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#1 Veteran

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 07:06 PM

Sweeping statement to start: everything was simpler before Facebook became huge.

 

It's not wholly Facebook's fault, I just credit it with starting the influx of 'regular' people onto the internet. I don't consider myself a (excuse the pun) veteran of internet usage since I only gained access in 1999, and Britain was largely late to the party in rolling out availability, but I used it enough in it's early days to understand the fundamentals:

 

1. You are a nerd

2. Staying inside and using a computer is something to be ashamed of

3. Therefore, remain anonymous.

 

All three of these intrinsic characteristics have disappeared and been replaced by the exact opposite:

 

1. Nerds are cool

2. Everyone uses a computer so why don't you?

3. Tell everyone everything.

 

Because of this new set of rules I find it amusing when stories occur of online harassment, or private details getting leaked, or someone saying something that they normally wouldn't; and at the same time it makes me cringe that they have no knowledge of the first set of rules. If they knew them then whatever mess they're in could be avoided.

 

This is the case that made me want to type all this: http://www.theguardi...ge-boy-zoe-sugg

 

Basically, popular vlogger writes book, is found out to have not written it, gets abuse.

 

Now, alongside other high-profile things like gamergate or even cyberbullying, I don't condone online abuse I just consider it less-worse than abuse in real life. Why? Because you can turn a computer off. And how could it have been avoided? By remaining anonymous.

 

Oh, you're a politician saying something on Twitter and people don't like it? What the fuck are you doing using Twitter?

Oh, you've responded to a tweet with homophobia and now you've lost your job? What the fuck are you doing using Twitter?

Oh, you didn't know your naked picture is automatically uploaded? Read the fucking manual.

 

You get the idea. Personal responsibility is absent. We have people, laymen, using the internet and then complaining when it doesn't work as expected. And as amusing and cringeworthy as I find it, I get annoyed when seemingly no one points out that maybe these people shouldn't have jumped into social networking without first learning what a goddamn username is.

 

Perhaps it's the advantage of having grown up with stuff like modem dial tones, file sizes in the kilobytes, 640x480 screen resolution, a DOS prompt - it makes you appreciate how wonderful and easy computers and the internet are now and that you value what you have.

 

People should be ashamed of abusing or trolling someone online, but really they should be more ashamed of getting caught.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer to point out the irony of essentially complaining about online opinion expression whilst presenting an opinion.



#2 Twinrova

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 11:04 PM

So what do you want people to do? Refuse to adapt to the way our modes of communication are evolving? Politicians and celebrities and the like are using things like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. to better engage with their audience, and while there are some idiots who use it to spout their ignorant and harmful opinions, you can't deny it works. Just look at Reddit AMAs. Without the internet, how else would you organize a massive Q&A with your fans that everyone can read and appreciate? It's a huge chance to market whatever bullshit you're working on at the moment and a way to build a stronger bond between you and your fans.

 

You may find Twitter stupid but it can be an extremely powerful tool, even for regular people. Just look at the revolution in Egypt. They were able to use Twitter to plan their protests and spread information.

 

Without social media would events like Mike Brown and Eric Garner's murders be as widespread? Hell, what about the mass murders of the students down in Mexico that it seems like practically no one is talking about? The only reason I know about it is because of Tumblr.

 

 

 

 

Also, I don't really appreciate the insinuation that the celebrities who had their private photos stolen and passed around the internet were at fault. So what if they were backed up to a cloud service? I'm not going to argue whether or not people should be taking naked pictures of themselves, but they would have stayed private if some dickweeds hadn't hacked their way in and swiped them.



#3 Veteran

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 05:22 AM

I didn't mean they were at fault for being hacked, I meant there were some blaming Apple for the pictures getting uploaded. That annoyed me.

And I actually like Twitter! XD If something isn't working you can guarantee there's someone complaining about it, and all the examples you gave are great. It's not social networking I have a problem with (I don't really care that much, I'm only posting this for hell of it), it's people blindly using it.

So what do I want them to do? To just think before acting. The technology is usually not at fault. They're just using it wrong.

#4 wisp

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 05:08 PM

Anonymity isn't really a thing we can do on the internet anymore. Not the way we used to. Sure, we laypeople can be anons on Twitter and message boards, but nobody is allowed to be anonymous on Facebook, and for people like game devs and writers, being open about their identity on Twitter is often a large part of their marketing. 

