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Your Friends’ Moods Online Can Impact Yours in Reality

By this time, I think we’ve all heard the story of the Facebook experiment that caused some people to see mostly positive posts and others to see mostly negative posts. When it was revealed the study took place without the knowledge of any of Facebook’s users, people were outrage and dismissed the study as unethical.

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While I personally agree that the way information was gathered for the study was pretty sketchy, but it did yield some interesting results. The study showed that the more positive posts you see, the more positive things you’re likely to post yourself. The same went for negative posts.

According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 90 percent of people in the 18-29 age bracket use social networking sites. If we take Facebook’s study to be true, that means 90 percent of college-age people’s emotions are somewhat influenced by their virtual social network.

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The Red Book: A Harvard Tradition That Keeps Alumni Connected

Once every five years, every Harvard graduate gets a nice little surprise. No, it’s not a raise at their jobs – although some may prefer that option. Instead, it’s the Red Book, a collection of information from every Harvard graduate that sums up what they have been doing for the past five years.

In a sense, it’s a right of passage to get your first red book, as many Harvard graduates know. Deborah Copaken Kogan, a Harvard grad, recently wrote a novel – appropriately titled The Red Book – about four former Harvard roommates who are attending a college reunion. In her novel, she describes the relationship that many Harvard alumni have with their red books.

“No data exists concerning the percentage of red books that are cracked open the minute their recipients arrive home from work, the playground, and adulterous tryst, what have you,” she says. “But the author will go out on a limb here and guess 100.” Read the rest of this entry »



“Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen” Creates Quite a Stir on YouTube

facebook parenting screen shot from viral videoA new video is gaining a lot of attention on YouTube. The video, called “Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen,” features a dad who is quite upset with something his daughter posted to Facebook.

In the video, the father, Tommy, reads a letter that his daughter, Hannah, posted to Facebook a few days ago. In the letter, Hannah rants about all of the chores her parents ask her to do…and by rant, I do mean rant. The video drags along for the first six minutes as Tommy reads the letter and expresses how upset he is about what Hannah wrote.

To be fair to Tommy, Hannah was very disrespectful towards her parents and used language that is not acceptable. Many kids today do feel too entitled and it does not make sense that a child should be paid because she is asked to help her family. I agree with almost everything Tommy says up until about the seventh-minute of the film. However, this is when things get a little too crazy for me.

At this time, Tommy gets out of his chair, shows us Hannah’s laptop, and proceeds to put nine bullets in the laptop from his shotgun. This seems like a bit of an over-reaction to me. If Tommy wanted to take her computer away from her and sell it, I’d be perfectly okay with that. However, he is acting immaturely and his actions are not any better than what Hannah wrote on Facebook. Instead, I think Tommy should have reacted in a more mature way by setting Hannah down, telling her what she did was hurtful and disrespectful, and then punishing her by taking away her computer and grounding her. By destroying her computer, he is reacting in a childish way that is just going to perpetuate the battle that is going on between them.

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Pennsylvania Middle School Bans Uggs Boots in the Middle of Winter

bootsMiddle school students at Pottsdam Middle School in Pennsylvania can now add Uggs boots to the list of clothing items that may not be worn to school. It’s common knowledge that many schools have dress codes which prevent the wearing of some articles of clothing, such as baseball caps and extremely baggy pants, but I have never heard of a school banning a particular brand of shoes before.

According to the school, the shoes were causing problems…or more appropriately, it was the items that students were bringing into the school – hidden inside their shoes – that was causing the problems. Many students were hiding their cell phones in their furry boots and then texting during class. After several students were caught in the act, the school decided to ban the shoes in order to address the issue.

Some parents are quite upset about this new banned article of clothing. In addition to the ban being “totally ridiculous,” according to a Facebook post by a parent, some people are saying that the Ugg-ban is sexist against girls, who are the main wearers of the shoes.

“Pockets, bras, socks, what’s next?” one parent wrote on Facebook.

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Colleges Use Facebook More Effectively Than Students Do

Facebook logoMost students have a Facebook account. If not a Facebook account, they probably have some other form of social media that they use to stay connected with their friends, follow trends, and network themselves.

