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Offbeat (Page 9)

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers news and ideas from unusual sources or other industries beyond journalism.

News organizations including NYT and the BBC have said their sites were infected with ‘ransomware,’ but how does this kind of malware work?

Some major news organizations including The New York Times, AOL and the BBC have said their websites were attacked by “ransomware” that attempted to install the malware on users’ computers. Southern California public radio station KPCC reports that while this form of malware isn’t new, the attacks are becoming more common and often target organizations […]

Twitter’s 140-character limit isn’t going anywhere, CEO Jack Dorsey says

On the Today Show, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that Twitter’s 140-character limit is here to stay. It was reported in January that Twitter may have been considering extending its character limit to 10,000 characters, an idea that would have fundamentally changed the social network and was protested by many Twitter users. Dorsey told the […]

More social networks are introducing algorithmic feeds to combat information overload

With the news this week that Instagram may introduce an algorithmic feed, Caitlin Dewey writes there’s a reason why we’re seeing more social networks introduce algorithmic feeds: “We follow too many people on too many platforms to ever dream of keeping up — a state of perpetual Sisyphean treadmilling so unsatisfying that some users would […]

If Instagram moves to an algorithmic feed, publishers who already perform well will get a boost

News broke Tuesday that Instagram may move to an algorithm-based feed similar to that of Facebook’s. But what would those changes mean for brands and publishers on Instagram? Publishers who are already performing well on Instagram will be helped by the algorithm, especially those who post content around trending topics. But brands and publishers who […]

Instagram may change its reverse-chronological feed to an algorithm-based feed

Since it was launched, Instagram has shown users a feed of images in reverse chronological order. But it’s testing an algorithm-based feed that’s similar to what’s used by its parent company Facebook, Mike Isaac reports. As for how this feed could work, Isaac writes: “That could mean that if your best friend posted a photo […]

The scientific reason why your first idea is rarely your best one

Neurologist David Eagleman says there’s a scientific reason why your first idea isn’t usually your best one: Our brains are lazy, and the first idea we have is usually the handiest idea, rather than the best idea. To get your brain to your best idea, Eagleman says: “The key to innovation is to distrust the […]

The downside of Slack at work: ‘Group chat is like being in an all-day meeting with random participants and no agenda’

Group chat apps for the workplace such as Slack and Hipchat have some major advantages when it comes to improving workflows and internal communications, but Jason Fried writes that these apps also have their issues when used improperly. The potential downsides, Fried writes, include creating a culture where everything needs to be handled ASAP, a […]

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