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13 ways to make sure you and your information are safe at a hotel


peepholeHotel security has become a concern for some frequent travelers.

Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews recently won a $55 million law suit over a nude video that was taken by a stalker who got a hotel room next to hers at a Nashville Marriott hotel in 2008.

Her case inspired NBC's Today Show to conduct a special investigation. Two reporters tested several hotels and found that while some refused to give out personal information, others revealed guests' names as well as their exact room number. 

We spoke to Anthony Melchiorri, host of Travel Channel's "Hotel Impossible", to hear his tips on how you can keep your information secure during your next trip. 

From when you check in to when you leave your room, here are 13 ways to make sure you're staying safe. 

SEE ALSO: 22 things you should definitely do the next time you book a hotel if you want to score the best deals

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Stay at hotels that offer restricted access.

When deciding on a hotel, Melchiorri recommends looking for properties that offer restricted access.

This includes hotels that block access to guest floors unless you have a key to insert in the elevator, as well as those that have one-way stairwells.

Don't use your first name when checking in.

One of the simplest ways to keep your information private is to avoid using your first name when you check in.

Give the front desk your first initial and last name. For women who are traveling alone, Melchiorri suggests using "Mrs." to give the impression that you're traveling with at least one other person.

Ask for a room change upon your arrival.

According to Melchiorri, hotels will often pre-block rooms before you check in, so ask for a room change upon arrival.

This simple change can eliminate the chance of anyone knowing what your room number is prior to your arrival.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We asked a sleep scientist if the iPhone's new Night Shift feature will actually help you sleep, and his answer surprised us


phone iphone insomnia sleep bed night

If you're excited to use Apple's new Night Shift feature for the iPhone, which automatically shifts the display's color to warmer hues as the sun sets, don't assume that it's a cure-all — especially if you're still reading in bed.

You've probably heard that the crisp blue light emitted by everything from TVs to tablets to smartphones is wreaking havoc on our health.

As far as the range of visible light goes, blue light — which is also given off by the sun — is near the brightest. (If our phones and tablets weren't also graced with this blue light, we'd never be able to see our screens on a sunny day.)

But blue light also tamps down on the production of melatonin, a key hormone our brains use to tell our bodies to start preparing for sleep. That's something you don't want to be doing at night, especially right when you're heading to bed.

Enter Apple's ingenious (albeit unoriginal) solution to the problem: a feature on iPhones that transitions the screen's hue from blue to red as the sun sets.

When we talked Keck School of Medicine professor of clinical medicine and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Raj Dasgupta, about whether Night Shift could solve our sleep woes, his answer caught us off-guard.

"If you can’t sleep, good sleep hygiene suggests that you get up, get out of bed, and do something else, something relaxing, like going and reading a book. But nowadays people aren't doing that, they're pulling out their phones and scrolling," Dasgupta told Business Insider.

There are two major problems with this, both of which run contrary to a broader set of healthy behaviors that Dasgupta encourages in people with sleeping problems known as sleep hygeine.

1. It might encourage more night-time cellphone use, which could make things worse.

Stimulus control, which the Mayo Clinic includes on its list of components of good sleep hygeine, refers to the practice of getting rid of factors that condition the mind to resist sleep. This includes setting rules like using the bed only for sleep and leaving the bedroom if you stay awake for longer than 20 minutes.

For people who already have sleep problems, apps and features that encourage more night-time cellphone use could end up making the problem worse.

"There are lots of apps that are great that are designed to help you sleep," says Dasgupta, "but it's almost a double-edged sword because my patients are using their phone in bed to use these apps."

2. The content most of us scroll through on our phones — as opposed to what we'd read in a book — is more likely to be the kind that interferes with sleep.

Another component of good sleep hygeine is preparing for sleep by decreasing our exposure to stimulating content, like TV, social media, and the news, as we get closer to bedtime. Some experts suggest avoiding devices for an hour before bed.

"When you're going to bed, you want to do things that are relaxing, like reading a book. You want to gradually transition into sleep; you don't want your mind to be stimulated," Dasgupta says.

