Call Me Maybe…Or Don’t, It’s Cool

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“I’m not sure what time we’re supposed to meet up tonight. I’ll just call him,” I muttered to a group of friends while we were discussing a guy I was newly seeing. I glanced up from my phone to wide eyes and horrified expressions. “What?” I asked, defensively…but I knew what. I had anticipated this reaction. Boys don’t do phone calls unless you’re already dating. “Well, don’t call him, it might freak him out. Just text him,” was their unanimous decision.

When did everyone become so scared of using their phone as an actual phone? Did Alexander Graham Bell work his semi-colonial ass off so that I could wait around for a text message that reads “What’s goodie?”

For a generation of people that pays more attention to our phones than we do almost any other medium of technology, it’s startling how resistant we are to making (and receiving) phone calls. Don’t get me wrong, this is a two-way street. Girls are just as weirded out by the phone as guys are. Even when it comes to arranging a non-committal hookup, most consider a phone call a red flag. “Wait…why is he calling me?” is the common response to a guy’s digits flashing across her phone at the bar, but “GUYS, he wants to hang out later,” is more probable if he sends a text asking what’s up.

I may not be able to put an end to this international communication pandemic, but at the very least, I can exploit my own personal experiences with phone calls to raise awareness (because I am a woman of the people).

At 13 Years Old

Ah, the year of my own phone line. If I had to designate a period of my life as my prime, I’d have to say that this was it. I was unstoppable. Three way calls? No problem. Instant message you after school? How cute! You must not have your own private phone line equipped with your own phone number and answering machine recording that you change every other day. NEXT.

Luckily, I had my mom to serve as my personal secretary when I was out taking part in recreational activities (playing manhunt) or giving back to the community (babysitting my neighbors for free). “Tiffany, Thomas is on the phone!” she would yell if I was too tied up to get to the phone at the moment. This tactic quickly granted me the upper hand in the relationship, a point that was further proven when I received a souvenir box from his trip to Aruba with ten dollars stuffed into it. (I was advised to give the money back, but we all know I pocketed that shit). Our breakup conversation went as follows:

Me: “Hello?”

Boy: “Hi, are you still mad at me?”

Me: “Yes, Thomas, I am still mad at you because my hair still smells like whipped cream from your field day pie-contest antics and I also have a bruise from the water balloon you threw at me at Tara’s end of the yard party. I don’t think this is going to work out. Sorry.”

At 17 Years Old

At this point in life, I’d considered myself pretty seasoned when it came to relationships. After all, my Harry Potter-hybrid boyfriend had just recently broken up with me on my house phone (I can’t recall why this particular conversation didn’t take place on my cell, but I know that it seemed A LOT more personal when he told me he wanted to “do his own thing” during his senior year of high school on a line that my parents EASILY could have been listening in on.).

Fast-forward: It was at least 9 months before the Junior Prom, aka time to start shottying dates. My former-bestie-turned-arch-nemesis had already asked two of boys that I was thinking of asking (LOL #HIGHSCHOOL), so my sister and I brainstormed a list of potential prom suitors in my basement. We came up with the perfect choice, and I considered calling him, but after much deliberation settled for a text message that was straight and to the point, with a smiley face thrown in for good measure.

Me: “Hey, SO random, but, do you want to go to prom with me? Haha :)”

 Boy: “Who is this?”

Me: “…Tiffany.”

I decided then and there that I was NOT ABOUT THAT TEXT MESSAGE LIFE.

At 21 Years Old:

It’s probably not necessary for me to go into specifics here, because pretty much every conversation with any boy that year went as follows:

Me: “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! What are you doooooing?”

Boy: “Hey, nothing where are you”

Me: “I’m at Queeeeens taking shots– oh my god you will NOT believe what Lauren just did!”

Boy: “What did Lauren just do?”

*DROPS PHONE, CALLS BACK*

Me: “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! What are you doooooing?”

At (Almost) 24 Years Old

Blame it on brunch mimosas or pure frustration, but one recent Saturday morning I decided that it was bullshit that this guy that I hadn’t seen in years was leaving heart comments on my Instagram photos and writing me 140 character love notes on Twitter, but couldn’t muster up the courage to call me on the phone and ask me to hang out.

Me: “I’m calling him.”

