Author Topic: Social Networks  (Read 1008 times)

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Mac

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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #45 on: November 03, 2013, 08:41:35 am »
Things You Do Online That'd Be Creepy In Real Life

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziQFFh5jznI#t
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Mac

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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2013, 11:42:46 am »
It seems Pandora’s Box is open. I personally don’t see how we can go back. At times I do believe there are events that swing to an extreme end, and people react wildly and the pendulum swings back. The advent of smartphones is the new culture. I do agree there are definite benefits, but I think the collateral damage to the culture is only the beginning. Yes, I’m talking about decorum and a little old fashioned neighborly respect.

Yes, I don’t know any of these people, but it just irritates the hell outta me that little 2 X 4 screen is the most important thing in that person’s life. That they evolved into their life revolving around that social interaction and they believe that is their friend.

2 weekends ago, on a long weekend vacation, we met up with some of my step daughter’s friends. The conversation came around to these smartphones. It was interesting in the sense, one girl absolutely lived and died by her phone. She could not imagine a minute without it, and in fact addressed it many times during our brief afternoon drink. I found it extremely rude that she decided the phone had higher priority over a pleasant conversation. After attending her phone twice in the middle of the conversations, I quit addressing her.  She probably didn’t even notice. My step daughter’s friend, though young was completely on the other end of the spectrum. No longer owns a smartphone and is making efforts to have real friendships, relationships, discussions and more. My Step Daughter lives by her phone too. Not to such the degree of a fully dependent individual, but enough that it has changed her culturally.

I just think this cultural shift will produce some very unhealthy actions… and years down the road, those folks with the strange relationships with their phone, maybe asking… What happened?

I’m fortunate enough to have lived the old way of life and see the new way of life come in. Since I did not see a real need for those ‘advantages’,  I’ve never embraced it. I know I will have to on some occasions, to at least to be able to talk to certain folks, but IMO, I’m OK, living without all that ‘socializing’.

I like the article below. It’s well written and pretty much addresses many different perspectives of the smartphone phenomenon.

Quote
The host collects phones at the door of the dinner party. At a law firm, partners maintain a no-device policy at meetings. Each day, a fleet of vans assembles outside New York’s high schools, offering, for a small price, to store students’ contraband during the day. In situations where politeness and concentration are expected, backlash is mounting against our smartphones.

In public, of course, it’s a free country. It’s hard to think of a place beyond the sublime darkness of the movie theater where phone use is shunned, let alone regulated. (Even the cinematic exception is up for debate.) At restaurants, phones occupy that choice tablecloth real estate once reserved for a pack of cigarettes. In truly public space — on sidewalks, in parks, on buses and on trains — we move face down, our phones cradled like amulets.

No observer can fail to notice how deeply this development has changed urban life. A deft user can digitally enhance her experience of the city. She can study a map; discover an out-of-the-way restaurant; identify the trees that line the block and the architect who designed the building at the corner. She can photograph that building, share it with friends, and in doing so contribute her observations to a digital community. On her way to the bus (knowing just when it will arrive) she can report the existence of a pothole and check a local news blog.
It would be unfair to say this person isn’t engaged in the city; on the contrary, she may be more finely attuned to neighborhood history and happenings than her companions. But her awareness is secondhand: She misses the quirks and cues of the sidewalk ballet, fails to make eye contact, and limits her perception to a claustrophobic one-fifth of normal. Engrossed in the virtual, she really isn’t here with the rest of us.
Consider the case of a recent murder on a San Francisco train. On Sept. 23, in a crowded car, a man pulls a pistol from his jacket. In Vivian Ho’s words: “He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side. He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose. Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away — but none reacts. Their eyes, focused on smartphones and tablets, don’t lift until the gunman fires a bullet into the back of a San Francisco State student getting off the train.”
The incident is a powerful example of the sea change that public space has suffered in the age of hand-held computing. There are thousands of similar stories, less tragic, more common, that together sound the alarm for a new understanding of public space – one that accounts for the pervasiveness of glowing rectangles.

The glut of information technology separating us from our surroundings extends well beyond our pocket computers. “Never has distraction had such capacity to become total,” writes the urban theorist Malcolm McCullough in “Ambient Commons: Attention in the Age of Embodied Information.” “Enclosed in cars, often in headphones, seldom in places where encounters are left to chance, often opting out of face-to-face meetings, and ever pursuing and being pursued by designed experiences, post-modern post urban city dwellers don’t become dulled into retreat from public life; they grow up that way. The challenge is to reconnect.”

