Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts

24 September 2020

What is SEO and How Can It Help Your Business?

What is SEO and How Can It Help Your Business? (Photo by Designecologist from Pexels)
If you run a business, you will know that your website is key to driving customers and peaking people’s interests. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, even more people began shopping online due to quarantine - a user-friendly, well designed online presence for your business has never been more essential than now. Yet building a good website is not enough any more; thanks to the algorithms of search engines like Google, your site might be a great site, but fall to the bottom of the search list.

How do search engine algorithms work?

Search engine algorithms are the result of years of research, coding and data collection. It would take pages and pages to explain the ins and outs of how they function, but here are the basics:

  • The more a website is clicked on, the further up the list it goes. Did you ever wonder why, if you search a basic item like a dustpan and brush into Google, the first sites listed are the giant corporations like Amazon? This is because they are the most clicked-on sites, so Google’s algorithm bumps them up the ladder. The algorithm uses the number of clicks and follow-throughs used on a site to determine how important it is, and ranks it accordingly in the list.
  • Keywords matter. A search engine algorithm determines what category of search your website should come under by assessing the keywords involved. For example, if you run a blog about floristry, ‘floristry’ is not the only word people will search to find you. It could be ‘flower arranging’ or ‘how to make flowers look pretty in a vase.’ With the right keywords, Google can associate many different searches with your blog, thereby bumping it up the list.

How does SEO come into this?

You might be thinking, how does SEO come into all this? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and is essentially a set of tools and techniques which help Google assign your website to greater importance, and therefore rank it highly on more searches. This means that, if you sell a product which is also sold by thousands of other retailers, your site will be one of the first to be found on Google. It can increase footfall, help spread awareness of your brand and boost profits too.

How does SEO work?

Getting SEO right means including the right keywords; backlinks, which help connect your site with other relevant sites and increase traffic; and, crucially, help footfall to your website without paying advertisers or bankrupting yourself on marketing strategies.

If you aren’t sure how SEO works, it is advisable to contact an SEO Agency who specialise in helping websites achieve more clicks based on search engine results. It could be by featuring blogs on your page which contain keywords and backlinks, or through more advanced SEO tools such as hyperlinks.
Building a website is one task; getting people to click on it is another. Maximise your chances with an SEO strategy and help your business achieve even greater things.

8 December 2018

We Asked Artificial Intelligence To Analyze A Graphic Novel – And Found Both Limits And New Insights

What can an algorithm find when it reads a book?
What can an algorithm find when it reads a book? (Vasilyev Alexandr/
With one spouse studying the evolution of artificial and natural intelligence and the other researching the language, culture and history of Germany, imagine the discussions at our dinner table. We often experience the stereotypical clash in views between the quantifiable, measurement-based approach of natural science and the more qualitative approach of the humanities, where what matters most is how people feel something, or how they experience or interpret it. 

We decided to take a break from that pattern, to see how much each approach could help the other. Specifically, we wanted to see if aspects of artificial intelligence could turn up new ways to interpret a nonfiction graphic novel about the Holocaust. We ended up finding that some AI technologies are not yet advanced and robust enough to deliver useful insights – but simpler methods resulted in quantifiable measurements that showed a new opportunity for interpretation.

Choosing a text

A graphic novel examined by artificial intelligence
A graphic novel examined by artificial intelligence. (Reinhard Kleist/Self Made Hero)
There is plenty of research available that analyzes large bodies of text, so we chose something more complex for our AI analysis: Reinhard Kleist’s “The Boxer,” a graphic novel based on the true story of how Hertzko “Harry” Haft survived the Nazi death camps. We wanted to identify emotions in the facial expressions of the main character displayed in the book’s illustrations, to find out if that would give us a new lens for understanding the story.

In this black-and-white cartoon, Haft tells his horrific story, in which he and other concentration camp inmates were made to box each other to the death. The story is written from Haft’s perspective; interspersed throughout the narrative are panels of flashbacks depicting Haft’s memories of important personal events.

The humanities approach would be to analyze and contextualize elements of the story, or the tale as a whole. Kleist’s graphic novel is a reinterpretation of a 2009 biographical novel by Haft’s son Allan, based on what Allan knew about his father’s experiences. Analyzing this complex set of authors’ interpretations and understandings might serve only to add another subjective layer on top of the existing ones.