 

I agree that people should think before they act, but being anonymous is less and less feasible, and there's always someone somewhere who is going to take offense at something you say, no matter what it is... and it shouldn't be so easy to ruin a person's life over differences in opinion. I don't know what the solution to that is, given how everything you put on the internet pretty much stays somewhere on the internet. Better abuse policies on sites like Twitter? Laws that make it easier to prosecute doxxers and cyberbullies? I'm not sure.

 

I disagree that online harassment and abuse is not as bad as offline abuse. Our lives are increasingly tied to the internet. We keep in touch with friends on Facebook and use that method to plan get togethers. Sometimes if we refuse to use Facebook we may find that we are totally shut out of the loop as far as what's going on in our social circles. Some people are required to have a Facebook for their school classes or their jobs. We work jobs that occur completely via the internet or at the very least, are usually required to use email and/or IM to keep in touch with coworkers and bosses. So much of what we do requires that we be online that it's not so easy to just shut it all off anymore. And especially in situations like GamerGate, turning off the computer doesn't stop doxxing, hacking, death threats via postal mail and phone calls, or people coming by your home after they got your address from a shady character. And even if it doesn't go that far, I think it's a cop out for anyone say that it's "just the internet" as if people aren't still on the other end receiving the verbal abuse. I'm not saying that you are saying that right now, just that it's a really infuriating thing I've heard people say for years.

 

I wish... I really, really wish.. that we could still handle the internet like we did 15 or 20 years ago, where everyone keeps close tabs on their information and values a certain amount of privacy and anonymity, but the internet is slowly making that harder.. mostly because of Facebook, as far as I can tell. 

 

I really wish Facebook had never opened to the general public. It should have remained a network for college students and alumni.



#5 Egann

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 07:32 PM

I don't really miss anonymity so much as the self-created identity. In ye olde internet we were just usernames, an avatar, and a bunch of text posts. You could control all three of those, so you could control who you were for the community, essentially in every sense which mattered. And it's like as soon as I grew up enough to understand and appreciate that power, Facebook took it away.

 

It's not like that's my only beef with Facebook. It's a hideously thought out business model, has always had a nightmare of a UI, and is terrible at fostering group discussion or maintaining sub-communities. But if I get right down to it, that's the real reason I don't like it.



#6 JRPomazon

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 10:03 PM

I agree with some of the points Veteran makes here. The internet is best understood by those who have been exposed to it the longest, be they nerds or otherwise. Facebook has definitely become a monster in it's own right, along with Twitter, Tumblr or instagram. This is a time where people's lives in first world countries are so thoroughly ingrained with social media that we've seen such things such as the end of internet anonymity. The masses have spoken and this is the direction we are moving in as a society and whoever doesn't like it is basically stuck. But it's obvious that most people who use the internet have literally no appreciation for it. They use it as a soapbox and a dumping ground and when shit goes totally wrong for them after using it incorrectly or just plain giving out too much information, they act as though they have no idea what is going on and have literally no control over the situation. You play with fire long enough, I suppose getting burned isn't too far fetched an idea. I can only hope that if this is the way the internet is going to be then we can better educate folks on how to properly use it without them making fools of themselves.

 

EDIT: It's actually kind of funny now that I think about it, but I think my earlier topic in the commons kind of brings up some of these topics in the more "relaxed" segments.


Edited by JRPomazon, 14 December 2014 - 10:04 PM.


#7 Hana-Nezumi

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 12:31 AM

I also miss the way things used to be online. Like, a LOT. They heyday of forums and such was really the ideal environment for a person like me... it just felt so comfortable and natural to be myself online without worrying about what anyone thought.

And I especially hate that social media is increasingly becoming something you have to opt out of rather than opt in to. I don't want the default for everything to be "SHOW IT TO EVERYONE AND THEIR MAMA" On that point I disagree with Vet that "The technology is usually not at fault."

(Actually, the disconnect between the online identity and real life is a big part of why I like the furry community, because it still very much persists there. Though, of course, the furry community has plenty of flaws of its own...)

#8 JRPomazon

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 03:19 AM

I also miss the way things used to be online. Like, a LOT. They heyday of forums and such was really the ideal environment for a person like me... it just felt so comfortable and natural to be myself online without worrying about what anyone thought.

