Presented without comment #8

Is Twitter Biased? Yep‘ by Jonathan Oake at Spongeist.

Is Twitter biased? Of course it is. It is a self-selecting sample, and as such will always exhibit a bias. If you set up a stall offering free cupcakes, you’re going to get a sample bias towards the kind of people who like cupcakes. If you set up an online short-messaging service which integrates especially well with internet-capable mobile devices, and is particularly useful for sharing links, you’re going to get a strong bias towards:

1. People who use the internet (students, white-collar knowledge workers)

2. People who have internet-enabled mobile phones (white collar knowledge workers)

3. People who are well-read (students and white-collar knowledge workers)

Are Twitter Trends the New Barbershop?‘ by Tanner Higgin, at Gaming the System.

Recently, a friend of mine joined Twitter and the first direct message he sent me was a simple question: “Why are all the people posting on Twitter trendsblack?”

It was an intentionally exaggerated but honest and innocent question and one I had been thinking about a lot lately. In the past few months, I had unscientifically noticed there was a a new topic trending each day supported by tweets from predominantly black users. (And let me note here that my trends are geolocated and cover the LA metro area so this may be different, or perhaps not even apply, depending on where you’re living…)

The Story of #ims211‘ by Sean Duncan, at

At the time, I had around 750 followers on Twitter, with a small cluster of game developers, educators, scholars, and journalists following me. I figured we’d get maybe 10-20 tweets back at us, just saying “yo.” Then, I assumed, the class would get my point that Twitter is a simple and amiable way to connect with a variety of folks interested in games. What I didn’t expect was that my tweet would get retweeted as widely as it did — thanks to a number of folks (Darius KazemiJason McIntoshBen Abraham, among others) for getting the ball rolling. That ball kept on picking up speed, and I think entered orbit sometime mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Why a lack of empathy is the root of all evil‘ by Clint Witchalls at The Independent.

In his latest book, Zero Degrees of Empathy: A new theory of human cruelty, Baron-Cohen, argues that the term evil is unscientific and unhelpful. “Sometimes the term evil is used as a way to stop an inquiry,” Baron-Cohen tells me. “‘This person did it because they’re evil’ – as if that were an explanation.”

“Empathy is our ability to identify what someone else is thinking or feeling, and to respond to their thoughts and feelings with an appropriate emotion,” writes Baron-Cohen. People who lack empathy see others as mere objects.