Social Media News
Few businesses strive for a website that’s the equivalent of a one-hit wonder.
If visitors are coming to your site and engaging — possibly even converting — and then leaving, never to return again, you’re probably wondering why this happens (and if it matters, particularly if overall pageviews or conversion numbers are solid).
See also: Why Marketers Need to Master Page Flow
We’re talking to marketers as a part of our Metrics That Matter series, and asking them about the importance of visitor retention as well as the extent they pay attention to recency and frequency of visits. Below are a few suggestions for analyzing this particular metric, as well as insight into why it’s worth taking a look at these traffic trends. Read more…
In the latest video of our Ask a Dev series, iOS architect Kevin Harwood provides answers to those questions, including why Apple chose to sell its “budget” iPhone 5C. He also offers helpful resources for those starting to develop iOS apps.
The new Apple A7 system-on-a-chip found in every iPhone 5S is twice as fast as its A6 predecessor. The A7 also introduces twice the level of improvement on graphics performance, especially apparent in gaming, and it opens the door for apps to be made with faster and more powerful 64-bit chip architecture in the future. Read more…
The Gillmor Gang — John Borthwick, Robert Scoble, Dan Farber, Doc Searls, and Steve Gillmor — imagine a world 30 years in the future and discover it looks pretty much the same. A world where drones drop things off and pick them up, too. Why buy when you can rinse, rent, and repeat. The signs are everywhere, as the cloud makes anything possible at startup scale. The question is, can anyone but Google and Apple win?
Form versus function is the framing of the media, but perhaps the real winners will capture the broad audience with fitness data topped with media services. Twitter is serving up viral swarms around binge programming, and soon we’ll be telling our wrist bands to sort the mail and start the dishwasher. It’s more and more difficult to tell the robots from their makers. Pass the oil, please.
@stevegillmor, @dsearls, @borthwick, @dbfarber, @scobleizer
Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor
Product name: Sloth Flipover Shirt
Who would like this?: T-shirt collectors, sloth fanatics, lazy fashionistas, Kristen Bell
Don’t try stuffing a sloth in a stocking by the fireplace this year. Instead, choose a gift just as adorable, but that won’t crawl up your Christmas tree and poop on your gifts.
The Sloth Flipover T-Shirt combines the charm of the cute creature with the comfort of cotton. (And doesn’t require figuring out how to put a big red bow on a wild animal.) The front of the shirt reads “Ask Me Why I’m Lazy” — a perfect conversation starter — and flips up to cover your head in a sloth face. Seriously, if you’ve never kicked off chitchat by lifting your shirt to reveal the Internet’s favorite slow-moving tree mammal, you don’t know how to correctly make friends. Read more…
theodp writes “Among the patents granted to Facebook this week by the USPTO is one for Inferring Household Income for Users of a Social Networking System. ‘For example,’ Facebook explains, ‘an assumption might be made about a user that reads CNN.com and nytimes.com every day that the user is in a higher income bracket than another user that only reads TMZ.com and PerezHilton.com on the theory that a user who reads newspapers might be assumed to make more money than a user who only reads celebrity gossip blogs.’ Advertisements such as those for travel packages, cars, and home mortgages, Facebook adds, ‘are targeted to users based on income bracket,’ which might also be inferred by ‘gathering and analyzing different types of information about a user’s geographic location.’ Hey, what could go wrong?”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Admit it — you’ve wasted hours of your life scrolling through pictures of adorable animals on the Internet. Some of those hours might even have been time you put aside for your job search. After all, who can resist the siren allure of a good kitten cam or a dog in a funny outfit? You’re only human.
Here’s the good news though: those adorable pets might just have taught you some valuable lessons you can apply to your job search. So the next time you find yourself watching the newest cat video, cut yourself a break. Maybe Whiskers can teach you a thing or two about scoring your dream job.
What exactly is it that can you learn from four-legged Internet superstars and apply to your job search? Here are a few lessons from our favorite fuzzy friends. Read more…
“Uh-oh! Spaghettios” has just gotten a whole new meaning
Seventy-two years after the Japanese navy attacked the U.S. with a surprise strike on Pearl Harbor, American pasta company SpaghettiOs commemorated the event in a dubious tweet Friday night — and many Twitter users were not happy.
Here’s what SpaghettiOs tweeted Friday, on the eve of the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
SpaghettiOs deleted the tweet and apologized on Saturday.
We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. We meant to pay respect, not to offend.
