Type the words “Life Hacks” into your favorite app store search field and you’ll find dozens of apps.
I know this because I’ve downloaded and tested at least two dozen, and about a dozen or so are still on my smart phone.
Some life hack apps look familiar while others have a specific focus.
For example, there are life hack apps available for arts and crafts, foodies, money and investing, health, romance – even pool noodles.
Yes, pool noodles.
According to Wikipedia, a life hack is any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency for the things we do every day.
With so many app store options, one company recently made the decision to change their app name in hopes of standing out in the ever-expanding life hack apps crowd.
It just so happens that life hack app is one of my all-time favorites: Crumblyy.
“There are multiple apps on the Google Play Store with the same name,” said Rahul Maurya, managing partner at TNine Infotech, the company behind Crumblyy. “We’ve been constantly enriching our application with more meaningful curated content and features which are mostly unique.”
“The name change was the need of the hour, to create a brand name of our own which could distinguish us from other similar apps in the life hacks category,” Maurya added.
The name Crumblyy comes from the app’s style of presenting content in short, crisp formats.
Think of their life hacks as small breadcrumbs of information, smart tips and tricks for tackling life’s everyday problems.
Crumblyy offers various categories for hacking life including technology, health and fitness, food and drinks, parenting, money savers, relationships, party hacks, survival, brainy (i.e., beating some of life’s tougher problems), and one of my favorites – daily life solutions – a kind of catch-all category.
For example, in the daily life solutions category, I found this hack:
Nothing kills weeds and keeps them dead longer like white vinegar straight from the bottle.
“With the release of this newer version, we introduced a notification feature and new hacks,” Maurya added.
Personal note: I like the notifications, but some users may not. Follow your device instructions for filtering or blocking unwanted notifications.
The user interface is sleek and simple to use, and boasts a small download size (4.6MB).
Crumblyy has more than 500,000 downloads and a 4.6 star Play Store rating (out of 5 stars).
According to Maurya, a major upgrade to the current version of Crumblyy is in a testing phase.
“We’ll add many new and exciting features into the app like up-voting a hack, reporting a hack, submitting a hack by a user, picture hacks, trending hacks, and many more,” Maurya added.
“Our goal is to make Crumblyy a leader in the short content market in the next year.”
I love my mom, but sometimes her Facebook posts are a little embarrassing.
This is completely her right: to post stuff to Facebook that I find cringe-worthy.
I suspect it’s a right parents have enjoyed for centuries – to say things that will embarrass their kids.
We’re bound to read social media posts from friends and family we find off-putting or embarrassing. We’ve become accustomed to it.
But when those embarrassing posts are about us, and they threaten our reputation, the gloves sometimes come off and things can get messy.
It still begs the question: what should we do about embarrassing posts, especially when they’re about us. Ignore them? Or should we publicly condemn those who made the uncomfortable posts?
In a recent Computers in Human Behavior article, researchers Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch (University of Connecticut), Jeremy Birnholtz (Northwestern University), and Jeffrey Hancock (Stanford University) explored the embarrassment we feel when others post about us on social media.
Birnholtz and Hancock were working on something called ‘butler lies,’ or small polite lies we tell. Like white lies, a butler lie is saying, “I missed your call,” when you just didn’t want to talk.
“Jeff [Hancock] and Jeremy [Birnholtz] did a survey about how people dealt with being embarrassed by others on social media,” Oeldorf-Hirsch said. “Our study was an extension of that survey, to test the effects of various types of embarrassing posts.”
Oeldorf-Hirsch, Birnholtz and Hancock were surprised by the strong physiological reactions people had when an embarrassing act wasn’t actually happening in-person, and the fact that on social media, the audience wasn’t physically present.
In some cases, the person who was feeling embarrassed didn’t even know the audience.
The types of posts their research team used were face-threatening posts. These posts triggered strong feelings of embarrassment, regardless of the content or the type of reputation threat.
“Other-generated, face-threatening posts are posts users make in which they disclose information about other users that contradict what those other users might have disclosed about themselves,” Oeldorf-Hirsch said.
“We certainly found a strong effect overall, but in terms of specific content effects, we may just not have captured the right types of content to find differences.”
The next step might be categorizing what type of content is really embarrassing and what’s not.
Still, when you are embarrassed, you can ignore it or you can do something about it.
“We found that deleting the offending post is the quickest and easiest option,” Oeldorf-Hirsch said.
