The digital world has become a haven for cyberbullying—bullying that takes place with the help of smartphones and computers and via methods including email, social media and text messaging. What’s more surprising is how widespread this behavior has become—and the gravitational effect it has on children who might otherwise not be part of the bullying process. While parents may think they understand how modern bullying works, their kids beg to differ.
While big data is fast becoming an essential tool for businesses and marketers, it can still be hard for the average consumer to grasp. Faced with dense data sets and jargon-like “Hadoop,” people’s attentions tend to quickly wander elsewhere.
But big data isn’t all about optimizing shipping routes and streamlining customer support calls. Sometimes, it reveals details about the world we might never have suspected. As data scientists crunch more and more numbers, they’re finding a few startling trends— and they’ve managed to conclusively prove some long-held beliefs.
While oversharing on Facebook is nothing new, we might be giving a lot more information than we realize in our posts. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently did a deep dive into Facebook status updates and found that the social media site offers a new lens through which to analyze personalities. While some of their findings were “face valid” — i.e., people who live in the mountains talk about mountains — this large study did yield some new hypothesis and insights about men, women and certain personality types.
As the company continues to see users abandon its games at an alarming rate, it has reversed course on its plan to pursue real-money casino games in the U.S., a combination that led to investors punishing the stock Friday.
Not too long ago, many people believed Facebook was the Next Big Thing in gaming. Developers debated it — sometimes ferociously — at conventions, while venture capitalists couldn’t fund the companies making those games fast enough.
But over the past few months, the air seems to have been let out of Facebook’s tires. Major publishers are withdrawing their support. Pop culture breakouts like Farmville are far and few between. Most damningly, players seem to have moved on to other diversions.
When Electronic Arts bought social games maker Playfish for $300 million—plus a $100 million buyout—in 2009, it sent shock waves throughout the videogame industry. Spurred by growing speculation about the value of then-private Zynga, some tech pros say it was the beginning of a bubble for developers who specialize in Facebook games.
On Monday, EA once again surprised the tech world – this time by announcing plans to axe several games on the social network, including The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society. When those titles shut down on June 14, Playfish may not have any active games—thus raising questions about its fate. (EA declined to discuss the future of Playfish, saying it was “not commenting on individual teams.”)
Zynga’s long-in-the-tooth Facebook hit is being transformed into a half-hour animated series, and it has managed to snag bigwig Hollywood director Brett Ratner to lead the effort.
So Zynga and Facebook have agreed to see other people — and Wall Street is freaking out about that.
Zynga shares were down 8 percent in early trading Friday after the companies restructured their working agreement. And while those investors certainly have a right to be mad at Zynga in general, I think they might be getting it wrong this time.
The retail giant has launched a new division, called Amazon Game Studios, which will focus (initially, at least) on social games, though expect it to branch into other areas in the months and years to come.