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Facebook Previews the Next Stages of Digital Connection at its Connect 2021 Conference

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facebook previews the next stages of digital connection at its connect 2021 conference

Facebook is taking some big steps into the next generation of digital connection, with a corporate name change signaling its evolving focus on the expanding metaverse concept, which it believes will help people, and Facebook (or ‘Meta’), evolve their interactive processes, in virtually every way.

Which could have a big impact on how we work and play – and today, Facebook has previewed a few of those next level features at its annual Connect AR/VR conference, including new AR tools, advanced VR options and other, longer-term hardware projects that are set to become central to the new Facebook model.

Here’s a look at some of the key announcements.

Horizon Home

Facebook’s first step towards owning the metaverse – even though it’s repeatedly stated that no one company will own the space (we all know Facebook will try anyway) – will be building the essential connective layer that will link people within the digital realm. Horizon Home is Facebook’s key push on this front, with the new platform built into the foundation of the Oculus VR experience.

As explained by Facebook:

“Soon, you’ll be able to invite your friends to join you in Horizon Home, where you can hang out, watch videos, and jump into games and apps together.

As you can see in the video, users will be able to send messages, make video or audio calls, and arrange meet-ups for collaborative experiences within the digital realm. Which will soon extend even further with features like ‘Venues’, which will enable users to ‘enjoy the energy of live events from the comfort of home’, including NBA games and other sports within the space.

This is a key element of Facebook’s evolving metaverse push, and while it may not be the most sexy, nor exciting of its new announcements, without this connective layer, nothing else works.

New Games

Another major announcement is the development of a VR version of the Rockstar Games classic ‘Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’, providing an even more immersive experience for the millions of GTA fans worldwide.

Grand Theft Auto

This is a key next step for VR, because while VR headset sales have been rising, and more developers are coming on board, thus far, there’s been no major, compelling VR titles that have been able to transform it into a bigger, mainstream consideration. The technology is one thing, and there’s an allure in that for niche gaming fans, but the real push for VR lies in attracting the masses, and getting people talking about their VR experiences on a broader scale.

GTA in VR will almost certainly do that, and while it will take some development – and Facebook had no screenshots or examples to share as yet – this could end up being the thing that massively boosts VR adoption.

For context, GTA games have cumulatively sold over 350 million copies worldwide, with the most recent GTA title selling 150 million in its own right. That’s a huge fan base that will be very keen on this next-level experience.

VR for business

Facebook’s also developing new VR tools to better enable home working, leaning into the WFH shift.

Facebook’s says that it’ll soon begin testing its new ‘Quest for Business’ platform, which will enable users to log in to their Quest VR headsets with a Work Account, and will facilitate collaborative work environments, giving you the sense of being in the same physical space as colleagues while working remote.

And that could actually be even more functional than physical desks and spaces, with the capacity to “carry your work from your monitor to Quest 2 and back again”.

“Today we announced that services like SlackDropboxFacebook and Instagram, and many more will soon work in VR as 2D panel apps in Horizon Home, and you’ll be able to download them from the Quest Store.”

Such integrations will provide more collaborative work options, that could revolutionize remote working processes, and improve productivity and engagement.

AR Development

Facebook also shared details of its upcoming AR development initiatives, including new training programs for aspiring digital creators and advanced spatial understanding in AR, which will facilitate new forms of display and engagement.

On the training front, which will help Facebook build a broader range of AR experiences, the company announced a new ‘Polar’ AR creation app, which will help people with no prior experience in art, design, or programming to build AR experiences.

Polar app screenshots

Facebook’s also launching a new certification process within its Spark AR platform, which will also see the addition of new AR creation courses on Coursera and edX.

Facebook AR certification

And finally, Facebook’s launching a new, $150 million initiative “to train the next generation of creators building immersive educational content”.

Elements like this are key in AR innovation, as they expand the pool of creativity beyond Facebook’s own development teams, which will facilitate a far broader range of AR engagement and interaction options across its apps.

