Texting, Social Networking and Other Media Use Linked to Poor Academic Performance

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Social Media Study[Science Daily press release] — The widespread use of media among college students — from texting to chatting on cell phones to posting status updates on Facebook — may be taking an academic toll, say researchers with The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine.

According to a new study, freshmen women spend nearly half their day — 12 hours — engaged in some form of media use, particularly texting, music, the Internet and social networking. Researchers found media use, in general, was associated with lower grade point averages (GPAs) and other negative academic outcomes. However, there were two exceptions: newspaper reading and listening to music were actually linked to a positive academic performance.

The findings, reported online by the journal Emerging Adulthood, offer some new insight into media use in early adulthood, a time when many young people are living independently for the first time and have significant freedom from parental monitoring.

“Most research on media use and academics has focused on adolescents, rather than new college students, or has only examined a few forms of media. So we were curious about the impact of a wider range of media, including activities like social networking and texting that have only become popular in recent years,” said lead author Jennifer L. Walsh, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. “We also wanted to know how media use related to later school performance, since there aren’t many longitudinal studies looking at media use and academics.”

Walsh and colleagues surveyed 483 first-year college women at a northeast university at the start of their freshmen year. Researchers asked students about their use of 11 forms of media (television, movies, music, surfing the Internet, social networking, talking on a cell phone, texting, magazines, newspapers, non-school-related books and video games) on the average weekday and weekend day during the previous week. In January and June, participants reported their GPAs for the fall and spring semester, and they also completed surveys about academic confidence, behaviors and problems.

The study yielded some interesting findings, Walsh said. In addition to data suggesting that college women use nearly 12 hours of media per day, researchers found that cell phones, social networking, movie/television viewing and magazine reading were most negatively associated with later academic outcomes, after accounting for their fall academic performance.

But exactly how are media use and academic performance linked? “We found women who spend more time using some forms of media report fewer academic behaviors, such as completing homework and attending class, lower academic confidence and more problems affecting their school work, like lack of sleep and substance use,” said Walsh, adding that the study was one of the first to explore mechanisms of media effects on academic outcomes.

Researchers also believe the findings demonstrate the central role of social media in the lives of college students, and suggest these forms of media are used more on campus than off.

“Given the popularity of social networking and mobile technology, it seems unlikely that educators will be able to reduce students’ use of these media forms,” said Walsh. “Instead, professors might aim to integrate social media into their classrooms to remind students of assignments, refer them to resources and connect them with their classmates.”

Academic counselors might also consider assessing college students’ media use and encouraging them to take breaks from media, particularly while in class, studying or completing assignments, the researchers also noted.

Justin Bieber has the most bogus followers on Twitter

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Justin BieberWhile Justin Bieber may have the largest following on Twitter, more than half of his followers have bogus accounts.

The teenage pop star currently has 37.3-million followers. However, according to Socialbakers, only 17.8-million of Bieber’s followers have real accounts. In this context, a “fake” account is defined as one that has only one or no followers and follows 50 or less other accounts.

Bearing that in mind, the celebrity who has the most authentic followers is Lady Gaga with 19-million.

After splitting up with Selena Gomez, Bieber has been behaving erratically. The 19-year-old faced allegations of marijuana abuse after he was seen holding a suspicious-looking cigarette in a party.

Source: MailOnline

Blab identifies and predicts promising social media conversations

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blabBlab is launching a program that will allow businesses to predict which social media conversations are going to be important.

In a brief demonstration, Blab co-founder David Snelling showed TechCrunch how the tool would work. The platform uses a visualization tool that highlights up-and-coming topics—it identifies engaging and unique content. Best of all, it does so 72 hours before the topic actually becomes talked about.

Of course, Blab can only predict from a conversation that’s actually started. It can’t predict news items that will roll-out! Still, this platform would be a great marketing tool.

“If you’re going to create long-term content, you want it to be where [consumers] are going to be landing, not where they are now,” said Snelling.

Snelling says that Blab focuses on online user behavior on the topic. He also mentioned that the platform can make accurate predictions with as little as 30 minutes of data. But, Snelling assured, the software becomes more accurate as it collects more data.

The technology can also identify influential users and find relevant comments.

Source: TechCrunch

Is the IRS using social media to track tax cheats?

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Social Media tax cheatsHave you paid your taxes this year? If you haven’t, then you shouldn’t brag about it online. According to sources, the United States’ Internal Revenue Service is using social media to track potential tax cheats.

Based on reports, the IRS will begin checking taxpayers’ social media pages—including Facebook and Twitter—to obtain information that can result in an audit.

However, the IRS has strongly denied these conjectures. “Suggestions that the IRS is using social media to target taxpayers for audit are wrong,” explained the agency in a formal e-mail statement. “Audits are based on the information contained on a person’s tax return, not a posting on a social media site.”