McCullough sees ambient information, from advertisements to the music in shops to Taxi TV, as an assault on our attention. But he’s no Luddite, and he’s not oblivious to the powerful ideas that spring from the shared ground of technology and urbanism, like Citizen Science, SeeClickFix or “Smart Cities.” What he’s calling for, in Ambient Commons, is “information environmentalism,” the idea that the proliferation of embedded information deserves attention and study, from planners, architects, politicians and especially from you and me.

Personal technology may be only a small part of McCullough’s interpretation of “peak distraction,” but for most people, the computer, tablet and phone are a focal point. What permanent connectivity does to our minds is the subject of great debate. What it does to public space is less often acknowledged. Essentially, smartphone users in public operate under the illusion that they are in private. They exist, in the words of two Israeli researchers, in “portable, private, personal territories.” Their memories of visited places are much worse than those of control subjects.

Our current strategy is to wire everything, everywhere — Wi-Fi in parks and subway tunnels; chargers in the squares bubbling with free electrical current like Roman drinking fountains. McCullough believes this freedom is irreversible. “To restrict information would be unacceptable,” he writes. “The communications rights of individuals and communities must be inalienable, insuppressible, and not for sale.” The tasks of filtering and decorum, he believes, fall to us as individuals.

Not everyone is so sure. Evgeny Morozov, reviewing McCullough’s book in the New Yorker, approvingly cites the Dutch writer Christoph Lindner’s argument for “slow spots” in cities. Morozov points out that the candy bar Kit Kat (“give me a break!”) has set up benches with Wi-Fi blockers in Amsterdam. Would we like to see such a thing occur on a larger scale, in a museum, park or in a neighborhood?
Of the three interwoven motivations for such regulations — danger, civility and health — the first has been the most effective. Just as 41 states rapidly banned texting while driving, there are rumblings of “texting while walking” bans in reaction to pedestrian fatalities. Last year, Fort Lee, N.J., made international news when it began issuing jaywalking tickets to errant, phone-in-hand pedestrians who had veered into traffic. Distracted walking bans have been proposed (with little success, so far) in Arkansas, Illinois, Utah, New York and Nevada. New York City paints “LOOK!” in its crosswalks.

In Japan, more than a dozen people fall off railway platforms while looking at their phones each year. Some pundits there have called for bans on texting while walking modeled after successful “smoking while walking” campaigns. Train station announcements remind commuters to look where they’re going, and even mobile phone companies have begun to educate users about the dangers of looking at a phone while walking.
But for all the talk of danger, it’s clear that the more frequent problem with “distracted walking” is that it’s annoying – and one of several uncivil side effects of smartphone growth. Thus we have the “phone stack” game, where participants compete not to use their phones, and the Guardian columnist who has pledged to almost bump into smartphone walkers, to teach ‘em a lesson. Blind people in Japan say they are being jostled like never before; a man in a Seattle restaurant took a break from his three companions to watch “Homeland” on his iPad. Some restaurants, bars and coffee shops have banned smartphones and computers for their corrosive social effects.

Anti-technology zoning for cognitive health – to protect us from our own worst instincts – is a more complex challenge. Ought urban parks, designed as restorative environments for a different age, be adapted to insulate visitors from the Internet as from noise, traffic and commerce?  The fact that you can address the connectivity problem yourself – just turn it off – doesn’t preclude the possibility of an enforced solution. Airlines turn off the cabin lights despite the existence of blinders; earplugs don’t reduce the popularity of Amtrak’s Quiet Car. William Powers’ idea for digitally free “Walden Zones,” for example, has caught on in libraries – though because work, relaxation and distraction look so similar, the rules are hard to design. (A ready counter-argument: We are all so addicted to our media that withdrawal could be more stressful than blissful, buzzing distraction.)

Broadly speaking, any such regulations would require agreement that public computing has negative externalities — that your hand-held device is my problem.

