Stupid person tricks

One of the  latest YouTube “challenges” is to rub alcohol on yourself, set yourself on fire, and then put yourself out before you get burnt up.  All the while filming yourself so that you can post it on video.  Needless to say, this is resulting in serious injuries across the country, including at least one death.

But setting yourself on fire is not the only abysmally stupid and potentially dangerous “challenge” on the internet.  People on social media are challenging their “friends” to do other idiotic behavior.  After the jump, a link to other self-destructive trends and why no one should try them. [Read more...]

Wiping out your social media debts

Thanks to Anthony Sacramone for alerting me to this Portlandia bit, Declare Social-Media Bankruptcy | Strange Herring:

How the Democrats used FaceBook

The Washington Post is publishing excerpts from its reporter Dan Balz’s book on the last presidential election: Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America.  Monday’s installment was about how the Democrats’ sophisticated use of technology to target their message and get out the vote.  After the jump, an account of what the Democrats did with FaceBook. [Read more...]

Saving a Down child from abortion

Here is a rather inspiring story about the use of social media and lots of people stepping up to save a child with Down syndrome from being aborted. [Read more...]

Indulgences via Twitter

Pope Francis will be offering a plenary indulgence–that is, a full release from Purgatory for sins committed up to that point–for those who follow the World Youth Day activities on Twitter or other social media sites. [Read more...]

“Liking” as free speech

Well, the consensus as to my query about whether you would like a “like” feature in the comments seemed to be “dislike” and “thumbs down.”  (That’s what we need:  a voting plug-in so we can do polls and surveys!   I am curious about someone’s reference to a larger range of responses that someone has put together.  And maybe something to help people keep track of threads and responses.  We’ll look into some possibilities and maybe try some, letting you voice your opinion after the fact to see if you “like” a feature or not.)

I know for a fact, though, that some of you “dislike” some of the comments, enough to contact me offline about them.  Which means that it is probably time for another of my exhortations:  Don’t hijack topics!  Don’t resort to insults or name-calling!  Don’t be vicious!  And, for heaven’s sake, at some point, just let it rest.  You don’t need to have the last word.  I mean, what more can be said after 200 comments on William Tell, though notice that after 100 or so comments , we typically have drifted far away from the topic of William Tell or whatever it is.

But, in honor of the original topic, I offer this, showing the power and the vast constitutional implications of just hitting a “like” button:

Daniel Ray Carter Jr. logged on to Facebook and did what millions do each day: He “liked” a page by clicking the site’s thumbs up icon. The problem was that the page was for a candidate who was challenging his boss, the sheriff of Hampton, Va.

That simple mouse click, Carter says, caused the sheriff to fire him from his job as a deputy and put him at the center of an emerging First Amendment debate over the ubiquitous digital seal of approval: Is liking something on Facebook protected free speech?

Carter filed a lawsuit claiming that his First Amendment rights had been violated, and his case has reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. This week, Facebook and the ACLU filed briefs supporting what they say is Carter’s constitutional right to express his opinion, signaling the case’s potentially precedent-setting nature.

The interest was sparked by a lower court’s ruling that “liking” a page does not warrant protection because it does not involve “actual statements.” If the ruling is upheld, the ACLU and others worry, a host of Web-based, mouse-click actions, such as re-tweeting (hitting a button to post someone else’s tweet on your Twitter account), won’t be protected as free speech.

via A Facebook court battle: Is ‘liking’ something protected free speech? – The Washington Post.

Do you think hitting a “like” button should count as free speech?  And while free speech means that the government must not punish people for expressing what they think, does free speech mean that individual citizens have to tolerate whatever someone says or symbolizes and that their bosses shouldn’t be allowed to fire them for it?


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