How can you avoid the viral vortex of social media?

Have you Googled, Binged, or used another search engine to find out about yourself? It can be an amazing experience! Most people forget that virtually everything you post online is there permanently. You may think you are deleting things, but your digital life does not go away. You might find your search uncovers posts you thought were trashed or private.

Today, anyone’s posts can become viral in a nanosecond, especially on twitter or snapchat. Yes, twitter goes by so fast, and snapchat disappears quickly, but tweets get retweeted increasing their lifespan, and there are now apps that capture snapchats and store them forever.

Most of us have posted a message on email or social media that we regretted after hitting send. They may have been insensitive, derisive, angry, or if taken out of context, offensive. It is hard to tell tone and demeanor in the digital world, so even what you consider a harmless post can be misinterpreted. I certainly have experienced this, both as the sender and the receiver.

You can take preventive measures to ward off these consequences (see my blog on email communication, for example), but doing so takes focus, presence, and persistence. Is it worth the effort?
Read more

New technology and gaming for online learning and brain health

Doris alerted me to a touching New York Times article from 10/19/14 entitled, To Siri, With Love. The author, Judith Newman, wrote a love letter to Siri, the iPhone assistant, because of the positive “relationship” Siri has with her autistic, 13 year old son. Siri, far more patient than the author, provides him with endless facts to the subjects that he is passionate about and relentlessly interested in. But even more importantly, she helps him be more socially appropriate by modeling responses that are polite, kind, and socially acceptable. Judith reports that she can now have more extended conversations with her son, and that he actually compliments her and says please and thank you, things he did not do pre-Siri. For this autistic child, being an independent learner with Siri’s help has done more on a social as well as cognitive level to stretch his thinking and person-to-person interactions. The article goes on to report that children with emotional and cognitive challenges work well with these digital “sidekicks”, and that the tech industry is creating digital characters for this very purpose. The good side of technology! Read more