And I especially hate that social media is increasingly becoming something you have to opt out of rather than opt in to. I don't want the default for everything to be "SHOW IT TO EVERYONE AND THEIR MAMA" On that point I disagree with Vet that "The technology is usually not at fault."

(Actually, the disconnect between the online identity and real life is a big part of why I like the furry community, because it still very much persists there. Though, of course, the furry community has plenty of flaws of its own...)

 

All online communities and offline communities have their short comings.

 

As for the "showing it to everyone" matter, that's not entirely the case. I feel that most people opt to showing everyone everything to use their social media or blog or whatever as a sort of soapbox to display "THIS IS WHAT IT THINK, THESE ARE MY OPINIONS." There are options to limit who sees your stuff by organizing your friends to filter what posts get to what people but that in itself is a very invested effort and most people would have to be more determined to deal with facebook on that level. My former roommate from college made a post on facebook declaring his systematic withdrawal from the site explaining how his feed has more or less become a dumping ground of SJW outrage porn links and people spouting on about their political beliefs and the like. He also followed up explaining how he believed that friendships are best maintained with as little talk of politics as possible (or perhaps at this level). I don't disrespect him for his decision, I've been consider similar measures as well for my own feed.

 

But then we have the opposite problem, a feed that becomes a cloister to echo your own thoughts and opinion without opposing opinions or anything that might have you consider things outside of your initial thoughts. This is common on sites like Tumblr and Instagram, where you can filter what you want to see by following or not following a source. But constantly hearing your own opinion can lead to a dangerous sort of stagnation. But I'm straying away from the initial argument, I apologize.

 

Considering these two extremes, I can see where anonymity can come into play. With an alias online, you might be so lucky as to explain your social or political views without the worry of attaching it to your name. That disconnect from offline and online gives a sort of freedom that was once common place on the internet in the past decade or so, a freedom that is more or less being reigned in by "Show everything or you don't get to show anything at all" mentality Facebook and other social media networks have decided on. Like Egann was saying though, it's something that you have to grow and appreciate. More of a privilege than a right I suppose. If you don't, you basically get... well... certain parts of 4chan.



#9 Hana-Nezumi

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 03:57 AM

As for the "showing it to everyone" matter, that's not entirely the case. I feel that most people opt to showing everyone everything to use their social media or blog or whatever as a sort of soapbox to display "THIS IS WHAT IT THINK, THESE ARE MY OPINIONS." There are options to limit who sees your stuff by organizing your friends to filter what posts get to what people but that in itself is a very invested effort and most people would have to be more determined to deal with facebook on that level.

That's what I was trying to say? That showing everyone everything is the default, and you have to actively say "no" for it to not be. And yeah in the example of Facebook it takes effort and caution to filter your stuff to only be seen by certain people. I was also alluding to the ways every little unrelated application tries to link to social media and broadcast your activities to everyone.
(I agree with the rest of what you said)

Edited by Hana-Nezumi, 15 December 2014 - 04:00 AM.


#10 Twinrova

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 12:57 PM

I'm not really understanding why people think the internet is at fault for the "loss of anonymity". Where else other than Facebook are you forced to use your real identity? Last I checked you 're still more than capable of picking any username and avatar you want with other social media, and you 're not required to link them with your Facebook if you don't want to. I mean, ok, since instagram is an app it is linked with your phone, but you still get to choose how you want to present yourself.

It's just since the internet has become so accessible and so ingrained in our culture, many people are using that choice to not hide their identity. Back in the day a big reason why you hid things like your name, address, phone number, etc was so weirdos didn't know who you were or how to find you. It's still not a great idea to post the last two but your name isn't such a huge deal now that the internet is saturated with 'normal' people.

#11 Hana-Nezumi

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 02:40 PM

I'm not really understanding why people think the internet is at fault for the "loss of anonymity". Where else other than Facebook are you forced to use your real identity? Last I checked you 're still more than capable of picking any username and avatar you want with other social media, and you 're not required to link them with your Facebook if you don't want to. I mean, ok, since instagram is an app it is linked with your phone, but you still get to choose how you want to present yourself.

