URLs of wisdom (15th June)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Network Analysis

  • (Fake) friends with (real) benefits – what happens when you buy a few thousand extra twitter followers?
  • Understanding types of Twitter users “This research work identifies six broad classes of Twitter users, and employs a supervised machine learning approach which uses a comprehensive set of features to classify users into the identified classes.”
  • Toward a local perspective on online collaboration “a member’s centrality and spanning within his/her local neighborhood is a better predictor of contribution than global centrality and spanning within the whole community.”
  • Gossip: identifying central individuals in a social network “…This suggests that individuals can rank others according to their centrality in the networks even without knowing the network, and that eliciting network centrality of others simply by asking individuals may be an inexpensive research and policy tool.”


  • Why are we sleeping with our phones? Interesting exploration of the notion of home – and the tradeoffs we make in terms of privacy and convenience when we make that home portable:”…convenience comes with a price: connectivity. Staying in touch with your loved ones means that you have to allow them to also stay in touch with you, whether you’re on the sidewalk or in your living room. But we have a sense that this is problematic; our loved ones complain if we don’t respond to a text quickly, so we keep our phones nearby even as loved ones with whom we may share a home complain we spend too much time on our phones. This threatens the idea of Home because now everyone claims to belong there whether or not you expressly invited them.” 
  • Escape from the matrix – getting over the fear of missing out “…people who insist on optimising decisions are ultimately less satisfied with their choices than those who made do with ‘good enough’. Other studies clarify why: the achievements of the former are actually lower than those of the latter, especially when the decision involved weighing possible outcomes.”
  • My life logged – life logging tools let you capture every interaction you make during your days. But is it sometimes better to simply be able to forget?
  • Does making signing up for a site a little bit harder give you more committed users? Case study of Lumosity: “What we found is that sometimes friction can help you acquire customers that really believe in your product, who want to build a long-term relationship with your company,”
  • The novelty effect “A change to our environment can invigorate us, by changing the intellectual furniture of our everyday lives. But as soon as we become habituated to the new, the improvement fades.” 


  • Editorial discretion and private lives On whether editors should refer to private conversations, even if they are publicly visible online: “the Internet is not divided neatly into non-overlapping spheres of public and private. Decisions about how we share information, and with whom, often reflect a complex calculus that relies on “obscurity” — the difficulty with which information can be found — rather than either absolute privacy or absolute publicity. They argue that the law should recognize this reality.”

Web/Social media developments


  • Feeling better connected: Academics’ use of social media – a report by Digital Sociologist, Deborah Lupton “While the majority of the respondents were very positive about using social media, they also expressed a range of concerns. These included issues of privacy and the blurring of boundaries between personal and professional use, the risk of jeopardising their career through injudicious use of social media, lack of credibility, the quality of the content they posted, time pressures, social media use becoming an obligation, becoming a target of attack, too much self-promotion by others, possible plagiarism of their ideas and the commercialisation of content and copyright issues.”

Just for fun

Daring to dream




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