Tag Archives: Social Media

No, I won’t stop ranting on Facebook

As the upcoming election gets more heated, and as more states caucus results come back, the debate on social media has only gotten hotter. It’s impossible to scroll through Facebook without seeing someone’s political opinions being broadcast for the world to see. On Twitter, comedians make light of what seems like a hopeless election by tweeting jokes, most of which are about Donald Trump.

As our timelines are flooded with political posts, some are joining in and sharing their thoughts, while others see the posts as a nuisance. I can recall several posts I’ve seen by complainers who would much rather see cute animals pictures and Buzzfeed articles on their timeline.

The Facebook comment section serves as an easy platform for debates. Graphic from Market Pilgrim
The Facebook comment section serves as an easy platform for debates. Graphic from Marketing Pilgrim

Politics are extremely important. Yes, discussing politics can cause some divides in our communities, but these are things we need to discuss. When it’s March Madness, there are plenty of folks complaining on social media about the team they hate, but no one really complains about that. Not that sports aren’t important, but politics are our future.

I’m the kind of person who loves to use social media as a platform to talk about politics. I’m always sharing political articles, which I’m sure has caused some people to remove me as their friend or “unfollow” me. I don’t really mind, however, because if people are so small-minded that discussing a subject as heavy as politics makes them uncomfortable, I don’t really want to be their friend.

Social media wasn’t necessarily made for politics, but it has definitely had a huge impact in some major political revolutions. In 2011, Egypt, Bahrain and Libya went through quite a bit of political unrest, a time often called the “Arab Spring.” During this time, social media was essentially used to overthrow an oppressive government. Social media was a vital tool in transcending borders and allowing protesters to organize and discuss.

Social media can be annoying at times, of course. However, we shouldn’t brush off its importance. While social media is typically seen as a distraction and unnecessary, in political scenarios and elections, we need to embrace it as a platform to allow our voices to be heard. One of the great things about Twitter is that you have a direct line to politicians, celebrities and other high-profile people. Even if you don’t get a reply, there is a possibility the person you’re trying to contact may see what you have to say. Even if they don’t see it, others may join in discussing the topic, whatever it may be.

We have more technology and the easiest platform to voice our opinions on that has ever existed. We have been granted a great opportunity to use these tools to make a difference. Your opinions matter, and social media is the fastest way to share your thoughts with the most people.

This election, social media has been used by millennials to promote their favorite candidates. Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash, a Facebook group in which members share political memes in support of the presidential candidate, has been an amazing tool in unifying Sanders supporters. At the recent Trump rally on our campus, remnants of the group were scattered throughout the crowd of protesters. There was a very heavy internet and social media influence on many of the signs and overall attitude of protesters.

If politics isn’t your thing (although it should be), simply stay off social media until the election is over. Better yet, join in the political revolution and share your thoughts loudly and proudly.

There’s a link between obsessive Facebook checking and sleep-deprivation

Are you obsessed with checking Facebook? If you find yourself looking at Facebook many times a day, it may be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep. A new study finds a link between obsessive Facebook checking and sleep-deprivation; correlating exhaustion, irritability, attention span with reliance on Facebook browsing.

Sleep deprivation linked with obsession with checking Facebook. Image from The Telegraph.
Sleep deprivation linked with obsession in checking Facebook. Image from The Telegraph.

“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” said head of research Gloria Mark, a University of California, Irvine (UCI) informatics professor. “If you’re being distracted, what do you do? You go to Facebook. It’s lightweight, it’s easy, and you’re tired.”

Specialists in the field of interplay between humans and computers seek to answer how lack of sleep impacts individuals so they can design better technologies and commodities.

“There have been lots of studies on how information technology affects sleep. We did the opposite: We looked at how sleep duration influences IT usage,” said Mark.

The research team gathered informational data from 76 UCI students — 42 females and 34 males — for seven days amid the spring semester in 2014. The study controlled for undergraduates’ course load, homework due dates, age and gender, and depended on sensors to impartially measure their conduct, activities and anxiety levels.

Undergraduates’ cellphones and laptops were rigged with a logging program, and time stamps were documented when research participants moved from one application window to the next and when they answered a call on their smartphone or texted a friend. They were requested to complete a survey of their sleep every morning and an end-of-day survey before going to bed.

