Tag Archives: conversation

#NotMyFacebook, or: Is Facebook For Political Discourse?

If you Google the question “What is Facebook for?” you come up with a short article by Mike Bantick for iTWire that bears the same name. Although it was published back in 2013 the basis for it is particularly topical, with the first paragraph relating the reason for it was written.

“Recently my brother told me he defriended a close friend of the family because of his overtly political posts on the social media website Facebook.  ‘That’s not what Facebook is for,’ he said, that got me thinking.”

Bantick then proceeds to list off a number of different answers gathered from friends and family, ultimately settling on a handful that he considers “the most truthful”:

“‘Referrals for products and services from people you trust, or know the value you place on the referrer’s knowledge of the requirements. Eg, games references, plumbers, mechanics, travel…. So useful and more personal than googling. You also then have wonderful reasons to catch up with people you may not otherwise.’

‘Stalking people and pictures of cats’

‘Annoying people with puns’

And, the one that resonated with me the most ‘Sharing sh&% for giggles…'”

The list has him implicitly agreeing with his brother. Facebook is for recommendations and, as the latter three state in various ways, for personal enjoyment. Not included among the social networking service’s uses? The dissemination of strongly held political beliefs or stances. Could’ve fooled me.
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One of the Reasons Our Guest Writer Left Facebook: Not-Quite-A-Counterpoint About Online Opinions

We, and I speak for both Gordon and Kat when I say this, don’t often reference our guest posts, as much as we appreciate them. A large factor may be because any responses or rebuttals from the writers to our commentary, though welcomed [we’ve had our own back-and-forths before], are less likely to be written and featured . The reason I open with that is because of Casey Bennet’s post titled “Why I Left Facebook“, which was one of the inspirations for this post as well as being an article I didn’t like very much initially.

SHRUG

The reason for that was I felt it read more like a list of complaints, many of which could be applied to regular human behaviour.

To give credit where it’s due, he addresses any potential criticism
in his penultimate section “Life After Facebook“. Bennet states outright that many of the factors to him leaving “could have been avoided”; that he could have maintained his Facebook feed in a way that let him “[filter] out negativity and [focus] on what was actually beneficial.” He also points out that if that work is too much for you then it might not be worth, which is likewise extremely valid.

Of Bennet’s grievances against the social media platform what I’d like to focus on is the first, the very to-the-point “Opinions“.  Continue reading

“Kimmy Goes to a Play” as a Conversation Between Tina Fey and Asian American Activists

The culture war is a conversation.

While it is ultimately a conflict, more often than not this takes the form of ideas and criticism being slung back and forth across the trenches. To be heard is a minor success, but to be actually understood is victory.

Within this conversation it’s undoubtedly artists, especially those who have garnered celebrity status, who have the most powerful voices.


In 2014 the eponymous host of The Colbert Report featured a segment on his show about “The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever”. Given his popularity it reached far and wide, and was eventually viewed by a Twitter activist who created the hashtag #CancelColbert in response.

chingchongcolbert

As it was meant to call attention to and ridicule the outrageous fact that a national sports team is named after an ethnic slur the response was out of line. It was a classic case of [obvious] satire being taken the wrong way, but by inadvertently contributing to what has been dubbed “a fake year of outrage’ this person’s misstep resulted in others who campaign for better representation and the like being worse than silenced, which is to say, ignored.

Despite calling out from what is ostensibly the same side, the misstep of a single loud voice meant that others were unheard.


The exchange between artist and critic is rarely ever an even one, and only becomes more difficult given the sensitivity surrounding such personal creative endeavours.

Lena Dunham is the star and creator of HBO’s Girls, and received enough disapproval about the lack of diversity in a show set in New York City that she was asked about it by NPR. She responded that “[she takes] that criticism very seriously,” and that very same year had Donald Glover playing Hannah’s Black boyfriend on the show.

While the presence of Sandy on the dramedy was a beneficial one, with arguments between the two capturing the tension that can be present in interracial relationships [including such exchanges as: “I never thought about the fact that you were black once.” / “That’s insane. You should, because that’s what I am.”], Glover’s character faltered in that he was very much a response to criticism. Continue reading

Safe Spaces and Echo Chambers – Finding The Middle Ground

Today the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Right now my Facebook feed is blowing up, with the vast majority of my online acquaintances rejoicing that a ruling that’s been a long time coming has finally passed. To sum it up in only eight short words:

abouttime

On the other side of things, though very few and far between, there is a sentiment in direct opposition. There weren’t many for me, but I think most people will find at least one status that falls roughly along these same lines:

turneditsback

The internet is never silent on the most innocuous of issues, and when it comes to an event as groundbreaking as this one there isn’t a person who can keep from putting in their two cents. As Kat observed last year the words we post online are made subject to scrutiny, with one of the tamest consequences being that someone will voice their disagreement. As another Facebook very wisely tacked on to the end of their status: “*If you do not support gay marriage, please do not respond to this post. This is a genuinely wonderful occasion for many that I love.”

This all connects back to a topic I’ve been meaning to cover for a while, which is the idea of “safe spaces”. It goes beyond simply wanting others to leave a Facebook status as a forum for positivity instead of debate to having a place where we can rest assured we won’t be outright attacked.  Continue reading

Is “Feminism” a Self-Defeating Label?

I’m a pretty slow learner when it comes to social media. I feel like I just mastered Facebook when it started going out of style. Unfortunately for me, social media sites are important tools when it comes to blogging. I’ve been making an effort to expand my horizons, starting with Twitter. So far, my favourite thing about Twitter is the hashtags.

Even before I started posting on Twitter, I would check to see what was trending and to follow conversations about race and gender that unfolded around hashtags like #WhyIStayed, #BringBackOurGirls, #GamerGate, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, etc. Recently, when I went to tag a comment with “#feminist”, I noticed that the first two tags to show up were “#FeminismIsAwful” and “#FeministsAreUgly”. When I decided to make a comment about it, it wasn’t long before I got a response.

I’d like to consider what Jacob is saying. First, let’s set aside the long history of smearing feminism by calling feminists ugly for a second here.

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Meditations on Listening in the Internet Age

I should probably preface this post by explaining that I am a terrible listener. Sometimes when I am trying to listen to someone I end up talking a whole bunch in order to explain that I am listening, or that I see where the person (who I should be listening to) is coming from. It’s pretty counter-productive. I’m also an extrovert, so when I get nervous I talk more, and sometimes even a lull in conversation can make me nervous. Oh, and one more thing, I’m terrible at taking constructive criticism. That’s probably one of my biggest flaws. I cannot even count the number of fights I’ve had with loved ones because I’m so damn sensitive, not to mention the times I just misunderstand what they are saying because I read too far into it.

Recognize this meme? That’s right, it’s from Hyperbole and a Half. Best ever.

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Soon I’ll Be Yelling At Kids To Get Off My Lawn

It is the year 2013, almost 150 years since the telephone was first patented by Alexander Graham Bell [a Canadian!]. I am 22 years old, which means that I can legally drink in the United States of America, as well as vote on important political decisions.

I do not own a cell phone.

Yes, I own a laptop, which is sitting on my lap in contradiction to the warnings that it is not conducive to the general health of “my guys,” so I’m not a complete and total Luddite. What I do not own is a cellular telephone, a device that I carry around with me everywhere and which would keep me constantly connected at all times. The following image is a pretty great reason for this [lots of scrolling up ahead]: Continue reading