McCullough is eager to situate these concerns in history, and refers to movements against invasive advertising, light pollution and smog. Morozov is particularly interested in the history and success of the anti-noise campaigners who reshaped the sound of the city.
But while it is obvious that light, noise and smoke corrupt darkness, silence and clean air, the consequences of smartphone use are far more opaque. What, exactly, does the man texting at the bar disrupt? Is the situation different if he is watching a violent movie or playing a visually arresting game? What does it mean to fellow patrons if his face is bathed in the steady glow of an e-book?
In the past, it has taken decades to pinpoint the external costs of other people’s activities. Though smoking was often considered a bother in the 19th century, it wasn’t until the 1920s that the aggravated parties coined the expression “secondhand smoke.” (All this far before any awareness of its health risks.)

It seems clear that there is such a thing as secondhand glow. It impedes our movement on busy sidewalks, breaks our concentration in movie theaters and libraries, and makes our public places as dull and private as phone booths. The question is what to do about it.


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Chiprocks1

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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #47 on: November 04, 2013, 08:54:02 pm »
I've dealt with a few people lately that were glued to their gadget instead of engaging in conversation. I didn't even wait as long as you did before just bailing. Didn't care or bother to even say I was leaving. All the people that I see when I'm walking around look like idiots being glued to something that is so trivial. If people wanna live like that, then so be it. It's just not for me. Rotary 4 Life!!
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Mac

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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2013, 03:45:18 am »
I've had to give my wife **** for doing this. She hates this technology, but on occasion at dinner, she's pulled this crap.
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2013, 09:54:24 am »
An interesting and well written perspective about a part of the social network workings...

Justine Sacco’s aftermath: The cost of Twitter outrage

Quote
PR executive Justine Sacco wrote an offensive tweet before boarding a flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa. “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” she said. Between the time Sacco tweeted and when she landed in South Africa twelve hours later, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trended worldwide. A great many of the tweets including the hashtag were downright hilarious. Even Donald Trump, a paragon of ignorance, chastised Sacco on Twitter, saying, “Justine, what the hell are you doing, are you crazy? Not nice or fair! I will support @AidforAfrica. Justine is FIRED!”

Internet sleuths figured out which flight Sacco was on and when she would land. Her work and cell phone numbers were uncovered. Her entire online footprint was revealed. She had made inappropriate tweets before. She had Instagram and Facebook accounts. These have all been deleted but nothing on the Internet really disappears. The digital echoes of her mistakes will endure. Sacco’s former employer, InterActiveCorp, immediately distanced themselves, condemned her words and she was fired. During her flight, Sacco gained thousands of Twitter followers, an audience raptly waiting, somewhat gleefully, to see what would happen next. Justine Sacco unwittingly scripted a gripping, real-life soap opera and she wasn’t even there to watch it unfold.

Here was instant comeuppance for someone who said something terrible. Here was comeuppance for a white person generalizing shallowly about Africa, the continent, as if it were one large country with only one story to tell. Here was a woman reveling in her whiteness and assuming that her whiteness was some kind of shield against a disease that does not discriminate. I was amused by the spectacle. I followed along even though something in my stomach twisted as the hours passed. It was a bit surreal, knowing this drama was playing out while Sacco was at 38,000 feet.

At the same time, I was horrified. It all felt a bit frenzied and out of control, as interest in the story mounted and the death threats and gendered insults began. The online outrage and Sacco’s comeuppance seemed disproportionate. The amount of joy some people expressed as they engaged with the #HasJustineLandedYet hashtag gave me pause.

Somewhere along the line, we forgot that this drama concerned an actual human being. Justine Sacco did not express empathy for her fellow human beings with her insensitive tweet. It is something, though, that the Internet responded in kind, with an equal lack of empathy. We expressed some of the very attitude we claimed to condemn.

To be clear, Sacco’s tweet was racist, ignorant and unacceptable. Her cavalier disregard for the global impact of AIDS was offensive. In that regard, it was heartening to see that someone purchased the domain www.justinesacco.com and redirected it to Aid for Africa so that some good might come out of such a crass and careless remark. Justine Sacco’s actions should not have gone without consequences. In her case, though, the consequences were severe and swift. She made a cheap joke and paid a steep price. She has since apologized, though it is hard to take the apology seriously because we have become so accustomed to this cycle of public misstep, castigation, apology. Nothing really changes.

We can excoriate Justine Sacco but we need to interrogate white privilege and the relative comfort Sacco felt in demonstrating such poor judgment. It seemingly did not cross her mind that it would be inappropriate to make that joke in such a public forum. We also need interrogate the corporate culture where an attitude like Sacco’s was clearly not a deterrent to her success. As Anil Dash noted on Twitter, “That @Justine Sacco is offensive is obvious. The bigger problem is that her mindset is no barrier to corporate success.”

