NetSmart

The section of Net Smart I chose to focus on was Chapter 2, “Crap Detection 101.” It covered how people can be fooled by the internet every day and the easy ways to get around it. For example, Rheingold laid out a scenario where his daughter was using an internet search engine to help her with her homework. Rheingold’s reservation was that things being posted on the internet are not subject to a governing body verifying the information. He explained that in his day you had to go to the library and check out a book and/or magazine and with those two texts you could be reasonably certain someone had verified the information (although not totally certain). He gave the example of searching MLK which lead to a website giving the historical significance of MLK that seemed legit until you researched the author only to find out he has been pegged by many as a racist, which obviously poses a large problem to the author’s credibility. Another example was when a public relations person was hired by different industries to make phony websites spinning information in a way that was favorable to their sales, regardless of truth.

 

This is a problem I as well as other people run into daily, but don’t really think twice about. Everyone has their own go to sources for news, whether that be the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, or the New York Times, sources we know to be credible because of their past reputation. When we see news elsewhere, such as twitter, we automatically go to one of our trusted sources to confirm or deny the allegations. Although I could see how being fooled would be a problem in the realm of research, more specifically in a category that was new and/or had little information. For example, the current Bitcoin phenomena is something that nobody really knows much about and has many bogus articles and information claiming that the Bitcoin is actually a recognized currency.

 

This section of the book relates to Rheingold’s underlying theme of being mindful when using the internet. Things change so quickly online that if you do not cover your bases and think logically through what is happening you can become lost and worst of all duped by incorrect information that could cause you to enter credit card information on a phony site and have your identity stolen.

 

I wonder how long on average people spend checking the credibility of information or if they just tend to take it at face value? Does it depend on the information being looked up?

Mindsets

I chose to read the section on Business in the Mindset text. It discussed how there are two major thought processes, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset is defined essentially as a superiority complex. It is a person who believes that their wealth of knowledge is better than everyone else’s. For example, Jeff Skilling of Enron states “My genius is profit.” That is the most egotistical thing I think I have ever heard coming from the head of one of the most powerful companies in the world at the time. Along with this superiority complex comes the need for achievement, and not good achievement. People with a fixed mindset are not looking to achieve what is best for the company, they are looking out for what best boosts their own personal image, and if the company happens to do well in the process then so be it. For example, Lee Iacocca, the head of Chrysler, previously worked for Ford and was being groomed to be the next Henry Ford. Iacocca was so caught up in being “Henry Ford II” and ruling the “royal” kingdom that Henry Ford eventually ousted him because he realized Iacocca only wanted power and not success for the business. This can cause employees to feel belittled and judged which is no way to run a business because it hinders growth and innovation. When a person feels their ideas will never be as good as the CEO’s there is no reason to even bring them up which halts innovation and expansion.

Contrasting the fixed mindset was the growth mindset, the benevolent mindset if you will. This mindset was all about realizing you were not the smartest person on the planet and that if you surround yourself with the right people then you can learn and continue to grow as a person. Andrew Carnegie of U.S. Steel once said “I wish to have as my epitaph: ‘Here lies a man who was wise enough to bring into his service men who knew more than he.’” This is a great example of how people can grow. People who realize the constant need to learn every day and innovate will help the company grow and as a result wealth and power will come, the opposite order of the fixed mindset. This mindset is what allowed Jack Welch at GE to have such success. He would take meetings down on the factory floor with the front line workers to figure out a problem. He was smart enough to know he didn’t know as much about day to day manufacturing as the people who actually did it. This rubs off on employees and makes them want to learn and grow and help the company which is important because to have a successful company you need happy employees.

I think this argument is perfect and fits with this overall theme of the growth versus fixed mindsets. This section just chooses to portray it from a business standpoint. As a business major I do endless case studies and the issues Enron faced and the successes of GE. We cover a lot of the problems or achievements of companies based on the behavior of the top management. It really is an important part of how the business is run and the organizational culture a CEO chooses to employ. My main question is can a business remain profitable and successful for a prolonged period of time with a CEO that has a fixed mindset?

Priceless

I chose to focus on the ‘anchoring’ section (part 2) of the Priceless book. This concept is something that I find very interesting. The basic concept is that people always ‘anchor’ their decision to something. That something can be a variety of things. It can include price, prestige, mental precursors, or even functionality. An example the book uses is a standard rating system known as “category scales.” This concept involves the ranking of items such as a “How would you rate your Whirlpool dishwasher?” following by a scale of 1-5, with one being poor and five being excellent. If that modulus (absolute value indicator) did not exist for your decision to be anchored too, you may not have used the numbers 1-5 and you may not have even used numbers at all. Poundstone plays off the idea that we are so caught up in relativity of things to other things that we don’t really know any absolute values. Without the relativity we wouldn’t know what is heaviest or lightest, tallest or shortest. All of these items are placed against something else extremely subjectively. There are very few things (if any) that can be objectively noted absolute by themselves.

