The inexorable expansion of social media presents the Facebooks and Twitters of this world with a problem: how to prevent us from waking up one morning, looking at our timelines or news feeds and thinking, “Sod this, I’ve got no idea who these people are or what they’re on about. I quit.”

Rhodri Marsden: Why social-media marketing is about to get really sneaky

The inexorable expansion of social media presents the Facebooks and Twitters of this world with a problem: how to prevent us from waking up one morning and thinking, 'Sod this, I quit'

Hello dolly: component parts are assembled

Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

British toy maker Alice Taylor: 'It’s an opportunity to make a doll that isn’t just about tiny waists and legs that go up to here'

Keeping it real: David and Debs Hurst (right) with their children Daniel and Darley

Forget Facebook: One man's quest to see his nearest and dearest in person

The loss of two loved ones convinced David Hurst and family that 'seeing' friends on social media is no substitute for real-life meetings – so they set out on an extraordinary road trip
Sean O'Grady tries out a virtual reality suit at the UCL

Virtual reality self-help: 'Is this my inner child that I see before me, weeping?'

A remarkable experiment aims to help stressed adults develop ‘self-compassion’ via a virtual-reality headset. Sean O’Grady tried it out

Mother and daughter looking at computer screen

With today's children having never known a world with no internet, should their parents be worried?

No study yet knows exactly what this iChildhood will look like when our children are full-grown people

IP Cam Trolling has been going on ever since security cameras had internet access

Home security cameras are anything but secure

I've never felt quite so aware as I do these days. The volume of stuff being slung at us every day seems to push our capacity for awareness to its limits. And thanks to the feverish competition for that awareness, we've become only too aware of the phrase "raising awareness" and the attention-grabbing activities attached to it – the Ice Bucket Challenge being a notable recent example.

Paper dreams: the DodoCase VR

DodoCase VR: How to turn your smartphone into a virtual-reality machine for just £15.50

The viewer may be made of cardboard and look a bit silly, says Will Oremus, but the results are spectacular and herald a new age of VR play
'We don’t love email; we’re just duty bound to deal with it'

We don't love email, despite what Google claims about its new service, Inbox

After spending a day wading through tedious missives, filing electronic receipts and deleting invasive corporate greetings, it's easy to come to the conclusion that the system of email is broken. We know that some emails are significantly less important than others, but they all arrive with equal status, holding their heads high, whether it's a work opportunity, a retweet notification or a confirmation of an order for a takeaway curry.

Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months

How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes

Bill Maris interview: Google Ventures into Europe

The online giant is here and ready to invest

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The microwave oven

The latest in our Interesting Objects series looks at an appliance invented by accident that was once the star of the 'home of the future'

PHONE LANTERN Impress your fellow night owls by putting a water bottle on top of your phone to create a makeshift lantern. The light from the screen will turn the water bottle into a light. Remember to turn off the lock on your phone to keep the light continuous and make sure that the bottle has water in it for optimum refraction.

Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Hacking doesn't have to mean taking something - software or celebrities - down

Apple CEO Tim Cook looks at the new 27 inch iMac

Should we be worried that Apple is getting its computers to phone home?

Search tools embedded within Apple's new operating system Yosemite send search terms back to Apple headquarters

Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify

Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything? Rhodri Marsden wonders if they signal a blow for people power – or the death throes of true democracy

Jennifer Lawrence took on Google after its failure to remove stolen photos from its searches – but are lower-profile victims being ignored?

Threats lodged over the internet are no longer laughed off but it's often the richest, most famous, or otherwise well-connected victims who stand to benefit from this recent societal attitude adjustment, argues Amanda Hess

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?