Social Media Discussion Questions

As I’m still (mostly) on hiatus from Twitter and Fecebook, I fantasize about having a real-life discussion group to talk about social media. Since I don’t have one, I’ll do what I always do: ask online, which is why I developed a social media dependence to begin with. Please answer as many or as few questions as you like.

  1. Have you ever changed someone else’s mind on social media? How?
  2. Have you ever gotten angry at someone on social media? Why?
  3. Do you have online friendships or relationships with people you’ve never met in real life?
  4. Has a conflict on social media affected you offline, in “real life”? How?
  5. Have you lost friendships over things said and done on social media?
  6. Have you ever been publicly shamed on social media? If so, please describe. If not, why not?
  7. Have you ever joined in a public shaming of someone else?
  8. Have you ever witnessed a social media public shaming? Did you say anything? Why or why not?
  9. Have you ever reported a tweet or post? Why? What happened?
  10. Have you ever been reported?
  11. Do you say things on social media you’re afraid to say in real life?
  12. Do you say things in real life you’re afraid to say on social media?
  13. Have you ever lied on social media? Why?
  14. Do you “like” things you don’t actually like, and refrain from “liking” things you do like? Why?
  15. Do you use social media for political activism? How?
  16. How would you stay in touch with your friends without social media?
  17. If your friends all jumped off a cliff on social media, would you do it too? (Answer: yes.)

Update: my answers are in the fifth comment below.

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Another way the Internet is like the Printing Press

10 years ago, the Free Web was revolutionary, democratizing, and empowering. Many of us correctly compared it to the advent of the printing press, another revolutionary technology that was inextricably linked to the Reformation that soon followed.

What I didn’t consider was that also inextricably linked to the Reformation were the European Witch Hunts. (Perhaps not inextricably linked, but simultaneous, were the European Enclosures.) Now we’re seeing online Witch Hunts (and Enclosures too, hello Social Media). So my enthusiasm for the Internet is a lot more qualified now, as is whatever I had for the Reformation.

Recommended reading (albeit in leaden academic prose – someone should rewrite it for a popular audience!): Caliban and the Witch

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Fecebook/Venmo reading private messages to divert financial transactions

UPDATE: 1. Paypal owns Venmo. 2. E was on his phone, I was at my desktop. I removed fecebook and messenger (ant twitter!) from my phone over a year ago, for increasingly obvious reasons.

It’s difficult to copy-and-paste a fecebook messenger conversation into a blog post, but I tried, because I want people to know about fecebook reading a private conversation about sending money through PayPal, and instantly creating an unauthorized transaction request without either party’s knowledge or permission. Below, text from a conversation between me and E in Fecebook messenger, December 16 2018:

E: Hey where is the pay pal link? I’m not finding it. Or do you have Venmo, that’s even easier

N: Just go to PayPal and send it to ____@_________.com.

Then I see this:Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.16

N: Wait, what? This isn’t PayPal, this is some weird fecebook thing. I really don’t want to give fecebook my bank info. Can you please just PayPal it to  ____@_________.com?

E: Oh fuck I got a request from you via FB and so I sent it. I thought that’s what you were asking. I don’t know if I can retrieve it. If you didn’t request that is fucked up.

There was a little green button so I clicked it.

N: I sure as fuck didn’t send you a fecebook money request.

Can you take a screen cap of the green button/apparent fecebook request? I can publicize and shame them for doing this, it is way unethical.

E: The green button is gone. It is replaced by this:

E’s screencap:

E_screenshot2

N: At least it says it expires.

E: Yes. If you refuse payment I will get it back in a week or so.

At the very least it seems like msft should be pissed.  You were about to send money via  PayPal and FB swooped in.

Here are my screenshots of Fecebook trying to get my card info so I can receive money I didn’t request on a payment platform I don’t use:

Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.16 Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.24 Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.30

N: OK, it was demanding I enter a card first, but after I went through a few pages of “add your card” bullshit there was a little “decline” link. So I just declined it and didn’t give them my card. The whole thing is definitely set up to get the recipient to give them their card info though.

