Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

Reflections

This blog post is all about reflecting on the work I did for my Intro to Writing Arts course. I begin with an explanation of one of my PechaKucha slides. Afterword, there’s a section where I write about all the things I learned about etiquette on the web throughout my blogging experience. Enjoy!

A Walk Through A Slide

My section as a whole was about how proper etiquette on the internet is about being yourself. I talked about how this is easier to do online when you’re behind a screen, and how we become braver and more honest. Although I mentioned the darker aspects of this, I mainly wanted to focus on how this freedom and expectation to be who we are can be a good thing. My fourth slide  especially talks about this. It’s all about the new communities being built on the web based off common interests. This is why I bring in Kelly’s “We are the Web,” which speaks in great detail about the way most of the content on the web is created by us. We are free to be ourselves and find others who are like us. We can create friendships that last for years while also realizing that maybe there’s a place for us to fit in after all. I also brought up that although we should be ourselves, the concept of our identity is much looser on the internet.  As I said in my presentation, I can be Sarah the college student and Sarah the fairy princess zombie huntress and both can be “me” depending on where I am. Are the things I have a character say in a role-playing game any less real than the status updates I post on Facebook? Both are an image I am trying to create and maintain–one is just significantly less entertaining.

faecoloredThat “self-portrait” I drew obviously is meant to portray me being a faerie princess zombie huntress (I really love typing that out–it’s just so ridiculous). But it’s more than that. It’s a symbol of the imagination we are allowed to express and the worlds we can create for ourselves and others. These worlds have their own sets of rules and etiquette within them, and it’s an amazing thing. We no longer have to take a trip to the library or the bookstore to go to different places–though I definitely still recommend it–we can go on the web and create them ourselves building with others new magical places. Of course, it’s still important to follow the rules we make for ourselves. We can’t have our worlds descend into chaos, can we? (Unless that’s what you want them to do). This very act of creation is what fits so well with “We are the Web.”

What I Learned About My Blog Topic

I’ve obviously thought about etiquette before, and I know that it’s one part of the web that can use some fine-tuning. I hadn’t, however, thought very hard about it on my own before this blog assignment. Mostly it was getting annoyed at hateful comments on the internet or cringing when I see Facebook posts that are outside of the unwritten code of conduct, like when you can tell people clicked the wrong link and now their account is spamming everyone on their friends list, bless their poor little hearts. I don’t know if blogging about “netiquette” and researching it taught me something new. It was more like it made me think about it in new ways. I made connections with the readings for class. Atwood’s blog post, for example, made me think about how etiquette online is way different than it is offline, and in some ways it’s better. The readings “We are the Web,” “What is Web 2.0,” and “An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube” all made me realize that netiquette isn’t something defined by the creators of beg websites. Don’t get me wrong, websites have terms of service that allow them to take action against rule-breakers, but those only go so far—especially since nobody reads them. For the most part, the ones who create and enforce these codes of conduct are us. We support and we punish.

On the other hand, these readings and my own reminded me that not everything online is unicorns and rainbow magic. “A Rape in Cyberspace” reminds us that people take advantage of the freedom and anonymity on the web and use it to hurt others. In an article I found on Cracked.com, Felix Clay writes about how society has decided it’s pretty much okay to act like jerks on the internet. I never considered this; mostly, I thought there were rules and some people just chose to ignore them and everyone else hated those people. But that article made me thing, hey, maybe the mean terrible things on the internet are a part of netiquette. Maybe we let this happen and now we’re dealing with the consequences. Still, I have hope: not everyone on the web is a jerk. There are those of us who know how to act online and even though we might not be as loud (obnoxious) we are still there.

 

 

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Pecha Kucha: Walk Through a Slide and Reflection

This semester in my third module of my introduction to writing arts class called technologies and future of writing my blog group and I have been looking at how new Web 2.0 technologies are changing the rules of etiquette online.  We even discovered that there is a new word to refer to etiquette used online or in digital spaces known as “netiquette.”  In our presentation for the Pecha Kucha, which has 20 slides with each shown for 20 seconds and only 1 image per slide, we highlighted aspects of “netiquette” online that we think are important for everyone to known in this evolving world of technologies that will continue to grow.

