This column first appeared in the September 29, 2019 edition of The Vindicator:
Promoters of a plan to raid Area 51 in Nevada must be scratching their heads today.
Their plan was to get millions of people to show up at the military base, storm the gates, and uncover the truth about hidden alien technology.
More than 2 million people checked the “going” box on the “Raid Area 51” social media event page.
Imagine that number: more than 2 million people. According to a 2017 U.S. Defense Department report, that’s roughly the same size as our active and reserve military forces.
On the day of the scheduled Area 51 raid, however, only a few dozen people actually showed up at the gate.
So, what went wrong? What happened to the other millions of people who said they’d show up? Could it be they were abducted by — wait for it — oh, never mind.
The “truth” is, like most things we try to plan and promote on social media, it’s easy to slap some information and a picture or video on an event page. It’s not as easy to get people to actually show up for the event, even if they tell us they’re “going...”
Read the rest of this column in The Vindicator at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2019/09/facebook-events-dont-mean-much/
This column first appeared in the September 22, 2019 edition of The Vindicator:
We like when people “like” our posts on social media. For others, however, the “likes” their posts receive, or more specifically don’t receive, could lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Apparently, Facebook wants to help alleviate those feelings.
In what appears to be a response to studies linking social media use with mental health issues, Facebook is testing a small but significant platform change that would hide like counts from some users.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “like counts,” it simply refers to the number next to the thumbs-up, heart and other reaction icons that appear under Facebook posts. Click on the like count of a public post and you’ll find a breakdown of the six reaction types: like, love, haha, wow, sad and angry. The more our friends “like” something — that is, the more they react to our content with one of those icons — the more our like counts increase.
Jane Manchun Wong, a software engineer who researches yet-to-be-released features on major social media platforms, uncovered evidence of Facebook’s test this summer...
Read the rest of this column in The Vindicator at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2019/09/facebook-post-like-counts-could-vanish/
This column first appeared in the September 15, 2019 edition of The Tribune-Chronicle:
I had a good side hustle for the last few months.
What’s a “side hustle” you ask?
My hustle was mentoring writers online. I received papers, suggested edits, and sent them back for students to revise and submit for a grade. It was easy work for not a lot of pay, but it helped enhance our summer vacation savings.
Think of it as extra work, but not a part-time job.
As a teenager, my side hustles were mowing lawns and shoveling sidewalk snow around the neighborhood, but my part-time job was flipping burgers at the local Burger King. The part-time job is better understood as employment that requires clocking normal hours with hourly pay and some benefits.
If you have a full-time job, the side hustle is merely supplemental income. Maybe you’re trying to make ends meet. Maybe you’re saving for a new TV. Maybe it’s for your subscription to a favorite local newspaper (wink, wink). Maybe you just like the extra work...
Read the rest of this column in The Tribune-Chronicle at https://www.tribtoday.com/life/lifecovers/2019/09/best-apps-to-use-for-your-side-hustle-or-gigs/
This column first appeared in the September 8, 2019 edition of The Vindicator:
The new school year brings opportunities for our kids to make new friends and reconnect with besties after a long summer break.
With daughters in middle and high school, I get to watch them deftly navigate these relationships with the help of technology. They’re kind to their friends, and they communicate responsibly with their buddies on social media and in texts (even if they never return mine).
In some ways, I feel like I’ve taught them well. They’re a little awkward and shy, but they’re fiercely loyal to their friends. They’re also fairly responsible with tech.
Now is not the time to be complacent. Even if the house is empty for the first time in months, this is no time to sit back and relax.
It’s the best time to be on guard...
Read the rest of this column in The Vindicator at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2019/09/check-your-kids-protecht-list/
This column first appeared in the September 1, 2019 edition of The Vindicator:
Something strange happened on Facebook. Don’t worry if you missed it. After all, strange things happen on Facebook all the time.
In my time monitoring Facebook, I’ve seen the breadth and depth of strangeness. You can participate in debates as to why Alaska is not one of the 50 states, or why Puerto Rico should be. You can watch fast-paced how-to videos for packing clothes into small suitcases or making elaborate vegetable sculptures. I’ve learned you can buy one dress shoe in Facebook’s Marketplace, a men’s size 10-and-a-half for your left foot. Of course, this is probably not strange for all the folks who do not need two same-sized shoes.
Part of the appeal of Facebook is that all this strangeness is perfectly curated and available whenever I want it...
Read the rest of this column in The Vindicator at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2019/08/facebook-makes-strange-change-to-home-slogan/
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.