From the perspective of science philosophy, that level of analysis would only make things more complicated. Scholars might have differing interpretations, but even if they all agreed, they would still not know if their insight was objectively true or if everyone suffered from the same illusion. Resolving the dilemma would require an experiment aimed at generating a measurement others could reproduce independently.

Reproducible interpretation of images?
Rather than interpreting the images ourselves, subjecting them to our own biases and preconceptions, we hoped that AI could bring a more objective view. We started by scanning all the panels in the book. Then we ran Google’s vision AI and Microsoft AZURE’s face recognition and emotional character annotation as well.

The algorithms we used to analyze “The Boxer” were previously trained by Google or Microsoft on hundreds of thousands of images already labeled with descriptions of what they depict. In this training phase, the AI systems were asked to identify what the images showed, and those answers were compared with the existing descriptions to see if the system being trained was right or wrong. The training system strengthened the elements of the underlying deep neural networks that produced correct answers, and weakened the parts that contributed to wrong answers. Both the method and the training materials – the images and annotations – are crucial to the system’s performance.

Then, we turned the AI loose on the book’s images. Just like on “Family Feud,” where the show’s producers ask 100 strangers a question and count up how many choose each potential answer, our method asks an AI to determine what emotion a face is showing. This approach adds one key element often missing when subjectively interpreting content: reproducibility. Any researcher who wants to check can run the algorithm again and get the same results we did.

Unfortunately, we found that these AI tools are optimized for digital photographs, not scans of black-and-white drawings. That meant we did not get much reliable data about the emotions in the pictures. We were also disturbed to find that none of the algorithms identified any of the images as relating to the Holocaust or concentration camps – though human viewers would readily identify those themes. Hopefully, that is because the AIs had problems with the black-and-white images themselves, and not because of negligence or bias in their training sets or annotations.

Bias is a well-known phenomenon in machine learning, which can have really offensive results. An analysis of these images based solely on the data we got would not have discussed or acknowledged the Holocaust, an omission that is against the law in Germany, among other countries. These flaws highlight the importance of critically evaluating new technologies before using them more widely.

Finding other reproducible results
Determined to find an alternative way for quantitative approaches to help the humanities, we ended up analyzing the brightness of the pictures, comparing flashback scenes to other moments in Haft’s life. To that end, we quantified the brightness of the scanned images using image analysis software.

We found that throughout the book, emotionally happy and light phases like his prison escape or Haft’s postwar life in the U.S. are shown using bright images. Traumatizing and sad phases, such as his concentration camp experiences, are shown as dark images. This aligns with color psychology identifications of white as a pure and happy tone, and black as symbolizing sadness and grief.

Having established a general understanding of how brightness is used in the book’s images, we looked more closely at the flashback scenes. All of them depicted emotionally intense events, and some of them were dark, such as recollections of cremating other concentration camp inmates and leaving the love of his life.

We were surprised, however, to find that the flashbacks showing Haft about to punch opponents to death were bright and clear – suggesting he is having a positive emotion about the upcoming fatal encounter. That’s the exact opposite of what readers like us probably feel as they follow the story, perhaps seeing Haft’s opponent as weak and realizing that he is about to be killed. When the reader feels pity and empathy, why is Haft feeling positive?

The middle image in this sequence shows an example of a bright flashback.
The middle image in this sequence shows an example of a bright flashback. (Reinhard Kleist/Self Made Hero)
This contradiction, found by measuring the brightness of pictures, may reveal a deeper insight into how the Nazi death camps affected Haft emotionally. For us, right now, it is unimaginable how the outlook of beating someone else to death in a boxing match would be positive. But perhaps Haft was in such a desperate situation that he saw hope for survival when facing off against an opponent who was even more starved than he was.

Using AI tools to analyze this piece of literature shed new light on key elements of emotion and memory in the book – but they did not replace the skills of an expert or scholar at interpreting texts or pictures. As a result of our experiment, we think that AI and other computational methods present an interesting opportunity with the potential for more quantifiable, reproducible and maybe objective research in the humanities.