E: Let’s try to replicate that though to see if we can make the green button show up.

N: Hey E, you still owe me $20! Just send it to me via PayPal, to ____@_________.com .

E: Was there and now it is gone!

E’s screenshot:E_screenshot4

N: WHOA
EVIL

E: Here try this.

Hey Nina. Can you please send me $100 by PayPal to ____@_____.com?

N: Hmm, I’m not getting anything

E: I saw one.

N: Maybe because fecebook doesn’t have my card info!

E: I’ll send it to you.

E_fecebook_screenshot

N: Wow. That’s not as bad as the “send” thing, but it’s still bad!

……

E: Yeah the two parts that fuck me up are: 1. you ask specifically to send via PayPal and they give me a green button seemingly to execute your request, and that directs this business to a competitor. 2. Much much more problematic is that AI agents scan all our communications and then act on it in ways that are not in our interests but are in corporate interests. In they old days you needed a wire tap to listen into a phone conversation and it was a federal offense to open someone’s mail. Now you can assume that all your communications are scanned for info.  There is enough computing power now or soon to scan and analyze every bit of human communication plus location shopping reading and website visits, like your entire life is owned.

…..

N: Oh dude – I just went to venmo.com. Look:

Venmo 2018-12-16 10.06.55

N: “Sign up with fecebook.”
Venmo is fecebook.

Below are screenshots of the conversation in fecebook messenger. The text above is supposed to make all this easier to read, but maybe the images below are a better record:

Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.03.29 Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.03.46 Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.04.03 Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.04.44

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Intolerance

I was “no-platformed” in my hometown this week, because months ago and in a completely unrelated context I said “if a person has a penis he’s a man.” I stand by that statement; my views on the subject are formally articulated here. I am ashamed of venues that cave to bullies. They deleted the event page but not before these screenshots were taken.

“Tolerance” is no longer a liberal value. Now the word is “inclusion”, which actually means “silence everyone I disagree with.” I was able to have a productive and valuable conversation with Jordan Peterson, in spite of – or perhaps because of – our differences. It’s not hard; respect, civility, and tolerance are values we share. Meanwhile so-called “left” ideologues can’t tolerate any questioning or dissent; their tactic is to bully and silence women like me.

These same screenshots were posted on Imgur yesterday; in the middle of the night they all vanished. New link here, but it too can be disappeared at any time. That is the world these intolerant political tactics create.

Regardless of political positions, people need to step up for free speech and tolerance. I have always supported the right to speak for everyone, especially people I disagree with. That’s what free speech is about. The alternative is fascism, which the “left” seems to be hell-bent on creating, even more than the “right” they claim to “resist.” They actually share the worst values of those they claim to oppose.

Read it and weep:

Continue reading Intolerance

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Is There A Doctor In The House?

Note: updated below
I NEED HELP. I have an orange-sized fibroid in my cervix, among other problems. The local hospital system is dysfunctional and corrupt – doctors don’t communicate with each other, or with patients (it is, however, one of the most PROFITABLE systems in the country! Isn’t that nice). My so-called “primary care physician” hasn’t seen me in 3 years, though not for lack of trying on my part. I visited the emergency room in great pain last year and since then have gotten bumped from specialist to specialist, and then dropped – it took 4 months to get a referral from the useless rheumatologist for the gynecologist, because someone somewhere dropped the ball and didn’t feel like it was important. Surgery that was supposed to happen this month or next, now won’t even start to be scheduled until July. Maybe. Every time Carle says they’ll do something by a certain time, they don’t – like I said, they took 4 months for a simple referral (and I had to get on their case to do anything about it at all). So even if I absolutely knew surgery was what I needed, there is an enormous trust problem at this point. Do I want these corrupt clowns cutting me?

