As facial recognition systems improve, they will get better at identifying people at different ages, even very young children.
In the 1997 movie Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, the two title characters, worried that they haven’t done anything noteworthy to share at said reunion, decide instead to lie and claim they invented Post-it notes.
Their story quickly unravels, of course, but had the movie been made a decade later, even the very concept of the ruse would have been impossible. Everyone would have known about Romy’s daily slog at the Jaguar dealership through Facebook.
Or would they?
The ebb and flow of Facebook friendships has become fruitful territory for social scientists in recent years. At least 63 percent of people report having unfriended someone on Facebook, but what prompts these digital rejections can tell us a lot about both the nature of real-life friendship and about how we manage our online personalities.
At 2:38 p.m. on September 9, 2013, Jeremy Fowler posted a picture of his family wearing bicycle helmets while standing in front of the split-rail fence of a horse corral in nowhere New Hampshire. The reflection of their washed out skin bespoke the 2.0 megapixels of Jeremy’s flip phone camera. It was a strange image to arrive on my Facebook newsfeed, a pixilated tribute to Jeremy’s father who died 48 hours earlier. It was Jeremy’s last photograph with all of family members present, a gesture of quixotic solemnity in a medium where the earnest so often do not belong.
He accompanied the picture with this status: “Yesterday my dad unexpectedly went to be with the Lord, we’re glad that he’s in a far better place than we are but we will miss him so much, plz pray for our family during this difficult time!” To date, the post has received 62 likes and 33 comments from some of his 459 friends. Most have said things like, “God be with y’all!!! We have and will continue to pray.”
Death, typically such a huge taboo, was now a subject fit for Facebook, with all its abbreviated spellings and exclamation marks.
Read more. [Image: 55laney69/Flickr]
According to the Pay-It-Forward-Day authorities, today is Pay-It-Forward Day. The “holiday” celebrates of little acts of kindness between friends and strangers: If one person does something kind for another, the recipient of that kindness will be kind to someone else, and kindness will move across the world.
Think of it as an unfolding social network, of sorts, of kindness.
Naturally, a social network has turned its attention to the concept. Facebook’s always-intriguing data science team has looked at a popular, pay-it-forward-related status update from the beginning of this year. The status passed across more than 800,000 profiles and was translated into nine languages before the team stopped tracking it at the end of January.
The NBA playoffs have begun. The emotions of millions are at stake every night.
But NBA franchises are also businesses, and those businesses depend on fans buying into the team, both literally and figuratively. And now, Facebook is the dominant place where those fans perform their identities online. The franchise Facebook page has become a key indicator of business health.
So, Spanish researchers at the University of Extremadura decided to create a tool that would let them at least quasi-objectively rank teams’ Facebook presences.
"Social media provide a unique and strategic means for sport teams to enhance brand management, encourage social interactions among fans, promote ticket sales, and cultivate a more favorable online experience," writes the research team, led by Francisco Javier Miranda in the International Journal of Sports Communication.
The list Miranda’s team compiled is interesting, too, because of how it intersects with the performance of the teams on the court.
Happy Opening Day. What’s your favorite baseball team?
Wait, no, let me rephrase that: What’s the team you ‘like’ the most?
The Facebook Data Science has just answered that question for the whole country, at least at the county level. A representative of the team sent me the map above—here’s a link to a larger version.
Read more. [Image: Facebook Data Science]
Late yesterday, Facebook made an announcement: It has acquired the virtual reality startup Oculus VR, the maker of the Oculus Rift headset, for around $2 billion in cash and stock. The news excited some in the tech industry, and confused many others. (As Alexis summed it up: “The dominant reaction to the move could be summed up in three letters: WTF.”)
For those outside the industry, however, there was another question at hand: What exactly is Oculus Rift?
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]
On the Monday morning after Daylight Saving Time kicks in, we’re both groggier and happier—or, at least, that’s what Facebook says.
The insight comes from the company’s Data Science team, which works with proprietary information gleamed from the statuses written by millions of Facebook users. They were published in a blog post today.
On the Monday morning after Daylight Saving Time (DST) began this year, 25 percent more Americans told Facebook they were tired than would do the same on a usual Monday. Likewise, instances of “sleepy” and “exhausted” were both up.
By the afternoon, however, people reported their sleepiness at normal rates. You can see that on the graph above—“feeling tired” spikes in the morning but falls in the afternoon.
Read more. [Image: Facebook Data Science Team]
Young women who placed importance on comments and likes, and regularly untagged photos of themselves, were at greater risk.
Read more. [Image: birgerking/Flickr]
We fill the human-shaped void with 225 percent more Facebook interactions.
Read more. [Image: Facebook]