Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is Social Media Ruining Your Appetite ?

Social Media Ruining Your Appetite
Social Media Ruining Your Appetite

You are in a restaurant. The waiter brings your food to the table and it looks so amazing, you upload a picture on Instagram to show your friends. No harm done, right? Simpler said, a lot of people go online to talk about the sandwich they just ate. But they’re not just talking about it, they’re photographing it. At least once a month, 52% of people take photos with their mobile phones; another 19% upload those photos to the web. There's enough of that group practicing "foodtography" to support the website Foodspotting, as well as a 2,500-member Foodtography group on Flickr. Photoblogging apps like Instagram and the latest, photo-enabled version of Foursquare are likely to further fuel the trend. The Chronicle’s Michael Bauer posts photos of his plates at restaurants to nearly 27,000 followers on Twitter, and has been recognized nationally for doing just that.

Well according to a new study, you may have just put your friends off their food. Researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Minnesota say their study, published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology, shows that looking at too many pictures of food can make it less enjoyable to eat. The reason being, you could be suffering from sensory boredom. In other words, you become tired of eating a food long before you even taste it. So if you’re on Instagram all day looking at all of the salads your friends post, you’re probably not going to enjoy your next salad quite as much.

"In a way, you're becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food," says Ryan Elder, professor at BYU and co-author of the study. "It's sensory boredom - you've kind of moved on. You don't want that taste experience anymore." The researchers recruited 232 participants who were asked to carry out experiments that involved viewing and rating pictures of various foods. In one experiment, half of the participants were asked to look at 60 pictures of sweet foods, including cake, truffles and chocolates. The other half of the participants were asked to look at 60 pictures of salty foods, including chips, pretzels and French fries. Both groups rated each food based on how appetizing they thought it was. All subjects were then required to eat a salty food, specifically, peanuts. They then rated how much they enjoyed eating the peanuts.

upload a food picture on Instagram social media
Upload a picture on Instagram
Results of the experiment showed that the participants who viewed the photos of the salty foods enjoyed the peanuts significantly less, compared with those who viewed the sweet foods, even though they had not viewed pictures of peanuts, just other salty foods. The researchers say the reason for this is that over-exposure to images of food increases a person's satiation. Satiation is defined as a reduction in enjoyment as a result of repeated consumption. For example, a person enjoys the first slice of cake more than the fourth slice, as they have become tired of eating the same food.

Jeff Larson, also a professor at BYU, notes that if a person wants to continue enjoying food consumption, it is best to avoid looking at too many food-related photos.

"Even I felt a little sick to my stomach during the study after looking at all the sweet pictures we had,"
He says. But he notes that their findings could be useful for those who want to avoid a particular unhealthy food. If a person wants to avoid eating chocolate, for example, he says they may want to look at more pictures of it. The study also didn't address what happens if you look of posts of healthy foods. I would guess the same effect would occur, so does that mean you would get tired of eating foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains? . The research data also showed that when you see an advertisement for a food item once, it triggers a craving. Multiple pictures for the same type of food will satisfy the craving for that food, and you will not want to eat the food any more. However, Prof. Elder warns that there is a stipulation: "You do have to look at a decent number of pictures to get these effects. It's not like if you look at something two or three times you'll get that satiated effect."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

If it’s on Facebook, it must be true

Update Facebook Status Update Twitter Instragram
Update Facebook Status Update

I truly fear the day; probably sometime in the very near future, when the phrase, “If it’s on Facebook, it must be true…” is used in open court as factual evidence. Not because I especially distrust this particular social networking platform, but because it would imply that social media has become a document of record. This would mean that content from Facebook and other social networks could be cited in court as evidence of information being true, of an event having occurred, or of a person (or object) actually existing.

Many commentators have explored this question of social media and “did it really happen” either in the context of existentialism (“I Instragram therefore I am”), or in respect to social media etiquette (“just because you can, doesn't mean you should”). I am more concerned with what happens when we start to place inappropriate reliance upon content and information published via social media? It took a number of years for faxes and e-signatures to be accepted in court as evidence of a document having been executed or a legally binding agreement having been created. E-mail is now admissible as evidence that a formal notice has been served between parties to a contract. In some situations, e-mails and text messages are cited in court proceedings as evidence of a person’s promises, denials, deeds, and opinions, state of mind or intent. “Smoking gun e-mails” are not uncommon in major court cases, and many organizations are required to archive e-mails and instant messaging for the very purpose of maintaining a “paper trail” in the event of future legal proceedings.

At some point Facebook became less about sharing and more about validation. Well, go out to a restaurant in the city and have a look at all the couples out for a romantic dinner who spend the night staring down at their phones. Or your Facebook news feed that is full of ‘selfies’ at this club or that bar. The answer starts to become clear; Lots and lots of people think like that.Going out to a really cool place is only half the experience now. Having your photo taken next to a celebrity or checking in is the real fun part! After all, that’s what proves once and for all you were there. Right?

