A recent study showed that social networks like Twitter and Facebook are potentially more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol, and now we may have an idea why. A group of scientists from MIT in Massachusetts, IULM University in Milan and two other laboratories in Italy found that people showed physical and psychophysiological responses while using Facebook similar to those exhibited by people while playing a musical instrument or engaging in other creative activities. Beyond wanting to use Facebook for obvious reasons such as keeping up with friends and sharing photos, people may actually be seeking out the chemical responses they experience while browsing social networks. Read on for more. More →
A new study suggests that social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter are more difficult to resist than cigarettes or alcohol. A team from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business recently conducted an experiment involving 205 people in Wurtzburg, Germany to analyze the addictive properties of social media and other vices. Participants in the week-long study were polled via BlackBerry smartphones seven times per day and asked to report when they experienced a desire within the past 30 minutes, and whether or not the succumbed to that desire. They were also asked to gauge each desire on a scale from mild to “irresistible.” More →
Erik Qualman from Socialnomics recently published a new video that shows the power of social networks today. The most stunning fact, to us, is that social media has surpassed porn as the top activity on the web. The video, which lists a number of compelling facts, also said that — in the United States — Facebook gets more weekly web traffic than Google. Similarly, 20% of all divorces are now being blamed on Facebook. Have you ever thought about taking a class online? This stat may pique your interest: a recent study revealed students who take classes online have out performed those that enroll in face-to-face instruction. Hit the jump for the video for plenty more on socialnomics. More →
There are countless methods research firms use in an attempt to amass useful data for their analyses, and perhaps one of the most underutilized sources of sentiment at this point in time is social chatter. Several progressive firms have emerged recently, however, and they see the value in scouring the social web for freely-available data, and that data can be extremely valuable to researchers and businesses alike. Case in point: using online social mentions and opinion between April 1st and June 21st as a gauge, social media listening firm Mashwork has determined that the Samsung Galaxy S II is the more highly anticipated upcoming Android superphone compared to the Motorola DROID BIONIC. Data from 14,838 users across Facebook, Twitter and other social networking services shows that 68% of prospective buyers are interested in purchasing the Galaxy S II while 32% are interested in the DROID BIONIC. More specifically, 39% of of the unsolicited opinions gathered stated that they will purchase the Galaxy S II and 29% expressed interest in buying the phone. Meanwhile, 19% said they would be purchasing the DROID BIONIC and 13% simply expressed interest. In terms of trends, interest in the Galaxy S II is on the rise leading up to the smartphone’s launch while interest in the DROID BIONIC has decreased over the past two months. Mashwork’s infographic detailing social opinions on the two phones follows below. More →
BGR recently had a chance to catch up with actor, comedian, musician, producer, host, tech-lover, and now father, Nick Cannon, to see how tech has impacted his life and career. Nick is one of the most prominent Sidekick users around, so we wanted to find out if T-Mobile’s first Android-powered Sidekick managed to keep him reeled in. We also wanted to see how the advent of social media has impacted his life and career — Nick has over 2.5 million Twitter followers, and we’re sure many of you will recall his huge social campaign attempting to battle Eminem in a boxing ring for charity — and even what apps and games Nick and Mariah are planning to use with their new twins. Hit the jump for our interview.
BGR Interview is a series of interviews and conversations with executives, influencers, tastemakers and innovators, covering the mobile and consumer electronics industries. More →
We’ve just been given word that AT&T will be launching the LG Encore in four days on September 5th. The Encore is a full touchscreen feature-phone that packs a 3-inch display, dual band HSDPA/UMTS, quad band GSM, 3 megapixel camera with video recording, micro-SD card slot, and aGPS. The device will run AT&T’s Social Net, Adress Book, and Navigator programs and will have up to three hours of talk time. Hit the jump to check out the full AT&T memo. More →
Lost in the hubbub surrounding smartphone powerhouses like the DROID X and iPhone 4 is the fact that the average person simply wants a phone that makes calls. To satiate this need, and throw in a few extra feature for good measure, T-Mobile today announced the immediate availability of the LG Sentio. An affordable device that brings to the table a 3″ touchscreen, 3 megapixel camera, visual voicemail and 3G connectivity. A UI with a set of customizable widgets as well as Social Buzz, an application that will not only handle your social media needs, but email as well. The LG Sentio from T-Mobile is available for $69.99 with an Even More plan, or $9 per month with Even More Plus. More →
Yesterday, social networking site foursquare announced that it had successfully secured an additional $20 million in series B venture capital funding from: Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Foursquare, explains exactly what the VC will be used for:
With this new round of financing, our main priority will be to expand our organization to supplement the amazing core team we’ve assembled already. […] We’re hoping to build a world-class engineering organization, based primarily in our headquarters in the New York City to help us develop the next generation of mobile + social + local products that will excite our users and provide unique value for local merchants.
