Facebook tinkered with users’ feeds for a massive psychology experiment

Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.
In order to sign up for Facebook, users must click a box saying they agree to the Facebook Data Use Policy, giving the company the right to access and use the information posted on the site. The policy lists a variety of potential uses for your data, most of them related to advertising, but there’s also a bit about “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” In the study, the authors point out that they stayed within the data policy’s liberal constraints by using machine analysis to pick out positive and negative posts, meaning no user data containing personal information was actually viewed by human researchers. And there was no need to ask study “participants” for consent, as they’d already given it by agreeing to Facebook’s terms of service in the first place.
Facebook data scientist Adam Kramer is listed as the study’s lead author. In an interview the company released a few years ago, Kramer is quoted as saying he joined Facebook because “Facebook data constitutes the largest field study in the history of the world.” It’s a charming reminder that Facebook isn’t just the place you go to see pictures of your friends’ kids or your racist uncle’s latest rant against the government—it’s also an exciting research lab, with all of us as potential test subjects.
Video about Facebook tinkering with users feed




Grant, Kelli B. “A Pricier 2014? You Can Thank Amazon Prime.” CNBC, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 07 July 2014. LINK

Just because Amazon Prime has its perks, are consumers really saving money?

Amazon announced last week that the $79-a-year program had a “record-setting holiday season.” Prime members get free two-day shipping on eligible items, free streaming of 150,000-plus movies and TV episodes, and free e-book borrowing from a library of more than 475,000 titles. According to the company, more than 1 million people signed up in the third week of December alone.”

During the holiday season, Amazon hit record-setting numbers. With all the perks of Amazon Prime, like free two day shipping, it is the perfect way to shop for gifts. According to Amazon, over 1 million people subscribed to Amazon Prime in just the third week of December. The convenience of Amazon Prime worked well with people’s procrastination.

“Overall,  Amazon customers spend an average of $968 on the site annually, according to a study from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released Dec. 23. That figure includes Amazon Prime members, who spend an average $1,340; Kindle device owners, who spend $1,233; and Amazon Visa cardholders, who lay out $1,529.”

Amazon customer without a prime subscription spend an average of about $968 a year and consumers with an Amazon Prime subscription spend an average of $1,340 per year. And the average increases with Kindle owners and Amazon Visa cardholders. Memberships and perks and conveniences tend to spend more. These consumers would spend more on memberships because they think the small bonuses will save them money, but it actually makes them spend more.


Wohlsen, Marcus. “Why Amazon Prime Could Soon Cost You Next to Nothing | Business | WIRED.” Conde Nast Digital, 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 08 July 2014. LINK

Most debatable thing about Amazon prime is if its worth the $99 per year. Do consumers buy enough from Amazon to justify the $99 annual fee?

“What’s more, the report says the value of those Prime members will only increase as the efficiencies built up by Amazon through its heavy spending on distribution centers and technological infrastructure start to take hold. By 2017, the report predicts Prime will have 25 million members. As Amazon’s costs fall and customer loyalty is locked in, the report’s authors anticipate Prime customers will spend even more as they start thinking of Amazon not just as the place to buy higher-ticket items like electronics but their main destination for everyday goods.”

Every year Amazon Prime increases by the millions with member subscriptions. Amazon predicts by 2017, they will have 25 million members. As Amazon Prime gets more and more popular they will decrease the costs of their items to lock in customers. Because in the future, Amazon will not only be a place to get great deals on books and electronics, but also a place for consumers to buy their everyday goods.


Epstein, Zach. “Amazon’s Secret Weapon (no, It’s Not Drones).” BGR. BGR Media, LLC, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 08 July 2014. LINK

Amazon’s secret weapon: Amazon Prime. Not really secret, but very well known and is the reason why consumers are spending so much money on Amazon.


“A new report from market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reveals Amazon’s not-so-secret secret weapon. The weapon itself — Amazon Prime — is hardly a secret, of course, but CIRP’s new study has seemingly uncovered just how big Prime is for Amazon’s business. According to CIRP’s study, which surveyed 300 Amazon Prime subscribers who made purchases over a three-month period ending in November, Prime account holders shop on Amazon twice as often as non-Prime Amazon customers. More importantly, they spend more than twice as much — CIRP found that Prime customers spend an average of $1,340 per year with Amazon while non-Prime shoppers spend $650 annually.

