New Study Questions What Can Be Done About Online Trolling

Over the last decade, online trolling has become an endemic feature of the internet. In some cases, entire publications have taken extreme measures, such as completely removing comment sections, to rid themselves of its scourge. But others have embraced the contentious and often personal style of commentary typical of online trolling. This raises questions concerning what if anything can be done. As always, it seems one man’s troll is another’s articulate advocate.

 

 

Who benefits?

 

One of the inherent problems facing those who would do away with contentious commenting sections is a difficult reality that showmen the world over have known for centuries: Fights sell seats. As one website, such as the Nation, gets rid of its comment section or severely restricts who can and can’t leave comments, another site, like Buzzfeed, will pick up the slack.

 

As detailed in this article, many sites actually encourage these types of contentious comments because anger is one of the most potent drivers of traffic. But this kind of rage-fueled audience formation has serious drawbacks.

 

One overriding problem with mainstream media axing reader comments is that those readers then tend to gravitate toward sites that are less focused on providing fair and balanced coverage and more focused on racking up view counts. This has led to an increasingly factionalized citizenry, where people get caught in echo chambers, hearing and reading only those stories that reinforce the basic notions they already hold. This can lead to a breakdown in civil discourse and a collapse of healthy debate.

 

One of the ways in which the authors of a recent Pew Research study say that society may choose to deal with increasingly personal and uncivil discourse is by simply limiting speech. This has already been seen in some disturbing recent trends on college campuses where speakers were denied platforms. Other ways in which the authors of the study say that society may react is for government to increase its surveillance efforts on common citizens. None of these options are particularly desirable in a free society.

 

But the authors also warn that the alternative will be to let the trolls win, controlling all discourse and making the internet an intellectual mine field.

 

 

New Study Raises Questions About Online Anonimity`

In a recent article, a study from the Pew Research Center was analyzed. The study consisted of various surveys and found that online trolling is both pervasive and very hard to combat. The study also suggests that online anonymity and the current state of economic inequality in the United States both contribute to the situation.

 

 

Free speech doesn’t necessarily mean civil speech

 

In a country founded on the principles of representative democracy, an informed citizenry is absolutely necessary for good governance. Central to that end is the tool of free speech. Free speech, of course, doesn’t mean just permitting the thoughts that one agrees with. It means, often times, entertaining ideas that one finds vile or despicable. In fact, it is this latter ability that often separates those who are truly adherents to the ideals of free speech from those who aren’t.

 

However, all this comes at a price. Online, free speech often means that the discussion quickly descends into heated animosity and personal attacks. Even the best moderators struggle to deal with the ever-present tendency of online discussions to sink to the basest levels of pointless quarrel. And this is a problem for those who seek only to provide platforms for discussing ideas on their own merits.

 

An even greater problem arises when websites, social media influencers and even politicians realize that it is precisely the lowest, most pugilistic discourse that gets viewers and clicks. This leads to a natural tendency of some websites that are mostly concerned with increasing traffic numbers to cater to the most controversial topics and encourage personal attacks and heated exchanges among their readership.

 

Experts seriously question whether this type of free speech is strengthening the state of civil discourse or leading to a more fractured, polarized society. It seems clear that, in many ways, people are becoming increasingly trapped in intellectual bubbles where they mostly read and hear news stories or editorials that reinforce their previously held opinions. Such failure to consider other sides of complex issues portends badly for the future of a country that is explicitly founded upon the idea of having an informed and reasonable electorate.

How Search Engine Optimization Has Changed Over the Years

Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is one of the best ways to advertise your company. Because most clients search for potential companies using engines like Google or Bing, it is important for your site to rank well on these sites so people can find you quicker and easier. If your site doesn’t rank well, your page may not show up until the second or third result page, which prevents people from being able to effectively find you online.

