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Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

The Boston Police Department (BPD) has long embraced both community policing and the use of social media. The department put its experience to good and highly visible use in April 2013 during the dramatic, rapidly developing investigation that followed the deadly explosion of two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. BPD successfully used Twitter to keep the public informed about the status of the investigation, to calm nerves and request assistance, to correct mistaken information reported by the press, and to ask for public restraint in the tweeting of information from police scanners. This demonstrated the level of trust and interaction that a department and a community can attain online. In the aftermath of the investigation, BPD was “applauded for leading an honest conversation with the public during a time of crisis in a way that no police department has done before.”

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Networking for Philanthropy: Increasing Volunteer Behavior via Social Networking Sites

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Networking for Philanthropy: Increasing Volunteer Behavior via Social Networking Sites
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Social networking sites (SNSs) provide a unique social venue to engage the young generation in philanthropy through their networking capabilities. An integrated model that incorporates social capital into the Theory of Reasoned Action is developed to explain volunteer behavior through social networks. As expected, volunteer behavior was predicted by volunteer intention, which was influenced by attitudes and subjective norms. In addition, social capital, an outcome of the extensive use of SNSs, was as an important driver of users’ attitude and subjective norms toward volunteering via SNSs.

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites

April 10, 2014 Comments off

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Although social networking sites (SNS) have become increasingly prevalent and integrated into the lives of users, the role of SNS in courtship is relatively unknown. The present manuscript reports on the characteristics of Americans married between 2005 and 2012 who met through SNS drawn from a weighted national sample (N=18,527). Compared to other online meetings (i.e., dating sites, online communities, one-on-one communication), individuals who met through SNS were younger, married more recently, and were more likely to be African American. Compared with offline meetings, individuals who met through SNS were more likely to be younger, male, African American and Hispanic, married more recently, and frequent Internet users with higher incomes. Trends suggest an increasing proportion of individuals are meeting using SNS, necessitating further research on factors that influence romantic relational development through SNS.

Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants’ Social Media Postings

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants’ Social Media Postings
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Job applicants and incumbents often use social media for personal communications allowing for direct observation of their social communications “unfiltered” for employer consumption. As such, these data offer a glimpse of employees in settings free from the impression management pressures present during evaluations conducted for applicant screening and research purposes. This study investigated whether job applicants’ (N=175) personality characteristics are reflected in the content of their social media postings. Participant self-reported social media content related to (a) photos and text-based references to alcohol and drug use and (b) criticisms of superiors and peers (so-called “badmouthing” behavior) were compared to traditional personality assessments. Results indicated that extraverted candidates were prone to postings related to alcohol and drugs. Those low in agreeableness were particularly likely to engage in online badmouthing behaviors. Evidence concerning the relationships between conscientiousness and the outcomes of interest was mixed.

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce

April 8, 2014 Comments off

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

The purpose of this study was to examine how social networking site (SNS) use, specifically Twitter use, influences negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. This study specifically examined the mediational effect of Twitter-related conflict on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes, and how this mechanism may be contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. A total of 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years (Mage=29, SDage=8.9) completed an online survey questionnaire. Moderation–mediation regression analyses using bootstrapping methods indicated that Twitter-related conflict mediated the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The length of the romantic relationship, however, did not moderate the indirect effect on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The results from this study suggest that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, breakup, and divorce. This indirect effect is not contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. The current study adds to the growing body of literature investigating SNS use and romantic relationship outcomes.

Cyberculture and Personnel Security

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Cyberculture and Personnel Security
Source: Defense Personnel Security Research Center
Report I — Orientation, Concerns, and Needs (PDF)