This means that Amazon Prime customers are almost as valuable to Amazon as Amazon Visa cardholders, who spend an estimated $1,530 annually on”

Amazon Prime members and Amazon Visa cardholders are the most important assets to Amazon. They are the consumers that spend the most money in the shortest amount of time.  Amazon Prime members spend twice as much on Amazon than non members. Like what I said in the other articles, it’s because of all the bonuses.


I started this assignment a day late. Mostly because I didn’t click the assignment until the second day because I was working on the research nugget assignment.

When I first tweeted my topic, I got one response saying my topic was interesting from Bonnie Boaz. Also, someone tweeted me saying that our topics were similar, but that was before I had changed my topic. And the one person in our section that had a topic similar to mine, I could not find his twitter to tweet at him.

Screenshot (8)


Then someone tweeted the question if anyone has ever had to deal with gender stereotypes and double standards.

Screenshot (7)


After completing this concept experience assignment, it hasn’t really changed the way I think about twitter or the project. I have a personal twitter account where I tweet about things about my personal life or what I’m doing. The twitter account I have for this class is exactly what I said it was, just a twitter account for this online course.



Tuttle, Brad. “Amazon Prime: Bigger, More Powerful, More Profitable than Anyone Imagined |” Business Money Amazon Prime Bigger More Powerful More Profitable than Anyone Imagined Comments. TIME, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 June 2014. LINK

In this reading, “Amazon Prime: Bigger, More Powerful, More Profitable than Anyone Imagined,” Tuttle claims that Amazon Prime has become one of the largest e-retailers in the world with the number of subscribers ranging from 4 million to 7 million. The main thing he talks about is how Amazon Prime affects consumers. After customers had subscribed for Amazon Prime, reports show that they spend about 150% more than they did when they weren’t members.

Even more interesting than the growing Prime ranks is what Prime seems to do to subscribers. A 2010Businessweek story stated that Amazon Prime broke even within three months of launching, not the two years predicted by its creators. That’s because customers spent as much as 150% more at Amazon after they became Prime members. Subscribers not only ordered more often, but after paying the $79 fee, they started buying things at Amazon that they probably wouldn’t have in the past. Since shipping was always speedy and free, members saved themselves a trip to the store for things like batteries and coffee beans. “In all my years here, I don’t remember anything that has been as successful at getting customers to shop in new product lines,” Robbie Schwietzer, vice president of Amazon Prime, toldBusinessweek.” 

Studies show that when Amazon Prime was first launched, it was incredibly popular. Consumers were spending 150% more than what they spent before they were Prime subscribers. Mostly because Amazon Prime was so convenient. And free two day shipping? It beat going all the way to the store if Amazon had it for cheaper and you saved time and gas money.

The net result of Prime membership — and the thing that has to scare the bejesus out of Amazon’s competition — is that it tends to cause subscribers to stop shopping anywhere else. It’s assumed that Amazon’s prices are competitive. With Prime, shipping costs become a total nonissue. Subscribers automatically defer to shopping at Amazon first because they know shipping is free. And when they spot something they like at another retailer’s site or in a store (yes, it still happens), Prime members are likely to see if Amazon also sells the item. Chances are, Amazon does, the price is about the same or better, and two-day shipping is, of course, thrown in for free.”

With free two day shipping, consumers automatically choose Amazon over any other retailer. And when a consumer goes to a store and see something they like, they usually just check it later on Amazon.


Writer, Mae Anderson AP Business. “Changing Shopping Habits Affect Wal-Mart, Amazon.” USA Today. Gannett, 01 Feb. 2014. Web. 01 July 2014. LINK

Author’s main claim is that consumers have resorted to Amazon Prime for everything, even holiday shopping and gifts.

Traditional consumer companies like Wal-Mart and Mattel have continued to struggle as Americans spend more cautiously in the uncertain economy. But has flourished as shoppers increasingly buy online rather than head to stores.”

