This Is How Social Media Is Destroying Your Life – The Fake Reality
Head of The Social Media Information Lab talks about how social media can help understand the world and history
Mor Naaman, Head of the Social Media Information Lab, New York, USA, came to Moscow to participate in the 35th Annual European Conference on Information Retrieval ERIC. In addition to speeches at the conference and work with Russian developers, Mor Naaman spoke to students and journalists with a story about his new projects.
The Social Media Information Lab (SMIL) is part of Rutgers University, a US public research university. Clear proof of how seriously the phenomenon of social media is now taken. A veritable laboratory where the workforce is almost exclusively doctoral or former students and employees of companies such as Microsoft Research, Facebook, Chartbeat, IBM Research and Bit.ly.
Mor Naaman himself studied and worked at Stanford, Research Berkeley and Yahoo before heading the Laboratory and becoming an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information.!.
Mor Naaman, very tall, with serious eyes behind thick glasses, with funny jokes without a shadow of a smile on his face, talks with obvious pleasure about the work of the laboratory.
He explains that all social media activity can be thought of as a single loop. Researchers work with this cycle. They start by understanding the motivation for engaging in social media. They are trying to crystallize information from the entire huge amount of data on the social life of the Internet, and then analyze it. Finally, interfaces and tools are being developed to help users find and use this necessary information..
“My colleagues are doing a lot of research. One of them, for example, deals with the psychology of social media. The main thing for us is to understand what people are doing and why. Understand people, action, language, communication, relationships “, – after the lecture Naaman, at the request of the correspondent of the Russian service” Voice of America “, spoke in more detail about his work.
“Information that is hidden in social media, especially information about some important events, can be made available and ready to use. And there is a lot of information! It can be important and necessary for journalists, researchers, politicians, and ordinary people..
“This is the whole history of the world, the history of time,” says Naaman. – We post on the Internet everything that we think, do, experience. This is a real archive of experience ”
“We have several projects now, they are still in demo mode. At the lecture, I talked about tools for journalists. It’s very simple, everything is literally on one page. Look. We identify the event in social media content. We rank its content, that is, we can assess its relevance, information content, interest, etc..
Our task, in fact, is to organize and conveniently present these events, ”- Naaman jumps between the pages of demo projects, shows several examples: Barack Obama’s speech, street protests, a music festival. (As Naaman admitted, he is a true music collector.
Therefore, he turned his lecture into a story about his favorite bands. He constantly asked the students if this or that song was familiar to them. If there was silence in the hall, he shouted indignantly that everyone should listen to these songs). Meanwhile, quotes from Twitter were popping up on the screen. Journalists could now quickly assess the “value” of microblogging authors and see all the quotes collected by time or by keywords.
When asked about his own “presence” on social networks, Naaman suddenly hesitated..
“Yes, I have Facebook and Twitter, but I would say that I use them less than many … I don’t like the idea of talking so much about myself. And, of course, I don’t use social media the way young people and children do. But “to exist” in networks is important, and certainly useful. “.
However, the researcher quickly changes the topic: “True, it is interesting that the idea of a passive story on the Internet about yourself, when someone who is interested, comments, someone who is not interested, ignores, turned out, from a social point of view, an ideal format for our society? “
“Social media will help you understand the story”
Another great aspect of Mora Naaman’s work is the archives.
“What is happening at the moment, in this second, is very interesting. But archives are interesting too. Archives of all our information, collective and private, explains Naaman. – Now everyone wants to be “online”, but archives are valuable and promising. The new archives should allow us the necessary access to information – 15 minutes ago, a year ago or 50 years ago. “.
Naaman emphasizes that the creation of such archives will allow for tracking changes and making predictions. “This can be seen at the level of one person and at the level of society. By monitoring social media activity, you can see how society is changing and thus better understand it. “.