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Social Media Use Does Not Diminish Offline Friendships in Youth - Neuroscience News

Children who spend more time using social media report spending several evenings a week with friends offline. Other studies have shown that the use of social media leads to increased closeness in friend relationships, the development of new friendships, and old friendships being reinforced. This may be a possible explanation for the findings from the Trondheim Early Secure Study.

Social Media Fuels Eating Disorder Echo Chambers - Neuroscience News

The researchers next looked at how these communities interacted with each other. Chu described the result as “astonishing.” Clusters, or echo chambers, appeared where tens of thousands of users in the same community responded to and retweeted each other, yet they had little interaction with outside groups.

“You’re Telling Me That Thing Is Forged?”: The Inside Story of How Trump’s “Body Guy” Tried and Failed to Order a Massive Military Withdrawal | Vanity Fair

McEntee’s efforts to root out Trump infidels in the administration were often comically petty, but they came with the force of a presidential mandate. Just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, for example, somebody on McEntee’s staff discovered that a young woman in the office of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson had liked an Instagram post by pop star Taylor Swift that included a photo of Swift holding a tray of cookies decorated with the Biden-Harris campaign logo. The transgression was brought all the way to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who placed a call to Carson’s top aide. The message: We can’t have our people liking the social media posts of a high‑profile Biden supporter like Taylor Swift.

Is Doctor Pay Too High? NIH Pulls Plug on Misinfo Research; FDA and EPA Butt Heads | MedPage Today

Previous NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, publicly proposed the project idea in 2021, saying, "We basically have seen the accurate medical information overtaken, all too often, by the inaccurate conspiracies and false information on social media," and "I do think we need to understand better how -- in the current climate -- people make decisions."

America’s Love Affair with Adderall | The Free Press

Many TikTok videos list ways to get an Adderall prescription online and how to self-diagnose ADHD (three symptoms cited by the CDC include being “easily distracted,” acting as if “driven by a motor,” and having “trouble organizing tasks and activities”). Studies have found that watching TikTok increases self-diagnosis for ADHD. The hashtag #ADHD has 14 billion views, and #ADHDdiagnosis has 46.1 million views.  Last year the company Cerebral, which provides online therapy and medication, was the third largest advertiser on TikTok after Amazon and HBO. After filling out a questionnaire, followed by a 30-minute video call with a “licensed prescriber,” Cerebral can provide an ADHD diagnosis and prescription for medication.

‘Barry’: Bill Hader on “Disturbing” Season 3 Finale, What’s Next – The Hollywood Reporter

It’s interesting, comedy in general. I showed my kids Naked Gun, and we were dying laughing. I haven’t seen a movie like that for a long time. Actually, I take that back: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar was really funny, hysterical. But so much of what’s funny, and where people are getting their comedy buzzes from: YouTube, in reality, in life. What used to be, “Oh, my God, you gotta go see this new Naked Gun movie,” is now, “Watch this five-second clip of a guy falling off a Segway.” (Laughs.) I remember being at SNL, and we would watch news bloopers, or whatever thing someone would send you, and you would go, “We can never be this funny.” When I was a kid, you would take your video camera around, and you would do things you saw in movies. Now it’s, “Here’s my YouTube channel.” It’s just different, but I don’t bemoan it. I just think things evolve. I love reading about Old Hollywood and the advent of television and how that flipped everybody out. The conversation of “Movies are dead, and comedy is fucked” has been going on forever.

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid - The Atlantic

The text does not say that God destroyed the tower, but in many popular renderings of the story he does, so let’s hold that dramatic image in our minds: people wandering amid the ruins, unable to communicate, condemned to mutual incomprehension. […]The story of Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. Something went terribly wrong, very suddenly. We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past.

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid - The Atlantic

Social media has both magnified and weaponized the frivolous.

The chronic growing pains of communicating science online

The business-as-usual response to this challenge from many parts of the scientific community—especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields— has been frustrating to those who conduct research on science communication. Many scientists-turned-communicators continue to see online communication environments mostly as tools for resolving information asymmetries between experts and lay audiences (3). As a result, they blog, tweet, and post podcasts and videos to promote public understanding and excitement about science. To be fair, this has been driven most recently by a demand from policy-makers and from audiences interested in policy and decision-relevant science during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study finds surprising source of social influence: Want to promote your new product or trigger a shift in thinking? Steer clear of the influencers -- ScienceDaily

