That’s partly because Tumblr is generally, in ways that other social media platforms aren’t always, lighthearted. It is generally, in ways that high-stakes political campaigns aren’t always, fun. On Tumblr, Olin and her team could post, on behalf of the president, things like this. And like this. And like this and this and this. They could joke and wink and otherwise Internet, in a context that both suited and rewarded the effort. In a campaign whose whole point was to convert voters from potential to actual, the Obama for America staff could tackle that stark task much more subtly than the blunt forces of political persuasion typically allow. They could build community — and the kind of group accountability that comes with it. An engaged voter is a likely voter.
Read more. [Image: White House Flickr]
The stress comes, Marder theorizes, from the kind of personal versioning that is so common in analog life — the fact that you (probably) behave slightly differently when you’re with your mom than you do when you’re with your boss, or with your boyfriend, or with your dentist. And it comes, even more specifically, from the social nuance of that versioning behavior colliding with the blunt social platform that is The Facebook. Behaviors like swearing and drinking and smoking, the study suggests, are behaviors that you (might) do with friends — but not (probably) with your boss. And, more subtly, language that you might use with your friends — in-jokes, slang, references to Breaking Bad — probably won’t track when you’re not with your friends. The awareness of that discrepancy — Facebook’s tendency to disseminate even highly targeted social interactions — leads to stress.
Read more. [Image: Shutterstock]
- There was a 22-percent increase in insulting comments during this debate vs. the debate last week.
- Over 7 percent of overall commentary contained some form of profanity, “astroturfing,” or spam.
- Comments slurring Obama exceeded those against Romney by 3 times.
- There was a 50-percent increase in negativity about Obama during this debate as compared to the second debate.
- There was a 200-percent increase in negativity about Romney during last night’s debate as compared to the second debate.
- The top themes provoking profanity on social media were China, oil, jobs, the military, and Iran.
Read more. [Image: Shutterstock/Albert Ziganshin]
This morning I received an email from Mary Todd Lincoln about the debate last night, or another one a century and a half ago. It’s hard to tell[…]
I started getting emails like this about a week ago, when Abraham Lincoln himself (from the grave, obviously) wrote me. “Is there anything greater than the crack of an iron wedge bursting into hemlock wood?” he asked. “In this time of great civil strife, it’s the only kind of rift I can get behind.”
The emails led to a website, www.lincoln1864.com, where I spotted a helpful-sounding link called “What is this?” Exactly what I was wondering! I clicked and was swiftly redirected to a blank webpage,www.satire.com, which somehow explained both everything and nothing at the same time.
Read more. [Images: ‘Lincoln for the Union’]
In real time, NoHomophobes.com monitors homophobic language on Twitter — specifically the terms “faggot,” “so gay,” “no homo,” and “dyke” — and the results, rendered in all their infographic-style glory, are, well, let’s put it this way: They don’t make you feel awesome about the world.
Read more. [Image: NoHomophobes.com]
When Jews around the world gather tonight for the start of Yom Kippur, they will confess their sins in a set of two prayers, the Ashamnuand the Al Chet. One thing stands out about the words of these prayers: The sentences are all in the first-person plural — that is to say, “we.” For example, the Ashamnu is a list of sins in alphabetical order (in Hebrew, not in translation), beginning: We have been guilty; we have betrayed; we have stolen; we have lied, and 22 more.
Perhaps you have not stolen or lied, but no matter. Someone in your community has, and in Judaism, confessions are a communal act. A sin by an individual is the responsibility of the whole. This notion seems to be at the heart of an experiment led by the Reform community at Harvard Hillel, which has been encouraging its members to confess their sins not under their breath during services, but publicly on Twitter, with the hashtag #AlChetHarvard. Some of the tweets will be incorporated into the group’s Yom Kippur services.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
This spring, a couple of neuroscience researchers at Harvard published a study that finally explained why we like to talk about ourselves so much: sharing our thoughts, it turns out, activates the brain’s reward system. As if to demonstrate the thesis, journalists and bloggers promptly seized the occasion to share their own thoughts about the study, often at a considerable cost to accuracy. “Oversharing on Facebook as Satisfying as Sex?” the Web site for the Today show asked.
Well, not really. The study, which combined a series of behavioral experiments and brain scans, didn’t suggest that anyone, in the lab or elsewhere, had found sharing on Facebook to be an orgasmic experience. What it did suggest was that humans may get a neurochemical reward from sharing information, and a significantly bigger reward from disclosing their own thoughts and feelings than from reporting someone else’s.
Read more. [Image: Nicholas Blechman]