Facebook research results: Real vs. “Virtual” friends

In a new research study unveiled at the British Association Festival of Science, it seems that people who have oodles of Facebook “friends” have in fact the same number of close friends as those who do not use social networking sites. I have a suspicion that a lot more research needs to be done in this area, with studies probably already underway, to investigate this phenomenon.

One of the more interesting items this study revealed is the active “defriending” process in social networking sites rather than the gradual losing touch that happens in face-to-face (F2F) relationships.

I wonder what other things may be learned by following this research further? Perhaps that more casual friendships may effect F2F relationships? Perhaps geographic proximity may play less of a role in social relationships, thereby benefiting the travel industry? I wonder if this will positively or negatively affect cultural, religious, or socioeconomic sensitivity? What role will education play in this? How about online crime, personality deception, racketeering, and predatory behaviors?

Oh, what brave new world . . .   

Emergency texting alert system

I am an adjunct instructor at New York University in the Stern School of Management and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. In this capacity, I receive a lot of official email communications from the university, and one of them that I recently received struck me as being one of the better emergency notification ideas I have come across in some time. From the email I received:

One of the fastest ways to reach you in an emergency is probably sitting in your pocket right now: your cell phone. The University has developed the capacity to send blast text messages to your cell phone to ensure you get direct and timely information in case of an emergency. To help us enhance your personal safety, we are asking employees to store their cell phone numbers in the Human Resources Information System (HRIS) through ePass. This number will be stored in the HRIS database and kept confidential. We expect to conduct one test per semester (the first test will take place on Thursday, September 27); other than that, it will only be used in emergency situations.

The email then gives simple instructions to set this up. While this is undoubtedly another step within their HRIS system, with the ubiquity of cell phones, this is a no-brainer for emergency alerts. I suggested this to my full-time job, and they seemed interested in this but not quite ready for an automated system yet. Where else may this be useful? How about:

  • local public transit alerts?
  • weather emergencies
  • work closings due to power outages, weather issues, or disasters
  • schools to alert students about snow delays or other emergency needs
  • shopping alerts when stores get new merchandise in stock
  • surprise sales or sudden markdowns
  • the list seems almost endless.

I wonder, with smart phones, Blackberry’s (I finally have a great Blackberry World Phone), Twitter, and wifi, if text alerts may be the next formalized and immediate communication methodology to be used by folks over age 25? There certainly appear to be enough organizational needs for them.

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Facebook opens (to Google)?

Om Malik reports that Facebook will open to public searches (aka Google), and while they seem to state that certain areas and parts of profiles will remain closed, the old adage that there is no privacy on the Web continues to hold true.  

Granted there seem to remain some limits, but while we are electronically connected nothing can be taken for granted. Certainly not from a free site that aggregates information about its members as does Facebook. Hmm, seems more and more like Google’s own databases . . .

Royale WordPress Template

I really respond to light backgrounds with simple repeating patterns, and as such it came as a shock to my friends and colleagues to see the dark colors of the Royale Theme I chose to use on my new WordPress-driven blog. While I did slightly adapt it since the black background image in it was too dark at first (some screens made it appear black, and some made it appear somewhat sinister I was told).

Two of the features of WordPress that most impress me (having recently migrated from MovableType 3.4) include the speed of changing the templates as well as the speed of posting entries. They are both done and visible in only one simple click. With MT, I used to have to wait for the site to reload and refresh and update–it was a slow and cumbersome process. This was an immediate benefit I found, and while I still have a lot of tweaking I need to complete, at least I immediately saw benefits.

Now, to begin transitioning more to philosophy . . .