Archive for March, 2011

March 27, 2011

Anonymous is All of Us

If I had to put my real name with this, would I hit “publish?”

If the answer is no, the better move might be to hit “delete.” – Mark Memmott

More often than not, people don’t consider Memmott’s thought process. They press “post” with no hesitation. The result (far too often) is disparaging, rude, and immature comments on blogs, articles, and YouTube videos. We all know the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” While I still think that aphorism has weight, I’m sure it was said assuming that the comments would be said in the person’s face. There would be a personal element that the Internet has effectively destroyed. Many times you don’t know who is making offhand comments or why. There can be no punishment or condemnation for statements that go unattributed.

For whatever reason, there is something about the Internet (and anonymity especially) that changes people. People develop two different personas – the one they display online and the one in real life. Sometimes, those two aren’t congruent. When you’re on the Internet, you can literally be anything and anybody. There is no authenticity scanner.

For that reason, I think people get bold on the Internet. They develop this confidence that borders on arrogance. They can say whatever they feel regardless of how it affects others. Why? Why not? It’s only the Internet, right? That the Internet is some fake place with fake people with no feelings just isn’t true. I’ve often witnesses forum disputes where users have been mocked for being “butthurt” and have sarcastically quipped, “The Internet is srs business.”

On some level I do think people should take statements from unidentified strangers with a grain of salt, but virtue of being an unidentified stranger doesn’t give anybody the right to be rude. To suddenly forget common courtesy or to believe manners don’t exist online is just false.

What if your name and face was attached to everything you did online?

March 20, 2011

Picture (Un)Perfect

We all remember Myspace, right? If you don’t, then you’re a lucky one. Myspace was one of the first popular social networking sites. It quickly dropped of the radar after Facebook was introduced, and already had a questionable reputation for allowing too much unsolicited contact between older and younger members.

In any event, one aspect of Myspace we can’t seem to shake are unfortunate profile pictures. While having these aren’t necessarily rude, they won’t do anything for your popularity or credibility for that matter.

Instead of telling you what you guys should do, I figured I’d give some examples of what to avoid.

BrittDubs shows an example of Duck Face
Can you find BrittDubs
Screenshot of the movie Kazaam
BrittDubs at Rest Stop
BrittDubs Myspace Post
  • Duck Face – A picture in which the chief goal is to make your lips as pouty as possible. AntiDuckFace is a website with no shortage of examples of this one.
  • Where’s Waldo – A picture where it is difficult to pinpoint where you are
  • Not you – A picture that doesn’t actually depict you. It can be anything from a cartoon to scenery
  • Bathroom/Mirror – A picture taken in a bathroom/and or taken in a mirror (most often taken with a cell phone)
  • Classic Myspace Pose – A picture that is a self portrait taken from above. Notice the lack of picture rotation

Happy Picture Taking!

March 13, 2011

Textually Active

Before I get to some texting tips I wanted to mention that the more I continue with this blog the more I’m finding that I seem to be focusing less on things that are rude/impolite and more on that which is just downright annoying. Then again, maybe avoidance of obnoxious behavior is the way to be polite nowadays…Just a random thought.

WARNING – The following might be a tad persnickety.

Sometimes I don’t mind that my cell phone wants to predict what I want or will correct my mistakes for me. Other times, technology works against you. Just take half a second more to proofread your texts.

I love a good joke as much as the next person but unless it is gut-bustingly funny, pass on forwarding it to everyone on your contact list. Along the same vein, stop chain letters in their tracks.

-One word responses-
Just no. I’m not advocating entire full blown conversations via text but there are few things more aggravating then getting a text that only says things like:

  • k/kay/ok.
  • ya.
  • lol.

You might as well come out and say that you don’t want to talk to me.

-Timely Responses-
I understand that people get busy and that you can’t possibly spend all of your time texting, but try to respond in a timely manner. This is especially true if you’re the one to initiate the conversation. On the other hand, keep in mind that sometimes a response isn’t needed least you get that pesky one word response.

I’m terribly guilty of being on my phone while I’m with friends and it isn’t the way to go. Put the phone away when in social situations – pay attention to the people around you (especially on dates). Also, text in appropriate places. Obviously during a movie isn’t one. Keep the “Bathroom Rule” in mind.

-While Driving-
Another thing you simply don’t do. This isn’t even about manners, it’s about safety. Nothing is so important that you need to endanger your life or the lives of others.

-With a Purpose-
There is nothing wrong with shooting the breeze with someone but I find the “Hey. Hi. Done.” conversations to be useless.

-Under the Influence-
I know the old adage that a drunken man’s words are a sober man’s fault, but put the phone away while you’re intoxicated. Very few good things come from drunk texting. (Despite what Texts From Last Night and My Drunk Texts want you to believe. It’s only funny when it isn’t happening to you.)

Who you text and what you text should be private. Always ensure that any explicit content is wanted by the other party. Remember that you never actually know who might have possession of that phone. Beware of unintended recipients.

-Mass Texting-
Just because communicating with each other is easier, that doesn’t mean it should be any less personal. I appreciate wishing me a happy holiday, but some of the sincerity is taken away when you send the same message to everyone.

March 6, 2011

Digital Decorum Glossary

The lexicon of our digital age is constantly growing and expanding. “Text” and “facebook” have become well known verbs. I will admit that I’ve actually said “LOL” out loud before. The lingo of the digital world has transplanted itself into the non-digital is some very striking ways. Below I’ve given the definition (thank you Wikipedia!) to a few words that I think have a particular significance (one that is unfortunately negative) when it comes to digital decorum.

  • Fail Whale* – A user who uses Twitter “improperly”
  • Fisking** – point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay.
  • Flaming – also known as bashing, is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users.
  • Google bomb/Googlewashing – practices intended to influence the ranking of particular pages in results returned by the Google search engine, in order to increase the likelihood of people finding and clicking on selections in which the individual or other entity engaging in this practice is interested.
  • Hack – refers to the re-configuring or re-programming of a system to function in ways not facilitated by the owner, administrator, or designer.
  • Hate site – A website that uses hate speech. Most of these sites contain Internet forums and news briefs that emphasize a particular viewpoint.
  • Owned – originated among 1990s hackers, where it referred to “rooting” or gaining administrative control over someone else’s computer.
  • Shock site – a website that is intended to be offensive, disgusting and/or disturbing to its viewers, containing materials of high shock value which is also considered distasteful and crude, and is generally of a pornographic, scatological, extremely violent, insulting, painful, profane, or otherwise provocative nature.
  • Spam – the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.
  • Troll – is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.


Zero Tolerance to Spammers, Stalkers, & Trolls

(Graphic via Flayme shared via Creative Commons)


*This is a term I’ve made up and defined myself.

**This term was brought to my attention from my professor.