Tag Archives: Twitter

Political Trouble in the World of Sports

There have been several days of controversy and criticism since NBA player Stephen Curry suggested he would vote against accepting Trump’s invitation to the White House. When Trump heard about this development, he decided to un-invite the entire Warriors basketball team and has since sent out a number of tweets regarding both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL). The latter is the result of Trump’s comments that NFL players should be fired for taking a knee during the National Anthem and the resulting protests from NFL teams such as the Steelers.

Stephen Curry – Photo from NBA.com

The Steelers decided to remain inside of the locker room during the performance of the National Anthem. The head coach of the Steelers, Mike Tomlin, stated that he did not want the team to feel divided and that, essentially, he wanted the team to stay out of the politics going on. However, being absent during the Anthem is something of a political statement in and of itself.

Trump has stated, both at his rally in Alabama and on Twitter, that he believes anyone who does not stand up or takes a knee during the Anthem should be fired. He has also stated on Twitter that the games have been losing viewers because they are “boring” but people would keep watching if the NFL teams were loyal to the U.S. That being said, Trump is probably not the best person to give commentary on how viewership has increased or decreased for sports teams. Or in a position to really give any commentary at all. What the President has to do with a NFL game or NBA team is unknown, especially when he has more serious matters to attend to. Regardless of what Trump says, and in fact because of it, many players and teams are now making a stand and/or protesting, such as a number of players at the Jaguars and Ravens game in London. Perhaps it is time to listen to what other people have to say about why they are protesting, instead of threatening them.

Another Trump Tweet Debacle

Twitter can be a great resource for sharing news or entertainment with almost anyone. It seems like everyone has a Twitter account nowadays too. You can search for and find almost anyone who is even mildly famous on there, including, unfortunately, Donald Trump. Most everyone knows that Trump has a certain amount of Twitter infamy. He is known for short, poorly worded tweets that often attack people and are often posted at three in the morning when most people are conveniently not up to defend themselves. And Trump has made yet another mistake on Twitter yet again.

In the .gif, President Donald Trump’s golfball is edited to have hit Hillary Clinton in the back, causing her to fall over – Capture from Twitter

Trump retweeted a gif that makes it look like he is hitting Hilary Clinton with a golf ball. While the gif may be in poor taste, it is ultimately harmless. Unless, of course, you are the guy hitting Clinton in the video and also the president of United States. And you have also threatened (with federal investigation and jail time) the person you appear to be hitting. And in general, you are known for having a great dislike of that person and have said a number of “nasty” things about her. This man is supposed to be the president of our country, not a child incapable of any form of critical thinking.

Trump is our president, whether we like it or not, and therefore he is held to a higher standard. Arguably, the highest of standards. But here he is back at it again with petty, childish tweets against Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, we have half the country of fire, literally, two massive hurricane relief efforts going on, and rising tension with North Korea. Forgive me if I feel like the president has better things to do than retaliate against someone who released a book recently criticizing him. This would not be quite as big of a deal if Trump was not known for going on Twitter rants against anyone he dislikes and obsessing about it. As president, his attention needs to be elsewhere, and this does not bode well.

The Trouble with Trump

Our newest president is always making headlines, ever since he began running for office. It is not uncommon for his name and his face to be the first thing anyone sees when they look at the news. Unfortunately, this is rarely, if ever, a good thing for him or for us.

trump tweets
“It is no secret that when any source of public media makes negative comments about Trump, regardless of the form they take, he immediately responds via Twitter.” Photo from: www.occupydemocrats.com

Donald Trump has had one scandal or public media blowout after another. One of the most significant issues has been his various sexual assault allegations and his gross mistreatment of women. For example, everyone has heard of (and many have seen) the footage where Donald Trump has talked about “grabbing (women) by the pussy,” something that sparked outrage among many (as it rightly should). There have been at least 15 women who have accused Trump of sexually assaulting them (including one of his ex-wives), which is more than enough to cause serious concern. If anyone, regardless of who they are or whether they are male or female, receives sexual assault claims from that many people, then that person needs to be investigated, especially if they are the President.

Another issue with Trump is his rampant Twitter rants and tantrums. It is no secret that when any source of public media makes negative comments about Trump, regardless of the form they take, he immediately responds via Twitter, usually with pathetic name calling and/or slander. In and of itself, this is not a terribly big deal. The issue is that this is the leader of our country, arguably the most powerful man in the world. He is a man with access to nuclear weapons and the entire U.S. military, and he is easily upset over the speech of an actress or a comedy sketch from a TV show that is known for its parodies of pop culture and politics. The question becomes: Why is he so concerned with these people, who he claims are hacks, when he has a country to run? One would think he has better things to do with his time besides respond to these people who he claims to thinks so little of. Trump is far too easily provoked.