I'm not sure about you, but I find pretty much everything on my phone stimulating. First there are the pop-up news notifications. Then there are the group texts (not to mention the Slacks and Tweets). And, when I just can't look away, there's my Facebook newsfeed.

"At bedtime, you want to be at peace," says Dasgupta. "Things that will probably make you feel not at-peace include the news."

Despite these issues, Dasgupta says the Night Shift feature can still be a welcome tool for people with sleep issues, so long as they're also sticking to the other healthy sleep behaviors.

"I don't see a problem having it as long as we know what good sleep hygiene is," Dasgupta says.

SEE ALSO: There's a fascinating reason why it feels like it gets harder to sleep as you age

LEARN MORE: What too little sleep does to your brain and body

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens to your brain and body if you don’t get enough sleep

Alex Rodriguez will retire after the 2017 season — here's how he currently makes and spends his $400 million

Here's how letters get printed on your keyboard


Laser marking uses powerful, focused laser beams to put letters, numbers, punctuation, and other shapes on other materials. Depending on the machine, the lasers can melt, char, or change the other material's chemical composition.

Thanks to Jinan Xintian for sharing this footage.

Story by Jacob Shamsian and editing by Carl Mueller.

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A US bar chain will pay interns $12,000 to spend 4 months traveling the world and tasting beer


World of Beer Chelsea

World of Beer, a chain of craft-beer taverns across the US, is offering the ideal summer job for anyone partial to a brew or two: a four-month internship traveling the world, tasting beer, and posting about it on social media. And you'll get $12,000 for your hard work.

"Travel. Explore beer. Get paid," reads the internship description. Sold yet?

Applicants need to be of drinking age and able to work in the US. They should also possess some skill with social media, photography, writing, or videography, and — obviously — be passionate about beer. You have until Saturday, March 26 to apply. 

"So if you want to live, drink and tell the tale to the world, get ready to apply for the chance to share your experience as a Drink It Intern," the World of Beer site reads.

Applications should be submitted as a one-minute video that shows off your enthusiasm for beer and/or travel, as well as a post to social media. The more popular your postings, the better your chances of snagging the gig. There are also "in-tavern" interviews available in certain cities, where applicants need to "wow" a panel of judges with their personality. A lucky three interns will be chosen, and the job begins in late April.

World of Beer has over 75 taverns open in the US. But with fewer than 8,000 Instagram followers and under 3,000 Twitter followers on its US handle, there's plenty of room for major social media growth — just the job for these interns to tackle.

SEE ALSO: The 100 hottest restaurants in the US right now

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NOW WATCH: Monks in a 1,500-year-old Italian monastery are getting in on the craft beer craze — and people love it

Find out the ideal work style for your personality


Are you more productive in a crowded, collaborative open office where you can easily share ideas, or in a quiet corner cubicle where you can be alone with your thoughts? Perhaps you prefer a third option, and are better suited to a job with a two-second commute, working from your couch.

Personality preferences can offer clues to your ideal work style. Video conferencing provider Highfive and content marketing agency Column Five collaborated with Business Insider to create the following quiz that can help you figure out yours.


SEE ALSO: The best jobs for every personality type

DON'T MISS: 11 interview questions hiring managers ask to test your personality

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NOW WATCH: 10 habits you should break to be more productive in 2016

Prince Harry played volleyball against locals in Nepal, and they totally schooled him


On his recent trip to Nepal, Prince Harry took time out of his main mission — raising awareness for the country's continued earthquake recovery effort — to play volleyball with some locals.

While the royal is a man of man talents, volleyball wasn't his forte.

Story by Tony Manfred and editing by Ben Nigh

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A bunch of chefs messed around with a waffle iron and made some crazy concoctions


Waffle irons can be used to make a lot more than just waffles.

A group of chefs proved this theory by successfully waffle-izing a large variety of foods.

Click here to see more videos from ChefSteps.

Story by Sarah Schmalbruch and editing by Stephen Parkhurst

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Here's how the '8 glasses of water a day' myth started and why it's not scientifically true

12 of the most impressive students at Stanford right now


Aashna Shroff

In 2015, Stanford University accepted just 5% of applicants, fortifying its 125-year history as one of thebest colleges in the nation.

