MASH MY WEEK! Summary of outstanding news about the Internet, technology, and social media from December 5–11
Twitter presented its profile redesign during a press conference last week. The change is radical! Today we explain how to navigate using its new tabs.
Next, we present a summary of how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is being used academically to promote a highly integrated and helpful study environment.
Finally, we present the new European Union regulations for e-commerce. It is important to know your rights as a consumer to avoid tricks and frauds and to enjoy your shopping experience.
Twitter surprises us with a new design
View Twitter website to understand how the new profile works, since these changes are not small but radical.
It seems that the managers of this famous microblogging social network did not agree about how Twitter profiles should look. Just a few months ago, “Activities” and “@user” were added to summarize information about our actions and our followers, but now they are out of date. In a recent press conference, co-founder Jack Dorsey and CEO Dick Costolo presented a new Twitter format that eliminates the previous modifications.
The concept behind the design is still the same: send short messages for immediate exchange of ideas and information among Twitter users. However, it has evolved toward a more complex platform with greater possibilities.
Here are some of the changes:
– Profile: The Timeline is on the right and user information on the left, reversed from how it was shown before.
– Shared contents: The pictures and videos are not embedded; to display them the user must click on a link.
– Tweets: Tweets’ content and information related to them can be visualized (conversations, retweets, favorites...)
– Upper browser: Now, everything is defined in three buttons. (a) Home displays the profile main page. (b) @connect displays mentions, replies, retweets, and own tweets that others have selected as favorites. (c) #Discover suggests subjects of interest based on user location and topics followed.
Twitter executives justify these changes as supporting faster network navigation and improved content and context.
Will this turn out to be a step toward consolidating itself as a full social network?
Technology as a facilitator of good academic performance
Important technological changes also mean changes in our way of life.
Since the emergence of mobile devices with Internet access and the appearance of social networks, there has been a tendency to prohibit their use in learning environments, defining them as merely distractions.
However, there are some who think differently, and even just the opposite—that new information and communication technologies (ICTs) can facilitate the learning process.
In the ESSEC Business School in Paris, electronic devices are not only welcome but each student is given an iPad as a key academic tool. The devices help students overcome their isolation and connect immediately with their professors and peers.
Platforms such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and Google+, can have an amazing number of uses and benefits in the classroom. According to Beate Baldwin, manager of the ESSEC program, “The devices are used to create bonds within the group.” And that’s not all. Let’s imagine for a moment the possibilities for students as well as faculty. With these advanced technologies, reading materials can be downloaded from Gmail, class questions can be sent via Twitter to avoid interrupting lectures, a professor can be consulted via Facebook or Google+, and international experts can address local students via Skype.
Once more, we see that technology is not the alien demon that some have thought but an ally in intellectual and professional development.
Ten new consumer rights for e- commerce
More and more of us choose to shop and pay bills online. The growth in e-commerce and online transactions increase the necessity for regulating this market. Therefore, the European Union has created ten new rights for Internet shoppers. Because it is important that you know them, we are listing them below:
1. Eliminate hidden expenses. Do not publish misleading prices or confuse the consumer to charge a higher price than the one shown.
2. Price transparency. Clearly show the total price of a product or service.
3. Eliminate pre-selected options. Do not include check boxes selected by default to include additional products or services that the consumer has not requested.
4. Rescission period. The buyer can change or cancel an order within 14 days.
5. Reimbursement rights. In case of cancellation, the company must issue a refund within 14 days with no additional costs; the seller will be responsible for shipping expenses or damages that the product might incur.
6. Contract termination. The new format will facilitate the process of discontinuing online services.
7. Eliminate surcharge for use of credit cards. Sellers will not be able to impose additional charges for credit card use.
8. Clear information about who is paying refund costs. The information must be crystal clear.
9. Stronger protections concerning digital products. All digital content must provide detailed information.
10. Common rules for businesses, facilitating exchange of products and services in Europe.
This regulation, approved by the European Parliament, will oblige platforms, websites, and online stores to adjust to these new practices. It is important that other countries follow the EU example so the Internet can be a more secure and trustworthy environment for online consumers.