So, if you want to spread gossip -- easily digestible, uncontroversial bits of information -- go ahead and tap an influencer. But if you want to transmit new ways of thinking that challenge an existing set of beliefs, seek out hidden locations in the periphery and plant the seed there. "Our big discovery," Centola added, "is that every network has a hidden social cluster in the outer edges that is perfectly poised to increase the spread of a new idea by several hundred percent. These social clusters are ground zero for triggering tipping points in society." Centola and Guilbeault applied their findings to predicting the spread of a new microfinance program across dozens of communities in India. By considering what was being spread through the networks, they were able to predict where it should originate from, and whether it would spread to the rest of the population. Their predictions identified the exact people who were most influential for increasing the adoption of the new program. Guilbeault, now an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, noted, "in a sense, we found that the center of the network changed depending on what was spreading. The more uncertain people were about a new idea, the more that social influence moved to the people who only had parochial connections, rather than people with many far-reaching social connections." Guilbeault added, "the people in the edges of the network suddenly had the greatest influence across the entire community."

#StopTheSteal: Timeline of Social Media and Extremist Activities Leading to 1/6 Insurrection

Most of the material found in this report was posted in plain sight on social media platforms and online forums, designed to convince more Americans of falsehoods about the 2020 elections. The Stop the Steal movement was far from monolithic, though, and included groups across a spectrum of radicalization: hyperpartisan pro-Trump activists and media outlets; the neo-fascist Proud Boys, a group with chapters committed to racism and the promotion of street violence; unlawful militias from around the country with a high degree of command and control, including the so-called Three Percenters movement; adherents to the collective delusion of QAnon; individuals identifying with the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organized anti-government group that has called for a second civil war; and ideological fellow travelers of the far-right, who wanted to witness something they believed would be spectacular.

QAnon and the Cultification of the American Right | The New Republic

The unchecked growth of far-right conspiracy-mongering online also meant that, in terms of messaging, the movement was poised to enter prime time. Many of today’s lead organizers are doing their networking and recruiting out in the light of day, with the assistance of a wide array of celebrity enablers, from Alex Jones and Roseanne Barr to former President Trump himself. Ardent fans of The Turner Diaries don’t need to wait for the gun shows that the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh frequented to find one another. But about one month before that 1995 bombing, Stormfront became one of the first white nationalist forums to launch its own website. When the man who headed to El Paso in 2019 to shoot and kill 23 people and injure two dozen others wanted to release his white supremacist manifesto timed to the attack, he made a post on the message board 8chan—a platform where Q left his “drops” for followers to decipher—19 minutes before the first 911 call. And while online visibility might forewarn surveilling authorities about Q-related insurrectionist plans, it has not stopped the violence, as the January rioting at the Capitol made all too clear.

Maybe Freedom is Having No Followers to Lose - Insight

One of the reasons for this discrepancy is that, on social media, the dynamic for in-group status assertions and status competition is strong—and getting stronger for this topic as the pandemic rages on. I’m no stranger to this dynamic, as it is something that’s very common among social movements (something I’ve studied at length) and, well, pretty much any human group. Who’s in and who’s out of the group is a key force for group-based species like ours and thus “stay-in-your-lane” assertions and wagon-circling against criticisms from perceived outsiders is forceful in any human group or profession. As the pandemic progresses, and as the field feels more and more under attack (and much of it quite unfair and terrible) the dynamic strengthens, often to the detriment of the field.

Inside the New York Times’ Heated Reckoning With Itself

So the staff turned to Slack, taking aim first at the column (“It’s very Bolsonaro of Op-Ed to run this”); then at the op-ed section’s editor, James Bennet (“We’re tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, trying not to notice the stink of the huge pile of crap it’s just dumped. Should JB be replaced?”); and, eventually, at the Times itself. Employees of color felt unheard — “We love this institution, even though sometimes it feels like it doesn’t love us back” — while tech reporters worried the Times’ defense of the column, in the name of an open consideration of a wide range of opinion, was making the paper look like the companies its reporting was taking to task: “It is frustrating to hear some of the same excuses (we’re just a platform for ideas!) that our journalists and columnists have criticized tech CEOs for making.”