Computers and related technologies, such as smart phones and video games, are now a common part of everyday life. Many people spend a large portion of their waking hours using and socializing through these devices, forming what is known as a cyberculture. Personnel security investigative and adjudicative standards were developed before these products were widely available; however, cyberculture bears relevance to personnel security due both to the presence of existing security issues and potential effects on psychological outcomes and workplace performance. Although cyberculture has many beneficial effects, this project evaluates how participation can negatively affect personnel security and employee performance. This initial report provides context, outlines presently actionable findings and strategies, highlights some questions that cannot yet be answered, and draws on outside research to guide future research. Information from many sources was examined, including academic research journals, other federal organizations, news reports, and cyber environments, to understand cyber activities relevant to personnel security. Participation is widespread in U.S. society and popular among all age groups. Some cyber activities, such as foreign associations, can be reportable per existing investigative criteria, so procedures should be updated appropriately and promptly. Other topics require research before action is recommended. One concern is how online disinhibition, where people who become more willing to disclose personal information, deceive, or become hostile, affects personnel security. Increased willingness to disclose may amplify the counterintelligence concerns for individuals targeted by hostile parties. There are also many potential negative effects on impulse control, mental health, physical health, and workplace behavior. Future research is intended to further guide policy, workforce awareness, investigations, and adjudications.

Report II – Ethnographic Analysis of Second Life (PDF)

This report presents the results from an ethnographic examination of a popular virtual social environment, Second Life, as the second part of a larger effort to study the impact of participation in cyber activities on personnel security and safety. Research has shown that cyber participation can spill over into individuals’ offline lives, which could be of security concern to the extent that their online behavior demonstrates poor judgment and/or undermines their reliability. Several immersive ethnographic methods were used in the present study, including participation observation, group discussions, and one-on-one interviews with 148 Second Life users who resembled the demographics of clearance holders. The reported findings include a description of behaviors of potential concern, a set of case studies that outline the behaviors of actual users, and a framework of user personas that attempts to distinguish between innocuous use of no apparent security concern from problematic use that may pose risks to national security. These findings contain implications for updating personnel security policy regarding cyber involvement.

Social Media — Can Cascades be Predicted?

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Can Cascades be Predicted?
Source: arXiv.org

On many social networking web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, resharing or reposting functionality allows users to share others’ content with their own friends or followers. As content is reshared from user to user, large cascades of reshares can form. While a growing body of research has focused on analyzing and characterizing such cascades, a recent, parallel line of work has argued that the future trajectory of a cascade may be inherently unpredictable. In this work, we develop a framework for addressing cascade prediction problems. On a large sample of photo reshare cascades on Facebook, we find strong performance in predicting whether a cascade will continue to grow in the future. We find that the relative growth of a cascade becomes more predictable as we observe more of its reshares, that temporal and structural features are key predictors of cascade size, and that initially, breadth, rather than depth in a cascade is a better indicator of larger cascades. This prediction performance is robust in the sense that multiple distinct classes of features all achieve similar performance. We also discover that temporal features are predictive of a cascade’s eventual shape. Observing independent cascades of the same content, we find that while these cascades differ greatly in size, we are still able to predict which ends up the largest.

Wisdom of Crowds: The Value of Stock Opinions Transmitted Through Social Media

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Wisdom of Crowds: The Value of Stock Opinions Transmitted Through Social Media
Source: Social Science Research Network

Social media has become a popular venue for individuals to share the results of their own analysis on financial securities. This paper investigates the extent to which investor opinions transmitted through social media predict future stock returns and earnings surprises. We conduct textual analysis of articles published on one of the most popular social-media platforms for investors in the United States. We also consider the readers’ perspective as inferred via commentaries written in response to these articles. We find that the views expressed in both articles and commentaries predict future stock returns and earnings surprises.

Predicting Crime Using Twitter and Kernel Density Estimation

March 28, 2014 Comments off

Predicting Crime Using Twitter and Kernel Density Estimation (PDF)
Source: Decision Support Systems

Twitter is used extensively in the United States as well as globally, creating many opportunities to augment decision support systems with Twitter-driven predictive analytics. Twitter is an ideal data source for decision support: its users, who number in the millions, publicly discuss events, emotions, and innumerable other topics; its content is authored and distributed in real time at no charge; and individual messages (also known as tweets) are often tagged with precise spatial and temporal coordinates. This article presents research investigating the use of spatiotemporally tagged tweets for crime prediction. We use Twitter-specific linguistic analysis and statistical topic modeling to automatically identify discussion topics across a major city in the United States. We then incorporate these topics into a crime prediction model and show that, for 19 of the 25 crime types we studied, the addition of Twitter data improves crime prediction performance versus a standard approach based on kernel density estimation. We identify a number of performance bottlenecks that could impact the use of Twitter in an actual decision support system. We also point out important areas of future work for this research, including deeper semantic analysis of message content, temporal modeling, and incorporation of auxiliary data sources. This research has implications specifically for criminal justice decision makers in charge of resource allocation for crime prevention. More generally, this research has implications for decision makers concerned with geographic spaces occupied by Twitter-using individuals.