With esteemed alumni that includes the founders of Snapchat, Google, Instagram, and Netflix, the Silicon Valley feeder school is a breeding ground for top talent.

We've tracked down 12 of the school's most impressive students to check out what America's next generation of inventors, innovators, advocates, coders, engineers, and leaders are up to.

Scroll through to meet some of Stanford's incredibly impressive students.

NOW CHECK OUT: 15 impressive students at MIT

Aashna Mago is a virtual reality aficionado who's interning at Oculus this summer.

Class of 2017

Major: computer science

By the time she entered her freshman year at Stanford, Aashna Mago was a budding molecular biologist who'd spent several years doing research in cancer treatments at Princeton. But Mago had a change of heart when she got to Stanford and set out to learn about programming and technology and teach herself how to code.

She landed a summer internship with virtual reality expert Mark Bolas in the Mixed Reality Lab at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, where she honed skills in programming, 3D modeling and printing, and design.

Halfway through her sophomore year, Mago took a leave of absence from Stanford to accept a full-time position at Rothenberg Ventures, where she helped launch an in-house production studio and run the first batch of River, the world's first VR/AR accelerator.

Since returning to campus last fall, Mago has earned a Women in VR scholarship from Oculus and VR Girls; cohosted a large-scale Women in VR event in San Francisco to encourage women from diverse industries to get involved in VR; and founded Rabbit Hole VRa group at Stanford focused on bringing more diversity to the VR community through innovative storytelling. This summer, she'll be a software engineer at Facebook-owned Oculus.

Aashna Shroff founded a coding camp for girls in India.

Class of 2017

Major: computer science 

Growing up in India, Aashna Shroff was one of two girls in her high school computer science class. When she arrived at Stanford, Shroff was impressed by the initiatives to get women involved in computing fields, so she decided to take those ideas back to India by founding Girls Code Camp (GCC). Last summer, Shroff led the GCC team of Stanford students to India to teach computer science workshops to more than 500 middle and high school girls. The subsequent "GCC Hack Day" produced projects ranging from medical emergency apps to educational games.

Shroff is also championing gender diversity on campus. This quarter, she'll be doing research with Stanford's Clayman Institute for Gender Research to help detect unconscious bias in job descriptions. And she's a mentor for Girls Teaching Girls To Code, a program that teaches Bay Area high school girls how to code.

Shroff also contributed to research at Stanford's Bio-Robotics lab on a project that allows surgeons to practice brain surgery on virtual patients. She used cutting-edge technology to create a program where sights, sounds, and forces of the virtual surgery replicate that of the operating room. 





Brandon Hill is the student body vice president and a former White House intern.

Class of 2016

Major: political science, African/African-American studies 

The summer before he was set to start at Stanford, Brandon Hill was de-accepted by the university for a bad grade in physics. He decided to take a year off — something he later dubbed "Year On" during a TEDx talk — to travel more than 30,000 miles across the world on a full scholarship through Semester at Sea.

He made it to Stanford and is now vice president of the school's more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students. 

Hill is passionate about helping youths of color maximize their creative potential through his startup Enza Academy. Over the last two years, Enza has matched more than 150 kids nationwide with innovation, tech, and entrepreneurship training camps at Google, Stanford, Columbia University, and Facebook. Last December, Hill and his cofounder spoke about Enza Academy at the White House, where Hill interned the summer before his freshman year at Stanford.

He's also interned at Google on the YouTube star management team, at UNICEF in Tanzania, and for the US Department of Education. When he graduates in June, Hill plans to work full-time on his "TED meets Twitter" idea-sharing platform.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This startup thinks it's fixed the major flaw in dating apps like Tinder — and Apple just featured it as a 'best new app'



One of the reasons Tinder has been such a resounding success is that it functions like a game. Even if you never go on a date, swiping this way and that, and seeing who thinks you're attractive, is just inherently fun.

But that's a problem, according to Keisuke Kamijo, the CEO of Tokyo-based Mrk & Co., whose company recently launched a new dating app in the US and Canada called "Dine." The goal of Dine is to get you from a match to that first dinner or drinks date as quickly as possible.