It will be challenging to find ways to use AI appropriately in the humanities – and all the more so because current AI systems are not yet sophisticated enough to work reliably in all contexts. Scholars should also be alert to potential biases in these tools. If the ultimate goal of AI research is to develop machines that rival human cognition, artificial intelligence systems may need not only to behave like people, but understand and interpret feelings like people, too.The Conversation

About Today's Contributor:
Leonie Hintze, Ph.D. Student in Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages, Michigan State University and Arend Hintze, Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology & Computer Science and Engineering, Michigan State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

7 December 2018

3 Ways Facebook And Other Social Media Companies Could Clean Up Their Acts – If They Wanted To

Mark Zuckerberg - under fire, but not without options.
Mark Zuckerberg - under fire, but not without options. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Facebook is in crisis mode, but the company can take major steps to fix itself – and the global community it says it wants to promote. Facebook founder, CEO and majority shareholder Mark Zuckerberg need not wait for governments to impose regulations. If he and other industry leaders wanted to, they could make meaningful changes fairly quickly.

It wouldn’t be painless, but Facebook in particular is in a world of hurt already, facing criticism for contributing to civil unrest and sectarian turmoil around the world, delayed responses to disinformation campaigns, misleading users about data-handling policies, and efforts to discredit critics – not to mention a budding employee revolt.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media companies are causing society-wide damage. But they tend to describe the problems as much smaller, resulting from rogue individuals and groups hijacking their systems for nefarious purposes. Our research into how social media can be exploited by manipulative political operatives, conducted with Joan Donovan at the Data & Society research institute, suggests the real problem is much larger than these companies admit.

We believe the roots lie in their extremely profitable advertising systems, which need a major overhaul. We have identified some key changes that these giant powerhouses could make right away. These moves could reduce opportunities for political manipulation and limit the harm to democratic societies around the world.

Users’ minds in the crosshairs
Facebook, Google, Twitter and other social media companies have built an enormous digital influence machine powered by user tracking, targeting, testing and automated decision-making to make advertising more effective and efficient. While building this supercharged surveillance system, companies have promised users and regulators that targeted advertising is mutually beneficial for both consumers and advertisers.

In this bargain, users are supposed to receive more relevant ads. Facebook, for instance, explains that its “interest-based advertising” serves users who “want to see ads that relate to things they care about.” It’s true that these methods can identify ads that connect with users’ actual interests. But the very same data-driven techniques that tell a surfer about a new board design can also identify strategic points where people are most vulnerable to influence.

In particular, the leading social media advertising systems let political operatives experiment with different ads to see which are the most effective. They can use these tools not only to see if certain issues resonate with particular targets but also test for fears or prejudices that can be invoked to influence political behavior.

This misleading ad impersonated racial justice activists to urge black Americans not to vote for Hillary Clinton.( U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Intelligence – Democrats)

One key way to do this is to make people feel that someone else represents an emotionally charged threat to their identity. In 2016, for instance, Russia-linked operatives bought thousands of Facebook ads targeted to specific audiences suggesting Hillary Clinton had insulted their group’s dignity or threatened their safety. Some ads alleged Clinton espoused disrespect for specific occupations, like coal miners, or racial groups, like African-Americans. Others claimed she would confiscate guns or supported radical political movements seeking to overturn familiar ways of life.

Targeting political ads is not unique to online advertising, but the tools of digital ad systems are vastly more powerful than traditional mass media. Advertisers can try out several versions of an ad simultaneously and receive almost instant feedback on which ones most effectively drive specific audiences to share, like or comment on them. This digital feedback loop helps political operatives refine their tactics, probing for just the right images, words and emotions to influence very specific subgroups of citizens.

Move fast and fix things
Members of Congress and even some key Silicon Valley figures have begun discussing the need for tighter government oversight and greater accountability in digital advertising. Change need not wait for politics.

Based on our analysis, here are some steps companies could take right away – on their own. These moves may hurt the firms’ finances, but would demonstrate serious and lasting commitment to limiting their platforms’ usefulness in political manipulation campaigns.

