Facebook admits Stereotypes and Unconscious Bias play into Its Low Employee Diversity Numbers

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg  has said publicly that “diverse staffs”perform better than non-diverse ones and that his company is making an effort to disproportionately hire more women and minorities to ensure there is racial and gender diversity in his social media company’s workforce.

Facebook released its EEO Report filed last Thursday which revealed how much of a racial imbalance there is in that company, and how far it has to go to achieve Zuckerberg’s goal.

The report summarized its 2013 racial and gender workforce breakdown, which shows comparatively its 2012 numbers.

For example, in 2013, Facebook only hired 7 new black employees out of  1,231 new hires.

Seven.

*slow blink*

Only one was a black woman.

*sigh*

The percentage of all women also dropped from the previous year by  1%.

Meanwhile, the representation of Hispanics and Mixed Race employees remained at 4 and 3% respectively.

In sum, those new hire numbers bumped up the total number of black females employed at Facebook to 11 and male to 34 that year compared to the previous year.

Then and now, none in the companies executive and senior management positions is black.

That’s pretty pitiful for a company that boasts 1.4 billion users, most of whom are people of color if you include users from around the world.

Notwithstanding these deplorable numbers, Facebook’s Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams responded to the report:

“We need a team that understands and reflects many different communities, backgrounds and cultures. Research also shows that diverse teams are better at solving complex       problems and enjoy more dynamic workplaces. So at Facebook we’re serious about building a workplace that reflects a broad range of experience, thought, geography, age, background, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture and many other characteristics.”

Hmm… I think I’ve seen this explanation before…

ah yes, it sounds eerily like a previous post I had done discussing the ways companies explain the absence of racial diversity among their workforce.

Number one reason given is “We describe diversity differently.”

And these words in essence came from a woman I’m sure is talented, capable and confident at what she does,  but who sadly represents the #2 way companies with a diversity deficit wrongly attempt to fix it: they place a minority person to serve in a position  like, “Senior Vice President of Diversity and Talent” or “ CEO of Diversity and Talent Recruitment” with expectation that this person will diversify the staff.

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Facebook’s Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams

Um…

Zuckerberg himself has offered that stale excuse of blaming it on the fact that minorities and girls “self-select” out of doing computer science education.

“It’s this problem because it’s not even clear where you would start attacking it,” he said at a public forum last year. “You need to start earlier in the funnel so that girls don’t self-select out of doing computer science education, but at the same time, one of the big reasons why today we have this issue is that there aren’t a lot of women in the field today.”

Similar retorts are said about Blacks and Hispanics even though they make up 9% each of computer science graduates.

Those graduates still don’t get hired at tech companies.

Women earn just 18% of Computer Science degrees, but they too still don’t make it in large numbers in those jobs…well not the tech jobs.

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Women make up nearly half 48% of non-tech jobs at Facebook. ..and by women, I mean White Women, because remember they had 11 black women out of 4,263 in 2013.

And that brings me to my other point: Facebook manages to fill the non-tech jobs with White Women but uses as an excuse for not hiring Blacks and Hispanics that they don’t have technical background or degrees.

They didn’t even have black janitors! And they had just two black women as secretaries or admin assistants out of 121.

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Facebook’s own Career page shows there are jobs at the company that do NOT require a computer science degree like in the legal, finance, facilities, communications, public policy, human resources, data analytics, marketing, sales and business development departments.

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What gives???

The main answer  is plain and simple: conscious or unconscious bias.

Given equal qualifications and experience, those who hire usually select candidates they feel comfortable with, who they can see themselves chilling after work with or who simply resemble, physically, their current co-workers, supervisors and social circle.

Also, interviewers are humans and we all carry around preconceived notions about others based on superficial things like their dress, weight, height, name and tone of speech or inflection.

Those are attributes that should be more or less non-consequential, yet they remain dormant at rest in all of our psyche, but awaken when it’s time for recall and to make a perception of a person.  And when making a hiring decision, that perception plays a big factor as well.