Home Location Identification of Twitter Users

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Home Location Identification of Twitter Users
Source: arXiv.org

We present a new algorithm for inferring the home location of Twitter users at different granularities, including city, state, time zone or geographic region, using the content of users tweets and their tweeting behavior. Unlike existing approaches, our algorithm uses an ensemble of statistical and heuristic classifiers to predict locations and makes use of a geographic gazetteer dictionary to identify place-name entities. We find that a hierarchical classification approach, where time zone, state or geographic region is predicted first and city is predicted next, can improve prediction accuracy. We have also analyzed movement variations of Twitter users, built a classifier to predict whether a user was travelling in a certain period of time and use that to further improve the location detection accuracy. Experimental evidence suggests that our algorithm works well in practice and outperforms the best existing algorithms for predicting the home location of Twitter users.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

Use of Social Media Networks and Mobile Phone Applications for Reporting Suspicious and Criminal Activities on Mass Transit

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Use of Social Media Networks and Mobile Phone Applications for Reporting Suspicious and Criminal Activities on Mass Transit
Source: Naval Postgraduate School

From the thesis abstract: “The threat of terrorism remains in the forefront daily, and public transportation systems remain a preferred target for terrorist attacks. Mass transit customers have long served as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the public transportation environment. In support of the Department of Homeland Security’s See It Say It campaign, mass transit customers contribute to this effort by reporting suspicious and criminal activities on subways and buses. The use of social media networks and mobile phone applications by mass transit law enforcement is slowly evolving as a tool for reporting suspicious and criminal activities on subways and buses. By reviewing the data and current use of social media networks and smartphone applications such as by mass transit law enforcement agencies, this thesis demonstrates that citizens want to play a role in assisting law enforcement in solving crimes. Mass transit law enforcement agencies can leverage community involvement and reduce crime by providing customers with an anonymous means for reporting suspicious and criminal activities. However, whether the use of social media networks and smartphone applications have resulted in an increase in reporting suspicious and criminal activities and a reduction in crime is unresolved, warranting future study in this area.”

Social Media Is Part of Today’s Workplace but its Use May Raise Employment Discrimination Concerns

March 18, 2014 Comments off

Social Media Is Part of Today’s Workplace but its Use May Raise Employment Discrimination Concerns
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The use of social media has become pervasive in today’s workplace and, as a result, is having an impact on the enforcement of federal laws, a panel of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting held today at EEOC Headquarters in Washington. The meeting was convened to gather information about the growing use of social media and how it impacts the laws the EEOC enforces.

The use of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can provide a valuable tool for identifying good candidates by searching for specific qualifications, panelists told the Commission. But the improper use of information obtained from such sites may be discriminatory since most individuals’ race, gender, general age and possibly ethnicity can be discerned from information on these sites.

Silent Listeners: The Evolution of Privacy and Disclosure on Facebook

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Silent Listeners: The Evolution of Privacy and Disclosure on Facebook
Source: Carnegie Mellon University

Over the past decade, social network sites have experienced dramatic growth in popularity, reaching most demographics and providing new opportunities for interaction and socialization. Through this growth, users have been challenged to manage novel privacy concerns and balance nuanced trade-offs between disclosing and withholding personal information. To date, however, no study has documented how privacy and disclosure evolved on social network sites over an extended period of time. In this manuscript we use profile data from a longitudinal panel of 5,076 Facebook users to understand how their privacy and disclosure behavior changed between 2005—the early days of the network—and 2011. Our analysis highlights three contrasting trends. First, over time Facebook users in our dataset exhibited increasingly privacy-seeking behavior, progressively decreasing the amount of personal data shared publicly with unconnected profiles in the same network. However, and second, changes implemented by Facebook near the end of the period of time under our observation arrested or in some cases inverted that trend. Third, the amount and scope of personal information that Facebook users revealed privately to other connected profiles actually increased over time—and because of that, so did disclosures to “silent listeners” on the network: Facebook itself, third-party apps, and (indirectly) advertisers. These findings highlight the tension between privacy choices as expressions of individual subjective preferences, and the role of the environment in shaping those choices.