There is also Trump’s habit of calling news sources that make negative comments/stories/articles about him fake news. Frankly, this is ridiculous. If Trump has an issue with a news source or believes they are unfairly representing him, then fine. He has every right to combat these claims. But all he does is call them fake news; if he doesn’t like it, then it’s fake news. If the news that these people are sharing is worth garnering Trump’s specific attention (and I’m not saying it is worth it, he has more important things to be worrying about as President), then he could actually provide evidence and make compelling arguments against the stories. Instead he just calls it “fake news”. This man is our President but he’s still acting like a toddler and shouting “Wrong!” at whatever he doesn’t like.

 

Microsoft’s Tay “chatbot” was trolled into becoming the “Hitler-loving sex robot”

Microsoft was forced to shut down the chatbot named Tay, after it tweeted several sexist and racist remarks.

According to the software giant, Microsoft endeavored to connect with millennials 18 to 24 years old, and they planned to do this task through Tay. She was an AI designed to talk like a teenage girl.

According to a Microsoft post, “The more you chat with Tay, the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you”.

Microsoft’s concept and idealization for Tay was that the chatbot would produce entertaining and funny reactions and responses based on tweets and other messages it was sent through applications like Kik and GroupMe.

Despite the good-intentions, internet trolls started to connect and bombard Tay on Wednesday March 23 almost exactly when it was launched. Tay started to utilize a percentage of the bigot, racist, and sexist remarks in its own Twitter conversations.

Graphic from the Telegraph and Twitter.
Tay’s responses were learned by conversations she had with people online. Graphic from the Telegraph and Twitter.

 

The bot’s tweets were so offensive and drew such an uproar that one newspaper named Tay the “Hitler-loving sex robot.”

Microsoft’s chat robot Tay was taken offline less than 24 hours after its launch since it was tweeting such sexist and racist language. But not before the AI robot tweeted approximately 96,000 times, which seems like a lot of tweets for an average teen girl or millennial.

 

 

In a released statement by Microsoft, they said ”Unfortunately, within the first 24 hours of coming online, we became aware of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay’s commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways”.

Microsoft, who designed the AI with a specific end goal of enhancing the customer service on their voice recognition software, apologized directly after the incident in a blog entry made by Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Research.

Lee wrote, “We are deeply sorry for the unintended offensive and hurtful tweets from Tay, which do not represent who we are or what we stand for, nor how we designed Tay”.

Microsoft said that it’s modifying Tay, however was not able to say if or when the bot may return. Lee said that they will only bring her back when they are confident that they can make better prepare to limit technical exploits.

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.

#PeaceforParis

On Friday, November 13th, ISIS terrorists attacked a stadium, a theatre, and least two restaurants in Paris, France. Six attacks in total occurred claiming more than 100 lives, some of which were missing at the beginning of the investigation. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook helped to save lives and show support on Friday, using hashtags and inserting the French flag into profile picture. Social media played a huge impact in this horrific event, but without social media, the attacks could have been much worse.

Melanie Marten, my cousin, who lives in Paris, France. She shows her support by inserting the French flag into her Facebook profile picture. Photo from Facebook
Melanie Marten, my cousin, who lives in Paris, France. She shows her support by inserting the French flag into her Facebook profile picture. Photo from Facebook.

The night of the attack, a hostage inside the stadium, in which 100 hostages were being held captive, used Facebook to post what was happening during the attack, essentially telling the French police to raid the place because the terrorists were killing the “one by one.” Facebook allowed for the hostages to communicate with the outside world, getting the help faster than without social media. The hostage, obviously, didn’t want to talk on the phone in fear of being caught. With social media, they didn’t have to.

After the attacks ended, people in France were using the hashtag “ #rechercheParis” which translates to “ search Paris,” to find each other through the panic, chaos, and sadly, carnage. “More than 100 tweets per minute used the hashtag, according to Twitter’s data. And by Saturday evening, more than 64,000 tweets had used #rechercheParis.” The hashtag #PorteOuverte (open door) was used on Twitter to let people know that they had a place to stay if they had nowhere to go. People using this hashtag were offering up their house as a place to stay. Twitter allowed for communication to happen all throughout Paris in a quick and easy way, making it unknown to all French people what was happening and what their option were. No other form of communication would have been that quick or reached that many people.

Social media, potentially, saved many people’s lives by informing them of what was going on and what option they had to stay away from the terrorist attack. Twitter and Facebook allowed for the knowledge of what was happening inside the stadium to go to the police and created a community for people who had endured the attack or those who were affected by it. This is why technology is important in the world and should never been limited or taken away.

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.

 

 

The Dress

Recently, a Scottish musician and college student by the name of Caitlin McNeill posted a picture of a dress on her Tumblr that would spark a craze across the Internet. Time  was a bit hasty in their response, stating that “the Internet officially broke ” as everyone from your mother to Taylor Swift to politicians began taking sides on the issue.

