Facebook's New "Real Name" Policy Is Unfair and Dangerous

Categories: Internet

Photo by Marco Pakoeningrat
The social network giant's new "real name" policy has many Facebook users crying foul.

Recently, the social networking powerhouse that is Facebook unveiled a new policy requiring all of its users to register under their legal names. Facebook claims that the newly enforced policy makes the site safer for everyone, protecting them from fraud and other activities that might allow some to be victimized by another person using an alias.

On the surface such a policy might seem reasonable. After all, why should a person on a social networking site feel the need to use a made-up name if he or she isn't up to anything sinister?

Looking closer at the issue, it becomes clear that there are many reasons Facebook's new policy is a bad one and that it may create more victims than it actually protects.

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Why Are Male Fandoms So Hostile to Women?

Photo by Sam Howzit
Here there be sexism

Lately, I've become aware of sexism and misogyny in the most unexpected of place - geek fandom culture.

I was a comic book nerd when I was a kid, but haven't touched a super hero comic in decades, so I was unaware of the dramatic ways things had changed in fandom over those years.

So you'll have to excuse me for thinking that fandom stuff was still primarily the territory of awkward, but mostly benevolent, too-fat or too-skinny male outcasts who are persecuted for their interests. See, that's the thing. I grew up as one of those people, and most of my friends were into the same role playing games, comic books, and horror movies that I was. Some of them were also early computer nerds, so fascinated by the possibilities of the extremely primitive home computers they had at the time that they were willing to spend their time practicing old-fashioned programming languages instead of hanging out with the cool kids at school.

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4 Teenage Activities That Technology is Making Disappear

Photo by Saad Faruque
"Leave the house? Why?"
Technology has always altered the ways in which we communicate with one another and entertain ourselves, but those changes are accelerating and dramatically affecting the ways that we socialize. Much has been said about how social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are transforming the ways in which we communicate, and it's clear that's true. But there are other effects that our increasing reliance on the Internet as a socialization tool is having on our culture. These trends are obvious everywhere, but especially when it comes to social customs among young people.

4. Malls may disappear, and the Internet is partially to blame.

I never thought of myself as a mall rat when I was a teenager back in the '80s, but I guess my friends and I spent a lot of time hanging out in Houston malls (such as Sharpstown and Memorial City) way back then. The mall was a destination, a place to go when we wanted to get out of our houses, girl watch, and play some arcade games. Sure, we'd occasionally shop at places like the original Dream Merchant in Sharpstown Mall. But for the most part, we went to malls as a way to socialize, and a way to interact with other teenagers.

Malls were sort of their own world. A place where adult authority was still present, but somehow seemed diminished. I think the only time I ever felt the stern hand of the adult world in an '80s shopping mall was when my group of pals ran into an older friend of my mother, and she gave me grief for wearing an obscene Circle Jerks shirt. I don't think we were alone. Malls were an important part of teenage life for decades.

But malls are in trouble these days. There are estimates that of the roughly 1,100 active malls around currently, about half will close over the next 20 years. Teenagers just don't seem to view the mall as the center of their universes anymore.

There are a lot of reasons for this phenomena, ranging from consumers buying online more and more to the death of certain types of retailers once common to shopping malls. Which bring us to...

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Why Slenderman Is the Internet's Favorite Monster

Screebgrab via Youtube.com
If you've spent any time on popular news sites over the past few days, you may have come across the bizarre story out of Wisconsin about a 12-year-old who was stabbed by her classmates. While this is one of those things that are shocking on their own, it's made weirder due to mentions of "Slenderman" by the attempted murderers.

Of course, this led to everyone and his mother racing to explain to a confused general population just what Slenderman is, even though he's had a Wikipedia page since August 2012, had a Fox cartoon made about him, was a monster of the week (kinda) on Supernatural three months back and you can find Slenderman costumes in all reputable costume shops.

Okay, so maybe those references are still a bit obscure -- Supernatural is still a CW show, after all -- but it's still kind of funny watching CNN and the like using the same bits of information from the same sources to pretend they're up to speed on the Slenderman phenomenon. While they can certainly rewrite the same three facts with the best of them, none of them have been able to speak to why the creature is so popular with the Internet.

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Watch Out, Fashion Bloggers, Beauty Vloggers Are Taking Over & Making Millions

Photo by michellefawn via Instagram
She made $5 million last year.
Fashion blogging has taken the world by storm but it pales in comparison to the exponential growth of beauty vlogging. In just a few years, the format once seen as a space for amateur makeup and hair stylists to showcase their tips has exploded into a huge media business and made its stars millionaires in the process.

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Twitch Plays Pokemon: Perhaps It Is We Who Are the Pocket Monsters

It's weirder than you think.
You've seen The Truman Show, right? Oh, no? Okay, go ahead and do that. It's cool. I'll wait.

