Tag Archives: internet

Video Vigilante: Hell Hath No Fury Like the Internet

I’m a product of the internet age, but I also know what life was like before the internet too.

When you fucked up, you did so with the knowledge that only a few folks might really know about it. You’d go down the rabbit-hole of bad behaviour and would rise to live another day.

These days, not so much. There’s often a camera in proximity. The internet is rife with people experiencing their worst moment while some fucker with a camera has caught it all to share with the world.

Facepalm Girl

I understand there are all kinds of wrongness with being judged for our worst moment. Lord knows I’d be pink-faced if mine got posted. But I’d also deal with it, because like it or not, I was the one who had the power to stop that ball from rolling. I was the one who lacked manners, empathy, grace, or whatever it theoretically might have been that got me shamed on the intertubes. I’d suck it up, own up to my crap, apologize, and move the hell on.

There are all these web pros who talk about just how awful it is that your prior bad act should taint you forever, and how this is some new public-shaming horror we’re living with, but accountability was a big thing in most of history.

Back in the day, newspapers printed the arrest blotter weekly, letting it be known who was busted and for what, often with mugshots there too. The fear of getting caught on the blotter often inspired good behaviour.

Pretty basic, that: Don’t want to be exposed for law-breaking, being an asshole, or other crimes of poor judgment? Then behave like you’re a citizen in a lawful society. With good behaviour in public, your chances of being shamed on the internet decrease dramatically.

If I Can Restrain Myself, You Can Too

I might be a loudmouth on the internet, and I may even speak with bravado and edge in public, but I’m also restrained, polite, and gracious. I hold the doors open for folks, I thank shop staff for allowing me to browse, and all that kind of stuff.

Hell, even when I found out that I was in for a 17-hour flight delay on my 4-day weekend in Vegas to celebrate my brother’s wedding, I started off with “Oh, for FUCK’S sake.” Then I said “I know it’s not YOU inconveniencing me, but–”

I handled it with a couple swear words followed by tact. I think that’s acceptable. Of course we can’t keep every emotion in check. But the way some people behave is not okay, it’s not within the “acceptable” outburst parameters.

Newsflash: Decency Isn’t a Modern Creation

And here’s the thing: It’s not some NEWSFLASH that it’s uncool to harass people or treat them like shit. It’s not like you’ve been on the planet for 30 years and then someone changed the rules and said “being a dick ain’t cool, yo.”

“Oh, man. I can’t be an asshole now? God, why don’t I get these memos?”

We’re taught from KINDERGARTEN that we have to be nice and polite. How are people missing this?

If you’re past the age of 20 and you haven’t figured out what basic human decency involves, maybe you deserve to be shamed on the web. Maybe that’s the only way it’ll get through your thick skull.

If you have outbursts like these and rage issues, then you have a problem and you need to deal with that shit. Because guess what? The rest of us are tired of dealing with it, and we have omnipresent video cameras now.

You Go, Girl: Indian Women Fight Back

highfiveTake this incident on an Indian flight where a creepy old man thought he was entitled to touch the legs/ass of a woman sitting next to him. She had enough. She stood up, turned the camera on him, and shamed him.

There is no way a man gets to age 60 not understanding that it’s not his right to touch women. There is no way this behaviour is an “oopsy-daisy.”

Or how about these two Indian sisters who went viral last December for raging against the men pawing them on a public bus?

I’ve been on the bus when a man has fondled my ass. I only wish I had the guts THEN to do this. I sure as hell would NOW. I’m over 40 and I’m over that shit.

In India, a culture of rape has been practiced by some and ignored by the law and most other folks for far too long. The internet is giving these women the chance to fight back for the first time ever, with what is a very powerful weapon in their culture: Shame.

Shame is a big deal in India, much more so than here in North America, and I have no doubt this man will suffer consequences with his family and friends as a result of this outburst. Do I pity him in the blowback he’s about to experience? Not really.

Suck it Up, Buttercup

YOU are accountable for your actions. When YOU act like an ass and then you experience consequences for it, the world isn’t to blame. You are. If you had just taken 10 seconds to think about your behaviour before acting on your basest instincts, then the world wouldn’t have had to take you to task for it.

If you thought for a split second, “Would I want this treatment returned to me?” maybe you would’ve pressed the “no asshole” button and backed off. Are we really saying that modern life is SO HARD that people can’t stop for a split second to consider the consequence? Come on! Get real!