A Walk Through a Slide

In my section of the presentation I discussed the term “netiquette” and how it was derived, along with how rules online are changing and evolving with new technologies.  For one of my slides, I wanted to highlight the importance about how new rules form with new technologies and different communities elicit different etiquette rules.  For example, when you are on Facebook, you can talk more informally than you would if you were on a professional site looking for a job.  This is a crucial point that my group’s blog on etiquette has discussed in many of our posts because we want to make sure people understand “netiquette’s” importance when being online.

I chose to use a quote from Sherry Turkle’s article “Who Am We” that discusses how the Internet links millions of people together and changes how communities are created.  I thought that this quote fit in well with this part of the presentation because her quote ties into the point that we are linked to so many people on the Internet that we need to be aware of online “netiquette” rules that different sites and online communities have.  It also drives home the point that how we act and behave online effects more than just ourselves, and this is why we need to be conscious of “netiquette” rules.  Also, my picture for this slide was a sketch of a world with people around it linked together.  I thought it fit in well with Turkle’s quote and brings into perspective that what we write online links us to people all over the world.  Therefore, we need to be aware of our actions in different online spaces.  I also mention how it can be hard to learn all the new “netiquette” rules because they are learned through experience and are constantly changing.  I think that this is important because everyone will make mistakes online, and it is understandable, but we need to realize that how we act online effects more than just us.  I would say a good tip is to think before you post or press send.

P1010057

I wanted this slide to really drive home the point that “netiquette” rules are important to be aware of when using online spaces.  I think, as a part of my 5 slides in the presentation, it allows people to see that “netiquette” rules are important because of how expansive the Internet allows our connections and communities to be and every site is different in terms of their rules.  It also sets up the fact that new “netiquette” rules will continue to evolve because of the new technologies and online spaces being developed every day.  My slide builds on the idea that our world will not stop developing and evolving technologies, so “netiquette” is important to keep in mind when interacting on the Internet daily, whether in be in online games, social media, or professional sites.   I mention that the rules are hard to learn, but I think if I had to change something about this slide, it might be adding in the fact that everyone will make mistakes online, but we need to be award of our actions and how they affect.  This allows people to feel that it is alright if they would make a mistake, but to maybe think next time about how their actions will affect others and reconsider pressing send.

 

 

What I Learned about my Blog Topic

Over the past few weeks, I have really learned a lot about our topic of etiquette in online spaces.  I think that looking more into this topic has taught me just how expansive and ever-changing Web 2.0 technologies are, and how etiquette online is becoming an important aspect of this growth.  I mean the whole reason for the term “netiquette,” or network and Internet etiquette, is because of the new Web 2.0 technologies that are gaining in popularity each day.  In “Who Am We” by Sherry Turkle, she discusses how people assume different online identities when on the Internet, but more importantly that “the Internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities.”  This really make me think just how important “netiquette” really is because if we are linked to so many people through the Internet, than we are effecting more than just ourselves when we post, write, or act a certain way online.  I think that by interacting more in online spaces, especially Twitter, I have seen how much social media connects us to other people.  Social media has its advantages, and if we are aware of our actions and how we behave online, it can be a great way to connect and communicate with others.

Another important thing that I learned about online etiquette is that there are different rules for different sites, which can make them hard to learn because you learn through experiences and observations online.  On a blogging site called Gigaom, in an article titled “The Future of Online Etiquette is Already Here-It’s Just Unevenly Distributed” written by Matthew Ingram he says, “As anyone who has missed an important email knows by now, modern communications etiquette is a minefield of unspoken expectations and potential anxiety-inducing behavior.”  This quote allowed me to realize that because of all the new Web 2.0 technologies, and with the rules not written down, we are expected to know what the online etiquette rules are, which can cause for anxiety and stress.  Ingram also points out that this is because people are at different stages in their evolution from one technology to another.  Everything is changing and evolving so quickly, that it can be hard to keep up with all the new etiquette practices.

Overall, I have learned that “netiquette” has become such an important part of our world because of how much Web 2.0 technologies are evolving and changing.  It will not go away either because children in this generation and generations to come will grow up in the age of technology.  It will affect how they apply to college or interact with the world.  New technologies already impact how we interact on a daily basis.  I think one of the major things that I learned is that we need to be aware of how we act online because you never know who you are effecting.  Learning the new “netiquette” rules will allow for more effective communication in online and digital spaces.