As their first move, social media companies could stop allowing their ad services to be used as freewheeling experimental laboratories for examining their users’ psyches. Just as marketers and academic researchers must obtain permission from their test subjects, political advertisers that run online ad experiments could get informed consent in advance from every user who is involved. Companies should ask for users’ consent in specific notifications about ad experiments and not penalize users for opting out by limiting their access to services. We suspect many users would opt out of these tests if given the choice, but in any case this policy would help draw public attention to the hidden manipulation tools that platforms offer to their real customers: the political and commercial advertisers who pay the bills.

Make targeted political advertising transparent
To increase transparency and limit the ability of special interests to secretly influence politics, social media companies could refuse to work with so-called dark money groups. All political advertisers should be required to disclose their major donors in a format users can easily access.

A new policy banning dark money ads would respond to evidence that political operatives have used impersonation and manipulative ad tactics to stir in-fighting or sow division among coalitions of their adversaries. Impersonation clearly work best when ad sponsors are able to hide their identities and motives. Anonymous ads are also more likely to violate ethical standards simply because no one fears being held responsible for them.

Make platforms more democratic
A more significant change social media companies could make would be to introduce democratic oversight of how they collect and use people’s data.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg recently took an initial step in this direction, announcing that he will create independent review panels to handle users’ appeals against the company’s removal of content it judges inappropriate. He explained that he wanted to ensure “these decisions are made in the best interests of our community and not for commercial reasons.”

Whatever you think about this plan – and it has been greeted with plenty of skepticism – Zuckerberg’s reasoning acknowledges that because social platforms have become so central to democratic life, their own policies and design decisions require democratic accountability.

A more ambitious vision would let independent ethics panels representing diverse communities of users set enforceable policies for ethical political advertising. Similar sorts of groups are common in medicine and are emerging in artificial intelligence, among other fields. The details of how such committees operate will be critical to their success. If these committees are set up in partnership with nonprofit organizations with proven records of advocating for democratic communication and campaign finance transparency, perhaps they could help social media companies earn greater public trust by prioritizing democracy over maximizing their profits.The Conversation

About Today's Contributors:
Anthony M. Nadler, Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Ursinus College and Matthew Crain, Assistant Professor of Media, Journalism and Film, Miami University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

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15 October 2018

Google, Facebook, and Twitter Release Data on Political Ads (More or Less)

