Technology Articles

OKCupid: Let’s Manipulate Matches in the Name of ‘Research’

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

OKCupid: Wouldn't It Be Fun If We Lied to Our Users in the Name of 'Research'?Let’s imagine that, once upon a time, you signed up for an online dating service that you thought was going to provide you with the best possible matches it could based upon the information you gave it.

Let’s also imagine that the guy who ran the site decided to play a game. He decided that, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to show people the opposite of what we’d regularly show them as their best matches and see what happens?” He’ll do it under the guise of an “experiment” to make it all sound legit.

Maybe this guy doesn’t understand much about human ethics. Or maybe he just doesn’t care.

Sadly, you don’t have to imagine this scenario. Because if you’re a user of OKCupid, an online dating site, you may have been an unwitting participant in a research study its co-founder, Christian Rudder, decided to run earlier this year.

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Remembering Loved Ones Affected by ALS

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

ice_cubes

I am impressed with the viral nature of the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” but I’m wondering if people really understand its purpose above and beyond the fun of calling out their friends (and enemies).

This challenge is intended to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — but to me ALS means “my mom’s disease.” So, let me take you on a journey through ALS so you really know what it feels like in the hopes that you donate rather than, or in addition to, take the “icy way” out of the challenge. I challenge you to read this without crying — and then I call you out to raise awareness on what this craze is really all about.

The Power of Curiosity: 3 Strategies for Staying Curious

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / James JordanAs kids we’re insatiably inquisitive. Everything — from cups to cupboards to dirt to our own hands — fascinates us. But for many of us, as we start getting older, we lose our appetite for curiosity.

And yet curiosity is powerful. It adds color, vibrancy, passion and pleasure to our lives. It helps us solve stubborn problems. It helps us do better in school and work. And even more so, it is our birthright, as Ian Leslie writes in his book Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It.

The Value of Stillness

Friday, September 5th, 2014

The Value of StillnessWhat is the value of stillness? We are indoctrinated with media in a traditional format, television and newspapers, and more informally with social media, Facebook. But what does it really mean to experience stillness and how does taking the time to implement stillness into our lives benefit us?

After thinking about the potential value of stillness for a while, I set up an experiment for myself by making a conscious decision to avoid television, my smart phone and computer for 24 hours. I did not go on a vacation or getaway and simply remained at home, telling my family and friends I would be avoiding electronics for a 24 hour period to avoid worry.

3 Big Reasons to Try Mindfulness

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

mindfulness

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

- Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist monk, author and peace activist

What does it feel like when you are talking to someone and they check their text messages? Or you try to tell your husband about something the children did today and he starts opening the mail?

Mindfulness helps us focus our attention on one thing or one person without feeling compelled to follow distractions where our wandering mind wants to take us. That is truly being present.

How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

meditation-yogaI have to earn my place here. Other people don’t struggle like I do. I should’ve figured this out by now. There’s something wrong with me.

Do these thoughts — or some version of them — swirl in your head? Do they consume you daily? Or arise whenever you try something new or make a mistake?

These thoughts are examples of limiting beliefs, according to Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. Limiting beliefs derive from a variety of sources.

Life is Like a Game of Tetris

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Life is Like a Game of TetrisI always loved the game of Tetris as a kid. I don’t allow myself the time to play it so much anymore, but maybe it would be a useful practice now and then. Tetris, while a game of speed and strategy, also teaches us acceptance, flexibility, and gratitude if we are open to learning.

There was nothing more satisfying than clearing four lines at a time. It was enough to bring jumping and shrieks of joy. It was even better when playing against someone else.

Hopeful Lessons from Robin Williams and Kurt Cobain

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Hopeful Lessons from Robin Williams and Kurt CobainI’m old enough to remember Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, and what a major cultural and news event it was.

Although there have been other celebrity deaths in the years since, it’s only now with Robin Williams that a suicide has had as much attention and social magnitude.

The differences over time are striking. Social media has changed the nature of news as well as the conversation about news, and blogs make it easy for anyone to publish online what once might have been op-eds and letters to the editor in paper newspapers and magazines. Retweets and faves on @unsuicide reached an all-time high this week, with more people interested in both learning about and sharing information on suicide prevention. Mashable noticed a powerful and far-reaching positive change in the dialogue about suicide.

Adults with ADHD: Tips for Juggling Life in Today’s Frenetic World

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Adults with ADHD: Tips for Juggling Life in Today’s Frenetic WorldWe live in a wired, fast-paced world. We’re constantly plugged in — checking email and social media sites from all of our devices. We’re trying to meet ever-increasing expectations and demands, juggling careers and school, raising kids, managing our homes, entertaining, and much more, says Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and ADHD coach.

“For the adult without ADD, it’s a tough situation to keep their heads above water. But for an adult with ADHD, it’s almost an impossible task.”

“The brain can just ‘shut down’ due to feeling overwhelmed,” said Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, NCC, a psychotherapist and ADHD specialist. Adults with ADHD can become paralyzed because they don’t know where to start, she said.

Help Support TILT Magazine

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Help Support TILT MagazineA longtime colleague of mine, DeeAnna Nagel, has asked for my help, and I’m glad to oblige. She and co-founder Kate Anthony started a beautifully produced publication called TILT Magazine to help mental health professionals and students better understand how technology impacts their profession. Where does a therapist go to learn about online interventions? How is cyberculture impacting the way people get help for a mental health issue?

Now they need your help in crowdfunding the continued production of the magazine through 2015 — and I hope you’ll take a moment to consider their plea.

How Throwback Thursday Benefits Our Psychological Well-Being

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

How Throwback Thursday Benefits Our Psychological Well-Being So take the photographs and still frames in your mind. Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time. ~ Green Day

If you frequent any social media site, you probably have noticed the trend to post old pictures of yourself every Thursday. The trend of Throwback Thursday (or #TBT if you are so inclined) has certainly grown in popularity. It has become a time to visit times gone by and share memories with friends, old and new. We enjoy referencing the past, and we can have a good laugh at our clothes and hair back then.

Throwback Thursday is great for a laugh or a clever profile picture, but can it actually foster our psychological well-being?

How Facebook’s Squishy Ethics Got Them Into Trouble

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

How Facebook's Squishy Ethics Got Them Into TroubleAh, how quickly folks backpedal when they’re caught doing something a little less than transparent. And perhaps something a little bit… squishy, ethics-wise.

That’s what Facebook “data scientist” Adam D.I. Kramer was doing on Sunday, when he posted a status update to his own Facebook page trying to explain why Facebook ran a bad experiment and manipulated — more than usual — what people saw in their news feed.

For some Tuesday-morning humor, let’s take a look at what Kramer said on Sunday, versus what he wrote in the study.

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