Silicon Valley’s squishy, feel-good language
The tech firms that dominate Silicon Valley are largely data-driven, high-concept businesses brimming with complexities. So how do they present the culmination of their technological prowess?
Try Joshua Reeves of ZenPayroll Inc., who seeks to describe the feeling his company provides as delightful.
“That’s the effect we’re trying to achieve,” said Reeves, whose company has applied to trademark “delightful payroll.” “We talk about how to create that ‘aha moment,’ that feeling the first time you use it where you just stop and say, ‘This is amazing. Why weren’t you here 10 years ago?’”
In fact, the word “delight” pops up Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has used it, as has Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston and most importantly of all, the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Read the full story in our latest Column One feature. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get some delight out of it.
Photo: Times Wire Services
Today in terrifying fake news
The Associated Press’ Twitter account was hacked earlier today, sending out a false report of explosions at the White House. The tweet was swiftly debunked, no report was sent on the AP news wire and Twitter has since suspended the account.
But that didn’t stop some from immediately believing the fraudulent tweet. Note the sudden plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the time the tweet went out:
In the wake of the now-notorious tweet, and the outrage last week over a number of grassroots amateur detectives on Reddit working to solve the Boston Marathon bombings, it’s important to remember that not everything online should be taken at face value.
Photos: Twitter, Google
The photo above, showing Boston the night after the tragic marathon bombing, was tweeted yesterday by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield from the International Space Station in a sigh of solidarity:
Our crew just heard about the horrible events at the Boston Marathon. We all pass our condolences and thoughts to everyone affected.— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield)
Twitter is not the world: Or America, for that matter. In a new study from Pew Research, reactions to events on Twitter often are detached from society’s reactions as a whole. While Pew found that Twitter consensus moves back and forth from liberal to conservative, what really sticks out is just how much more negative Twitter discussions can be.
For both [presidential] candidates, negative comments exceeded positive comments by a wide margin throughout the fall campaign season. But from September through November, Romney was consistently the target of more negative reactions than was Obama.
And as always, it’s important to understand the limitations of Twitter’s reach.
The overall reach of Twitter is modest. In the Pew Research Center’s 2012 biennial news consumption survey, just 13% of adults said they ever use Twitter or read Twitter messages; only 3% said they regularly or sometimes tweet or retweet news or news headlines on Twitter.
Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP
Sexist Social Media? Our senior opinions producer and blogger Alexandra LeTellier, always a proponent of the conversations that spring up through social media, has written about her own realization about the gender inequities that still remain on Twitter and Facebook.
Further inspired by Laura Bates’ recent story in the Guardian, LeTellier’s eyes were opened when she realized just how many conversations and posts made light of issues like rape and domestic violence.
Every person has their price, and for a 14-year-old Boston girl, her price to quit Facebook is $200.
In light of Paul Baier giving his daughter $200 to stay away from Facebook for five months, we just have to ask: How much would it take for you to give up your social network of choice for five months, or even forever?
If you build it, porn will come: Vine, the hot new Twitter app that allows users to post six-second video loops, now has an age restriction after users immediately began to flood the app with pornographic clips.
Now when users attempt to download Vine, they are first prompted to confirm that they are at least 17 years old before the app begins installing.
Crazy Tumblr day! Why not follow our new Twitter? (Our feed will absolutely not be a simple export of all our posts!)
“Housing isn’t the solution to homelessness. You also need community,” said Mark Horvath.
Founder of InvisiblePeople.tv — a site of raw, uncut videos of homeless people telling their own stories—Horvath was once homeless himself in 1995. So he’s no small advocate for solving the homelessness problem in the United States, and he believes social media will play no small part in doing so.
Naysayers might argue that if one is homeless, technology should not be something that is affordable or accessible. That technology is in large part a luxury.
But those who are on the street or who are about to be might feel differently.
According to Horvath, there’s a rise in the number of homeless people he meets who are on social media platforms, namely Twitter and Facebook. Horvath sees this largely as a positive aspect to their lives, as he senses that the people he meets feel less alone.
“One hundred percent of the sheltered homeless I meet are online and on Facebook. Online is still a human experience, it’s just online,” he said.
Rd Plasschaert believes her life was saved by social networking.
Her story is a familiar one, perhaps.
“I had a great paying job at a high-stress law firm. In February 2009, I left for health reasons because I felt I was going to have a heart attack, and I thought no job is worth that. Not knowing that the great crisis was about to happen,” she said.
She thought she could take on temporary work through local temp agencies, but was surprised when the agencies had no work to give. Due to continued health problems, she ended up on disability.
“In August 2010, I knew I was going to be homeless,” she said. “Agencies kept referring me back to the 211 number. I would call 211 and they would say we cannot help you until you are on the streets. I was in this cycle of: we can not provide help until you are actually homeless.”
She started a blog, as an online journal, she says at first in order “just to stay sane.” Through another blogger she was introduced to Twitter. She originally wrote the site off as inane banter. “At first, I thought: This is where people say ‘I’m going to burp.’ I thought it was nothing.”
But partly out of desperation, she decided to try it, and soon began searching for others in her same situation. Within four days of being online, she found Horvath.
She stayed at Path Achieve in Glendale for three months, and was also placed at the Winter Shelter, before becoming housed in an apartment three weeks ago.
Her current housing is sponsored in part by Skip1.org, an organization she also connected with through the microblogging site.
“Twitter is the only reason I have housing,” she said.
For the full story, visit L.A. Times Chatter.