An ad-free social network? It’s called Ello!

Ello is an online social networking platform that is ad-free, yay! Created in 2014 but has recently revamped to compete in the online social industry. From the beginning when first created by Paul Budnitz and Todd Berger, they had a vision that it would be a mix between Tumblr and Twitter. This means that users can post photos, meaningful writing pieces and mention people that will show up on the others and your profile. One tool that Ello added to their platform is Google Analytics. This will help Ello with their user data because it is an ad free networking platform. By using Google Analytics, Ello will get the user information from a third party like Google Analytics to track their users.  

You are probably thinking how can I like and share posts? With Ello, there is no “like” button and or sharing. Instead of liking a post, users will “love” a post to be able to like and share. As far as friends go, Ello has begun a filter process within your newsfeed; both Friends and Noise. Friends being people that you follow their posts but not actual friends like friends on Facebook.  Noise can also be people who you follow but you won’t be alerted of any of their posts, like putting them on do not disturb but only on your news feed. But users can also discover different posts by the category bar at the top navigation.

screen-shot-2014-09-24-at-11-06-25-amA fun new addition to Ello is that users can create an Elloan. This is a picture of the user with the Ello logo on top. This can help users when they are scared about privacy as far as pictures of themselves go. This could take off and be a friend for Ello and different profiles. Ello in sum is a place that users can express their creativity whether writing, painting and drawing, or photography without the interruption of ads. It is also a great way for start-up artist to create an “online portfolio”.

How much impact does NASA have in our daily lives?

When most people think of NASA, the first thing that pops to their mind outer space. We think of the stars, planets and galaxies. Don’t forget about the satellites either.

NASA is involved in our daily lives. How? Well here are some samples:

Brain Surgery Tools

Neurosurgeons employ bipolar forceps which use electricity to cut and cauterize tissue. But electricity in the forceps generates extra heat, so you need to safely dissipate that heat and avoid damaging healthy brain tissue.

A company called Thermacore has a solution that NASA had been using since the early days of space flight. Heat pipes. A downsized version was created for bipolar forceps, ensuring the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgery. This was said by MSN.

Memory Foam

a material found in everything fromMemory-Foam-Mattress[1].jpg mattresses to sports helmets

Rocket-Powered Parachutes

they can rescue entire airplanes; invisible braces; and tensile fabrics that are seen in structures all around the world. The two recent examples are from Reformer.

We don’t really look at the details of what makes up the technology around us. NASA hasn’t received much credit for all the things they have created and helped develop. They have accomplished achievements not only in space, but on Earth too. Could you imagine a world without NASA?

The End is Near: Strategic Social Media Recap

 

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credit: featured images

 

The last half of 2016 has been a long and crazy ordeal! Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, the world pretended to be mannequins, cyberbullying has managed to take the lives of several more young people and the Dakota Access Pipeline war started and ended. Needless to say, this has been a thriving time for social media outlets.

Actually in times like the ones the world has experienced lately, I am absolutely thankful for social media. Without the various social media platforms that we have, we would all be completely lost as to what is going on in the world around us. With 24 hours access and immediate up to date information thrown at us, we had no choice but to face the terrors going on around us.

More than anything, social media outlets have allowed us to share our opinions and ideologies with one another. It has been a center where people can be heard and listened to. It has allowed like minded people to link up with one another and try to find ways to make a difference.

Social media has also allowed for controversy and the truth to emerge. See there is nothing wrong with controversy. Everyone is entitled  to their own opinions and is allowed to share those opinions. The funny thing about controversy is that it gets people thinking in ways that they may not have done before and more than that it gets people talking about the issues that truly matter. The horrible truths that are the foundation of our government and country have also been exposed through social media stories, fights and comments. Social media platforms have allowed people to see others true colors once and for all.

Yea, social media can be filled with absolute garbage sometimes. And yea social media can be used to destroy innocent people’s lives. I do not condone all the bad that social media platforms can produce. But what I do condone is the progressive changes it has made. If we can focus and promote more of the positive outcomes that social media has to offer rather than harping on all of the negatives, then maybe we can finally change the face of social media platforms for good!

Social Media Make Pipe Dreams Reality

With the announced victory for the Dakota Pipeline protestors in Standing Rock, North Dakota it is worth taking a look at what role social media played in the protests. Over the past few months as information initially started to leak out about the proposed pipeline through the American northwest protestors and supporters took to social media to help spread their message, and it worked. Despite constant resistance from local police and corporate initiatives, the protestors were able to gain enough support and last long enough for a new route to be found for the pipeline that didn’t desecrate the native’s burial grounds, or corrupt their water supply. 

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Image Via NPR

Social media could arguably have been a major contributor to the outcome of the protests. With videos and images being distributed digitally, it not only created awareness, but also attracted the support of celebrities and the support of significant social figures. Shailene Woodly an actress most well known for her role in the Divergent series, personally joined the fight after seeing what was happening via social media, as did Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams, former vice president Al Gore and many more according to an article by Inside Climate News. Once the announcement was made that the U.S. Army had called for the pipeline to be rerouted, many took to social media in celebration.

