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Equity-based Crowdfunding: Potential Implications for Small Business Capital

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Equity-based Crowdfunding: Potential Implications for Small Business Capital (PDF)
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

For small business owners and entrepreneurs to build, grow, and support their business, it takes capital, and today, many of these individuals are choosing alternative forms of capital. One popular avenue is crowdfunding. “Crowdfunding systems enable users to make investments in various types of projects and ventures, often in small amounts, outside of a regulated exchange, using online social media platforms that facilitate direct interaction between investors as well as with the individual(s) raising funds.” There are three basic types of crowdfunding. Money is given in exchange for a clearly defined good (reward), a piece of the venture (equity), or a loan agreement (peer-to-peer). Typically, these three types of crowdfunding occur on different types of websites or platforms. Today, crowdfunding is steadily reaching critical mass as it is now estimated to be worth $3 billion to $5 billion worldwide.

Despite the growth of crowdfunding in the alternative lending landscape, one major crowdfunding method remains untapped. Equity-based crowdfunding was created under Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act (2012), but the rule under Title III is still being written at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to expand the ability for entrepreneurs to sell equity to prospective investors online. Until the SEC issues final rules under Title III, equity-based crowdfunding for the vast majority of Americans remains off-limits.

CRS — Social Media in the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions (April 2, 2015)

April 16, 2015 Comments off

Social Media in the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Recently, the number of Member offices adopting social media as an official communications tool has increased. With the increased use of social media accounts for official representational duties, the House has adopted policies and regulations regarding the creation, content, and use of third-party social media services. This report answers several questions about the regulation of social media accounts in the House of Representatives.

• How does the House define social media?
• How are social media accounts regulated in the House?
• What makes a social media account an official resource?
• Can Members use official funds for social media?
• Is some content prohibited on official social media accounts?
• Do the mass communications regulations apply to social media?

Learning about health and medicine from Internet data

March 18, 2015 Comments off

Learning about health and medicine from Internet data
Source: Microsoft Research

Surveys show that around 70% of US Internet users consult the Internet when they require medical information. People seek this information using both traditional search engines and via social media. The information created using the search process offers an unprecedented opportunity for applications to monitor and improve the quality of life of people with a variety of medical conditions. In recent years, research in this area has addressed public-health questions such as the effect of media on development of anorexia, developed tools for measuring influenza rates and assessing drug safety, and examined the effects of health information on individual wellbeing. This tutorial will show how Internet data can facilitate medical research, providing an overview of the state-of-the-art in this area. During the tutorial we will discuss the information which can be gleaned from a variety of Internet data sources, including social media, search engines, and specialized medical websites. We will provide an overview of analysis methods used in recent literature, and show how results can be evaluated using publicly-available health information and online experimentation. Finally, we will discuss ethical and privacy issues and possible technological solutions. This tutorial is intended for researchers of user generated content who are interested in applying their knowledge to improve health and medicine.

Who Retweets Whom? How Digital and Legacy Journalists Interact on Twitter

March 12, 2015 Comments off

Who Retweets Whom? How Digital and Legacy Journalists Interact on Twitter (PDF)
Source: Tow Center for Digital Journalism (Columbia University)

Digital journalists in particular might be expected to thrive in a professional environment where first-line newsgathering and news distribution occurs, in whole or in part, online. But these longstanding divisions between traditional and digital journalists seem to persist. Research has found that while digital journalists link to both online and traditional content, those from traditional news organizations tend to limit their links to stories from other traditional news organizations.4 Is this pattern replicated on Twitter? Do digital and traditional journalists mainly retweet information from their own parts of the media landscape? If we see robust connections between traditional and digital journalists, we could conclude that Twitter has helped to lower professional barriers and has opened up traditional journalists to the validity of their online colleagues’ work. But if we see few connections, it would indicate that differences in prestige and awareness persist, even as the barriers to the free flow of information have been reduced.

The ISIS Twitter census: Defining and describing the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter

March 6, 2015 Comments off

The ISIS Twitter census: Defining and describing the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter
Source: Brookings Institution

Although much ink has been spilled on ISIS’s activity on Twitter, very basic questions about the group’s social media strategy remain unanswered. In a new analysis paper, J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan answer fundamental questions about how many Twitter users support ISIS, who and where they are, and how they participate in its highly organized online activities.

Previous analyses of ISIS’s Twitter reach have relied on limited segments of the overall ISIS social network. The small, cellular nature of that network—and the focus on particular subsets within the network such as foreign fighters—may create misleading conclusions. This information vacuum extends to discussions of how the West should respond to the group’s online campaigns.

Berger and Morgan present a demographic snapshot of ISIS supporters on Twitter by analyzing a sample of 20,000 ISIS-supporting Twitter accounts. Using a sophisticated and innovative methodology, the authors map the locations, preferred languages, and the number and type of followers of these accounts.

Chinese enthusiasm for social media drops sharply

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Chinese enthusiasm for social media drops sharply
Source: Kantar

Chinese social media users are increasingly concerned with the impact social media is having on their lives as the number of people who feel positively about social media has dropped by 12.1 percentage points from last year to 64.7%.

The second annual Kantar China Social Media Impact Report also found that social media is now used by more age groups, by less educated people and by people in smaller cities, while Tencent WeChat has become the dominant social media platform of an increasingly mobile-connected country.

Categories: China, Kantar, social media

Red, Purple and Pink: The Colors of Diffusion on Pinterest

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Red, Purple and Pink: The Colors of Diffusion on Pinterest
Source: PLoS ONE

Many lab studies have shown that colors can evoke powerful emotions and impact human behavior. Might these phenomena drive how we act online? A key research challenge for image-sharing communities is uncovering the mechanisms by which content spreads through the community. In this paper, we investigate whether there is link between color and diffusion. Drawing on a corpus of one million images crawled from Pinterest, we find that color significantly impacts the diffusion of images and adoption of content on image sharing communities such as Pinterest, even after partially controlling for network structure and activity. Specifically, Red, Purple and pink seem to promote diffusion, while Green, Blue, Black and Yellow suppress it. To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate how colors relate to online user behavior. In addition to contributing to the research conversation surrounding diffusion, these findings suggest future work using sophisticated computer vision techniques. We conclude with a discussion on the theoretical, practical and design implications suggested by this work—e.g. design of engaging image filters.

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