Social media apps overwhelmingly dominate mobile traffic

Andrew Meola

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To the surprise of few, social media eats up the most time spent on mobile devices.

The latest Global Internet Phenomena Report by Sandvine tracked March data from multiple Internet service providers and confirmed that social media is the main traffic driver on the mobile web. The firm measured traffic during the peak hours of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. and broke out data consumption in terms of upstream consumption, or uploading content, and downstream consumption, or downloading content.

YouTube represented the greatest share of U.S. mobile traffic at 19%, and more people downloaded and streamed content (21%) than uploaded (5%). Based on the study, YouTube remains the go-to destination for video consumption among U.S. mobile users.

Facebook ranked second with a 14% share, though this number does not include WhatsApp and Instagram. Upstream and downstream connections among users stood at 15% and 21%, respectively, which shows people upload and download content on Facebook at a relatively equal rate. And the bandwidth consumed on Facebook should rise in the future as Facebook continues to grow its video offerings and promotes virtual reality content.

Instagram by itself ranked fifth with a 6.3% share of total U.S. mobile traffic, and this should also rise as Facebook promotes the platform more. Interestingly, Facebook would have the largest share at 22% after combining Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Snapchat placed behind Instagram at 5.1%, an impressive feat given the company’s youth and size. It also led all messaging apps by beating WhatsApp and Kik. The data consumption numbers of the company, however, are not surprising considering that the platform’s primary messaging is videos and photos. And Snapchat’s share should also increase as it expands its offerings and attracts more advertisers.

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How to Read Faces

thYou’re talking to a co-worker about your last successful campaign and you notice the corners of their mouth tighten and shift downward. They tilt their head and their eyebrows come together just a little. Suddenly, you realize that maybe they haven’t been doing so well. You ask if they are doing well or if they need anything and suddenly, their face relaxes and their eyes widen with interest. They tell you they’ve actually been struggling and could use some advice from someone like you.

Congratulations, you’re a face-reader.

No, not a mind-reader; a face-reader. Reading faces is a valuable skill not only in the working world but in every day life. Being able to guess what a person is thinking simply be reading the small gestures (often called micro-expressions) on a person’s face helps you navigate your way to the top of the dog pile by being more empathetic. You’re not a mind-reader, but you’re the next best thing.

There are four parts of the face to pay attention to when you are trying to read a person.

1. The eyes. Pupils dilate and become large when a person is legitimately interested in what you have to say. However, if they are angry or they think they’ve perceived something offensive, the pupils become very small and focus intently on the subject of their anger: you. If the other person’s eyes narrow or squint, they think you’re being dishonest, so it’s best to clarify what you’ve just said. And finally, eyes that can’t focus, that dart here and there signify discomfort and distraction. Get them to focus on you again and sell your point!

2. The lips. A person will purse or tighten their lips into a hard, straight line when they are on the defensive. They are frustrated or they disagree with something that’s been said. In the opposite direction, a person who puckers their lips, or bites them, in any way drawing attention to their mouth is feeling unsure or vulnerable. In this case, it’s best to be comforting and reassuring but establishing your dominance. Be the leader and do it now! A person whose lips twitch is hiding something. They might be lying and trying to hide their pleasure with themselves by suppressing a smile. Call them out.

3. The nose. The nose doesn’t move as much as the lips or eyes, but it still has a lot to say. A reddened nose indicates increased blood-flow and simply means the person is lying and unsure of what they are saying. When a person’s nose is flared, meaning the nostrils are wide, they are clearly angry or annoyed. Generally, when the nose is crinkled as if the person smells something bad, it’s because they are contemptuous and have disdain for you or what you’ve said. Time to put on the charm!

4. The eyebrows. If you’ve ever seen a silent movie, you know how much emotion we can convey just by raising or pulling together your eyebrows. High brows show fear, surprise, or interest. Eyebrows that are lowered and form several wrinkles on the forehead can either mean anger or intense concentration. And last, if you notice the eyebrows are lop-sided with one raised and one lowered, it usually indicates the person is confused or uncertain. It’s best then to assuage their fears and sound more confident.

While gestures can change with a person’s upbringing or their cultural background, facial expressions linked to emotions are universal. Disgust, surprise, fear, and love look the same in one part of the world as another. Mastering the ability to read subtle and overt facial expressions will make you a master at communication and negotiation and a valuable company asset.