I read that the ‘checking in’ process is an ingrained part of the human psyche. When a human discovers something, they plant a flag. Be it a new continent many centuries ago or the moon. Once we arrive, we feel compelled to state ‘Look. I was here!’. The Facebook Timeline enhanced this need to tell a story. Now you can travel back in time with one of the most comprehensive diaries ever kept. Within seconds you can see photos, comments, locations, thoughts, friends; and overall snapshot of your life at that time. Checking in is just one more detail in your online diary.So perhaps Checking In on Facebook or Foursquare is kind of like a new-tech cave drawing or hieroglyphics. We are telling a story. Our story.

Or perhaps it’s simply about looking cool to your friends. For the same reason you’d want a photo hugging a celebrity; it gives you social status. Checking into an expensive restaurant, sold-out concert or big sporting event builds social identity, which is a form of currency in these days where fame is regarded as the pinnacle of happiness for many. So maybe it’s all about credibility. The cooler the check-ins, the cooler you are perceived to be. Nowadays you can’t hold any event if it hasn't been put on FB somewhere along the line. If it doesn’t have an official FB event page created then party-goers will attempt to inform the World that they were there by checking in or uploading a picture of themselves with the invitee. Seriously though, if you tell people you went to an awesome party over the weekend people will generally look at you with disbelief because they think “Well if it was THAT awesome, why wasn't any mention of it on Facebook?..”

Do you have friends that share their romantic gestures through social media? I saw this spectacular proposal video soon after it was posted to YouTube. It had just over 300 views at the time. It now has five million. Guess what? It would be just as special without five million views. It would have been just as amazing if they’d never filmed it. The bride to be would still have that heart pounding moments as she thought back to her partner asking her to marry him. It would be great to keep some of the beauty in your life all to yourself. To enjoy that moment and image just for what it is and not for your peers reaction to it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Facebook 'LIKES' won't save lives

rculate of sick children claiming to offer donations for liking or sharing the photo
Facebook Like or Share Hoax

Facebook is exploited by all sorts of spammers but it is perhaps the photos that circulate of sick children claiming to offer donations for liking or sharing the photo that are among the worst. Facebook is never going to donate to some cause based on how many times you share or like a picture or status. If you’re a regular user then you've probably seen these photos that depict injured, disadvantaged or disabled children along with a message that asserts sharing or liking the photo results in either prayers or donations for the child. Have you ever clicked 'like' on a picture of a sick or disabled child on Facebook? Sometimes there's a caption that reads "for every like, Facebook will donate money to save this child", or "please like this photo to show this child that they're beautiful." Have you clicked? 

These photos are never genuine. No entity including Facebook condition donations of any kind on the number of Likes or Shares a photo gets, at least not in this manner. But it is important to scratch past the surface of this hoax and then ask if they’re not real then why do they exist? And the widely unknown answer to that question shows exactly how these unscrupulous scams work and highlights the extent as to how depraved scammers will go to make money. It also shows why you should never share or like these photos, even if it’s “just in case they’re true”. It is first important to realize that the vast majority of these scams exploit photos that have been taken elsewhere from the Internet and used without the permission of anyone related to the photo including the families of the children depicted. Such photos are taken from news websites, stolen from public Facebook photo albums and some have been known to be taken from medical journal websites. This in itself is deplorable since it causes much anguish for the families involved to see photos of their loved ones circulating Facebook under false pretenses. In most cases the photos are old and outdated, and in at least one example the photo shows a child that had since passed away.
However it gets worse when you realize that these photos are often used to make scammers money. Scammers create Facebook pages and post consistent streams of content imploring users to like and share in order to accumulate followers. When the number of followers reaches a certain number then the Facebook Page can either be sold for financial gain or any number of other scams can be employed on the followers, such as survey scams or malware attacks. It is also worth noting that these scams promote “slacktivism” – the illusion you are helping a cause merely by pressing Like or Share when in reality this has no real world significance or benefits towards helping with an issue.

rculate of sick children claiming to offer donations for liking or sharing the photo
Facebook Hoax

 If Facebook were to ever donate money for a young boy's surgery, think for just a moment - would they really be so crass as to base it upon the number of times a message was shared? Further clues that should tell you that the story is bogus, is that there is no information to support the story of a young boy being attacked or the pay-per-share scheme. There's no link to an official Facebook blog entry, no link to a news story on a legitimate news outlet. If a friend of yours shares a message with you like this on Facebook remind them about the importance of not spreading chain letters and suggest that they inform all of their friends that they were mistaken.

To date, no hospital, charity, organization or Facebook have ever conditioned lifesaving operations, medicine or donations based on the number of times a photo, message or email is shared. Any photo or message to the contrary is just a sick hoax, either designed to waste the recipients time or scam their out of money. If you see such photos then we recommend doing the following -

1. Never Share or Like these photos. If you do you are playing right into the hoaxers hands and potentially causing great distress to the families involved, and of course you’re passing false information to all of your Facebook friends.

2. Avoid commenting on the photos. Even if you know the photo is a hoax a comment can make the post appear on the tickers of your Facebook friends and can help spread the photo.

3. Instead of a comment you can send a private message to the person who uploaded the photo and explain it is a sick hoax and ask them to remove it.

4. Report the photo. Many people who upload these photos will never take then down voluntarily, so Facebook will do it for you. Make Facebook aware of the photo by clicking the Report option