Facts, Framing, and Social Capital On The Social Media Landscape[Part One]

“We are living in an age when thinking itself is no longer a personal activity but a collective one. We are immersed in media and swimming in the ideas of other people all the time. We do not come up with our thoughts by ourselves anymore, so it’s awfully hard to keep them to ourselves once we share them. Many young people I’ve encountered see this rather terrifying loss of privacy and agency over our data as part of a learning curve. They see the human species evolving toward a more collective awareness, and the net’s openness as a trial run for a biological reality where we all know each other’s thoughts through telepathy.” – “Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands For A Digital Age” Douglas Rushkoff, pg. 181 (2010)

In the above quote passage, media communications expert Douglas Rushkoff explains much of the milieu of this early twenty-first century. Our world has become a communications network of ideas, memes, and bad oral sex jokes compounded by the speed of a click that our models of business have not caught up to. It is also a world where attention spans mean less than attention mongering(“euphemism” is still one of my favored words). For those that seek a route to attention without the ability to be entertaining, there is the need to forge one’s persona after the activists and intellectuals of a prior century. This particular form of opportunism crushes the value of a fact into bits of coin no longer valued for their ability to enlighten, but only for their ability to give the presenter of such bits of information the aura of expertise and influence.

Rushkoff states in the same book:

“As a person’s value and connections in the digital realm become dependent on the strength of their facts and ideas, we return to a more memetic, fertile, and chaotic communications space. Once a message is launched—whether by an individual or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company—it is no longer in that person’s control. How it is received, how it is changed, and whether it is replicated and transmitted is up to the network. May the best meme win.” (ibid., pg. 107)

People typically are not seeking to exchange facts in an objective sense, but to frame facts in a manner that can potentially aid them in persuasion. The social sphere of what is termed, “social media,” is still a market place. Where this marketplace sells ideas is still the selling of a thing. This selling depends on that art of sales. The Art of Sales as in techniques such as groomed presenters, convincing demonstrations, branding, and persuasion.

The facts often cannot speak for themselves. The tossing of statistics and quantified measurements still need framing to be understood and useful. What I have gathered from social media is less about fact exchanging, but facts as a currency demanding one continue to borrow from a particular source. These factiods are not consumed for the purpose of being factual, but to be exchanged for social status and replication of a particular ideology.

“What factors might persuade us to adopt the perspective of a particular pundit we see on TV or on the Internet? One answer is how the pundit ‘frames’ the issue. To frame something means to place it in perspective. For example, is a particular drop in the stock market a ‘blip,’ a ‘crash,’ or a ‘meltdown?’ Are Democrats liberals or progressives? Are Republicans conservatives or right-wingers? Is gay marriage a political, religious, or financial issue, or none of the above? When you frame an issue, you are telling people what to think about it.” – “How Fantasy Becomes Reality,” Karen Dill(2009), [pg. 193]

How one frames each objective reality or standard of measurement depends on what group they belong to or wish to belong to. Social capital, is this sense, is not simply the connections one has or the knowledge one possesses, but the ability to persuade others one is connected to in an effort to alter their beliefs, thoughts, and actions in congruence with the knowledge one possess. It is to make others believe the facts represent a perspective best suited for tailoring directives and directions. It is social capital as influence.

“…there are two key aspects to social capital: social networks and the resources that are embedded within these social networks that an actor can access. …social networks are comprised of the people with whom one has sufficient relations to be able to ask advice or seek assistance. Social capital theorists often distinguish between what they refer to as ‘strong ties’ and ‘weak ties.’ Perhaps counterintuitive, it is better to have social networks comprised of many weak ties than those comprised of just a few strong ties. Strong ties are those relationships we have that are very close: with parents, spouse/partners, other relatives, long-time friends, and so forth. Weak ties can be thought of more in terms of acquaintances: the other parents we see at our children’s weekly soccer games, colleagues at work—especially those with whom we rarely socialize—members of our congregation or temple, and so forth…” – “Prisoner Re-entry And Social Capital: The Long Road To Reintegration,” Angela Hattery aqnd Earl Smith(2010), pg. 88

The Six Unavoidable Principles Of Twitter Beyond Twitter

“I’m not telling you something you don’t already know/Personal or business/You got to know who your friends is…”– Eightball, “Friend or Foe”

 

I have for the most part of my writing career held on to the notion that all forms of writing are simply conversations extended through time. Although, a written piece may have timely aspects to it that cause it to be more relevant to certain time zones, or certain eras of time, that time stamp does not stop the written words from existing. There is something of longevity that these symbols, these written words, concatenated as vehicles for our thoughts in physical, as opposed to purely mental, space have that no matter the topic, allow them a certain life beyond the average modes of communication.