I loved this concept because it was one that I didn’t fully believe until I got to the end of the section. I spent most of the section thinking this was just some crackpot psychology guy messing with peoples’ minds to make them think things that are not really there. Finally I grasped that these are cues we pick up only because the rest of society is already doing so and because it is human nature. If we started a new society on the moon without having ever seen earth or the people on it, we would do things differently at first then most likely fall back into the same fallacy we are currently in. I now firmly believe Poundstone’s argument that everything is really anchored to something and that is why we cannot assess a situation objectively at this point in time.

I wonder if we were to start from scratch, caveman scratch, how long and if we would go back to the way things currently are. Is there hope for an absolute objective society?

Connected

I chose to cover the chapter of Connected titled Hyperconnected. This chapter described how the advancement of technology, more specifically the internet, has changed the way we interact with people as a whole. Many different experiments were discussed to show how the interaction of people has changed, for the better in most cases, due to the introduction of new technology such as telephones, internet, and air travel. In one experiment discussed in the book, a town known as “Netville” was receiving broadband internet technology and it just so happened that for a length of time, 60% had the new technology while 40% did not. During that time, the people with the technology forged deeper, broader, and more meaningful bonds than those who did not have the technology. The opponent of this type of technology would argue that with the introduction of the telephone and email, social bonds would become vaguer and less face to face interaction would occur. Quite the opposite actually happened, people use technology to supplement their relationships, not supplant them. Another main example the book kept going back to was the use of virtual worlds and avatars for people to accomplish a multitude of things. For example, the virtual war game of World of Warcraft has millions of players playing at a given time. People use the game not only to protect their villages and team up to wage war on enemies, but users create virtual relationships with other users and even have virtual pets. Some of these virtual relationships even turn into real in person relationships. This just furthers the idea that people use technology to supplement, not supplant relationships.

 

Overall, this relates back to the main ideas of the book that what other people do shapes the way we act, feel, and go about our days in the non-virtual world. If something bad or good were to happen to a user in the World of Warcraft virtual world, studies have shown that people are more likely to feel more or less confident when they leave the computer and go out into the real world.

 

Personally, I think the argument the entire book makes is completely spot on. Everything we do as humans is completely shaped by what other people think, say or do. Without that concept there would be no such thing as fashion or style. We would all wear the same color clothes and act the same way. One thing I really like about the book is that it covers the six degrees of separation concept a lot. I find myself thinking about that from time to time and it really is amazing how true the concept is.

 

What do you think about the six degrees of separation concept?

 

Do you feel that in the introduction and advancement of technology has changed the way we interact with people?

D6: Discussion on Pinterest Area

http://www.forbes.com/sites/thesba/2013/06/07/how-to-use-pinterest-for-small-business/

 

This article written by Forbes covers a few pointers on how businesses, specifically small businesses can effectively use Pinterest and not fall behind on the social media trend. Basically it is saying “do it!” It covers how “Realizing that you could be using Pinterest to engage with your online audience is a far different thing from knowing how.” Another main topic covered was to use your people from within the company. Show the Pinterest world that your company is run by normal people just like the people using Pinterest. Making that connection will help potential customers feel more comfortable with your company. Another useful thing to pin to Pinterest is any sales or advertisements that will drive traffic to your website. Lastly, it covered a seemingly obvious point, be visual. Everyone knows that on a social media site such as Pinterest, images are king and it is not a text heavy site such as twitter.

 

http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/4144-10-Ways-to-Use-Pinterest-for-your-Ecommerce-Business

This article covered how businesses can use Pinterest effectively to drive ecommerce business. The first part covers the aesthetic decisions a business needs to make when designing their Pinterest ‘profile.’ For instance, it suggests that you need to make board names concise and meaningful so the potential customer knows exactly what they are getting into. High resolution photos need to be used and very meaningful board cover needs to be used. People are on Pinterest to be impressed, so having a low resolution image will cause people to move on to another page. To drive more traffic to your actual website, employing the use to pin-it buttons really helps not only to get people to your site, but also to keep track the analytics part of your account so you can see what is working, what is not so you can effectively make changes to increase your chance of gaining potential customers. A new asset Pinterest is offering is the product pin. This type of pin allows you details such as pricing and where to buy which will definitely allow for more ecommerce traffic. Lastly it kind of stated the obvious when it stated that the way to kick start all of this is share your page with as many people as possible.