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Pecha Kucha and Etiquette Reflections

In the beginning of the semester, my Introduction to Writing Art’s class at Rowan University was split into three modules. Students would spend 4 weeks with each of 3 professors, learning about different aspects of writing. For my 3rd module, I was presented with the topic of The Future of Writing. For our big assignment for this class, we were asked to create a different kind of presentation called a Pecha Kucha. This style of presentation follows the outline of 20/20/1. This means that there are 20 slides, which are shown for 20 seconds, with all slides containing only 1 image. This blog post will capture why I chose to present one slide the way I did, and what I have learned about the topic of Etiquette.

To read through the narrative of the presentation, and see the slides we used, please refer to my previous blog post, “Pecha Kucha and Narratives.”

A Walk Through a Slide

I think throughout my entire section of my presentation, my favorite slide was when I discussed how you can learn the rules of etiquette on various social media sites. I approached this topic by trying to remember my first experiences using Facebook and Twitter. I found that when I first started to use these social media sites, I sat quiet for a while. For about a week, I watched the types of posts that people were making. I would check back to see the amount of “Likes” or “Comments” on Facebook, or “Retweets” and “Favorites” on Twitter that each post got. I seemed like this was the best thing to do because I am the type of person that does not like confrontation. I needed to make sure that my first post was not going to be something that someone was easily offended by. I did not want my first week on Facebook or Twitter to end in a “cyber fight.” The image that accompanies this part of my narrative came directly from my Facebook newsfeed. A couple weeks ago, people on Facebook started changing their profile pictures to equal signs on red backgrounds which was meant to represent their acceptance of Gay Marriage and Gay Rights. I am aware that everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on societal topics, but this post was completely inappropriate. The person that posted this was put in her place by the 87 comments telling her that she was being rude for posting such nasty words. This is where my idea for trial and error came from. When posting on Social Media sites, it is tempting to post everything and anything that you are feeling. However, etiquette rules state that people need to be aware of who their audience is in order to maintain a friendly environment. This person obviously did not have the right audience for this post.

Etiquette_facebook

By quoting Margaret Atwood in this section of my narrative, I wished to show that people in the writing world are aware that Social Media sites tend to be places where people say things they shouldn’t. It also helped show that everyone learns the etiquette rules by testing out the waters and observing others. If I had to do this project over again, I might change the narrative of this section to represent more of the trial and error part of social media etiquette instead of making up a scenario to go with the picture. I really believe that the picture speaks for itself, and instead of further explaining the picture, the presentation would have been more effective if I had explained my point further.

 

What I Learned about my Blog Topic

Over the last couple of weeks, I have blogged about the topic of Etiquette on the Internet. I especially paid close attention to etiquette when it comes to social media. I have always been interested in this topic because I have been exposed to many fights on social media sites due to lack of Etiquette. Along with etiquette, we were asked to consider how Web 2.0 tools are affecting the topic we are using for our blogs. Although I have heard the term, Web 2.0, before, I was never aware of what it truly was. The readings for this class really opened up my eyes to the amount of resources are available on the Internet, and the rapidly changing way things work. Even though I paid close attention to etiquette and social media, the topic of etiquette as a whole really opened up new paths for me to explore. After reading lists and lists of rules people think you should follow on the Internet, I started to create my own. Of course my list included numbers of things other people had already thought of, it also went off in its own direction. By researching the topic of etiquette, the most important thing that I learned is that etiquette is constantly changing due to the change in purposes of writing, where we are writing, and who is writing. It is important to keep an eye out for new etiquette rules as things change around us, because we do not want to be left behind posting things that are no longer appropriate. Just like writing technologies are constantly changing and improving, the rules of etiquette are changing too. Another important thing that I learned is that it is hard to write down the etiquette rules for all communities of people. What is appropriate to say in one place may not be appropriate to say in another. People need to be aware of this shift and try hard to stay connected to what is allowed to be posted and what is not. With Twitter, the number of people that can now see our writing as increased, according to Steven Johnson in “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live.” It is important to remember who your audience is when composing a Tweet or a Facebook Status. Although some people crave the online drama of posting inappropriate things and then fighting about it, I certainly do not. After reading all these articles and blogging about them, I know that I am a lot more cautious about the things that I am posting, and I always think before I Tweet or send a Facebook post.

 

 

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Pecha Kucha and Narratives

Here is our presentation on Pecha Kucha: Etiquette! Enjoy! (:

Megan S.

