Facebook Making People More Empathetic

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.”

What is Rapleaf and What Do They Know About You?

 

If you look at Rapleaf’s site, they describe their business in the following manner: “Rapleaf is a San Francisco-based startup with an ambitious vision: we want every person to have a meaningful, personalized experience – whether online or offline. We want you see the right content at the right time, every time. We want you to get better, more personalized service. To achieve this, we help Fortune 2000 companies gain insight into their customers, engage them more meaningfully, and deliver the right message at the right time. We also help consumers understand their online footprint.”

According to an article by Emily Steel from the Wall Street Journal, Rapleaf is building a database with all of our information in it.  They do this by tapping into voter-registration files and looking at our social networking, shopping and real estate purchases.  According to that same article, “Rapleaf says it never discloses people’s names to clients for online advertising.”

I’ve seen blogs that consider this “scare journalism”.  Are these articles meant to scare us or are they something we need to worry about?

Here is what The Wall Street Journal found:

  • Rapleaf knows your real names and email addresses.
  • It can build rich profiles by tapping voter-registration files, shopping histories, social-networking activities and more. In effect, it can built the ultimate dossier on you.
  • Rapleaf sells pretty elaborate data that includes household income, age, political leaning, and even more granular details such as your interest in get-rich-quick schemes.
  • According to the WSJ, Rapleaf segments people into 400 categories.
  • Rapleaf says it doesn’t transmit personally identifiable data for online advertising, but the WSJ found that is not the case. Rapleaf shared a unique Facebook ID to at least 12 companies and a unique MySpace ID number to six companies. Any sharing was accidental, the company said.
  • Politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, are using Rapleaf. It has provided data to 10 political campaigns

What is an ePortfolio or Career Portfolio and How Do I Create One?

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  When I graduated from high school, I was told to set up a career portfolio.  What is that and how do I do it? 

For a complete explanation for “what is a career portfolio” click here.  The basic definition of a career portfolio is a collection of things that represent your skills and accomplishments.  Like a resume, it contains your education, awards, honors, work experience and strengths. 

There are several ways to develop a career portfolio.  You can find sites where you can pay to upload media you have designed or other things you would like to highlight to potential employers.  There are also a lot of free sites like Linkedin where you can display a lot of your information for others to find you and see your skills and abilities. Many professionals such as educators, journalists, artists and others have used career portfolios for years.  Recently many other types of job-seekers are finding that they want to be able to showcase more of their skills and abilities as well. 

It can take a bit of a time commitment to initially set up your portfolio, but in the end, it will be easier to update and add things once it is prepared. 

Quintcareers.com gives the following examples of things you should include in your portfolio:

  1. Career Summary and Goals: A description of what you stand for (such as work ethic, organizational interests, management philosophy, etc.) and where you see yourself in two to five years.
  2. Professional Philosophy/Mission Statement: A short description of the guiding principles that drive you and give you purpose. Read more in our article, Using a Personal Mission Statement to Chart Your Career Course.
  3. Traditional Resume: A summary of your education, achievements, and work experience, using a chronological or functional format. If you need help developing a resume, visit Quintessential Careers: Fundamentals of a Good Resume.
  4. Scannable/Text-Based Resume: A text-only version of your resume should also be included. More information about this type of resume can be found at: Quintessential Careers: Scannable Resume Fundamentals.
  5. Skills, Abilities and Marketable Qualities: A detailed examination of your skills and experience. This section should include the name of the skill area; the performance or behavior, knowledge, or personal traits that contribute to your success in that skill area; your background and specific experiences that demonstrate your application of the skill.
  6. List of Accomplishments: A detailed listing that highlights the major accomplishments in your career to date. Accomplishments are one of the most important elements of any good job-search. Read more in our article, For Job-Hunting Success: Track and Leverage Your Accomplishments.
  7. Samples of Your Work: A sampling of your best work, including reports, papers, studies, brochures, projects, presentations, etc. Besides print samples, you can also include CD-ROMs, videos, and other multimedia formats.
  8. Research, Publications, Reports: A way to showcase multiple skills, including your written communications abilities. Include any published papers and conference proceedings.
  9. Testimonials and Letters of Recommendations: A collection of any kudos you have received -– from customers, clients, colleagues, past employers, professors, etc. Some experts even suggest including copies of favorable employer evaluations and reviews.
  10. Awards and Honors: A collection of any certificates of awards, honors, and scholarships.
  11. Conference and Workshops: A list of conferences, seminars, and workshops you’ve participated in and/or attended.
  12. Transcripts, Degrees, Licenses, and Certifications: A description of relevant courses, degrees, licenses, and certifications.
  13. Professional Development Activities: A listing of professional associations and conferences attended — and any other professional development activities.
  14. Military records, awards, and badges: A listing of your military service, if applicable.
  15. Volunteering/Community Service: A description of any community service activities, volunteer or pro bono work you have completed, especially as it relates to your career.
  16. References List: A list of three to five people (including full names, titles, addresses, and phone/email) who are willing to speak about your strengths, abilities, and experience. At least one reference should be a former manager. Read more in our article: The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search.