Study subjects also completed a general questionnaire before the study and sat for an end-of-study assessment. Routinely during the week, they were presented with examining queries from the studies’ analysts with reference to their mood, the apparent difficulty of the chore that was at hand, and their status of activity in their work.

Mark said the research’s discoveries additionally found that the less sleep individuals have, the more periodically their concentration shifts between separate computer windows, which implies elevated inability to maintain one’s attention.

Mark’s UCI colleagues on the research were Melissa Niiya and Stephanie Reich from the School of Education and Yiran Wang from the Department of Informatics. The study was supported financially by the National Science Foundation.

Mark will present the discoveries of the research at a leading computer-human interaction conference in May.

Kanye vs. Wiz: The real winners and losers of Twitter

Twitter has become a favorite platform for celebrities to air out their beef with other celebrities. One of 2015’s favorite Twitter arguments was between rappers Drake and Meek Mill. Drake, whose albums “What a Time to be Alive” and “Views From the 6″ have been endlessly chart-topping, was called out by Meek Mill for allegedly using ghostwriters.  This social media drama resulted in both of the rappers producing “diss tracks” aimed at one another. Meek Mill’s track ultimately flopped, while both of Drake’s tracks gained huge popularity, especially Drake’s track titled, “Back to Back” which called out Meek Mill for his Twitter insults.

Although Meek Mill’s track was a failure, the beef generated hilarious memes featuring the two rappers. Drake even used a slideshow of some of the memes on a giant screen at the beginning of a concert.

Who will win? Graphic from YouTube
Who will win? Graphic from YouTube

While small Twitter cat-fights between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift drew some attention, the newest Twitter beef that’s generating hilarious Tweets, Memes and Vines (oh my!) is between Wiz Khalifa and Kanye West. Kanye Tweeted a series of comments about Wiz, saying Wiz had disrespected him and that he was his “OG” and should be treated as such. Kanye even went as far as to imply that if he hadn’t ended his previous relationship with Amber Rose, the mother of Wiz’s child and his ex-wife, that he wouldn’t have his son. Kanye went as far as to say, “I own your child.”

Kanye eventually deleted the series of Tweets and told his followers that he was trying to focus on “positive vibes.” But these Tweets were only deleted when Amber Rose stepped in to call out Kanye for what could be considered odd sexual favors that he had once received from her. Twitter exploded with praise and, of course, insults directed at Amber Rose. However, a series of memes has begun to rise from the ashes of the Kanye vs. Wiz beef.

While Amber Rose’s methods of silencing Kanye are especially hilarious, the person really taking a loss on Twitter and with his music as of late is none other than rapper “B.o.b.”. B.o.b. took to Twitter saying that the Earth is flat, and he can prove it. The “Airplanes” rapper stated that if the Earth was round, you would be able to tell by looking at the Horizon. He even posted photos of himself with a sunset as a backdrop, stating that because the Horizon is flat from our view of it, that the Earth must also be flat.

B.o.b. even took his theory so far as to put it into a diss track aimed at astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The track stated that it was only “common sense” that the Earth is flat. B.o.b. goes on in the track to say that there is some sort of conspiracy and that globalists don’t want us to know that after all this time, the Earth has been flat. The song’s lyrics get even more inaccurate when B.o.b. asks, “Why’s NASA part of the Department of Defense?”

The song calls out Tyson with B.o.b. saying he needs to “loosen his vest.” Tyson’s nephew, Stephen Tyson replied in the most hilarious way by releasing a diss track of his own titled, “Flat to Fact.” The song is modeled after Drake’s “Back to Back” diss track, following similar rhyme patterns. In the lyrics, Tyson calls out B.o.b. for believing he is a “free thinker,” when really the idea that the Earth is flat is so old and so ignorant, the logic behind it is truly enslaving.

So who really took the biggest Twitter loss in the last year? In my opinion, B.o.B. definitely took the biggest “L” with his ancient and idiotic ideas of a flat Earth. Meek Mill can relax, as it seems the fingers are going to pointing at B.o.B. for the time being.

