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Rise of the gig economy

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What is the gig economy?

The gig economy is a labor market made up of freelance or part-time jobs as opposed to full-time, fixed contracts. Gig workers can encompass a wide range of fields—from driving a taxi or delivery vehicle to editing documents, to technical support, to performing artists. What makes a person part of the gig economy is not their background or chosen field, but rather the fact that they work on a short-term, project basis, rather than as long-term employees of one organization.

It’s also possible to join the gig economy while having a contracted job as an employee. For instance, you might work as a secretary or school teacher and take on a gig-based job like bartending or babysitting in your spare time to help supplement your income. Gig workers often wind up doing a much wider variety of tasks than employees that work full-time for one single company.

Gig economy jobs

Some of the fastest-growing gig economy segments are in the creative and knowledge-intensive industries. For example, a graphic design studio could hire an advertising consultant to help them on a specific project, or a pizzeria could hire an expert copywriter to help them write a new menu. 

However, beyond this model, modern tech companies are helping the gig economy to broaden its reach by connecting workers with consumers more quickly and efficiently. These organizations break the gig economy down into three components:

  • Gig economy workers—people hired to complete a specific task or project 
  • Consumers—people or companies who require a specific task to be completed (i.e., a taxi ride, a new website design, or a delivery service)
  • Companies linking workers directly with consumers—these are usually app-based platforms such as Uber or Fiverr, which create gig economy jobs based on the immediate dem

The rapid increase in digital technologies

Thanks to the internet, a gig worker is able to find work anywhere in the world. Physical geography is no longer a factor when it comes to finding the right people to work with—whether you’re a freelance illustrator looking for an author, or an agency on the hunt for an SEO specialist to help with a big project.

In addition, cutting-edge technology has resulted in the creation of digital, often app-based, gig economy platforms that link consumers directly with workers. Think of Uber, which connects drivers with someone who needs a ride, or Airbnb connecting hosts directly with those looking for a place to stay.

The pros and cons of the gig economy

While the gig economy has allowed millions of people to approach work in a completely new and empowering way, it does come with its downsides. Before entering the gig economy yourself, make sure you’re aware of the market’s pros and cons.

The advantages of a gig economy job

Working as a ‘flexi’ worker certainly comes with its benefits. For most people, these include:

  • Low barriers to entry. Anyone can enter the gig economy, regardless of their skill set.
  • Being able to adjust your own work-life balance.
  • Flexible working hours, often with the choice to decide when to work and for how long.
  • Having the choice of which kind of work and projects that you take on.
  • The ability to work from anywhere around the world.

The disadvantages of taking a gig economy job

Consider the disadvantages of gig work before you sign any contracts, or decide to leave your long-term employer for good. These disadvantages often include:

  • Not having your pension, health insurance, paid sick leave, or paid holiday covered by your employer.
  • Minimal job security with regard to redundancy packages or dismissal notice periods.


All in all, in my opinion, gig economy is here to stay, as it is able to satisfy the modern needs of society. It may turn out that in the future traditional business models would have to adjust and become gig economies as well, as the world is rapidly changing and if you want to be successful you have to keep up with it.


How memes influence our society

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It is almost impossible to find a teenager that hasn’t heard about memes today. They are an inevitable part of our social media experiences, and that’s is why memes may be more influential than most people reckon. Finding their origins in the likes of puns and cartoons, internet slang, and geek forums, memes are sarcastic and have the ability to turn a message on its head. For example, think about a demotivator that mocks a motivational poster and says ‘Never give up! Never stop trying to exceed your limits. We need the entertainment.’ Memes mock their message and their format at the same time. So why are they so popular? Do memes change the way we communicate and think? So what’s their superpower?

Cover Various Mediums and Genres

As meme culture grows more pervasive, it also becomes more complex. Prior to the internet, memes developed from poems, catchphrases, and cartoons. Today, memes reference various parts of culture, and they come in many different mediums.

The first internet memes were shared in text or image form. One of the first internet memes was the Dancing Baby meme, which spread by email in the mid-nineties.

But images and texts are no longer the only options. Video memes have a particularly wide appeal. Remixed song memes, deep-fried images all the way to Fortnite dancing in public.

Everyday slang and folklore

Nowadays, people use memes to communicate on all topics. Think about ‘grumpy cat’ or ‘Keanu Reeves’ memes. They are used to express surprise, disappointment, excitement, skepticism. What distinguishes memes from other forms of image-based artifacts is the strong emotion embedded in them. There is always some kind of feeling that the meme directs you towards – like disgust or happiness. Memes are subjective.

