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DUGGAL | Political Introspection

I recently got back on Twitter, and it has been an experience. I haven’t been on Twitter since high school, and I returned to an entirely different world than the one I left behind. The last time I was trolling around on Twitter, I was 14 and subtweeting Coldplay lyrics at my AP Physics lab partner. Ryan, if you’re reading this, please note that while in retrospect I understand that the time and effort I put into finding the perfect lyric to encapsulate our (completely made up) relationship could have been better put to use attempting to achieve anything higher than a 2 on our AP exam, subtweets were an important part of my teenage experience, and I think you should be honored to have been a part of that. This time around, however, I joined with the intention of using Twitter as my news source, and while that has remained true, Twitter has also been something of an interesting experiment in how people today interact with one another and their respective opinions.

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Researchers Study the Influence of Social Media on Memory

You probably remember that embarrassing photo you posted on Facebook last summer or the one in your family photo album with your two front teeth missing. Ever wonder why? It might have something to do with the way these memories were shared. A recent study by Prof. Qi Wang, human development,  reveals that posting personal events on social media make those events significantly easier to recall. Wang is interested in studying social cognition, specifically how memories and personal experiences help shape an individual’s identity.

TRUSTEE VIEWPOINT | On Conscientious Social Media Use

A recent report says that the average smartphone user checks Facebook 13.8 times a day. For college students, that number might be even higher. Our constant access has made social media our generation’s primary means of receiving and processing information. It is not unusual to find out where your friends are, learn about a new restaurant or hear about a heartbreaking tragedy for the first time on social media. The last few months have been particularly difficult, with newsfeeds serving as a constant reminder of the inequities in our society.

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Friendsy, New Social App, Launches at Cornell

“We love working on this, and our goal is to create as many meaningful connections between college students as possible,” Murti said. “We’ve made over one million matches and counting.”

Photo Courtesy of FSC Interactive

MOHAPATRA | What’s in an opinion?

Having devoted the better part of my free time to social media (and not proudly so), it has been remarkable to witness the  transformation in the kind of material that crops up in my feed. There have been  tangible shifts, to the extent that everyone I know seems to have become a political activist at some level. Recently though, I have gotten into too many spats with people who have pulled out articles they saw on their Facebook feed on the alleged perpetuation of rape culture by the present-day Indian society, or people who have quoted a friend’s tweet verbatim to back up their point about the presidential primaries, only to stand corrected after being presented with a news report that speaks otherwise. I have become extremely wary of these quickly formulated opinions: while everyone is at perfect liberty to air theirs, generalized statements featuring charged words make me immediately put my guard up. I think this largely stems from my worries about where such opinions originate and whether they are informed or not.

Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports

AKABAS | Bracketology: Who/What is winning 2016?

There are many things that literally everyone on Earth hates, such as hangnails, hotels that charge for WiFi, late-2000s M. Night Shyamalan films, and that moment when you don’t check your phone for an hour and there are 257 unread messages from a single group chat when you come back. There aren’t many things that literally everyone on Earth loves, but one of those things is March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament. A single-elimination bracket – the concept that you need to win every single game to stay in it – is ingenious. I support using the bracket concept whenever humanly possible, so let’s make a bracket to determine who or what has had the best 2016 so far. The competitors were determined subjectively by me, and the seeds, listed below, were determined primarily by number of Twitter followers (credit to former Grantland-writer Rembert Browne for this idea).

Photo Courtesy of Digital Trends

PUTTING INTO FOCUS | Facebook’s Emotional Side

Earlier this week, I was greeted by the recent changes Facebook made to its “Liking” platform. Rather than only seeing the familiar blue thumbs up, I was met with a plethora of options, ranging from like to happy to surprise to angry. Sure, Facebook had warned us about this change, but none of us were entirely prepared for it. Now, as I scroll through my newsfeed, I am presented with a broader range of emotions, each characterized with a simple emoji. This year, I had heard many stories of what Facebook likes mean to the broader public.

Courtesy of NASA

GOOD TASTE ALONE | Spacebook

It’s the year 20-something-or-other. We’ve made contact with the aliens. We still call them “the aliens,” even though it’s quite possible they’re not the only aliens out there — even though we too, are space creatures, whether or not we choose to think of it that way — and even though “the aliens” has long been a conceptual colloquialism rather than a scientific label. (“Kind of like the word planet,” says Pluto.)

So, we’ve made contact with the aliens. They tried to dodge our calls.