Netiquette, or network and Internet etiquette, is a new cyber word created because of the new Web 2.0 technologies and is gaining popularity with the increased use of online spaces.  Etiquette has always been a part of our culture, but netiquette is a new implied social code used to describe the rules that should be used in online and digital spaces.  So, How should we act online? What do we need to know? and What will happen in the future?  New rules form with new technologies and different communities elicit different etiquette rules because as Turkle mentions the Internet links millions of people in new spaces and changes the dynamic of communities and their creation.  This means that how we act online effects more than just ourselves.  There is no doubt that it can be hard to learn all the new netiquette rules because they are learned through experience and observation online and are constantly changing from site to site.  As Matthew Ingram says with all the competing forms of technology today not everyone is on the same level in using them, so we have to try to become more mindful of our online actions in different online spaces.  Netiquette rules apply to pictures, text, and videos.  It applies to what you write and post online, whether it be in online games, social media sites, or professional sites.  Netiquette is becoming a part of our culture because of the increase of new technologies and communications online.  With our world becoming one dominated by screens everywhere we look, as Kelly points out, we need to think about our actions online.  Netiquette will continue to be a commonly used term because of all the new technologies that are evolving.  Bolter already notes how technical and social interactions are changing writing.  Etiquette is different when writing with a pencil and paper than it is with a computer.  With each new technology and form of communication in different online spaces, we need new etiquette practices.  Learning netiquette rules can allow for effective communication online whether it be in terms of being yourself, security, or social media.

Jillian H.

For the most part, people seem to know how to handle things in person, but when it comes to hiding behind a computer screen, that’s when the fists go flying. The problem with etiquette online is that not everyone agrees on how to use all the different ways we can now communicate. Network Etiquette DOT Net states, “the rules of netiquette are social norms that individuals choose to follow to facilitate effective communication on the internet.”

If these rules aren’t published anywhere, how do you learn them? Unfortunately learning these rules may come from trial and error. You post something, a follower or friend doesn’t like it, and you will usually hear about it through harsh words and rude comments. And then you are embarrassed because you didn’t know that it wasn’t socially acceptable to post that online. Atwood even says, saying things you shouldn’t have is typical of social media sites.

Another troublesome thing about the different etiquette rules is that the rules change due to the purpose of the post. We all know that when we are posting in social contexts, it isn’t a problem to misspell a word, use an abbreviation, tell a joke, or post embarrassing pictures of our friends. However, when you are posting for business, it would be extremely inappropriate to make fun of your boss, and would look pretty bad if you misspelled something.

Last in, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live,” Johnson states that Twitter has increased audience numbers on the things we post. Great. So with more people reading our posts, there is a greater opportunity to offend someone. Look at the rapid movement of the “Two Kids and a Puppy” project.  Within 7 hours, over 1 million people had seen the picture and liked it, helping the girls reach their goal.

So my tip is, don’t post anything on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter that you wouldn’t want to say directly to someone’s face. If you are a perfect gentleman or lady in person, don’t be a brat on the internet.  This rule will generally save you the trouble of being harassed, or embarrassed, and you will be following all the right online etiquette rules!

Sarah B.

A popular netiquette rule is to be yourself, something that’s easier for many online. Websites like Twitter provide a level playing field where people can communicate with their favorite authors or celebrities. People become more honest when dealing with others that would normally make them star struck. As we can see in Margaret Atwood’s blog post, “Atwood in the Twittersphere,” her thousands of followers correct her grammar, offer her advice, and even call her an old lady, none of which would be considered acceptable offline. But Atwood doesn’t mind, saying that it’s like have thousands of ‘precocious grand children.”

These rules of etiquette are almost never made by a website’s creator but by the users. This makes sense when you consider that most of the new content on the web, according to Kevin Kelly’s ‘We are the Web,’ is created by us. Wesch describes a similar process in his “Anthropological  Introduction to Youtube.” He talks about popular videos being created and recreated by us. It is expected that we add our own touches and opinions to things that already exist.  The combination of user creation and self expression leads people to create new communities based off common interests with their own sets of rules. It becomes possible to expand the idea of being yourself. I can be Sarah Borja the Rowan University student as well as Sarah the fairy princess zombie huntress, and both are ‘me,’ depending on where I am.

