Modern Primate

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  1. bf guide to pinterest header

    Pinterest has grown quickly to become the 3rd largest social network on the web, and has a user base that’s over 80% women. So what does this mean for men, and for that matter, for women?
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  2. racism video

    When people say racist things online, is it okay for bloggers to publicly ridicule them for it? What about when they’re minors? And how can you ever be sure they even are who they say they are in the first place?

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  3. jezebel racist minors

    If we could only get everyone to use a persistent user identity then we could solve this whole online agression problem, right? As Randi Zuckerberg, sister to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg once put it:

    “People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”

    Tracie Morrissey’s latest article for Jezebel provides a stark contrast to Zuckerberg’s assertion that persistent identity can act as a behavioral policing mechanism. In the article, Morrissey unapologetically names 12 teenagers who posted racist remarks about the President on Twitter. These 12 students willingly made rude remarks unprovoked, under their real names. None of them felt the need to hide behind any mask of anonymity.

    To be clear, Tracie Morrissey published already-public information. All you need to do is search Twitter for the words “Obama” and “n****r” and you’ll find people saying offensive things. Some use pseudonyms. Others are fully comfortable doing so under their real names, and many of them are minors.

    While nearly anyone is fully capable of using Twitter to find real-life racists being racist under their real names, Morrissey took vigilante justice into her own hands. In addition to their names, many of the teens also listed the schools they attended and the sports teams they played for. So Morrissey contacted the school administrators and coaches to report the students’ conduct. Simply alerting the administrators was reasonable enough, but the way Morrissey publicly shamed these minors is at the very least a moral gray area. Read More »

  4. ring ring

    One of the things people tend to assume about established technologies is that they’re not making any assumptions. Knowing how to use a telephone is such an obvious thing, people think, if they ever bother thinking about the telephone at all, because why would they, it’s such a natural part of human life, right? WRONG, says Claude Fischer, who reminds us in America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 that the telephone was something people had to learn, which itself was something the people selling the telephone had to teach, and later something advertisers and marketers had react to when people began adopting the new technologies in unexpected ways.

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  5. VOTE

    Hey panty-waists. Did you vote today? NO. I know you didn’t because I didn’t see you post any new Facebook status updates. You didn’t take a picture of your ballot and simul-post it to Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

    Well what’s wrong with you? You think you’re too good to tell people you voted? Well I voted. I voted the shit out of this election. I probably set a record for the most awesome voting ever.

    So why didn’t you post about how you voted on your Facebook? Huh? I bet you didn’t even vote. Well listen up, Nancy. Me and my boys are going to come over there and kick your non-voting ass. Fuck you for not voting! Fuck you! I’ll fucking kill you for not voting! GOD I’M SO ANGRY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T VOTE. GOD DAMN IT! I JUST WANT TO ROUND UP EVERYBODY WHO DIDN’T VOTE AND FORCE THEM TO VOTE! I DON’T EVEN CARE WHO THEY VOTE FOR, THEY’RE FUCKING NANCIES FOR NOT VOTING! EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM! EVERY OTHER DAY OUT OF THE YEAR I’M TOLD I HAVE TO BE POLITE! I NEVER GET TO BE THE ASSHOLE THAT I WANT TO BE! I NEVER GET TO SHOW PEOPLE HOW ANGRY I AM SO I’M TAKING ADVANTAGE OF IT RIGHT NOW! IT’S MY TURN TO BE THE SANCTIMONIOUS ASSHOLE! OH MY GOD I’M SO FUCKING ANGRY WHY DIDN’T YOU VOTE WHY GOD DAMN IT FUCKING BALLS SHIT GOD

  6. upper east side slow internet

    Damn my Internet is slow.

    That’s about the extent of how Hurricane Sandy has affected me. Well, add to that the fact that the parks are all still closed, (so the dog has a mad case of cabin fever so he requires at least three times the amount of attention) but aside from that, really slow internet access with intermittent failures is about the only inconvenience we’ve suffered up here in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

    Out on the street, 10 year old kids with French accents and better clothes than I’ve ever owned run around in gangs, reveling in the freedom that is school cancellations. Apart from some trash and fallen branches, the UES has gone relatively unscathed. You’d almost never know there was a hurricane up here. Friends in the East Village tell me they’re still without power, heat, water, even cell reception. They may not be back up and running for at least five days. Since my internet is too slow to stream videos I found myself going to the local video store to rent some DVDs. Did you know they still have video stores? It’s nuts! I have to bring these things back to the store on Saturday so someone else can rent them! It’s like when we were young! Read More »

  7. whitney phillips sbs insight

    Earlier this week, Whitney appeared on an Australian current events television program to discuss her doctoral study on internet trolls and the role of the media in trolling narratives. Whitney appeared alongside self-proclaimed trolls Weev, Jaime Cochran, some guy named Steven, Information activist Asher Wolf, Joe Hildebrand of the Daily Telegraph, cyberbully-prosecuting lawyer Greg Walsh and others in this look inside the subject of trolls on the internet.

    One point that all of the guests seem to agree on is that it doesn’t make sense to conflate harmless forms of trolling like Rickrolling with malicious cyberbullying and harassment. At one point Joe Hildebrand grows particularly frustrated with the broadly-ranging behaviors described as “trolling.” Soon after, at 23:21 Whitney interjects:

    One of the things that I focused specifically on in my research is the relationship between mainstream media and trolling… trolling as a subculture would not exist were it not for the mainstream media interventions that have catapulted it to this extraordinarily visible behavioral category. Trolling is big business. It’s fantastic news for people in the mainstream media, so if we want to talk about trolls and why trolling is problematic — and I don’t deny that it is — we also have to talk about the way the media amplifies and gives a platform for these behaviors, and in fact, in some ways, sort or enables it.

    [smash cut to commercial.]

    Also, keep an eye out for the moment in the show when Weev says some lady is fat and her kid has autism. Video follows after the jump.

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  8. During last night’s Presidential debate, Mitt Romney made a statement regarding “binders full of women.” Here’s the obligatory fact check on that (SPOILER ALERT: he’s lying), and the obligatory image gallery of funny pictures with words on them generated by Tumblr users.

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  9. Our own Whitney Phillips, PhD has just published a really thoughtful piece on the Violentacrez fiasco over on The Atlantic. Here’s an excerpt:

    This may not be a pretty picture, in fact in Violentacrez’ case it is quite ugly (placing in entirely new context the term “front page of the internet”). But like all trolls, Violentacerz shows us, purposefully or not, the underlying values of the host culture. Maybe not the individual values of individual users (i.e. just because Violentacrez derives pleasure from the sexual exploitation of women and minors does not mean that all Redditors derive pleasure from the sexual exploitation of women and minors), but at the very least his actions shine an uncomfortable light on what passes as “positive” community contribution, as well as the kinds of behaviors Reddit’s paid staff and volunteer moderators are willing to protect — apparently in the name of “making the world suck less.”

    What an Academic Who Wrote Her Dissertation on Trolls Thinks of Violentacrez – The Atlanic

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