McNeill’s infamous post was captioned “guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out.”

Too bad that the poll of public opinion couldn’t help the girl out as the hashtag #TheDress began to pop up on social media, with both confused and vehement camps for “white and gold” or “blue and black” being established.

dress
“guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out.”

BuzzFeed grabbed onto the trend pretty quickly and broke the latest updates and arguments with the ferocity of breaking news updates a la Fox News. Their success in garnering viewership from this was so great that #TheDress was credited in site issues, as BuzzFeed’s own Tom Gara tweeted, “Great work everyone, we broke BuzzFeed.”

Now that the buzz has died down on this whole dress debacle and we’ve got proof that the dress is indeed black and blue, why were we seeing such different colors?

According to Duje Tadin, an associate professor for brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, it may be the variations in the number of photoreceptors in the retina of our eyes that perceive the color blue. Our eyes have about six million of these photoreceptors that are sensitive to green, red or blue and send signals to our brain that interprets them as the colors we perceive.

“It’s puzzling,” Tadin said in reference to the #TheDress. “When it comes to color, blue is always the weird one. We have the fewest number of blue cones.” He added, “If you don’t have very many blue cones, you may see it as white, or if you have plenty of blue cones, you may see more blue.”

Science Daily had their own way of interpreting the excitement, stating that “the wavelength composition of the light reflected from an object changes considerably in different conditions of illumination. Nevertheless, the color of the object remains the same.” Basically, since the offending photo was taken in lighting with a blue hue, it may have caused the blues in the dress to reflect a white color.

Makes you wonder: do you see the same colors as the next person? How much of what we see can we say for certain is the same as the next person’s perception of the same image?

I f–king love SCI2

Elise Andrew is the curator of the IFLS (I Fucking Love Science) Facebook page and website where a large portion of inspiration for the lovely content you find right here comes from. Later this year she will be teaming up with the Science Channel to bring you the best science videos the internet has to offer.

The collection will feature on TV through the SCI2 channel and concentrate on popular science. And, according to Andrew, she’s excited to have the opportunity to weed through a lot of junk science to provide a thoroughly proven assortment of real science. She hopes to get the name out for other bloggers and Internet do-gooders who simply really fucking love science and want to share what they know with the world.

Yeah, science! Graphic from Geeks of Doom
Yeah, science! Graphic from Geeks of Doom

Andrew’s Facebook fame is a story or surprising success, even to her. She began to compile interesting facts, images, and videos and post them on a page for her own amusement and claims she never expected it to go farther than a few dozen of her friends. However, within the first 24 hours of creating the page, Andrew had over 1,000 likes and within six months reached over 1 million. As of Oct. 26, the page has 18,689,377 likes.

Significantly less popular, but hosting similar content, is Andrew’s clean (language-wise) Facebook page Science is Awesome. While it has just as good quality content, perhaps you might recommend this to kids and stick with the original for your adult friends.

The Internet can be a fickle friend, however, as was made clear in March 2013 when Andrews created a Twitter account for the IFLS page with her face as the avatar. Fans seemed shocked to find out that Andrew’s was a woman, despite sharing that information on several occasions. The reactions were rather sexist, Andrew claims, and she was baffled by the sheer stupidity — er, lack of observation — from her supposedly science loving followers.

Andrew’s and the Science Channel’s team up isn’t the first of its kind, nor is it the first for Andrew. She has also curated videos for Discovery Communications in Aug. 2013 for their streaming site. To get caught up on this previous collection, find them and much more on IFLS’s Youtube channel.

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.

From Our Perspective: Twitter terrorism and selfie olympics [PODCAST]

In this edition of From Our Perspective, the staff discusses the 14 year-old girl who tweeted a bomb threat to American Airlines and got arrested. Afterwards, she bragged about receiving thousands of new followers, prompting several other people to try the same stunt. Continue reading From Our Perspective: Twitter terrorism and selfie olympics [PODCAST]

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Coke

Coca-Cola became the center of attention on Super Bowl Sunday when the score board started getting lopsided and people released their anger on twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 4.13.44 PM copy
#AmericaTheBeautiful
Photo provided by Julian Guerra.

In their new ad campaign #AmericaIsBeautiful, Coke featured American classic “America the Beautiful” sung in a variety of different languages to embrace multiculturalism. However, the message fell on deaf ears when Twitter blew up in a storm of racism at the idea that Coke would dare sing a patriotic song in anything but English.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Coke

Do you really care about celebrity deaths?

My Facebook newsfeed was flooded with upset emoticons and question marks on Saturday when Paul Walker died in a car accident at the age of 40. The star of the “The Fast and the Furious” franchise was the passenger of his friend’s speeding car, which burst into flames after it hit a tree during a charity event for victims of the typhoon in the Phillipines. Continue reading Do you really care about celebrity deaths?