An E-book (free) on the Facebook Mood Experiments Controversy


Screenshot of E-Book Created on Readlists

E-Book Created with Readlists.com

In June 2014 the news of Facebook’s mood experiments with manipulating its users’ Facebook feeds broke with the publishing of the Atlantic article Everything We Know About Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation ExperimentsControversy ensued on all sides of the debate–even I jumped in with a blog post on the question of harm that could have been created.

Good educators always look for those real world examples that provide a compelling illustration of principles being learned in class. The Facebook Mood Experiment Controversy provides just such an opportunity for those teaching about research ethics, human subjects issues, and communications/marketing research; I could see using them a Social Work Research Methods Class. So with this in mind, I have created an e-reader using a cool tool called Readlists. Continue reading

See Big Data Grow on the Internet in Real Time


An animated preview of “The Internet in Real Time” website

Click the animation to open the full version (via PennyStocksLab).

We’ve all heard statistics about how much data is shared on the Internet in just a few minutes. Well here is a site that will make it come alive: The Internet in Real Time. This animated image gives you a preview of what the site does: but when you actually land on the web page, it starts counting at 0 for each of the types of data in question. And then it starts to count up.

Is this really what people mean by Big Data? No, not exactly. But I think it helps to make the concept of big data more understandable. If you sit with the website active for just a few minutes you very quickly understand how data can get to be so big.

Did Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment Create Harm?


Facebook Shows No Regard for Impact of Its Human Mood Experiments

Facebook Shows No Regard for Impact of Its Human Mood Experiments

Yesterday, The Atlantic broke the story about “Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment” This story isn’t about Facebook manipulating news feeds for advertising–that’s not news to any of us who have been paying attention (and, I might add, their ads are labeled). This story is about Facebook subjecting people to mood experiments two years ago, without full informed consent and without a post-experiment debriefing.

Continue reading

Innovation in Social Work: Where Does it Come From?


 

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 Cross-posted from SocialWorkSynergy

As social workers, we often confront complex situations. And we are all about developing solutions and strategies for change. In doing so we draw on our past experience, research, the experience of colleagues, and best practices. But sometimes we come up short and find we need new ideas–we find that we need to innovate. Continue reading

Self Care in the Digital Age


Woman looking to plug into a tree with one of three plugs: Soul, Mind, Body

Most of our devices work 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Email apps sends us notifications round the clock to let us know that someone is trying to reach us. We have come a long way from the days when we were reliant on the natural cycles of light and dark to determine when to rise and when to sleep — digital devices are just the latest development in a process where we began to shape our environment and our routines with technology.

But devices that are 24/7 can suck us into to trying to do the same. In order to not respond to the newest notification on my phone I need to actively make a choice: do I ignore it? turn off notifications? set them up with a schedule to leave me alone at certain time? or just look at my phone to see who it is?
Continue reading

Please Send My Cat Home: What Our Health Dept. Doesn’t Want You to Know


Black cat on table, looking at camera.

Bear, on his 15th birthday, one month before his death.

I feel compelled to post this, even though it’s not part of the typical focus of my blog, because the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is trying to keep you–anyone–from reading it. Silencing people’s voices is a behavior I actively challenge, so I feel a need to make a record, here, that can’t be silenced. To my loyal readers: I promise this won’t be a focus of many, many posts. And, as always, feel free to not read anything that doesn’t interest you.

I left a letter/appeal to the NYSDOH on their Facebook Page on Thursday, February 27th; by Friday the 28th they had evidently received enough separate posts, as well as comments on my entry, that the NYSDOH staff turned off their “Posts by Others” pane (the one that allows you to see what people other than NYSDOH staff have posted).

What doesn’t the NYSDOH want you to know about?

Warning-This could be triggering to animal lovers: Continue reading

Virtual World Avatars Feed Children in Kenya


Feed A Smile stage at Lavender Field in Second Life

Feed A Smile stage at Lavender Field in Second Life

A German woman who declares herself “computer challenged”  is now raising money to feed children in Kenya via live music concerts in Second Life. Musicians play for free and donate their tips to the cause. Second Life residents who attend the concerts also provide additional donations.  A 100 Linden donation (the Second Life currency, equivalent to about 30 cents U.S. currency) provides a warm lunch for a child. The organization, Live and Learn in Kenya (LLK), has been using Second Life as a fundraising venue for their “Feed a Smile” program since 2010.

This inspiring 5 minute video illustrates some cool concepts: Continue reading