 Dark Humor Helps with Processing Stressful Situations

While most memes contain some degree of surreality, they frequently address real-life situations.

Relationship problems, parent-child conflicts, and poverty are popular meme themes. There are also memes that describe the stress of high school and academia, as well as memes about workplace exhaustion. Meme culture also takes on anxieties about the state of the world. They give people an easy way to talk about shocking events.

Memes can be an effective coping tool. They give us a way to express difficult thoughts. There is a community element as well. Sharing memes can give people the sense that they’re not alone in their struggles.

However, there is also another (“dark”) side of memes, as they are usually referred to as “Fast-food media”.

Due to their high visibility and humor, memes serve as fast-food media. They are like cheeseburgers – highly tempting in color, smell and texture, but low in nutritional value. They feed you up a bit (on the news agenda), but you really need a decent meal (or reading a respected newspaper) to nurture your body and mind.

Memes have this cozy quality of inside jokes and community chat; however, they cannot unite people into communities if other ties don’t exist. Memes do not age well – most of them evaporate within days, but the points they make can leave a lasting effect on society and politics. In countries with censorship, memes can obtain an even bigger value – as people throw them into public discourse to send resistant messages and oppose corruption. But what if sinister forces utilize memes too? These forces can use memes to manipulate people and promote ugly ideas.  At what point does a cozy inside joke become a powerful political message? What is clear is that memes are an influential communication tool of our society and that they are here to stay.

Enable Talk Gloves

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There are currently about 40 million deaf, mute and deaf-mute people and many of them use sign language to communicate, but there are very few people who actually understand sign language. Even though enable talk gloves aren’t a relatively new invention (they were first introduced in 2012), they are able to change the world for these people if they gain world popularity. Using gloves fitted with flex sensors, touch sensors, gyroscopes, and accelerometers (as well as some solar cells to increase battery life) the EnableTalk team has built a system that can translate sign language into text. The whole system then connects to a smartphone over Bluetooth.

These gloves were created by four Ukrainian students. The sensors recognize sign language and translate it into text on a smartphone, which then converts the text to spoken words.

The team has built a number of prototypes and tested them with sign language users in Ukraine. The idea for the project, said team member Osika Maxim, came from interacting with hearing-impaired athletes at the groups’ school.

The few existing projects that come close to what EnableTalk is proposing generally cost around $1,200 and usually have fewer sensors, use wired connections, and don’t come with an integrated software solution. EnableTalk, on the other hand, says that the hardware for its prototypes costs somewhere around $75 per device.

Students create smart gloves for hearing impaired people | Patient  Innovation

Besides the cost, though, another feature that makes this project so interesting is that users can teach the system new gestures and modify those that the team plans to ship in a library of standard gestures. Given the high degree of variation among sign languages, which also has regional dialects just like spoken language, this will be a welcome feature for users.

They started building the prototype for the gloves in January 2012 and worked through weekends and nights to finish in time for the Microsoft 2012 Imagine Cup in Sydney, Australia, in July. Enable Talk won first place in the innovation category, beating 350 students from 75 countries.

Enable Talk - Talking Gloves | Susan Wheeler-Hall


Zenly – making location sharing cool again

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Zenly - Your map, your people (app.zenly.locator) - 4.51.0 - Application -  APKsPC

When almost everyone had forgotten about location-sharing apps, a French start-up came up with Zenly, a popular especially among teenagers app today, which already has more than 50 million downloads on PlayMarket. In April-June 2021, Zenly is second only to Telegram and TikTok in terms of downloads in Russia, having bypassed WhatsApp and Instagram, among others.

What is Zenly App? 

Zenly is a free social app that you can use to get updates about your friends’ routine along with their current location. Zenly allows you to see the location of your friends or family members 24/7 and vice versa.

Zenly is really straightforward. When you open the app, you see a giant map with your location and your friends’ location. You can tap on a friend’s picture and see exactly where they are. Or you can just aimlessly swipe through your friends and jump around the map. This is Zenly’s core feature.

Zenly - Twoja mapa, Twoi bliscy APK na Android - Download app (za darmo)

By improving the biggest downside of most location-sharing apps, the battery drain, along with making location-sharing a fun, social, and exciting experience by adding lots of interesting features, Zenly managed to make location-sharing a social network-like experience. It also reveals to friends whether users are currently at home, at work, or in school. This is automatically detected based on the user’s location history — spending overnight at the same location will inform the algorithm that that is the user’s home. 