 

http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/63647-how-retailers-can-use-pinterest-to-drive-sales

This article covered three new features Pinterest added to help businesses use Pinterest to drive ecommerce.  The first one is “rich pins” which is the same as the product pin I mentioned in the last article summary, this article showed that when a product has a price connected to it, it attracts 36% more likes than one that doesn’t.  Which the way Pinterest works is to have people like and repin products to let more and more people see them.  Second the price alerts feature.  If you have an unpurchased item on your board and the price goes down, Pinterest will automatically send you an email letting you know.  That could be very helpful for someone looking at an item that may have been just outside their price range. Lastly, the promoting pin adds a special icon to a pin that shows that it is being promoted and gives some info about what company is promoting it, how to buy it, etc.  This feature lets people who are looking to buy (say gifts for a friend) know exactly which pins to look at.

D5: Pinterest

Article 1: https://canvas.jmu.edu/courses/1090235/files/41992243/download?

Article 2: https://canvas.jmu.edu/courses/1090235/files/41991781/download?

Overall I think both of these articles covered the main issues I have been learning about in my business classes over the last two semesters, copyright and business transactions (or lack thereof). First, what business ‘industry’ Pinterest will (does?) operate in and how is Pinterest effecting it? I like the aregument that even though Pinterest isn’t making money yet, that they still have a very large control on e-commerce. While you cannot buy things directly from Pinterest, there is definitely something to be said about how the things people pin drive the traffic to a site to buy the tangible object. This want to buy what you pin phenomena is a direct illustration of the narcissism mentioned in the first article. We as Americans want to have the biggest and the best and out do everyone else in the process. Now overall this sounds like a great gig for the e-commerce sites that are having items bought. They don’t have to do any advertising except add in a small ‘pin-it’ button on each item and presto millions of people who may not have seen this product now will. Again there is the downside to all of this and for the sites that don’t produce a ‘product’ per se, but people are pinning a dish or a yard setup or something that is not as a whole very tangible, at least not in a driving e-commerce business sense.

 

On to the actual copyright issue. I think this is a problem that needs to be addressed by Pinterest entirely. Adding a security waiver one must click to agree with would not be sufficient, because one people would not read it, and two if people did, the majority of the population wouldn’t fully understand the legal jargon and all of the implicit statues and case law decisions that go into. Basically, it’s fair to ask people to make that decision without consulting legal advice. I think it would be very interesting to see embedded in the ‘pin-it’ link, some sort of copyright acknowledgement, almost like citing a source. Something that would happen behind the scenes and user would not even see unless they searched for it, but something that legally would be easy to be found and proven that Pinterest was doing their part in giving the correct credit to the correct people.

Link

D4: Pinterest

Article 2: https://canvas.jmu.edu/courses/1090235/files/41989786/download?wrap=1

 

The first article focused a lot on how Pinterest stacked up against other online social networks (OSNs) which I guess I never really thought Pinterest being anything like facebook, twitter, or instagram, because as the article stated, a vast majority of the content on Pinterest is ‘pinned’ from other sites.  Places such as facebook and instagram are either text heavy from the individual user, or are pictures the user took (instagram).  What I found most interesting in this article was the topic of privacy.  We have all heard of the dangers of putting too much information about yourself out on Facebook, but I have never heard that kind of talk on Pinterest. Although now that I think about it, the same issues exist, because you have to build somewhat of a profile about specific facts, but then you also let the world in on what you are interested in.  Now that probably isn’t a big problem for a lot of people, but when you pair that with all the other social media presences you have, that could cause a big problem for your safety.  As far as the malware is concerned, that seems to be problem that is popping up all over the internet.  These hackers are finding ways to place viruses basically wherever people go, and as Pinterest gets more and more popular, I would assume the hackers will begin to put more and more disguised malware around the site.

 

The second article covered a lot more of the science behind the curation of information, not the creation of information that other websites such as facebook and instagram focus on.  It compared the collection of information images to that of last.fm that allows people to save and make music recommendations to others.  It then went into the actual mathematics of how to calculate the amount of likes, pins, recommendations, etc. and how that affects the way people view these sights.  I personally didn’t find this article nearly as interesting as the first, because I think the science of that stuff is better left up to the people trying to market the site, not the end user.