I'm A Facebook User...And I Vote. So Should You.

A recent study examining social networks' influence on individual behavior found that online pressure from friends to vote inspires more people to go to the polls.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

More evidence that social networks influence the behavior of millions comes from a new study showing that posting election-day information on Facebook -- pictures of friends who voted as well as messages endorsing voting -- dramatically increased the number of people who sought out additional political data and headed out to the polls. On Election Day 2010, using a group of over 60 million Facebook members as subjects, researchers posted a message and friend photos to one set, a message without photos to another set, and no message at all to a third set. People in the first set "were 2 percent more likely to say they voted and close to half a percent more likely to actually vote." Turnout results did not change for people in the second and third sets.

What's the Big Idea?

This, the largest experiment of its kind, is the latest in a series of studies on how massive participation in online social networks affects real-world behavior. Social pressure in the form of messages and friends' recommendations can be used to encourage a variety of outcomes, from purchasing certain products to taking actions to improve individual health. The penetration of Facebook and other companies of this type cannot be underestimated: "Five years ago, none of these [social networks] existed. Now, each of [them] sends trillions of digital signals every day" to people all over the world.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
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  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
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Strange Maps
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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