What is more, the app is full of little details that make it a polished experience. For instance, you can see the battery level of your friends. This could be useful if you’re wondering why someone isn’t answering your text messages, for instance.

This conceals the fact that the app is the one using your location. By combining your and your friends’ locations, the app can create smart social maps, showing you “hot zones” if lots of your companions are hanging out together, and notifying you if someone leaves the country or gets back into the city.

But maybe too clever?

But, using a location-based social network bears lots of issues, most of them being security-based. Back in 2014, a huge data breach compromised 4.6 million Snapchat users, when their usernames and phone numbers were stolen by hackers. Just a couple of months after, another security breach leaked at least 100,000 Snapchat photos online. Since then, Snap Inc. managed to improve its security, at least on the users’ side by adding a two-step verification process. But using the app is still a high-security risk.

And on the other hand, we have Zenly, a social network based on sharing your location with friends (and with the app). The app now faces the same risk of getting its user’s data stolen. Its smart social maps have immense value for marketers, and users should be worried because the app tracks their data.

Parents have raised concerns that letting others, especially strangers, know their real-time location puts teenagers at risk of kidnapping and sexual abuse. Zenly’s users should have lots of privacy concerns, and lots of security ones also. Zenly can track your location, but instead of making the data private, like some other location-sharing apps, it shares it with all your friends. Sure, there’s an option to make yourself “invisible” but most users don’t use the feature since they look at the app like on a social network and not a location-sharing app. Most other location-sharing apps let you share your location just with persons you select.


Friends tracking app has become one of the most popular in Russia

The Filter Bubble – a blessing or a curse?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you ever noticed that when you log on to the Internet, you always see adverts for things that you are interested in? In fact, 2 different people typing the same word into the Google search engine may get completely different results. And that is all due to the Filter Bubble.


According to Techopedia, the Filter Bubble “is the intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see and then give information to the user according to this assumption.” In other words, the filter bubble is your own personal, unique universe of information that you live in online.

How does it work?

The internet browsers, websites, and apps that we use know a lot about us because they monitor how we use their site or app. This way they are able to work out what we like and don’t like. Everyone today has heard of cookies. When you visit a website for the first time and accept its cookies, they are downloaded onto your computer and keep track of how you travel around the website and exactly what you do. The next time you use the same website again your computer will check the cookies and adapt, depending on the information it stored from your last visit. So, without thinking about it, we give out a lot of information that can be used to personalize our online experience. Personalized search results from Google and personalized news stream from Facebook are two perfect examples of this phenomenon. Google itself uses around 57(!!!) different signals to determine what information you need from what computer you use to your location and click behavior.


Two friends that have very different interests type the word “Egypt” into a search engine. One got results from news websites about recent events in Egypt, while the other got mainly travel guides. The results were totally different because search engines record information about what you usually look at, what you like, and what your interests are.


The most obvious benefit of this technology is the ease of navigating the web. Try to imagine the filter bubble as a comforting obstacle that one can explore. In this scenario, let’s suppose that the bubble is a coffee mug. One could use the coffee mug just to drink coffee from it while one could use it as a vase. There is also some hypotheses that need to be mentioned: 

Those using the coffee mug just to drink coffee, are doing it because they don’t want to use the mug as a vase.

Those using the coffee mug just to drink coffee, are doing it because they don’t see the possibility of turning a mug into a vase.

So, turning the mug into a vase is possible and it is about creativity. Living in a filter bubble may not be as bad as one would imagine – for “those using the coffee mug just to drink coffee, doing it because they don’t want to use the mug as a vase”.


By controlling the flow of information that each individual receives, the Filter Bubble means we don’t have access to all the information that is out there. We can not decide what gets in our Bubble, but what is more, we can’t see what is outside. In the words of the Google CEO at the time (Eric Schmidt): “It will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.”The result of this tailoring is that we find ourselves trapped in a limited bubble of information.

Filter Bubble - Evaluating Sources - LibGuides at University of the Fraser  Valley

When we use the Filter Bubble, we need to make sure that we are shown not only the information that is relevant but also something challenging, uncomfortable, and view-changing for us. So the question is what can we do? In fact, we are actually able to step outside of our Filter Bubbles and get information from other services(for example reading materials). We can also look for alternative search engines that don’t filter the content in the same way( DuckDuckGo, Startpage, Privatelee).


Today Internet plays a vital role in our lives, and that is why it is extremely important to know how it works and learn new ways of optimizing it to your maximum benefit. While the Filter Bubble is something inevitable, there are other ways of getting non-personalized information that we need to explore in order to get access to various kinds of information that appear every day.