Well for one example, I used my real name for Gmail and that's all I intended to use it for, but later on I was forced to link my Google account to YouTube and to have a Google+ page automatically created if I wanted to continue using YouTube with full functionality. It's things like that which are the problem. It's not just the expected use of a real name either, but also the widespread sharing of information, and the services that try very hard to make it easy for people to find you, like Facebook's "people you might know" feature and other applications which allow you to look for people by importing contact lists and such.

Aside from that, if you're on a website where everyone else is is logging in with Facebook and using their real pictures, as is becoming more and more common, it makes ya feel kinda awkward to be one of the few who's not.

#12 Raien

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 09:40 PM

I've also been concerned about the current social media trends over the past five years but I've since realised that this is just a temporary thing. Social media as we now know it is only a little over ten years old and it's not done developing. It's unlikely that Facebook and Twitter are going to dominate social media forever for the same reason than MSN and Myspace did not dominate forever. Facebook and Twitter are successful because they are the best we have now, not the best they can be.

 

The big problem right now is the distinction between a network and a community. A network is simply a connection between two or more people. It doesn't matter how basic or emotionally distant that connection is. There are no social expectations put on anyone in the network. But a community requires a more intimate relationship between the people involved. A community puts expectations on the individuals. When you compare the two, it's obvious why social networks are more successful. Networks remove the stressful parts of socialising and are therefore the easiest for people to engage with. If you just like small talk and sharing photos, networks have got you covered. If you like quick-fire conversations, networks have got you covered. If you just want to read other people's posts and not contribute yourself, networks have got you covered.

 

This ease-of-use quality is also why blogging and commentary has become so big on youtube. Video channels like Pewdiepie are in effect a kind of social media, even if it is very one-sided (one person talks, other people listen). But the reason it works so well is that this one-sided relationship takes pressure off the listeners. You can spend an hour listening to someone talk on a subject and never feel pressured to create a response. The blogger also has a chance to put forward their message uninterrupted. Of course there's usually a comments section and message board for the people who actually do want to talk about the content. But once again, this is a service that has become very successful because it removes the awkward restrictions that normally exist around socialising.

 

Now the question you're probably thinking is, "If Facebook/Twitter is designed to make socialising less awkward, then why does it make me feel so uncomfortable to use it?" There are two reasons; the first is that a lot of companies are pushing social media to promote their own products and services. It's actually a proven waste of money in most cases but for some businesses like, say, smartphone companies, making social media feel important in the public eye helps make them a lot of money. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of hate around Facebook has as much to do with viral marketing as it does with the actual service.

 

The second reason is that a lot of people really need and expect a dedicated community in order to feel comfortable, and Facebook/Twitter are ill-equipped to meet that need. The problem then is finding a community that works for you. Let's say you're looking for a gaming community. Well, one may not be good for you because it talks about games you don't play. Or maybe it does talk about games you play but has nothing interesting to say about them. Or maybe the people in that community are toxic and make you not want to engage with them at all. Sometimes the problem is the quantity of members or quantity of posts; too much or too little can break a community for a lot of people. Maybe the community is slowed down as people lose interest and leave. The reason why it feels like Facebook is so dominant is that the alternatives are too small and unstable to really accomplish anything.

 

I do have a solution to this problem. There's a website called meetup.org that is designed to help people find social meetings and events in their local area. You can find gaming groups, film groups, music groups, dancing groups, writing groups, all sorts really. What online communities need is a service like this. Imagine if someone searches for a friendly community to talk about films and games and stuff, and then up pops Legends Alliance as an option. Wouldn't that be a great way for people to meet each other on the internet?

 

On the subject of communities, I also think it's the best way to combat the harassment and abuse problems that plague networks. In a community where people know and support one another, anonymous mud-slinging loses a lot of its power. If I was to talk shit about people on this forum, none of you would believe me. Therefore I have no incentive to talk shit here. But on Twitter, I could talk shit about someone and people would take me at face value because they don't know me or the target of my abuse.

 

 

PS: This post is a good reason why you should never try to post complex thoughts at 2:00 in the morning. I know it's badly written, the point is that Facebook and Twitter are popular because they are so simplistic. But they don't meet everyone's needs and eventually another service will pop up to compete with them. I think it will be a service that helps people find smaller, more intimate groups like Legends Alliance.


Edited by Raien, 16 December 2014 - 05:14 AM.