Us creating the rules can also be negative. As stated in Felix Clays Cracked article, it seems society as a whole has decided it’s okay to act like a jerk on the internet. There’s nowhere else where you can find people vehemently angry and ranting about free entertainment they themselves sought out.

Although proper netiquette is to be yourself, other aspects of netiquette have to do with keeping certain things private.

Nicole M.

Web 2.0 tools have increased the amount we write and provide information about ourselves. It is important to know how to keep your information secure and your profiles private.

Having multiple “selves” through profiles, accounts, and usernames on the internet is very common. Kevin Kelly states “With the steady advance of new ways to share, the Web has embedded itself into every class, occupation, and region” and all of those people are sharing their information. Two of the main rules on Networketiquette.net state that you must use discretion and you must be conservative with the information you share.

Avoid listing as much personal information as possible. Once something is written on the Internet, it is out there forever, which means any user can find it. This puts you in danger of having your information used by companies, websites, or stolen. Social networks have given advertisers access to private user data, so information can easily be compromised. Charles Duhigg states in his article, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets,” that companies can buy personal data about you and create extensive profiles. This is all created by information you put out there, frequently through Web 2.0 tools.

Opportunities to give our information happen every day, like: credit card numbers with online shopping and an About Me’s. This is now second nature to us, but it is an easy opportunity for online criminals to steal information. Anything put out there can be used by someone else if you don’t take the proper protection and safety precautions.

The amount we write about ourselves has increased since the creation of Web 2.0 tools, as well as the amount of access to other people’s work. Obey copyright laws; just because it is easy to access information, does not mean you are able to steal it. University of Pittsburgh conducted a study that said most internet users unintentionally break copy right laws or think copy right laws are no longer in effect, but they are still in effect in cyberspace. In the future, these copy right laws will continue to become more strict to protect original work.

Keep your information safe and follow the laws set in place for internet users to ensure the most safety and privacy possible on the internet and guarantee the safe use of other’s information.

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Tragedies and Social Media Etiquette?

How did you find out about the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013? More likely than not, you probably find out from a Social Media site. I know I did. An analytic company studying Twitter stated that around 4:10 p.m. there were over 300,000 mentions of “Boston explosions.” Just 20 minutes later, there were 700,000 mentions of the “Boston Marathon.”

The amount of support that was seen through Social Media sites throughout the day on the 15th, was incredible. People were sharing their emotional reactions, and it was spreading. Quickly after the spread of the news, support from the community was starting to shine through the feeds. The hashtag #prayforboston was trending, and more than 75,000 tweets mentioned “Pray for Boston” within an hour. Tweets were being written about how the person posting was willing to help. People were tweeting the addresses of Red Cross locations for people to go to donate blood, or if they needed more help. People were even willing to house people who were evacuated from the buildings in which they resided.

While Social Media support is great, it does not always come in such generous forms. There were many people who were oblivious to the tragedy taking place in the city of Boston. Many people went along their day like nothing had happened at all. While I am not suggesting that the world needs to stop when there is a tragedy, I am suggesting that people need to start thinking about their audiences. While some people are grieving the loss of a loved one, they may seek support from others who are grieving as well. Social Media becomes a great place to get this support, but when Newsfeeds and Twitterfeeds are clogged with spring break pictures, or mindless sentences like, “I love my dog,” people become upset with the lack of support that they are getting. It is even worse when people who are not grieving start attacking those who are. Many tweets sending condolences to those who lost during the bombing at the Boston marathon were replied to with things like, “Things like this happens everyday in the Middle East. What is so special about Boston?” While there is always going to be hate in the world, it is not necessary to attack someone for posting a compassionate Tweet or status update.

It truly is amazing to consider the amount of power that Social Media sites have. But it is true that this power is not always a good thing. I know that happy thoughts are the best medicine when it comes to a grieving country, but sometimes people take it too far. Please be aware of the people that are reading the things you post. Someone who is grieving may not be appreciative of a picture of you in a bikini, or with a cold beer in your hand. In a world where the forces of hate are becoming as common as the forces of love, let’s try to be sensitive to the people around us. I know that you would want other people to be conscious of your troubles, too.

To read more about the effects of social media on country wide tragedies, please refer to the following articles:

Boston Marathon Bombing: The Wave of Social Media Reaction

Boston Marathon Bombings Brings Light to Social Media Etiquette Issues

 

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Take a course on Social Media Etiquette!

