Tag: Social Media

Seth had the day off today so it was just Jay, Grant, and Park. In the first part of the show, the guys were joined by attorney Kyle Sammin to discuss his latest piece in the magazine called, Solving the social media standoff. Kyle goes into some possible solutions that don’t go as far as eliminating Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act but perhaps adding a new category specifically related to big social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook.

Also discussed is the renewed fight over statues and how people warned several years ago it would go beyond Confederate figures and begin to target figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

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Several times since @bobthompson (I think) recommended it to me, I’ve referred to the MedCram channel on YouTube as a source of good, up-to-date information on Covid-19. Much of it is directed at medical professionals and goes into biochemistry that I follow as best I can, but there is also a lot that is suitable […]

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Bubble-Wrapped Americans: How the US Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety

 

Bubble-Wrapped Americans: How the U.S. Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety“In America we say if anyone gets hurt, we will ban it for everyone everywhere for all time. And before we know it, everything is banned.” — Professor Jonathan Haidt

It’s a common refrain: We have bubble-wrapped the world. Americans in particular are obsessed with “safety.” The simplest way to get any law passed in America, be it a zoning law or a sweeping reform of the intelligence community, is to invoke a simple sentence: “A kid might get hurt.”

Almost no one is opposed to reasonable efforts at making the world a safer place. But the operating word here is “reasonable.” Banning lawn darts, for example, rather than just telling people that they can be dangerous when used by unsupervised children, is a perfect example of a craving for safety gone too far.

This episode of Young Americans is special for many reasons. For one, it is a crossover with the White Noise podcast, whose co-host, Joe Pappalardo, joins Jack. For…two, Jack and Joe attempt to discuss the effect that excessive technology use may be having on the ability of young people to focus on what matters. And for…three (?), they attempt this discussion…while themselves deliberately distracted by as many apps as they could have open while recording.

ACF PoMoCon #6: Ben Sixsmith on Twitter Culture

 

Culture in the age of social media–here’s my conversation with writer Ben Sixsmith about the vast democratization of communications brought about by digital technology and the vast concentration of the public space in a handful of corporations. It’s not made us happy and good, but instead created new political conflicts and social drama. It’s an interesting time, but hardly bearable–so you might like some thoughts on Twitter, YouTube, and various other observations about what it’s like to be human plus digital. Also, if you’re interested in a fine read on British-Polish relations, Ben’s book is the thing for you!

Utterly Absurd

 

In 1914, in his novel The World Set Free, H.G. Wells wrote of a future featuring “atomic bombs,” in which “it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city.” That was thirty-one years before Trinity — before the detonation of the first atomic weapon in the sands of southern New Mexico.

Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrentheit 451, written in 1953, described ear-buds, those ubiquitous little earphones everyone wears today. He called them “seashells,” but we’d recognize them today — as we would the insular cocoon they created for the perpetually distracted wife of that novel’s protagonist.

So I Responded to a Political Post on Facebook

 

Unlike many users of this site, I don’t harbor any particular feelings of hatred for Facebook.  It’s a convenient way for me to keep in touch with family and friends, and there’s a lot of fun and interesting things posted there.

There is also plenty of politically charged nonsense posted there, but I usually just scroll past it or glance it over without commenting.  I don’t post political things myself, and rarely respond to political posts.

Why America’s Social Media Firms Aren’t ‘Parasites’

 

It’s hard to be a big tech company these days without somebody rooting for your demise. But some cases are a bit more understandable than others. Like this one: “Bannon says killing Huawei more important than trade deal with China.” I mean, I get it. Former Trump White House adviser and nationalist Steve Bannon wants America to launch and win a Tech Cold War against China. Taking an ax to what might be its most important tech company, a key player in the global 5G rollout, might be a big step forward in such a plan.

But it’s not Americans wanting to shut down just Chinese tech companies. Sometimes it’s Americans going after American firms. “Maybe we’d be better off if Facebook disappeared,” writes Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, in an op-ed for USA Today. And his problem isn’t just with the social media giant run by Mark Zuckerberg. According to Hawley, Twitter and Instagram, though oddly not YouTube, are also “best understood as a parasite on productive investment, on meaningful relationships, on a healthy society,” He claims they’ve created an “addiction economy” based on extracting and selling data gleaned from uninformed users. The first sentence of the piece: “Social media consumers are getting wise to the joke that when the product is free, they’re the ones being sold.”

To be sure, Hawley is not using “disappear” in what’s been called the “post-Argentina transitive use of an intransitive verb,” as in “disappearing” a political opponent. Although, some of the more intensive anti-tech critics might want to disappear these companies. But even calls for heavy regulation or anti-trust action — banning business models or breaking up big firms — requires serious argument and evidence, as well as proof of harm from elected officials. This also means grappling with research contrary to your thesis and understanding trade-offs. Does Facebook have value? As I wrote recently:

Twitter, Baskets of Hands, and the Incentive Problem

 

I should state up front that I do not use Twitter. I have occasionally followed a link to Twitter, but I don’t linger there. It is a confusing mess that seems to bring out the very worst in people. It seems that Twitter is starting to realize this, and to understand that the solution may not be in controlling who has access to Twitter, but in how the system rewards its users. We all respond to incentives. We all, to some degree, are rewards junkies – when certain behaviors are rewarded, we repeat and amplify those behaviors to receive more of those rewards. Twitter’s problem, as its CEO Jack Dorsey has begun to understand, is that it rewards awful behavior, rage, groupthink, bullying, and dehumanizing its users.  A Buzzfeed article from May 15th details how Twitter is experimenting with a new interface – one that reduces the incentives for the worst of behavior, and perhaps restores some humanity.