Being consistently charming in a text conversation, especially with a complete stranger, is not necessarily a perfect indicator of whether you'll be compatible, so Dine tries to get you to that first restaurant as quickly as possible.

Mrk & Co. was founded by veterans of Japanese gaming giant DeNA, who Nintendo partnered with to bring its games to smartphones for the first time last year. But Dine strips most of the game-like elements out of dating apps, relying instead on a smooth path toward an actual date. Apple was impressed enough with the concept to feature it on its list of "best new apps."

Here's how Dine works.

After filling out a profile, you pick three restaurants or bars (there's Yelp integration) where you'd want to go on a date. Dine then shows you 2-5 people per day, and which places they chose, and you can request to go on a date there.

Once you send someone a date request, and they accept, a chat box opens so you can get some sense of whether you have any chemistry. But the act of having the restaurant or bar right there at the start makes it feel much less nebulous than chatting on Tinder.

Kamijo gives a rough estimate that about half of accepted requests lead to actual dates within two weeks, based on data from the beta testing Dine did in Vancouver. Now Dine has launched to all of the US and Canada (though you'll have better luck where there is higher population density).

I tried Dine in New York City. Here's what it was like:

First, you select where you are. You can be anywhere in the United States or Canada, but the cities below are where Dine is trying to make a big push.

Then you select three restaurants or bars. They can be your favorites or ones you have wanted to check out.

You also set up a standard dating app profile, although one interesting feature is that Dine will auto-sort your pictures based on which ones are proving to be most popular.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 things no man should wear in the spring — and what they should wear instead


shoes thumbnail

Many times, when we tell men what not to wear, they ask what they should be wearing instead.

Well, ask no more: We're here to tell you exactly what you should wear instead of your sweaty boat shoes and baggy cargo shorts.

Here are seven things you shouldn't wear this season, and the items you should replace them with.

SEE ALSO: The 5 biggest mistakes you're making with your dress shoes

SEE ALSO: This military-style jacket is everywhere this spring — and these are the best ones out there

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

The problem: cargo shorts

The solution: Chino shorts that hit above the knee.

We've been over cargo shorts for a long time now. But every time we say so, we hear the inevitable cry of "But what am I supposed to wear?"

Let us introduce to you shorts that don't look terrible: Simple, slim-fit chino shorts that hit above the knee. (For most guys, that will be 9 inches or shorter, depending on how long your legs are.)

The slim profile doesn't flare out like cargo shorts, and the shorter inseam doesn't make it look like you'd rather be wearing pants.

J. Crew makes some of our favorites ($65).

The problem: boat shoes

The solution: Moccasin-style shoes.

We're over boat shoes in the worst way. They just remind us of college.

You're not in college anymore, and it's time to ditch your boat shoes for something a little more grown-up. 

We heartily recommend any number of moccasin-style shoes, which feature a similar low-profile shape but eschew the frat-boy associations.

Pictured are L.L.Bean's Blucher Moccasins ($84), which we think perfectly fit the bill.

The problem: graphic tees

The solution: Plain, well-fitting T-shirts.

Graphic T-shirts are juvenile relics from the earlier part of the century. We've moved on, and it's time you move on, too.

There are absolutely zero instances we can think of where a graphic tee would work better than a plain old, regular T-shirt, like this one from Uniqlo ($10).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Mick Jagger perfectly sums up why no guy should ever wear flip-flops


Mick JaggerThough many are loath to admit it, Mick Jagger is a fashion icon. Everyone from Harry Styles to fashion label Yves Saint Laurent have copied his trend-setting style.

And when he has something to say about style, men need to listen up. Here's a great example regarding flip-flops.

"People just don't dress up like they used to," Jagger recently lamented to Rolling Stone. "When people went to the theater, everyone dressed up. I don't really miss that."

"But do you like going to the theater and seeing a bloke with not very nice legs in shorts and flip-flops?" Jagger asked.

And the answer to that question is an unequivocal "no." Unless you're about to catch some rays at the beach, or are heading to a shower in the gym locker room, your feet should never touch flip-flops.

flip flopsWhy? Because they're inferior shoes, and they don't cover up much — including your disgusting feet.

