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The 4 Most Exciting Social Platforms in 2016

The 4 Most Exciting Social Platforms in 2016

Social websites and platforms have taken over society, but as the market gets more saturated we see them coming up with more and more cool innovations as they try to stand out from the crowd. Here are the four newest, upcoming social platforms and websites around at the moment:

1. Snapchat

Snapchat has been around for ages but it has only recently become the trendiest social network/app around thanks to some new features and a FOMO (fear of missing out effect) which has seen it become the fastest growing social application.

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If you did not already know, Snapchat allows you to take pictures and then send them to your friends with a set time limit on them, after which they are gone forever. Photos can be edited, modified, and added and the app is extremely easy to use.

New features include the addition of “stories” which allows selected photos or videos to be stored for 24 hours and viewed unlimited times before they expire. The addition of voice, chat, and video messaging and also a plethora of popular channels to follow from big brands and websites (Buzzfeed, ESPN, etc) has made Snapchat into the trendiest app on the market.

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2. The Talent Bank

The Talent bank is a community for creative people allowing the submission of creative work and provides a place for you to add stuff in a wide range of categories. You can submit your art, short films, poetry, drawings, and photography, and users of the site can rate your work and give feedback. The neat thing about this site is that each category has its own “chart” which arranges the entries by their rating so you can see what has the most votes for the month, year, and all time. Also, you can upload videos that give extra feedback about the entry you have uploaded so you can describe what inspired you or the creative process behind it.

The platform is completely free to use and they also push the site out to magazines, publishers, record companies, etc. so you may just get discovered on there and turn a part-time hobby into a career.

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3. Miitomo

Previously known for their high quality gaming output, Nintendo has recently dipped its proverbial toe into the app market.

Miitomo lets you communicate with others using your “Mii” as an avatar. This can be created on your Wii-U or 3DS and you can spend hours customizing it to your preference. Choosing its voice allows you to interact with your “character”. It will ask you questions and it will react based on what you say to it.This is actually currently the biggest smartphone app in Japan. Whether it will have the same success in the West remains to be seen.

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4. Blab

Blab is the hot new name in video chat. Imagine an experience similar to Periscope but instead of one person, there are a group of people. Up to four people video chat at the same time with a possible audience of thousands that can comment on what you are talking about or even become a part of the discussion in place of one of the four people with the video chat initiator deciding whether to accept or deny the person to enter the chat. Chats can also be recorded for later viewing.

As chats are taking place comments are shown next to them with viewers able to post questions and “reactions” which, in the case of a debate for example, allow viewers to lend support to one of the speakers. This obviously has had huge potential for a wide range of debates.

I hope you enjoy reading this article about social platforms. Happy Reading!

Featured photo credit: The 4 Most Exciting Social Platforms in 2016 via lifehack.org

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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