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Images via Inside Climate News

Not only was social media used to attract attention to the events transpiring at the site of the future pipeline, but also a ‘digital smoke screen’ was call to thwart attempts by law enforcement. Law officials were monitoring those who had ‘checked in’ at the protests in order to target them for violence. The protestors quickly caught on and called for everyone all over to check in to confuse the law enforcement and make it impossible to tell the imposters from the real protestors. The Daily Caller News Foundation .

 

Fake News, Real Consequences

The Internet is a sea of knowledge, whether that knowledge be true or false, interpreting the data the wrong way and acting upon it can lead to dire consequences. Most credible news sources are those we have all known to be legitimate pre-internet, but with the rise of click-bait tactics to lure people in for traffic a new phenomenon has arisen. ‘False news’ is the term given to… well just that, fictitious news content created and distributed via online.

Fake news seems to be created with a variety of intents. From harmless entertainment to more the more insidious virus and malware distributors, the spectrum is broad and one of the reasons fake news bad sides far out weigh the good.

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Picture via The Plunder

The term click-bait is assigned to headlines, whether from real of fake news, that are specifically worded to trigger a response within the viewer and get them to click on the link, even if the link isn’t actually to anything relevant to the insinuated topic. This is seen everywhere and have and continue to encounter it while navigating through their Facebook profiles. The reason click-bait is such a problem is because on one hand, it poses a threat to the user clicking on the add and being taken to a site with material they had no intention of being on by putting them at risk for malware, viruses, and/or marketing scams/schemes. On the other hand, a business or marketing agency seeking the opportunity to have the chance to honestly connect with their target customers they are unable to do so, because the customers become untrustworthy of all links via the web whether they be legitimate or not.

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Picture via New York Times

 

Popular sites like The Onion tote real news headlines with fictitious stories aimed at entertaining their readers. Although fake, the headline of their website cites it as “Americas Finest News Source”. Now I can appreciate this, but we’ve all seen that relative or distant friend we never talk to on Facebook link an Onion article and start ranting as if it were real. The sad fact is that for those too ignorant to get the joke, take it as fact, and that confusion only adds to the hostility and uglier nature of the Internet. Reactions like these can lead to instances like the one reported on recently in The New York Times where a man who believed a local pizzeria was actually the hub of a huge child sex trafficking ring due to a fake news article, and discharged a rifle within the restaurant.

 

We, Today’s Big Brother

To paraphrase a quote from comedian and chief ‘Nerdist‘ Chris Hardwick in reference to the Orwellian novel 1984, Big Brother does in fact exist, but instead of it solely being an ominous government entity, it is all of us constantly monitoring and linking our real lives, with our online identities. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, are just a few of the most popular platforms through which we connect with friends, strangers, and most of the time, people that we normally would never make direct contact with outside the digital world. The double edged sword is that while you can post that which you want others to see or hear (sadly can’t smell yet) about you, that power lays also with everyone else.

Cyber bullying, internet shaming, private conversations being shared with the world are all not-so-great results of the infinite interconnections online that now effect our lives. The list of examples range from teenagers having to change schools because of bullying, to celebrities very private photos becoming very public photos, to presidential candidates being exposed for past transgressions (not like that’s really a new thing thought).

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Now it’s not to go unsaid that certain US government agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) aren’t also a part of the digital surveillance landscape. Back in February of this year, WikiLeaks released information that the NSA had been illegally surveying other governments in addition to citizens of the United States, and are currently developing standards for digital surveillance all the time; more at WikiLeaks.

So what does this all truly mean for us? Technology is more than a necessity to most, and is even a means of living for those working within the realms of the ever growing digital world. Time will tell where we are headed. But the landscape is a broad one, open to as many possibilities as there are fake user accounts spread across the catfish ridden sea we call the internet.

Facebook Quiz Alert

by: Brandy Walker

Read this before you take a Facebook quiz againPhoto Credit: KimKomando.com

 

Despite how tempting it is to know who your future spouse will be, or which Kardashian you have more in common with, you may want to avoid taking online Facebook Quizzes. While some Facebook quizzes may be purely innocent and for entertainment purposes, others may be trying to find ways to gather personal information from you.

There are many different ways that people with ill intentions can try to take to take advantage of you. Scammers could be using techniques like credit card fraud, like farming or good old fashioned malware.

You should always be very skeptical if you take a quiz, and you are asked to provide personal information such as your credit card or banking information. You should never have to release this type of information just for the sake of participating in an online quiz.

According to “America’s Digital Goddess,” Kim Komando, “Quizzes are often used in a scam called “Like Farming,” where scammers create a piece of click-worthy content, then swap it out for something else once the post has gone viral.” The terminology “like farming” was new for me. According to an article by Consumer Affairs, scammers tend to lure people in by appealing to their emotions. 

Lastly, malware is best described as when certain websites have hidden software encoded on their page that could possibly contain viruses and other harmful material. There is usually no way to determine this until it’s too late.

So what should you do to avoid the dangers that come with taking online quizzes? You should start by making sure that your privacy settings are set up properly. You should also be leery when you are being asked for information that you wouldn’t want to share the whole world. If all else fails, it’s better to simply avoid taking a Facebook quiz that seems fishy…trust your instinct.

Sources:

Abel, By Jennifer. “Like-farming Facebook Scams: Look before You.” ConsumerAffairs. ConsumerAffairs, 2016. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

@kimkomando. “Read This before You Take a Facebook Quiz Again | One Page | Komando.com.” The Kim Komando Show. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.