In previous posts I have discussed the ways in which people can learn the correct etiquette of the various social media sites. Usually I would say that learning the etiquette of these social media sites comes from trial and error. You post something, get yelled at or rude comments made towards you, and then you don’t post things like that again. However, now you don’t even have to succumb to these rude comments and fights through messages. You can take a course on the right kind of etiquette for the particular social media site you are using! How cool is that? HootSuite is an online source for the world of Social Media Culture. They say,” HootSuite is a social media management system or businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard.” The social media management system includes integrations from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, and Tumblr. Before users are able to use these features, they must take a course on “The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Etiquette.”  It is a 22 minute video https://i1.wp.com/www.razorsocial.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/hootsuite_icon1.png

course on social media etiquette and how to properly post on the various sites that HootSuite endorses. I believe this is a very important thing for people to learn, especially business partners and colleagues. The etiquette of face-to-face communication is a lot different than the etiquette used when on a social media site. It is important for people in a business to be able to communicate effectively, especially on collaborative projects. “The Industry Standard for Social Media Education,” which includes HootSuite Training, Social Media Courseware, Lecture Series, HootSuite Certification, and a Professionals Directory can be purchased for $30.99 a month. If this price is outside of your budget, especially if you do not know if HootSuite is the right partner for you, they provide users with a 30-day free trial! Sign up is easy, and they state that it will only take 60 seconds! Talk about fast and free!

Let’s meet the CEO of HootSuite, shall we? Ryan Holmes is the CEO. He also labels himself as a though leader, dog lover and serial entrepreneur. He has brought “Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks out of the dorm room and into the boardroom.” HootSuite is a global leader in social media. They have 6 million users, and are partners with 79 out of the Fortune 100 companies. Even more amazingly, Holmes was a college drop-out who started a paintball company and a pizza restaurant before starting on the HootSuite adventure with Invoke Media, a company he founded in 2009. Along with Ryan Holmes, there are various other team members that do a great job with their respective roles in making the company succeed.

Tired of learning the etiquette of social media the hard way? Well you don’t have to anymore, thanks to Ryan Holmes and HootSuite. Check it out and maybe you will find the end of nasty comments on your status updates or decreasing numbers of followers on Twitter.

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Children and Online Etiquette: What Do They Need To Know?

I began to think about how etiquette online will effect this generation of children that are growing up in this booming age of new technologies.  As it seems, there is no way to avoid the technology that will most likely become a large part of children growing up in this age of evolving technological devices.  As Kevin Kelly states in his article “Becoming Screen Literate” that, “Everywhere we look, we see screens.”  It is becoming a part of our culture.   Children need to be aware of etiquette online, also known as “netiquette,” because it directly affects them and is going to be a daily part of their lives.

While it may be easier for children growing up in this age of technology to adapt to new technologies because they have seen it since they were young, they may not know all of the “netiquette” rules.  As Laila Weir states it the article “Behaveyourself.com:  Online Manners Matter” that, “Understanding how to interact online safely and effectively is, and will be, ever more critical.  As today’s students grow older, they’ll be using the Internet to apply to colleges and jobs, and to communicate with colleagues.”  Children and students in this generation will be more likely to use the Internet to do these types of activities.  How they act online, what they say, and how they portray themselves will matter.  It is a different world now because it used to be that you did a lot of tasks, like applying for a job, by interacting face to face.  The person could interpret what you were saying easier because they could directly hear and see you.  Nowadays, people are using the Internet to apply to jobs and communicate with others.  It can be hard to tell if you are saying something in a certain way online, through an email or message, because people cannot read your body language or hear your voice directly.  People may take what you say in a different way than you intended.  This is why as Weir states, “Yet our children, however much they seem to have been born with iPods growing out their ears, haven’t learned to handle digital communications by osmosis, any more than they innately knew how to write a resume or hold a fork.”  So, even though children are using technology at a young age, they are not innately born with the online etiquette skills that are so important in this day and age.