When it Comes to Political Ads, President Trump, Texas Senate Candidate Beto O'Rourke, and Senate Republican PAC are Big Spenders
When it Comes to Political Ads, President Trump, Texas Senate Candidate Beto O'Rourke, and Senate Republican PAC are Big Spenders (Image via
Using cutting-edge machine learning and data scraping tools, computer scientists at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering today released the first database and analysis of political advertising based on more than 884,000 ads identified by Google, Twitter, and Facebook.
The team launched their user-friendly Online Political Ads Transparency Project in July with data from Facebook, which was the first company to provide it. But the researchers were forced to switch techniques when Facebook blocked their data collection two weeks later. 
Today's report is the first to include not only Facebook (including Instagram), but also data newly shared by Twitter and Google.
Although they found numerous roadblocks to meaningful transparency – ranging from faulty archives constructed in haste by the social media giants to varying definitions of "political advertising" and throttling of data collection by Facebook – NYU Tandon Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Damon McCoy and his team nonetheless reported meaningful insights:
  • President Donald Trump and his PAC registered the largest number of ads of any candidate, due in large part to the preponderance of small, micro-targeted advertising. Virtually all were aimed at raising funds during the study period, September 9-22, 2018. The researchers found similar dominance by President Trump in their initial, Facebook-only, analysis. 
  • The Democratic candidate for Senate from TexasBeto O'Rourke, continued to be the apparent largest spender, mostly seeking small donations from outside his state via Facebook and Twitter. Although O'Rourke was the rare federal candidate unaffiliated with a PAC, he was like other candidates in using social media to raise funds outside their districts, McCoy noted.    
  • The Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican Super PAC, was the largest spender on Google and across all three platforms combined.
  • Priorities USA, a left-leaning PAC, was among the big spenders, but exact figures are not available because it collaborated on ad placements with other PACs. 
  • Left-leaning organizations are the big spenders on Facebook and Twitter; on Google, the trend is reversed. 
  • Facebook apparently carries the most political ads, but Google apparently ranks higher in impressions and spending. This is due, in part, to the large number of small, micro-targeted ads on Facebook (60 percent) and because the majority of spending on Google (61 percent) is by PACs, which are more like to have large budgets. But analysis is muddied by the fact that both Google and Facebook disclose only ranges; only Twitter discloses exact spending and impressions. Each of the giants also defines "political advertising" differently. For example, Facebook alone includes non-media for-profit companies promoting slanted political content, companies selling merchandise with political messages, and solar panel firms with environmental messages. Google and Twitter, meanwhile, limited their reporting to only federal candidates, at least initially. 
  • PACs accounted for 23 percent of the spending on Facebook during the study period. 
  • The very top spenders during the study period on Facebook, though, were Facebook itself and its own Instagram – Facebook to publicize its responses to Russian election hacking and Instagram to spread a get-out-the-vote message. But the researchers pointed out that the company seemed to overcharge itself, based upon impressions.
Ads that appeared on Facebook and Twitter were more often left-leaning and those on Google right-leaning during the study period.
Ads that appeared on Facebook and Twitter were more often left-leaning and those on Google right-leaning during the study period. (Image via NYU Tandon School of Engineering)
Collaborators on the Online Political Ads Transparency Project are NYU Tandon doctoral student Laura Edelson, NYU Shanghai visiting undergraduate student Shikhar Sakhuja, and Ratan Dey, a former NYU doctoral student studying under Professor Keith Ross and now an assistant professor of practice in computer science at NYU Shanghai.
McCoy conceived the project to build easy-to-use tools to collect, archive, and analyze political advertising data. Although Facebook became the first major social media company to launch a searchable archive of political advertising, for both Facebook and Instagram, in May 2018, McCoy found the archive difficult to use, requiring time-consuming manual searches. He decided to apply versions of the data scraping techniques he had previously used against criminals, including human traffickers who advertised and used Bitcoin.
Despite the difficulty the team subsequently encountered accessing Facebook data, they report it has by far the most comprehensive political archive among the three social media companies. The report outlines problems with the API – an interface with other platforms – introduced in beta form by Facebook to allow researchers access to its archives.
Google's data is the easiest for the public to access, as a BigQuery dataset, available in its entirety via the Google Cloud service. But it is updated in real time, with no archiving, so the NYU researchers are capturing the data daily, to share and archive.
Twitter has no easily accessible political ad archive, so the NYU research team is scraping all political advertising data identified by Twitter and sharing and archiving for the public, as well.
Although the researchers used the September period for comparison purposes, they have now compiled data from late May through October 3, with a gap of about six weeks while Facebook blocked its data scraping. 
They praised the social media companies for implementing fixes they recommended and continue to work toward transparency.
NYU Tandon School of Engineering Logo (PRNewsFoto/NYU Tandon School of Engineering)
The work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation under a grant to McCoy for research that explores bias and the manipulation of online data.