At the same time, we are only outraged about Justine Sacco because we happened to hear about her tweet. She was, before this debacle, someone with only two hundred Twitter followers. She made her comments in public, but her public was quite limited. If someone hadn’t tipped off Gawker, if thousands of people hadn’t shared Sacco’s tweet, if Buzzfeed hadn’t latched onto the story, making it go ever more viral, we would have never known about Sacco’s racism and ignorance. This does not excuse her words, but is Justine Sacco different from any of us? We like to think the best of ourselves. We like to believe we always say and do the right things. We like to believe our humor is always politic. We like to believe we harbor no prejudices. At least, that’s the impression we give when we are so quick to condemn those whose weaknesses and failures are subjected to the harsh light of the Internet.

The world is full of unanswered injustice and more often than not we choke on it. When you consider everything we have to fight, it makes sense that so many people rally around something like the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet. In this one small way, we are, for a moment, less impotent.

In many ways, 2013, particularly online, was a year of reckoning. More than ever, people were held accountable for their words and actions. Outrage was spoken, not swallowed.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, people shared grief and outrage on social media. From all around the world they stood with the people of Boston, often using the hashtag #BostonStrong. Some became amateur detectives, sifting through the images and other information law enforcement officials released to the public, as if they, too, could play a role in bringing the responsible culprits to justice.

In June, Texas senator Wendy Davis rose to national prominence during a 13-hour filibuster protesting SB5, a bill further restricting abortion laws in Texas. People from all around the United States watched the live video feed provided by the Texas Tribune. The hashtag #standwithwendy allowed people to voice their support for Davis’s efforts and their disdain, and to a lesser extent, their support for legislative attempts to curtail reproductive freedom. The legislation ultimately passed but a vigorous protest was heard and will be remembered.

Paula Deen’s racism was revealed in the contents of a deposition. Before long, most of Deen’s business relationships had shattered, including those with Food Network, WalMart, Target, Walgreens, JCPenny, Sears, QVC, Smithfield Foods and others. Black Twitter responded with the #paulasbestdishes hashtag, using humor as a means of coping with the painful reality that Paula Deen is but one of many people who harbor racial prejudices. Deen’s comeuppance seemed more appropriate than Sacco’s because she was a far more prominent and powerful figure.

Hanna Rosin declared the patriarchy dead, which gave rise to the #RIPPatriarchy hashtag, used by feminists to mock the incorrect notion that somehow all was right in the world for women. The GOP made an ill-advised attempt at honoring Rosa Parks, implying that her efforts had ended racism, which led to the #whenracismended hashtag. Russell Simmons’s All Def Digital released the “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape,” and was quickly forced to take down the video and offer an apology. People were not going to stand silently by as the legacy of Harriet Tubman was diminished so recklessly.

Mikki Kendall started the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen to challenge the exclusion of feminists of color from mainstream feminism. Jamilah Lemieux started the hashtag #blackpowerisforblackmen soon after, to challenge sexism within the black community. After Renisha McBride was murdered in Detroit, dream hampton brought much-needed national attention to the tragedy with the #RenishaMcBride hashtag. People began sharing their stories and demanding justice. Theodore Wafer, the homeowner who shot and killed McBride, will now face trial. For once, perhaps, there will be actual justice for the death of a young black woman.

As R. Kelly released his latest album, some people refused to forget that R. Kelly is an unabashed ****. During an online Q & A, R. Kelly tried to use the hashtag #AskRKelly and quickly lost control of it as people used the hashtag to mock and rightly shame R. Kelly for his crimes. Mikki Kendall and Jamie Nesbitt Golden created the hashtag #fasttailedgirls to address the sexual violations black girls face and the fact that all too often, the responsibility for these violations is placed on the backs of black girls and not the perpetrators. Writer and activist Suey Park created the hashtag #notyourAsiansidekick to, in her words, create “a space for [Asian-American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian women] to use our voices, build community, and be heard.”

A common thread between the most powerful hashtags this year is that many were created by women and/or people of color, people whose voices are all too often marginalized in the forums where they most need to be heard. These hashtags not only inspired necessary conversations, they were the catalyst for all manner of activism.

