim
- 11. Conference Call
- 12. Trading
- 13. Software
- 14. Recovery
- 15. Transfer
- 16. Gas/Electricity
- 17. Classes
- 18. Rehab
- 19. Treatment
- 20. Cord Blood

And 30% is from AdSense
- Which allows business to advertise on particular sites
- Some of the most expensive ad placements
- 1. CBS March Madness on Demand $70 cost per thousand views
- 2. Hulu $35 cost per thousand views
- 3. Aol homepage takeover $500,000-$700,000
Chances are, you'll click on a link at some point. Google wants you to stay online as long as possible.

Both Google and other acquisitions are furthering Google's cause.
Google is the lab where future projects are developed. There, several ways in which to keep you online have been developed:
Driverless cars
- 300,000 miles have been logged in Google's driverless cars, which use sensors and Google map technology to keep you on the road
- If you don't have to pay attention to the road, you can be online, for work, play, Google, etc.
Google Glass
- A form of augmented reality glasses, allow you to be online all the time with an unobtrusive display within your upper visual field
The "web of things"
- Involves embedding many ordinary devices with internet connectivity
- Televisions, thermostats, refrigerators
Google Fiber
- Is busy hooking up Kansas City, Missouri, Provo, Utah, and Austin Texas, with lighting fast fiber optic internet access
- Including: 1 terabyte of Google drive storage
- and, 2 terabyte DVR service for subscribers
- That can record up to 8 tv shows at once
- Time Magazine has noted that Google does not want to enter the ISP business, but rather wants to shame existing ISPs into improving service so searches can be done more quickly
Plans for an elevator to space...
- Because what would you do out there without Google maps?

Other acquisitions by Google Include:
- YouTube
- Purchased for a--then--astounding $1.65 billion in 2006
- Youtube has proved to be plenty worth it
- As it is now the third most popular site online, with billions of ads shown yearly
- Motorola Mobility
- Purchased in 2011 for $12.5 billion
- Motorola is one of 39 Android handset producers
- Was bought primarily to "supercharge the Android ecosystem."
- Other Acquisitions include
- $676 mil for ITA software, a company merged into Google Flights
- $450 mil for Wildfire Interactive, a social network marketing engine
- $400 mil for AdMeld, an online advertising service
- $1.3 bil for Waze, a socially driven mapping technology to merge with Google Maps
- And $228 mil for slide.com, a social gaming site
- With 83.18% of searches worldwide occurring on Google, and the right people thinking about how to funnel that for the collective, and profitable, good, Google's not going anywhere. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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According to Colleen Oakley, it's not just for Veronica Mars reboots. Graduating with less debt could just take a couple of clicks.

When Kelli Space graduated from Northeastern University in 2009 with $200,000 of student loan debt, she panicked. Given that she had an entry-level office manager job that didn't pay much, Space knew that it was going to be tough to pay back that debt on her own.

But instead of deferring her payments — or not paying them at all, like many grads end up doing — she started a crowdfund, which is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a vast pool of people online.

"In total, I received $13,000 from strangers around the world," she says. And although that amount only made a small dent toward paying off her debt, it had a big impact on her career trajectory — the experience inspired Space and three friends to start Zero Bound, a company that helps students and graduates crowdfund their own student loan debt in exchange for community volunteering.

Space has not one but two lofty goals with Zero Bound. "We hope to use the trend of crowdfunding to not only help a generation pay off their debt, but also increase volunteerism among an age bracket that actually volunteers the least," she says. "And, to that end, I believe that crowdfunding can be a largely beneficial way to raise the funds to make that happen."

Space isn't alone in her thinking. Since 2011, crowdfunding efforts have more than tripled, and current campaigns are projected to raise more than $5.1 billion worldwide in 2013.

But what started out as a way to enable businesses and individuals to raise money for creative endeavors without relying on such traditional financing sources as banks — take the indie Veronica Mars Movie Project, which raised over five million dollars on Kickstarter in just 30 days — has morphed into a means for literally anyone to ask for money … for literally anything.

"Crowdfunding is definitely branching out into multiple areas, including personal causes," says Ellen Sperling, cofounder of crowdfunding site YouveGotFunds.com. And, by personal, we're talking about everything from surgeries to honeymoons. Why, you ask? "It's partly because the costs for many of these regular items have skyrocketed," she says. "Medical fees are through the roof, and even if you have health insurance, they don't always cover certain medications and procedures, like fertility treatments."

The same applies to financing higher education. "Why would college students want to graduate owing $150,000-plus in loans," Sperling says, "if they have family, friends and possibly community members who can help, enabling them to start their careers in a better place?"

Brad Wyman, chief creative officer of FundAnything.com, calls this new trend of personal crowdfunding a "virtual barn raising." It's the online version of your own community rallying around you to support you when you need it the most.

Take James and Adena Reimer, a Canadian couple who started a campaign on FundAnything.com when James, who'd been battling cystic fibrosis and bromchiolitis obliterans, needed a second lung transplant. They were hoping to raise $10,000 to "pay for medical bills that weren't being covered by my home province," says James, 29. "We also had other expenses, like plane tickets to fly my mom out to help, and emergency taxi trips to the hospital."

They ended up raising a whopping $43,000 — and were overcome with the outpouring of support. "If it wasn't for crowdfunding, we'd probably have to take out a loan or beg family members," says James. "It was a huge blessing!"

The Kujawas are using crowdfunding to help finance IVF.

Couples are also turning to crowdfunding to help make their dreams of having kids come true. Nate and Christy Kujawa of Spokane, Wash., had been trying to get pregnant for about four years with no success. After multiple doctor visits, Christy received a devastating double diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis and Crohn's disease — and then Nate learned that he had multiple sclerosis. Physicians told them that they had a two percent chance of conceiving naturally, but a 95 percent chance with IVF.

The only problem? It's an expensive solution.

So they turned to the Internet. "I got the idea from a client of mine," says Christy, 31. "We were talking about how expensive IVF was, and she suggested I start a crowdfund. I actually knew a few people who had done funding for cancer treatment, and to help replace things due to a house fire, but no one specifically for IVF." To date, the Kujawas have already raised one quarter of their $12,000 goal — and they say that the response has been overwhelming.

A hand up or a handout? Most people cringe at the thought of asking for financial support, and tend to proceed with caution when asking friends or family for money — even for worthy causes. So what makes doing it online so much more acceptable?

"It's a lot less uncomfortable to ask someone to check out your campaign than to put your hand out," says Wyman. "And for life events, such as a wedding, look at it this way: It's similar to registering for gifts at a store, except now the couple can ‘register' for something that's more meaningful than china. And unlike just giving cash, guests know that their contributions are going toward a couple's real goal."

"People just want to help others. It's a strong emotion that drives the crowdfunding industry as a whole." According to Sperling, crowdfunding isn't just benefiting those raising the funds, either — it's giving everyone a chance to give back. "Sometimes people just want to help others," she says. "It's a strong emotion that drives the crowdfunding industry as a whole."

Crowdfunding 101: A primer for success
Before you jump on a crowdfunding bandwagon yourself, Wyman says that there are a few things you should know when it comes to creating a good campaign:

1. Set a realistic financial goal. If potential contributors don't think that you'll be able to reach your goal, they'll think twice about contributing to your campaign.

2. Craft a smart elevator pitch. You should be able to explain your cause in two to three concise sentences. And before you share that pitch with potential donors, practice it on your friends and family.

3. Be your best marketing team. Tell everyone you know that you've launched a campaign, and invite them to visit. And be sure to consistently update the campaign, so there's a reason for people to keep on visiting your site.

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