Visit the project and download data at:
SOURCE: NYU Tandon School of Engineering

3 October 2018

Life on Earth: Creating a Planet in Balance

Elephants wade through water that floods the Okavango Delta annually after flowing down from the Angolan Highlands. Shot on assignment for a National Geographic magazine story about the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project
Elephants wade through water that floods the Okavango Delta annually after flowing down from the Angolan Highlands. Shot on assignment for a National Geographic magazine story about the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project
Building upon 12 years of collaboration, Google and the National Geographic Society have announced the launch of a major new partnership that will address the myriad threats impacting the Earth at this critical juncture in ways only the two organizations can. 
Over the next two years and beyond, Google and the National Geographic Society will work together to leverage the power of Google's technology and National Geographic's world-class science and storytelling, as well as National Geographic Labs' innovations, to build a first-of-its-kind, dynamic, four-dimensional digital representation of the vital signs of Earth's natural ecosystems. 
This living rendition of the globe will allow users to monitor the world's species and ecosystems over time, understand threats to the natural world and realize solutions to help achieve a planet in balance.
The two organizations will source and generate new data on ecosystems, biodiversity, urban growth, migrations and extreme environments to inform insights and inspire action by educating consumers and decision-makers about the critical importance of protecting at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030. 
National Geographic Society's Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist Dr. Jonathan Baillie and Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Dr. Ya-Ping Zhang highlighted the need to achieve this critical biodiversity target in a recent editorial in the journal Science.
"There is finite space and energy on the planet, and we must decide how much of it we're willing to share," Baillie and Zhang wrote. 
Wildlife populations have decreased over 50 percent since the 1970s, while humans' impact on the landscape is becoming more and more visible in satellite imagery
For decades, decisions about protecting critical ecosystems have been made using very limited data. In 2020, the world's governments will meet in Beijing, China, to set targets that aim to protect current levels of biodiversity and the ecosystems that support food and water security as well as the health of billions of people. 
The Google-National Geographic Society partnership will create tools to help this decision-making.
Two initial components of the partnership are launching at the annual Geo for Good Summit in Sunnyvale, Calif. As part of the National Geographic Society's efforts to protect our planet's last wild places, the Society and Google are releasing a new dataset called The Human Impact Map on Google Earth that shows the planet's remaining, relatively untouched landscapes.
Additionally, to showcase one of these iconic landscapes and its importance at a local and regional scale, the announcement also includes the launch of a new Voyager story in Google Earth, "Protecting the Okavango River Basin," focused on southern Africa's Okavango River Basin. 
This Voyager story uses the newly visualized Human Impact data and provides on-the-ground data and storytelling from National Geographic's Okavango Wilderness Project expeditions to show how we can better protect the natural resources and wildlife of regions like the Okavango watershed.
"National Geographic is committed to an ambitious conservation vision and is excited to be partnering with Google to articulate why that vision is essential and to help measure our progress in achieving it," said Baillie. "By combining the power of Google's innovative technology with National Geographic's groundbreaking research, storytelling and the National Geographic Labs team, we're dramatically increasing society's understanding of Earth's natural systems and species and providing new insights on how to protect them."
"This is a time of great threat to our natural ecosystems, but there is still time for us to correct our course," said Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth. "Data gives nature a voice, and by harnessing the power of technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and global-scale geospatial analytics, we can gain new insights and perspectives on how life is adapting to our changing planet. We can use those insights to inform people and make better decisions for ourselves and the planet. There are hopeful outcomes when people have access to this information and can use it to protect life on earth."
Looking ahead to 2019 and 2020, Google and National Geographic will collaborate on key Google Earth data layers and stories focused on biodiversity, animal migrations and the impacts of climate change. 
They plan to develop engaging user and decision-maker experiences to better demonstrate the need to protect the world's ecosystems. 
Leveraging the National Geographic Society's expertise in conservation science with Google's excellence in big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, the organizations will identify and aim to solve the grand challenges that decision-makers are trying to address and help them make better informed decisions to protect the planet.
About the National Geographic Society:
The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. 

The Society aspires to create a community of change, advancing key insights about the planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time, all while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Its goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. 

About Google:
Google's mission is to "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Google Earth, Earth Outreach and Earth Engine are part of a broader team dedicated to leveraging and developing Google's infrastructure to address global environmental, health and humanitarian issues. 

Projects are often in partnership with area experts, focus on data driven approaches and visualizations at scale to bring greater transparency and awareness, create new tools to understand system dynamics and better inform decision making.