Distractions of Social Media

Every time I sit down to do my homework or study for a big test, I find myself picking up my phone every few minutes or so. People may not have texted me, or maybe they did, but either way I’m constantly scrolling through my social media apps instead of focusing on what’s really important: my grades.

 

Are social media sites too much of a distraction? Graphic from The Online Mom
Are social media sites too much of a distraction? Graphic from The Online Mom

It can be difficult restricting yourself from your own phone, it’s very tempting to want to look at who posted pictures and what’s going on with your friends from home.

I’m constantly thinking about something that was posted on social media or what I’m missing out on when I’m focused on something else like studying. Sometimes it gets so bad that I just decide to put my phone on airplane mode, that way nothing will distract me because I won’t receive any text messages until I take it off of airplane mode.

It seems silly, not being able to look at your phone for a couple hours while doing schoolwork, but it’s actually very challenging. I’m sure a lot of other people and students my age especially struggle with this, so we’re not alone!

It’s always a good idea to remember what’s really important in life, not what’s going on in other people’s lives that they feel the need to post about..

What’s happening to you right now is what you should be focused on, not what’s going on in other’s lives.. Getting that good test grade you need for your class and studying as much as you possibly can is way more important than someone’s new family puppy swimming for the first time.

The swimming puppy will still be there when you are done with your schoolwork. Study first, then watch the cute and adorable golden retriever puppy attempting to swim in a kiddy pool.

 

From Our Perspective: YikYak Attack

Welcome to our first podcast of the semester! We hope you enjoy listening, and leave a comment for us. Stay tuned for our opinions on the YikYak shooting rumors and even a few life tips about dealing with assault on campus.

 

“Always bring a pair of flip flops with you– you can even pad your bra with flip flops.”

A Yik Yak post scares students on campus. Graphic from PC World
A Yik Yak post scares students on campus. Graphic from PC World

Thirty Pinterest boards that everybody should have

Say what you will about Pinterest, but it’s a terrific way to share ideas and find out about new and exciting things. So many people see it as something that “basic” girls do to pass time, but really everyone should have a Pinterest account.

Making Pinterest boards encourages free thinking and creativity. It breaks down the barriers between what you can and can’t do- it’s inspiring. If you think you can’t cook, you can find millions of delicious and easy recipes. If you think you aren’t artistic, you can find step by step instructions on how to make tons of cool crafts.

While so many people write off Pinterest, it’s truly the best way to explore newfound passions and express yourself. It also allows you to meet other people who share an interest in the same things.

Although the options are endless when it comes to creating boards, there are certain boards that everyone should have from boards that will just make you smile when you’re having a bad day to boards that will inspire you to get in the kitchen and play chef or write that next bestselling novel.

Here is a list of 30 types of boards that everyone needs to create:

1) Things that make you laugh

2) Things that make you cry

3) Things that inspire you

4) Cute animals

5) Fashion

6) Places you want to travel to

7) Places you want to live

8) Recipes you want to try

9) A whole board dedicated to cupcakes

10) Books you want to read

pinterest
“While so many people write off Pinterest, it’s truly the best way to explore newfound passions and express yourself.”

11) Abandoned places (they’re eerily beautiful)

12) Ideas for your dream home

13) Things that simply make you happy for no reason

14) Nature

15) Haunted places you want to go ghost hunting at

16) Favorite quotes

17) Do It Yourself (DIY) home/apartment decor

18) Food trucks you want to eat at

19) Tropical islands

20) Cityscapes

21) Best mac and cheese recipes (you can never have enough mac and cheese recipes)

22) Art

23) Conspiracy theories

24) Space

25) Cocktails

26) Party ideas

27) Organization techniques/ life hacks

28) A separate board for each of your fandoms

29) Cool inventions

30) Crafts, recipes, decorations, and ideas for every single holiday

Yes, Pinterest can be slightly ridiculous sometimes. We’ve all seen the “Pinterest fails” that occur when someone attempts to copy a professionally made recipe or craft. At the end of the day though, it’s all about improving yourself and being the best person you can be all while allowing you to express that via your boards. So no matter how you feel about Pinterest make an account and try it out!

Happy pinning!