A doctor in my family recommended someone at Loyola Medical Center who looked promising. So I called, and while they accept Medicaid, they don’t accept Medicaid managed by Meridian, which is what I have. So I called Illinois Medicaid and asked if I could switch to Molina, and they said no, I’m locked in until April of next year. So I called Meridian, who put me on hold for half an hour and then gave me numbers of nearby medical establishments which aren’t Carle. One of them was a disconnected number, the other, Kirby Med Center in Monticello, has no gynecologists at all. I called an affiliated gynecologist in Peoria, but his office is booked until at least July – and that would just be for an initial appointment.

What I REALLY want is a doctor that actually pays attention and can help me figure out what I should do. I won’t get that through my local med system. I probably won’t get that anywhere. But here’s my last-ditch effort before I resign myself to a life of pain and permanent celibacy (I can’t have sex without getting violently ill; celibacy is how I’ve been managing at all):

Are there any gynecologists among my fans? Any? I will travel to your state. I just want someone who will actually pay attention to my case. I am desperate.

Update 5-18: Due to help found through my cry of despair here & on fecebook, I have an appointment Monday with a gynecologist at SIU Med Center in Springfield IL. I was advised that teaching hospitals are eager for patients like me, and so far that seems to be the case. I called this morning, they were very helpful, and called back within 4 hours with said expedited consult appointment.

Then all I had to do was get my records released from Carle. Carle doesn’t accept emails for this (“they take too long,” they said on the phone). You have to visit their new vortex-of-evil administrative hell-plex on Staley road at Curtis, on the outside of town. Fortunately, SpecialManFriend(tm) was kind enough to take me there. I filled out the form, talked to the clerk, and came back after lunch. “Here are your records!” they said, handing me a big envelope. I almost walked off with it, but then decided to read through them first. Good thing, too – they’d neglected the most important, recent, and pertinent records of my MRI and ultrasound. They also neglected to include images, which I specifically requested. I politely asked for these things and they said, “oh, sorry, we’ll print those out now,” and “oh, ok, we’ll burn you a disc.” I’d be disgusted but I’m feeling too hopeful about getting a new doctor in a completely new, totally non-Carle system.

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Civilization

silhouettes

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The Banality of Stupid

Peace Stick2_med

Dear Future,

Greetings from 2017, when we’re having Peak Trans. In 5-8 years this will be over. A generation of children currently being treated with hormones and surgery for being “born in the wrong body” will be suing their doctors and parents. People will no longer say that a penis is female if the penis-haver “identifies as a woman”. The current trend of allowing male athletes to compete “as women” as long as they’re taking estrogen will be history (to refresh: male-to-trans runners, weightlifters, volleyball players, etc. are currently thrashing female opponents because women’s sports organizations are unwilling to appear “bigoted.”)

My (former?) friends are sharing memes (will they still call them “memes” 5-8 years in the future?) that compare males’ demands to access female bathrooms to the Civil Rights Movement, and women who say no to them as white racists. Liberals are insisting that sex – biology – is a social construct, that humans aren’t sexually dimorphic because of the existence of intersex people and clownfish. They pass along sciency-sounding science-denial articles that use the same rhetoric as “creation science.” They denounce “creation science” because it is a tool of the Right, and they fear the Right. Their science denial is of the Left, and they deny it’s science denial. Science denial denial.

My (former?) friends support changing the legal definition of sex from biology to “identity.” If a man says they “feel like a woman,” and someone like me asks, “what does that mean? How do you ‘feel like a woman’? Is ‘woman’ a feeling?” they rush to support the male and condemn me.

I have recently come out as one of those witches who refuses to say males are female; who believes females need sex-segregated spaces like women’s shelters and prisons; who believes women are entitled to say “no” to males for any reason. I have been banned from Facebook* twice and my reddit* account has been suspended permanently. Friends have sent me messages saying they can’t associate with me any longer because I’m so “hurtful” and “ignorant.” I just lost a $2,000 speaking gig with no explanation; since women like me are regularly “no-platformed” as “TERF”s, I assume it’s because of my recently exposed politics.

