Facebook and Twitter users suffered withdrawal symptoms when forced to go cold turkey as part of a scientific study into the addictiveness of social media, academics have found.
1:33PM BST 11 Apr 2013
In a study by researchers at the University of Winchester, ten self-confessed Facebook “addicts” and ten prolific tweeters were asked to stop using their accounts for four weeks. Many quickly became isolated from friends and family and reported feeling “cut off from the world”.
One female participant from Yorkshire said: “So much of my life was organised via Facebook. I haven’t communicated with my family all week.”
Another volunteer said: “I’ve felt alone and cut off from the world. My fingers seem to be programmed to seek out the Facebook app every time I pick up my phone.”
But Dr David Giles, a reader in media psychology who led the study, said that heavy use of social networks is not necessarily dangerous. “Some people would argue this addiction to social media is eating away at people’s lives, but what most of these so-called addicts are doing online is profoundly social,” he said.
“The average internet user today is not the bedroom hermit of the 1990s but a savvy individual with a smartphone who openly manages his or her entire social life and personal relationships online.”
Moderation could be key, however. Complete abstinence caused many of the participants to suffer withdrawal symptoms, but not all of the effects were negative. One woman from Wales said being forced off Facebook allowed her to catch-up on household chores, while another volunteer confessed that the ban had allowed her to spend more time with her daughter.
The study, commissioned by first direct, also showed that those who had avoided social media in the past could find it useful and enjoyable. Researchers took ten people with inactive Twitter and Facebook accounts, and ten who had never used social media at all, and asked them to regularly tweet and update their Facebook status for four weeks.
One participant said: “I thought I would find using Facebook every day dull and pointless, but I’m finding that I’m quite enjoying it. I’m actually seeing my friends more now.”
The research showed that Twitter users coped better than their Facebook counterparts with being cut off from their accounts, which researchers put down to Twitter’s less “social” nature.
Dr Giles believes that more people will eventually be forced to accept using social media as a fact of life. Life is getting more difficult for people who lack an email address or Facebook profile, and companies increasingly treat them as the “vagrants of the digital age”, he said.
The research also highlighted 12 distinct types of social media users, from occasional “dippers” who only occasionally log-in to post an update to full-blown “ultras” who are habitual participants. Click here to see which tribe you belong to.
source: The Telegraph
You might want to think again before failing to keep a restaurant reservation after one eatery decided enough was enough and began publicly shaming no-shows on Twitter.
Noah Ellis, the managing partner at the Vietnamese restaurant Red Medicine, said those people who booked a table but then never honoured their reservation ‘ruin restaurants’.
‘The a******* who decide to no-show, or cancel 20 minutes before their reservation ruin restaurants for the people who make a reservation and do their best to honour it,’ he told Eater.com.
‘Either restaurants are forced to overbook and make the guests wait, or they do what we do, turn away guests for some prime-time slots because they’re booked, and then have empty tables.’
To try and stop customers cancelling at the last minute or simply ignoring their reservation, Red Medicine’s Twitter account has begun posting the names of those who never show up.
An initial post on March 24 declared: ‘All the nice guests who wonder why restaurants overbook and they sometimes have to wait for their res should thank people like those below,’ before publishing a list of names and bookings.
Brian Rosman, a spokesperson for the Beverly Hills restaurant, told TODAY.com it had become a trend in Hollywood for assistants to book tables for their bosses at three or four different places and then either cancel all but one at the last minute or never shop up.
‘For a small restaurant like Red Medicine, even a couple of tables really affects them,’ he said.
‘People don’t realise that this causes real problems for a restaurant.’
source: METRORead more
Austin, Texas — Twitter, but increasingly Facebook and YouTube, are becoming essential elements to the way ordinary people in Mexico protect themselves from the war on drugs, according to experts sitting on a panel at South By Southwest Interactive called, “Life on the Line: Tweeting the Drug War.”
Panelists included University of Texas at Brownsville professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, and journalists Melissa Del Bosque and Sergio Chapa.
Correa-Cabrera spoke about a study she’s been doing specifically on the border state of Tamaulipas, which she said is characterized by being the “cradle” of the Zetas cartel, having more bridges to the U.S. than any other Mexican state, and especially the city of Reynosa, which has seen much more violence than other areas.
After Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels in 2006, and then in 2010 when the Zetas and Gulf Cartel stopped working together, the violence exploded, Correa-Cabrera said. Consequently, journalists stopped covering the issue all together to avoid being killed, and so social media emerged as the go-to medium for information.
“The formal media was not reporting these events. This is a war, even if the Mexican authorities don’t call it [that], we’ve seen many manifestations of war in the country, like the number of people who have been killed, the number of places we find them — and social media users are doing this work,” Correa-Cabrera said, noting that social media is the only way she could get info about territorial control of the drug cartels in Tamaulipas.
source: POLITIC365 / Sara Inés CalderónRead more
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