With this in mind, I think that parents and educators need to begin to teach children what netiquette is, especially when they begin to use social networking sites.  It needs to be known that what you post online can have consequences and come back and affect you in the future.  I think that being careful about what you post on social media sites, or say about others, is one of the biggest etiquette rules to follow.  Children and students need to be able to communicate online in an effective manner because, let’s face it, we are turning into a culture of screens and technology.  A lot of things done face-to-face can now be done online, and it seems to be the most natural way for this generation of children and students to communicate.  With guidance about what the rules of etiquette online are, I think that this generation growing up in this booming and evolving world of technology, can use it to their advantage, communicate effectively, and learn how to appropriately present themselves online.

Here’s a site that you can use to help teach children about manners and etiquette online:  http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/manners-digital-age

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“Your Writing Style Suck Also Does Your Mother”

I was sitting in my room wondering what I would write my next blog post about when my boyfriend thoughtfully sent me the link to this cracked article: 4 Situations Where We’ve All Agreed to Act Like Dicks. By the way, major warning for crude language, if you mind that sort of thing. The four situation the author writes about are driving, spring break, the internet, and rallies. The one that I’m going to focus on, obviously, is the section on the internet.

internet

The author mainly writes about, as I mentioned in previous blog posts, that people will be incredibly rude on the internet even when they wouldn’t be in real life. He gives an example of a comment another Cracked writer has received in response to an article: “Seriously your writing style suck also does your mother but thats not the case, you’re a stupid git and thanks to you I think abortion is a good idea, it’s a shame it wasn’t legal when you were a fetus.” Does that seem like it is vastly ridiculous? Maybe not as much now, since we’re all used to reading comments like that—depressing, I know—but it gets worse when you imagine what it would be like to hear a comment like that in real life. He goes on to give the example of going to a summer festival to watch entertainers, then going to listen to a fiddle player where you stand with hundreds of other people, listening. After the fiddle player finishes his song, an original, most of the crowd likes it, except for you. As everyone else cheers and donates, you yell loudly about how terrible it was and various other, ridiculous, expletive-filled insults. This seems like an exaggeration, but on the internet? It’s really not. The author puts it better than I ever could: “Can you imagine an instance anywhere else in life when you might, when presented with free entertainment that you went out of your way to experience, find said entertainment to be not to your liking and therefore engage in a verbal tirade that could and often will encompass racism, sexism, homophobia, death threats, and overwrought personal hatred and insult?”

insult

Honestly? I’ve learned the rule “Don’t read the comments” so well that I don’t even think about how ridiculous the hate really is. They went, of their own free-will, to go find entertainment that cost them nothing, only to get angry and rage about it in the comments section? How does that make any sense?

Yet most of our blog posts on this matter suggest that these tirades go against netiquette. This article, however, seems to say that it’s the opposite: this is netiquette. As a society, we have collectively decided that it’s acceptable “to act like dicks” on the internet, and this is not a good thing.

Still, I’d like to be a bit more optimistic. Most people aren’t going around being jerks on the internet. It seems like a lot, because they’re so loud about it, but most of us are pretty civil most of the time. I rarely see any fights break out on Facebook .. On second thought, that’s probably because I’ve finally defriended all the right people. Still, I’d like to believe kind people are kind wherever they are.

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Perhaps the Bird?

I’ll admit: when I first found out I had to give up Facebook for a week, I was pretty cocky about it. I’d gone without it for much longer before and I barely even missed it. I figured, hey, I use Tumblr more often anyway, this is going to be a breeze.

And in certain aspects, it was. I have gone the week successfully without checking Facebook once. I deleted the app from my phone and took down the shortcut from Chrome. I didn’t go through withdrawal like an addict, unable to sleep dreaming of my next fix, feeling imaginary ants crawling all over my skin (is that even a symptom of withdrawal..?). But, I have to say, I’m happy I’m getting it back tomorrow. See, what made not having Facebook hard was the fact that I’ve come to depend on it for communication in a lot of ways. Three of my friends and I have this ongoing chat affectionately titled “Coven de brujas” (de brujas meaning of witches in Spanish), the last of many inside jokes.

That became the easiest way to contact three of my closest friends for a whole bunch of things. As I’m from North Jersey, two of the chat members live far away, so this chat became the closest thing we have to hanging out together in real life. Sometimes we’d send a link to something moronic and anger-inducing so we can share how mad we are with each other. Other times, it’s asking for an opinion, and I’ve even posted written assignments for them to proofread. It was this chat that I missed the most this past week. I would find myself wanting to share something with them, but when I realized I couldn’t post it on the chat, I felt at a loss. There wasn’t a convenient way to send them all a link and have their shared response. The most recent example I can thing of is this necklace: I wanted to buy it, but I couldn’t choose between the bird or the cage.

birdorcage

Without facebook, I had to settle for other methods of communication. I ended up texting them, but that took away the option to send them to the listing itself.