 

Twitter could be lifesaving

We all have that one friend who overshares everything on social media. Every meal, every thought, every action is posted for the whole world to see. Does it get annoying? Yes. But a new study, soon to be published, may argue that this bad habit could actually be useful.

Yes, many of the tweets out there saying things like, “My leg hurts so bad, I think I’m going to die,” can be written off as melodramatic. Researchers at the University of Arizona, however, believe these seemingly whiny tweets shouldn’t be ignored. They decided to try to prove a direct connection between Twitter and trips to the emergency room. During their experiment, they chose to stick with a small population- asthmatics. The researchers searched for keywords on Twitter related to asthma, such as “inhaler.” After compiling a list of tweets, they compared the areas in which the keywords were trending with air quality reports from the Environmental Protection Agency and numbers gathered from the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Texas.

One member of the study, Sudha Ram, said, “We noticed that people were tweeting about and talking a lot about their asthma symptoms. There were even parents tweeting about how they got calls from their child’s teacher saying their child was having breathing problems.”

Using this method, the research team concluded that they could predict emergency room visits with 70 percent accuracy. On this, Ram stated, “One of the challenges for this hospital and other hospitals is being able to predict how many people with various chronic conditions will show up on different days.” She explains that with their research, she and her team will be able to help those hospitals so that they will be better equipped to handle mass amounts of patients.

The University of Arizona’s researchers aren’t the only academics to be investigating the correlation between social media and predicting health concerns.

Back in January, a research team out of the University of Pennsylvania used Twitter to predict rates of heart disease. The team realized that negativity and stress can often be a huge factor in getting heart disease, while happiness can lower the risk. Like the University of Arizona, they relied on chronic over-sharers to conduct their research. Since so many people have become comfortable with sharing their innermost thoughts on Twitter, the researchers were able to find where the happiest, saddest, and angriest people resided. They used keywords such as “wonderful” and “friends” as well as “hate” and profanities to determine which areas seemed more at risk of heart disease. After collecting their data, the research team created a county-by-county, color-coded map of the United States. The greener the area, the less likely the population was to become afflicted with heart disease; the redder the area, the greater the chances. The map created by the researchers was compared to a map that was actually created to reflect deaths due to heart disease. The maps ended up looking almost identical, showing that researchers were on to something big- not only could dangerous diseases be predicted due to location, but also that a little positivity could save a life.

As social media becomes more and more influential in the lives of modern Americans, these studies show that it may become entirely possible to use the lifestyle of over-sharing to actually help people.

 

 

Reality of a narcissist

Social media is instantaneous and wildly entertaining, but no one really cares what you ate at Olive Garden last night(especially after the third picture of your lasagna frittata). This is a reality that many don’t seem to realize, since they’re so caught up with how others perceive them and how many “likes” are on their pictures.

The fact that people are getting so addicted to these 1 cm x 1 cm apps on their phone is kind of terrifying to me.They’re connected with friends and strangers, but they can’t seem to connect to the people sitting right in front of them.

Are you a Narcissus?
Are you a Narcissus? Graphic from Greek Mythology

This is the generation of technology. I really don’t like to think I’m old-fashioned, but I can’t understand the level of importance our generation places on the concept of self-promotion. “I went to a party last night but if I don’t post about it on Instagram, who will know if I went?”

Who cares? It’s not like if you didn’t take pictures, you can’t tell people about it when you see them next. Or better yet, treat it as an awesome college memory! No one needs (or cares) to know what you’re doing and how you’re feeling every second of the day. It takes the fun out of stories; it sucks the mystery out of life, and it seems to be making people less comfortable about themselves in the process.

Ladies, when was the last time you went out to a party without makeup on? Other than feeling a little underdressed, you might feel anxious that someone could be capturing this monumental event on their phone and will (unbeknownst to you) post it on Twitter or Instagram. But so what if they do? With society’s chokehold on young women to always be “on” and perfectly made up, social media seems to make it worse. With the click of a button, your picture can be sent into the world for everyone to comment, judge and critique.

While I get the appeal of strangers, acquaintances and friends commenting, “Lookin’ hot girl, you’re stunning!” I don’t see how it’s conducive to helping our self-image and relationships. Instead of connecting with people in person, it’s done online. Being a communication major, social media is my worst nightmare. I somehow have to convey what I mean without using body language, tone of voice or facial expression.