So, if you walk into the room with the same gender and race as the interviewer, you are awarded unconsciously a check mark that you may fit in…until you open your mouth and maybe prove otherwise.

The Black or Hispanic candidate, on the other hand, would have to prove that they could fit in. They are not rewarded with the positive side of bias.

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I have a black female friend who is a Harvard and MIT graduate who has traveled to over 30 countries, has multiple interests, has had phenomenal experiences in life and during her travels, is very social, personable and has a varied and very diverse social circle.

She applied to several top tech companies for jobs, yet none hired her after she got to the interview stage.

Clearly, she had the education and background and made it all the way to the final stages but….????

This result despite they all aware of the fact that they all have that pesky 2%  problem.

Things that make you go hmmmm…

Now this may sound ridiculous, but I honestly think that if someone were to do blind testing among employers withholding all these superficial things from their knowledge and even go so far as disguise a voice so there are no clues from inflection or give away the gender of the candidate, I’m pretty sure that would reveal their choices may be different without the benefit or detriment of unconscious bias clouding the picture.

The thing with assigning the problem to unconscious bias is that it shifts the blame away from women and minorities, who are always being told that THEY need to network more, attend more conferences, intern more or try to get to know the leaders in the industry more or to get Comp Sci degrees (even when it isn’t required for the job).

All of a sudden, the onus is squarely on the tech firms to try to neutralize unconscious bias that most likely contribute highly to these low numbers.

Thankfully, the summary released with the report indicates that Facebook has started a program to deal with Unconscious Bias. This is one of steps it’s  taking to tackle the diversity issue along with expanding the talent pool search area and training potential hires internally and through supporting others’ external efforts.

The summary includes:

“We also know that all the effort we’re putting into finding more diverse talent will be futile if we don’t ensure that we have an inclusive culture that can truly support diversity. As such, we completely reworked our Managing Bias training course to be harder hitting and the starting point for honest conversations about stereotypes and unconscious bias. It is designed to surface biases that people might not even realize they have, and gives people the tools to identify and interrupt biased behavior as it occurs. Our entire management team has taken the class and we are rolling it out to our teams across the world”

After implementing this training along with other strategies, I would be eager to see what its soon to be released 2014 numbers will look like.

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Congress can Un-stuck & Restore America’s Net Policy Continuum

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They say the road to heaven is paved with good intentions.

This idiom can also apply to rules, policies and procedures that some governments create to protect their citizens that have unintended consequences.

So could be said of the recent efforts by those wanting to preserve the free and open internet by supporting efforts of the FCC to pass strict rules controlling the Internet in order to save it from future anticipated problems. Even as the new Net Neutrality rules, recently adopted, were going into effect, court challenges were being drafted and filed. Some litigants have asked judicial bodies to review the legality of the new FCC regulations and others have filed requests to stop their enforcement until the conclusion of the guaranteed-to-be- lengthy litigation process.

All of this was an anticipated outcome that most following these issues foresaw.

While the legal wrangling ensue, investment dollars and the valuable next killer web-based service or app risk being stalled. Recent reports indicate that Venture Capitalists are already avoiding startups that require high performance broadband speeds because of the anticipated additional costs of the Network Neutrality regulations.

But there is an alternative.

The Internet Innovation Alliance recently released a paper andinfographic called “Permanently Securing Net Neutrality” which summarize the US policy towards Internet regulation. In sum, it shows the history of how the American government has always taken a hands off approach.

 

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This “light touch” treatment for close to 50 years of regulation is responsible for the robust digital marketplace we all enjoy now. It is why people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can start, build and grow thriving revenue-generating businesses from scratch after starting with just a few hundred dollars. Many “Team Internet” entrepreneurs including bloggers, YouTubers, Etsy shop owners, website owners, and start up founders whose offerings rely on the internet owe their success or opportunity for success to this traditional policy perspective that was by nature, also nurturing.

It has encouraged unencumbered innovation and creativity.

