Dr. Diane Hamilton's Blog

Facebook Making People More Empathetic

Several studies have shown that online communication has facilitated friendships, honesty and sense of belonging.  New research is showing that Facebook time may actually improve people’s empathy as well. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “The more time on Facebook subjects in a recent study spent, the more empathy they said they felt online and off.”

This information may come as a surprise with the number of reported cyber bullying cases. Internet Solutions for Kids reported that 17% of 13- to 18-year-olds were bullied online in the past year. However, this is low compared to the reported 40% in-person bullying.   

Fear of dealing with social settings has led many to online platforms like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Some newer studies have shown that this form of online communication can be helpful for those who are shy or introverted and who may normally find social settings stressful.  The WSJ article noted, “In a study of New York University students who described themselves as either socially anxious or non-anxious, participants were randomly assigned to interact in groups of three, either in-person or through an Internet chat room.  Anxious students reported greatest shyness and discomfort than non-anxious students in face-to-face groups.  In the chat room, however, they said they felt significantly less shy, more comfortable and better accepted by their peers.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) reported some results at a Washington, DC conference this year from 1,283 people aged 18-30.  This group was asked about their time spent online and its impact on how much empathy they felt toward their online and offline friends.  The participants reported “a significant amount of empathy online, and that the more time college students spent on Facebook, the more empathy they expressed online and in real life.”

Value of Top Companies

The following is a list of the estimated value of some of the top companies in 2011.  They are listed in order of highest to lowest value.

Apple – TechCrunch recently reported that Apple’s value is now worth as much as Microsoft, HP and Dell combined.  Valued at over $300 billion, Apple continues to grow.  For more specifics, click here:  Apple Value

Microsoft – Recent estimates put Microsoft’s value at about $200 billion.  Skype – Microsoft’s recent purchase assessed Skype’s value at $8.5 billion.

GoogleGoogle’s value has been estimated to be $192 billion as of January, 2011.  For more specifics on this income including Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s net income, click here:  Google ValueYoutube – Recent estimates put Youtube’s value around $1.3 billion.  Google paid $1.6 billion for Youtube in 2006.

FacebookFacebook was valued at $82.9 billion in January and that number continues to grow.

Amazon – In January, it was reported that Facebook passed Amazon’s value.  Amazon still showed a $75.2 billion worth.  For more specifics, click here:  Amazon Value

HP – Recent estimates put HP’s value at about $72.8 billion.

Dell – Recent estimates put Dell’s value at about $29.3 billion.

Groupon – Recent estimates put Groupon’s Value at as much as $25 billion.

Twitter – It is suggested that Twitter’s value is around $7.7 billion.

Linkedin – Recent estimates put LinkedIn’s value at over $4 billion.

The Most Useful Articles about How to Use Twitter

As Twitter grows and develops, so does the need to understand how to use Twitter as an effective marketing tool.  Companies and individuals that still have confusion with understanding hashtags, obtaining followers or how to remove annoying followers, should check out this list of the top Twitter articles:

  • Best Twitter Articles of 2010 – Bloggodown.com gives an exhaustive list of everything you want to know about Twitter. 
  • How to Find Hashtags on Twitter – This article explain hashtags and joining conversations on Twitter.  Hashtags are a popular way to start up a conversation about a specific topic within Twitter.  By putting the # sign before a subject, it creates a conversation that others can join.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Getting Twitter Followers – Dave Larson from Tweetsmarter.com explains the 6 ways to get Twitter followers including how to build a reputation, self-promotion, becoming a reciprocator, understanding automation, joining following groups, and avoiding spamming.    
  • Deciphering Twitter:   Twictionary Terms can be Very Intwesting – As Twitter grows in popularity, so does the number of terms that are associated with the site. Check out some of the most popularly used Twitter terms.
  • How to Block People on Twitter – One big difference between being on Twitter as compared to being on Facebook is that people can follow you without your consent.  That may lead to some situations that you find to be bothersome, including unsolicited contact or having to sift through a bombardment of tweets on your homepage. 