World and People AR

Facebook’s also developing advanced AR capacity, with body tracking to facilitate more immersive AR features, and ‘World AR’ geo-anchored experiences.

Facebook World AR

Snap already has variations of both, with Facebook playing catch up on these tools. But each will form a key part of the company’s evolving AR glasses experience, with digital overlays to be revealed through the frames, providing a range of new utility and entertainment options.

On another front, Facebook’s also working with BMW to develop AR features that could eventually help drivers navigate their surroundings.

The race for AR supremacy will heat up over the coming months, and Facebook will be a key player, and it’ll be interesting to see where it can take its AR glasses, as it advances beyond the initial Ray Ban Stories model.

The Next Level

Facebook’s more advanced AR and VR projects include real-time 3D reconstructions of people, providing realistic depictions of themselves in a digital environment, and its ongoing work on wristbands that can detect nerve impulses and use them as a trigger for digital response.

All of these will play a part in the next stage of digital connection, and while it may still seem like a long way off, these latest advances are coming along, and will be here sooner than you think.

The next level of digital connection will take place in the virtual realm, and as we’ve seen with the rising popularity of NFTs and other digital-only projects, enthusiasm for that next stage is growing. And when you also consider the amount of time young people are now spending in Fortnite, Roblox, and other virtual worlds amid the pandemic, and how that will influence their interactive behaviors, it’s not hard to see the next stage evolving within the current capacity.

That will eventually change everything – and for marketers, that will mean all new opportunities to learn, adapt and develop within your approach.  

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How I Landed Job Interviews Without Experience

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Working 9 to 5 Emily In Paris?width=398&height=256&fit=crop&auto=webp

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

As a university student, entering the workplace can be a difficult transition for more than one reason. For starters, simply finding a job to get experience on your resume and begin your career can be one of the most difficult parts. Most jobs want you to have experience, but you can’t get experience without experience in the first place! In previous years, I was unsuccessful in landing summer internships in hopes to kickstart my career. This year, I decided to do my research and do everything possible to land interviews because I knew once I got to that point, I could sell myself into the position. Here are my tips on how to at least get to the interview portion of the stressful job search process.

Finding Jobs

First off, you need to be able to find jobs in your field. As a communication studies student, I was searching for public relations, marketing and social media focused jobs. I used a few search engines in order to find them. I began on Indeed, making my job search varied by using “Summer 2024 student internship” as a starter, and going more specific into marketing, social media and public relations after. Indeed was helpful, however, it seemed very limited. I then went to Google with the same searches. This led to a few more job search websites that gave me a few more job postings. My final place to search was LinkedIn. Prior to this year, I wasn’t using the platform for my job search. Getting a 30-day free trial of LinkedIn Premium helped tremendously, as they give more specific job postings based on your profile as well as tips and tricks to updating your profile to match with those hiring. One thing to remember if you’re looking for a summer job is to start looking early. I applied from January through February, searching for new postings almost daily. I also kept a spreadsheet in Notion to keep track of jobs I’d applied to, the status of if I’d heard back and links to the company websites for future reference once an interview was in place. Keeping this organized will allow you to not only know which jobs you apply to, but how long it’s been and whether you’ve heard back or not.

Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter are extremely important because with many applicants, hiring managers may only glance or skim through both. You want your resume to look clean upon first sight, nothing too flashy or dramatic and preferably on a single page. Highlight your education, job experience and skills and abilities without writing too much or too little. I found that once I summarized my roles to two or three points each, I became more successful in landing interviews. If you have stellar grades, adding your transcript to applications is always something to consider, as even if you have little to no experience, your dedication to school may assist you in this. As someone with only retail experience wishing to enter a whole new field, making sure my roles reflected leadership skills, collaboration and possibly marketing skills was important. Any extracurriculars that may highlight the field you wish to enter and apply to is also a key feature to reflect in a resume. As for a cover letter, there are so many templates online as to how to make your cover letter look clean and professional by adding the company’s address, hiring manager’s name and your signature at the bottom. If you’re someone with no experience, talk about personal projects. I ran a TikTok account for years where I discussed books and collaborated with publishing companies and I found that when I had put that information in my cover letter, more companies reached out to me for interviews. The way you shape your interests and extracurriculars is a make it or break for a cover letter.