So right now we’re in the midst of a kind of Liberal mass hysteria. There have been crazes like this in the past: actual witch hunts, McCarthyism, the lobotomy fad of the mid-20th century, the “false memories” of the 1980’s. It could be worse; maybe it will still get worse. But like other trendy hysterias, this will pass.

And when it does, what will you, my (former?) friends, be saying about it?

“Oh that, that time was so weird!” you’ll say, perhaps with an eyeroll or giggle.

Or, “I always knew it was wrong.” You’ll think you were the one who stood up for sanity back then. You’ll forget that you were in fact declaring you were on “the right side of history,” virtue-signaling with your civil-rights-appropriating memes, while shunning and condemning women like me. You will forget.

You will forget that you said “sex is a spectrum, we don’t understand biology.” You’ll forget you vehemently argued that “female brains” can be trapped in male bodies, “it’s SCIENCE!!!” You’ll forget you said “assigned male at birth” as if sex is assigned by transphobic doctors and not observed by anyone with eyes and a brain. You’ll forget that every time someone pointed this out you said “intersex and clownfish!!!” as though they disproved reality, because of some creationist-style sciency-science-denial that supported your politics.

You won’t be that dumb in the future. But right now, you are.

You didn’t know, you weren’t paying attention, it wasn’t your thing, you have to pick your battles. While women like me were screaming about the transing of children and the male pattern violence of males, you “didn’t know.” It was convenient not to know. Meanwhile you got head-pats and excitement in the “movement” (what movement? Against Trump? Why does opposing Trump mean you can’t think critically?) for repeating thought-terminating, loaded language like “trans women are women” and “assigned male at birth” and “cis”.

What will you blame, future? You will probably minimize the problem. It was just women, after all, they’re a minority, right? And so many women are white and middle-to-upper class, they did fine, it didn’t hurt them. OK, some kids got transed and regretted it, we went too far there, we meant well, why are you making such a big deal? It wasn’t that many, they were almost all homosexual anyway. It’s history, it’s over, we know better now.

Oh, Future, we’ll be lucky if you can read this. We’ll be lucky if you’re even there to ignore me.

*Facebook and reddit are social media sites. Will there be social media in the future? Will there even be electricity in the future? Since we’re on the brink of ecological and social collapse, I realize you might not even be able to read this. But if society and the planet are still holding together enough that you can: PAY ATTENTION.
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Modern Ten Commandments

I was recently asked what the Ten Commandments would say if they were written today. I suggested these:

  1. Thou shalt go to college and acquire at least a Bachelor’s degree.
  2. Thou shalt root for at least one sportsball team.
  3. Thou shalt drive a car.
  4. Thou shalt eat the flesh of animals.
  5. Thou shalt breed.
  6. Thou shalt worship babies, and mothers, and parents. With thy tax penalties shalt thou worship them.
  7. Thou shalt be monogamous, that thou mayst treat thy partner as property even while denying it.
  8. Thou shalt copyright everything, that thou mayst censor even while denying it.
  9. Thou shalt bank and use credit cards and organize thy days according to “work” and “bills”.
  10. Thou shalt not question any of these commandments, lest thou be some kind of radical freak.
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Circumcision! NSFW

This is Not Safe For Work, so gif is under the fold. Continue reading Circumcision! NSFW

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Day at the Creation Museum

Moishe 'n' me

Moishe ‘n’ me

The Creation Museum in Kentucky is really a marvelous testament to what money can buy. A temple of Mammon, if you will. Designers and craftspeople work for money, not ideology, and the money here paid for some good ones. It reminded me a lot of Las Vegas that way.