I’d rather live in a world where everyone gets to make mistakes and grow from it the old-fashioned way, but when it comes to men like this and their feeling of entitlement with harassing women, or people who shout and rage at others just doing their jobs, or who are knowingly acting incredibly petty and mean, then maybe this is the only way we, the decent folk on the planet, can say “DUDE, it’s NOT OKAY to do that.”

Because, dude, it’s not okay.

with-it-you-shall-deal-yoda

A Dissenting Voice Against Stephen Harper

I never thought I could feel my reputation as a Canadian in the world was sullied, but then Stephen Harper came to town.

Under Stephen Harper, since 2006, Canada has enjoyed George W. Bush-quality leadership.

Rejecting climate change, encouraging destructive environmental practices like the tar sand oil refineries, creating division and hate between right and left, the Harper Government is anything but about bringing Canada together.

They practice active misinformation, enjoy peppering the news with stories aimed at distracting Canadians hot-button issues (by way of talking about changing Oh Canada lyrics, and other foolishishness), and use scary rhetoric on issues of catastrophic importance, like Iran (because, hey, war is good!).

Stephen Harper, like George Bush, seems to have a “divine right” sense of rule, like old-time monarchs who believed they came to power with their bloodline because the gods deemed it so.

The latest issues in Canada?

Harper wants to build more prisons. He wants to impose mandatory sentencing on crimes.

And he wants to give the government and law enforcement the right to invade personal privacy in email, on cellular transmissions, and more.

And, with a majority government, the odds are in his favour.

Oh, Canada… indeed.

I’m not the only one who’s concerned that the government is looking to expand the books on law, push for tougher sentencing, and increase incarceration capacities at the same time that they want to invade a nation’s privacy.

Hey, baby — incarceration is good for business when you’re trying to appease the big business that got you elected, like Stevie is. Here’s to self-incrimination and the web! Now, about those emails…

Aw, who’s kidding who? Nothing’s REALLY private on the web. Want private? Stay off the web. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna sit by and watch more and more of my privacy erode with a great, big government-approved snooping stamp on a new law, thanks.

You can’t assume an entire country’s in on crime and throw open the doors to electronic monitoring. It didn’t work well under McCarthy or Hoover, and it won’t work here. Creating more paranoia and suspicion isn’t what Canadians need, Harper.

When I grew up, I’m sorry, but I grew up believing Canada was more free than the United States.

Pierre Trudeau said government had no business in the bedrooms of Canadians in 1969. We allowed free speech, but not hate speech. When slaves fled the US back in the day, they came here. My dad gave me a book on the Underground Railway when I was 10, so I had this pretty noble view of Canada in the world.

We had so much pristine nature, so many parks. We had so much to be proud of, and my parents raised me to believe that.

It wasn’t till I got to travel, see the north and the prairies, that I realised the immensity of how little a population we were in such a great, big land. Like a 5-year-old wearing his father’s clothing, there are wide expanses of beautiful nothing where population has yet to grow, even now.

These days, those naively innocent feelings on how great Canada is are a thing of the past, as much as I still love what being Canadian means to ME. I only dream we can bounce back after Harper with a leader who inspires people on the world stage, like Obama, who didn’t turn out to be the second coming, but he’s certainly sitting pretty now.

Under Harper, the erosion of privacy, the divisiveness, the refusal to work with — let alone not LEAD — the world on the issue of climate change and the Kyoto Treaty, elimination of arts and equality funding, our declining stance on human rights around the globe, and so many other issues make me cringe when I think of how far Canada has fallen in the eyes of the world.

Because it’s our fault. We haven’t allowed Stephen Harper to get into office ONCE. We’ve elected him THREE TIMES.

No leader of Canada has ever disgusted me as much as Harper does, and it’s the apathy of the voting public and the lack of turnout at polls that’s to blame.

Now, Harper and his henchpeople want to stomp all over your privacy.

Are you gonna let them do that? Or are you gonna take 30 seconds out of your life to sign this petition, to tell Harper, Toews, and co. to go fuck themselves when it comes to reading your emails and snooping on your phone calls?

Join OpenMedia.ca and fight the invasion of privacy that will tie up cops’ time and raise your utility costs. Sign here.

And start speaking up.

This is OUR Canada. Harper has a MAJORITY MANDATE until October, 2015. We need to stand together to keep the Canadian pendulum swinging too far left. I’m in. Are you?

Kicking Klout When They’re Down

Of late, several friends have shared stories that are rallying against Klout.

I’ve bitched about the website/metrics system since its launch, despite my supposedly “having” some Klout and receiving several “rewards” for said AWESOMENESS. Ha-ha, I have KLOUT, bitch!

