Tag Archives: Twitter

It’s Worth a Moment of Your Time…

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 7.44.47 PMIn my short lived ventures around the internet, I found this little gem which provides a positive insight into the use of social networking and technology. A breath of fresh air in a world who is so afraid of that which is new, different, or puts us in a state of vulnerability.

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#replacemovietitlewithebola

Yes, it was trending. The #replacemovietitlewithebola was becoming an epidemic (pun intended). Twitter blew up with comments from both sides, and I watched in amazement and awe as both sides Tweeted. I refrained from the posts (Though I thought How to Lose Ebola in Ten Days, How to Tame Your Ebola, and He’s Just Not That Into Ebola, were all pretty good). I was finding myself in a moral dilemma. Was I a bad person?

First off, I personally have issue with people who shame others over this kind of thing. If you have issue with these kinds of distasteful jokes, you should make an occupation of trolling social media combatting such behavior at all times. So before you go defending the horrific injustice of #replacemovietitlewithebola on Twitter, check your ethics first, and spend the rest of your life commenting on ALL the distasteful trends on Twitter. But, if you’re just one of those people who doesn’t like the #replacemovietitlewithebola trend? I see your disdain for the Ebola jokes, and rebuttal with the fat joke, the diabetes joke, and the Helen Keller joke.

People are all upset about the #replacmovietitlewithebola and yet another trend #fatshamingweek is happening right now on Twitter and is more threatening towards an obvious epidemic. Obesity has claimed the lives of 18% of Americans each year and has been found to be one of the more consistent and harder to deal with epidemics in a nation full of fast food and big demands. The cure doesn’t come from a lab. How can you cure a disease that stems from a combination of DNA and the root of human will?

Also, look up how many Diabetic Memes there are online. I even gave you a link for the sake of ease. The most famous one being the Diabeetus Meme, featuring actor Wilford Brimley as Liberty Medical’s spokesperson. But while everyone is having a good laugh over those, Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the nation. Being a type one diabetic myself, these jokes do hit close to home…and some are meant to be hurtful. But, I am not offended by ignorance as often as some think I ought to be. Why should I expect a teenager in a McDonalds laughing about how it “smells like diabetes in here” to know about my disease when she does not have to live with it? What use is that information to her? Why should I cram it down her throat? People joke about things they don’t understand…sometimes because it is merely uncomfortable to not understand.

So these illnesses are not causing mass hysteria. I get that. Maybe they should be. But they are much more common and much more deadly than Ebola has been, and are much more enduring problems, which is even worse. I think just sitting in a food court at a local mall would probably give you a good view of the many people in that area that are willingly hurting themselves just from eating the food they are…either being diabetic or obese. Sure, these diseases kill over a longer term and Ebola is much faster and more intense, but what we must consider is the public view of such issues. They are issues, yes, but what is worse? Someone who dies knowing they are killing themselves willingly-ish or someone who dies by an illness that has mutated to kill and there is no cure? What is our priority? Who we can treat and save…or those who we can’t save?

We may fear what we do not know, but should we fear what we assume we know?

If those aren’t enough, Helen Keller was Deaf and Blind, and eventually learned how TO FREAKING SPEAK having nearly never hearing another human voice in her life! She became a world renown lecturer and political activist. What did you do with your life again? Post something on Twitter? Cool story bro. Tell it again.

Humans use humor as a coping skill to deal with things that are difficult. It actually has played a greater role in helping sustain people through difficult times…even in Nazi Germany Concentration Camps:

In Night, a memoir written by Elie Wiesel about his time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, the author discussed humor in the concentration camps and the macabre forms it took:

In Treblinka, where a day’s food was some stale bread and a cup of rotting soup, one prisoner cautions a fellow inmate against gluttony. “Hey Moshe, don’t overeat. Think of us who will have to carry you.”

The fact that humor persisted in and out of concentration camps during the Nazi era despite potentially harsh repercussions demonstrates the vital role it plays in human resilience and survival.

So we aren’t at war, or held captive, but we are scared. Scared enough that we find a need to cope with something that seems close to home and dangerous. Thankfully, humor and laughter in general,have many physical benefits that can help prevent you from getting sick…which may not save you from Ebola, but can certainly help you build your immune system from more common killers like the flu and other severe infections that have claimed more lives in their time of existence.

Seriously though, can we really be angry that people are being open about a mutual fear and concern? Yes, it may come out as distasteful humor, but the idea of sickness and death is a bit awkward. It will result in a little awkward expression. Immature? Maybe. Helpful to the human psyche? Yes. I find that when approaching touchy subjects, I would much rather approach it through humor, because it is either a choice of humor, or the devastating and difficult truth.

I find it important to remind others that human behavior isn’t meant to be perfect. It is meant to adapt for survival, and those adaptations may or may not be effective. So if making light of things we are afraid of makes us have less hysterical fear and more healthy caution…then why are we being so harsh?

Forgive this post being more subjective than objective, but this seems like an issue of perspective and opinion. Feel free to leave your thoughts below.


#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:


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.  

 

 


So This is….Pretty Cool Actually.

So there is this site I kinnda like going on called Awwwards, which is an innovative web design site, and it’s really very neat…you should probably take a few hours and have a look….because you’ll need a few hours.

Anyway, there is this site I found on there called tweetflight, which is an interactive twitter powered film clip that actually take words from twitter posts and makes a live streaming music video. Don’t believe me? Go to the site yourself and take  a look, or watch this YouTube Video.