Social media is something of a double-edged sword. At its best, social media offers unprecedented opportunities for marginalized people to speak and bring much needed attention to the issues they face. At its worst, social media also offers everyone an unprecedented opportunity to share in collective outrage without reflection. In the heat of the moment, it encourages us to forego empathy.

It is, perhaps, fitting that 2013 has come to an end with the story of Justine Sacco. I confess I do harbor a certain amount of empathy for her and honestly, this empathy makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to feel sorry for Sacco. I don’t even know if I feel sorry for her, exactly. Instead, I recognize that I’m human and the older I get, the more I realize how fallible I am, how fallible we all are. I recognize that Justine Sacco is human. She should have known better and done better, but most of us can look at poor choices we’ve made, critical moments when we did not do better.

As I watched the online response to Justine Sacco’s tweet, I thought of Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery,” first published in 1948 but quite prescient. In a village there is a ritual that has gone largely unquestioned for generations. There is a box and in the box are slips of paper. Each year, the heads of each family draw slips of paper. One will be marked and then the members of that person’s family draw slips again. Whoever selects the slip with a black mark is the sacrifice. Everyone takes up stones and sets upon the unlucky victim. Every citizen is complicit in the murder of someone who, just moments before he or she was chosen, was a friend, a neighbor, a loved one.

Justine Sacco was not sacrificed. Her life will go on. We will likely never know if she learned anything from this unfortunate affair. In truth, I don’t worry so much about her. Instead, I worry for those of us who were complicit in her spectacularly rapid fall from grace. I worry about how comfortable we were holding the stones of outrage in the palms of our hands and the price we paid for that comfort.

Roxane Gay's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Oxford American, the Rumpus, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications
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Chiprocks1

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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2013, 01:58:49 pm »
You want to know why there was overall "joy" in what was sure to happen when she landed? It has to do with EVERYONE getting away with EVERYTHING in this day and age. No one is held accountable for what they say or do. It seems like every time you turn on the TV, another Celebrity or Wall-street Guy or Banks and even the President is getting away with something. This was the moment that there was no way out. No sidestepping. No bribing. No nothing.....was going to get Justine off and would have to deal with the ramification of what she tweeted.
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #51 on: December 27, 2013, 07:41:10 pm »
Yep... That is certainly a major component
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #52 on: March 03, 2014, 09:12:52 am »
I'm thinking the only way this has impact on the big mouth girl, is she won't be going on vacation. Otherwise won't phase her at all


Girl costs father $80,000 with 'SUCK IT' Facebook post

Quote
The former head of a private preparatory school in Miami, Florida is out an $80,000 discrimination settlement after his daughter boasted about it on Facebook.

Patrick Snay, 69 -- the former head of Guillver Preparatory School -- filed an age discrimination complaint when his 2010-11 contract wasn't renewed.

In November 2011, the school and Snay came to an agreement in which Snay would be paid $10,000 in back pay, and an $80,000 settlement. Gulliver Schools also agreed to cut Snay's attorneys a check for $60,000.

But before the ink could dry on the deal, Snay's daughter took to Facebook, boasting, "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT."

Snay's daughter blasted the message to her 1,200 Facebook followers, which included many current and former Gulliver students. Word of the post spread like wildfire back to school officials.

Within a few days, Gulliver Schools sent a letter to Snay's attorneys stating that Snay had broken a confidentiality agreement and that he would not be receiving the $80,000 settlement.

The agreement stated that neither Snay nor his wife could speak about the settlement to anyone except for his attorneys and other professional advisers.

Snay filed a motion to enforce the settlement and won in a Circuit Court ruling. The school appealed.

A hearing was held to determine if his daughter's knowledge of the settlement and her Facebook post had violated the confidentiality agreement.

"What happened is that after settlement, my wife and I went in the parking lot, and we had to make some decisions on what we were going to tell my daughter. Because it's very important to understand that she was an intricate part of what was happening.

"She was retaliated against at Gulliver. So she knew we were going to some sort of mediation. She was very concerned about it. Because of what happened at Gulliver, she had quite a few psychological scars which forced me to put her into therapy.

"So there was a period of time that there was an unresolved enclosure for my wife and me. It was very important with her. We understood the confidentiality. So we knew what the restrictions were, yet we needed to tell her something," Snay explained in court documents.