It just makes relationships too shallow to me. I want to be able to really connect with people on a level that the Internet simply cannot provide, and I’m okay with that. While people are at a party capturing “candids” with their friends to post online, I’ll be outside having meaningful conversations with people I am happy to be with in the moment.

Highlanders Anonymous: Aches and pains

“Why does my back always hurt?”

Sometimes your back aches because of bad posture. This can be caused by slouching during the day and while you walk. That same pain can be caused by the positions you sleep in each night. Back pain is basically inevitable, if you want to deal with it, here are some quick tips:

  1. Be more mindful of your posture when you walk and sit.
  2. Do some research and find back stretches that can relieve your pain.
  3. When doing any heavy lifting, lift from your knees, not your back.
  4. Make sure to sleep in positions that do not put weight and stress on your spine.

“One of my friends keeps posting things on my Facebook through my own account when I leave my phone on the table. It really drives me crazy! How can I get them to stop?”

If it’s a true friend, they’ll respect your wishes for them to stop if you simply ask. If you’re still getting to know them, or don’t want to confront them, don’t leave your phone lying around. That’s probably good advice for any time. Our phones have lots of sensitive information on them, like your bank passwords, email passwords, and often private conversations between you and others via social media, just like Facebook.

“My feet hurt a lot after work! How can I make it easier on my feet?”

In active jobs like waitressing or even retail, you are often running around to get things done or standing for hours upon hours each workday. To soothe your feet after a long day, I’d suggest a foot rub and a soak in the tub. If these options aren’t enough, I’d suggest getting insoles from a local pharmacy or Walmart.

High heels can also crush your toes and cause blisters and aches in your feet. The shoe you choose to wear will also determine the shape of your feet at the end of the day! Standing in one place for long periods of time can also cause back and feet aches. If you are able to find time to stretch sometime during your work, that can go a long way. You could even try doing it during your break.

 

Mobile education

We all remember those earlier school years and their electronic device policies. Teachers in each classroom would tell students to keep their phones and iPods tucked away and powered down. The principal would hold assemblies talking about the various consequences of texting during class or a ringer going off during a standardized test.

As we have all gotten older, cellphone use is a more normal thing. Even kids in third grade are running around with their smart-phones. As cellphones have become a common household object, they’ve also become cheaper and easily attainable for just about anyone. Accessibility has also made it more and more necessary to have a cellular device.

texting in class
“Smartphones are often used as resources because of their Internet capabilities. They’re quick and easy to use when needing to accessing any sort of information.”

The argument to keep cellphones out of the classroom is a losing one. Not only has the issue become too hard to control, but the argument has also lost much of its validity. Smartphones are often used as resources because of their Internet capabilities. They’re quick and easy to use when accessing any sort of information.

Sometimes it can be very helpful to have students use their phones during class to help everyone learn. Although the concept may seem strange, if we look at smartphones as smaller computers, they have more value in a learning environment.

On the other hand, there’s a reason that cellphones are mostly banned from classroom activity. They can become a distraction to those that carry them into class. Social media like Tumblr, Facebook, and Snapchat, are easily accessed through smartphones. Texting is another huge distraction.

Having so much at your fingertips can completely take you away from learning and the students you are sending messages and emojis to. If they have their phones in calls and respond to you, they’re not fully engaged in class anymore. A phone going off during a test is an embarrassing mistake that more often than not gets you a zero on the exam and booted out of class. There’s a correct time and place for electronic devices.

Snoop vs. Iggy & the message being sent

Social media fights between celebrities are always amusing. I’ve been guilty of scrolling through celebrities Twitter feeds, looking for tweets that allegedly started a fight. This week, Snoop Dogg posted a photo on Instagram of a man with long blonde hair with the caption, “Iggy Azalea no makeup.” Iggy responded, accusing the rapper of sending his body guards to “ask for pictures” when they’re at the same shows.