 

Back in the day, say a decade or so ago, search engine optimization referred to needing a lot of content with lots of keyword stuffing. This meant that you could put low quality web content on your site and still rank high on Google and Bing. This was easy and cheap for company owners because they didn’t have to spend a lot of money on website content and they could essentially write everything themselves as long as they continually put keywords throughout the content that complemented the type of business they were running. Several years ago, Google changed its search engine optimization rule sets to eliminate the need for excessive keyword usage.

 

The way SEO has changed over the years has had a major impact on website owners as they have now had to put the time and money into establishing more informative content. Google has recognized that keyword stuffing was a major issue and is now requiring that in order for a site to rank well, they need to have meaningful and useful content that visitors will benefit from. This is great news for web browsers who want to find useful information when visiting top ranked sites, but it is often an issue for budgeting business owners who now need to pay attention to the quality of their content as opposed to just running their busy companies. For a lot of business owners, hiring professional writers is far easier and more worthwhile for their companies than trying to write the content themselves. This has helped the internet to become a more useful resource to people looking for quality sites.

 

Chairman Pai Prepares to Dismantle Net Neutrality in America

Remember, back in 2014, when the internet went crazy over net neutrality? The FCC website received so many comments that it crashed. In the end, net neutrality regulations passed, and the internet breathed a sigh of relief. Well, it’s almost exactly two years later and, thanks to new FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the internet is starting to worry again.

 

Back when he was an FCC commissioner, Pai voted against net neutrality, and on Tuesday, during his speech at the Mobile World Congress, Pai confirmed that he sees rolling back the regulations as a priority. Calling them a ‘mistake’, he claimed they had led to a decline in broadband investment.

 

Net neutrality is the principle that all data on the internet should be treated equally. Supporters argue that, without its protections, internet service providers would restrict access to certain websites. From a consumer perspective, you could end up with a situation where you buy a basic package that allows you to access, say, YouTube but have to pay more if you want to access other sites. Smaller websites would be unable to compete, stifling innovation and free speech, and consumers would end up paying more for less.

 

But Pai sees the regulations as bad for telecommunication companies and, therefore, bad for consumers. He has argued that, without the fees companies could charge if net neutrality was reversed, they have less to invest in much-needed infrastructure. In his speech, he cited data from industry lobbyists USTelecom that showed a decline in infrastructure investment since net neutrality was passed.

 

However, public data from the major telecommunication companies themselves contradicts that, showing similar or increased capital investment since the regulations. It’s also worth noting that telecommunications companies are notorious for failing to deliver on infrastructure. Verizon, for instance, was given massive tax breaks by the governments of Pennsylvania and New York City in exchange for infrastructure that it failed to provide.

 

The internet will be holding its breath to see what Pai’s chairmanship brings. But one thing is for sure: it won’t let net neutrality go without a fight.

 

Wearable Fitness Tech: Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

You’ve probably been to stores that are selling wearable fitness technology such as the FitBit, Leaf or Garmin Vivosport. These gadgets must be worn throughout the day and night and they promise to track your sleep patterns and movement when you’re awake. This is said to be an effective way of tracking your activity and the amount of steps taken throughout the day, allowing you to have a better understanding of where you need to make changes and the type of lifestyle you’re living. Besides the high price tag attached to these gadgets, there is a lot of debate over whether or not they’re worth the price of admission.

For many people, wearable fitness tech is uncomfortable and bulky. You can tell someone is wearing a FitBit or Garmin Tracker from practically a mile away. Sleeping with one of these bracelets on is just as frustrating and a lot of users report that they have stopped wearing the bands to track their sleep because it was too annoying to have on all night. When it comes to the effectiveness of the gadget, the reports are inconclusive. Some people swear by their tracker’s recordings while others say the gadgets are off by thousands of steps and don’t accurately measure sleep patterns during the night.

Before investing in an expensive fitness tracker, do your research and understand that these products won’t do anything for you other than give you insight into your activity level. They won’t motivate you and they’re unlikely to deliver specific steps and times for the exercises you are doing. With technology continually changing and advancing over the years, fitness trackers are definitely improving, but it could be years before they provide faultless and comfortable tracking of your everyday movements. For now, you’d probably be better off tracking your own diet and exercise in a plain spiral notebook and you’d get the same information that a $200 tracker would provide to you. If you just have to buy one of these gadgets, read reviews and opt for a better quality machine that has little chance of being faulty in its readings.

