Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Neuroscience Explains Why Instagram Is So Bad For Teen Girls

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Anne says: There are many self-claimed neuroscientists (with little or no qualifications) claiming all sorts of unsubstantiated effects of social media (read my Digital Distraction Friday Fave from February 2019). However, this article is based on several reputable research reports (yes, I’ve checked them for credibility) and the findings are disturbing. While the digital distraction crowd are quite literally distracting us from some of the important issues, this article should serve as a reminder that we need to pay attention to the effects of social media and how they can impact people – in particular young women. The series of research reports has investigated the development of the teenage brains reflected by their social interactions, critical thinking and impulse control (risk-taking behaviours). None of these behaviours are new, but what is becoming evident is how the connection between the use of smartphones and social media is driving their need for peer approval and reward-seeking behaviour.

In particular, one of the research reports has singled out Instagram and studied the effects on psychological well-being in young women. The intentional engineering (manipulation) by social media companies to attract the users to self-compare and view “idealized” images is causing depression, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. More disturbing is the fact that it is very difficult to knowingly override or counteract these engineered strategies. Another report from Stanford reveals evidence that teenagers can be easily misled online.

So, while it’s easy to say use your smartphone less, reduce social media usage, I think we need to remind ourselves that our young adults are being manipulated and it is difficult for them to stop as it is part of their brain development that is creating the need to continue. Simply stopping using a device, or even being made aware of the consequences will not be sufficient to protect them. The social media companies, such as Instagram, will need to be called to account and take positive steps to neutralise and support young adults, not manipulate them! 

Readhttps://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2019/06/30/neuroscience-explains-why-instagram-is-so-bad-for-teen-girls/

Billboards — yes, billboards — are having a heyday in a digital world

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Helen says: Over the past decade, growth in advertising has been enjoyed predominately by online channels but more recently one of the oldest forms of advertising around, the billboard, has consistently outperformed most other non-internet media.  This fact piqued my interest and whilst the article focuses on the US market, the trend is also apparent in Australia where, since 2014, out of home advertising (OOH) has experienced annual growth of 10.5%. 

Through the use of data sets not previously available, and integrating with digital technology, OOH is becoming more responsive and creative.

By processing and incorporating many industry-changing data sources such as connected cars, weather data, population growth factors, and the locations & trips of hundreds of millions of anonymous mobile devices, our systems will be able to do things like respond to seasonal, daily, & hourly variation, provide post-campaign delivery information, and much more. 

Some examples given of how this can play out include Kmart promoting snow shovels when a snowstorm hit Chicago; ads being adjusted in length or message to reflect the speed at which traffic is moving (or not moving as the case may be); an iPhone user seeing a different ad to an Android user; medications being advertised following a surge in searches about the flu; and Equinox Fitness targeting Delta Airlines passengers coming in on specific flights, with free gym vouchers to overcome jetlag

Brands also have the ability to look at who has been exposed to an ad campaign on a digital billboard and track the behavior of the consumer afterward. 

According to Geopath, a US not for profit membership organisation focused on OOH audience location measurement and consumer insights, 45% of daily trips are for shopping and errands and daily travel in the US averages 11 billion miles or 40 miles per person per day. With audiences of this size, coupled with their significant investment in digital technology, I expect this industry will continue to enjoy growth for some time to come. I will, however, be looking at billboard advertising in a whole new light.

Readhttps://www.vox.com/2018/9/25/17897656/billboards-outdoor-advertising-ads

Moon landing footage would have been impossible to fake — a film expert explains why

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Joel says: I love it when two of my favourite things have the chance to crossover in the same article, in this case, it’s space travel and conspiracy theories. I’m pretty crazy about both. Whether you actively search out and research conspiracy theories or not, there are quite a few that are so popular that you’re likely to have heard about them regardless. Did Hitler really die in 1945 inside a bunker in Berlin? Are there really alien remains inside Area 51? But I’d argue that one of the most well-known conspiracies has to do with the Moon and whether the landing footage was actually filmed in a movie studio and is fake.

In this piece I found over at The Conversation, Howard Berry, the Head of Post-Production and Programme Leader for MA Film and Television Production at the University of Hertfordshire uses his technical expertise to refute many of the common claims of people who say the Moon landing footage was fabricated. Claims such as “the moon landings were filmed in a TV studio”, “the flag is blowing in the wind, and there’s no wind on the moon”, “lighting in the footage clearly comes from a spotlight” along with quite a few other statements from non-believers.

I found this piece interesting not only for the reasons I mentioned above, but because the article is presented from the opposite angle to what we see so often in news these days. I’m sure we’ve all read articles in the past about technology proving alien footage we watched to have been doctored or how new algorithms are being written to spot deepfakes. But this piece uses facts, science and technology to prove that something made back in the 70’s appears to be legitimate.

I’d love to hear what your opinion on the Moon landing was and is your opinion the same? Or has it changed after checking out the full article?

Readhttps://theconversation.com/moon-landings-footage-would-have-been-impossible-to-fake-a-film-expert-explains-why-118426

These Seven Emotions Aren’t Deadly — They’re Your Secret Career Superpowers

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Most of us buy into a certain set of myths when it comes to feelings on the job. Even though emotions play a central role in our lives, we’re trained to check them at the door before we head into work… But in reality, the cost of ignoring emotions is steep.

Jakkii says: Ah, emotions. Things we often think we shouldn’t have (or wish we didn’t), but that play an important evolutionary role, as well as a social one. There’s a whole bunch of gender issues at play in regards to emotions generally, but particularly with regards to crying – ‘women shouldn’t cry at work’ or ‘women only cry to get what they want’, and ‘men shouldn’t cry at all’ – each unhelpful to individuals and to us collectively in its own way. 

I’ve spotted articles around the traps of late about crying at work: is it ever okay to cry at work?why you shouldn’t feel bad about crying at workwhat crying at work says about you and America’s work culture; and emotions in the workplace: why women shouldn’t have to play it cool. It’s an issue that comes up a lot, and with so much stigma around and focus on the negative side of emotions, it’s really no wonder collectively we’ve tended to view strong emotions as inappropriate in the workplace. It’s from that perspective that this piece caught my attention, given its much broader focus than just crying in the workplace!

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In the article – and the podcast, embedded in the piece – the point that being aware of our emotions makes us smarter is made, though somewhat surprisingly the term ‘emotional intelligence‘ is never used. Given the place of publishing, this piece has a focus on startups, however, the messages translate across workplaces and work types – and indeed, into a book (No Hard Feelings: Emotions at work and how they help us succeed) which is the basis for the piece. 

The seven emotions:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Envy
  3. Uncertainty
  4. Conflict
  5. Spiraling
  6. Not belonging
  7. Rejection

There’s a ton of detail provided about each of these emotions and tactics for using them to your advantage. You’ve probably heard – and tried to embrace – the idea that stress can be good for us, and it’s with a similar frame of mind I think we can approach other challenging emotions such as the ones highlighted in the article. I’d encourage you to set aside a bit of time to give this a good, focused read and reflect on your own experiences of emotion at work and how these tactics might help in future. 

Readhttps://firstround.com/review/these-seven-emotions-arent-deadly-theyre-your-secret-career-superpowers/

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