Last week, the Third District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida agreed that Snay had, in fact, violated confidentiality and reversed the Circuit Court ruling.

It wrote: "Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do. His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent, advertising to the Gulliver community that Snay had been successful in his age discrimination and retaliation case against the school.

"Based on the clear and unambiguous language of the parties' agreement and Snay's testimony confirming his breach of its terms, we reverse the order entered below granting the Snays' motion to enforce the agreement."
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #53 on: April 15, 2014, 08:38:34 am »
Sh*t! What the hell is wrong with kids these days? I was an asshat when I was younger, but I wasn't dumb like the majority of kids are today. Yeah, call me old.
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #54 on: April 15, 2014, 11:32:22 am »
You're old
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #55 on: April 15, 2014, 12:16:56 pm »
Get off my f*cking lawn Mac! You're stinking up the joint!
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #56 on: April 15, 2014, 01:15:12 pm »
Ok OK old man... don't have a cow
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2014, 10:13:07 am »
Quote
I've dealt with a few people lately that were glued to their gadget instead of engaging in conversation.


My Students Don't Know How to Have a Conversation
"Students’ reliance on screens for communication is detracting—and distracting—from their engagement in real-time talk."

Quote
Recently I stood in front of my class, observing an all-too-familiar scene. Most of my students were covertly—or so they thought—pecking away at their smartphones under their desks, checking their Facebook feeds and texts.

As I called their attention, students’ heads slowly lifted, their eyes reluctantly glancing forward. I then cheerfully explained that their next project would practice a skill they all desperately needed: holding a conversation.

Several students looked perplexed. Others fidgeted in their seats, waiting for me to stop watching the class so they could return to their phones. Finally, one student raised his hand. “How is this going to work?” he asked.

My junior English class had spent time researching different education issues. We had held whole-class discussions surrounding school reform issues and also practiced one-on-one discussions. Next, they would create podcasts in small groups, demonstrating their ability to communicate about the topics—the project represented a culminating assessment of their ability to speak about the issues in real time.

Even with plenty of practice, the task proved daunting to students. I watched trial runs of their podcasts frequently fall silent. Unless the student facilitator asked a question, most kids were unable to converse effectively. Instead of chiming in or following up on comments, they conducted rigid interviews. They shuffled papers and looked down at their hands. Some even reached for their phones—an automatic impulse and the last thing they should be doing.

As I watched my class struggle, I came to realize that conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill we fail to teach students. Kids spend hours each day engaging with ideas and one another through screens—but rarely do they have an opportunity to truly hone their interpersonal communication skills. Admittedly, teenage awkwardness and nerves play a role in difficult conversations. But students’ reliance on screens for communication is detracting—and distracting—from their engagement in real-time talk.

It might sound like a funny question, but we need to ask ourselves: Is there any 21st-century skill more important than being able to sustain confident, coherent conversation?
What if we focused on sharpening students’ ability to move back and forth between the digital and real world?

When students apply for colleges and jobs, they won’t conduct interviews through their smart phones. When they negotiate pay raises and discuss projects with employers, they should exude a thoughtful presence and demonstrate the ability to think on their feet (or at least without Google). When they face significant life decisions, they must be able to think things through and converse with their partners. If the majority of their conversations are based on fragments pin-balled back and forth through a screen, how will they develop the ability to truly communicate in person?

It’s no surprise to any teacher or parent that teenagers rely heavily on cell phones for communication. According to the Pew Research Center, one in three teens sends over 100 text messages a day. More than half of teens use texting to communicate daily with friends, versus only 33 percent who regularly talk face to face. Cell phone use is rampant at most schools (mine included), despite attempts to restrict or even integrate it into the curriculum.

But in our zealous rush to meet 21st-century demands—emailing assignments, customizing projects for tablets and laptops, and allowing students to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)—we aren’t asking students to think and communicate in real time. Online discussion boards and Twitter are useful tools for exchanging ideas. But they often encourage a “read, reflect, forget about it” response that doesn’t truly engage students in extended critical thinking or conversation. All too often I’ve seen students simply post one (required) response to the prompt and then let the discussion go dead. 

