Can Facebook Make You Live Longer? -- Tech Roundup

My how the world has changed. It wasn't all that long ago when the internet didn't yet exist, people read newspapers instead of smartphones and when talking to a friend was done in person or on the phone.

Fast forward a few decades and social media is now the connection between friends and family, and no network is stronger than that of Facebook's (FB) .

However, it's been a long-lasting argument that kids should get off their phones, ditch the computer and head out for some time with their friends. And while exercise is certainly encouraged, new studies have confirmed that online social networks are actually good for our health - yes, seriously!

William Hobbs was the lead author on the study, saying that it was already well-known that offline social circles helped lead to a longer life. But there were questions as to whether that translated beyond person-to-person interaction.

Turns out, it does.

While there was certainly a link between received friend requests and a longer life, the researchers also noted that having a more active online social life helped to encourage an active offline life as well.

The sample size wasn't small either, as the study involved 12 million users.

Shares of Facebook closed at $129.50 Tuesday, down 1.1%.

Facebook and Apple (see item below) are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells FB or AAPL? Learn more now.
 


Shifting to another social media platform, those running Instagram wanted to know, how can the company encourage shopping on the platform without ruining the user experience?

It appears they have an answer.

Instagram will introduce product tagging on its platform, allowing retailers and companies to tag products "the way users tag their friends," according to Bloomberg.

From there, interested users can click on the tag to get a description and click once more to buy the product from the retailer.

Facebook has always seemed to do a great job at a number of different things. First, they always consider the user experience and search for ways to keep its users happy. Without users, the company would fail.

So that's step one. Next, rather than pulling every lever in front of them for instant, insane growth, management instead pulls lever by lever, ensuring that the company can churn out steady (yet wildly impressive) growth over a longer period of time.

Again, this not only ensures that its users have a better experience, but that Wall Street enjoys its quarterly results year in and year out. That's a big part of why the stock is up more than 430% over the past three years.


The tablet business was once thought of as the PC killer. A growth segment spurred out of nowhere when Apple (AAPL) introduced the iPad, while dozens of manufacturers followed suit with their own tablets.

However, that growth wave has fallen off over the years and while the PC market has seen a notable decline (although part of that can also be attributed to smartphones), the tablet industry never seemed to live up to its hype outside of the first few years of its existence.

The latest figures from the IDC for the third quarter of 2016 confirm that notion, as the 43 million devices shipped in the quarter represented a decline of 14.7% year-over-year.

While Apple introduced the iPad Pro, a suped-up version of its industry-leading tablet, its sales have not dominated the way the company may have hoped. It accounted for less than one-third of Apple's shipments during the quarter, according to the IDC. Overall, Apple's shipments declined 6.2% year-over-year - but thanks to the iPad Pro, revenues in the quarter were flat when it came to the iPad segment.

Samsung (SSNLF) also saw a decline, but the year-over-year slide of 19.3% was worse than the industry average.

Overall, tablet shipments are down, but the segment accounts for billions of dollars per year in consumer spending, as the devices fits a niche for both personal and corporate use.

Shares of Apple closed at $111.47 Tuesday, down 1.8%.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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