An anonymous reader writes “Peter Higgs, the physicist who laid the groundwork for the discovery of the Higgs boson and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics, says he doubts any university would give him a job today. Higgs says universities wouldn’t consider him productive enough — though the papers he published were important and of high quality, he didn’t have the volume necessary for serious consideration in today’s competitive employment environment. ‘He doubts a similar breakthrough could be achieved in today’s academic culture, because of the expectations on academics to collaborate and keep churning out papers. He said: “It’s difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964.” Speaking to the Guardian en route to Stockholm to receive the 2013 Nobel prize for science, Higgs, 84, said he would almost certainly have been sacked had he not been nominated for the Nobel in 1980.’ His comments highlight the absurdity of the current system for finding researchers in academia. How many researchers of Higgs’ caliber have been turned down for similar reasons?”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Holiday season is in full swing, and celebrators are waist-deep in Christmas cheer. Between scrambling to find presents for casual work acquaintances, feeling guilty every time you try to sneak past the Salvation Army Santa and the omnipresent Christmas music blaring from every functional speaker in the country, the holidays can be pretty stressful.
We can’t do anything about your coworkers or your guilt complex, but we do have one thing — or rather, 15 things — that will alleviate the repetitive yuletide ballads that follow you everywhere you go.
Public school children have become lab rats of policymakers who are eager to see change faster than we can study what works. Experimental reforms are often founded on the lackluster research of ideological think tanks, who have filled the expertise vacuum left by academics unwilling to conduct policy-related research. “I’ve reviewed some just God awful stuff,” cringes Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker, whose influential data-driven education, blog, schoolfinance101 has helped him become a go-to reviewer for policy reports.
For example, he notes, the libertarian-happy think tank The Reason Foundation concluded that a controversial program to peg funding to student improvement had worked, but forgot to highlight the policy was adopted after the changes had begun. “I started realizing that there’s this never-ending flow of misinformation and disinformation out there,” he said.
Like Nate Silver’s influential and statistically nuanced election forecast blog posts, Baker has gained notoriety for reexamining data to trounce his adversary’s conclusions. And, with Silver’s new independent 538 channel, Baker’s brand of statistics-heavy argument could be the future of education journalism.
Stop Cheerleading Education Miracles, i.e. Education Effects Are Small
“We really have failed in the teaching of mathematics and probability,” decries Baker, who regularly debunks myths about unicorn policy changes that radically improve student outcomes. At scale, experiments rarely move the needle more than a few percentage points. Statisticians measure outcomes in “standard deviations”, or how students move relative to their peers.
A full standard deviation is, on average, going from the back of the pack (33rd percentile) to average (50th percentile). If “Anyone starts saying they’re getting you a half or full standard deviation additional growth–that’s when the bullshit detector starts going off.”
When a new Stanford University study found that Washington D.C.’s controversial pay-for-performance teacher policy had a half-standard deviation impact on quality, newspaper headlines lit up, “Study Finds Gains From Teacher Evaluations” read the New York Times Economix blog.
Latest NAEP school test scores suggest that school reform helps. Big improvements in DC & Tennessee, both centers of reform.
Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) November 08, 2013
Despite data buried within the reports that show how reform had slightly improved the number of good teachers who didn’t quit, there was virtually no impact on student outcomes. Even worse, it ignored the fact that many other school districts have attempted similar strategies, with widely varying results. Baker put together a blog post soon after, re-organizing all the reform-minded states in relation to their students’ initial starting points on reading and math
In the admittedly ugly graph above, states should be showing great gains (above the red line)–but the effect is mixed. Stanford’s own post was careful to note the researchers’ skepticism, but that was missed by many media reports. This hasn’t stopped some states from adopting radical pay-for-performance schemes.
Miracle charters have also been a favorite target for Baker, who finds that many apparent success stories of market-driven schools actually end up spending far more per-pupil than similar public schools.
The report was searing enough to make the popular KIPP charter respond, a debate that added a healthy amount of skepticism to reform discussions in notable education trade journals.
His one mantra in reading education reports: “avoid certainty.”
The Academic Glacier
Academics and news media are on radically different timescales; news cycles last maybe 24-hours, while peer-review publishing shuffles at a comfortable pace of a year or longer for a single paper. To get the most bang for the buck, schools like Stanford are releasing reports to the press before the peer-review process.
“Even with the big research studies that gets released these days, the way to get recognized is by staging a big press release, and putting the study out long before it’s actually peer reviewed and appears in a journal,” says Baker. “Having a response out within a week often times isn’t even fast enough.”
So, Baker combines lightning quick posts with previous academic research. For instance, to debunk a myth that Louisiana’s Charter schools were outperforming New Jersey’s “Failure Factories,” he compared math schools in both areas re-evaluated in a peer-reviewed statistical procedure for accurately assessing poverty rates.
According to Baker, the cost of living varies by state, so we can’t use national averages of income to compare districts. When states are re-weighted by regional poverty, it’s clear that New Jersey is likely doing pretty well, considering the number of poor students they’re dealing with.
The problem is, education is tricky. Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman once quipped that they’d love to evaluate students by yearly improvement, but “children do not develop in nine-month chunks except during gestation.”
Unless a study is randomized, rigorously controlled and published in a peer-reviewed journal, arm your bullshit meter if anyone is claiming they’ve found a scalable solution. Until then, follow Baker for his response on hyped-up reform stories. I do.