I personally love wearing makeup. It makes me feel better and gives me a little motivation to go out and do something. However, I don’t think makeup is necessary for survival. Plenty of women don’t wear makeup on a regular basis, and that’s okay! I respect Snoop as an artist, but calling out a woman simply for not wearing makeup was incredibly out of line. The fact that both Iggy and Snoop are rappers doesn’t help the situation, either. Rappers tend to be pretty cocky and when they call each other out, there’s usually no going back.

Iggy Azalea verses Snoop Dogg! Graphic from BET
Iggy Azalea verses Snoop Dogg! Graphic from BET

Not only do I think that Snoop made a mistake by calling out a fellow rapper and possibly breaking any ties from her, he also did something that makes my angry feminist blood boil. By calling out Iggy simply for not wearing makeup, he’s setting an example to his fans that it’s okay to tell a woman what she should look like. Snoop has many young fans because he’s such a big name, so these young fans who idolize him are going to laugh at this and see the positive attention he’s getting for it and follow his example.

Snoop is by no means a role model for young kids to begin with. He’s very open about his drug use and with explicit lyrics, I wonder about the young minds who think he’s a lyrical genius even though they probably don’t know what half of the words mean. Even though he doesn’t seem to even try a little bit to be a role model, objectifying and criticizing a woman for her looks is incredibly dangerous, no matter who’s doing it. When someone criticizes a woman for her looks, a message is being sent to the audience that physical appearances are what makes a woman’s worth.

Women have been told for centuries that their looks are important and little praise has been given to women who are intelligent. I don’t know Iggy personally, so obviously I can’t speak for her intelligence, but she’s a successful woman. In the short time that she’s been on scene, she’s collected a huge fan base, won awards and has been at the top of the charts with quite a few of her songs. I believe some men are threatened by a successful woman and that’s why women get criticized for such trivial things as appearances.

This is just a small but very public example of an issue that needs to be resolved. Women are just as intelligent and can lead lives of fulfillment just as much as a man could, but we’ve been fed this lie over and over that we are somehow inferior. Little things such as Snoop’s comment about Iggy going makeup-less eventually build walls that lead up to that glass ceiling women have been trying so hard to break through. It’s time both women and men realize what we are capable of. We women could contribute a lot more to society if we have men who are willing to stand up and say that sexism and objectification of women is wrong, as our allies.

Acting crazy doesn’t make you a better girlfriend

I recently saw a tweet that made me facepalm myself. A fellow female tweeted, “I’m sorry, but if your girlfriend doesn’t act absolutely insane toward you sometimes, she doesn’t love you.” Girls, this article’s for you. Guys, you can thank me later.

DSC_0060
“I know girls can act super crazy sometimes. I get super hormonal and emotional and even insecure from time to time.” Photo of: Selena Ruiz and Kevin Gray. Photo by: Danielle Johnson.

I know girls can act super crazy sometimes. I get super hormonal and emotional and even insecure from time to time. I know sometimes it can affect my significant other and make him want to rip his hair out, but I always make sure to apologize. But being crazy consistently in a relationship isn’t healthy and doesn’t prove you’re a more loving girlfriend. Being absolutely insane toward your partner will eventually push them away.

In my experience in relationships, I’ve found the best ones were the ones where I put my trust issues to the side and let myself trust someone. I’ve never felt the need to look through my partners phone or read their social media messages. However, I’ve had a very hard time trusting my significant other due to past experiences with people who weren’t so trust-worthy. If your partner does something that you’re uncomfortable with, confront them and take care of the issue like an adult. Don’t let it build up inside you and explode because most likely it won’t come out right.

I can’t imagine feeling so insecure in a relationship that I had to be constantly keeping tabs on my partner to feel like I could trust them. I know of several of my friends, mostly girls, who have asked to see their boyfriend’s phones and go through all of their texts and photos. I really don’t understand why anyone would continue a relationship where their partner didn’t make them feel secure. On the flip side of that, I can’t imagine why someone would want to stay with someone who was constantly keeping tabs on them. It’s not healthy.

The best relationships I’ve found are the ones where both people just let each other live their lives. One of my friends’ parents, for example, are one of the closest couples I’ve ever met. They’re more like best friends than husband and wife. However, they aren’t constantly keeping up with each other. When the husband leaves the house, he doesn’t feel the need to tell his wife where he’s going because she’s busy doing her own thing, and he’s usually just running errands or working.

