• Timur Emek/dapd, via AP, Timur Emek

    I, Robot

    Flirting With Socialbots

    New technologies make machines so human, they’re hard to spot online.

    Research says Internet robots are on the rise: “socialbots,” as they’re called, will be responsible for about 10 percent of social activity that takes place online in two years’ time. New technology gives robots personalities, sleep-wake cycles, and the ability to do big things: attack an opinion group, promote an elected official, steal, flirt. They’re particularly present on Twitter, where socialbots that answer to all sorts of different organizations amass huge followings of unwitting humans, and on dating websites, where members can be duped into sending money to the cybermate they’ve fallen for. Soon we may be asking ourselves, “Is my new boyfriend human?”

  • Pinterest


    Behold: The Perfect Pinterest Picture

    Proven by science.

    Crisp veggies. A crocheted doily. Soft light. Apparently, that’s the recipe for the perfect Pinterest photo. And it comes from Paula Deen, of all people. After sampling 500,000 pictures, startup company Curalate used data scientists and a characteristics system to determine Pinterest’s top photo. “Aunt Peggy’s Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Salad” has accrued a whopping 307,000 repins, 8,000 likes, and 300 comments. “In other words, that image killed it,” Curalate CEO Apu Gupta said. The company also found that most popular photos are devoid of human faces, have lots of red colors, and are shot against a plain background—just something to keep in mind during your mid-afternoon Pinterest prowls.  



    Mom+Social Event Connects Mothers

    JLo among those who led discussions on global change.

    Moms tweet, text, pin, and share—and they increasingly use social media to influence social change. The Mom+Social event, held at the 92Y in New York, delved into the ways social media affects motherhood around the world. Social-media use for moms has skyrocketed—in fact, moms use Facebook more than the general public, said Linda Murray of BabyCenter.

    Jennifer Lopez and her sister Lynda spoke about their Lopez Family Foundation, which enables doctors to share medical information via telemedicine. “Women are so powerful when we get together,” she said. Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani said that even though girls are using so much social media and technology, the number of them pursuing computer science as a career is actually dwindling. She is running for New York City public advocate—although she labeled herself a “change agent,” not a politician—because there are not enough women in politics to actually bring about structural changes. Particularly poignant was surprise speaker Robbie Parker’s perspective on fatherhood. He tragically lost his daughter, Emily, in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings. A neonatal physician, Parker encouraged parents to relish every single day with their children, since sometimes their protection is not guaranteed.

  • Shawn Graft / Samahope

    Moms Unite!

    Crowd-sourcing Safe Births

    Forget roses for Mother's Day—the #HonorYourMom campaign lets donors give the gift of prenatal care to women in developing countries as a tribute to their own moms.

    In 2011, Tiangay, a 16-year-old girl from Sierra Leone, was brutally raped by her high-school teacher. She received traditional care for the damage she suffered, but soon became dehydrated, weak from blood loss, and nearly unable to walk. Seeking treatment at West Africa Fistula Foundation (WAFF), she underwent a fistula-repair surgery via donations from Samahope, a crowd-funding website for surgeries. “You saved my life,” she told her doctor, WAFF’s founder Darius Maggi, as she prepared to return to her goal of attending nursing school.

    Samahope, which officially launched in October, is bringing the increasingly popular method of crowd-sourced donations into the medical realm. And on Monday, the organization is pushing into your social-media feed with #HonorYourMom, a virtual Mother’s Day campaign for donors to pledge funding for various surgeries in developing countries as tribute to their moms. Write about why you love your mom, upload a photo of you two, pick an amount (ranging from $5 to $500), and give another mom thousands of miles away the gift of a safe birth.

  • Veronique Beranger/Corbis


    College Women Would Rather Selfie Than Study

    New research shows school work suffers from social media.

    Perfect hair and lighting is essential for a good selfie, but ain't nobody got time for that. However, according to a new study by the Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventative Medicine, college women are spending more of their precious time perfecting their social media identities than they are on their studies."We found women who spend more time using some forms of media report fewer academic behaviours, such as completing homework and attending class, lower academic confidence and more problems affecting their school work, like lack of sleep and substance use," said Jennifer Walsh, the studies lead researcher.
    Felicia Capon, a recent graduate and writer for The Telegraph, took issue with the study, arguing that men are just as consumed with their food flicks and Facebook likes as women. "I have clear memories, while I was studying for my diploma in law, of sitting at the back of a lecture theatre, while before me a sea of identical laptop screens showed the same cricket match," she said. Capon argues that this study perpetuates the stigma of women being “vulnerable” and “psychologically dependent” ignoring the ways in which the Internet has actually benefitted the women’s movement. Looks like Capon won’t be “liking” their Facebook page.  



    Instagram Your Way to a Job

    How to use social media to boost your career.

    Goodbye, résumés; hello, hashtags. Her Campus has come out with a guide to building your professional network on Instagram in hopes of landing that coveted job or internship. The top tips: follow people in your industry and comment on their photos, in hopes that they’ll follow you back and pay attention to you. Tag companies you admire when appropriate (but don’t go over-the-top!). Use up to three hashtags lauding your skills and interests. Most specific to Instagram, if you’re in a creative industry, photograph your craft: artwork, fashion, and design are all fair game. But culinary types should keep in mind that we’re all a little sick of those middinner pictures of risotto.

  • Benjamin Lowy/Getty

    He Guangshun took to social media to bemoan girls' appearance in class.

    Apparently, students shouldn’t be wearing sweatshirts, scrunchies, and crusted-over-chin toothpaste to class. Who knew? Why, Professor He Guangshun of the Guangdong University in China, of course. In late March, the foreign-studies professor posted a comment that he’d previously posed to his class on his (Chinese Twitter equivalent) Weibo account:

    It’s cruel that girls have to come to class at 8:30 a.m. They should have more time to put on their makeup and enter the classroom elegantly. That way, encouraged and moved by their beauty, boys would have the drive to work hard.

  • An Indian girl attends a rally for "One Billion Rising," a global campaign to end violence against women, Ahmadabad, India, Feb. 14, 2013. (Ajit Solanki/AP)

    Twitter's Box-Office Smash

    The producers of a new film about girls and education made Facebook and Twitter their publicists.

    You don’t have to live in New York or Los Angeles to see Girl Rising, a documentary that lifts the curtain on the enormous challenges girls in developing countries face if they want to receive an education. It’s the kind of socially responsible film that would normally open only in select theaters, and then only if its producers were able to muster the marketing budget to muscle their way onto that elite circuit.

    The producers of Girl Rising, a 100-minute film featuring nine stories of heroic girls from around the world, concluded that they would circumvent the traditional route of theater distribution and rely instead on social-media tools—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn—to drive their message and build a community. Girl Rising has more than 245,000 fans on Facebook, and the film will open next week. About 500 screenings have been requested nationwide, with more than 32,000 tickets pre-reserved.