According to sources, the IRS will only investigate profiles of taxpayers which have been “flagged.” Law experts say that the course of action is perfectly legal.

People that seem to have a mismatch in lifestyle and income may be put in the flagged list.

Because social media is a public platform, the government does not need a search warrant to investigate a person’s page. In relation to this, a spokesperson from the IRS claims that “respecting taxpayer rights forms a central part of all of our enforcement efforts, and that includes instances where we monitor publicly available information to assist with already existing compliance work.”

Source: FoxBusiness

The Rock and John Cena square-off in social media

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Rock vs CenaDwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena took center stage as the main event for Wrestlemania, the biggest wrestling event of the year. While Cena took the victory in the ring, outside of it—specifically on social media—the results were tightly contested.

Based on stats and figures from HootSuite—which launched a social media tracking campaign for Wrestlemania, the Rock dominated Cena in terms of online mentions. The research covered social media conversations, including Tweets, Facebook Likes, and other mentions.

While The Rock was ahead in terms of social media conversations, Cena did manage to score more Likes on Facebook.

In the past, Hootsuite also created a social media tracking campaign for the Super Bowl.

Source: Forbes

Twitter introduces new cards

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TwitterTwitter recently introduced three new Twitter Cards geared towards generating ROI for social media marketing efforts. With these new cards, marketers will be able to integrate rich, custom content in every Tweet.

Initially, Twitter Cards allowed users to create short summaries for articles, as well as integrate enhanced photos and video content. The latest cards, however, aim to create a richer social content experience.

The three new Twitter Cards are:

•    The Application Card lets businesses promote their mobile applications through Tweets
•    The Gallery Card lets brands publish up to four small images to preview a large gallery
•    The Product Card allows businesses to feature products in their posts

These new cards will help Twitter establish itself as the dominant social media e-commerce site.

Source: Brafton

Vine updates its features

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Twitter VineVine, Twitter’s video-sharing application, gives brands opportunities to integrate video-marketing on the micro-blogging site. However, the app’s limited features constrain its potential.

Initially, the app’s limited features constrained its potential. In light of this, Vine has started to rollout new features that encourage social sharing. Most recently, the app included embed codes for videos—which lets users share them on sites like Facebook and Twitter. For the brands, the update lets them publish promotional content.

In addition to that, the updated version also lets brands answer and address user questions and concerns via video.

Plus, user privacy was also factored in with the new embed feature. The video’s sharing options depend on how the creator distributed the video. For instance, if a user uploaded the video on Twitter, it can only be shared on Twitter.

With these updates, social media marketers can integrate Vine to complement their online marketing efforts.

Source: Brafton

Securities and Exchange Commission loosens rules on social media info dissemination

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SECChief executives can now post any information in social media as long as they inform investors before hand about their social media strategy.

The Securities and Exchange Commission revealed new disclosure rules on Tuesday on how companies can use social media to disseminate information. While the new rules encourage social media sharing, companies may still reduce interaction on the platform. Many say that companies will opt to limit information-sharing to their official communication lines.

A few months back, the SEC encountered issues with Netflix concerning social media disclosure. During the incident, the raised concerns about information-sharing on the platform. However, the SEC has since made an effort to ease its rules and regulations on social media sharing.

The SEC maintains that companies can use social media as a legitimate outlet for communication. The companies need only clarify which social media sites will be used as official information outlets.

Source: NYTimes

Twitter hosts mobile-centered platform event

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TwitterTwitter has released an open invite form to a press event it’s holding on April 2, 2012 on its dedicated developer website. According to the micro-blogging site, the mobile-focused event will occur at Twitter HQ between 6:30PM and 9:30PM Pacific. Twitter also says that it will share some upcoming features during the event.

In its blog post, Twitter says that intends to address how developers can integrate the site into their mobile experience.

Lately, the website has been streamlining changes to its API and how it works with third-party developers. It also introduced its advertising API, which lets brands run ad campaigns through its partners.

Source: TechCrunch

Twitter improves its self-service ad platform

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TwitterTwitter is strengthening its ad platform by giving smaller businesses more targeting and analytical tools to help them reach their customers.

Advertisers now have more options for targeting people on the micro-blogging site. They also have access to advanced reports and analysis data. Currently, these options are only available for United States-based businesses. It will expand internationally before the end of the year.

While Twitter’s self-service ad platform has been available since last March, its recent expansion vastly improves its performance. And the changes are based on recurring feedback from marketers which use them.

“Two requests kept coming up: marketers wanted access to more robust targeting tools, as well as a pathway to all the bells and whistles of our advanced interface if they desired it,” said Ravi Narasimhan, revenue product manager of Twitter, in a blog post.

Additionally, marketers can target and select more than 350 interest categories. Plus, they can display their Promoted Tweets on selected devices and platforms. Also, brands have the option to set ad targets by gender.

Source: PCWorld

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