Tag Archives: Social media

Controlled Freedom, The Best Freedom.

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When our group was first given the topic of freedom on the internet to investigate, I was open to what kind of views the subject might bring. At first, after thinking about it and researching some information I was completely for freedom on the internet. In fact, my last post talking about freedom on the internet supported that freedom in a positive light. I felt that everyone should have their freedom on the internet, be able to express themselves and say what they feel and please. However, after doing a little bit more research and thinking, I feel as though I was wrong. Freedom of speech on the internet is something that comes with limitations and can be completely abused by certain people who use it for the wrong reasons.

Cyber-bullying on the internet has become a big issue today. Many children are being harassed and teased through communication on the internet and it these harsh words are something that can have a great effect on those child’s lives. It happens on many different social media sites on the internet. I’ve seen it so many times before on Facebook, Twitter, and even blogs created by those with negative feelings towards someone else, and even privately through IM’s and private chats. Internet users just throw negative words around as though they do not have consequences, but the truth is they do.

I just read a story about a boy named Ryan Halligan. He unfortunately took his own life in 2003. His parents were in extreme disbelief at the loss of their son and did not fully understand what may have lead Ryan to his final actions, but after some investigating they found the culprit that pushed him to do it: cyber bullying. Ryan had been picked on and bullied through out his schooling career but months before he died things got better for Ryan. He believed that he became friends with the boy that had beenRyanHalligan bullying him in school and was so excited about it that he relayed the message to his parents. Trusting his new friend, Ryan shared some information with him over the internet about a story that was embarrassing for him. He thought his new friend would keep this story safe, but instead he spread the information all over the internet and started a rumor about Ryan being gay. As if this wasn’t enough, a girl from his middle school also had part in it. Over the summer she talked to Ryan everyday on the internet and agreed to be his girlfriend, but as soon as they got back to school she laughed in Ryan’s face in front of all of her friends and made fun of him breaking the news that she was just joking about everything that she said online. The humiliation and constant teasing that followed soon became too much for Ryan to handle. This is not something that should happen to any child. It is cruel and uncalled for and should be kept from being displayed on the internet.

Yes, internet users deserve their freedom of speech and expression on the internet, but only with good intentions. Bad intentions that could have such negative and harmful effects on a person’s life is a serious matter that should be excluded from this freedom and have action taken against it so others wont have to go through anything like what Ryan went through. Controlled freedom is the key to internet use and if not disrespected or abused could make the internet a very happy and pleasant place.

 

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For more on Ryan’s full story told by his parents on a website that they have created, click here.

Facebook-less

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facebook iphoneLast Thursday night, my professor challenged my class to go exactly one week without using their Facebook account. At first I thought nothing of this. This was easy. Who really needs Facebook anyway? Well I have the app on my iPhone and I never knew how much I actually clicked on it through out my day. I use other social media apps like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but they just didn’t seem as fun without little old Facebook to go on as well. For instance, whenever I post edited pictures on Instagram, I automatically click “share” on Faceboook and Twitter when I’m about to post the picture. I posted a picture of my eight month old nephew this week on Facebook, even though I wasn’t supposed to be using it…it’s just a hard habit to break.

So this week I had to force myself to click around on different apps on my phone instead of using Facebook. What did I do before I made a Facebook account? Well I made a Myspace account when I was in ninth grade. I thought I was soooo cool. Now when I look back on that, I can’t believe how boring that website really was. I used to get so frustrated with making stupid backrounds and fonts. Facebook is straight forward and user friendly. I suppose another social network will come out in the next five or so years that’s better and more popular and we’ll all leave our Facebook accounts in the dust.

I learned a lot about myself from this past week without Facebook. I learned that I go on my Facebook way too much. I mostly use it to kill time between classes, when commercials come on the TV (because God forbid I’m bored for three minutes), or when I should be writing papers for class because I’ll be happy to log back on tonight after class but do I need to go on Facebook and read peoples’ whiney posts? Nope.

Who Do You Want To Be?: The Masks Behind Technology.

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Who do you want to be? It doesn’t matter who you are right now, what you look like, where you live, age, interests, talents, likes, dislikes. All of the things that right now define who you are can be wiped clean with the click of just a button. Did you ever think this would be possible? To completely re-create who we are to people and instantly become who we want to be? The internet has made this option so easily available for us today and the truth is that even though you may want to believe that most people are being truthful, some of them are not.

In her article “Who Am We”, Sherry Turkle talks about how the computer has went from being introduced to a college classroom as a “giant calculator” to altering our minds, ideas, and even who we are into something different. When it was first developed the computer was strictly technical and known for calculating purposes only. But, today the computer and the internet have greatly evolved to allow us to branch out to people with so many different forms of communication that it could make your head spin. Between Twitter, Facebook, Blogging sites, and much more, we have so many options to choose from. It is crazy to think that when you enter a social media site such as these that we do not have to be who we are. We can enter a totally different image of ourselves, a different personality, a different persona and fool people into thinking that we are someone that we are not. It is like we are creating our own character that we just dreamed up.

Yes, in a way this can be a great thing, we can be who we always wanted. And in some cases this can be innocent. Pretending that you played a certain sport or liked a certain band that would give you a different image or dynamic, fine. But in other cases, these lies are not quite as innocent. Due to these masked identities that we create, the world of the internet can be a scary and unexpected place. You never know if you are really talking to a boy your age that goes to Temple University or if you are actually communicating with a 40 year old man that gets a kick out of talking to young girls. Being able to create these different sides of ourselves can at times be harmless, but you still have to be cautious for the times that they are not. Next time you are talking to someone on the internet be sure you know who they really are, not someone you think they might be.

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The Right to Tweet

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twitter     We all remember the days we used to spend hours on MySpace, commenting on each others walls and pictures. Then all of a sudden Facebook came along and you didn’t have to make stupid backgrounds and pick colors out for your profile page. Facebook was more straight-forward, to the point and user friendly. Now Twitter seems to be taking the reigns in the social media world. You can be anyone you want to be on Twitter. There’s little room for a biography and it only allows you to have one profiule picture to look at. Apps on smart phones have made it easy for users to have multiple accounts on these social media websites so if somebody doesn’t want everyone to know who they are on Twitter, they can switch over to the account with no picture and tweet what ever they’d like.

I’ve seen several methods to how users get thousands of followers, for starters being famous helps. Everyone wants to follow their favorite celebrity and they’ve been known to tweet just about the strangest tweets out there, and then we all hear about them on TMZ or E! News within the hour “Lindsay Lohan just said (insert tweet here).” or “Rihanna just posted the most provocative picture (insert picture here).” When you are famous, you get have your little official blue check mark next to your name and of course just having a Twitter account can guarantee them at least 100,000 followers. They don’t even have to post anything interesting!

I’ve learned that “retweeting” celebrities, your friends, or that random account that posts funny sayings (and that are good for a laugh so you follow them anyway) can definitely get your “follower” numbers up there. Twitter only allows you to post a tweet with 140 characters, but that doesn’t stop people from tweeting how they really feel about that “crazy storm” that just happened or the “horrible traffic” they’re stuck in, omg…that’s never happened to anyone before! Or the infamous weather updates as if I don’t have The Weather Channel app right next to my Twitter on my iPhone. I find that I have to keep my sarcastic, “Thank you, I didn’t know it was snowing outside because I don’t have twenty windows in my house to know that” to myself. But I’ve grown to accept the blatantly obvious tweets people post all day because that is basically what Twitter is used for now, status updates or silly fragments of a sentence. It’s their right, and who am I to judge?