In its early years Twitter optimized for engagement, which engagement features (replies, and the like and retweet buttons) and metrics (number of followers, likes, retweets, and replies) help to deliver. So now it’s trying to shift what it encourages people to do.

Member Post

 

People who care about the free exchange of ideas — of any ideas, not merely the ideas that conform to the popular orthodoxies — are frustrated by a seeming paradox: though we are a free people living in an era of unparalleled connectivity in which the communication monopoly represented by old-fashioned media has effectively been […]

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The Purge Hits Home

 

On Sunday I worked at the American Freedom Alliance conference, a day-long event featuring over 20 speakers, including Charlie Kirk, David Horowitz, Brent Bozell, Michael Walsh, Rebecca Friedrichs, Bill Whittle, and others. The hall overflowed with attendees representing UCLA Republicans to pensioners. It was an outstanding day where we discussed culture, free speech, science, academia, history and politics. On Monday the President of AFA and my dear friend Karen Siegemund was summarily fired from her life-long career of teaching math (both college and high school). The reason provided by the private high school? Her “public views” – that was it. Karen never spoke about politics in the classroom nor did her AFA role crossover into teaching.

Today David Horowitz was banned from Twitter. (*At this moment it seems they have reinstated David.) This follows last weeks widely publicized sweeping ban of other conservative voices from social media, including Paul Joseph Watson (the relatively benign host at InfoWars and other platforms). More incendiary personalities were banned from Facebook and Instagram like Laura Loomer, who, while too emotional for some, raises salient points about the double standard of online free speech (why is the terrorist group Hamas allowed on Twitter, but a Jewish conservative like her is banned?) as well as Milo who is sometimes provocative for the sake of being a provocateur.

You may not like or care about these people, and many don’t, but the battle cry from the Right often branded as ‘slippery slope’ – you may not like Alex Jones, but what happens when they come for you? – is happening now. Karen doesn’t have a provocative bone in her body. She’s a patriot who dedicated her life to educating people, whether her math students or attendees at the organization.

Member Post

 

Ben Shapiro recently made a video in which he argued that facebook was asking for government censorship/regulation and that was a bad thing. (the video) It was more complex than that I think it is a good thing to watch to see what he is saying even though I disagree. Another interesting take on it […]

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As Facebook celebrates its 15th anniversary, it is coming into controversies on all sides: political, psychological, social, and more. Thus, Jack assembles a panel of youth to discuss their own experiences with Facebook and how it has affected them. They also reveal their thoughts about the site’s effect on themselves, their peers, and society as a whole.

Wake up the President? Terrorist Mass Murder at New Zealand Mosques [Updated midday Friday]

 

On Friday afternoon, 15 March 2019, New Zealand time, there was a horrific terrorist attack at least two mosques in New Zealand. They are 20 hours ahead of the U.S. West Coast time. According to the initial reports, an attacker livestreamed the event. The image, at right, was captured by media before the video was taken down. There apparently was a lengthy manifesto. There have been multiple people arrested. It appears this was an attack by white New Zealand and Australian citizens on Muslims.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “This can only be described as a terrorist attack.” The linked BBC page has a series of videos. The PM is not inclined to tweet. Indeed, you can see her last communication was in October.

The initial casualties being reported are 40 killed and over 20 wounded at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America argue that Beto O’Rourke running for president is actually a good thing because it will either show media infatuation can get you elected or burst O’Rourke’s hype bubble. They are also concerned by the alarming rise in mental health disorders in teens that is linked to social media use. And they also give Elizabeth Warren a molecule of credit for defending capitalism, only to watch her then say markets don’t work for health care or education.

James A. Lindsay is a co-author of the Grievance Studies, a project designed to expose the politicized corruption within social justice geared humanities scholarship by creating bogus academic papers and submitting them to academic journals in the areas of cultural, queer, race, gender, fat, and sexuality studies. He and Bridget have a fascinating discussion about the dogmatism of atheists, the Feminist Glaciology paper that radicalized him, the assault on science, the fascism creeping in from both sides – the left and the right, and why everything we think we know about reality might be wrong. James explains post-modernism and why fitting in matters ten times more to people than being right. Bridget expounds upon why the idea that language is violence and a tool of oppression that must be regulated, strikes terror into her heart. And together they lament the isolation and loneliness of thinking for yourself in today’s culture of ideological tribalism. This is a brilliant deep dive into why intersectional social politics are a toxic way to look at the world and lead to competitive victimhood, the corruption in scholarship that’s fueling the whole social justice, progressive, activist universe, and the doomsday cults of the far left and the far right.

For questions, comments or topic requests contact us at: walkinswelcomequestions@gmail.com

Quote of the Day: Rumor Has It

 

“Ad calamitatem quilibet rumor valet.” (Every rumor is believed against the unfortunate.)Syrus, Maxims.

“Extemplo Libyæ magnas it Fama per urbes:
Fama malum quo non velocius ullum;
Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo;
Parva metu primo; mox sese attollit in auras,
Ingrediturque solo, et caput inter nubilia condit.
* * *
Monstrum, horrendum ingens; cui quot sunt corpore plumæ
Tot vigiles oculi subter, mirabile dictu,
Tot linguæ, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures.”