EdTech Purchasing, Google Walkout, Instagram Slave Trade, More: Friday Evening ResearchBuzz, November 1, 2019


EdScoop: Edtech purchasing a guessing game for schools, but new data could help. “To help schools make sense of the overwhelming number of educational technology products available, a team of education experts have developed an evidence-based resource that will improve the process of edtech acquisition and implementation, a nonprofit group announced last week.”


CNET: Google walkout 1 year on: Questions, pride and unmet demands. “The Google protests didn’t achieve everything their organizers were seeking. Several Google workers and former workers are dissatisfied with the company’s response. Organizers say the company has done the bare minimum to address concerns, and employees allege that it has retaliated against workers and sought to quash dissent.”

BBC: Kuwait moves on Instagram slave traders after BBC investigation. “Kuwaiti authorities say they have officially summoned the owners of several social media accounts used to sell domestic workers as slaves. A BBC News Arabic investigation found online slave markets on apps provided and made available by Google and Apple, including Facebook-owned Instagram.”

MarketWatch: Facebook shares pop after revenue jumps 29%. “The social-networking giant reported third-quarter net income of $6.09 billion, or $2.12 a share, compared with $5.14 billion, or $1.76 a share, in the year-ago period. The stock rose 3.9% in premarket trade Thursday.”


Lifehacker: All the Different Ways You Can Silence Stupid People on Facebook. “Tempting as it is to tell off or block everything that annoys you, you have plenty of other options for reducing the impact stupid Facebook people have on your daily life. Here’s a handy escalation chart.” I’m not a proponent of going around calling random people stupid, but I do believe in protecting your mental health.

MakeUseOf: How to Plot and Write a Novel With 12 Free Templates & Worksheets. “Writing your first novel can be more daunting in life than actually putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. The untouched page is a frank sign of how much work there is to do…. Yet getting started is easier once you’ve done some initial prep work on your story; its structure, characters, and how on earth you’re going to get this thing out of your head. That’s where these free novel-writing templates and worksheets prove handy.” This is for every single one of you out there who vows to do NaNoWriMo every goldang year, and every year you blow it to the point that you’re now anxious about it, and even though it’s only November 1 you’re already beating yourself up over failing this year. This is for you. You are my people.


Getty Blog: Why the Getty Center Is the Safest Place for Art During a Fire. “A major brush fire, dubbed the Getty Fire, broke out in the early morning hours of October 28, 2019, and consumed over 600 acres to the north and west of the Getty Center. Many of you—our visitors, readers, and followers on social media—were immediately concerned about the safety not only of firefighters, nearby residents, and staff, but also of the precious artworks and archival collections housed at the Getty. Were there plans to evacuate the collection? There is no need to evacuate the art or archives, because they are already in the safest place possible: the Getty Center itself. Opened in 1997, the Center is a marvel of anti-fire engineering. Both indoors and outdoors, its materials, design, construction, operations, and controls are purpose-built for safety.”

Search Engine Land: Why you may not have noticed the Google BERT update. “Google introduced the BERT update to its Search ranking system last week. The addition of this new algorithm, designed to better understand what’s important in natural language queries, is a significant change. Google said it impacts 1 in 10 queries. Yet, many SEOs and many of the tracking tools did not notice massive changes in the Google search results while this algorithm rolled out in Search over the last week. The question is, Why?” Mr. Schwartz with a great explainer on the BERT update.


Mashable: A majority of kids have smartphones by middle school, study finds . “Between 2015 and 2019, the age at which a majority of kids have a smartphone dropped from roughly 13-14 to 11, according to new research. A new study from Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization that seeks to inform parents about safe technology and media for children, found that 53 percent of kids have their own smartphone by the age of 11. By age 12, more than 69 percent of kids do.”

Slate: How Much Were Politicians Even Using Ads on Twitter?. “… do ads on Twitter… really matter? Because Twitter is used by so many politicians, journalists, activists, and, well, trolls, the platform overall plays an influential role in any presidential election. But business analysts estimate that money from political ads is not likely to be critical for Twitter’s revenues—and, by extension, is probably not very critical to the campaigns.” Compare the campaigns’ side-by-side spending on Twitter vs. Facebook and you’ll understand why Jack Dorsey had no problem banning political advertising. Good evening, Internet…

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