 

That being written, this piece is not simply another digital recording of the precautionary steps one should employ while employing Twitter. It is not even simply a model of behavior for any web application. It is beyond that. It is a discussion about trust, loyalty, and self-discipline in the location of personal acquaintance. More than just another conversation about “social media”, no, this is a small manifest-if that is not too cliché- on how one should go about handling personal information about themselves in public space that extends into personal relationships.

 

On September 23, 2013, California teens get an online “eraser button” under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Now, without spending too much time on legal and social critique of the bill itself, this very official act declares a lot about usage of the net, as well as how we perceive its function. The bill explicitly reserves online privacy and complete past online communications deletions to those under the age of 18. It handles these communications in the same way that criminal records are sealed from most public domains at the age of eighteen. What we put online is often framed as public domain in such a way that we have not seen fit to regulate against discriminatory hiring practices based on online stalking by human resource departments. In fact, we as a body of law making people are leaning towards more of the same. What we do on social media– and what is important for this topic of the six unavoidable principles of Twitter beyond Twitter– what we do beyond Twitter with what we have gleaned from Twitter, is not protected by the state. Our words can and will be used against us in whatever court, whether just public opinion or state and federally operated.

 

With that in mind, I present you to you, this small list of acts and principles to protect yourself from your online self–your “avatar”, if you will– being used against you.

 

The six unavoidable principles of Twitter beyond Twitter

 

1. Purpose. Alright, let us start with some principles I have learned over the years, and then incorporate them into calls for action via anecdote. The first principle I would suggest is the idea of purpose. Why did you log onto Twitter this morning? Does that reason still connect without stretching your justification muscles to the purpose you created the Twitter account? Do you even remember why you created the Twitter account?

 

Your purpose for creating your online avatars on particular mediums will direct your communications. It will impact those exchanges with others, and ultimately, what your purpose is will influence how others treat you and color their expectations once the avatars are no longer around and you are face to face. Twitter beyond Twitter.

 

Owl’s Asylum on Twitter, or the @OwlsAsylum, was established with the purpose of allowing me space to express thoughts that might be offensive or simply require so many updates that I was “killing people’s timelines”(that is to say, I was sending so many updates that I was filling a person following me’s screen with just my updates).

 

My first Twitter account was a business account for the Jay Farand, Digital Hustler graphic design/branding/web brand. It had as a purpose the use of Twitter’s broad technology(*cough*geek*ahem*) audience to promote my freelance services. It took one night in a political philosophy class taking notes using Twitter for one of my followers to inform me that I was indeed “killing” her timeline for me to open another account. Thus, I opened that account under the domain name I had been using for my online journal keeping and media class paper presentations, Owl’s Asylum.

 

That separation has served me well, as my contacts via the Asylum understand exactly what they are getting when they meet me offline. As well, those that choose to do business with me in a less than personal fashion still have that option via the Jay Farand avatar. Purpose still dictates how I use both accounts, as purpose should dictate how you use yours.

 

2. Perspective. That brings me to what I would like to address as a principle secondly. Namely, keep your perspective sharp. I want to be blunt here: you can’t phukkk an avatar. You can’t wash an avatar. When you invite an avatar to your house, the avatar does not show up: the human behind the avatar does.

 

This creates two dilemmas I have had to deal with that have both honed my perspective with respect to online exchanges. The first is that people have become extremely good with camera angles in the designing of avatars, and the second is that people have a tendency to maintain the upkeep of their avatar much better than their personal lives. I do not regard these as “negative” things, in fact, I keep the perspective that they are probably smart, and that they are definitely a reflection of the society we live in. Twitter is in fact a media platform whereby we form social interactions. How much of your visual media is flooded with images of Black Women with locks or afros? How many times do you see a stretch mark on a Woman on television when nudity or high levels of body exposure are being presented? How many fat women are shown in sexual performance on television? Why the phukkk would you expect to see anyone else run their personal online media campaign that way then?

 

Perspective. The human is not the avatar. In the same way that all of the celebrities I have met in person are different in some way than their television or print appearance, I expect that what I see as an avatar will not totally reflect what I see once we go Twitter beyond Twitter. Perspective.

