What I'm Geeking Out About This Week - 11/14/14


Welcome to this week in geek!

I have a random selection of awesome things I'm into this week so lets get to it!

I recently downloaded this app for the first time to finally check it out for myself. I've been hearing a lot about it in professional circles and have read about it so I thought it would be good to see what was being said around my institution. It is consistent with the current zeitgeist about the app; a lot of sexist, angry, trivial, stream of consciousness posts. I agree that these things aren't being said because of Yik Yak, the app is just providing a platform for them. I'm interested to see how people to adapt to this app in the social media landscape, and where students and young people go next once Yik Yak isn't "cool" any more.

I just watched this movie after hearing some good buzz about it when it came out earlier this year. It is written and directed by Jon Favreau (and also stars him as the titular chef, Carl Casper) of Iron Man fame. The movie is about a chef who has lost his passion for his cooking and has an existential crisis when a food critic smacks down his work online. He eventually opens up a food truck and begins to piece his life back together with his estranged wife and son. The film is a lot about the emotional relationship we can have with food and cooking, as well as the art of a masterfully prepared meal. It is a fun, light, heartwarming movie with some excellent actors in supporting roles like Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey, Jr., Dustin Hoffman, and John Leguizamo. I recommend you check it out, especially if you're a foodie!

This web series was created by Jerry Seinfeld and it is exactly what the title suggests. We see Jerry ride around in vintage cars with popular comedians and they chat while they get coffee. It's simple yet brilliant in its minimalism. He's had guests on such as Jon Stewart, Aziz Ansari, Louis C.K, Patton Oswalt, and Tina Fey. Every episode is fun and unique and I've enjoyed pretty much all of them so it's great to spend some time with since it is a wholly authentic effort on Seinfeld's part since he's having real conversations in real places with these people. It feels very raw and benefits from it.

Thanks for stopping by!


The Human Side of Social Media


"Anytime there is a tweet, post, picture, or any sort of content on social media...there is a human being behind that."

After recently reading some interesting perspectives on the popular app Yik Yak from folks like Eric Stoller and Paul Gordon Brown, I recently had some thoughts of my own on the subject in a macro sense.

Anonymity on the web is a topic for serious discussion and there have been a lot of concerns lately about privacy and protecting our information, which are definitely completely valid. I personally typically fall on the side of being open and authentic online. In general though, especially when it comes to the civil discourse of important topics while on social media, I feel being ourselves is always valuable and necessary.

Whether it is the use of a screen name on YouTube or cyberbullying incidents that have become more common on campuses across the country, there is a basic tenant of being ourselves in the various social networks we inhabit. Much of the vitriol and negativity online comes when there is no accountability to the person saying it. The types of things we say to each other on the web would never be uttered in public. The protective shroud of anonymity allows for hateful things to come out of us, which I would attribute to being emotional knee jerk responses rather than how we all know we should treat each other.

A public, personal web is one where people can be accountable to what they say, and represent what is truly behind their words; a human being. We often forget that anytime there is a tweet, post, picture, or any sort of content on social media, there is a human being behind that. Someone took the time to type something out and send it, no matter what you might think. We should engage with empathy, as we would in any other venue.

I look forward to a more civil, respectful web where we are able to authentically connect about the issues and topics that matter to us. How we get there is through being mindful of the other people out there with us, and through digital literacy. As a student affairs professional, everyday I help people understand the power of their actions on others, we should be doing the same for the digital realm. I fully support programs, workshops, and tools to help students (and anyone really) learn how to best behave online. I believe the type of negativity I see on Yik Yak and elsewhere is not us. I am optimistic in people's true natures and have seen the type of positive outcomes that can come from online communities. We can and will do better in our online interactions in the future, we just have to work to make that a reality sooner rather than later.

I appreciate your thoughts on this...and as always, thanks for stopping by.