Currently, foursquare has over 2 million users who voluntarily “check-in” to restaurants, bars, shops, and other locations via their mobile device, earning badges and titles along the way. How many of you out there 4sq? More →
Another day, another scandal involving social media websites. Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook — along with MySpace, LiveJournal, Hi5, Xanga, Digg and Twitter — have been sending personal information about their users to advertisers without consent. Depending on how much information users opted to make public on their profile, advertising firms such as Google’s DoubleClick and Yahoo’s Right Media were able to obtain information as innocuous as the user’s ID to their hometown and occupation, all without the expressed consent of the account holder. Not surprisingly given what we’ve learned over the past few weeks, the WSJ said the worst offender is Facebook. Not only did it pass on information about the people that clicked on ads, but it also sent out information about the person whose profile the ad originated from. The WSJ had an assistant professor from the Harvard Business school evaluate code found on Facebook’s site and ultimately concluded that “if you are looking at your profile page and you click on an ad, you are telling that advertiser who you are.” Facebook was contacted about the matter, but claimed “we were recently made aware of one case where if a user takes a specific route on the site, advertisers may see that they clicked on their own profile and then clicked on an ad,” adding that “we fixed this case as soon as we heard about it.” For its role, MySpace said it is “currently implementing a methodology that will obfuscate the ‘FriendID’ in any URL that is passed along to advertisers.” Twitter simply stated that “this is just how the Internet and browsers work” when users click a link, and Digg denied any wrongdoing claiming it only passes on “information about the page that you are visiting, not you as a visitor” and that the initiating user’s ID is concealed. Both Google and Yahoo said they did not actively seek specific information about user IDs.
What do you think, folks? Does this confirm your worst fears about the ethics of the people running your favorite social media site, or is everything being blown way out of proportion? More →
The timing could not be better worse. In the middle of a privacy crisis which has seen countless users delete their accounts, a script for an upcoming movie based on the youthful exploits of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has leaked out. Produced by Kevin Spacey, “The Social Network” portrays Zuckerberg (played by 26-year old Jesse Eisenberg) as a drunk satyriatic whose creation of the popular social networking site was spurred on by heartbreak after his girlfriend dumped him at the age of 19. The film also alleges that Zuckerberg was heavily motived by sexual insecurity. After hitting rock bottom and dropping out of Harvard, the film sees Zuckerberg move to the Silicon Valley with where he “indulge his fantasies with a stream of ‘groupies'” while his partner and Napster co-founder Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) watches after the site. The Social Network is scheduled for release this October. More →
Even with thousands of curious people picking away at the file system, it’s always amazing how some things slip through the cracks for a relatively long period of time. Gunning For Safety was snooping around in iPhone OS 4.0’s file system and found multiple references to social media integration for the Contacts app. More specifically what as found was a .plist file for Facebook contacts. It would allow users to add their friends Facebook profile to their contact card just as they would their email address or AIM handle. What’s particularly special about the way Facebook integration is that they’re a “separate type of contact” meaning it’s entirely possible OS 4.0 will offer much more than a simple method for keeping details about one’s friends neatly organized. The Calendar app is also said to be able to interact with Facebook much in the same way. It’s too early to tell if these features will survive — for all we know all of these references could be dropped come the next beta and not resurface for a long time — but we’re really hoping their expanded upon and support is broadened out to things like Twitter and LinkedIn.
According to The New York Times, Twitter will today announce its first serious attempt at a revenue earning model. Through an advertising program known as Promoted Tweets, companies will be able to purchase the rights to keywords and have their ads strategically placed into related user search results. Not without transparency, Promoted Tweets will labelled as such. According to Twitter, the key benefit of the program is companies will be able to spread their message without fear of it being overlooked. How much companies will pay to participate in the program is unclear, but at the moment Twitter will be charging per 1,000 unique views (CPM) until it has a clear understanding of how the public will react. Users of third-party applications are safe from Promoted Tweets for the time being, but Twitter is presently working on a method to track the number of ad views in applications so it can create a revenue sharing deal with developers. So far Best Buy, Bravo, Starbucks and Virgin America have signed up for the program, but more are sure to come along. In the future, the program will be expanded into one’s timeline. More →
One of our trusty Verizon Wireless sources has let us know that Verizon will be launching the Samsung Reality on April 22nd. It’s definitely not a smartphone, but the Reality will pack enough punch to get most people happily through the day with 3″ touchscreen, horizontal QWERTY slider, 3.2 megapixel camera, VZ Navigator, V CAST, visual voicemail, 3.5mm headphone jack and one-touch access to your favorite social networking sites. We’ve yet to establish what the Reality will go for, but we can’t imagine it setting you back more than a Benjamin. Just make sure you budget north of $9.99 per month for a data plan, okay?