 

3. Research. This third principle really gets to the core of who I am and probably has allowed for me to do the things I do that generate such spiteful reactions from those that either cannot do it or are just afraid to. Research the culture of the online community you are interacting with. There are two primary components here I go by. I let an avatar be an avatar, especially if I know the person beyond Twitter. Further, I do not make relationships with avatars, as noted, you cannot phukkk an avatar. Nor can you conduct business with one.

 

Get to understand the nuance of the culture of the online community. Accept who does not want to be more than an avatar in that space. Research those you might want to go Twitter beyond Twitter with. As in most of Life’s more valuable endeavors, this takes time and patience. In keeping your perspective sharp, take serious the etymology– the make up– of the word “research”. It means to search again. Thus, you should be searching and “re”-searching.

 

4. Discipline. What all this leads up to is an ideal of simplicity, yet never simple in practice: have some discipline about your avatar or avatars. That does not imply a lot of musing about of respectability politics. Unless it should.

 

Stick to your purpose. Maintain your schtick. Groom your perspective how you have purposed it. Stay disciplined within the realm of your design.

 

If your purpose on Twitter is to go beyond Twitter and suck seven hundred dicks, have at it. Just be disciplined enough to have realistic expectations regarding the reaction to a public campaign of such measures.

 

Whether your account is private or public, it is public.

 

Screen capturing software is available for free. There is a culture online that deems it accolade worthy for people to use it in the most intimate of communications for audience presentation. Be disciplined in the research of those that might honor that culture. Be disciplined in your acceptance that some might take advantage of vulnerable information you have presented online and take Twitter beyond Twitter. Be disciplined about your choice of channels to communicate or provide anything about yourself. Be disciplined enough to realize that just as you are doing research to get a synopsis of the human behind the avatar, others are as well.

 

Be always disciplined in the mindfulness that anything and everything you post can and will be used against you in the court of Twitter beyond Twitter.

 

5. Anger Management. In the same vein as discipline and research, this principle that I have chosen for our fifth here, is anger management. I know, my hypocrisy has grown such that I could claim it as a dependent.

 

Anywho…

 

There are many more people that take personal pride in my accomplishments than take my personal successes as an affront to their worldview. It would be inconsiderate of me to waste too much time or space worrying about those that dislike me simply for being influential where they cannot be, than to focus on the majority of people that love seeing Owl’s smile.

 

There is simply nothing to gain in the addressing of passive aggressive forms of attack but threats to your physical and financial well-being Twitter beyond Twitter. An avatar cannot punch you, but somebody within close proximity can take you Twitter beyond Twitter straight to the hospital. This is not Joe saying always “be positive”, or any of that “new age spiritual” ideology. I am not attempting to scare or strike fear into your heart. I promise I am not. I am simply addressing the actuality that there is probably nothing an online animus can do to prevent or block your success that responding in like will detour.

 

Twitter beyond Twitter, maybe a heated argument could lead to a forum exchange. Not usually, though. In my years online, I have not seen that occur between individuals that did not work for the same cable news station. And everybody knows just how attention whoring cable news station personalities are these days. In my years of experience, I just have not seen anger being the best response to online attacks. Often, the best practice is to ignore the bullies behind screens until you can handle it Twitter beyond Twitter in a more resolute way.

 

6. Respect Your Circle Of Influence. And lastly, respect your circle of influence. Once the research is analyzed, after the trolls have been weeded out of your avatar’s circulation, and Twitter beyond Twitter has formed meaningful relationships, tighten your grip. That is going to mean different things to different people, I am sure. For some of you reading this, that possibly means less Twitter. Your purpose for Twitter has been met, you do not want to damage your brand– personal or business– so you slide the application to the fourth screen you never look at, and that’s that. Not a bad move, in Owl’s opinion.

 

What I’ve done is used less and less lists. In fact, at the present time, I only engage with those I have fashioned into one list. I believe in follow for follow on Twitter, so I do have over six thousand followers, yet, I only engage those that engage with me, and I only regularly read the accounts of about one-hundred. And I am constantly pruning that number daily. Most of the people on that list are people I have gone Twitter beyond Twitter with, or that I met prior to even knowing they had a Twitter account. Many on that list are people that I have been reading and engaging with for well over the better part of four years.

