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Streaming or Downloading: Which Is the Best Use of Your Mobile Data?

Streaming or Downloading: Which Is the Best Use of Your Mobile Data?

When it comes to enjoying audio or video on your mobile device, you may be presented with an option regarding how to proceed: stream it or download it. But choosing an option may not be as obvious as it appears, depending on how you intend to use the content and when.

To help you make the decision about spending your mobile data on streaming or downloading, here are some important points to consider.

Downloading and Streaming Are Functionally the Same

Both streaming and downloading involve a file being sent to the device. The key difference is that a streaming file is simply played as it becomes available, while a download is stored onto memory. Both processes involve the act of downloading, but only one leaves you with a copy left on your device that you can access at any time without having to receive (or download) the data again.

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If you access a downloaded file later, you do not have to use more mobile data to play it. However, if you choose to stream a file again, you will have to download the information again (and again every time you choose to access it).

The Amount of Data Transferred is (Typically) Equal

Another thing you need to understand is that the size of the file itself is often the same regardless of whether you stream it or download it, as long as it is offered with the same level of quality for both selections. For example, if an MP3 of a song is 3.5 MB, that fact doesn’t change whether you download it or stream it.

However, certain options may differ depending on available quality. If you have the option of streaming a video at 480p but can download it at 720p, the 720p file will be larger than the 480p counterpart. This means it takes more data to download the 720p file than stream the 480p version.

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Additionally, some streaming services, like Netflix, offer the ability to adjust data usage settings, allowing you to choose a lower resolution option to save data.

Intended Use of the File

Since many of the factors are similar, whether you choose to stream or download a file needs to be based on how you want to use the file.

If there is a particular song you love, and you can imagine listing to it every day, then downloading the file is the better option. By choosing to download the MP3 to your device’s memory using a music downloader, you use data during the initial download. Then, if you want to listen to it, you can simply access it from your device’s memory. You only use the data once, and you can replay the song indefinitely.

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This approach is also necessary if you want to access the file at a time when you don’t have a connection to the internet, since you can’t stream music or videos without an active connection.

However, if you aren’t interested in using a file more than once, you might want to stream instead. Unlike downloading, streaming doesn’t place the file in your device’s memory. That means you can enjoy the song or video and won’t lose any storage capacity. This is especially ideal if you are in an area with a strong signal and want to access the information immediately.

Stopping, Starting, and Choosing Not to Finish

It is important to point out when you stream a file and can’t finish it, you may not be able to start the audio or video from the exact spot in which you left off. Some systems are pretty good at letting you restart the playback from where it was paused, but others will automatically start over. In those cases, you may have to download certain sections of the file a second time, raising the total amount of data used.

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In contrast, if you start an audio or video file and decide you don’t want to finish it, streaming results in less data use. Downloading requires the file be retrieved and stored in entirety before you can enjoy it, while streaming allows it to play without the entire file being loaded. So, walking away in the middle of a streaming file saves you the amount of data that you don’t listen to, while a downloaded file does not.

Watching Your Data

While this may seem like a lot of analysis for choosing between streaming or downloading a file, if you are using a device with a limited data plan, these can be important considerations. So, review the file size and consider how you intend to use the file. Then you can make a choice based on what is best for you.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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