Community Attitudes Toward Cyberbullying: The Victim’s Age & Sex Matter

March 14, 2014 Comments off

Community Attitudes Toward Cyberbullying: The Victim’s Age & Sex Matter (PDF)
Source: University of Alabama (Thesis – McBride)

The current study was the first to examine community attitudes of cyberbullying through vignettes, or hypothetical cyberbullying scenarios . This study had four specific aims: (1) to examine whether community attitudes of cyberbullying are biased depending on the victims ’ sex and age, (2 ) to examine whether community attitudes of cyberbullying differ depending on the type of cyberbullying incident (e.g., YouTube © video , Facebook © post ) , (3) to examine whether individuals cognitive dispositions effect their attitudes toward cyberbullying, (4) to examine whether individuals type and frequency of media exposure effects their attitudes toward cyberbullying , (5) to determine whether respondent’s thought the cyberbully’s First Amendment rights were being violated or not , (6) to examine if the demographics (e.g., sex or being a parent) of the respondent effect their sensitivity levels in each vignette .

This study was conducted online using an Internet – based survey, which target ed respondents over the age of 19 located in the United States. Respondents were selected using online social media sites, chat rooms, and discussion forums. A 3 x 4 mixed – subjects design with 12 conditions was used , meaning that the survey included a series of three randomized vignettes and questions regarding community attitudes of the hypothetical scenarios provided.

Results suggested that females are in general more sensitive to cyberbullying victims than males. Second, respondents were more sensitive to younger victims of cyberbullying. Third, males were more likely to believe the cyberbully’s First Amendment rights had been violated when compared to females. Fourth, parents are overall more sensitive to victims of cyberbullying. Fifth , individuals who have low social values are less sensitive to victims of cyberbullying. Lastly, no relationship was found between media exposure and sensitivity levels. Overall, this study revealed numerous statistically significant findings, but with this type of research there are always limitations, which will be discussed.

Face to Face Versus Facebook: Does Exposure to Social Networking Web Sites Augment or Attenuate Physiological Arousal Among the Socially Anxious?

March 5, 2014 Comments off

Face to Face Versus Facebook: Does Exposure to Social Networking Web Sites Augment or Attenuate Physiological Arousal Among the Socially Anxious?
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networkin

The present study tested two competing hypotheses about the effect of Facebook exposure on the physiological arousal level of participants who then encountered the stimulus person in a face-to-face situation. Facebook exposure may attenuate later arousal by providing increased comfort and confidence, but it is also possible that Facebook exposure will augment arousal, particularly among the socially anxious. Participants completed a measure of social anxiety and were exposed to a stimulus person via Facebook, face to face, or both. Galvanic skin response was recorded during the exposures to the stimulus person. Results were consistent with the augmentation hypothesis: a prior exposure on Facebook will lead to increased arousal during a face-to-face encounter, particularly for those high in social anxiety.

Social Media: A Review and Tutorial of Applications in Medicine and Health Care

February 27, 2014 Comments off

Social Media: A Review and Tutorial of Applications in Medicine and Health Care
Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Background:
Social media are dynamic and interactive computer-mediated communication tools that have high penetration rates in the general population in high-income and middle-income countries. However, in medicine and health care, a large number of stakeholders (eg, clinicians, administrators, professional colleges, academic institutions, ministries of health, among others) are unaware of social media’s relevance, potential applications in their day-to-day activities, as well as the inherent risks and how these may be attenuated and mitigated.

Objective:
We conducted a narrative review with the aim to present case studies that illustrate how, where, and why social media are being used in the medical and health care sectors.

