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Silicon Valley Has a “Drug Problem”

“Crack on a handset!” He leaned forward and repeated what he obviously thought was a breathtaking achievement, “It’s crack on a handset.”.

The scene was an upscale London restaurant in early 2004. My lunch companion was a senior VP for an Asian mobile carrier. The “crack” he was referring to was a new service that had just been launched in a key European market: hard-core porn videos delivered to their branded cell phones. A pay to play service that had taken off and was reaping huge profits. Just like a new, fashionable drug that’s just hit the streets.

I shifted uneasily in my chair. Other diners were craning to see the moving images and to hear the loud groans and sighs. He put his phone away with a flourish as if anticipating recognition of his brilliant achievement. I decided to skip dessert.

Fast forward to this month’s issue of Fast Company. The cover article is titled, “I Have Left the Internet” and features the 25 day “digital detox” of Baratunde Thurston, he of “How to Be Black” fame. Sidebars ask, “Are You a Digital Addict?” and give you a questionnaire to determine just how hooked you are. There are also hints on how to take a break or to start a technology Shabbat. All very helpful.

However, later in the issue, we have the extraordinary story of Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram and his company’s integration into Facebook. Throughout the article, and in many similar pieces throughout the technology press these days, are references to the “stickiness” of the product or app. While comparing Instagram to other services such as Twitter, Tumblr and Flipboard, the article notes:

“But no one else has what Instagram offers – a singular focus on a narcotic flow of stylized imagery.”

And, enthusing about its spectacular early success, Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures and Instagram’s first investor summed up his view of the app as, “Total dopamine!”

So by now we all know what the neuroscientists are telling us about the impact of digital stimulation on the brain. That for every text alert, Twitter update, email notification and phone vibration, we get a little shot of dopamine – a chemical reward that keeps us coming back for more. Addictive, in other words. Not unlike what happens when you use (or abuse) cocaine or amphetamines.

And then there’s the matter of the teenage brain. We now know that kids go through a re-wiring that begins around age 10 and doesn’t get fully re-connected until the age of 25. Or the age that car rental companies will begin hiring out their vehicles. So add the “addicting” nature of many apps, games and web experiences to an overhaul of a young person’s head and you have a recipe for all kinds of problems.

Of course, it’s hugely desirable to have extraordinary innovation that leads to compelling devices and wonderfully enjoyable online experiences. Just look at the joy of a two year old holding an iPad for the first time. The intuitive nature of the very best products. As Paul Simon once sung, “We live in the age of miracles and wonders”. The best technology is akin to a kind of magic. Elegant. Beautiful. Life enhancing.

But there is much we don’t know about our digital companions and the immersive environments they provide for us, uninterrupted, all day and all of the night. Will our children’s’ children ask us, “What were you thinking, granddad?” when reports begin to emerge in 10, 20 or 30 years time about the impact of this electronic tsunami is accurately measured? Will we regret this headlong rush to adoption of the latest gizmo, regardless of the potential dangers?

Or should we just take a chill pill and relax? No doubt there’s an app for that.

Photo: Shutterstock

 

 

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Instagram loses users in photo rights backlash

Published: 9:15AM Sunday January 13, 2013 Source: ONE News

Instagram loses users in photo rights backlash  (Source: ONE News)Instagram backtracks on some changes

Photo-sharing application Instagram has lost nearly half its daily users in a month after publishing updated terms and conditions which said it would have the right to sell users’ photos without notifying them.

Following an instant backlash among social media users, Instagram quickly backtracked on its earlier statement, saying that sweeping changes was not what it intended.

Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook for US$700 million in cash and shares last April, added that it was not their intention “to sell your photos”.

But the damage was already done, with many users’ threatening to quit using application.

And it appears they have stuck to it – new figures reveal Instagram’s active daily users – the highest frequency user group – has dropped to 8.42 million this week, from 16.35 million on December 17, the day the controversial news broke, the New York Post reported.

The statistics were compiled by AppStats, which measures app usage by tracking users who are logged into Instagram via Facebook.

AppStats CEO Sebastian Sujka told The New York Post: “The main loss will be most likely due to the terms of service changes, given how much attention and controversy the terms of service change has brought, and seeing how clearly the Instagram app dropped after the terms of service change.”

Facebook has described the findings as “inaccurate”.

“We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram,” Facebook said in a statement.

It appears that some changes to the application will still take place on January 16.

 

 

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Facebook bought out Instagram for $1 billion on Monday

Facebook bought out Instagram for $1 billion on Monday, April 9th. Since then, there has been different opinions circulating the internet and chat rooms about whether or not this is going to ruin or make Instagram better than it was before.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced that he wanted to buy out Instagram because Facebook had been searching for years to find better ways of sharing beautiful photographs. This was a good deal for the nine workers of Instagram because it made them instantly rich! Most people still feel that Facebook is trying to dominate the app and make bad decisions with it, such as adding advertisements that were previously never seen on Instagram. Yet, some people still feel that Facebook is just trying to make photo sharing easier and more exciting for Facebook users. There has been much chat and discussion on the issue and there is much controversy surrounding it still.

It seems that Zuckerberg does not want to make changes to the app however. He insists that he wanted Instagram’s “talented” workers to join his team and produce more features to help both the app and Facebook succeed. He also insists that he wants to help Instagram grow through Facebook to popularize it even further. Zuckerberg states that he does not want to make any changes and all the features of Instagram will remain and not be limited despite people’s fears of this.

The staff of Instagram is extremely pleased with the offer to join Facebook and surely they will want to keep their same users of Instagram despite this change. People are frantically trying to delete their Instagram account and are expressing their fears of changes that Facebook will make to it. It seems, however, that these fears are just that and actually, no changes will be made. If anything, Instagram will only become better, not ruined.

Unfortunately, many people seem to be abandoning Instagram as seen on Twitter and other chat rooms even though it has been insisted that Instagram will still continue to remain separate from Facebook. All that the two companies want is to expand their networks and create better social network experiences for people around the world.

There is no end to Instagram as some people seem to think. Instagram is going to continue to grow and become even better as it would have even if Facebook had never become involved.

Ludwing Hernandez Mezee.me Chat Site.

 

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