Spotify Tests New High Quality Audio Scheme

The most popular music streaming service in the world is testing a new feature that hopes to attract audiophiles, a potentially lucrative segment that typically eschews Spotify due to its perceived low audio quality.

According to tech news website Android Headlines, Twitter updates suggest that Spotify may be ready to roll out a new subscription program that would include the option of streaming tracks with lossless audio quality. Another neat feature suggests that the streaming service is aiming towards serious audiophiles as it also offers a free vinyl record and discounts on retail purchases at hip music stores that carry music in the venerable vinyl format. What is not clear is not clear at this time is how much this upgrade will cost since some sources have reported it at $5 per month while others have hinted at $7.50 to $10 on a monthly basis.

News about the potential upgrade to high fidelity audio are being discussed at the same time Spotify has announced that it has reached a major milestone of 50 million subscribers. Should the high quality audio feature be included, the monthly price could jump to $15 or even $20.

Even if Spotify introduces lossless audio, the average subscriber may not be able to notice the difference unless he or she invests in quality headphones. Audiophiles will certainly welcome the feature since they happen to be very serious about the quality of the music they listen to. Since late 2016, audiophiles have been at odds with the Pono music service that was introduced by legendary rock musician Neil Young as a Kickstarter project.

While Pono is designed to be a very exclusive service for music lovers who really care about audio quality, users have complained about the MP3 player and the scant availability of music to download. At this point, Pono subscribers may be ready to jump ship to a music streaming service that truly understands them, and it looks like Spotify may be a reasonable option. Neil Young has previously stated that streaming audio is not conducive to a high fidelity experience, but he later changed his opinion.

The Solar Industry Experiences Huge Employment Growth

The solar industry has been growing in the United States at a steady pace. Many will point to the presence of solar panels on various homes as a sign of growth. To a degree, this is true. The more solar panels installed in homes, the more customers the solar industry is reaching. True growth, however, is measured by profits. A boost in solar panels on neighborhood homes might not necessarily indicate profits are booming. The news that the US solar industry has experienced a 25% growth level in employment definitely hints strong profits are flowing in.

The total number of the jobs added is in the range of 260,000. No industry adds that many jobs unless demand for products and services are huge. An industry has to remain solvent, which means hiring must be done prudently. Such job hiring stats show solar — for now — seems to be doing well.

Is solar in a bubble though?

Such a question is not asked out of a sense of cynicism. Any examination of a successful industry should come with concerns over whether or not growth has long-term potential or not. Many may be interested in solar energy because it is new. Will the interest remain in five years?

The answer depends on how successful the solar industry is in delivering on all promises. If those who invest in solar panels report they have saved money on energy expenses, more are likely to follow their lead. That means more customers end up with a positive attitude towards purchasing new solar panels.

Employment opportunities may continue to be strong as long as the industry is healthy. The auto industry is a perfect example of this. During the glory days of the 1950’s and 1960’s, the auto industry of Detroit became the source of fantastic jobs and income streams for those interested in working in car production. Things did change over time as no industry is expected to remain perfectly healthy and stable year after year.

For now, the health of the solar energy industry seems to be on good footing. Barring any major changes in the industry, this solid growth level should remain consistent for the near future.

Twitter May Be Bought Out Soon

As if Google wasn’t already buying out startup after startup to add to its empire, they may now be acquiring the hashtag giant of them all, Twitter. According to The Verge, rumors are now circulating that the second-largest social media platform may now be putting itself up for sale to the highest bidder, a move that investors are now watching closely, and such that Twitter’s stock rose 23% after the rumors started. Google isn’t the only company interested in Twitter, as Salesforce and now even Verizon are also interested parties. All of this is coming on the heels of former head of TV, Andrew Adashek leaving the company.