Relationships are supposed to be built on trust and respect for each other. I’ve been lucky in my current relationship because I’ve never really felt like I couldn’t trust him. My boyfriend just moved across country to Colorado and although we text each other sporadically and call each other now and then, we aren’t constantly keeping up with each other. It’s nice to be able to shoot a text his way and talk a little bit, but it’s even better when we can call each other and have a lot to say because we aren’t constantly butting into each others business. Even from thousands of miles away, I feel secure in our relationship. I don’t need to worry that he’s giving someone else attention, because there’s no need to.

It can be really hard to feel secure if you’ve been with someone who’s given you a reason not to trust them. But until your current partner gives you a reason not to trust them, don’t act crazy and ask to see his or her phone and try to keep tabs on him. In the long run, it will make your partner appreciate you so much more and make you both happier.

ISIS brandishes a new weapon of mass destruction: Twitter

As much of a threat as al-Qaeda has been in the past few decades, they’ve never gotten over the phase of cave dwelling and using cheap camcorders to publish their beheadings. Unfortunately, if you want to get people’s attention nowadays, you have to do it in 140 characters or less, and your videos must have the option to skip the ad before it.

Twitter is the new weapon. Graphic by Grace Higginbotham
Twitter is the new weapon. Graphic by Grace Higginbotham

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly referred to as ISIS, is becoming the center of attention because of their ability to do what so many marketing companies are struggling to do — market their product through social media. The same sites you use to complain about biased refs in football and stand on your soapbox for whatever activism is going on that week are now being used to recruit terrorists.

Their attempts to reach out to the youth of the world goes as far as to draw on quotes from TV dramas and popular video games to use in their videos. They use tools like YouTube and Soundcloud to release reports and reach a wider audience. Every time their Twitter account gets suspended, they open a new one and start all over. They use infographics, have an annual publication, and post videos in a variety of languages. This new batch of terrorists has such a firm grasp on social media that the Department of State (DOS) has a hard time keeping up with it all.

Using careful phrasing and effective trigger words, ISIS is able to portray themselves as a group that vows vengeance for the oppressed Muslim groups and swears to seek justice against its oppressors, buying them a bit of support from people who would be interested in joining.

Using the hashtag #thinkagainturnaway, the DOS has been launching a Twitter war with ISIS recruiters in a way that would make the Drake Bell / Justin Bieber flame war seem trivial. Counterterrorism now comes in 140 characters or less. God bless America.

The worst part is that when they finally release the video of the beheadings, news sources like CNN rush to be the first to put it online so everyone can see. The virality of the content is through the roof, because there’s always a fringe group of people who are curious enough to want to see the beheadings for themselves.

Our elders like to complain that too much social media will destroy our generation’s ability to communicate with one another, but when it’s used to find potential terrorists around the world with little to no effort, it raises a whole new range of concerns that would make that aunt of yours scan through your recent Facebook statuses and find that one questionable post.

Much still remains to be seen about how credible the ISIS threat is, but one thing is for certain, they’ve really got a grasp on 21st century cyber warfare, and that is as scary as it gets.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Slacktivism

Remember when being an activist meant you would go out in public and advocate an issue that’s important to you? It was something you could take pride in because it takes time and effort to push social change. Now that Facebook is in the picture, people are able to reach many people without needing to get out of their seat. This is both a good and bad thing for the state of activism as we know it. Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Slacktivism

The dangers of anonymity in a small community

Radford isn’t the first university to incorporate a “crushes” page onto their online community. Much like the meme page and confessions page, universities seem to have their own special brand of Facebook fads that sweep through and keep people entertained for a few weeks before they lose interest and move on to the next fad. However, RU Crushes seems to have hit RU particularly hard, pulling in well over 2,200 fans in its first week. Continue reading The dangers of anonymity in a small community

Why I don’t have a Facebook

During my senior year of high school I made the decision to delete my Facebook. I rarely used it, and I was tired of the constant barrage of social drama, spamming, fishing for compliments and crudely articulated arguments about “current events.” Two years later, I could not be happier with my decision. I don’t feel the need to monitor the exploits of my friends and family via social media. Continue reading Why I don’t have a Facebook