The Nature of Social Media in a Nutshell

opinions

Meme found on Facebook

I was checking on Facebook this evening and, alas, was inspired to end the work week with a bit of snark. This really is the nature of social media, and especially (but not exclusively) twitter. It’s also the nature of blogging and fandom.

Over the past year and a month or two, my investigation into “science fiction fandom” (as opposed to science fiction) seems to indicate something pretty similar to what you see above. The same as when you comment on twitter, and for that matter, blog in general, Facebook, Instagram, whatever.

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Facebook Author’s Page

ff author page

James Pyles’ Facebook Author page

Yes, I’m engaging in more shameless self-promotion. However, a number of people have been encouraging me to create an author page on Facebook now that several of my stories are on the cusp of publication. I’ve already got an Amazon Authors page, but that promotes mainly my non-fiction work, at least until several days after the Zombie Pirate Publishing’s anthology World War Four publishes and I can add a link to that page from the eBook.

I only created the Facebook page less than an hour ago as I write this, so there’s not much content at the moment. Still, I hope you stop by and click “Follow” or “Like.” You could even add a comment or two. I could use the company. ūüėČ

When Banning and De-Platforming Becomes Censorship

censorship

Image courtesy of Bill Kerr via Flickr

I always get some blow back when I post anything political on this blog, and I’ve been actively trying to avoid it for the past several days (which is why I have twitter and Facebook). However, I was very impressed by an article published by “The Federalist” (yes, they’re conservative)¬†I read today¬†titled The Stigma Against My Conservative Politics Is Worse Than The Stigma Of Being Gay written by Chad Felix Greene. In my opinion, Greene successfully compared his being bullied when he came out as gay at age 16, and how he is sometimes harassed online now that he’s adult and his political views have become increasingly conservative.

You can click the link I provided above to read the whole article, but I want to focus on one thing he brought up. Greene quoted from a story published on “Vox” (which is heavily biased left and not considered all that accurate) called Milo Yiannopoulos’s collapse shows that no-platforming can work. Now before anyone gets upset, I have no use whatsoever for Yiannopoulous. When I first heard about him and the various panic attacks being experienced¬†on college campuses where he had spoken or wanted to speak, I looked up some of his content, and the guy is way over the top.

news source biasHowever, as “Vox” reports, removing all of Yiannopoulous’s online support essentially sank his career, and therein lies the tale.

There’s quite a bit of buzz in certain conservative circles about content bias against conservatives on social network and crowdfunding platforms. Yes, they all have “Right of Use” policies, and if you legitimately violate said-policies, your account can either be temporarily suspended or permanently banned. However, are those policies always applied impartially?

At “Business Insider,” I found an article called A top Patreon creator deleted his account, accusing the crowdfunding membership platform of ‘political bias’ after it purged conservative accounts it said were associated with hate groups. Highly successful liberal, atheist author and podcaster Sam Harris deleted his very lucrative Patreon account (nearly 9000 paying patrons) because he said the platform unfairly discriminated against conservative creators. That earns him “hero of the month” in my book. Too few people are willing (including me sometimes) to look past their politics to see that if it’s unfair, it’s unfair no matter if you¬†do it to a¬†conservative or a liberal.

However, the problem is much worse than what we might see on the surface. I found the BI article on Facebook, and a responding comment said:

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Peace on Earth

tribute lights

© Carla Bicomong

We launched the candles. The tribute was organized by telephone and mail so it was really hard, but we did it.

“Hi. I’m Jill.” She startled me. I’d been listening to other people talk, but I assumed they were already friends, I mean real life friends.

“I’m Dave. Pleased to meet you.” We shook hands and I started to blush. “Sorry. I’m a little nervous.”

“Me too.”

“Everyone’s so much nicer than I expected.”

“That’s the point. twitter, Facebook, Instagram turned us all into opinionated monsters.”

“But now that we destroyed them, there’ll be peace between people.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 97.

After yesterday’s “challenging” series of conversations on twitter (which admittedly, I asked for), I decided that the people I briefly sparred with are most likely much nicer human beings in person than they are on twitter. Libertarian commentator and Orthodox Jew Ben Shapiro even admitted that he’s more snarky on twitter than he is in real life. I suppose it’s the nature of the beast, the “beast” being social media, and particularly twitter.

So in my wee fantasy, I killed twitter, Facebook, and the rest of them. Would that bring peace to mankind? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be so easy to insult and slander people we don’t know if they didn’t exist.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Be Careful What You Tweet

roseanne barr

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – MARCH 23: Roseanne Barr at the “Roseanne” Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on March 23, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)

Warning: This is a commentary, not a piece of fiction. If you came here for the fiction, this brief essay may not be for you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Roseanne Barr major twitter gaffe that got her show cancelled, the whole Colin Kaepernick “taking the knee” protests, and how ABC and the NFL have respectively responded to them, all in terms of Free Speech Rights.

First let’s get something out of the way. What’s the short definition of Free Speech Rights? According to Wikipedia, it is:

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution declares, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It’s actually a lot more complicated and nuanced than that, but let’s roll with what I’ve just quoted.

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The Retreat

the retreat

© Karen Rawson

“You’re building a cabin here, Grandpa? Why?”

“There’s nothing here, Cece. I’ll have that wreck up top demolished and put my cabin there.”

The eleven-year-old still couldn’t understand. “But no electricity, plumbing, or wifi? Yikes.”

“Solar will provide electricity, and the water and sewage lines run this far out. No wifi’s the point”

“I’d die.”

“People my age get tired of the constant bombardment of opinions in social media.”

“Turn off your computer.”

“Can you?”

“What will we do when I visit?”

“Hike, fish, explore the beauty of nature. This is where real life happens, not on Facebook and twitter.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I saw the challenge right after looking at Facebook and twitter, and frankly, sometimes the demand and entitlement qualities of some of the comments are pretty hard to take. I’m torn, because the internet has also become an important information source for me, as well as a method of communication (hence this blog), but it’s a double-edge sword.

Today’s wee tale is my commentary on all that. Sometimes you have to turn everything off for a while and walk away, remembering that social media is an illusion and real life exists “out there”.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.