eHow has a useful article for how to create your online career portfolio for free. 

They also suggest the following tips and warnings:

Tips & Warnings

  • Creating an online portfolio will increase your chance of landing your dream job
  • Always be honest with yourself when displaying your qualifications
  • Give your website address to prospective employers to market yourself
  • Don’t be dishonest because it will backfire!
  • Only give your website to legitimate employers
  • Do not include official transcripts online because it includes your SSN
  • Only give your personal information to only jobs you have applied for
  • Do not include your web portfolio address on your online resume with any online career site such as Monster, Hot Jobs, Vault and Career Path. Read more by clicking here.

The Fox School of Business had an interesting article about how you should spend a moment to Google yourself to see what others might find out about you online.  They reference the following statistics:  44% of hiring managers use google, myspace, and facebook to do online background checks on candidates. Nearly 1/3 of these background checks lead to rejection of a candidate.

Some tips they suggest to create your own online image include:

  1. Join Linkedin.com.  This is a great site that will allow you to create a professional social networking “resume” and allows you the chance to connect to a lot of great contacts.  Your linkedin.com profile will also show up when you google your name.  Use this to your advantage and list all of your strengths, education, and experience using well written short descriptions. 
  2. Start a blog.  Starting a blog is not just for people with uncommon niche interests.  Find a topic you find interesting and is relevant to your professional life and write in it often.  Read other blogs on industry news and comment.  All of these small things will help to create a good social presence for your on the internet. 
  3. Check your Myspace and Facebook profiles.  If there is anything that would give an employer the wrong impression of you, take it down!  Pictures should be professional.  You can stand out from the pack if you use your myspace or facebook page as another tool in your job search strategy.  Not everyone has the attitude of “it’s just a social profile.”  Make sure all privacy settings are enabled so only close friends can see things about you.
  4. For those more web savvy people, start a website or create an online resume.  These can be great additions to your paper resume and you can certainly include a link to your online resume on your paper resume and in any footings or signatures of any emails you send to employers regarding your job search.   You can detail more experiences, share some volunteer experiences and even include pictures, showcase some examples of your work.  Be careful with this though….professionalism is of utmost importance.

A useful student-centered platform for building an eportfolio is available at eportfolio.org.  Once you register, you can set up your portfolio as a student, faculty or institution.  You can then control what goes into your portfolio, who can see it, and can create several versions of it to use based on who you want to view it.  There are fees for this based on how many megabytes of storage you would require. 

In schools, some students are being taught to create web pages using a virtual learning environmental (VLE) that are not as easily accessible outside of the environment in which they are created.  A good alternative for a student who wants a format that is easier to share outside a school environment, would be to get signed up with a free account on Linkedin.  Linkedin has added a lot of features that allows people to showcase more than just work experience.  Users can also import Google Docs presentations, include a WordPress blog, and there are many more options available to update and promote abilities to prospective employers or potential connections.