 

I attempt to keep enough discipline regarding those new followers I pick up, or drop off, to respect that, hey, I do not like this person Twitter beyond Twitter. All of the people I have gone Twitter beyond Twitter with are not people I would want to spend valuable time with. Some are better avatars than face time associates of Owl. That is to be expected. I applaud(very loudly according to Bri) when RGIII plays, yet, by virtue of his public stances via interviews, I do not believe we would have much to agree on as drinking buddies. Twitter beyond Twitter, I have accumulated some rewarding business experiences, and some headaches. It is the nature of business, I would not hope that anyone expects Twitter beyond Twitter to alter that process.

 

In closing, enjoy this small group of principles. Reflect and incorporate. If you have some thoughts to add, the comment section of Asylum is highly policed(*smiles*), but always open.

5 Things You Should Do Now To Preserve The Integrity Of Black Blogging

1. Hold Your Black Bloggers Up.

 

In many ways, the number reasons for lack of support of Black businesses, offline or online, is that Blacks don’t have a true sense of saving face, or creating their own icons. With an incentive to bolster the efforts of those that have shown a dedication, passion, and respect for craft, it could become a new movement in the Black community in the same way that gang culture and appreciation for the underground crime culture was able to infuse it Self nationwide. It is worthwhile to remember that Cornell West writes and teaches Marxist socialism but praised and was treated dismissively by Jay-Z. If we want better quality content in the media, we have to support those that produce it.

 

Treat your favorite bloggers like that guy who’s book you never read, class you’ve never attended, or lecture you would have fallen asleep in, but always quote at the water cooler after he appears on television. Make sure to let people know where you gleaned that insightful quote or perspective from. If you are in a position to hold conferences, get in contact with your favorite Black bloggers and see if there is a way to include them on the rostrum. Hold your Black bloggers of integrity and worth up in the same manner that some hold up irresponsible Black artists for being…well, irresponsible.

 

2. Don’t treat the donate button as a painting in (Some famous art gallery here), treat like an amusement park ride and become interactive with it.

 

This is a tough one for everybody going into another low economic season, I’m sure. But, it has to be written. Three bucks is enough to get me around the city to gain content, and don’t think that somebody else will do it, you do it. If you have gained anything from a Black blogger, reward that effort. If you don’t want people to sell out, then employ them through your charitable donations and investments. It often takes less than what we believe, if done as a united front.

 

A server and hosting account costs money. I owe $120 due to my host shortly. I can’t run Asylum on RTs alone(although, we do love them, too!). I’m sure I’m not the only great Black blogger of honorable character that you read in the same situation. Facebook, MySpace, even Google are financed by others. This is simply the nature of things. It is difficult for me to respect the hurling of words regarding supporting Blacks, if you aren’t…supporting Blacks(I do so love that device). If you find someone doing that which is beneficial and necessary, don’t automatically assume they’ve got all of their bases covered. Many great organizations might still be around had it not been for beneficiaries overlooking areas of financial interest they could have easily contributed to. Every free service online is being paid for by somebody. It isn’t free to be on the internet. Consider that the next time you scroll by your favorite Black blogger’s donate now button.

 

3. Break out of the social media comfort zone and actually post a comment on the blog and not on Twitter/Facebook.

 

The comment button works, guys. Well, it usually works. And when it doesn’t, please contact me, as Asylum has a great technical staff. I’m sure I’m not only talking for my Self here. Every Black blogger that you respect has the potential to become a thriving community. Twitter and Facebook are only websites, only web applications, only another medium. Yes, I still haven’t stopped having sex with Twitter, but I know she’s just another whore on the strip. These websites that are being driven by the content of Black people with things of interests to you should be come a home;they should be like the housewife of your browsing routine. The same community that is built on a Twitter can be furnished here. The debates that occur on Twitter in 140, would be much better served in the Black blogospheres’ comment sections.

 

4. Diversify.

 

We aren’t all on the same team, we don’t shoot at the same cans in the alley, and we shouldn’t be forced to play nice in your bookmarks folder. Black bloggers come in various shapes and sizes, trust me, I’ve seen a few naked, I know what I’m talking about here. Don’t place me in the same folder as @RippDemUp(click here as well), I love the brother, and so does Asylum, but what he does for you is not necessarily the same gift you should expect from these parts. Black people, especially young Blacks that were programmed by hip hop to view most everything as a sporting competition, have an indeed troubling cultural expression of thinking all cultural expressions should be pitted against another another. I don’t have to take sides. I like reading the blogs of very polar thinkers, comparably, as well as extremely shallow writers that never take a determined stance on issues. Mix up your reading, expand your mind.