Bill Moyers and Heather Cox Richardson on Her Daily Letters –

HEATHER COX RICHARDSON: The newsletter was completely an accident, and I have my readers to thank for it. I had on Facebook a professional page that I posted on about once a week. And I hadn’t written on it in a while in the summer last year because I was actually busy moving. And I was all set to get in the car and drive from my home in Maine to teach in Boston. And I happened to be stung by a yellow-jacket, and I’m allergic to them. And I didn’t have my EpiPen nearby. So I didn’t dare get on the road until I knew how badly I would react. And I thought, “Well, I haven’t written in a while on my Facebook page.” And I know that on Friday, Friday the 13th, September 13th, Adam Schiff wrote a letter to the acting director of national intelligence at the time saying, “We know there’s a whistleblower complaint out there. And we know that you have it, and we know that you’re supposed to give it to us, and you’re not. And that means that we have to assume it’s a really big deal. Hand the stupid thing over.” And of course, I paraphrase, but that was the gist of it. And I recognized because I’m a political historian, that this was the first time that a member of Congress had found a specific law that they were accusing a specific member of the executive branch of violating. So I thought, you know, I oughta put that down, ’cause this is a really important moment. If you knew what you were looking for, it was a big moment. So I wrote it down, and then got myself back to Boston and got home and there were a ton of questions about what I’d written. And it was clear that the readers wanted to know more. They seemed to want to know the answers, so I wrote again, I think it was two nights later on the 17th. And I’ve written every night since because questions just poured in, and people flooded me with questions about what was going on, and who were the players, and how was this going to play out? And what were the laws, and why should I have any hope that this was gonna turn out in a good way? And this was just something that really was sort of reader-driven, not driven by me at all. And I think that’s probably why it’s had such staying power.

Exploring the use of 'stretchable' words in social media: Analysis of 100 billion tweets provides new insights into linguistic patterns -- ScienceDaily

The authors add: "We were able to comprehensively collect and count stretched words like 'gooooooaaaalll' and 'hahahaha', and map them across the two dimensions of overall stretchiness and balance of stretch, while developing new tools that will also aid in their continued linguistic study, and in other areas, such as language processing, augmenting dictionaries, improving search engines, analyzing the construction of sequences, and more."

Community, curation, convening

His report identified several factors that signalled the sea change that brought about the resurgence of numbers. First was "community," which bookstores identified has a movement. This was amplified by a massive boom in social media. Around 2010, people stopped talking about bookstore activism and getting bookstores fair pricing from publishers and others, and shifting to talk of 'localism' — or buying local," said Raffaelli. He next identified the emergence of the concept of curation in stores and identified handselling as something the corporate retailers cannot replicate, calling it "pure gold" and the means by which "humans can beat algorithms." Rafaelli's third concept was "convening" — the notion that booksellers have an ability to bring people into their stores for a conversation. He finally landed on the notion of "collective identity," which is the value system that identifies independent bookstores.

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

And there may be a reason for this. Why? Because there are already concrete examples that deepen their sense of dread. On January 22, Huang Mouhong (黄谋宏), the deputy director of the Hubei Provincial Department of Commerce, was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Before this, there was news that Wang Guangfa, the expert who had flown to Wuhan from Beijing and announced that the disease was “preventable and controllable,” had been confirmed as infected shortly after his return to the capital. In fact, both the provincial and municipal governments have already effectively been shut down, and to a large extent can be said to now be only caretaker governments (看守政府). These cowardly and incompetent governments obviously cannot take on the necessary responsibility of governing in what has already become essentially a state of war. This leaves the public in a state of deep concern and uncertainty. On January 22, Zhang Ouya (张欧亚), a journalist for the official Hubei Daily newspaper, clearly at the end of his rope, fairly shouted online: “Wuhan must immediately change out its commanders” (武汉必须当机立断换帅了). For a brief time, this furious call proliferated online. Another meme was rapidly born, like a mutating virus, across social media. The word “coronavirus”, or guānzhuàng bìngdú (冠状病毒), was replaced with the identical-sounding “official virus” (官状病毒), mocking the cowardice and ineffectiveness of the government and of high-level officials. We may find it hard to suppress a bitter laugh over such an acts of inventive criticism. But such a story cannot have a happy ending in China’s stability-obsessed political environment – where anything can be stopped. Zhang Ouya’s post was quickly expunged. The Party leadership of the Hubei Daily Media Group, Zhang’s employer, wrote a letter of apology to the Municipal Party Committee expressing its “deepest apologies” for Zhang Ouya’s “incorrect remarks.”

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

China is a society closely monitored by the government, and the shadow of Big Brother is everywhere. Social media in particular are subject to very close surveillance. So when the authorities detected chatter about the re-emergence of SARS, or of a similar unknown outbreak, they took two major steps initially. First, they tried to ensure that this new outbreak remained a secret; second, they put the stability preservation system into effect (启动稳控机制). On December 30, the Wuhan Health Commission (武汉市卫建委) issued an order to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare units strictly prohibiting the release of any information about treatment of this new disease. As late as December 31, the government in Wuhan was still saying publicly that there were no cases of human-to-human transmission, and that no medical personnel had become infected.