It can continue, but not if the regulatory agency tasked with overseeing the net is tied up in endless and cyclical litigation.

The solution the IIA paper suggests is for the Dems and Repubs on the Hill to work together on passing a bi-partisan Congressional bill that would settle the matter. As IIA co-chair Jamal Simmons recently suggested in a CNBC opinion piece, a newly-crafted law would remove the politics from an important issue that shouldn’t be weighted by partisanship.

A new law would appease all the concerns Net Neutrality advocates have about throttling, inequity and discrimination, while taking into consideration the dynamic and rapidly changing Internet ecosystem we have now, in a way the old Title II regulations do not and cannot.

For sure, a new law is the only way we can ensure a workable outcome that is strengthened by finality. It would surmount the legal infirmities of the FCC’s net neutrality rules which will subject it to litigation battles for years to come.

It’s time for a new Net Law Now.

originally published in Medium

https://medium.com/@JenebaSpeaks/congress-can-un-stuck-restore-america-s-net-policy-continuum-c70b30bc3eb4

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Bristol Palin describes her 2nd unwed pregnancy as “disappointing”

 

Congratulations to Bristol Palin who is expecting her second child. 

The former Dancing With The Stars contestant announced the news which she described as “disappointing” in a blog post today:

“I wanted you to be the first to know that I am pregnant,” she wrote on her blog. “Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one.

 “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you,” she added.

The former two-time reality show star and memoir author continued, “at the end of the day there’s nothing I can’t do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is put in front of me with dignity and grace. 

Bristol, whose mom is the former Alaska governor and U.S. Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, was engaged to U.S. Marine veteran Dakota Meyer.  The two called off their wedding days before the blessed event.

Bristol was thrust into the limelight when her mom, a staunch family values advocate, had to announce her pregnancy on the first day of the Republican presidential convention. She later got engaged to Levi Johnston who is the father to her first son in December 2008.  They broke up a few months after, however.
She did not disclose who is her second child’s dad is. 

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Broadband Access Credited for Teen Pregnancy Reduction

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Broadband access is being credited for decreasing teen pregnancy, The Guardian reports

A recent study at the German Institute (IZA) concluded that “at least 13% of the total decline in the teen birth rate between 1999 and 2007 can be explained by increases in high speed internet access” in the United States.

Melanie Guldi from the University of Central Florida and Chris Herbst from Arizona State University conclude:

“Broadband internet has the potential to shape in powerful ways the nature and intensity of individuals’ social connections as well as the quantity and quality of information received on relationships and sexual health … Americans are increasingly turning to the internet for a wide range of advice on romantic relationships, sex, and contraceptive methods.

“Americans – including teens – are asking for guidance on everything from whether they should have sex with a certain individual and the most effective forms of contraception to how to deal with a cheating boyfriend. Teens, who now spend more time engaging with various forms of media – much of it on-line – than any other activity (aside from sleep), are particularly well-positioned to take advantage of new information and relationship landscape created by explosion in broadband internet.”

Reducing teen pregnancies is just one of the many plus-sides of increased broadband access. Recent research shows that better internet connections can increase monthly household income by £200 ($314) in developed households, by improving access to learning and working from home.

Sounds simplistic, but the decline in teen pregnancies could also be that they’re too busy watching YouTube.

This Article Originally appeared in the blog, 

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My analysis of Facebook’s New Author Tags: Cautiously Optimistic but Jury is Still out

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The Digital Publisher challenge

One of bloggers and digital publishers’ biggest challenges is courting repeat visitors and getting sufficient page views from visitors that can be converted into revenue from ad sales or other purchases.

Even popular bloggers who have active Facebook pages must deal with the problem of their Facebook fans engaging only on the popular social media site without ever clicking the link to their blog posts that they fed to their Facebook page. 

You’ll see, for example, the page’s followers debating and arguing with each other about a blogger’s post over a topic that would be easily resolved by just clicking on the attached link. These heated debates, you see on occasion, prove that many of their average followers do not engage on their actual website.
So, Facebook ends up benefiting for the fact users do not navigate too much away from the site.