“We also recommend discussing your feelings about the post with the person who posted it. But do it offline, away from Facebook.”
A growing number of Americans are relying on social media to get their news.
In a recent survey from Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of Americans are reading news on social media, and about 20 percent report going on social media “often” to get news.
These numbers reflect a small increase in people turning to social media since early 2016, during the height of the presidential primaries.
“This growth is driven by more substantial increases among Americans who are older, less educated, and nonwhite,” said Pew report authors, Elisa Shearer and Jeffrey Gottfried.
What’s remarkable is that for the first time in Pew’s research, more than half (55 percent) of Americans age 50 or older reported getting their news on social media. According to the report, that’s “10 percentage points higher than the 45 percent who said so in 2016.”
Social media users under 50 were more likely than older Americans to get their news online. That number hovered around 78 percent, unchanged from 2016.
The report showed marked improvement for social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat.
“We first look at the share of each site’s users who get news there,” said Shearer and Gottfried. “Overall ... Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat had an increase.”
In 2013, at least half of Twitter users reported getting news on the microblogging platform. In 2017, with a president who frequently makes announcements on the platform, about three-quarters (74 percent) now report going to Twitter to get news. That’s up 15 percentage points from last year.
YouTube results suggested that about a third of users get news on the video-sharing platform, up from 21 percent in 2016.
News use on Snapchat increased 12 points to 29 percent in August 2017, up from 17 percent in early 2016. This is likely due to an increase in the number of news outlets with enhanced access and features available on Snapchat.
“Growth on these three sites follows investments [media] companies have made over the last year in developing their news usability,” said Shearer and Gottfried.
“Twitter, in addition to getting nearly daily attention from the president’s posts, spent the year promoting the platform’s potential for news publishers and has announced launches for multiple news streaming partnerships.”
Pew researchers noted YouTube’s expanded YouTube TV. The site added a “breaking news” summary on its landing page, and it continues to be used by other groups for sharing information with small, dispersed audiences.
“Snapchat won over a number of big news names this year for its group of Discover publishers,” said Shearer and Gottfried.
Of the remaining sites Pew asked about in its survey, social media users on Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, LinkedIn and Tumblr were just as likely to get news from those platforms as they were in 2016.
Over the past six years, I’ve advised about 300 interns.
Aside from the work they complete at the internship location, students reflect on their experiences in a daily journal and check-in with me once a week to provide an update.
We often discuss workplace concerns.
“My boss ignores me every day,” a student wrote in an email. “When he does talk to me, he’s always looking at his phone instead of at my face. He’s always on his phone.”
She went on to explain that he ignores other interns, too.
“When he’s not around, he texts us instead of calling,” she added. “I think he just doesn’t know what to do with us. I think he doesn’t trust us.”
Her supervisor was phubbing, a portmanteau of the words “phone” and “snubbing.”
According to Meredith David, marketing professor at Baylor University, phubbing refers to the act of snubbing someone you’re spending time with by looking at or being distracted by your cellphone.
Boss phubbing, or Bphubbing, a term coined by David and her colleagues, occurs when a supervisor interrupts face-to-face time with an employee by using or being distracted by a smartphone.
“I started studying the impact of phubbing on individuals and relationships in both personal and workplace settings,” David said. “My research reveals how a behavior as simple as using a cellphone in the presence of others can ultimately undermine individuals’ personal and workplace relationships.”
In the October issue of Computers in Human Behavior, David and her colleagues shared the impact of BPhubbing on employees.
“BPhubbing has a negative impact on employees’ trust in their supervisor, but the negative effects of BPhubbing don’t end there,” David said. “Our results show that, by harming trust in their supervisor, BPhubbing also negatively affects employee engagement.”
Specifically, BPhubbing reduces employee trust in supervisors, which in turn has a negative impact on employee engagement in two ways.
“First, employees who experience BPhubbing, and have lower levels of trust for their supervisor, are less likely to feel like their work is valuable or beneficial to their own professional growth,” David explained.
In turn, employees are less engaged or committed to their work.
“Second, employees who work under the supervision of an untrusted, phubbing supervisor tend to have lower confidence in their own ability to carry out their job,” David said.
Again, this negatively impacts engagement.
Of course, as David notes, most of us have been guilty at some point of looking at our phones rather than paying attention to someone.
“Put away your cellphone in favor of meaningful, distraction-free interactions with your supervisor and coworkers,” he said. “The benefits far outweigh that text message, unread email, or social media post.”
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.