"Men's toes are, in general, unsightly," Donnie Kwak, editor at Complex magazine, told Mashable last year.

We couldn't agree more.

Men don't take care of their feet like women do. They don't get pedicures, and they don't wash their feet as often as they should — or sometimes at all.

No one needs to see that.

Keep your feet inside a cool summer shoe, like a pair of white sneakers or a pair of boat-shoe-alternative moccasins to avoid grossing anyone out.

Your summer social life will thank you.

SEE ALSO: The 5 biggest mistakes you're making with your dress shoes

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

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NOW WATCH: You’ll soon be able to buy these Nike self-lacing shoes inspired by ‘Back to the Future'

This is the best restaurant in the US, according to Yelp


porto's 1You might think that the best restaurant in America would be a fancy affair bursting with filet mignon — but not according to Yelp.

Yelp recently released its list of the top-rated restaurants in the US, and the top spot was snagged by a Cuban bakery and cafe called Porto's, located in Burbank, California. Part of Porto's charm is that it serves up delicious food at extremely affordable prices.


The Porto's tale begins in 1960, when the Porto family decided to leave their home in Manzanillo, Cuba, a year after Fidel Castro came to power.

After requesting permission to leave the country, Raul Sr., the family patriarch, lost his job and was sent away from his family to do manual labor for the rest of the waiting period. Rosa, his wife, also found herself out of a job, and she had three children to take care of alone.

Rosa turned to selling cakes to neighbors and friends, working to hone her recipes.

When the family moved to the US, Rosa found out that her reputation as a baker had followed her. Rosa continued to bake cakes, which Raul Sr. would deliver after finishing work as a mechanic.

When demand grew and grew, Rosa opened a 300-square-foot bakery on Sunset. By the 1980s, the whole family was involved in the operation: Rosa, Raul Sr., and their three kids. Porto's now has three locations in Southern California.

porto's 2

So what should you get at Porto's?

Porto's is known for its potato balls, cheese rolls (try the guava cheese rolls, one Yelp commenter recommends), and its meat pies.

Yelp commenters also like Porto's sandwiches, including the steak and Cuban ones. But one reviewer warns that if you get your sandwich to go, you won't get the "amazing plantain chips."

And if you have a sweet tooth, you shouldn't leave Porto's without checking out some of its desserts, like mango custard or dulce de leche cookies.

SEE ALSO: This is the best steakhouse in America, according to Yelp

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Ancient Romans had perfect teeth because their diets were low in one substance

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Help! I fear my coworkers are silently judging me for refusing the 'more hours' mentality


ashley lutz ask the insiderAsk The Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email asktheinsider@businessinsider.com.

Dear Insider,

I'm pretty good at my job, from my understanding.

I've never missed a goal, I'm thorough, and I routinely hear positive feedback from my managers.

But one problem is keeping me up at night: I feel like everyone in the office is silently judging me because I never stay late and usually leave before 6 p.m.

The majority of people in my office seem to function on a "the more hours you're here, the better you're doing" mentality, but I inherently believe that as long as I'm getting my work done, that's all that matters.

I often like to make sure that I can hit the gym for a 7 p.m. class — and having time to work out and take care of myself is crucial to my productivity at work.

I also pride myself on my ability to manage time and work over the course of an eight- to nine-hour day. I never leave if there's a pressing project or deadline.

Still, I cannot help but be scared that people think I don't do enough work and that I'm uncommitted. Should I just stay late or come in early to show people that I'm committed, even if my work is done? Should I just stop caring what they think?

Anxious About Clocking Out


Dear Anxious,

I once had a mentor tell me that life is like tending to four dishes on the stove, and you can only really pay attention to two at a time.

When you're killing it at work and meeting all your family obligations, your social life suffers and your time to work out and sleep evaporates. When you're leaving work early to go to the gym, you fear you'll be passed over for the next promotion.

Finding the perfect balance is impossible, but achieving peace of mind is not. 