Online shopping rose 10% to $46.5 billion in November and December, according to research firm Comscore. Meanwhile, sales at stores rose just 2.7% to $265.9 billion, according to ShopperTrak, which tracks data at 40,000 stores in the U.S. And the number of customers in stores dropped 14.6%.”

After Amazon Prime was released, more and more consumers started to buy their items online instead of heading to the store. I mean, why not? Saves time and gas money. Especially on the holidays when you’re busy working and by the time you get to the store, the crowded stores, all the good gifts will be gone.


Kline, Daniel. “Amazon Prime Members Spend Almost Twice as Much as Non-Members.” (AMZN). The Motley Fool, 23 June 2014. Web. 01 July 2014.” LINK

The main claim of this author is that Amazon Prime members are spending twice as much as non-members, which is great for Amazon.  (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in its Instant Video service and the just-launched Music service in order to maintain and grow its Prime membership base. That’s important because Prime members spend nearly twice as much as customers who are not members.

Prime subscribers spend almost $538 a year versus the $320 per year spent by non-subscribers, according to a study conducted by RBC. The survey, conducted in June 2014, was based on the answers of just over 2,000 shoppers — 708 Prime members and 1,357 non-Prime customers. The chart below shows that those who spend less than $50 per 90 days with the online retailer are less likely to join Prime. Once the expenditure over that time period goes over $50, more consumers see the value in paying for a subscription.

This makes sense — the key selling point of Prime is free two-day shipping on millions of items. The more a customer orders the better value their Prime membership is.”

Amazon Prime members spend almost twice as much than non members. Prime subscribers spend about $538 while non members spend $320 a year. Usually the people who buy more on Amazon are likely to join Amazon Prime, and the people who only buy one item every once in awhile are less likely to subscribe to Prime. Which makes sense because the consumers who usually buy a lot of things would generally want to get their item faster, and free two day shipping is a deal closer.  Amazon Prime is also offering new video and music services. They want to give members more benefits so they will stay and renew their Prime subscription.

“Locking customers into buying from Amazon is a key part of the company’s strategy but Prime is only part of those efforts. In addition to reinforcing the benefits of Prime, Amazon has also produced devices — Kindle Fire Tablets, the Fire TV set-top box, and its just-announced phone. Amazon is also experimenting with a wand that makes reordering groceries and other traditional supermarket items through the retailer’s same-day delivery service easy. So it’s pretty clear the company is not putting all its eggs into the Prime basket.”

To make sure Amazon Prime members stay and renew their Prime subscriptions, Amazon has been coming out with new products in the name of Amazon. The Kindle Fire Tablet, Fire TV box, and their new Fire cell phone. Amazon is also currently working on ways so people can order fresh groceries on their website.


1. What is your research question? This should be revised since your inquiry proposal and should begin with HOW or WHY or maybe WHAT?  Be as specific as you can. Underline the key concepts (the most important words or phrases).

 How has Amazon Prime affected consumer’s habits and behaviors on Amazon?


2.   List the key concepts you underlined in #1. After each key concept, put a colon and write the  related words or synonyms. Don’t forget to use OR for related words and concepts.

For example:
This is a weak topic because it’s so common and there’s little new to say about it, BUT since it was used in the video, I use it here for your convenience. YOUR topics are, of course, WAY better!

Euthanasia: euthenize OR mercy killing OR Assisted Suicide

Ethical: ethics OR morals OR conduct

Write your own answers here:

Amazon prime:


Behavior: habit

Consumer: buyer OR purchaser OR shopper OR customer OR user


3. Take a look at the concepts and related phrases you listed in Number 2. In the space below, use the asterisk (*) to truncate search terms as appropriate.




“Technology is an expression of man’s dreams. If man
did not indulge his fantasies, his thoughts alone
would inhibit the development of technology itself.
Ancient visionaries spoke of distant times and places,
where men flew around and about, and some could
see each other at great distance. The technological
realities of today are already obsolete and the future
of technology is bound only by the limits of our
dreams. Modern communications media and in
particular electronic media are outgrowths and
extensions of those senses which have become
dominant in our social development.”


