Archive | August, 2013

How Ant Colonies Foreshadow the Future of Facebook

They call it “the anternet.”

In 2012, Stanford biologist Deborah Gordon, Ph.D., discovered that the behavior of harvester ant colonies mirrors the fundamental Internet technology known as Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP.

TCP controls the flow of information online by preventing data transmission bottlenecks and the Internet from coming to a mighty, screeching halt. Basically, when fewer people are online, information return is faster. When more people are online, it slows.

Upon observing the scavenging habits of harvester ants, Gordon found that ant colonies are controlled by the same concept. After discovering a large supply of food, more ants leave the colony. When food is scarce, the number of foragers is restricted.

In his New York Times bestseller, Breakpoint, author Jeff Stibel reflects upon the similarities between the Internet and biological networks like ant colonies to make predictions about the future of social networks like Facebook.

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Twitter Taps Data Giant to Connect Dots Between Tweets and Store Purchases

Now that advertisers are starting to spend real money on Twitter, the pressure is on to prove that those investments deliver tangible results. Twitter took a step in that direction today by announcing its partnership with the data giant Datalogix to gauge the impact of tweets — both paid and organic — on sales for consumer packaged goods marketers.

Datalogix and Twitter find the correlation between tweets and purchases by matching email addresses that have been scrambled — or “hashed” — to ensure users’ anonymity. Twitter users provide an email address when registering their account, and Datalogix collects emails through loyalty programs. (Datalogix has a similar deal with Facebook to connect users and their purchases.)

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