Selfie Nation

Woman’s Selfie With Stolen Dress Gets Her Arrested

Dummy. (Photo: KFVS)

When will criminals ever learn?

Over the weekend, the owners of Mortie’s Boutique in Illinois said their store was robbed of a rather distinctive “leopard color dress.” The store’s surveillance video showed a woman breaking into the store and taking several items, including that dress. So, they made a Facebook post to ask if anyone in the apparently small town of West Frankfort had seen the dress. Read More

App for That

You’re Not Popular Enough to Use Facebook’s New App, Nerd

Facebook Mentions user, Austin Mahone. (Photo: iTunes)

Being popular is hard. But being social media popular is really hard.

Facebook released today a new iPhone app called Mentions, but you’re not cool enough to use it. It’s only “verified public figures” — i.e. Katy Perry and others who have a blue check mark next to their names — in an effort by the social network to wean them off competing websites (cough, Twitter, cough) when they feel the urge to overshare. Read More

Selfie Nation

Israelis Can’t Stop Taking ‘Bomb Shelter Selfies’

2014!. (Photo: Facebook)

As the violent conflict between Israel and Gaza continues, Israelis are passing time in the most 2014 way possible: They’re taking selfies.

The new phenomenon, dubbed “bomb shelter selfies” as reported by the Jerusalem Post, is a group picture of smiling people waiting out their time until the missile warning sirens stop emitting their terrifying noise. A Facebook group dedicated to the trend has amassed more than 1,500 likes in the past few days. Read More

Thought Experiments

This Plugin Lets You, Not Facebook, Decide How Your News Feed Makes You Feel

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 3.42.16 PM

A couple weeks ago Facebook came clean: it wasn’t just your ex and the photos of him and his new girlfriend that were playing with your emotions. It was an inside job. Facebook’s data scientists — or perhaps we should call them omnipotent puppeteers — had manipulated users’ feeds without their consent.

Now, after public outcry and a lackluster apology from Sheryl Sandberg, Brooklyn artist and programmer Lauren McCarthy is helping us reclaim our feelings. Her latest experiment is called the Facebook Mood Manipulator, a Google Chrome extension that allows users to adjust the content of their news feeds according to how they want to feel. Read More

Adventures in Venture Capital

Let GitHub Sort Unicorn Investors From the Real Deal

Peter Thiel (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Venture capital returns follow the power law, according to Peter Thiel.  He’s right. Look at your favorite venture capitalist, then look at her exits. You may see many names you know, but start to break down for how much each one sold or how much they are valued. You’ll see just one or two big wins swamp the rest.

Peter Thiel himself made almost all of his startup returns from Facebook, not directly from his years at PayPal. Even the venerable Y Combinator sees almost all future profits deriving from just two companies: AirBnB and DropBox. Read More