     According to AssociatedContent.com you can block people on Twitter by:

    • “Log into your Twitter account using your unique username and password. If you use a public computer, do not forget to mark the ‘Do not remember me on this computer option’ to protect your personal info.
    • If the user you wish to block is already following you, go to your ‘Followers’ list. Browse among your connections and click on the personal profile of the unwanted contact. Alternatively, just type the person’s Twitter name on the search box and click on enter.
    • While on the person’s profile, you will see a gear icon on the top center of the screen (next to the ‘Message’ box). Once you click on it, a drop-down menu will reveal the options ‘Mention,’ ‘Block,’ or ‘Report for spam.’
    • Click on ‘Block’ and you have successfully blocked the spammer. Moreover, a box ‘Blocked’ with a red line will appear on the user’s profile replacing the ‘Following’ box.

   What happens later if you decide you blocked someone that you would rather not block?  Check out  how to unblock Twitter followers.  

 

Reality of Being Seen Live on Facebook, Google+ and Facetime

Today Facebook announced its new integration with Skype that will allow video calling and group chatting. Zuckerberg is touting “ease of use” as one of the key benefits of this system. Facebook can now compete with Google+ and their video chat service named Hangout.

The question now becomes, do you really want to have the capability of having people see you? Recently I was having a conversation with my husband on my iPhone using Apple’s Facetime application. As my husband took his iPhone around the office and said, “say hello to so and so”, I realized that as I could see them, they could also see me in my jammies with no makeup, hair up on top of my head and wearing my reading glasses. It wasn’t glamorous.

Many people use these video calling services when they are at home. Do we really want to see what everyone looks like when they first wake up in the morning? As we start opening up our homes to people with our video capabilities, we may also be showcasing things that may be better left unseen. Think about the dirty dishes in the sink or the unmade bed. Now more people than ever will know everyone’s dirty little secrets.

Importance of Facebook Like Button: Millennials and Women Likely to Hop On

Businesses are increasing their presence on Facebook in hopes that users will pick the “Like” button about their company, product or service.  This is becoming today’s “word of mouth” through technology. 

A research brief from the Center for Media Research claims, “Apparently a consumer approval on social media trumps other messages when people want to show their support for local businesses. Leading ways that users show support are:

•75% of people tell their friends

•20% of people say they “Like” it on Facebook to show their support, compared with only 13% who write a review

•Millennials and women are even more likely to hop on Facebook

•40% of people under 35 “Like” a business; 49% in the 18-24 group, versus 18% who said they would write a review

•25% of women hit the “Like” button, versus 11% who write reviews”

This does not mean that Facebook will capture all business.  “The study also showed:

•52% of adults under 35 visit more than two websites before checking out a local business

•63% of respondents under 35 head to Google

•24% visit Facebook;

•21% look at reviews sites and

•17% clicked on the first link on the search results page

•8% of people said a deal is the number one thing that influences them to try a local business”

Facebook Depression: Report of How Social Networking Can Affect Our Youth

 

A report released today (March 28, 2011) by the American Academy of Pediatrics has come up with a syndrome they call Facebook Depression.  This report is titled:  Clinical Report—the Impact of Social Media on  Children, Adolescents, and Families.  Although Facebook allows people to remain in contact with friends and develop relationships, there can also be a downside.  MyHealthNewsDaily reported, “heavy use of Facebook, as well as other risks of the online world such as cyber bullying and sexting, can have serious consequences, so it’s critical for parents to stay involved in their children’s lives.”

This is not the first time social media has and its impact on young adults has been studied.  Livescience explained, “A big chunk of kids’ social development now takes place in the online world, according to the report. A study released in February 2010 found that 70 percent of wired American teens and young adults use social networking sites. A 2009 poll conducted by Common Sense Media found that more than half of teens use a social networking site more than once a day.”