You won’t learn much about the Bible here, since creationists really pick and choose. From an Old Testament perspective the whole place is outrageously idolatrous, violating the Second Commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth…” —Exodus 20:4-6 (KJV)

Finally, the Creation Museum is a magnificent monument to the limits of human psychology. Here it’s especially easy to see the extraordinary lengths humans go to to make some kind of PALATABLE sense of the world. I vastly prefer science to biblical authority, but even the best method of inquiry gets mashed through our squishy, emotional, fallible, fragile human minds. It’s easy to make fun of creationists, but we all have similar longings to understand the world, and there’s only so much cognitive discomfort we can handle before we just project on reality as we see fit.

Big ol' bible dinosaur at the entrance

Big ol’ bible dinosaur at the entrance

The Bible is authoritative, without error, and inspired by God. UNLIKE YOUR SILLY "SCIENCE" NONSENSE!

The Bible is authoritative, without error, and inspired by God. UNLIKE YOUR SILLY “SCIENCE” NONSENSE!

Continue reading Day at the Creation Museum

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Dvorak Diary #2: Offline

On a recent trip to Trivandrum, India, I decided to try learning to touch-type in Dvorak (after decades of hunt-and-peck in QWERTY). Here I share some excerpts of my “Dvorak Diary”.

japan-earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-unforgettable-pictures-wave_33291_600x450

Tuesday, December Thirtieth, Two thousand fourteen….

I have been kinda ‘offline’ since returning. The last legs of my flights were awful, and I still haven’t recovered, though at this point it’s probably jetlag more than exhaustion that has me failing to connect to ‘my’ world and identity. I haven’t felt connected online, and am concerned about how I let Facebook information just wash over me with no real engagement on my part. It’s a hell of a lot of information to just suck through me like a stream. I surely have more than enough information rattling around in my head already. Maybe it’s time to let it settle, to digest it and let it adjust to the habitat of my mind and maybe make something of itself instead of just washing through like a tsunami. I feel less satisfied being an information node than a full human animal. Jetlag reminds me I am an animal, and no amount of information can heal my exhausted body. I recently read that staring into screens is terrible for sleep – I read that staring into a screen, ha ha – so last night I didn’t check email or read Facebook.

Is Facebook the television of today? It’s not broadcast, and it can be useful sometimes, but I become very passive with it, especially at night when I turn to it in my insomnia.

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Dvorak Diary #1: Airport

On a recent trip to Trivandrum, India, I decided to try learning to touch-type in Dvorak (after decades of hunt-and-peck in QWERTY). Here I share some excerpts of my “Dvorak Diary”.

Dubai Airport

 

December Twenty-Fifth, Two Thousand Fourteen….

The airport here has two levels. Lower is a huge confusing mall like Heathrow; upper is one huge business class lounge with its own gates. Lower is a dystopian capitalist nightmare; powerless citizens oppressed by armed guards are blasted with ‘luxury’ images and stores. The more oppressed, powerless, and confused the human, the more vulnerable to advertising. The violence behind capitalism is apparent at airports. Armed guards at the periphery, armed guards at every step, and at the center: shopping. But the business class lounge is ad-free and store-free. ‘Luxury’ goods aren’t for the rich and powerful, they’re for the disempowered middle class. They are the only way to gain a sense of power where all other power has been stripped away.

I started typing that at the Dubai airport but finished it here on the plane. That’s how slow a typist I am.

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Über Alles

Love1

An image representing “domestic coupledom,” inspired by Against Love: A Polemic by Laura Kipnis, which I have really been enjoying lately.

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This Land Is Mine is yours

Due to horrific recent events, This Land Is Mine has gone viral again.

Here’s a reminder that you don’t need permission to copy, share, broadcast, post, embed, subtitle, etc. Copying is an act of love, please copy and share. Yes means yes.

copying is an act of love, please copy and shareAs for the music, it is Fair UseThis Land Is Mine is a PARODY of “The Exodus Song.” That music was sort of the soundtrack of American zionism in the 1960’s and 70’s. It was supposed to express Jewish entitlement to Israel. By putting the song in the mouth of every warring party, I’m critiquing the original song.

 

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“Congratulations on Reproducing!”

This piece of perfection comes from Dinsoaur Comics. Posted here because I love it.

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