Getting back to last night’s episode: in the era of the DVR, not everyone watches a show at the same time, meaning that some people were not interested in discussing “Ozymandias” at the water cooler this morning. In the era of social media, the water cooler discussion has expanded far beyond the water cooler. This raises an interesting question. In social media forums like Facebook, it is relatively easy to post spoiler warnings, but not so much on Twitter. What sort of etiquette, if any, exists to guard against accidentally revealing key plot developments to people who are not ready for them. Conversely, what is the responsibility of the spoilee to avoid discussions that might lead to spoilers? It hardly seems fair to ask people who have seen the episode, in all of its [redacted], to wait to discuss it until everyone has had a chance to see it. Continue reading
A Chicago student is suing a doctor, hospital, and medical school after the doctor allegedly took pictures of her in the hospital, where she had been admitted for overindulgence in alcohol, and posted them on Facebook. The student was reportedly taken to the hospital by ambulance at about 3:00 a.m. on June 13, 2013. The defendant, who was not the student’s treating physician, allegedly looked at her medical records around noon that day, using his medical ID card to gain access to the files. According to Courthouse News Service:
It continues: “At or around 4 p.m., on June 13, 2013, [defendant] came down to the ER again and commenced taking pictures of plaintiff while she was on the hospital bed, crying, and attached to an IV.
“[Defendant] was seen by hospital security in the hospital taking the pictures and was asked to delete them immediately, which he refused to do.
“[Defendant] decided to public said photographs on the Internet through Facebook and Instagram online sharing programs.
“[Defendant] attached statements of commentary describing [plaintiff]‘s condition in those photographs. Continue reading
I’m going to be honest here: I’m not really feeling it this year. I suspect that is approximately 100% due to the fact that I moved into a new house at the beginning of this week, and am experiencing the associated anxiety and odd depression that always seems to come with that. Don’t get me wrong, I love our new house. It’s just that I also sort of hate it at the moment.
It was in the midst of this chaos that I embarked on my second year as a badge holder at SXSW Interactive. Once again, I don’t really have a clear notion of my goals, other than to meet people, learn more about tech, blogging, and social media, and just be around talented, interesting, and occasionally self-important people. I’m sucking at the “meeting people” part so far, but being at the Austin Convention Center in a relatively festive atmosphere is a welcome reprieve from a week spent mediating between furniture deliveries, movers, and contactors. (Also, the purchase of a house with enough repair needs to quickly burn through most of our money, but let’s not go there just now.)
I took the Capital Metro rail for the first time, parking where I’m probably not supposed to park and riding the train to the final stop just outside the Convention Center. I don’t know if the train is usually that crowded, or if that is a SXSW effect, but it was a decent ride. It certainly beats trying to find parking downtown.
Since I don’t do much late-night partying anymore, I was able to arrive downtown at about 9:30, give or take, and it took a mere 5 minutes to get my badge. I remember last year needing about 20 minutes, but then seeing that the line had circumscribed the Convention Center later in the day. This would be an example of the hipness of being square – less time waiting in lines, or something.
I spent much of the morning catching up on work, and found the environment to be oddly conducive for work. Maybe there was some osmosis of creative power, or maybe I was just determined to finish so I could move on to fun things.
By the time I broke away from the siren call of legal-blogging-for-hire, I was not sure where I wanted to go. I considered catching a shuttle to a different venue for a panel on the business potential of animated GIFs, but ran into a friend who was going to a panel on disaster relief.
Disaster: The Future of Crisis Communications addressed how the Coast Guard has made use of social media and other technologies in disasters like Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. Very interesting stuff. Much of what they said seems obvious at first, but when you consider conditions after a disaster, you understand their importance, and how easy it might be to overlook them. In sufficiently serious crises, the very network we rely upon for information might be out of commission. How would we get information without our smartphones? Yes, many people still use things like radio or newspapers, but social media allows responders to get information out in, to use a cliché, real time.