It’s not like Facebook needs more hits given it already boasts about $1.14 billion users, many of whom interact with and access the site multiple times each day.

Publishers and Facebook partner

Publishers realize the value of that active audience database and 9 of the biggest news sites  (The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel Online and Bildrecently partnered up with Facebook as it forayed into the content creation business.

The recently announced Instant Articles platform will take the feeds from these popular news sites and convert them into articles and load them onto Facebook at a rate that is 10 times load faster than the typical mobile website.

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Again, Facebook users who rarely navigate away from the site anyway will get to read an article directly on the site. Of course, this is great for Facebook.

But their initial partner Publishers will be able to benefit by using embedded ads or  ad integrated brand placement and marketing to generate money off the site’s users.

What about the little guys?
But what about the rest of us and the smaller publishers and bloggers?

To bring other publishers into the mix, Facebook launched last week its author tag program. At first blush, it seems to be similar to the Google authorship program which did the same thing: connect readers to other content an author has produced.

But as we know, Google’s authorship program didn’t really get off the ground too well and eventually fizzled out this year.

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But Facebook is different in that it has the benefit of already being the social media platform of choice for millions of people.

Its author tag program may actually help writers more.

How Does It Work?

Authors, journalists and bloggers embed a code onto their sites and then when their site feeds to their Facebook page, audiences will see a hyperlink to the author’s name.

Readers then will be given the option to follow the author so that future articles that writer posts onto the site will be fed automatically to the followers. Alternatively or concurrently, a reader could also click a link to see other articles the author has contributed to or written.

It could be a great way for a blog or website’s content to get delivered to more audiences, to include those who do not already follow the blog, site or author’s Facebook fan page.

It seems like a good way to expand a writer’s reach and get an author more exposure, and so too for website owners and bloggers.

I am cautiously optimistic.

I think this tag experiment could also be useful for owners of very popular Facebook pages who are bloggers. They could expand their fan base to include actual “readers” (and not just commenters) to click the links to their websites and read their content.

For less popular sites or sites with less active Facebook pages, this program could help them grow a potential community of active readers that will engage with other readers on their fan page and start meaningful conversations that could spill onto their blog’s comment pages, possibly.

I have yet to see any blogger or writer activate their author tag.

I know that one of my blogs already have a link that gives readers the choice to follow  the blog or like its fan page.

Eventually, I plan to test it out and see if it sends new readers.

Last week, Facebook also announced a change to its algorithms so that it will essentially boost articles that users spend more time reading.

In the digital publishing world, premium is put on reader retention. And Facebook too is rewarding this metric.

To the extent, having the author tag will boost a less popular blogger’s Facebook page and article and thereby getting their content boosted in FB’s algorithms and consequently in more news feeds, then it sounds more like a winner than not.

I’ll let you guys know how it turns out!

 

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18 Tom Ford Quotes Every Perfectionist Can Relate To

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I was doing one of my favorite pastimes, scouring Pinterest for inspiration and ideas and I bumped into a Tom Ford quote that described me perfectly. And, if you know how Pinterest works, you know that it offers you similar “pins” to check out. I did that and discovered a few other quotes that I could also relate to.

Digging deeper after some research, I found out he is a Virgo like I am. Interesting. Tom Ford has a brilliant mind. He is known for saying some pretty provocative things in interviews.

Here are my fave 18 quotes I discovered (including the one above) that I think describe me, my mind, my life and perspective on work and other topics perfectly.  They could also apply to hustlers, work-a-holics, Type-A types and other perfectionists.

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  tom ford 13 - Copy

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Why Twitter’s biz model is not as lucrative as Facebook & Pinterest.

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Twitter‘s CEO Dick Costolo will step down, New York Times reports.

Part of the reason the 5-year Chief of the popular social media company is relinquishing his post is because of its struggles to grow its user database, increase ad revenue and get side projects launched and successful.

Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t have the same flexibility to do the old bait and switch to a pay for  prioritization model that Facebook can do.

I have had several public Facebook groups and business pages over the past 6 years or so. Before Facebook started allowing ads and sponsored post boosts, each of my posts would receive thousands of views. I know because we had analytics enabled then too.

However, the minute Facebook started letting people pay for boosts, the view count went down to the single digit in some cases. The content had not changed.

At first I wondered if the company had decide to change the way it counted views. Then I figured, the algorithm had changed so that the factors that would determine if my post would reach to the top of most users’ news feeds.

The more popular posts will cycle back up periodically through the day because it means users deem the content valuable if they decide to give it a thumbs up endorsement.

But for those, like me, who don’t have enough Facebook fans to get pushed to the top were stuck!

We could however get a boost and those numbers, for a cost as low as $5.00.

Great! Paid for prioritization. They had gotten us used to FREE prioritization in the past but now the site knew it had a cash cow in FB page owners.  This is the ultimate Freemium.

For $60 dollars I could get up to 26,000 people to see my post. Remember, before, I already was getting about 26,000 views per post. But because I realize the importance of brand outreach and brand awareness, it’s worth it!

I do not begrudge Facebook for making this business decision as I would do the same if I had a captive audience of 50 million Facebook Group pages, including $40 million small business pages like mine that want to grow.

Similarly, Pinterest, which used to allow users to pin photos that were linked to their affiliate account, and had people earning as much as $1,000 a day, reversed its policy.

Recently, it announced it would block affiliate links, reasoning because it contributed to a lot of spam on the image-sharing social media site.

But if you want to continue to earn money from affiliate pinning, you can but you have to share the earnings with Pinterest and go through it. Also, Pinterest has partnered with Apple and has plans to take advantage of the massive user database through its own “Buy Now” button.
Aaaah! Another bait and switch Freemium model. But again, it’s a business monetization decision and the kind of things one can do in the Open Internet without the government stepping in to stop it.

Twitter never had that option.

Users never made money much from Twitter thus they never got a chance to get a taste of lucrative earnings from the site that they could get used to and eventually pay for given their awareness of the value.

It’s all business…but for how long.
This is also why I remain perplexed by the Net Neutrality advocates who choose to ignore how an Open Internet would permit web-based businesses like Pinterest and Facebook to charge for prioritization to increase revenues. Those of us choosing to get boosted for a nominal fee do not at all lessen the experience for everyday users or page owners who don’t. The market and the old Open Internet system we had before managed to be part of the tremendous growth of the ecosystem.

This week, a federal judge denied a petition to Stay the FCC‘s Network Neutrality order so alas, it is law right now.

Time will tell if this old archaic section of the Telecommunications Act of 1986 imposed on the Internet will hamper progress and innovation.

In the meantime, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey will retake the CEO position on a temporary basis as the company scrambles to find a replacement.

It’s back to business as usual…with a side of outdated regulation.

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NOW AVAILABLE: ‘Basics of Blogging as A Business’ eBook Series

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Some people blog as a hobby, to chronicle an experience, moment or event in their lives they’re living thru or just to organize thoughts or photos. Others blog to share their journey or simply to spout their daily musings and perspectives on various topics.

Something happens when daily journaling starts to grow a large following and to catch the attention of content and brand partners or other media. When a blogger realizes he or she has opportunities to make substantial earning from blogging, it’s time to get serious. There are a series of steps and things needed to be done to make a blog a true business like traditional ones.

This series derive from a handful of popular posts I’ve published on this Poli-Tech blog, Jenebaspeaks.com. Each was highly searched and received tons of traffic from people all over the world looking for quick advice. It made sense to encapsulate the solid tips and suggestions found in those posts and organize them into an ebook series.