#13 TheAvengerLever

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 01:41 AM

I don't enjoy the recent trend of everyone sharing their lives with everyone else. One, because despite my trying to be a caring person, I just don't care about the food that other people eat or where they are at a given moment in time or anything else they choose to put on the internet for others to see. I just don't care to see it or react to it in any way, because it's actually not interesting at all.

 

I don't REALLY like Youtubers despite me thinking I should become one because it has helped foster this new culture of "look at me, look what I'm doing". It's like people are all becoming Stuart off of MadTV: "Look what I can do!" *flail*

 

A recent movie I enjoyed that offered some form of commentary about this was Scream 4. Great movie, but the villain of the movie is going around killing people  because they want the attention that it will bring from others. I don't want to give too much away because it really is a good, fun film, but the premise is that social media is making us selfish. We didn't start out that way, but being encouraged to by apps and social media websites has MADE us more that way.

 

Having said that, I don't know if anonymity is any better. I hate hearing stories of malicious internet hackers who put people's business on the internet for other people to see, which ends up ruining the victims life in a HUGE way. That shit is sickening, and even if it is for a good cause, it's still not what I would call fair. Despite us being so civilized in this era we can so easily fall back on old human nature, because we see other people's business and we relish it. It makes us feel good to hear some bully got his just desserts and then we contribute to that person's continual suffering by making their lives...un-livable. It's a fate worse than jail to be handed to the public and ripped apart like trash. The public are far more dangerous in a mob than any corrupt court.

 

Long story short, its wet no matter where you try to place your cold, exposed feet.



#14 Green Goblin

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 03:54 AM

Well, Vet old friend, it's official.  We're cyber geriatrics.  =/

 

I'm gonna try and not go off in this thread, as you've seen what that can lead to (still eating crow on that last one).

 

I'm a firm believer in the "harassment is bad" camp.  I dislike it, regardless of who it's being aimed at.  But I'd like to clarify what I believe harassment is (and I'd like to think most of you will agree with me).  Hacking into a private server to illegally acquire nude photos of someone and disperse them on the internet is harassment.  Finding nudes of a controversial individual that were freely available online previously and dispersing them moreso is not.  Hurling insults at an individual nonstop is harassment.  Talking about an individual indirectly on a public forum is not.  Issuing threats of physical harm (or worse) and taking the verbal bombardment offline and into the individual's real world is harassment.  Criticizing an individual in detail in a video or blog post, without providing anything more than the argument or story (ie: no doxxing info) is not.  I need to make this distinction because in the past 12 months, all of these things have occurred in often newsworthy situations and all of them have been called harassment.  It seems that somewhere along the way, we've made the word "harassment" synonymous with "being mean", and I feel the distinction is important. 

 

Now, I understand your frustration, Vet.  Like you, my family started online in 1999.  We had dial-up (AT&T worldnet) and I learned the ins and outs of "don't be a dumbass online" as a teenager.  I learned how to cover my own ass during the same time that I was also trying to hide the fact that I was looking at porn on the family computer, so I tried to be as thorough as possible.  But nowadays, it's taken for granted by the generations that weren't even in kindergarten when social networking became a thing.  The entire culture has indeed been shifted on its head, and I think that it needs to be addressed.  I know there were a LOT of things from the ancient internet that I'm glad are dead and gone (my criminology classes showed me things far worse than Kazaa or Freeroms dot com), but the instinct of prevention is something that I feel greatly needs to be brought back.

But it's easier said than done, when people are encouraged to share family photos with one another, reunite with old friends (Facebook does make high school reunions pretty much useless now) and even strike out a new career for themselves, through the use of vlogging.  And I'd be a hypocrite if I came down on them, as I routinely take advantage of all of that too.  And so do all of us here.  Tom, Jessica, Jordan, ALL OF US. 

 

The best we can really do is try and be decent online.  Not change our opinions, but just present them in a civil way when we have our names directly attached.  And be thorough in elaborating on what we mean, as well. 

 

That's one of the reasons I hate Twitter.  Unless you're selling a product or service, you're not going to be able to properly right out an argument for or against anything and have an actual discussion with their crippling 140 character limit.  It's a networking site built purely for self-advertisement. 

 

So, yeah.  Only thing we CAN do is be helpful to others who may not have this whole "don't do stupid things on the internet" thing down.  And unwinnable cause, but a righteous one, nonetheless. 






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