Good movie, right? Now imagine if Truman had an earpiece, and into that earpiece is piped the reactions of every single audience member across the land. Now imagine that they are all shouting commands at him, and Truman must do the first one he hears after finishing a task, regardless of what it is.

Walk. Run. Dig. Rifle through your pockets. Switch directions. Break some shit. Fight that guy. Throw your wallet away. Jump off that cliff.

Something very much like that is happening right now on the Internet. It is a phenomenon called Twitch Plays Pokemon, and even if you are like me and care nothing at all about Pokemon, I urge you to keep up with it. It is endlessly fascinating.

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Pop Rocks: Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony Ring Fail Dominates

The greatest tragedy in the history of opening ceremonies...you would think.
Amid all the problems and complaints that have surrounded Sochi and the $50 billion that was spent for the city to host the Olympic Games, you would think that the most horrifying problem of all time was the fact that a mechanical ring didn't open during the initial ceremonies. Sure, there are all kinds of problems with accommodations, packs of stray dogs roaming the streets until they are shot, reports of homeless humans being ushered out of the city and families forced into tiny apartments after their homes were razed in favor of Olympic needs. But, my God, did you see the ring malfunction?

During the opening ceremonies on Friday, a set of lit-up snowflakes dropped from a gantry inside the enormous stadium built only to house the opening and closing ceremonies -- there's a good use of funds -- slowly expanded to create the Olympic rings. The only problem was that one of those rings didn't open. Oops.

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Tila Tequila's Meltdown Seems Awfully Familiar


There's nothing quite like a celebrity meltdown to raise public interest, eh?

It seems that celebrity meltdowns -- from A-Listers like Charlie Sheen and Kanye West to obscure actresses like Amanda Bynes -- are happening at a rapid pace as of late. Although most of these meltdowns are a result of some pretty legit issues, whether it be addiction, mental health issues, or simply the stress and chaos of constantly being in the public eye, we watch every move with bated breath, waiting for the next big incident to occur.

As a result, a well-timed meltdown can be quite boosting for the career, even if the idea of increased publicity wasn't what was driving the bad behavior in the first place. There's a laundry list a mile and a half long of stars who have seen a renewed interest in their careers post-meltdown -- Charlie Sheen, Kanye West, all of the Kardashians and Amanda Bynes have found themselves on the covers of tabloids mid-meltdown, despite how slow or nonexistent their careers were at the time.

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Pop Rocks: Sharkeisha, the Viral Sensation Surrounding a Sucker Puncher from Houston

Categories: Internet

Sharkeisha with the bitch slap.
Update: According to a press release from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the girl in the video known as "Sharkeisha" has been charged with Assault with Bodily Injury as a result of the video. She was taken into custody on this class A misdemeanor Thursday morning and is being held by the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. Video taping assaults is clearly not a good idea.

Original Entry:

People on the Internet love videos of other people getting hurt, punched and kicked, whether it be intentional or otherwise. They also love videos of black people being sassy (ask Antoine Dodson or Sweet Brown). And they really love sharks (Sharknado anyone?). Put them all together and you might have the most talked about T-shirt in ThinkGeek.com history (it would probably also have a wolf, a light saber and a unicorn), or an Internet meme spawned by a sucker-punching girl from Houston with a funny-sounding name.

The cell phone video, which spread virally after it was posted on WorldStarHipHop.com, of a teen named Sharkeisha punching another teen, allegedly over a boy, shows Sharkeisha sucker punching 17-year-old Shamichael Manuel and then beating and kicking her repeatedly outside an apartment complex on Mills Road. The two reportedly were friends who both attended Cypress Creek High School. Manuel, interviewed by KHOU, said the now-viral video of the beat down is increasing the humiliation she feels, not surprisingly.

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Facebook Losing Teens; Where Have All the Teenagers Gone

Categories: Internet, The Web

In my spare time, I am a communication professor, and for the past few years I have been teaching a history of mass media course on the college level. Each semester, the students put together a media diary in which they monitor their media usage for three days. It's usually pretty eye-opening for them to see just how much media they consume. However, the past few semesters have also been eye-opening to me.

"I barely use Facebook anymore," one of my students said this semester, "because it's too annoying." (Italics, mine).

In fact, the majority of my students mentioned a decline in their use of the social media giant, opting instead for Instagram or Twitter. Given this information, I was not at all surprised with the report that came out this week stating that teens were leaving Facebook.

According to Facebook's Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, teen usage of the social network fell in the last quarter.

"We did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens," Ebersman said, sending down the stock from the rise it saw after earnings were announced. "We wanted to share this with you now because we get a lot of questions about teens."

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