Jean M. Twenge: "Nearly all phone activities are linked to less happiness, and nearly all non-phone activities are linked to more happiness."

What Do Happy Teens Do? Hint: It doesn’t involve their phones.

I was surprised to see how closely happiness maps to non-phone activities, and unhappiness maps to phone-related activities. The author notes that this is a study of correlation, not causation. When I went through moody phases as a teen, I wrote, or worked, or did theater, or church youth group activities.  When I was busy, I had less time to write. When I didn’t feel like going out, and chose…

Social Media Companies Aren’t Liberal or Conservative. They’re capitalist.

Facebook cares more about scalability—that is, the ability to serve billions of users with a minimum of human labor—than it does about making the right call in every case. It would rather get lots of things wrong, but do it with a veneer of consistency and neutrality, than entertain nuance or exercise human judgment. (It would also, in the long run, prefer to do it via machine-learning software, to keep…

Pioneering Harvard Blog Site Wrapping It Up

I still use blogs.setonhill.edu, which I started in 2003. Not for every class, but for most of my discussion-heavy in-person classes. Weblogs@Harvard, as it was then known, was considered pioneering. Facebook didn’t yet exist. Social media was in its infancy. And starting a blog usually required some knowledge of code. Harvard’s blogging platform, now known as blogs.harvard.edu, made it easy. The university was one of the first higher education institutions,…

14% of Americans [say that they] have changed their mind about an issue because of something they saw on social media

Young men are more than twice as likely than the general public to say they changed their mind on an issue because of social media. Americans who identify as Democrats, black, or Hispanic are also more likely than the general public to report change their minds because of social media. The survey seems to have asked people to report on their own behavior — it didn’t stick people in a…

Student journalist experiences the ‘trickle down’ of hostility toward the press

My own students haven’t described encounters like this, but I have encountered students who enter the classroom with the idea that there is a fairly consistent, uniform, organized entity called “the media” that it’s fashionable to distrust. It’s fair to point to specific news stories that got specific facts wrong or that showed bias, but attacking “the media” is blaming the messenger — it’s propaganda that benefits the status quo.…

Create Joy with Content Management System Hexcodes for Canvas LMS

I spent about 30 seconds eyeballing the hexcode colors for Starfleet uniforms so that, from now on, when I’m marking papers, my Canvas interface will remind me just a little bit of Star Trek. Where do you create joy? Captain’s log… supplemental entry. It’s not a perfect match, but the blue and gold are hard to read if they are as light as the shirts. AndI’m actually teaching four classes.…