Teaching Cheetahs: Disruptive Education in Africa was the only other panel I went to this day, partly because it sounded interesting, and partly because I didn’t have to change rooms. A group of panelists included two executives from a nonprofit that funds scholarships for top students from African to study at American universities, the founder of a Kenyan startup that provides tablets to students loaded with school curricula, and the director of an organziation that produces documentary videos highlighting educational needs. There was far more than I can justifiably summarize here, but the overall theme was “African solutions to African problems.” I just read an article the other day about well-intentioned but catastrophic efforts at aid to Africa, most of which amounted to dumping America’s leftovers in rural Africa rather than supporting infrastructure and education. It is also generally annoying that people in the U.S. often refer to “Africa” in a unitary sense, when in reality it is a continent with 54 countries (I think that’s the right number), about 1 billion people, and a wide diversity of culture, history, and language. It’s also more than twice the size of the U.S., so it’s big. Here are the organizations and companies represented, and I’d say they are worth checking out:
- African Leadership Academy in South Africa
- African Leadership Bridge in Austin, Texas
- The Nobelity Project, also in Austin
- eLimu, a startup based in Nairobi, Kenya
After that, I went home to assemble IKEA furniture.
Other highlights of the day included getting my picture taken in the Iron Throne…
…and also with Clifford the Big Red Dog…
There was also this odd display by 3M, which I call 3M’s 2D Hottie.
Blog posts about blogging abound on the internet, usually with titles like “5 Tips for Writing Blog Posts that Make $$$” or something. They pretty much all have the same advice, which I might summarize as follows:
- Update often.
- Share among social media platforms.
- Have guest bloggers.
- Have compelling content. (This is my all-time favorite, for its shameless redundancy.)
I might as well add some advice of my own to the mix. My additions to this would be:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Try to write in the predominate language spoken in your market.
- Type with your fingers.
- Make sure the CO2 concentration in the environment in which you blog stays below 360 ppm.
- Do not allow ferrets to proofread your work.
Photo credit: By de:User:Viki (de:Wikipedia) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons.
Labor Day weekend will mark my one-year anniversary as a “professional blogger.” I cannot honestly say that I switched from courtroom attorney to paid scribbler of words because I overly enjoy the company of others. That said, even the most hermetical of people ought to get out and meet like-minded people now and then. Ileenie “The Weenie” Haddad’s BlogathonATX series is about to have its latest incarnation, and I plan on going for the hell of it. Rather than try to come up with a nifty unpaid sales pitch, I’ll steal words from Q:
This homegrown conference was the brain child of Ilene “The Weenie” Haddad. Weenie originally thought it would be fun to get all her favorite local bloggers together in one place for a whole day and see what happened. The result was a loosely structured event comprised of impromptu learning and interaction with the coolest, hippest, smartest and most laid-back folks in the city. After the first BlogathonATX, the people wanted more. Now, on Saturday, September 15 2012, the fifth installment of BlogathonATX is scheduled to take place–and tickets are on sale now.
I might even consider waking up early on a Saturday for this.
Weenie, I might add, is quite the comic artist.
The other day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed that an unnamed Bain investor told him that Mitt Romney won’t release any more tax returns because that would demonstrate that he did not pay taxes for ten years. We don’t know who actually said that, so it is possible that Senator Reid is making it up. Politicians certainly lie through their teeth all the time–well, Mitt Romney does. I’m sure others do as well.
In response to this, people on the right could have just pointed out that Reid has not provided any evidence for his assertion besides his say-so, which would have gotten the point across that he made an unsupported (albeit plausible) accusation. But that would have been sensible, and this is the American right wing we’re talking about here.
First, they point out that Harry Reid will not release his own tax returns, which is irrelevant because Harry Reid is not running for president.