However, would you be surprised if 100 percent of U.S. schools that were polled say they are also using social media to do the same things? Well, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, you shouldn’t be surprised at all because this is completely true.

“Prospective students, parents, current students, alumni – one common area in which they are all present in one or another is on Facebook,” said Kevin Morrow, the executive director of public affairs at Syracuse University. This explains why 98 percent of the universities surveyed said they have a presence on this social media website.

So, most schools are using social media to reach a large audience. But the ways they are using it vary by school and by purpose.

“The book hasn’t been written [on how to use social media],” said Michael Kaltenmark, director of web marketing and communications at Butler University. “We’re still figuring it out on a daily basis.”

So how are schools using social media? Hint, they are not just posting pictures from last weekend’s football game. Here are the top seven ways they are connecting with their “fans” on a daily basis:

  1. Read the rest of this entry »


Students Who Use Social Networks More likely to Try Drugs and Alcohol

red ashtray with cigarette buttsThe National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University uncovered a link between social networks and drug, tobacco and alcohol usage. The center surveyed teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 and found the majority, 70 percent, of those who checked their Facebook or Myspace daily were more likely to try and even abuse these substances.

The study revealed that these adolescents were five times more likely to try tobacco, three times more likely to try alcohol and twice as likely to try marijuana than their non-avid using counterparts.

“We’re not saying (social media) causes it,” Joseph Califano said, the center’s chairman. “But we are saying that this is a characteristic that should signal to (parents) that, well, you ought to be watching.”

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California Student Charged with Making Terrorist Threats on His Facebook Page

Stanley Roring is a student at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, CA. Roring recently posted terroristic threats on Facebook that made it clear that he wanted to carry out a school shooting similar to the one that terrorized Virginia Tech several years ago.

School district police found Roring’s threatening posts hours after he published them on Facebook. They then reported the threat to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

“It was information reported from someone who is a friend or acquaintance of (Roring’s) on Facebook,” said a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Cindy Bachman. “Obviously, it was very alarming once that was read.”

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Nude Facebook Photo Gets College Golfers Suspended

The Bethany College men’s golf team is giving Tiger Woods a run for his money. Though we don’t typically associate golf with scandal, it seems that sticky situations pop up every once in a while.

Golfers from Bethany, located in Linsborg, Kansas, posed nude with golf sports equipment strategically placed in front of their genitals and posted the photo on Facebook. John Daniels, Bethany’s athletic director, suspended team members for the next three tournaments.

“I had no idea they were doing it. After one of (the golfers) put it on Facebook, then it got sent to me.” said Daniels. “I’ve been around a long time and I think this is a case of young people who just don’t think beyond the moment and don’t realize who they’re hurting. Until someone sat them down and explained that they did something wrong, they didn’t have any idea, but I think they understand now.”

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Boston Teens Learn How to Break-up Nicely in the World of Social Media

Falling in love is great! There are so many great moments: your first kiss, the first time you introduce him/her to your friends, the first time you meet his/her parents, and the moment when you get a Facebook notification that he/she wants you to confirm your relationship.

Sadly though, most relationships do come to an end at some time. And then come the difficult questions: Should you untag yourself from every picture of the two of you? Should you unfriend him/her? Is it okay to break up with him/her by changing your relationship status to single without telling him/her first? Welcome to the drama that is Facebook relationships.

Luckily, 200 Boston teens recently got together to discuss this sticky subject during a “healthy breakups” one-day conference that was sponsored by the Boston Public Health Commission.

“No one talks to young people about this aspect of relationships,” said one of the conference organizers, Nicole Daley. “We’re here to change that.”

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The Worst Profile Pics for Your Facebook Page

The art of finding the perfect profile pic for your Facebook page can be a challenging one. You want to pick a photo that is flattering and original, while still portraying the “true” you. All too often, the picture people choose can rub people the wrong way, or even more seriously, turn off future employers who search such things to get a feel for who you really are.

To avoid common profile pic disasters, forgo these unusual styles of photographs:

The mirror photo: These pics never come out clear. The reflection of your camera or cellphone often covers up your face or upper body, which can be distracting to people who want to see what you really look like. Plus, this type of pic gives the impression that you are lonely and don’t have friends to take photos of you, or you are self absorbed and spend most of your time in front of said mirror.

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