LivesOn

As I was looking for different terms and services for social media regarding their policy on after the user has passed, I came across the app LivesOn. LivesOn is an application associated with Twitter, and their premise is to let the user keep tweeting, even after they have died. It’s a type of “social afterlife,” and the slogan on their site reads “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.”

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According to an article from The Guardian, LivesOn “uses Twitter bots powered by algorithms that analyse your online behaviour and learn how you speak, so it can keep on scouring the internet, favouriting tweets and posting the sort of links you like, creating a personal digital afterlife.” The concept for the app actually reminds me of an episode of the show, Black Mirror, where a woman communicates with her husband who passed away through an app similar to this. I guess LivesOn is a way for people to still “live on,” but it’s a little strange to me.

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Ex Machina

I found myself thinking about the plot line of Ex Machina long after I watched it. Ava was so intriguing, and even though for most parts of the film the audience can physically see her as a robot, I didn’t think of her that way.  She obtained so many human characteristics that it almost became hard for me to distinguish between robot and human.

In the The  Atlantic article, Adrienne LaFrance speaks of some of the leeriness humans have over artificial intelligence, saying “A distrust of machines that come to life goes back at least as far as tales of golems, and this uneasiness has remained persistent in contemporary culture.” This was a theme that I saw throughout the film, especially when Caleb is questioning whether he thinks Ava is flirting with him, or if she’s just programmed to. I’ll admit, throughout the film I was going back and forth on whether Ava’s intentions were genuine or not, and I was mostly optimistic that they were, until the end.

Ticket Scams

As a frequent concert goer, I’m always trying to find the best deals on tickets for concerts. But buying tickets for events from online sources aside from big names like Ticketmaster makes me a little weary and skeptical.  Danielle Posner was a victim to one of these scams, after purchasing $350 tickets to the play “Hamilton” from a Craigslist seller, which would turn out to be fake.  The New York Times article talks about how upset Posner was, and that would lead her to working with the NYPD and setting up a ‘sting’ to catch the man who sold her the tickets. She had her boyfriend respond to another ad that was placed about another set of tickets, and had the counterfeiter arrested once the transaction was made.

 

A site that I use for tickets that can’t be found on Ticketmaster is StubHub, where buyers can sell and buy tickets that have already been purchased. Unfortunately, most times the prices are above face value, but StubHub does offer a refund policy for fake tickets.  On their Fan Protect Guarantee site, they state “If the tickets you ordered are invalid and not honored by the venue, StubHub may, in its sole discretion, attempt to locate replacement tickets for you or provide you with a full refund (including any fees and shipping/handling charges).”

Snapchat Success

The social media app Snapchat is a huge company, and is actually relatively new.  It was launched in July of 2011 according to Mashable, and the creators of the app are under 3o years old.  Since the launch, it has seemingly become a piece of everyday vocabulary, and has definitely come a long way since it’s first snap.  Today, according to Bloomberg.com, Snapchat is valued at $16 billion dollars.

Snapchat definitely has had a lot of different social media companies to compete with, but I think that what has made them stand out is something plain and simple: they’re different. It’s a different feel than Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. And although those apps are people’s way of documenting their lives, Snapchat has become a way for people to do that as well, but in a different way.  People can “snap” what they’re doing at any time, it can be sent immediately to friends or family who can view it for a few seconds, or added to the user’s story, which is available for 24 hours.  Perhaps the idea of privacy comes into play for this app, knowing that what you put out there will supposedly be gone within a day.

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And as the success continues, Snapchat seems to only try and keep up with its users. The company started adding different filters that users can add to photos, as well as “geo tags”.  The app also introduced face lenses/filters, that can morph the user’s face into whichever lens they choose. (A popular one right now being the face swap filter.) This is something that no other relevant social media site is offering, and it makes them stand out.  Not only do they let the users have fun with filters and face lenses, but Snapchat also provides visual news updates for live events, as well as have a “discover” section, where different companies can create their own story everyday. Companies like Buzzfeed and Food Network have regular Snapchat stories for users to check out. These factors have definitely helped to give Snapchat an advantage over their social media competition.

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Snapchat Discover/Live

 

 

#IStandWithAhmed

Early in the school year, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested and suspended for bringing in a home made clock to school, which teachers suspected was a bomb.  Ahmed, who’s dream is to be an engineer, built this clock and brought it to school to impress his teachers with.  In a CNN article, he states, “”I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her,” Ahmed told reporters Wednesday. “It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it.””

Ahmed Mohamed

This story took social media by storm, especially on Twitter.  Thousands of people showed their support for Ahmed, stating that the arrest of Ahmed was due to racial profiling and Islamophobia. The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed became a trending topic, and people even started to post pictures of themselves with clocks and watches, while tweeting the hashtag.

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The topic on Twitter became so big, even the President chimed in.

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Much of the Twitter community acted as vigilantes about this topic, and brought so much attention to the story. Below is a tweet from Ahmed’s personal twitter, thanking everyone for the support. project-1979-body-Screen_Shot_2015-09-16_at_2.18_.48_PM_

#VisibleMe

According to a recent statistic, the social media app Instagram has around 400 million monthly active users. Instagram is constantly adapting and updating itself; from small changes like “bug fixes” to larger ones like the ability to upload videos as well as photos. They’ve also went from the “popular” page, which included the most popular posts that were trending on the app to the Search & Explore page, which is similar to the popular page, but here users are able to find photos, videos or people as well as different hashtags and places that are trending.  Hashtags have played an important role in raising awareness on social issues, and recently the hashtag #VisibleMe made it’s way to the top of Instagram’s Search & Explore page.

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(screenshot from my Instagram feed)

According to an article from Buzzfeed, LGBT youth are sharing their stories on Instagram using this hashtag. The article states, “If you head over to Instagram’s Explore page today, you’ll find their first ever LGBT-related video feed. The #VisibleMe page features LGBT youth sharing their personal stories, struggles, and advice.” The #VisibleMe project was created by Raymond Braun, who is seen pictured above in my screenshot and “hopes the hashtag will help LGBT youth safely open up about their own sexuality, body image, coming out stories and more.” If you click on the top photo on the Search and Explore page, pages of videos from different users come up and talk about their own story. I think that this is a great way for Instagram to use the big platform that they have, and although this isn’t technically a “policy,” it’s still a way for stories to be shared.

Twitter in Europe

Although it may not be the most popular social media app, Twitter is one of the social media sites that I find myself using most frequently.  According to Twitter’s Privacy Policy as well as their Terms of Service, if you live in the United States and are using Twitter, their services will be provided by Twitter, Inc. located in San Francisco, California under United States law.  But, there was a privacy update within the past year for users outside of the United States. The new setting states “If you live outside the United States, our services are now provided to you by Twitter International Company, our company based in Dublin, Ireland. Twitter International Company will be responsible for handling your account information under Irish privacy and data protection law, which is based on the European Union’s Data Protection Directive.”

By updating their privacy settings, this is going to to potentially “give users more control over their data and change the way tech companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter handle information,” according to an article from Mashable. The article, written by Seth Fiegerman, states that there has been tension over U.S. tech companies who collect data from European users, but handle said data in the United States.  “Twitter’s shift to a more lenient European country could be viewed as a preemptive move as the European Union is reportedly working on a bill that would strengthen its data protection restrictions on U.S. companies,” Fiegerman states. I think that the EU distinguishing it’s own privacy settings for an app like Twitter is smart, it helps to give users more control over their own data.