Obviously, you don't want to leave your coworkers in the lurch in the middle of an important deadline. But it sounds like you're getting your work done and feedback from your managers is positive. Assuming all that, we can talk about the best way to move forward. 

Business Insider reporter Shana Lebowitz recently experimented with cutting back on her work hours for a story. She found no difference in her productivity and found benefits like having more time for enjoying hobbies outside of work.

But, like you, she describes intense guilt at leaving earlier than her coworkers. 

The good news is the guilt you're feeling is probably unwarranted. 

Modern companies seem to be growing out of assessing people based solely on "face time," endless hours unnecessarily spent in the office in order to appear more productive. Lebowitz cites Nordic countries, where employees who work long hours are viewed as inefficient. 

I polled senior managers at Business Insider to see how they felt about "face time." Everyone I spoke to said they focus on the quality and quantity of work rather than whether the employee stays at their desk outside of business hours. 

Everyone is entitled to his or her own priorities. How can you spend your time so you are the maximum level of happy? 

You know that leaving for the gym is something you need to stay centered and sustain productivity. It's better for you to prioritize what will sustain you in the long run so you don't burn out. 

Your manager has communicated you're doing a good job, so you likely don't need to worry about it. Even so, it may be worth following up with him or her to discuss expectations and ease your mind. Getting reassurance from above might make you feel better.

If your boss conveys that staying late is part of the culture, maybe it's time to search for a company that will judge you on your impact and accomplishments rather than just "being there." 

As for your guilt, I doubt your coworkers are silently judging you. It's more likely their brains are occupied with pressing deadlines, family drama, and what to eat for dinner.

In the words of David Foster Wallace, "we'd care less what people think of us if we realized how little they really do."

Set your priorities confidently, and you will go far.


Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to asktheinsider@businessinsider.com for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.

SEE ALSO: Business Insider is launching a new advice column!

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Kids too sick to travel are getting a chance to see the world through virtual reality


Most kids at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital are too sick to travel, so Expedia teamed up with the hospital to create a real-time virtual reality experience that allows them to take their dream vacations without leaving the hospital.

Story and editing by A.C. Fowler

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An NYC restaurant reinvented the s'more — and it's incredible


The Gander, located in New York City's Flatiron District, is reinventing the best campfire snack of all time — the s'more.

Instead of a messy sandwich, The Gander's s'more is piled high with multiple layers of graham cracker cake, homemade marshmallows, and chocolate sauce. 

The deconstructed dessert is served with a spoon, but it's still finger-licking good.

Story by Aly Weisman, editing by Ben Nigh

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How Facebook decides which memories to show you in one of its most 'sensitive' features (FB)


FacebookYou've probably noticed Facebook's On This Day feature popping an old status update about a "new" job from years ago back onto your feed, casting you back to that Caribbean vacation you took in 2010, or reminding you how long you've been friends with so-and-so.

Or, maybe it has surfaced a painful, pre-breakup photo of you and your ex.

Facebook launched its nostalgia product exactly a year ago today as a way to encourage you to dive back into the digital archive of your life — all the posts, events, photo albums, and friendships that the social network stores.

Now, an average of 60 million different people visit their On This Day page each day and 155 million have opted to receive the dedicated notification for the feature. If you're in that latter group, you will be prompted to check out an unfiltered spread of all your historic Facebook activity for any given day.

If you're not one of those nostalgia-addicts who gleefully (or warily) signed up for the notification, you might be surprised at the level of attention Facebook pays to trying to predict which old posts you'll most want to see it serve onto your feed.

"We need to be mindful that we’re not just stewarding data,"Artie Konrad, a Facebook user experience researcher who works with On This Day, explains to Business Insider. "We’re stewarding personal memories that tell the stories of people’s lives." 

How Facebook sifts through your memories 

Although Facebook does user research for all its features, On This Day got even more attention than usual.

"It's one of our most personal products," says Anna Howell, a UX research manager, noting that because of the complexities of memory, Facebook needed to be "extremely caring and sensitive" when approaching the product. 