Millennials are too impatient when it comes to making money

Chloe Pfeiffer

Investors, and especially young investors, have unrealistic expectations about their money.

The annual Global Investor Study, a study commissioned bySchroders Investment Management that surveyed 20,000 investors from around the world, was released Wednesday, and its main takeaway probably shouldn’t be a surprise: People expect higher investment income on assets held for a shorter period of time than is realistic.

On average, investors hope to generate 9.1% annually in investment income, but with many countries’ interest rates at historic lows, most of these investors could end up disappointed.

Millennials, which the Schroders report defined as investors aged 18 to 35, have especially disproportionate goals: The minimum desired investment income was 10.2% for millennials, compared with 8.4% for investors older than 36.

Global investors also seem to be biased toward short-term investing – on average, they expect to hold their investments for a little over three years, which “is often too short a time period to counteract the volatility” of equities, the report says.

Less than a fifth of investors said they held investments for at least five years, “the minimum realistic holding period for equity investments,” as noted by the authors of the report. This bias was, once again, exaggerated for millennials, who expected to hold their investments an average of one and a half years less than older investors. Millennials are also the least likely age group to actually stick to an investment plan.

Millennials also tend to invest for immediate financial requirements, like to supplement their salary, buy things, or pay for children, and they’re less likely to see investment as a way to supplement their pensions and grow their retirement portfolios, according to the Schroders report. And even though their investment window is longer, they hold almost twice as much cash in their portfolios as baby boomers.

Thinking long-term is easier said than done, of course, but especially in a time of such low interest rates, millennials might have to start practicing patience when it comes to their investments – or else be left very disappointed.

After seeing the results of a clever psychological study, I’m considering making a major change to my daily commute

Shana Lebowitz


As a born-and-raised New Yorker, I’m an expert at ignoring people.

Nowhere does that skill come in handier than on a crowded subway, where my limbs are often entangled with those of other riders, our faces close enough for me to smell the latte on their breath. The key, I’ve learned, is to pretend they don’t exist.

Seriously – don’t acknowledge the physical intimacy, don’t try to crack a joke about it, and definitely don’t use it as an opportunity to ask where they’re headed.

It’s a way for everyone to maintain their sanity and happiness until they de-board. Or is it?

I recently spoke with Nicholas Epley, a psychologist, professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and author of the 2014 book “Mindwise.” In the book, Epley highlights a study he conducted with Juliana Schroeder, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, which found that people are much happier on their commutes when they engage another passenger in conversation.

The study featured a series of experiments, which took place in Chicago trains, buses, and cabs. For the train experiment, researchers recruited about 90 passengers and told them them either to have a conversation with a new person on the train, keep to themselves, or do what they would normally do on their commute.

Everyone was asked to complete a survey about how happy and sad they felt after their commute, and how pleasant and productive their commute was compared to usual.

Results showed that passengers had a much more positive commute when they talked to a stranger than when they sat alone or did what they usually did. Perhaps surprisingly, those who talked to a stranger didn’t report being less productive than usual.

Here’s where things get really interesting.

In another experiment, researchers asked a different group of participants to predict how pleasant and productive their commute would be if they talked to someone, enjoyed their solitude, or went about their usual business. Those participants said they would have a much less positive and productive commute when they interacted with a stranger.

The results of another experiment shed some light on why people feel this way: They generally think that other passengers don’t want to talk to them.

starbucks customerMaking conversation with the barista could leave you happier.Alex Wong/Getty

Those last two findings don’t surprise me at all – I don’t think I’ve ever taken the initiative to strike up a conversation with a fellow commuter, at least partly because I assume I’d be bothering them. But if these study findings are any indication, I could be doing myself and them a favor.

This research doesn’t stand in isolation, either. A 2013 studyfound that customers at Starbucks who had a social interaction with the barista felt more positive than those who had a more efficient transaction. (That particular study didn’t measure how the baristas felt about the interactions.)

The big takeaway from these studies is that we aren’t always the best predictors of what will make us happy. As for me, I’m going to try (keyword: try) to overcome the feeling that other people aren’t interested in talking to me, and ask what they think about the sunshine, or compliment their swanky bag.

As long as I don’t comment on the fact that their armpit is currently resting on my ear, everything should be totally fine.

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