But it’s all bullshit.

It really is.

Klout doesn’t know fuck all about what people really think about you, why they dig you, or really how you impact them.

It’s awesome that there’s a real backlash going on against them right now. Salon has their “Klout’s Bad for Your Soul” piece and several bloggers have shit-kicked them as well. Here’s Scalzi’s piece. Or this.

I loathe the metrics thing because it makes social media about the end result, not the process. There was “Twitter Grader” before Klout, and it was every bit as high-school.

These days, I see certain soc-med punditry subscribing to tools that relay their mention count for the week, all that crap, and I can’t help but think who the hell’s at the wheel? If you don’t KNOW you’re engaging people, then you’re doing it wrong. And these are people who should know just by reading their replies if they’re hitting home with their audience or not. I sure as hell do, and I’m not even doing this professionally.

That’s not even touching the validity of all this Klout melodrama, either.

I, apparently, am an incredible influencer on Reading, Pennsylvania.

If it weren’t for Monopoly, I wouldn’t even know about Reading, Pennsylvania. As it happens, I now know they have a railroad. But that’s about it. Maybe they mean about reading BOOKS, but despite about 50 mentions of this discrepancy to the @Klout Twitter account, the data tracking has never changed.

So, there’s inaccuracy, there’s stereotyping, there’s sweeping generalization, there’s oversimplification of data — hmm, what else does Klout have that every metrics system can do without? Does it need more? Well, let’s see here.

What Klout’s got is a big brand. They’ve marketed it well. They showed up in boardrooms and said, “Hey. We know you know fuck all about how this “social media” shit really goes down. No, no, you don’t need to learn The Twitter or The Facebook. Let us help! Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna dumb the data down, then spoonfeed it to you. We’re calling it “Klout.” Like that? Oh, I know you do. CATCHY, huh?”

This is a classic instance of telling someone that something is important because they say it’s important. “Why? Because I said so.”

They’ve even got Business Week writing about whether Klout’s recent change in metrics was hazardous to one’s hiring chances.

All you have to do to know I have some kind of “Klout” is to look at my account. I talk about mundane things, I swear a lot, and I have 4 followers for every one person I follow, and I’m on about 500 lists. Now, either I’m doing something right, or I’m quite convincing at spam. It doesn’t take a lot to put two and two together.

Sure, Klout’s a bit more complicated than that, but what I’m saying is — you don’t NEED Klout to figure out who might have something to say.

And does Klout tell you about the time I simply reported on Twitter that I bought some homeless guy a fast food sandwich on the way to work, and three people told me at the end of the day that they also bought homeless people food that day, all because I mentioned doing it, and they thought it felt great, and would start doing it regularly?

Now that’s the kind of clout I’m proud to have. That means something to me. It means people respond to the simplest of gestures, even online.

Instead, these yahoos like the Klout folk are measuring what’s tantamount to masturbation.

The system can be, and is, gamed by those who constantly “retweet” their replies to people. You know, someone says “@smuttysteff So how was your day?” and instead of replying to them, the Alternate Universe Complete Asshole Steff would reply publicly like this: “Well, except for that bad coffee, it was great! RT @RandomTweeter @smuttysteff So how was your day?”

Why is that a wanker move? Because you raise the number of times your name is mentioned. Kinda like a twofer dealio on data-stacking. Oh, look, says Klout — @smuttysteff just got TWO mentions! Wow! And, by replying to the person indirectly, you’re increasing the odds of yet another follow-up reply from them, thus again increasing your mention count.

But that’s why I try to keep it a little more genuine most of the time, with direct @replies to the person in question. I don’t need to falsely stack my mentions, because I don’t give a fuck what the metrics have to say.

It’s like everyone’s saying: High school is back, and it sucks more than ever. Thanks, Klout!

Social media’s gonna be a whole lot less fun if these fuckwits have their way.

Like it’s not often already a world of asshats saying what they think other people want to hear, of ass-kissing and back-slapping, of circle-jerks and compliment-orgies.

Uh-huh. Amping THAT up sounds like a good time to me.

Seriously. Stop believing in these stupid tools. Stop looking for validation. Stop worrying about the numbers.

Like the old adage goes — say what you mean, and mean what you say. That’s how you get real clout. That’s how you get relevant.

You can game your Klout score, but you can’t fake relevance. Good luck trying.

On Freedom and Fallacies

This is take two on this topic. I’m starting fresh a couple hours later, after a glass of wine and homemade chicken pot pie.

