Tag Archives: Social Media

I Just Can’t Take It Any More

Facebook might try to save your life.

In the current issue of PC Magazine are “10 Things You Should Know About Facebook’s New Privacy Policy“. Most of them are pretty straightforward. Facebook is archiving every like, friend request and message you send and letting advertisers use that information on and off Facebook. If your messages or statuses seem to indicate that you intend to do harm to yourself or others, Facebook might intervene. In other words, if I post that I am depressed and want to kill myself, Facebook might put me in contact with agencies for Suicide prevention. If I say I plan to commit a crime, they might send someone to arrest me.

I’m not sure what to think about that.

I think the crime thing won’t be all that effective. It will catch roughly the same amount of criminals as the “are you a terrorist?” question. If anything, it may lead to situations where someone making a joke is taken a little too seriously (as profiled on This American Life a few years ago).

But suicide isn’t a joke.

Last Christmas a 42 year old woman posted that she had taken an overdose and would be dead soon. None of her 1048 Facebook friends helped her, called the police, called her, called anyone. Some chose to mock her online.

This woman is not alone.

In response to these and other incidents, and calls from people in the industry, Facebook has formed a partnership with the Samaritans to Prevent Suicide, and also actively takes down pro-suicide Facebook groups.

I think these are both good things, but it disturbs me that they are necessary. How close are we really to our friends, to anybody? Are we keeping track of what’s going on in each other’s lives, are we encouraging each other when we’re down? Or are we just voyeuristic, checking up on old girlfriends, trying to figure out who’s married, successful, or not?

We were talking about the Good Samaritan in church this Sunday, and the number of people who passed by without stopping to help. In the case of the 42 year old woman, not only did 1048 people pass by, some stopped to point and laugh.

What are we doing?

It shouldn’t be up to Facebook to step in to save people who are lost like this. It should be up to us. And if we’re not really ready to care about what’s going on with our hundreds of ‘friends’, then maybe we shouldn’t be friends anymore.

Maybe all 1048 friends thought someone else had stepped in, and that they didn’t need to. Maybe they didn’t think she was serious. It’s understandable, and it’s sad. We’re sharing more of ourselves than ever, but more and more we’re doing it in a crowded room, where no one will really hear us. I’ve joked a lot about not being worried about what I put out on the net because there’s too much information glut for anyone to really take notice of me.

It’s probably true.

It’s a good thing Facebook is doing, but maybe part of “loving our neighbors” is seeing what they’re up to online.

NOTE: I didn’t know about any of these stories until doing a little research. Is this something I just missed, or have other people never heard about these cases?

Oh, and just so we’re clear, I’m fine. 

8 Comments

Filed under Faith + Life, Trube On Tech

Bonus Friday Post (Compiled Story, Choose An Ending, Shout Outs)

Running a bit late today, sorry for the delay.

Baby You Just Got Slapped (Compiled)

Thanks so much to Chuck and Brian for contributing. I’ve added my own little piece to keep the narrative going, but a story needs an ending, one that only you can provide. Add your own ending to the comments section of this post and we’ll vote for the best next week. Thanks!

Jean’s cheek throbbed, the skin already beginning to redden. Jess just glared, her hand poised for another attack. Her eyes were lit like fire, but her face was blank, expressionless. She seemed almost as shocked by what she had done as Jean was, and yet was still prepared to do it again. Her white leather gloves creaked as she flexed her fingers. Even protected, the impact had hurt her too. Others might take this hesitation as an opportunity to strike back, or even to run away, but Jean knew deep down that Jess had good reason to be angry.

“Violence doesn’t solve anything,” said Jean, her flat tone betraying only the faintest hint of mockery. “Now, I wonder who told me that?”

Something in Jess’s eyes flared and was still. “Do you really want to lecture me right now?” she said softly. But her hand dropped to her side.

Progress.

“Look,” Jean continued, glancing away, “for what it’s worth, I really am sorry about what happened. That’s not an apology, but it’s as close as I can give. We couldn’t have predicted the experiment would generate those kinds of side effects.”

“Then you shouldn’t have done it.”

Furious, Jean met Jess’s gaze once more, and wondered if a little violence might solve something after all.

After all, was not violence the reason behind the experiment in the first place? Violence in all its forms: Individuals against others, groups, the world, nature. But most especially, one on one, the mindless beast that rages in all of us. Violence we mindlessly hurl against reason that in the end returns to harm only ourselves.

The slap hurt not only Jean’s face, but continued to reverberate in Jess’s soft an supple gloved fingers. Fingers which now slowly dropped to her side in silent supplication.

Jean, seeing the violence leach out of Jess, noticing her body slowly relax and embrace remorse also changed posture and stepping in close, enveloped Jess with arms of welcoming forgiveness.

As they kissed it became clear to them both the line between love and hate was thin. Violent action that for a moment pushed someone farther into the other camp, only caused them to bounce back like an elastic cord was tied around their waist.

Jess laughed and Jean looked at her puzzled.

“I was just thinking,” Jess explained, “if pushing someone into hate causes them to bounce back into love, then what if someone stood on the line, pushing again and again. Like that ball and paddle game we played as kids.”

“No one’s good at that game. The string always breaks.” Jean replied.

[Insert your own ending here]

Couple Of Quick Shoutouts

If you enjoy fractals (and who doesn’t really), then you won’t want to miss Brian’s feature on the Mandelbrot set next week. Brian will take you through the equations, the programming, and make it all seem like peaches and cream. And if not, I’m sure there will at least be plenty of pretty pictures.

I also want to give a brief shoutout to BJ Kerry. Glad you’re writing again. We all have droughts. The important thing is that we come out the other side. I appreciate your comments here and your work on your own blog. Keep it up.

That’s all. Have a good weekend (first one in a while that there’s no traveling for us)!

2 Comments

Filed under Round-Ups, Short Stories

Baby You Just Got Slapped

Thought we’d try something different today. Inspired in part by this post on social reading I thought it would be interesting to try an experiment in social writing.

So here’s what I’m thinking:

Below is the beginning of a story. I’m inviting all readers of this blog to:

  1. Write 100-200 words continuing the story.
  2. Post your contribution in the comments section.
  3. The next person starts where the last left off.
  4. After a week or so I’ll post the full story and open it up to suggestions for the ending.

All are welcome and encouraged to contribute. You can post multiple comments, though if possible wait until someone has posted in-between. I’m really excited to see where this will go.

Okay, without further ado, here’s the beginning:

Jean’s cheek throbbed, the skin already beginning to redden. Jess just glared, her hand poised for another attack. Her eyes were lit like fire, but her face was blank, expressionless. She seemed almost as shocked by what she had done as Jean was, and yet was still prepared to do it again. Her white leather gloves creaked as she flexed her fingers. Even protected, the impact had hurt her too. Others might take this hesitation as an opportunity to strike back, or even to run away, but Jean knew deep down that Jess had good reason to be angry.

7 Comments

Filed under Short Stories