This week I am presenting the “On Being” podcast hosted by Krista Tippett. Her guest in this particular episode was Danah Boyd, with the tagline “The internet of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” I am so glad that I chose to present this work because I feel like there is so much that can be done with it. I think because they covered so much, there are so many insightful discussions that we can have that I envision a conversation that can take us down so many different rabbit holes. Just to highlight some of the things that stood out from the podcast itself, I can’t help but think about the hashtag #ifiwasshot. This was an exercise that took place after the protests in Ferguson Missouri after the death of unarmed black man Michael Brown. Young blakc men were posting two pictures of themselves and posing the question if they were shot, which image would the news use of them. This was a blatant, open, and frankly warranted criticism of how most media outlets were framing those who were unjustly killed by police. It ties into their discussion about intertwined communities that have become due to the internet and was a way to illustrate how powerful of a tool that it really is.
One more thing she talked about was how young people interact on the internet. She mentioned this idea of self bullying (sounds like Stand Up to me). I had never heard that term used before, but her comments on it were pretty eye opening. She brought up an old website called Formspring (If you know, you know). This was essentially an anonymous messaging board where people could write things about you, without anyone knowing who it was. She dug deeper into this and found that people were posting hurtful messages to themselves to get reactions from people essentially lifting them up. That plays into how social media is in general is used be people to get a rush of serotonin with some things that they post.
One thing that was not brought up on the podcast, but could not help but let my mind wonder there is this new craze of cancel culture. Buckle your seatbelts, because I plan on talking about this one for a bit during my presentation this week. Where twitter and other forms of social media can be mobilized to do something powerful like the hashtag that I mention above, it can also play a role in possibly ending someone’s career. Or at the very least doing significant damage. Now, I want to be very clear that I absolutely understand that there is plenty that falls under that umbrella that is certainly warranted. However, I question if it goes too far? The reason why I think it fits so well with what they are discussing on this podcast is because of something that Ms. Boyd mentions it in the talk. She talks about how we have created so much access, that our information will find its way online. It is almost as if we need a variation of Miranda rights read to us before signing up for. “Do you understand anything you post or share can be used against you in the court of public opinion?” I know I know, “well you should know that people can see all of the things you post” or “Just set your account to private.” All great in theory, but it does not always work that way in practice. Again, couldn’t help but let my mind wander, and this is definitely a path, as one of the pathfinders this week, that will blaze together.