Twitter appears to be in the midst of a transition period as the growth of new users and new streams of revenue have bottomed out. Twitter has attempted to garner new interest with its new feature for streaming Thursday Night NFL games, and presidential candidate Donald Trump always brings Twitter publicity when he makes a public statement on there. But even though Twitter founder Jack Dorsey also returned as CEO to try to resurrect his social media creation, it has not happened yet and now the clock may be ticking on the company. While Google, Salesforce, and Verizon are all in the mix of sales talk, nothing concrete has been established as far as mergers and acquisitions as of yet.

What could Google, Salesforce, or Verizon stand to gain from buying twitter? The network offers a wealth of user data that all of them would love to add to their vaults. More so, Google has had an existing relationship with Twitter that’s allowed both sides to profit from using Tweets in search engine rankings. And considering that Google Plus has failed to match Facebook on every level, Google may see Twitter as its opportunity to change that. Will such a move grow or thwart interest in using Twitter? It’s hard to say, but it appears to be inevitable if users wish to continue seeing their celebrities tweet.

Chairman Pai Prepares to Dismantle Net Neutrality in America

Remember, back in 2014, when the internet went crazy over net neutrality? The FCC website received so many comments that it crashed. In the end, net neutrality regulations passed, and the internet breathed a sigh of relief. Well, it’s almost exactly two years later and, thanks to new FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the internet is starting to worry again.

 

Back when he was an FCC commissioner, Pai voted against net neutrality, and on Tuesday, during his speech at the Mobile World Congress, Pai confirmed that he sees rolling back the regulations as a priority. Calling them a ‘mistake’, he claimed they had led to a decline in broadband investment.

 

Net neutrality is the principle that all data on the internet should be treated equally. Supporters argue that, without its protections, internet service providers would restrict access to certain websites. From a consumer perspective, you could end up with a situation where you buy a basic package that allows you to access, say, YouTube but have to pay more if you want to access other sites. Smaller websites would be unable to compete, stifling innovation and free speech, and consumers would end up paying more for less.

 

But Pai sees the regulations as bad for telecommunication companies and, therefore, bad for consumers. He has argued that, without the fees companies could charge if net neutrality was reversed, they have less to invest in much-needed infrastructure. In his speech, he cited data from industry lobbyists USTelecom that showed a decline in infrastructure investment since net neutrality was passed.

 

However, public data

Trending Smart Home Technology In The World Today

Technology keeps on changing on a daily basis, thanks to the seamless efforts by many scientists in the world today. Each day is a marvel to us, for none of us knows what awaits us. By this, I mean that we are on the verge of living in smart homes. Technology has always been used to make people’s lives easier. Digitization of the entire household is a factor that characterizes a smart home. For this reason, gadgets like refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, aircon systems will be controlled remotely by the help of the internet.

In a smart home, you will no longer be required to open a door manually. The manual opening of doors will be a thing of the past since such an establishment will have been fitted with strong sensors that detect human movement. As a result, a door will automatically open itself whenever a person approaches. For a smart home, computerization of the home lighting, entertainment, and even cooking systems is vital.

Also, people will be able to command different gadgets in a building verbally. For instance, one can tell a radio or television to adjust to a particular station. Therefore, such a residence will be ideal for old people and even individuals suffering from different disabilities.

With an advanced set of advanced devices, smart homes can save a resident a lot of money. An automated system means that aircon can switch on or off by themselves depending on the prevailing conditions, and also that light go off when a person exits the house.

Many a time people leave for work and totally forget to shut down their gas stove or ever water tap. Smart homes are created to prevent this from happening. One can shut all the home systems remotely provided that they have access to a smartphone and the internet. Thus, smart homes are safe environments for human habitation.

Smart home development will ensure that the personal needs of an occupant are catered for since they are automated to accommodate the needs of each resident, depending on the prevailing circumstances. Smart homes are yet to take the world by surprise, but when they do, they will totally transform people’s lives for the better.