It’s the second take because this topic is really important to me and I don’t want to fuck it up.

Thank god I have quality guidance like that of Fame. Yes, you heard me, the ‘80s arts school drama. It’s on, and I’m chilling. Defragging my mind, as I like to say. Watching fluff is exactly the right fit, and has given me some interesting perspective as I crack this nut for a second time.

Funnily, a girl in this episode of Fame scoffs at the notion of writing her private thoughts and dreams in a diary at the teacher’s urging.

“If I wrote down my dreams,” she says, “I’d get arrested.”

Yeah. Huh. Ironic.

To that end, take note of the week that was in the world of the wide web. Proper fucked, indeed. It’s like a crash course in What Not to Do in the Intertubez.

A Montreal guy writes some shit in a forum then figures rifle + college = a good afternoon’s plan.

Like the motherfucking coward he was, he went out and tried to kill a bunch of people. Realizing he couldn’t even do a massacre right, he deprived us of the fun of letting cops kill him. The coward took his life. Fucking better off dead, anyhow.

But he wrote in forums.

We shoulda seen it coming.

A dickhead in Seattle decides he’s going to act like a fucking 13-year-old and reposts another city’s craigslist ad by some dirty-minded femme, and gets a couple hundred responses or something, then figgers he’s got rights to publish that private correspondence in an attempt to expose those apparent sickos to the world.

But they answered a public ad.

They shoulda seen it coming.

A young mother in Florida writes her secret other self dark thoughts on a public blog, and then her child goes mysteriously missing, improbably snatched from their window. Young mother kills herself 16 days into the toddler’s absence.

But she wrote dark shit on blogs, then her kid vanishes.

We shoulda seen it coming.

A video diarist on the world wide web is exposed as a professional actress working off a script. The show is produced, directed, and written, yet has duped the majority of its viewers, primarily through YouTube.com, into believing the so-called lonelygirl15 was a teenaged girl locked in her bedroom and homeschooled by orthodox religious parents. Doh.

She’s a fake.

Like ohmigod. But she, like, really talked to us, man!”

You shoulda seen it coming.

It’s happening. It’s really fucking happening.

You know what I’m talking about.

For some godforsaken reason, it’s starting to occur to people that this, like, internet thing might just be a way of seeing what’s really going on in the noggins of little people everywhere.

And, um, uh-oh, but what’s going on in those little people’s noggins everywhere is something that’s not very pretty.

Some people, it would seem, are angry.

Some of them even feel disenfranchised. And, look. They’re acting on this shit.

Yeah, well. When the odds are stacked, you ought not be surprised at the outcome. Probability and logic being what they are and all, yes?

I’m part of the generation that got schooled in Orwell’s classic 1984. We were raised to believe that someday, one day, the government would hear every word we would utter, and freedom would be a thing of the past.

I’ll be honest, the Digital Age scares me.

The ease with which people can access information about me is frightening. It should frighten you, too. Unfortunately, the time is coming nigh where voices on the web are not just an anonymous blur with little impact on the real world. Now, we’re not so anonymous, and now this world is more real than it is virtual.

There’s coming a time where what you say here is going to come home to haunt you. This is the age of insinuation, and anything you say can be manipulated and used against you. Decide now if you plan to live in fear of that, or if you have the balls to play the game my way, and own your ability to say what you think and how you feel.

In forums such as this, someone such as me might decide to write a little bloggie in which the entire contents of our deepest darkest other selves are posted up on virtual walls for the world at large to indulge in.

In essence, it’s a voice. I have a voice, you have a voice, we all have voices.

It’s idyllic. A virtual Utopia in which we’re all given voices and identities, something that ironically clashes with our seemingly democratic lives – lives spent living in societies that claim to be governed by the people, of the people, for the people.

Only they’re not like any people I’ve ever known.

And I don’t feel like I belong.

And I’m tired of feeling this small because I’m just an ordinary gal.

I thought I’d take my voice and use it. I’m not alone. You’re doing it too. And him, and her, and hey.

We all took our existences online, where we thought we’d have the right to say what we think whenever the fuck it pops into mind.

Unfortunately, when such vocal freedom is enjoyed by a world at large, some of those voices will be beyond dissent. They will be voices of rage and fury and vengeance. Or maybe they’ll be coolly quiet.

And that’s a risk we take by allowing open dialogue.

Every now and then, though, those voices will be warning signals. Intervention might occur, and it might segue to prevention.

Just because assholes and the disenfranchised like these can use the web to serve their fucted means doesn’t necessitate that the rest of us should have to watch our words.