Sherry Turkle, a psychologist, MIT professor, and the author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Ourselves, has dedicated her career to researching people’s relationships with technology. Much of her writing has shaped my skepticism for tech-overload and its impact on conversation. In a New York Times column, Turkle wrote, “Face-to-face conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits … we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions. We dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters.”
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Schools Should Be Teaching Kids How to Use the Internet Well

Could it be that the push for screen use in schools is watering down the questions and thinking we require of students? For me, using classroom discussion boards has increased participation and given a voice to many students normally reluctant to speak in class. On the other hand, I wonder if my frequent reliance on digital participation is too easy on students. As Turkle writes, “We are tempted to think that our little ‘sips’ of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t.”

Instead, what if we focused on sharpening students’ ability to move back and forth between the digital and real world? An ironic benefit of technology is that we can leverage digital devices to capture and teach the art of conversation. All smart phones are recording devices; why not use those to record and assess students’ conversation skills? I’ve noticed that students take critical conversations, debates, and discussions more seriously when recorded. We can use technology to encourage students to strike a balance between digital literacies and interpersonal conversation.

The next time you interact with a teenager, try to have a conversation with him or her about a challenging topic. Ask him to explain his views. Push her to go further in her answers. Hopefully, you won’t get the response Turkle did when interviewing a 16-year-old boy about how technology has impacted his communication: “Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation.”
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Re: Social Networks
« Reply #58 on: June 16, 2014, 09:12:18 am »
This is more about law, but is firmly rooted in Social Networks...

Supreme Court to hear case on Facebook threats

Quote
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider a classic free speech conundrum for the 21st century: When do threatening comments made on social media sites such as Facebook cross the line into criminal activity?

Two lower federal courts ruled that Anthony Elonis crossed that line in 2010 when he mused on his Facebook page about killing his wife and others, including an FBI agent who was investigating his actions.

"Did you know that it's illegal for me to say I want to kill my wife?" he wrote in one of many posts. "It's illegal. It's indirect criminal contempt. It's one of the only sentences that I'm not allowed to say."

The lengthy diatribe copied nearly word-for-word a satirical sketch by The Whitest Kids U' Know comedy troupe, concluding with Elonis' own summation: "Art is about pushing limits. I'm willing to go to jail for my constitutional rights. Are you?"

In seeking the high court's review of his conviction, Elonis' attorneys contend he never intended actual violence. What the justices have to decide is whether that matters, as long as a "reasonable person" would feel threatened.

The court's precedent for such cases is now 11 years old. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in Virginia v. Black that a state law equating cross-burning with intimidation went too far, reasoning that not all cross-burning was meant as a threat. Justice Clarence Thomas, the lone black jurist, dissented.

Since then, lower state and federal courts have split on what constitutes a threat — the perpetrator's subjective intent to threaten, or anyone else's objective interpretation. Most but not all courts have agreed it's the latter standard, used to convict Elonis.

The Supreme Court has refused to get involved in such disputes. Last year, for instance, it denied a petition from a man convicted of threatening on YouTube to kill the judge in his child custody case.

The new case dates back to 2010, when Elonis' wife left him after a seven-year marriage and took their two children. Apparently despondent at age 27, he lost his job at an Allentown, Pa., amusement park and began a series of dark postings, often in the form of rap lyrics. In his Facebook profile, he said the rants were therapeutic and disclaimed any "true threat."

Elonis' wife wasn't amused. She obtained a "protection from abuse" order against him, which only led to more rants directed at more people. He was arrested that December and eventually given a 44-month sentence plus three years' supervised release. He finished his prison term in February.

The federal law that tripped up Elonis states: "Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both." Many states have similar statutes.

Elonis' attorneys say the "reasonable person" standard should not be used because members of a broad social media audience who don't know the author might misinterpret his words or guess incorrectly at his intentions.

"The issue is growing in importance as communication online by e-mail and social media has become commonplace," Elonis' petition for Supreme Court review says. "Modern media allow personal reflections intended for a small audience (or no audience) to be viewed widely by people who are unfamiliar with the context in which the statements were made and thus who may interpret the statements much differently than the speakers intended."

The Justice Department, which wants the appeals court's ruling to stand, notes that the federal law is aimed at preventing not only real violence but the fear and disruption induced by perceived threats.

The current Supreme Court has been a strong defender of free speech rights, going so far as to permit distasteful protests at military funerals and online videos depicting animal torture.

But it also has drawn lines, ruling this term against the free speech rights of a previously convicted military protester and opponents of then President George W. Bush who were moved from their protest site by the Secret Service.
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