Methods:
Using a critical-interpretivist framework, we used qualitative methods to synthesize the impact and illustrate, explain, and provide contextual knowledge of the applications and potential implementations of social media in medicine and health care. Both traditional (eg, peer-reviewed) and nontraditional (eg, policies, case studies, and social media content) sources were used, in addition to an environmental scan (using Google and Bing Web searches) of resources.

Results:
We reviewed, evaluated, and synthesized 76 articles, 44 websites, and 11 policies/reports. Results and case studies are presented according to 10 different categories of social media: (1) blogs (eg, WordPress), (2) microblogs (eg, Twitter), (3) social networking sites (eg, Facebook), (4) professional networking sites (eg, LinkedIn, Sermo), (5) thematic networking sites (eg, 23andMe), (6) wikis (eg, Wikipedia), (7) mashups (eg, HealthMap), (8) collaborative filtering sites (eg, Digg), (9) media sharing sites (eg, YouTube, Slideshare), and others (eg, SecondLife). Four recommendations are provided and explained for stakeholders wishing to engage with social media while attenuating risk: (1) maintain professionalism at all times, (2) be authentic, have fun, and do not be afraid, (3) ask for help, and (4) focus, grab attention, and engage.

Conclusions:
The role of social media in the medical and health care sectors is far reaching, and many questions in terms of governance, ethics, professionalism, privacy, confidentiality, and information quality remain unanswered. By following the guidelines presented, professionals have a starting point to engage with social media in a safe and ethical manner. Future research will be required to understand the synergies between social media and evidence-based practice, as well as develop institutional policies that benefit patients, clinicians, public health practitioners, and industry alike.

Anti-social media

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Anti-social media
Source: Demos

How to define the limits of free speech is a central debate in most modern democracies. This is particularly difficult in relation to hateful, abusive and racist speech. The pattern of hate speech is complex, but there is an increasing focus on the volume and nature of hateful or racist speech taking place online.

This study aims to inform the discussion over free speech and hate speech by examining specifically the way racial, religious and ethnic slurs are employed on Twitter.

Categories: bigotry, Demos, social media

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters

February 20, 2014 Comments off

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Conversations on Twitter create networks with identifiable contours as people reply to and mention one another in their tweets. These conversational structures differ, depending on the subject and the people driving the conversation. Six structures are regularly observed: divided, unified, fragmented, clustered, and inward and outward hub and spoke structures. These are created as individuals choose whom to reply to or mention in their Twitter messages and the structures tell a story about the nature of the conversation.

Identifying Users with Opposing Opinions in Twitter Debates

February 6, 2014 Comments off

Identifying Users with Opposing Opinions in Twitter Debates (PDF)
Source: Arizona State University

In recent times, social media sites such as Twitter have been extensively used for debating politics and public policies. These debates span millions of tweets and numerous topics of public importance. Thus, it is imperative that this vast trove of data is tapped in order to gain insights into public opinion especially on hotly contested issues such as abortion, gun reforms etc. Thus, in our work, we aim to gauge users’ stance on such topics in Twitter. We propose ReLP, a semi-supervised framework using a retweet-based label propagation algorithm coupled with a supervised classi er to identify users with di ering opinions. In particular, our framework is designed such that it can be easily adopted to di erent domains with little human supervision while still producing excellent accuracy.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

How Politics Divide Facebook Friendships; Study suggests ways social media site could bridge political divide

February 5, 2014 Comments off

How Politics Divide Facebook Friendships; Study suggests ways social media site could bridge political divide
Source: Georgia Tech

Those who say one should never talk about politics in mixed company have never logged on to Facebook. These days a typical newsfeed is peppered with links, opinions and jabs about the latest political topics.

A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that politics are the great divider. People who think the majority of their friends have differing opinions than their own engage less on Facebook. For those who choose to stay logged in and politically active, the research found that most tend to stick in their own circles, ignore those on the other side and become more polarized.

At the same time, the study suggests a few design changes that could allow the social media platform to bridge political differences. By displaying shared interests between friends during their prickly conversations, Facebook could help diffuse possible arguments and alleviate tension. The research also notes that increasing exposure and engagement to weak ties could make people more resilient in the face of political disagreement.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

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