Sadly, the voice of reason doesn’t seem to resonate these days. I fear that the talking heads of today might soon decide that there is such thing as too much free speech and they will indeed succeed in legislating the internet.

In which case now might be the time to, like the good hunter Elmer Fudd suggests, be vewwy, vewwy qwiet.

Only we’re not hunting rabbits.

What Wicked Web We’re Weaving

It’s been a rough week or two in the CyberGalaxy. At one end of the connectivity cosmos, a fraud in the Emerald City, Jason Fortuny, who duped the Craigslist sex-starved masses into sending to him graphic and revealing personal emails that were then splayed accross the world wide web for mockery and exposing.

Then, at the seeming other end of the sticky web, Lonelygirl15, who similarly duped the masses, but this time into believing a series of well-developed and elaborate hoaxes revolving around her as the poor disenfranchised trapped little daughter of overly religious parents.

And tonight we’ve heard the news that an avid blogger mother has apparently committed suicide while her child has been snatched from his crib. Missing, dead, who knows. Her blog reveals disturbing and dark imagery in her writing.

All in all, it’s been a rough few days for the blogworld. There are repercussions out there in the real world for what we do in this one. It sometimes seems a rude awakening to some bloggers, but it is what it is. I’ve had my last employer sending me emails about postings I’ve been doing. We discussed my perception of their firm. It’s been interesting getting that delayed reaction.

I plan to tackle these above topics in a single post over the next few days, but just to lay the groundwork, there’s the outline up there. If you have any opinions about the strangeness of these three varied examples of cybersecrets go boom, please do share.

UPDATE:

THE MOTHER WHO HAS COMMITTED SUICIDE as a result of a grilling by Nancy Grace on her scandalous Headline News show, after her toddler being snatched (but some suspect she had a hand in it, given the nature of her blogging) is 21-year-old Melinda Duckett.

The Brave New Single World

I got out tonight, off my single ass, and met some new people.

The trouble with this city is just how entrenched everyone is and how hard it can be to meet new people.

I joined a social organization a year and a half or so ago, when my self-esteem was only beginning to be picked up off the floor, and tonight I finally made it out to my first event.

Meetup is a place where you can go and find “meet-up” groups that do things you like. Kayaking? Sure! Hiking? Sure! Photography? Sure! D&D? Sure! Dining? Sure! They’re all there. And unlike joining a group where you do varied events all the time, you can go to as few or as many different Meetup groups that you can find to appeal to your sensibilities. (The only fees tend to be a $1 – 2 drop-in fee, since the groups cost money to run each month. Pay and be quiet.)

(The organization is worldwide. Check the website out. More than 2.5 million international members, and more than 14,000 groups.)

The folks there tonight were all in their 30s and 40s, and were all smart, good conversationalists, funny, friendly, and so forth. It wasn’t just one of those things where you know the underlying thought is “who’s coming home with me tonight?” It’s genuinely about just meeting people.

But, hey, betcha some sex happens. I ain’t no bookie, but I know a thing or three ’bout odds, baby.

Naturally, I somehow managed to mention I wrote this smutty blog, so maybe they’ll say hi or something in the comments. (Hi!)

The point being: If you’re stuck in single, annoyed at your now-married friends, tired of seeing the latest “adowable!” stream of drool pouring down their kids’ faces, wishing your college friends had managed to evolve by now, or anything like that, then this is an awesome way to meet new people.

When you sign up, sign up for the email as well, so that you get the weekly digest that lists all the events happening that week. That way, you don’t just get notices about the Meetup group you joined, but about everything happening in your city, and on what days. That’s how I saw the listing for Clerks II when I shoulda been working and not checking email, and decided to get off my apathetic ass and head to the flick. (C II rocked, by the way. I’ll be writing about the pussy troll sometime. Laughed my ass off. Great fun.)

I’m not a joiner. I don’t wanna join a fucking team or take an art class or do some pottery, because it’s redundant. Same shit every time. I like variety. This way I have it.

Anyhow, some people have asked in the past how you meet new folks and how do you Be a Good Single Person. Well, not by hanging out in bars, not by sitting on your ass at home, but by doing something that allows you to engage with others in a safe environment, and this is that.

I would actually DISSUADE you from just joining a class or something. Couple reasons: One, you don’t liek the people, you’re fucked. No variety, same thing every week, no change in people, and it probably costs a lot more. This is an endless array of meets that occur on a plethora of topics, with a wide variety of people. Can’t beat it.

Check it. You might like it. I did.