A new Facebook app, developed in conjunction with a Texas Department of Transportation anti-DUI/DWI campaign, will hopefully help reduce the horrible toll of drunk driving among college students and young adults.
"Breaking up is never easy to do," sang those immortal Swedish songsmiths, and they sang rightly. But like so many other psychologically messy events in modern life, it is rendered easier by Facebook, which lets you do it all online.
During the footloose and fancy-free early days of social media, it was quite common for people to become online "friends" with really just about anyone who asked: as long as it wasn't Hitler or NAMBLA, why not use social media to stay in touch with some random person you just ran into on the subway?
The phenomenon of the social media revolution is about four years old, if you take the June 2009 Green Movement or Green Revolution in Iran as a starting point. So now seemed like an appropriate moment to do a quick recap of social media uprisings to date, and survey them for any common elements. One thing certainly stands out: the incredible power of visual imagery and short video clips shared over social media.
If there's one neologism that encapsulates the weird dynamics of our modern techno-society, it has to be "oversharing," with its strange combination of cloying therapy-speak ("sharing is caring!") and dismissive disinterest, all wrapped up in a euphemistic gerund: truly, an awkward word for an awkward age.
This is either very grim or very awesome: in an attempt to battle their own social media addictions, two graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a device that delivers electric shocks to an individual who uses social media excessively.
Technology has been evolving at an exponential pace ever since the Industrial Revolution, if not earlier. If you feel ambivalent about the impact this has on our lives, you're not the only one. Two new surveys -- one by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc., the other by Harris Interactive -- show that Americans, while enamored of some aspects of technology (including social media) are also quite skeptical about the whole relentless-disorienting-stream-of-change thing.
Okay, so the NSA isn't in the habit of making public statements unless it gets caught doing something extra-sneaky, but it's easy to imagine the spooks at our premiere spook outfit rubbing their hands with anticipation over Mark Zuckerberg's much-ballyhooed plan to extend Internet access to billions of currently Internet-less people around the world.
Boy, they're not getting any smarter out there, are they? In the latest instance of what can only be termed criminal idiocy on social media, 18-year-old Luis Enrique Rodriguez of Anaheim, CA was arrested after "liking" a photo of himself engaged in destructive behavior during a riot in Huntington Beach, CA. That would be bad enough in terms of sheer idiocy, but get this: he liked the photo on the Facebook page of the Huntington Beach Police Department.
Like chocolate and peanut butter, or bananas and peanut butter -- really, anything and peanut butter -- it seems like spectator sports, social media, and digital out-of-home technology just kind of go together. A good part of our enjoyment is social, as we root for the team with other fans, and there's an ocean of player stats and data for wonkier fans to share and debate. Meanwhile, what could be more exciting than seeing your own comments splashed up on digital signage in front of thousands of fellow spectators?