The good is that there are some “benefits of children and adolescents using social media including:

  • Opportunities for community engagement through raising money for charity and volunteering for local events, including political and philanthropic events
  • Enhancement of individual and collective creativity through development and sharing of artistic and musical endeavors
  • Growth of ideas from the creation of blogs, podcasts, videos, and gaming sites
  • Expansion of one’s online connections through shared interests to include others from more diverse backgrounds (such communication is an important step for all adolescents and affords the opportunity for respect, tolerance, and increased discourse about personal and global issues)
  • Fostering of one’s individual identity and unique social skills–Enhanced Learning Opportunities”

For the complete report click here.

Google, Twitter and YouTube Helping Japanese Earthquake Survivors Find Loved Ones and Shelter

Google’s person find is an online tool dedicated to helping Japanese earthquake survivors find their loved ones.  This tool was developed after the 2010 earthquake in Chile and was used in the New Zealand earthquake as well. Bloomberg reported, “The Google Person Finder service, which collects information about people’s locations and their safety status, is intended to help users find out if their friends and families are safe,” Visit the Google Person Finder 2011 Earthquake site here.

Google reported, “Searching the Internet on sites such as Google, Twitter and their local variants has become more effective in finding loved ones than sifting through wreckage following Japan’s devastating tsunami.”

Youtube has also set up a channel to help victims communicate.  This channel contains messages to help survivors find shelters and others affected by the earthquake. 

Blog Overload: Who Has Time to Read it All?

There is no question that the blogosphere is growing.  According to webdesignerdepot “WordPress has statistics for both WordPress.com (15.1 million blogs and counting) and self-hosted WordPress installations (17.4 million active installations), which gives part of the picture. There are more than 10 million tumblogs on Tumblr. Blogger doesn’t offer any public statistics on how many blogs they host. Technorati is currently tracking more than 1.2 million blogs. And there are likely millions of other blogs out there hosted on other services like Movable Type, TypePad, Expression Engine, and other CMSs.”

There is no shortage of blog search engines to find blogs that contain information of interest. There are also lots of articles by sites like Forbes and others who occasionally list their idea of top blogging sites.  Google and Google News features can be incorporated into an iGoogle page, and can be another way to keep up with topics to follow.

With all of this information out there, who has time to read it all?  Bloggers know it can be good form to make comments on others’ blogs.  However, finding the time to not only read these blogs but formulate insightful comments may be difficult. Even if people find a good blog to follow and subscribe to their RSS feed, as sites continue to be added to the feed, the feed reader may have more information than people have time to visit.

There has been speculation about when blogging popularity will die down.  The latest discussion is whether Facebook will replace blogging and company websites.  Cnet reported, “Even if Facebook doesn’t somehow supplant lots of Web sites, though, there’s no denying the social network is becoming more important to marketing, and it’s adapting to the idea.

 

Bloggers and Social Media Junkies: 5 Tips to Improve Your Writing

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  What are some things I can do to improve my blogging and writing skills?

The Internet has turned lot of people into writers.  Bloggers and social media junkies may have great ideas to share but may lack some writing skills that could help improve the message they want to convey.  I know I make a lot of mistakes when I write.  I try not to, but when you blog as much as I do, it is inevitable.  I never intended to be a writer.  However, I found that I liked sharing information, so writing became a means to an end.  When I write my books, I use a professional editor.  Not all of us can be editing experts. It could be very expensive and inconvenient to have to use an editor for every blog and social media posting.  However, there are some simple things that can help to improve writing skills. 