Just reading this passage makes me think a lot about how our social lives have changed. People use to write letters to their friends or they would meet up and talk in person. Now we have phones so we can text all day, and we have social media websites to quickly contact someone or to host events. Yes, social media makes things easier and faster, but what about talking in person. Does social media and texting really help our social development? Let’s just say that there are times when we really need technology and it is the right time and place to use it, and there are other times when we should just make with what we got.


How has media today played it’s tole on human trafficking and can it help?

Most people these days think that slavery is over and that “slavery” only included African Americans. Well they are completely wrong. There is a modern day form of slavery and it is called human trafficking. Human trafficking usually occurs any where in the world  where there is the most poverty. Usually a woman in her 20’s will go out seeking a job to help earn some extra money for her family. Someone would lie to her and tell her that they have work for her, but instead would sell her for sex and forced labor.

Our media sources today play a big part in human trafficking. Internet makes it easier for people to disguise themselves to trick people into world of trouble. Or false advertisements can get people to go into something they think is completely different than what they actually are getting into.

So how come we spent years and years trying to abolish slavery back in the old days but we won’t even lift a finger to help human trafficking, which is just modern slavery? I think the biggest problem is that no one knows what it is since it is not in our history books. So the first step is we need to spread awareness. Media can help us with this. We need to write articles and put up people’s stories on the news and get celebrities to get involved.  We need to spread the word about this problem and help solve it because it doesn’t follow our inequality beliefs. How can we let women and men be forced to do what they don’t want to do?  We need to campaign about this and start more organizations to raise money. But this mostly pertains to the government and ending poverty. But what we can do to help get the government started on this is to let them know that we actually care about this and that we want it to stop. So, media can be a good thing, and a bad thing.


“In any case, it is not necessary to begin from the bottom in discussing particular process hierarchies. No person uses a process that is completely unique every time he tackles something new. Instead, he begins from a group of basic sensory-mental-motor process capabilities, and adds to these certain of the process capabilities of his artifacts. There are only a finite number of such basic human and artifact capabilities from which to draw. Furthermore, even quite different higher order processes may have in common relatively high-order sub-processes”. (Augmenting Human Intellect – Douglas C. Engelbart) 

This is one of the few parts in this article that I actually understood the first time reading it. I completely agree with this. When someone is about to solve a problem, they usually stick to the basic tactics that they already know and mastered. It will get the job done faster and it’ll be easier. But life is sometimes hard, and your method isn’t going to work 100% of the time. So if your tactic doesn’t work, approach the problem a different way. Sure, it’ll be a little harder, but you would have learned more and in the end, it’s what gets the job done.


The beach: hotels advertising and photographers capturing the ocean at its finest moments

Social networking: showing new ways to post your likes and thoughts

Books: advertising the book and making them into movies

Killer Whales in captivity: what SeaWorld tells you and what insiders tell you what really goes on behind the curtains

Shopping: how can stores advertise their merchandise? Giving out coupons and commercials on tv with new styles

Technology: new improvements to help make our lives easier. What do we need? What do we want?

Disney: DisneyWorld, DisneyLand, new merchandise, new movies. Advertising the Disney characters

Healthcare: what can we do to make this better? How can we spread the word to help those in need of health care?

World hunger: how can music, media, movies, and celebrities help spread the word so other people can help?

Human trafficking: how can media spread awareness and spread the signs to help prevent it?

Selfies: social networking and music play a big part in this

Teen pregnancy: how can media portray the dangers of teen pregnancy?

Vintage/ “hipsters”: how are brand names and media reviving this once old style?

Bullying: media can cause and prevent bullying

Marriage: media is showing the beauty of marriage and all the fun things that come with it, although they’re hiding the hardships

Hair style: does how your hair look effect your whole entire appearance? How is media portraying new hairstyles? Is media saying which hair styles are in and which are not?

Marijuana: media spreading facts about the benefits of using it regularly and why states should legalize it

Gun control: either if someone thinks we should ban guns or not, they express their opinion through media

Self-confidence: social networks and media effect people’s self esteem

School shootings: news captured the event and displayed the public’s reactions and opinions

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