Sunsetting Sip: A Post Mortem | Product Hunt

Sip was a single player experience and lacked an engagement loop that would encourage users to invite other users. This point is even more important today as consumers face fatigue and makers face increasing competition as the cost to build continues to drop. Distribution should be considered on day one and built into the product.

Abundance of information narrows our collective attention span -

The scientists have studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years. In addition, they have gathered data from Google Trends (2010-2018), Reddit (2010-2015), and Wikipedia (2012-2017). Rapid exhaustion of attention ressources On this background, they find empirical evidence of ever-steeper gradients and shorter bursts of collective attention given to each cultural item. The paper uses a model for this attention economy to suggest that the accelerating vicissitudes of popular content are driven by increasing production and consumption of content, and therefore are not intrinsic to social media. This results in a more rapid exhaustion of limited attention resources.

What is Media Matters for America? The organization that found Tucker Carlson's tapes. - The Washington Post

“When we did a power mapping of the landscape at the end of 2016, early 2017, what we found was that so much of what used to be dismissed as the fringes was now where power was being organized: 4chan, Daily Stormer comment sections, subreddits,” Carusone said. “These would never have been considered worthy enough or important enough to monitor [before]. But we looked at it, and they were — they were driving a lot of the misinformation and fake news of 2016. They were creating a lot of material that was making it onto Fox News or Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.”

The shifting model in clinical diagnostics: how next-generation sequencing and families are altering the way rare diseases are discovered, studied, and treated | Genetics in Medicine

Until very recently, the fragmented distribution of patients across institutions hindered the discovery of new rare diseases. Clinicians working with a single, isolated patient could steadily eliminate known disorders but do little more. Families would seek clinicians with the longest history and largest clinic volume to increase their chances of finding a second case, but what does a physician do when N = 1 or if the phenotype is inconsistent across patients? These challenges are driving an increase in the use of NGS. Yet this technological advance presents new challenges of its own. Perhaps the most daunting, in our opinion, is the inability to share sequencing data quickly and universally. Standards and bioinformatic tools are needed that allow for a national repository where families or scientists can bring clinical results and NGS data for comparison. This challenge can be circumvented by tools already created for and by the Internet and social media.

Changing Rituals: A Conversation with Nancy Jo Sales | Cody Delistraty

Social media is not some kind of natural space. It’s not like a forest or something or a beach where you go and create things. It’s more like a room in Hawkins Lab [a fictional Hawkins, Indiana-based scientific laboratory that conducts futuristic, largely unethical experiments in the Netflix TV series Stranger Things]. It’s like a room in Hawkins lab and Papa [the alias of the fictional director of the Hawkins National Laboratory] is Mark Zuckerberg. Papa is putting little girls into the rooms in Hawkins lab and exposing them to certain tests and images. But the girls who are coming out of this social media experiment are not powerful with super powers [like in the show]. I’m not saying they’re being stripped of everything, but their power, I think, is being undermined by the fact that Papa is a guy whose whole vision of the world is “hot or not.” Which is why “Facemash” [a precursor to Facebook that Zuckerberg created while an undergraduate at Harvard] wasn’t even an original concept. It’s an insidious concept. Mark Zuckerberg takes that and he bases this whole new social media site [Facebook] on that. I think that that’s the Rosetta Stone of all social media: it’s about “hot or not.” Is your body hot, or is it not? How about your face? How about your whole life? Hot or not? Is it validatable?

How the Mom Internet became a spotless, sponsored void - The Washington Post

The death of the mom blog has something to do with shifts in how people consume and create on the Internet. Blogging on the whole has fizzled as audiences and writers have moved to other platforms. And parents with young children have made the transition along with everyone else — although their hours are somewhat more erratic. In 2016, Facebook (which owns Instagram) reported that new parents are especially active “in the wee hours,” starting their first mobile visits as early as 4 a.m. By 7 a.m., 56 percent of new parents have visited Facebook on their mobile devices.

Free content at Facebook

A neutral observer might wonder if Facebook’s attitude to content creators is sustainable. Facebook needs content, obviously, because that’s what the site consists of: content that other people have created. It’s just that it isn’t too keen on anyone apart from Facebook making any money from that content. Over time, that attitude is profoundly destructive to the creative and media industries. Access to an audience – that unprecedented two billion people – is a wonderful thing, but Facebook isn’t in any hurry to help you make money from it. If the content providers all eventually go broke, well, that might not be too much of a problem. There are, for now, lots of willing providers: anyone on Facebook is in a sense working for Facebook, adding value to the company. In 2014, the New York Times did the arithmetic and found that humanity was spending 39,757 collective years on the site, every single day. Jonathan Taplin points out that this is ‘almost fifteen million years of free labour per year’. That was back when it had a mere 1.23 billion users