 

5. Spread love the interweb way: post the links to the content elsewhere.

 

Share the love with your Twitter following. Use the link to one of your favorite Asylum posts as content for discussion in your g+ circles. Impress your family and friends with your interweb resourcefulness. Use a portion of the article and a link to gain notoriety on one of your most frequented forums. However you do it, help those Black bloggers that show their integrity and dedication by connecting them to the web more. It doesn’t take much to copy and paste the web address from the URL. If you ever need any assistance with technical matters of that sort, don’t be afraid to contact me for support. We here at Asylum are humbled and honored to gain link love from our followers and allies.

 

Furthermore, we often find our Selves borrowing, stealing or gleaning inspiration from one another in this field. It is of the utmost importance that we learn to give credit when we do such. I may not place an ‘@’ sign in front of every disparaging word, but I’ve made it my business to acknowledge directly and publicly all those that have assisted in my growth. This is regardless of whether they know or not. I am making them know that they have.

Black Bloggers: Don’t Hate Your Own People While Writing About Santorum In The Hood

“Our interpretations are rooted in personal narratives about ourselves, and these narratives aren’t always so positive, as is the case with teenagers who feel like rebels without a cause, college students who are convinced they were admissions errors, and adults who always seem to assume the worst about their relationships.

 

…Cognitive-behavioral therapy(CBT). CBT assumes that maladaptive interpretations-negative thought patterns- are responsible for many mental health problems, and that the best way to treat those problems is to make people aware of their thought patterns and learn how to change them.

 

…story editing, which is a set of techniques designed to redirect people’s narratives about themselves and the social world in a way that leads to lasting changes in behavior.”
– “Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change” by Timothy D. Wilson

 

During the events of this week, Rick Santorum, GOP presidential candidate, made a statement regarding Blacks and welfare. His statement:

 

“I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better, by giving them somebody else’s money.”

 

Now, this is blatantly racist, it has no place in civil politics, and any Black person that would support such racially polarizing and derogatory commentary is a threat to them Selves. Now, the neoliberal Black might mistake this as a time to bring out their anti-Black from the urban community zapper gun 12009 they received from Saint Nickelass. But alas, no, young neo-negroes, your time still has not come. It is not a time to rehash statistics about welfare rates of Blacks, Whites, and Mexicans. Why? That is exactly what the likes of a Santorum would like you to do. To focus attention on poor US citizens that are more than owed the assistance of their government as most of them probably served in the military. Even if they didn’t it matters not because every US citizens that loves to hurl the “I’m a tax paying citizen” mantra so loosely around like a pack of condoms at a swinger’s bash, is protected by young poor to lower middle class men and women that more than likely will never receive fair compensation. If you want to bandy about numbers, let’s talk about the financial rape of the young military veteran that serves their country and comes home to downtown apartments owned and operated by exploitative not-for profits forcing such a draconian demand on living arrangements that the veteran living in them gets treated like someone’s child just to move about in their own space. According to the National coalition for Homeless Veterans:

 

“Roughly 56 percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population respectively.

 

About 1.5 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

 

Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) estimate that over 67,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. Only eight percent of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly one-fifth of the homeless population are veterans.”

 

One-fifth, ladies and gentlemen of Asylum. One of out five persons that you drive past on highway off ramps, turn your noses up at going to your 24 hour free Wi-Fi spots, brush past on your way to work, or otherwise treat worse than your common project building cockroach was shot at defending your precious way of living. One out of five of those persons you sit at your park bench and call “bums” has had to suffer some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of protecting you. Please read that again, and think twice about the fancy little choice phrases you offer that human being asking for a little change to get by, since you indeed might owe that person a whole lot more than some metal chips for the metal chips they may have caked in their joints and bone marrow.

 

But as gracious as we should be and as often as you should have already seen those statistics throughout the thorough and discerning writing of the Black blogosphere, these are still not the numbers we ought to be most concerned with. As Santorum attempts to blame Barack Obama for some national form of nepotism, he seems to forget how much money Obama agreed to give the likes of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG(source). Many of us have forgotten the recent passing of welfare to corporate entities such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was backed by Barack Obama as a senator high footing it to DC to make sure he co-signed then President Bush. Yes, we are now discussing the over $80 billion dollars that Santorum has yet to discuss as he fixes his kangaroo cock massaging lips to blame Blacks, as should be expected by such White terroristic filth in a fancy suit.

