Now Reading

I like to call it my vacation. Although it really wasn’t. On and off for the past 6 months I’ve been rehabbing a house. Since the end of November it’s become the primary focus. And by that I mean lots of downtime spent waiting on craftspeople, trash haulers, and volunteers who are graciously hauling off donated furniture, clothing, and various tchotchkes that will hopefully bring joy to someone else’s life. The silver lining to waiting, beyond the obvious removal of heaps of trash and beautiful new hardwood floors, is lots of time to read.

And I most certainly did read. No one has to tell me twice.

Everything Is Wrong With Facebook’s Year In Review by Karen Fratti and the piece she references- Facebook Shouldn’t Apologize For “Year In Review” – You Should, For Using It by Eric Sasson.

Good read. I’m still thinking about it, almost a week later. There’s a lot to work through here. I’m sensing there will be a more in-depth post about the subject soon.

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Also this, on self-censorship  –  which I read independent of the two articles I just mentioned. I Will Not Post This: The Coming Age Of Self-Censorship by Dave Pell.

Best take-away line: “The Internet is like your high school cafeteria.” A significant observation given that I still see much of what happened in my high school cafeteria happen across the Internet dozens of times a day, as retweets, Facebook “opinion” posts, anonymous (and sometimes not-so anonymous) comments across multiple platforms, and worst, as videos. And yet, what would happen if we all became scared of publishing, or sharing our thoughts and opinions?

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And this, by the then editor of Valleywag, who retweeted the now infamous Justine Sacco tweet. (I swear this blog post didn’t set out to have a theme, although one does seem to be emerging, doesn’t it?) Justine Sacco Is Good At Her Job, And How I Came Peace With Her by Sam Biddle.

Those people I just talked about? The ones who retweet, post comments on blogs and “opinion” posts on Facebook? He admits to being one of them. And he humanizes that moment where everything falls apart in our “always-on” society. He admits he didn’t know Justine Sacco, or anything about what she thought or felt. He admits he didn’t give it much thought before he retweeted her comment about AIDS and Africa. He saw a bad tweet. Plain and simple.

And yet, when words are written by humans (as opposed to those irritating bots on my twitter feed) it rarely is that simple.

And what about Justine Sacco? How distracted was she to think that tweet wouldn’t be misinterpreted? Or did she just think that it would only be seen by the hundred or so people who followed her on Twitter. People who were surely her friends, and would get the irony of the tweet?

I have been distracted. And I’ve also believed that my Facebook Page, my Twitter and Instagram Feeds, and my email are under my control. It can be a toxic combo, and ANY of us could find ourselves right in the middle of just what happened to Justine Sacco, if we’re being honest. And, being honest, that’s exactly what did happen to Mr. Biddle.

Kudos to Mr. Biddle for using his experience to remind us that we’ve all been the one to retweet, post and comment without thinking of the human behind the words. And holy wow, hats off to Ms. Sacco for not being bitter or resentful. That’s class.

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