Archive for ‘Internet’

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 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.

February 6, 2011

To Unfriend or not to Unfriend

Unfriending or defriending has often been hailed as one of the major Facebook don’ts. To unfriend/defriend means to remove (delete) a user from a social networking site. It’s dominant use is in conjunction with Facebook. In the interest of full disclosure, I will state that I unfriend Facebook friends regularly. Every couple of months, I go through my friends list and make cuts where I see fit. I keep my friend list right around 300 people. Most, however,  find unfriending to be petty and passive aggressive. I agree that the action can be quite rude when done impulsively and/or for the wrong reasons.

There are however, some general guidelines to follow while using Facebook. A quick Google search of “Facebook Etiquette” will yield several pages of results. YourTango even offers the following video :

The following tips are a compilation of my own opinions.


  • Don’t feel obligated to add everyone who requests to be your friend.
  • By the same token, you don’t have to add everyone you know. Finding your best from kindergarten doesn’t necessitate cyber friendship.
  • If a friend is using Facebook in a way you disagree with (updating too often for example), then try to hide them before completely removing them.
  • Don’t be afraid of the Great Facebook Purge, but be weary of trivial removals.
  • Give yourself a least a day before friending people you’ve just met.


  • Respect requests for photos to be taken down.
  • Tag your friends with caution.
  • Be conscious of taking pictures that may eventually end up on Facebook. If you won’t be proud of the content later, don’t take the picture.
  • Cropping and captioning will improve how your pictures look.
  • There is no need to have repeats of pictures. One is enough.
  • Be courteous and sincere when commenting.
  • Don’t use pictures without permission.


  • Do so with a purpose. There probably isn’t a reason to update more than 3 times a day.
  • Don’t be cryptic or use your statuses as a conduit for passive aggressiveness.
  • Credit quotes and music lyrics.


  • Know and understand your privacy settings.
  • Utilize lists (for coworkers, family members, exes, etc).
  • Don’t comment on a friend’s conversation with a person you don’t know.
  • Limit lengthy photo comment and wall posts conversations.
  • Nobody likes spam. (Games, messages, group requests, etc).
  • Try to avoid profanity/crude jokes on other people’s walls. You never know who might have access.
  • Facebook is a public website. Keep personal information to a minimum.
  • Take conflicts offline. Otherwise the fall-out may be disastrous (or spawn out of control and make you look foolish).

Hopefully this list makes your Facebook experience more enjoyable. And if all else fails, you can always deactivate.