For an example of a Linkedin portfolio, you can look at mine by clicking here.  To see all of the options I have added to mine, you can send me a request to be linkedin with you.  I accept all invitations.  At that point, you can see how I have incorporated Google Docs, WordPress and other features to display my information.

Students Using Social Media for School Shopping

Marketing school products has taken a virtual direction with sites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter and others focusing their messages on young shoppers.  Advertising on cell phones and social networking sites is becoming more common.  Students can now see virtual dressing rooms right on their phones.  Apps, or applications, are the big thing now.  With them, companies can set up pages on Facebook and other sites to show off their product line. 

In a recent article in the Arizona Republic, Staples Inc. spokeswoman Karen Pevenstein stated that virtual retailing is big business. “It’s the best way to reach teens.”  This same article cited that “Young shoppers are expected to spend more than $200 billion of their own and parents’ money this year, making them one of the retailers’ most sought-after demographic groups.”

According to ABC News, the latest trend is to post haul videos.  “A new phenomenon called haul videos means they can show off their purchases to the whole world. There are more than 110,000 haul videos currently on YouTube, and some videos are racking up tens of millions of views. Hauls are short product review videos. The “vlogger,” or video blogger, shows off her goods, gushing about everything from lip gloss to flip flops and gives her opinion on the quality of the products. Haul videos are the perfect marriage of two of Generation Y’s favorite things: technology and shopping”

It is not just teens and tweens students that have the retailer’s focus.  This year it is anticipated that $34 billion of the estimated $55 billion in back-to-school spending will collected from college students and their parents.  The Arizona Republic reported, “To reach that market, retailer Target Corp. has added a “college” tab to its Facebook page with coupons, supplies, checklists and sharable cellphone apps to help students determine how to furnish their dorm rooms or apartments and manage shared bills and chores with roommates.

Why it is So Important to Be Connected With Social Media: Some Recent Social Media Statistics

 

  • In Dennis Prince’s recent book Get Rich With Twitter, he quotes: “In order to reach 50 million users it would take:

             38 years by radio

             13 years by television

              4 years by Internet

              3 years by Ipod

              He also states the following about positive impact based on the type of media:

              14% of consumers say they trust company-produced advertisements.

              18% of traditional TV ad campaigns generate positive returns on investment

               25% of search results online for the world’s top-twenty largest brands are links to user-generated (socially accessible) content.

              34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands

             78% of consumers trust peer recommendations”

  • According to latest Nielsen research Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networks and blogs, up from 15.8% a year ago (43% increase). 

 

  • Mashable reported: One-third of women aged 18-34 check Facebook when they first wake up, even before they get to the bathroom. 21% of women age 18-34 check Facebook in the middle of the night.

 

  • Information Week reported: Two-thirds of Americans now use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social media sites, up about 230% from the 20% penetration in 2007, and 43% are visiting these sites more than once a day.

 

  • Social Networking Watch reported: According to a recent comScore Video Metrix service, 178M U.S. Internet users watched online video during the month, and topped 30.3 billion videos in April, with Google Sites ranking as the top video property with 13.1 billion videos, representing 43.2% of all videos viewed online. YouTube accounted for the vast majority of videos viewed at the property.

 

  • Read Write Web Reported: Apple, the most high-profile purveyor of mobile apps, has said it has seen 4 billion apps downloaded from its store, for a total of about $1.5 billion.

Where Future College Students Are Finding Information

This E-Expectations 2010 report is out and it includes information about college-bound student’s expectations and how they are finding information about learning.   It can be confusing for recent high school graduates to know which college to attend.  In this report Google is the front-runner with 44% of students using this search engine to find college websites.  I found it interesting that 89% of the students learn about schools from traditional mail sources vs. 79% from email and only 65% from online searches.  Not surprisingly, 76% used Facebook as their number one social media resource  compared to only 33% using MySpace.