This first book in the series, How to Set Up Your Blog as a Business in 6 Steps (Basics of Blogging as a Business Book 1) covers all the things one needs to know to set up the blog so it can be run and grow just as any brick and mortar business. The overhead costs for web-based businesses are still minimal compared to traditional small and micro businesses but when venturing out to earn revenue, there are a few items and services that would need to be invested in so the blog can grow to the next level. This First Volume in the Series offers all the basic things that may not be as intuitive and could be overlooked.

It is a quick and digestible read that readers can turn to as a reference guide.

DOWNLOAD this First eBook in the series HERE!

 

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Report: TV Watching with a Second screen is bad for Brands

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Brand, advertisers and content marketers beware of  that second screen!

In this new digital era, it is very common for audiences to be on a second device or screen while watching a television or cable show.

A new report by the firm Accenture found that 87 percent of consumers use a second screen while watching TV.

Many shows now include a hashtag in the bottom corner of the screen while being broadcast, in awareness that there will be people “twatching” – tweeting while watching or updating their Facebook profile statuses with their own commentary or humorous inputs as the scenes play before viewers eyes on the TV screen.

In fact, many television productions market out a hashtag campaign specifically for an upcoming episode or plot line that regular and loyal readers of a particular TV show will likely understand, recognize and use when sending out tweets.

For example, some of the hashtags fans attached to tweets on certain episodes of the popular ABC  drama Scandal  include, #FitzLives, #FreeHuck and #WhoShotFitz.

“Two screen” use has become pervasive, but Ohio State University researchers warn it may spell bad news for advertisers because many viewers are unable to recall brand messaging.

The first-of-its-kind study shows that viewers have trouble recalling brands they see (or hear) on TV if they’re using tablets or smartphones while watching TV.

“Viewers don’t even remember that your brand was there on TV because they were busy posting on Facebook or Twitter or reading email,” said Jonathan Jensen, who led the study as a doctoral student in sport management in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. ”This should provide a measure of pause to brand marketers who are spending a lot of money to get their products integrated into live sporting events and other TV shows.”

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The report concludes that the recall difficulty spells trouble for  “brand integration,” or the promotion of products during the actual broadcast, achieved via sponsorship of events.

Brand integration was a tool marketers thought would circumvent the problem caused by DVRs and the fact people don’t watch commercials anymore. They believed a logo featured on nets or on basketball courts, or announced by the sportscasters during a game ”would be a foolproof way to reach consumers,” Jensen said, adding “but now with so many people using second screens, even brand integration is not foolproof.”

The study involved two related experiments on close to 100 young people between the ages of 18-24 asked to recall the brand showed while watching two real college football games broadcast on ESPN that promoted three brands – Allstate, Capital One and Russell Athletic. From the press release on the study:

“The participants were exposed to the college football broadcast in one of three ways. Some had a traditional viewing experience, in which they experienced both the audio and the visual of the broadcast. The visual-only group had no audio, such as a fan might experience watching on a computer at the office or on a public television in a loud bar. The audio-only group didn’t see the visual, approximating a distracted viewing experience, such as listening to the broadcast while reading or writing on another device.

When asked after the six-minute broadcast whether they could recognize and recall any of the brands present in the clip, those who had the full audiovisual experience did best. The audio-only and visual-only groups did significantly worse, remembering fewer than two brands.

Consistent with a cognitive theory called “dual coding,” these results confirmed that people process and remember information better if they receive it both through audio and visual channels, Jensen said. This is a key when people may be using two different screens at one time.

“If consumers aren’t taking in information using both the audio and visual subsystems at the same time, they’re not going to process and retain the information as effectively,” he said.

This is a key when people may be using two different screens at one time.

“If consumers aren’t taking in information using both the audio and visual subsystems at the same time, they’re not going to process and retain the information as effectively,” he said.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing.

Interesting stuff!

h/t Eureka Alert (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-05/osu-tas052215.php)

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7 Must-Know Content Marketing Benefits

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These days traditional marketing just doesn’t cut it anymore. Long gone are the days when people actually had to sit and watch commercials in between their favorite shows. Now they set their DVR and skip all the television advertising. Magazine advertising…

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