No Lifeguard on Duty. Post at Your Own Risk.
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The Marquette Professor Who Might Lose Tenure Isn’t a Victim of P.C. Culture

18 Feb

He’s a victim of his own breach of professional ethics…”it’s hard not to balk, as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf does, at the thought of a long career being demolished over a blog post. Things do look better at this point for Abbate than for McAdams. He’s ending his career in disgrace, while she’s receiving tremendous support from the academy. And the thought of being fired for a bad social-media decision isas Jon Ronson’s recent New York Timesmagazine piece illustrateslegitimately terrifying. That a professor who instigated a shaming pile-on and put a grad student’s career in jeopardy wound up where he did sure sounds like the definition of karma, but it’s an upsetting story all the same.”

Read more in this New Republic article.Screen shot 2015-02-18 at 13.58.56

Facebook Manners

27 Jan

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Elizabeth Lauten Fail

1 Dec

“For Lauten, and anyone else who gets caught online saying something they wish they could take back (it’s the internet, you can NEVER take it back, muahahahahahaha), just remember this simple rule when issuing your public statements:

Treat the people you are apologizing to as if they are actual people, not pixels on a page. Say I’m sorry directly to them, acknowledge it was poor behavior, and promise to be better next time.

Then, make sure you do just that.”

TED Talk on Online Identity (Permanent as a Tattoo)

9 Sep

“What if Andy Warhol had it wrong, and instead of being famous for 15 minutes, we’re only anonymous for that long? In this short talk, Juan Enriquez looks at the surprisingly permanent effects of digital sharing on our personal privacy. He shares insight from the ancient Greeks to help us deal with our new “digital tattoos.”

(This is a great watch. B)

Facebook and the Ethics Parade

8 Sep

I’ve sat back and watched the Parade for the last couple of years, partly because of my own life stuff, partly because I realized nobody was reading this. That’s ok. I’ve realized that people want to do their social networking how they want to do it and they don’t like to be told, even in kind helpful ways, how that should be done. While I was watching the Parade go by, there was a lot of hoopla about the NSA. Mostly, I was neither surprised nor alarmed the way that many people seemed to be, partly because of my research, and partly because I’m frankly more concerned about what corporations are doing with my online activities. Despite what I say elsewhere on this blog about how, as public employees the government legitimately has more access to our information than most people, I think the marketing world takes far more, and more objectionable, liberties. A recent article entitled Facebook and the UnEthics and Human Trafficking  talks at length about recent intrusions into our personal lives of a marketing nature. Not to seem blase, but it’s not like I didn’t know this sort of thing happens, or could happen. It’s not like there is anything in place to protect us from it.

This blog features a little “No lifeguard on duty” logo that my friend Daniel kindly created for me. It’s a really simple concept to remind people that nobody is watching out for you while you’re posting or commenting (or really doing anything) online. The reality is, most of us really are all sort of walking around in a giant worldwide nudist colony without realizing it. There’s not really a good logo for that, or I suppose there could be, but it might make people blush. I could have posted probably hundreds of articles over the past 4 years about how easy it is to make an idiot of yourself online, yet people keep doing it. Even people who have claimed to read this blog.  And I could have posted another few hundred about how a variety of people, parties, companies, and government interests have access to everything we do online, yet people keep acting like that’s not the case, like what they do here happens in a bubble that only they or the people they care about can see. I admit myself flummoxed, and honestly a little hopeless, that anything I can say or have said here will change that. Even with things like Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos being sold to the highest bidder, people are going to keep sending each other naked pictures on their smart phones.

You could say we can’t seem to help ourselves. It feels like freedom, all that online nudity.

But freedom has its price.

I, for one, just spend a lot less time online than I used to. That’s been a lot more freeing for me.  I’ve surprisingly not only survived, but thrived. I’ve just found my life to be a lot richer when I’m not constantly engaging in the observation and the analysis that is the Worldwide Web and its ethics-free zone mentality. Try it. Unplug. However, if you do come back to it from time to time, just realize that the rules haven’t changed, they’ve probably become even more problematic, and I’d personally rather be pinching petunias, cuddling someone I love,  or playing the piano. (I couldn’t think of a P word for cuddling). Anyway, carry on Brave Marching Band! Parades are often highly entertaining, but I don’t want to be around when someone has to clean up to horse crap.