Keep On Trying

Landing an interview is a long process sometimes. It can become disheartening seeing friends around you land interviews and jobs in their fields as you continuously apply. I’d nearly given up a few weeks in, with no emails or updates on jobs I applied to. But I kept trying, getting feedback on my cover letters, resume and profiles throughout the process and ended up receiving interviews for multiple companies within the same week. The job market is a combination of experience, how you shape yourself through a resume and connections you may have. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s taken longer than you wished to land an interview. With a few hours a week dedicated to the search and writing of cover letters, you’ll have interview requests in no time.

Whether you’ve just graduated, are currently in school or just want to kickstart your career, job searching can be a scary thing. With dedication and constant feedback, you’ll become more and more sure of yourself and ability to get the jobs you want. Good luck on the job search and remember all good things come with time.

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into How Public Group Posts are Distributed

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into How Public Group Posts are Distributed

Could LinkedIn groups be making a comeback?

I mean, probably not. Long gone are the Halcyon days of robust LinkedIn groups, most of which have since been overrun by spammers and scammers looking to get attention at all costs, which has rendered most groups, and group notifications, as spam themselves.

But maybe, there is a way for LinkedIn to get at least some groups back on track.

Maybe.

Today, LinkedIn has published a new overview of the work that it’s put into building public groups, which is an option that LinkedIn’s still in the process of rolling out to all users.

Public groups, as the name suggests, are wholly viewable by members and non-members, as opposed to having to join a group to see what’s happening within it. Up till a year ago, LinkedIn users could only create “listed” or “unlisted” groups, with listed communities showing up in relevant searches, and unlisted ones hidden from non-member view. So you could find a listed group, but you’d still have to join it to get a view of the discussions happening within. But with public groups, they’re both listed and the content is viewable.

Which, according to LinkedIn, has been a positive:

Over the last few years, the Groups product has evolved significantly across feed, notifications, creators, group discovery, content moderation, and other domains of organizer tooling. In continuation of these improvements, we launched public groups to help non-group members see valuable conversations happening in groups, and to help group organizers and creators foster more engagement and a stronger community. This has led to a 35% increase in daily group contributors and a more than 10% incremental increase in joins in these groups.

Which makes sense. Enabling users to view what’s happening within groups, especially highly active, well-moderated ones, is going to attract more members. But it is also interesting to consider whether there might be value in switching your group to public, and making it more of a focus.

Within the new technical overview, LinkedIn explains that public group posts are eligible to be distributed in member timelines, as well as their expanded networks.

“For posts created inside public group, we set the distribution to MAIN_FEED to allow for distribution on the home feed to group members, first degree connections of the author, and first degree connections of any members who react/comment/repost on the post. This helps increase distribution of public group posts.”

That could facilitate good distribution for public feed posts, and could help to increase engagement within your LinkedIn group.

As you can see in this example, another strong lure is that only group members can comment on a public group post. Anyone can react to a public group update, but you have to actually join the community, which you can do via the CTA, to participate in the discussion.

In combination, this could be a powerful way to maximize group engagement, and depending on where that fits into your strategy, it could put more emphasis on LinkedIn groups as a means to broaden connection and community.

Though, as noted, many soured on LinkedIn groups long ago, once the spammers settled in. Back in 2018, LinkedIn actually tried to initiate a groups refresh, with new regulations around spam, and limits on notifications about groups activity, to discourage misuse.