My friends: “Are you serious?”

Me: “Yes.”

DIALS. NO ANSWER

My friends: “He’s totally staring at his phone wondering if you butt-dialed him.”

RECEIVES TEXT MESSAGE: “Hey, was that a butt dial? I’m hoping it wasn’t.”

*TAKES SIP OF MIMOSA. CALLS HIM BACK. *

Boy: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, are you going to continue to stalk me on social media or are you actually going to ask me to hang out?”

It didn’t work out, for obvious reasons, BUT I WILL NOT GIVE UP HOPE. Somewhere out there lives a living and breathing male creature who won’t assume that I’m undergoing a psychotic break for returning his text message with a phone call. Until then, call me maybe…or don’t, it’s cool.

Are You a Savvy Tweeter?

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A character count connoisseur? An algorithm aficionado? As it turns out, the big bad internet has got you beat. (Okay, at least it had me beat).

Yesterday afternoon The Upshot, the data-driven section of New York Times, put tweeters to the test. A new algorithm developed by three Cornell University computer scientists’ claims to outperform the average person in telling which of two similar tweets will be retweeted more. As I made my way through the quiz, I was pretty impressed with myself (though I tended to predict Diddy’s tweets better than President Obama’s so I’m not exactly sure what that says about my journalistic credibility), only to find that the algorithm beat me by 4 points.

This corresponding article by Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, goes on to explain why social media-ites and the rest of the digi-sphere must remain calm. While this algorithm is tremendously impressive, it doesn’t mean that we should all go pulling out our resumes just yet, and here’s why.

Correlation does not equal causation

You  thought I was done making Psych 101 course references in my blog, didn’t you? #Nope.

“We care about predicting retweets mainly because we want to write better tweets. And we assume these two tasks are related. If Netflix can predict which movies I like, surely they can use the same analytics to create better TV shows. But it doesn’t work that way,” write Mullainathan.

Basically, you could change your tweets to mimic those being retweeted more, but it won’t promise any change in your followers’ behavior. If I’m a bartender and 5 dudes order Michelob Ultras consecutively, it still wouldn’t make sense for me to keep one on deck for the next dude (because hopefully, he would NEVER order a Michelob Ultra and then we would date).

Quality vs. Quantity

The algorithm found that longer tweets were more likely to be retweeted…but that’s only because the lengthier tweets contained more content. Your best bet is to stick with the “less is more principle” when it comes to character count, but to pack as much content into your tweet as possible

Novelty

Another fault (IN OUR STARS! LOL!) of the algorithm is its inability to predicting what’s interesting…which is good, because otherwise I (along with other content creators and trend forecasters) would be out of a job.

Take viral videos for example. How much did you laugh at that baby that falls down when somebody sneezes? How hard did you laugh the 5th time you saw it? The same goes for celebrity/entertainment news. It’s novel to see how Justin Bieber is effing his life up when one source breaks the story, but when your entire feed consists of different sources relaying the same information you read before lunch, you’re more likely to skip over it. Therefore, while the tweet predictor can pick up on something that is drawing attention, it’s more likely to exploit it than anything else.

So go forth, my fellow tweeters! Tell me about your annoying co-workers or how you’re going DTS this weekend and I will proceed to retweet you if and when I feel like it.

Namaste.

Move Over Psychology, Facebook Is Making Some Serious Personality Assessment Moves

Attention incoming college freshman: I suggest you pre-order your Psychology 101 books instead of trading upperclassmen for a hand-me-down edition with a case of Bud Light. Why? There’s a new personality theorist in town: Facebook.

Skinner, Eysenck, Maslow and Freud are going to have to make some extra room at their lunch table (we hope that Zuckerberg wears pink on Wednesdays) because according to a new app created by Five Labs, our everyday actions on Facebook showcase enough of our personalities to generate immediate assessments (how are you feeling about that ” haha BRB lightin this blunt, YOLO” status right about now?)

After reading this NY Times post last week,  I decided to give the personality tool a try, and I’m definitely not complaining about being compared to industry leaders like Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg along with my forever WCW Jennifer Lawrence (I can’t take all the credit on this one- I post about red wine and embarrassing moments a lot), but Facebook still doesn’t seem like the most…reliable judge of personality.

blog 1What do you think? Is your Facebook Personality on point?