What your Facebook “Likes” can reveal about you

I recently came across the work of Stanford psychologist and social data researcher Michal Kosinski, who has developed a method to analyze people in minute detail based on their Facebook activity. He is currently a leading expert in psychometrics, a data-driven sub-branch of psychology.

Most people by now are familiar with the term “big data“, therefore I won’t go on explaining it here. What Michal basically does is use the aggregate big data generated on Facebook through “Likes”. He then finds correlations and patterns, and uses these to determine personality traits about you based on your own “Likes”. What makes this particularly fascinating is that the patterns that he has found are remarkably accurate given that 25% of the global population is on Facebook (i.e. 1.8 billion people). Now,  I realize that he only likely crunched a miniscule subset of Facebook’s data given that it is private and the computing power required would be immense, however even a small subset of 1.8 billion can still be massive. Continue reading “What your Facebook “Likes” can reveal about you”

How not to contribute to fake news.

As I write this post, I’m waiting for a flight at Pearson International Airport reading through the incoming notifications on my mobile regarding the tragic Berlin Christmas Market lorry incident. At this point, a few deaths have already been confirmed, however judging by the verified images and videos coming from the location, there will surely be many more. There are no words that can bring these people back or console those affected, however there are concrete steps readers/viewers like myself can take to stop the spread of false information during a time of crisis such as this, where we are all prone to react emotionally.

Therefore, before you share, like, comment, or re-tweet that next post, take a deep breath and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. To the best of my knowledge, am I sharing factual content?
  2. Could innocent people be negatively affected by what I am sharing?
  3. Do I genuinely feel I am helping someone by sharing this?

Continue reading “How not to contribute to fake news.”

Death to “we are experiencing higher than normal call volume”.

Last week I finally found the time to dedicate an entire day to calling various home service providers and product brands with which I have been having issues throughout the year. In most of the cases, I had made a note to call as the issue arose, however, other priorities kept creeping up. This was the day I was going to get it all done.

I interacted with three companies and had three very different experiences. Rather than publicly shaming or praising each company, I’ve decided to just list some high-level takeaways from my experience. I think this year is going to mark a significant turning point for customer service, both online and offline. Continue reading “Death to “we are experiencing higher than normal call volume”.”