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The Quantified Communications blog.

  • May 31, 2014

    What Makes Us Share? Using language analytics to predict the virality of New York Times Articles

    May 31, 2014

    It’s no secret that we love to share links to stories, videos, or pictures that capture our attention with others online. Studies show that 59% of people report frequently forwarding information found on the internet, and it is estimated that someone tweets a link to a New York Times story once every 4 seconds.

    Our impulse to share is especially relevant today because we get our news from evolving media sources. Cultivating readership is crucial to staying prominent. In its leaked report on innovation last week, The New York Times revealed plans to form teams specifically focused on audience development, analytics and strategy, and a digital first strategy.

    So we wondered, can you use analytics to predict potential audience development? Why does some content make you immediately want to hit share, while other content goes no further than your screen? Can we identify the language components that make content go viral and on what platform readers will share?

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  • Mar 26, 2014

    WSJ: Why Likability Matters More at Work

    Wonderful to see our analytics in the Wall Street Journal!

     

    Why Likability Matters More at Work

    Likability Is More Important—and Harder to Pull Off—on Video

    By Sue Shellenbarger

    Is the workplace becoming more like high school?

    "Likability" is becoming a bigger factor for success at work as social networks and videoconferencing grow. The impact goes beyond a high-school popularity contest. The ability to come across as likable is shaping how people are sized up and treated by bosses and co-workers.

    Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven. A study of 133 managers last year by researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that if an auditor is likable and gives a well-organized argument, managers tend to comply with his suggestions, even if they disagree and the auditor lacks supporting evidence.

    Likability is more important—and harder to pull off—on video than in person. Sometimes this can result in a style-over-substance effect. People watching a speaker on a videoconference are more influenced by how much they like the speaker than by the quality of the speaker's arguments, according to a 2008 study in Management Science. The opposite is true when a speaker appears in person. The use of personal videoconferencing is expected to grow 47% annually through 2017, according to Wainhouse Research, a Boston market-research firm.

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  • Feb 13, 2014

    The Quantified Valentine: The Science Behind the Language of Love

    The Quantified Valentine: The Science Behind the Language of Love

    By Noah Zandan and Carrie Goldberger

    February 13, 2014

    Last Valentine’s Day we asked 100 people to identify their favorite way of saying “I love you.” We then analyzed the linguistic components of the best responses to see if there were patterns in the language of love.

    So, what was the best way to say “I love you”? The winning response was “You’re my soul mate and the love of my life.” Why? Because this phrasing includes many of the essential linguistic factors that make an expression of love so powerful. It is formed in the present tense, for example, and doesn’t include any unnecessary explanatory words like “because”. Simple, direct, and present works best. (You can find a detailed description of our approach and our results here.)

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  • Jan 13, 2014

    How to Write a Popular Blog: The Common Language Components of the 15 Most Popular Blogs

    By Noah Zandan and Carrie Goldberger

    January 13, 2014

    You immediately know when you come across a great blog. You share the link on social media, talk about it with your friends, and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next post. But do you know why? What is it that drives thousands of people to read one blog, while another is seen by just a few? Is it all about the content? Great advertising? Compelling titles? Excellent writing styles? Undoubtedly, it’s a combination of many factors that leads to a blog’s success, but we wanted to learn more about the linguistic styles of successful blogs. Are there specific writing styles or patterns that will lead to more engaged readers, more page views, and better results?

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  • Nov 14, 2013

    The New Science of Lie Detection

    By Noah Zandan and Carrie Goldberger

    November 14, 2013

    “I’m on my way”, “Sorry, my phone died”, “I’m fine”. Everyone lies daily. According to Pamela Meyer, author of LieSpotting, we are lied to anywhere between 10-200 times every day. Strangers lie up to 3 times within the first ten minutes of meeting each other, and even babies lie by faking a cry just to see what kind of attention they might receive. But, even though we all lie, we’re not very good at identifying the lies being told to us. The average person can detect a lie only about 54% of the time. Our instincts tell us to look for non-verbal cues such as shifty eyes, unnatural body movements, or a shaky voice, but clearly instinct is not enough. New technologies have evolved that are able to more accurately detect if someone is lying (such as polygraph tests or MRI scans) - Google has even created a “Lie-Detecting Neck Tattoo”, a small sensor that measures changes in galvanic skin responses to detect signs that someone might be lying.

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  • Nov 08, 2013

    Communicating in the Multi-Generational Workplace

    By Noah Zandan and Carrie Goldberger

    November 8, 2013

    The American workforce demographic is transitioning. According to a study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the YEC, millennials or Gen-Y (those born between 1976 and 2001) will make up 36% of the workforce in 2014 and 46% by 2020. With baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) making up roughly 40% of the workforce, many people are learning how to collaborate in multi-generational work environments.

    Stereotypes certainly exist for each generation. Millennials are thought to be a needy, entitled group that is more comfortable communicating through technology than in person. Baby boomers are considered to be stubbornly stuck in their ways, not willing to learn or use the latest technology. While neither stereotype is entirely true, they do bring to light some of the differences between the generations, especially in terms of workplace communication.

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  • Oct 31, 2013

    The Evolution of Communicating the News

    By Noah Zandan and Carrie Goldberger

    October 31, 2013

    It used to be you woke up with a newspaper and ended the day with the TV news. Now we wake up checking email and social media and end the day the same way. As a result, news sources and styles of reporting are rapidly evolving. We now have many options for keeping up with current events. We can look to “traditional” sources, such as newspapers, TV, or radio, or we can turn to social media sites to keep us informed.

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  • Oct 11, 2013

    Is Siri the Perfect Voice?

     

    Visualization of Siri’s voice

    By Noah Zandan and Carrie Goldberger

    October 11, 2013

    Last week, voice actor Susan Bennett came forward as the voice of Siri, Apple’s voice-activated virtual “assistant”. Bennett says that in 2005, she sat in a recording booth for four hours a day during the month of July, reading phrases that would be put together to create a synthetic voice. Her voice has been used in GPS systems, ATMs, by Delta Airlines, and now as the voice of Siri. Because Apple would not comment on whether or not Bennett is actually the voice of Siri, CNN hired an audio forensics expert to compare the two voices. The expert, Ed Primeau, found Siri’s voice and Bennett’s voice to be a 100% match.

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  • Aug 27, 2013

    Stand Up Straight? Our New Research on Posture and First Impressions

    We’ve discussed how Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are in a previous blog post, presenting research from Harvard’s Amy Cuddy showing how using a “power pose”– a confident, expansive posture – for two minutes increases testosterone levels by 20% and decreases cortisol levels by about 25% in our brains. These changes in hormone levels make us more assertive, confident, relaxed, risk tolerant, and fearless. Professor Cuddy also found that those who exhibited power poses before and during an interview were significantly more likely to be hired than those in low-power poses. But we wanted a further understanding of why power posing works, so we decided to take a deeper dive into the science of posture.

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  • Aug 16, 2013

    Engage, Don’t Perform: How do you Measure Authenticity?

    Do you know that feeling you get when you’re watching a speaker and you’re not convinced they really believe what they’re saying? They just seem too polished, too prepared, too smooth, too “inhuman”. They seem, candidly, inauthentic.

    As technology has enabled rapid growth in methods of communication, authenticity is more important today than it ever has been. When it comes to communicating online and over video, we have certain expectations about preparation and polish, but we also expect to see the human faults of each communicator.

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