1.  Don’t End Sentences in Prepositions. The problem is that many people have no idea what a preposition is.  Susan Thurman, author of The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, claims there is a trick to helping recognize a preposition.  “Look at the last eight letters of the word preposition; they spell position.  A preposition sometimes tells the position of something:  in, out, under, over, above and so forth.”  My seventh grade teacher suggested we think about a box.  For example:  in the box, over the box, and so forth. The following are the most common prepositions according to Thurman.  Try to avoid ending a sentence with any of these words:

  • About
  • Above
  • Across
  • After
  • Against
  • Along
  • Among
  • Around
  • At
  • Before
  • Behind
  • Below
  • Beneath
  • Beside
  • Between
  • Beyond
  • But
  • By
  • Concerning
  • Despite
  • Down
  • During
  • Except
  • For
  • From
  • In
  • Inside
  • Into
  • Like
  • Of
  • Off
  • On
  • Onto
  • Out
  • Outside
  • Over
  • Past
  • Since
  • Through
  • Throughout
  • To
  • Toward
  • Under
  • Underneath
  • Until
  • Up
  • Upon
  • With
  • Within
  • Without

2.   Learn to Spell without Spell Check. If you rely too much on a spell checker, you may find that words you meant to write are replaced with words that have entirely different meanings.  I can’t count how many times that a student has sent me a note saying to “please excuse the incontinence”.   It is best if you take the time to learn to spell correctly so that you don’t have to rely on a device that may change your intended meaning. The following are fifty of the most commonly misspelled words according to author Gary Provost of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing:

  • Acceptable
  • Apology
  • Appetite
  • Architect
  • Assassinate
  • Autumn
  • Calendar
  • Changeable
  • Conscious
  • Correspondence
  • Criticism
  • Deceive
  • Discernible
  • Embarrass
  • Eminent
  • Existence
  • Fascinate
  • Grateful
  • Hygiene
  • Imaginable
  • Immediately
  • Irrelevant
  • Jewelry
  • Judgment
  • Lovable
  • Miscellaneous
  • Mischievous
  • Mortgage
  • Necessarily
  • Occasionally
  • Occurrence
  • Omission
  • Orchestra
  • Potatoes
  • Professor
  • Pseudonym
  • Quarrelsome
  • Religious
  • Reservoir
  • Rhythmic
  • Scissors
  • Syllable
  • Tragedy
  • Umbrella
  • Vanilla
  • Vengeance
  • Weird
  • Wholesome
  • Youthful
  • Zealot

3.  Vary your sentence length.  Some of my students like to write in either really long run-on sentences or overly short monotonous sentences.  Try to vary your sentence length.  Notice how the first sentence in this paragraph was longer and more complex.  That was followed by a shorter more succinct sentence.  It makes your writing easier to read if you vary the sentence length and mix it up a bit. 

4.  Ask yourself some questions once you have finished your draft.  Does the initial paragraph let the reader know what your paper, blog or article is going to contain?  Do you have needless repetition of ideas?  Is your tone and tense consistent?  Does one paragraph advance to the next in a smooth fashion?  Does each of your paragraphs contain a topic sentence that conveys the thought you have developed throughout that paragraph? 

5.  Work on expanding your vocabulary.  Rather than learning overly complicated words to express what you want to say, try varying the way that you say things by using a thesaurus.  If you are talking about a house, perhaps refer to that house as a dwelling or a building in the next sentence.  If you find that you are using the same word over and over, check out some alternatives words in a thesaurus to add dimension to your writing.

I know I am guilty of making some of these mistakes.  Through practice, we can all improve our skills. 

InMaps from Linkedin: Map Your Social Connections If You Can Get It To Work

Have you ever wondered what your network actually looks like?  With Linkedin InMaps, they claim you can get a map of colors to show your connections and how they inter-relate.  Colors represent groups within your professional connections.  It’s a way to see how you know people and visualize relationships.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PC99Nw2JX8w&w=640&h=390]

It sounded very interesting so I thought I’d check it out.  I was unable to view InMaps through Explorer or AOL.  It suggested using Google’s Chrome or Firefox but it never worked with those applications either.  It just gives a never-ending processing swirl on the page.  I was curious if it had to do with Windows 7 so I tried it on my Mac with no luck either. Granted, I have a lot of connections on Linkedin, but the processing swirl never stopped. 

Perhaps they are just having problems with the site that will resolve.  If anyone has had good or bad things to say about InMaps, I’d be curious to hear about it.