This example probably seems like a minor inconvenience, and it was. Honestly, that’s what not having Facebook for a week was: a minor inconvenience.

A day after I stopped using the site, I got a haircut. It was a pretty dramatic change in length, and I was feeling a bit insecure about it. What I wanted to do, as everyone does when they change their appearance somehow, was post a picture to Facebook to show it off. I thought maybe a few likes would help me feel more confident about my new hair, but then I remembered I couldn’t. Along with the times I missed the Coven De Brujas, this was the only time I really missed Facebook. I eventually settled for posting a picture on Instagram and on Tumblr, and I did end up getting a few likes and comments, and I did feel better about it.

This week has shown me that I don’t really need Facebook, but I’m still glad to get it back.

P.S.

I still haven’t decided on whether I want the bird or the cage, so feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions!

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779 Hideously Lucky Individuals

Book cover, American Gods

Book cover, American Gods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. In general, his works are fantasy and incredibly witty. But if Lord of the Rings isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, his work is very modern and would better be described as urban fantasy, which is probably the best sub-genre out there (in my humble opinion). I’ve laughed out loud many times while reading his novels. He’s best known for American Gods, or at least it seems that way because that’s the book everybody recommends. And if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you do. It is definitely in my top 5, which you should know is a very selective list. And if you know the movie Stardust, well, it was based off his short book with the same title. He is also responsible for The Sandman comic series which I haven’t personally read but it seems pretty amazing.

I follow Neil Gaiman both on twitter and on tumblr. Really, his books are only part of the reason I love him so much. Seeing him on social networking sites, I’ve watched him give invaluable advice to aspiring writers like myself, as well as talk about his personal life, like his relationship with his wife, Amanda Palmer (they’re very adorable). And even beyond that, there was his recent, inspirational graduation speech. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend taking the time to listen to it. It blew me away when I did. I’m not ashamed to admit that it made me cry—more than that, it was the main thing that pushed me to continue down the path of becoming a writer. See, when you tell people you’re a writing major, mostly they just ask “What for?” It’s worse when I say I want to write books. I’m usually met with: “Okay, but what do you want to do?” Okay, I would think, I can’t be a novelist; it’s not realistic. What else is there for me? Quite frankly, there’s nothing I really want, and as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, this has been a great source of anxiety for me. But when I listened to Gaiman’s speech, it really hit me. Yes, writing is exactly what I want to do. I have to “make good art.” Nothing else will do.

Surprisingly, the actual point of this blog post is actually not to gush about how wonderful Neil Gaiman is. I’m actually supposed to be analyzing who he follows on Twitter, so let me do just that.

Gaiman follows 779 people as I write this. It’s nothing compared to the almost two million people following him, but it’s still a lot more than a lot of other famous people follow. Like many of us, a lot of the people he follows have that blue check mark of authenticity, although a greater amount do not. Much of the list consists of writers, actors, artists, and musicians, although mostly they seem to be writers of various kinds. Of the writers, most specify that they are fantasy/sci-fi authors. Very few of the bios I scrolled past did not make any claims at being an artist, and most of those had silly phrases like “A comedian from the 90s. Capable of almost 12 facial expressions though I rarely use more than 4 of them.” Honestly, I don’t think I’ve scrolled farther than two names without seeing another artist. There are a few fans sprinkled in, such as the girl with this bio: ”

  • I just love reading, that’s a fact… Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and Neil Gaiman are my favs…”

I can only imagine how she screamed when she saw him on her followers.

Gaiman’s “following” list suggests, very obviously, that he is very committed to the arts. This makes sense, seeing as how he is an artist himself. Yet, it would be very easy to isolate himself, but he doesn’t. The people he follows, as well as his tweets and tumblr posts, show that Gaiman participates with the writer community all around him. He seems to value this community, and he contributes to it while also showcasing the contributions of others. It is the embodiment of the writer as a social creature, and idea I’ve written about previously in this Intro to Writing Arts course. Also it shows that he cares about his wife, who he follows and retweets very often. Did I mention that they’re adorable?

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