Why Apple’s Notification Bubbles Are so Stressful

Excerpt from this article:

I have 130 unread messages, which my phone relentlessly reminds me about in the aggressive red badge on my iMessage app. I have 15 missed calls, 99 percent of which are spam; I get to think about that robot voice berating me about my nonexistent car loan every time I see the red badge over my phone app. You don’t even want to know the number screaming at me every time I glance at my email.

These ugly red badges are a reminder of how I’m either a failure (Call your grandparents! Answer that nice text!) or a target (as is the case with the robot spammer hawking auto loans). And because of their hue, they’re difficult to ignore. I am assaulted by my phone every time I unlock it. And I’m not alone.

“They drive me insane,” Paul Sherman, an assistant professor and the program coordinator of the user experience design master’s program at Kent State University, tells me. The red, as he put it, “causes more stress and distress.”

Advertisements

Stressed at Work? Tell It to Social Media

Excerpt from this article:

Can social media thus shine a spotlight on workers’ stress levels? The authors of a new study analyzed a database of more than 2 billion tweets from almost 47 million individuals during an 18-month period. After filtering for only English-language tweets with the words “work” or “job” in the post, the authors were left with a sample of more than 8 million work-related tweets, or about 3.65 percent of all the tweets that were sent in the U.S. during that time.

…To examine weekly trends, the authors aggregated the text analysis results to correlate with the days of the week — all the Mondays together, all the Tuesdays together, and so forth. They could then calculate which days, on average, featured the most tweets about work-related stress.

Everybody really does hate Monday, it turns out. Tweets with mentions of work stress peaked at the beginning of the workweek and slowly declined through Thursday. On Friday, there was a much steeper drop-off, suggesting that people either are mentally ready to be out of the office or don’t see much point in discussing stressful work circumstances with the weekend rapidly approaching.

One would think the pattern would continue and that workers would largely feel stress-free when away from the office Saturday and Sunday. However, the analysis uncovered a different pattern: Negative emotions and stress-related comments don’t decrease steadily from Friday through the weekend, but actually begin to pick up Saturday and increase markedly on Sunday. Clearly, the “Sunday blues” are no myth — people begin fretting about their jobs as the weekend draws to a close and the stresses of Monday morning loom on the horizon.

What makes a tweet believable?

Generic picture of person texting

Excerpt from this article:

At times of natural disasters, terror attacks or unrest, Twitter lights up with first-hand experiences, emotion, rumours and speculation. The bigger the news, the more sensational a story, the more noise there is, the further information travels and the harder it becomes to detect the truth. Yet this is when it is also most important to sort out fact from fiction from the frenzied maelstrom of social media.

That’s when swearing comes in. Cussing is one of the clues to figuring out whether a tweet is coming from someone caught up in a major news event rather than a fraud. Letting off a string of expletives seems a natural reaction to a life-or-death scenario.

The f-word turns out to be one of the ingredients in the magic formula sought by scientists studying how to automatically rank the credibility of individual messages. At times of stressful events, such as a plane crash or natural disaster, swear words tend to suggest a message comes from someone in the middle of it all.

Scientists trying to detect the language of truth are less concerned about the actual content of a message. For them, the clues to truth lie in the wording and punctuation of a message.

Email Debt Forgiveness Day

Excerpt from this article, and check out the Reply All podcast for lots of stories on digital behaviours:

April 30th [is] a new holiday – Email Debt Forgiveness Day. If there’s an email response you’ve wanted to send but been too anxious to send, you can send it on April 30th, without any apologies or explanations for all the time that has lapsed. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been. Just include a link to this explainer, the one you’re reading right now, so that your recipient knows what’s going on…Together, we can all make our inboxes less stressful.

ASMR therapy: Videos of people whispering is the latest YouTube craze

Excerpt from this article:

As the stresses of modern life multiply, the quest for relaxation has never been more desperate. Screens are staying on longer, there are those Minority Report style video adverts on the Tube, and film trailers at the cinema are getting louder (I’m certain of it). So how can we find peace amongst the electric drone of the online era?

The answer could be to watch videos of people whispering – or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), the phenomenon being described as the latest YouTube craze.

See also, this episode of the podcast This American Life for more on the phenomenon.