Category Archives: Internet

#HistoryOfHashtags

I am amazed at how many people in my millennialist generation do not actually know how to use the common #hashtag. For those of you who know what the #hashtag is, you are well aware of the delight of feedback it offers to you when you use social networking such as Twitter, Instagram, and now Facebook (much to their users chagrin). For those of you who are not familiar with the #hashtag I have found this somewhat boring video that is a visual understanding of the #hashtag:

If you are less visual and more musical, here is a catchy, cheesy, and friggin nerdy little ditty about the history of #hashtag:

I certainly hope you are sitting embarrassed in your office, school, or home because some geek with a trombone just sang to you about #hashtags. It brings me great joy to think so.

There are ways to use #hashtags to build a campaign or brand online as well. Many sites offer the ability to see how popular certain #hashtags to group info relevant to an advertising campaign or certain entertainers on social media. Sites like HashtagIg.com  show you how many photos have a particular #hashtag as well as the top trending on Instagram. Another similar site is HashAtIt.com helps you search certain #hashtag conversations online to follow and you can refine your search by social network. Twitter offers you trending #hashtags on the left sidebar of your account admin homepage while also making it easy to find conversations similar to those you have already tagged in their “#Discover” navigation on the top left.

#Hashtags are important to help you build a Follower base, it is important to choose your #hashtags accurately and wisely. Here is a great visual provided by Twitter to help you choose a #hashtag for your comments, statuses, and images:


You Can’t Fix Cyber-Stupid

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 8.36.55 PMAs a fair trade black coffee and tea loving, TOM’s shoe wearing Causegear fan (I sound like a hipster…get over it)…I am an avid follower on Upworthy.com, and in being an avid follower on such an ingenious site, I find myself running into a lot of interesting and new ideas, perspectives, and even life changing information . Today on my Facebook news feed (and yes I follow Upworthy on Facebook….and Twitter…and you should too because it’ll make you an informed boss of internet wonder), I had this video article come across my screen. I suggest a quick watch.

http://www.upworthy.com/some-creepy-dudes-wrote-some-creepy-things-to-this-scientist-so-she-is-calling-them-out-in-public

Now that I can safely assume you’ve watched the entire video. So we have an interesting problem on our hands, the world appears to be getting dumber and more distasteful. Women are targets on the internet, and we hear this time and time again to the point where we shrug it off much like Emily did when asked about cyber-sexism. We’re used to it. It’s become normal to see women and men alike being negatively admired.

Wait. Negatively admired?

Yes.

Online we often feel as though we have the safety net of a screen to protect us from the repercussions of our words and actions. As you saw in the video Emily, puts up with a great deal of sexism in her field, which is both sad and unacceptable as her work is wonderfully presented and she takes a great deal of time out of her busy life to ensure the quality of her work. However, she still deals with uncouth comments that are irrelevant to her work, not that they are trying to be insensitive or hurtful, they probably genuinely mean what they say and think it’s actually flattering. But they are admiring her for things she does not represent. She isn’t a sex object, she is an educated woman who works professionally towards a future of brilliant minds and new discoveries.

The issue isn’t that she feels threatened by these comments and it’s not even sexism that I really want to touch on (though a subject I will save for another time, because the internet has a lot of it), but rather something as simple as comments on a post could be the possible prevention of brilliant minds coming to light and helping save our world. We live in a world that is spiraling downward and rocketing upward at an alarming and erratic pace, and with each new idea we see there are millions of others who are finding new and better ways to do the same thing…and new and better ways to pervert those ideas.

What am I getting at?

The reason we need to take our time considering what we say online is because there are people on the other end of those comments that those very comments are about. Those words weigh heavily on minds burdened by so many thoughts. The brilliant aren’t always the brave (it is a burden being so intelligent). Besides, your comments are not anonymous. There is always someone watching them. If I felt threatened enough at any time by one of my commenters, I could easily get in touch with law enforcement, who can then contact the web administrators to look up the personal information of any username and IP address and find the heckler. Or I can contact a web administrator myself through a “contact us” or a “report abuse” link. On my personal Instagram I’m constantly deleting, blocking and reporting people for their comments (daily if not hourly) and I hardly put up a selfie.

This isn’t so much a post about an issue we aren’t familiar with, but a reminder that the internet is compiled of humans who are not as emotionless as the desktop or tablet beneath your fingertips. Be responsible. Smh.

 

 

 

 

 


I can’t say I’m any different…

I came across a comic strip on my news feed on Facebook. It’s almost ironic and bittersweet that we find information that tells us exactly what’s wrong with us, using some of the same tools that are the cause of what’s wrong with us.

This is a social commentary. One on our use of social networks as a means of affirmation that generations before us didn’t need. At least not to the massive scale we need it. It challenges the idea that we have not matured even as people because of our need for constant communication and affirmation. A social trend even I, an individual who enjoys researching and continually combating such behavior, has to admit I fall prey to.

Why?

Because its socially acceptable.

The issues social networks present are astounding. It seems for every single effort a programmer and idea caster bring to fruition, there are at least 10 problems that present themselves that are never foreseen. Users are becoming users and abusers. Privacy becomes publicity. The world gets smaller, and everything becomes personal.

Why?

Because now we can.

I encourage you to check out the comic strip link above.


True Story

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Social Network Suicide Prevention: Is It Enough?