That, seemingly, didn’t have a huge impact, but as LinkedIn notes, it has continued to update its group rules and processes, in order to make it a more compelling product.

Could it be worthy of consideration once again?

There are definitely things to like here, and for those who already have active LinkedIn groups, making the switch to “Public” could have some benefit.

I do think that LinkedIn groups require strong moderation to maximize their value, and establishing a core focus statement for your group, and what it’s for, is also essential to help to guide your direction.

But maybe, they’re worth a look once again.

Maybe.

You can read more about LinkedIn’s latest public groups updates here.

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X Raises Questions on Content Moderation After Navalny’s Wife Allegedly Banned

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Screenshot from Yulia Navalnaya on X

Amidst speculation surrounding the banning of Navalny’s wife from X, questions arise over the platform’s content moderation policies in Europe. 

(Photo : Yulia Navalnaya )
Screenshot from Yulia Navalnaya on X

Continuing Alexei Navalny’s Fight

Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian anti-corruption activist, died under mysterious circumstances in a Siberian penal colony on Feb. 16. While the exact cause of Navalny’s death remains unclear, Western officials have pointed fingers at Russian President Vladimir Putin

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, fueled speculation further with claims in a video statement. She alleged that Russian authorities may be withholding her husband’s corpse to eliminate evidence of a deadly nerve agent, Novichok.

The video accused Putin of orchestrating her husband’s demise and pledged to continue his work. This development raises concerns about X’s content moderation practices and its implications for freedom of speech in Europe.

In a video shared in Russian language, she conveyed her aspiration for a liberated Russia, emphasizing her desire to live and contribute to its freedom. Following this, Navalnaya rapidly amassed a significant online following, receiving an outpouring of support from thousands of sympathetic messages. 

According to a report from The Guardian, Navalnaya currently resides in a location undisclosed to the public outside of Russia. She established her X account in February and made her inaugural post on the 19th while in Brussels, engaging with EU officials regarding her husband’s passing. 

Facing X Suspension

However, her presence on X encountered a brief suspension on Tuesday, triggering widespread user concern. During the suspension period, allegations circulated, suggesting a connection between owner Elon Musk and sympathies toward Putin.

X’s Safety team later clarified that the account suspension resulted from an error in the platform’s spam detection system, which erroneously flagged @yulia_navalnaya’s account. 

As per Daily Dot, the suspension was promptly lifted upon the team’s realization of the mistake, with assurances of enhancements to the platform’s defense mechanism. X’s announcement does not explicitly indicate whether Navalnaya’s account suspension resulted from an automated system. 

Also read: China, Russia Agree to Coordinate AI Use in Military Technology

However, attributing the suspension to a “defense mechanism” and the pledge to “update the defense” led some information analysts to infer that human intervention was not involved in the initial account shutdown.

This interpretation prompted swift scrutiny from researchers, who questioned the accuracy of attributing the suspension, even implicitly, to an automated decision.

Responding to the statement, Michael Veale, an associate professor of Digital Rights & Regulation at University College London’s Faculty of Laws, expressed skepticism. He noted the irony, given X’s previous claims under the Digital Services Act, that they refrain from automated content moderation.

Implemented by the EU in October 2022, the Digital Services Act (DSA) aims to combat illegal content, ensure advertising transparency, and counter disinformation. 

Among its mandates, the act necessitates platforms to disclose moderation determinations in the DSA Transparency Database, detailing factors like the rationale behind the decision, the content type in question, and whether automation was involved in the decision-making process.

2023 study by the University of Bremen researchers scrutinizing moderation verdicts uploaded to the database for a single day revealed that X exclusively relied on human moderation for its decisions.

Consequently, X reported significantly fewer moderation determinations than other platforms during the observed period.

Related Article: Vladimir Putin’s Unusual New Year’s Message Sparks Death Rumors: Is ‘AI Putin’ Behind the Speech?

Written by Inno Flores

ⓒ 2024 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.



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