Konrad, who focused on "technology mediated reflection" — how people use tech to reminisce on their past — while completing his PhD, explained how Facebook conducted the research that shaped the On This Day product:

On_This_DayFirst, the company surveyed thousands of Facebook users about what they thought Facebook's role should be in mediating their memories. Their consensus: "Facebook should provide occasional reminders of fun, interesting, and important life moments that one might not take the time to revisit."

To help figure out how to do that best, Facebook then brought nearly 100 people from all different backgrounds into its research lab and asked them to classify memories Facebook showed them into different themes like "vacation" or "achievements," and then rank those themes based on how much they enjoyed seeing them. The company also did a linguistic analysis on anonymized memory posts to see which words people tended to share versus dismiss. 

Konrad found, for instance, that people didn't actually care that much about old food photos, favored posts that used words like "miss," and generally felt uncomfortable seeing memories containing swear words or sexual content. 

All of that research went into Facebook's current triangulated approach of adapting your On This Day memories based on personalization, artificial intelligence, and preferences. 

Allowing people to specify certain dates they don't want to see memories from or people they'd rather forget about is an important part of that. 

Facebook launched this filtering feature in October 2015:


Unfortunately, unwanted reminders can still slip through — a friend recently shared a story about how an ex she explicitly blocked still showed up in an On This Day picture because he wasn't explicitly tagged. 

The personalization and artificial intelligence parts comes into play because Facebook can analyze what memory "themes" you've shared in the past and serve you more of those kinds of posts versus less from themes you've ignored. 

Interestingly, Facebook doesn't allow any users to completely turn off its remembrance feature, but does learn from users actions. So, if you dismiss the On This Day newsfeed post every time you see one, Facebook will take that into consideration and put them onto your feed less frequently. (Though, users who really hate the feature have pointed out that you can hack the system by setting the start day in the date blocking tool to the very beginning of your Facebook history and the end date to the distant future.)

Facebook product manager Tony Liu says that the team has seen "the number of people sharing these memories go up exponentially" since it introduced more personalization and preferences, which is one of the team's measures of success. 

Howell says that users who see the On This Day feature feel like, "Facebook is talking directly to me and giving me something that I want and I enjoy."

Facebook has even proactively tried to increase that feeling. 

Here's how the product design and wording has changed from when it launched until now:

OnThisDay New

Facebook tracks how much its users think the company "cares" about them and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has increasingly prioritized that metric over the last two years, according to a recent report in The Information. This feature helps boost that metric. 

There are also other more obvious benefits for Facebook: If the On This Day notification is pulling people to the site and getting them to share their old posts, that's more time they're sucked into the network's money-gushing ads machine.

The effect of digital reflection 


Asking my peers about the On This Day feature elicited a range of emotions. 

"It can be very jarring or very moving," one friend said, while another felt that although they've savored some little day-to-day moments through it that they wouldn't have remembered otherwise, they ultimately saw it as "indicative of how social media can make us take ourselves way too seriously."

Others spoke of the embarrassment-tinged delight of seeing how much their use of Facebook has changed over the years. 

One particularly moving story I heard was from a Brooklyn woman named Kimberly Czubek who recalled how her response to the On This Day page helped her move through the mourning process after the sudden death of her husband.

She would cry every time she checked it, because it reminded her of when "family dynamic felt complete" versus how it "now felt like it was in shambles," she tells Business Insider. But the feature also brought her comfort. She grew to appreciate the regular reminders of her husband through photos and videos she'd posted on Facebook that she would have had to dig for otherwise. And on the anniversary of his death, she found some peace. 

"I was able to look back at how much stronger I had become, both as a widow and as a single mother," she says. 

In his research before coming to Facebook, Konrad studied how using technology to reminisce on the past can increase well-being

Seeing digital memories, like through On This Day, can create a "savoring experience that allows you to heighten that emotionality" that you felt about something when it happened. It can jog your memory not just about something that happened, but about how that thinfelt

"Whenever we talk about memories with folks, people are saying 'I don’t even print photos anymore,'" Howell says. "They say, 'All of my memories are on Facebook now for the last couple of years.' For some people, if they didn’t have these products, they would never see this stuff again."

SEE ALSO: Instagram is completely changing the way its app works and making it more like Facebook

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