Category Archives: Internet

Women, Technology, and Freethinking

I just finished reading a fascinating article about how sexism has been an issue within the athiest movement. It’s a controversial subject, not only because it speaks against world religion, but also because it talks about issues women have had with technology use and how quickly and devastatingly it leads to harassment and threats towards other human beings on the grouds of gender and/or sexual orientation.

 

I am am not personally an athiest, but I wanted to share this article on the basis of computer ethics. It describes how hotstile the online world is towards people who are passionate about their beliefs, and how that can fuel the fire and bleed outside of the virtual world into our physical lives. Basically, it talks about one of the most mainstream forms of bullying. You know, the adult kind of bullying, where police can get involved and entire movements can be formed or brought down and either help or hinder entire people groups. It also describes some of the ugly of wester culture, which is also controversial. To to be a culture of innovation, sometimes we have to let go of the old ideas and build towards something newer and better.

This article is littered with graphic descriptions of “alleged” events, lots of swearing, and hints of the use of technology as a means of harassment as well as a means for change. Click here to read the article “Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?:
The continuing debate over a murky sexual encounter at a 2008 convention for cheekily anti-establishment skeptics underscores a broader dilemma: How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?”


Saving Net Neutrality…Hello Again Readers

 

So I haven’t been posting for a while now, mainly because I am way too busy being a corporate sellout adult with a real world job that sucks my soul away.

So let’s carry on like nothing ever happened and pretend we aren’t upset about the whole ordeal. Let’s talk about Net Neutrality a little bit. It sounds intellectual and stuff and whatever.

So I haven’t been paying attention to online issues lately, mainly because I struggle with the issue of skewed journalism, and am not entirely sure what is correct an incorrect information. All I know is one day as I scrolled through my newly opened Google+ account I ran into this little jewel.image

What has happened to my wonderful, free speech and equal opportunity internet?

Slowly (because of working a “part-time” job of 40 hrs a week mostly late into the night), I began to try to figure out what all this crap was about. Granted, most of the action happened in January of 2014, while I was still busy working post-holiday damage control in retail. But, I was just hearing about this now? Why? Was the internet turning against me already, trying to keep me from seeing what matters? Was I just being paranoid? Was I under a rock?

Probably all the above.

It doesn’t surprise me though. People online have been looking to make more and more money off the internet since it’s explosive popularity some 20+ years ago. It is not even a little surprising that it was under attack again, trying to limit the freedoms of its users and offer unequal opportunity to those with the deepest pockets. But what did that mean for me? What does that mean for the fate of the internet?

So what did I do upon coming out of my internet cave with the sun glaring in my eyes? I turned to savetheinternet.com.

For those of you just as confused about what all this Net Neutrality stuff is about, I found this site to be extremely helpful. One, because it really gets down to what this could mean negatively for the typical user. Secondly, it helps streamline the basics and keeps us up-to-date on what court rulings mean. For starters, I wanted to know what Net Neutrality actually described:

“Net Neutrality means an Internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that Internet service providers should provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company cannot decide who you could call and what you say on that call, your ISP should not be concerned with what content you view or post online.”

So for avid (and lazy corporate sellout) bloggers like us (me), this can be a threatening issue. A threat to Net Neutrality could mean that Companies (specifically Internet Service Providers) can buy better internet accessibility and have sole control over that online traffic. They can choose who sees what. They can see what you see and keep track of it without any protection on your part. It threatens small online markets for building networks and clientele. It even can prevent minority communities from freely expressing cultural issues and building networks online.

Really it is a threat to freedom.

The truth is, we don’t know for sure what it could actually look like. The programs wouldn’t be made overnight, but that didn’t mean any change would happen gradually. It would take time to develop the servers and prep them for the segregation. That is what it would be after all. Online segregation. Just like the rest of American History, inequality was going to find another platform to present itself and rear it’s ugly head threateningly. Except, it would become a socioeconomic segregation. The well-off would win out against the not-so-well-off. A struggle that has been an issue in the United States for ages as well.

For more information on this issue and a better in-depth idea of how it might affect you, please visit savetheinternet.com and also feel free to sign the online petition provided by Etsy.com for protecting Net Neutrality and small online markets.


#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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