Not content to leave it at that, someone creates a Twitter hashtag suggesting (facetiously, one hopes) that Harry Reid is a pederast. I assume the intention was to demonstrate the impact of unfounded accusations, not to look like a group of schoolchildren who just learned a big word. The meme yielded gems such as this:
— Jeff Dunetz (@yidwithlid) August 1, 2012
It’s always just hilarious when a person using “pederasty” as a cheap device for a lame attempt at satire uses words like “disgusting” to describe the other person. It is difficult to fully explain how an allegation made as part of an ongoing controversy over an unprecedentedly tight-lipped presidential candidate’s financial history is different from completely made-up accusations of pederasty by a bunch of Tweeters. Honestly, before yesterday it never would have occurred to me that such a distinction would be necessary. If you haven’t already figured out the distinction, there is no hope for your intellectual development beyond its current state, or you are currently under the age of six.
I don’t get Pinterest. I think I have made that pretty abudantly clear in recent months. I have a few “boards,” to which I will “pin” things from time to time (my board entitled “Food porn“) is far more popular than it probably deserves to be, considering the level of inattention give to it. I never, however, browse through other people’s pins the way I might scroll through my Facebook news feed or my Tumblr dashboard. It’s just not my thing.
Don’t get me wrong; I think Pinterest is a brilliant idea, and it has been wildly successful. It just doesn’t necessarily appeal to my particular sensibilities. Maybe it’s because I’m a dude, although I doubt it is as sociologically significant as that (for me, anyway.) Whether or not by design, Pinterest primarily appeals to women, possibly a first for the internet. Of course, this being the world in which we live, someone has to ask how to make a service like Pinterest more appealing to the sausage-bearing crowd. And because it is the internet, it eventually comes back to the question of how many X’s we can post. Perhaps not surprisingly, these two questions overlap.
To review the state of what I will artfully call Smut in Social Media:
- Facebook won’t allow anything over an “R” rating.
- Twitter might let you get away with a little “X” now and then.
- LinkedIn has no idea what you are talking about right now.
- Tumblr saw your three X’s and raised them to a level of perversity heretofore unimagined. Seriously, you are never more than 2-3 mouse clicks away from an animated GIF of activities that Porn Valley might not even know exist.
(Please note that I use the word “smut” in a purely descriptive sense.) Continue reading
People are mean on Twitter. That’s pretty much a fact of life at this point. It goes all ways (I’m not so daft as to think there are really only two sides to any given issue, however much we are meant to think that.) It is usually quite amusing to watch the parade of tu quoque responses whenever someone tries to call someone else out on hateful or violent rhetoric on Twitter. Sometimes, though, it gets downright hilarious. Like when a Breitbartian gets dinged on Twitter regulations and whines about it.
From Rick Moran at the inaptly-named American Thinker:
There’s a budding war in the Twitterverse as liberals are evidently carrying out organized attacks on conservative Twitter users by reporting their tweets as “spam,” thus triggering an automated block on their accounts.
Apparently, a threshold has to be crossed as far as the number of tweets for the system to kick in, as well as the number of spam reports in order to ban the user so not all conservative Twitter activists are vulnerable. But several high profile conservatives have had their accounts blocked and trying to get them reinstated is proving to be a difficult matter.
A tidal wave of Tweets from conservative activists are trying to keep pace with the organized attack on free speech from the left
[Emphasis added]. I bolded “evidently” because he didn’t cite any evidence. I bolded the bit about “free speech” because once again that term is being abused. Is the government trying to shut down these Tweeters? If not, shut up about free speech until you learn what that actually means. (Here’s a hint: my telling you to “shut up” does not infringe your free speech rights at all. If you don’t understand why, then I am amazed you don’t injure yourself with your spoon every morning at breakfast.)
Golly, an organized campaign of liberals to prevent people from Tweeting? I’m surprised he didn’t link it directly to the White House, since our incompetent, do-nothing Executive Branch is full of evil genius masterminds. Speculate much? Continue reading