On India’s top booktubers and their activities


  Are you really a Roald Dahl fan if you don’t know about royal jelly: a thing that bees secrete and humans use to solve fertility problems? Or if you haven’t read Switch Bitch cover to cover? If you’re clueless about either, you need to up your nerd quotient by a few notches through YouTube, or maybe even Instagram. Whoever thought the advent of digital technology would pose a threat to the written word underestimated the bookworkm’s dedication. Book-loving communities took to the Internet years ago, carrying their beloved print-and-bound…

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Warm, sunny days trigger happier posts on social networks


  Warm, sunny days trigger happier posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while cold, wet and humid surroundings generally spoil the mood, leading to less frequent social media outings, an interesting research has revealed. Based on the analysis of billions of Twitter and Facebook posts, the team of scientists has shown that we prefer warm, sunny days rather than days which are cold and wet. “Our study is the first to observe and measure the relationship between good weather and frame of mind using billions of posts on Twitter and…

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Book review: Evolution of an e-revolution

India social book

In his latest book, India Social, computer engineer-turned-activist/politician (and now author) Ankit Lal writes about this mass e-movement called social media and how it helped shape India’s policies in the past decade or so. There were over two billion social media users worldwide—with Indians accounting for about 168 million—in 2016, as per reports. Social networking already accounts for 28% of all media time spent online—users aged between 15 and 19 years spend about three hours a day on an average on sites such as Twitter and Facebook around the world.…

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‘Biased’ social media algos making women less visible

WASHINGTON: Social media and the sharing economy have created new opportunities by leveraging online networks to build trust and remove marketplace barriers. However, a growing body of research suggests that old gender and racial biases persist, from men’s greater popularity on Twitter to African Americans’ lower acceptance rates on Airbnb. Using the photo-sharing site Instagram as a test case, researchers from Columbia University in the US showed how two common recommendation algorithms amplify a network effect known as homophily in which similar or like-minded people cluster together. They further show…

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Book libraries hit by social media

Book libraries in India were under threat from social media, which has also affected the habit of reading, especially among the youth, said participants at a seminar in Agra on Sunday. Eminent poets, writers, and social activists lamented the slow but sure death of “book reading habit”, especially among the younger generation, at the event at John’s Public Library. Rajendra Milan, poet and retired librarian, quoted Gulzar’s “Kitaben jhankti hain band almaari ke sheeshon se… (books peer through the glass from locked cupboards),” to lament the decline of actual readers…

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After four years, Orkut founder says ‘Hello’ to India with new social network app

NEW DELHI: As people vouch to delete Facebook in the wake of a massive data breach scandal, Orkut Buyukkokten — a former Google employee who founded the trendsetter social networking website Orkut.com more than a decade ago — on Wednesday launched a new social network “Hello” in India. Built particularly for the new mobile generation, “Hello” brings people together around their interests to create positive, meaningful, authentic connections and sustained social engagement, the company said in a statement. “We designed ‘Hello’ to help you make connections in the real world.…

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Social media and tribalism


Social media news feeds are driven by users’ profiles to reinforce their preferences and prejudices. News feeds are customised for each user. Any posts that don’t fit these profiles don’t get displayed. The result is increasing tribalism in the world. American and British intelligence agencies claim that Russian intelligence has used social media to promote divisions and manipulate public opinion in the West. Like the US and the UK, Pakistan also has ethnic, sectarian and regional fault-lines that make it vulnerable to similar social media manipulation.  It is very likely…

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The Secret To Social Media Stardom

Three years ago, Prajakta Koli, known on social media as ‘Mostly Sane’, was a struggling radio intern. A job as a radio jockey was her dream. And when she landed that, it wasn’t what she had hoped for. Then came a lucky break. She was spotted by a scout from a multi-channel network. Today, the comedienne is one of India’s biggest social media influencers with over 1.6 million subscribers on her YouTube channel. “There isn’t a fixed road map,” she says. “The only way you can stand out is if…

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How social media helps build up caste aggression


Two years ago, I was working in rural Bihar with a non-profit organisation and my local field workers as well as those who worked at the block level kept asking me about my real surname. When I didn’t reply even after repeated pestering they started asking my father’s name and it was not long before they connected the dots. Few days after they had confirmed my upper caste identity, they started adding me to WhatsApp groups exclusively for Brahmins. Some of these groups were local, some regional and some had…

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Social media and conservation: boon or bane?


Social media has become a important tools to share information about wildlife. But it can go rogue too “I have given in to death but look closely at my beak. In it are the fruits I had collected for my love (mate) and the child I have not yet seen. Your mad rush has killed not one but three lives…, ” posted a distraught Baiju Vasudevan on Facebook last month. That morning, the birdwatcher had photographed a lifeless Malabar grey hornbill lying next to State Highway 21, which cuts through…

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