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Published: Sunday, January 12, 2014, 1:00 a.m.
The Lighter Side of the News


Pssst, hey buddy, want to buy some social media clicks?

The weather outside is, meteorologically speaking, frightful. So for the love of winter sports, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. It’s “Downhill Racer” time. Or “Bode Miller” time, if you happen to live in the present. Let’s slalom through the light, fluffy stuff.
Celebs, others buy clicks for social media boost”: We’ve known for some time now that this is possible — you can buy “likes” on Facebook and followers on Twitter, for example, to shore up your fake popularity. Apparently this is such a common strategy among businesses (and the State Department) that it has created its own industry, known as click farms. The “farmers” are paid to manually click on clients’ social media pages, making it harder for Facebook, Google and others to catch them than if the clicks were computer-generated. Turns out Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city of 7 million in South Asia, is an international hub for click farms, the Associated Press reported. (Of course, it turns out that Google and Facebook buy clicks for their own enterprises. It’s OK for them to have fake followers and users when it comes to advertising purposes. Google’s Facebook page has 15.2 million likes. Of course it does.)
According to AP: Last year, the State Department, which has more than 400,000 likes (mostly in Cairo), said it would stop buying Facebook fans after its inspector general criticized the agency for spending $630,000 to boost the numbers. Liking the State Department takes the “social” out of network and replaces it with “surreal.” Or “sheesh.” It’s time to officially acknowledge the Ministry of Truth and its 1 billion followers.
As cohabitation gains favor, shotgun weddings fade”: Those darn shotguns, living in sin. (What are the odds that a young person has ever even heard of the phrase “shotgun wedding”?)
“‘Smart’ toothbrush grades your brushing habits”: The electric toothbrush syncs wirelessly with a smartphone to track brushing habits, and reports if the user has brushed thoroughly enough, and “rewards you for good oral hygiene.” Although how one is rewarded isn’t specified. The brush can share information with your social network or even your dentist. Oh, boy! Go ahead a buy a million “likes” for your toothbrushing report card on Facebook! Or save it for your Christmas letter.
What tech should I wear today? The most useful wearables”: It’s always best to go with your smart underwear. (Smart alecs can don their smartypants.) Just remember to turn off the feature that sends a report card to you, your social network and your dentist.
New welcome signs point to Arlington”: Over four years, new welcome signs were installed at the city’s five major point of entry. Each sign is adorned with art commissioned from local artists. What a cool, creative, community project. Perhaps one day Everett will be able to rustle up the funds to at least add the words “welcome to” on its fairly new “Everett” entrance signs.
U.S. recession saw more Google stress searches”: Really, the stress was all recession-related, huh? No stress at all from worrying that Google, the government and advertisers and their grandmothers are all monitoring your searches, about stress and otherwise?
Carol MacPherson: 425-339-3472, cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.