 

When you wake up on a Sunday morning, the last thing you think you’re going to encounter is a suicide threat on one of your social network feeds. I certainly didn’t anyway. Perhaps for some people that’s pretty “normal” (and I use the term very lightly). For me it wasn’t. And of all places it was on Instagram! A little iPod note screen shot talking about having decided on a suicide date. It caught me off guard so much I wasn’t sure what to do. Of course after a few minutes of reflection I decided to look up if there was some way I could report the person was suicidal, and thankfully I found it. Though others were coming to the rescue and commenting on the person’s status, I wasn’t going to try to talk down someone I hardly knew, and I certainly wasn’t going to let them post something that sensitive, without reporting it.

I still wonder if it was the right thing to do or not.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provided me with some great information about what social networks do in situations like this. Unfortunately Instagram was not on that list so it took me a little more time to try to figure out how to do it…which partially is why I’m writing this post. But, what shocked me was how little the social networks actually did in these situations.

Naturally when you send a report to a social network, they have a policy that they are not liable for the person’s actions after initiating contact. What they do is take the information from the report and send a cute little e-mail informing the person that an anonymous user reported them for (fill in the blank) and offer them the contact info of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline where the individual could get professional help, which includes both a phone number, and a live chat. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a very sensitive community, with the understanding that a person doesn’t have to be suicidal at all to call. On their site they say:

If you feel you are in a crisis, whether or not you are thinking about killing yourself, please call the Lifeline. People have called us for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.”

Super nice of them. Here is the kicker…

Of course the site Admin also informs the user that the information they’ve posted is a violation of the Terms of Agreement and promotes the issue of (insert issue here section whatever part who cares) and they will have their profile terminated. Instagram and other Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter terminate the account to prevent the escalation of violence. Instagram even has refused to allow certain terms to be searched and in some cases have warnings attached to keywords (click here for more info)

Yeah it’s a bit harsh…and can escalate the personal torment of the individual.

I can’t help but ask myself how I feel about this whole scenario? Is it even worth it to report the issue if it means removing the self expression of the user? Does it even help the person if therapy is offered to the user? Perhaps not.

Knowing all this information I still had to make the decision whether or not I was going to report the user for self harm. And I did. Not because I felt it was right for the profile to be terminated, and not because I was obligated by any moral or social standing…but because I wanted to give the user another option. It is said that the main reason a person will post about suicidal thoughts is because they want either some kind of affirmation that they should go through with it, or they want someone to show they care enough to try to stop them. If they were suicidal and didn’t post anything to a social network or even tell anyone then one can assume that they had their mind already made up, and nothing can really be done for them…a sad assumption, but not an unfounded one. There are a lot of misconceptions about suicide. But even severely depressed people have mixed feelings about death, and most struggle until the very last moment between life and an end to their pain. Most suicidal people don’t want to die…they just want their pain to stop or someone to prove they care. The impulse to end it all, does not last forever.

After my struggle to report the user I posted info on how to do it incase anyone else wanted to try. Another user (one I know personally) pointed out how very little the social media sites actually do and that he felt these threats are the best form of awareness. He isn’t wrong. Seeing a real threat for yourself is definitely a wakeup call. But I feel it is better to offer the options to a hurting individual. If they do contact the Lifeline, law enforcement and intervention can be provided for the individual (because IP addresses are used to locate the nearest help center and ultimately the individual in crisis). I would rather offer them the option than nothing at all.

So are the policies of Social Networks really effective in these cases? That I can’t say for sure. every situation is different. Legally there is very little they can do, and with the masses they have to keep track of it would be unfair to ask them to take any more responsibility on the matter. But what I can say is that it offers a helpful option and removes the individual from potentially being a threat to others and ridicule.

 

Below are a series of helpful and thoughtful videos that touch on several subjects involving and related to depression and suicide (I’m addicted to TedTalks okay? They’re just so informative). 

 

Feel free to leave you comments, questions, or concerns on the matter or videos below.  

 

 


A Recommendation: Atomix

I came across this awesome free online subscription while I was browsing my iPad newsstand. It’s name: Atomix magazine. What do I love about it?

1) Awesome interactive layout.
2) Great displays.
3) Some valid and thoughtful insights into some of the games we know and love.

As a designer and gamer, I highly suggest using this beautiful and helpful resource.

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Priorities…I’m not so sure we have them…

Found this image going viral on Facebook. Makes one wonder what our priorities really are…and where I may or may not want to invest for my retirement. Then again there isn’t much information to say what all this really means other than to say we use more ink than we do human blood…which may be a good thing. Maybe it’s a good thing that blood doesn’t cost so much? What do you think? Are we as human beings be being taken for granted by the cost of ink? Again I don’t know the context or the research behind this infographic…but it certainly gets you thinking.


How Video Games Can Help You Save Your Sister from an Attack Moose (NO JOKE)

Taken from thenounproject.com

Taken from thenounproject.com

Moose is charging you and your sister…so what do you do? Everything World Of Warcraft taught you of course!

This kid (I think Canada or something…someplace there are moose…moosen? Meese? Whatever…) saved his sister’s life from an angry Moose using skills he learned in World of Warcraft (an online game).

Check this out: http://humorswitch.com/57749/who-said-games-are-useless/?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=paid&utm_campaign=hamza

Researched it…and it’s legit.


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