25 September 2018

Are Millennials Interested in Art? Yes, New Park West Gallery Study Finds

Millennials almost twice as likely to say they know something about or appreciate art as Baby Boomer generation
Millennials are much more interested in art than previous generations, and social media may be driving their attraction to it, according to a new study conducted by Park West Gallery, one of the world's largest private art galleries.
Millennials are almost twice as likely as Baby Boomers to say they both know something about art (63% to 34%), and almost universally agree that they appreciate art, the research found. In fact, four out of five Millennials said that art was important to them, the highest percentage of any age group.
"Some people believe that Millennials are tied to their smartphones, and therefore might be less interested in the fine arts. In fact, just the opposite appears to be true: there's a generational shift in which younger people are more attracted to art than older generations," said Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West Gallery. "During the auctions we hold around the world, we see more young people every day, and we witness the personal connection that people of all ages have to art. Art was always created to inspire, and people today are craving that inspiration as much as ever."
The study also found that social media is driving additional interest in art among all demographics, especially Millennials, allowing people to find and interact with art in new ways. 
Some of the other key findings include:
  • 53% of people say they have interacted with art on social media
  • 55% say that social media plays an important role in discovering new art
  • 54% say social media enhances the way they experience art
  • 79% of Millennials say social media allows them to interact with art in new and interesting ways, versus 61% and 37% of Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively
  • 65% of Millennials say they buy artwork with the intention of sharing it with others on social media, versus 45% and 25% of Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively.
The Internet and social media have become powerful tools to learn about and discover art, but when it comes to buying, most Americans (87%) still want to see it in person before purchase. 
While the internet is the most popular method to learn about art, retails stores (33%), street fairs (29%) and art auctions (12%) are still the most popular ways to buy it.
"New tools are giving people exciting new ways to learn about and experience art – collections are no longer just on our walls but in our pockets," said Jason Betteridge, an auctioneer at Park West Gallery. "But while social media is a part of our future, we can't lose the in-person connection."
While the vast majority of Americans (91%) like art, most still view it as a luxury, and economic concerns still prevent some from purchasing. Although most Americans have purchased at least one piece of art, the majority (57%) of Americans would not consider buying artwork that costs more than $500.
79% of Millennials say social media allows them to interact with art in new and interesting ways, versus 61% and 37% of Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively
79% of Millennials say social media allows them to interact with art in new and interesting ways, versus 61% and 37% of Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively (PRNewsfoto/Park West Gallery)
Park West Gallery commissioned the survey to understand the state of art among average Americans in our digital age, speaking with 1,000 people from a diverse array of socio-economic backgrounds.

President Donald Trump And Attorney General Sessions Lack Support For Breaking Up Tech, New NetChoice Survey Finds

Americans Prefer Ad-Supported Online Services Instead of Paying for Them
Americans Prefer Ad-Supported Online Services Instead of Paying for Them (Infographic via NetChoice)
Americans overwhelmingly value the contributions of the technology industry and do not support antitrust enforcement, despite aggressive rhetoric from President Trump, a new NetChoice survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers found.
President Trump's draft Executive Order would put tech in the crosshairs of U.S. antitrust authorities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also holding a meeting with several State Attorneys General today to discuss accusations of social media bias. 
But Americans don't support an antitrust crack down on America's most innovative businesses.

New polling shows that only about 5% of Americans (on both sides of the political aisles) say the federal government should focus anti-competitive enforcement on the tech industry. 
Further, just 1 in 5 Americans say the break-up of big tech would most benefit consumers.
No Support for Heavy-Handed Government Intervention on Tech Platforms
No Support for Heavy-Handed Government Intervention on Tech Platforms (Infographic via NetChoice)
The value of tech to consumers and businesses is clear.
Over 70% of Americans say that digital advertising platforms like Google and Facebook are valuable to both small businesses and the national economy. 
Just 13% say that they have had a negative experience with large Internet platforms and 72% say that services like Facebook, Google, and Amazon make it easier for them to connect with people in their community.
Consumers Are Empowered with Social Media Choices
Consumers Are Empowered with Social Media Choices (Infographic via NetChoice)
"President Trump's fixation on breaking up tech platforms lacks support from Americans," said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. "Antitrust policy needs to be guided by facts, not emotional outbursts. The government cannot violate the First Amendment by forcing Internet platforms to suppress negative news. Internet platforms are a boon for American consumers, businesses, and, in turn, the U.S. economy. The President should listen to regular Americans and allow U.S. tech companies to continue to thrive and innovate."
Americans Believe Online Platforms Empower Business Advertising and Community Engagement
Americans Believe Online Platforms Empower Business Advertising and Community Engagement (Infographic via NetChoice)

About the Survey:
From August 6-8, 2018 Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 1,222 adults focused on consumer attitudes toward Internet platforms and government regulation. 
The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.  It is available at
SOURCE: NetChoice

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