If you're sitting on the couch alone watching an event like the State of the Union, you can feel less alone if you follow its hashtag on Twitter, a lot less alone. It’s your choice, really, whether you want to join the conversation, and I (as Word of Mouth) didn’t necessarily plan to last night, but it can be kind of hard not to tweet about what we might say if we were on the air at that moment.
NHPR’s resident web trawler and afternoon host Brady Carlson is here plays Nostradamus for our Word of Mouth Futurama Edition, making some educated guesses as to where the social media explosion that’s figured so profoundly in our public and private lives in recent years will go going next.
The latest attempt to predict the future: scientists use digital data from Twitter, traffic webcams, and bazillion other places to create a model that can foresee epidemics, social upheaval, and more. That' the theory anyway. Much like the weather, you can't always count on the forecast. Sharon Weinberger writes for Nature. She tell us more about the project.
What makes someone a true friend? We use the term friend in so many different ways to refer to so many different kinds of relationships and people: we friend hundreds of people on Facebook; spouses, children, parents are all supposed to be our friends now; we have bffs, friends with benefits, and frenemies. On the one hand, when we use the term so widely we risk emptying it of all meaning. On the other hand, we use it so widely because we value friendship so highly. How can we cut through all the confusion and find our real friends? What does genuine friendship entail? Can we foster g