Tag Archives: optional

Optional: Some Comforting Content

For my other job, our team is working on a site called Comforting Content for COVID Coping, where we just post nice things that might bring people some brief peace and happiness in the midst of all of this stress and anxiety.

There’s a couple posts from me so far, but most of it is my boss posting pictures of his cats and other animals. Pretty cute.

You can check it out here.

Optional: Data on ~60,000 Different Advertising Categories Facebook Might Put You In

I’m doing some exploring on targeted advertising articles beyond our reading for today to figure out how I think we should go about discussing the topic together this afternoon. These spreadsheets are too enormous to print out and work with in class, but I wanted to share them with you in case you wanted to look on your own.

Download the datasets for free here: https://www.propublica.org/datastore/thanks?id=096b3c2eff44d226At9l

I used the Sort feature in Excel to order the items in ways that made sense to me (like alphabetical by Type of Category)– it’s a lot to even quickly scroll through!

The download link gives you two spreadsheets. One is a list of advertising categories based on data gathered from other sources about YOU (public records, credit card transactions, etc.). The other is a list of algorithmically-created and algorithmically-assigned categories based on your Facebook activity. It looks at what things you like and do on Facebook, and what some common patterns are for other people who like and do those same things, and then gives you ads based on what those similar people purchased or already own.

Optional: Dating App Algorithms


Since we’ve been looking at some dating app ads and also talking about secret algorithms, I thought I would share with you this article about how Tinder does and used to calculate matches.

The Elo Score is sometimes referred to as a “hottness score” because it matches people it thinks are attractive with other attractive people, but what it really does is match people who get a lot of swipe rights with other people who get a lot of swipe rights, and vice versa. It’s just that on Tinder, there usually isn’t a lot of information to judge someone on besides their looks.

Now, however, it looks like Tinder has stopped using this model. What model they DO use to match people, however, is still unclear…

Optional: Academic Structure with Informal Style

Adding on to our discussion from last week about academic writing, here is an optional reading that uses academic structure with an informal writing style. Even though Dr. Young writes in a “conversational” way, this is still considered “scholarly” and was published in an academic journal, because he is still engaging in academic work even though he uses slang, etc.

I may have us do an activity with it later in the semester, but for now, just read/skim if you’re interested.

If you would rather download the file instead of reading in the embedder window, click here.

Should Writers Use They Own English_