 

Before the next Black blogger runs to go tell that, they should focus a tad bit more energy on the proper story, and not the story they have blaring in their head that causes them to in a short sighted manner, aim their keyboard’s electromagnetic rayguns at their own people and inadvertently backing the coward’s “gibberish”. Many Blacks unfortunately have yet to relieve them Selves of the cognitive psychological dysfunction that is self-hate. The immediate story and perspective taken in such instances as a White man pointing his worthless finger at the poor Black, is to compare your brothers and sisters to that of criminals. I can guarantee the Asylum that those writing about the comments of Santorum didn’t for one second wonder about the millions of US citizens that benefit from tax breaks because of their well protected money laundering to off shore banks and profiteering in lands where they are able to hire cheap labor; further robbing the true US citizens that have always made this country run: the poor Blacks.

 

No.

 

Our brothers and sisters across the interglobe decided that they would take this opportunity to further harass those Blacks that cooked and cleaned the homes of White women and White men that allowed for their children to gain college degrees. These writers decided, once again, to look towards the same White terrorist propaganda engines for their “solutions”. Once again, this virus, this mental atrophying with contagious shark teeth has projected its fear of all things White and all realities Strong and Afkan onto the media most capable of helping our children see past the detrimental storylines written in their DNA since the days of James K. Polk applauding “The Birth Of A Nation” while funding the Klan’s membership rise which would assist in the destruction of Black Wall Streets (there was more than just Tulsa, and no negro, I’m not talking about your precious Wall Street in New York, you flea…) nationwide.

Preaching To The Choir

Many writers of the academic training strain enjoy the practice of beginning their works with a nice quotation that opens up their piece, article, chapter, or works. There is also a habitude among these fine practitioners of the written way to proceed with an anecdote of some sort that serves as inception of an idea. Being that my brethren and sistren of the paper often treat me like a 1972 Gremlin rolling on a donut with a sun beaten paint job, I’ll open up with a trade secret, give you your damn quote, and follow with some quaint story that will introduce whatever point my title couldn’t.

“We need not lose heart if something does not please someone, for others will appreciate it; nor need their applause turn our head, for there will surely be others to condemn it.” – Balthasar Gracian, Art of Worldly Wisdom

During my early days of thinking I was some sort of activist, I belonged to an organization whose primary function was to organize high school black males into a quasi-military structure while promoting the virtues of phuckwhiteyism(phuck’ whi’ t’ is-m). Not much of a proselytizer for the group at the time, my main source of dissemination came from debating my teachers, and appealing to a small group of my classmates. After a while, I was afforded the ability to simply address the students without having to wrestle with a teacher whose pride wouldn’t allow them to be found in error by someone a third their age. Job security is a beautiful thing, eh?

Now, this particular effort came with its own set of problems, being that I was extremely young and for the most part, still quite immature, and not yet acquainted with high school social norms and politics. However, it taught me something that I have just recently begun to apply to adult life. I was able to entice others into joining the group without the skillful persuasion of most. I didn’t go out seeking anyone to join actually. I simply addressed topics that were on my mind with those who shared like interests.

As I peruse the digital clusterfuck that is the so-called social media, I notice a trend that I have allowed myself to be entangled in. There is a behavior that many of us of the well-read ilk like to display. Namely, debating and disparaging one another if someone doesn’t agree with us. Condescending retorts of the elitist type are bandied back and forth as we venture from addressing the academic into the realm of “fuck you, and that contaminated pussy you fell out of, let’s throw them thangs”. As enjoyable as a round of hurling acrimonious assaults across miles with a person I’d probably be quite endeared by in person can be, it is ultimately destructive in a chaotic sense. While many are claiming that social media is only good for preaching to the choir, that is exactly why it is so beneficial.

As a young man who I had the pleasure of meeting once noted, most of us don’t even know we have a choir to preach to. Those within that choir have family and friends, associates, and colleagues. Critical assessments of the statements of others should be voiced, but at what detriment to those who might be better served through civil discourse versus vitriol? No matter how small one might think their efforts are, it tends to be best to build on what you do have, than to destroy that which is overshadowing your belief in your own work.

The asili is the underlying ideological framework that governs and informs cultural patterns of behavior, loosely defined. The asili of any tool of mass communication in the US, and thus the world is that those who consume can’t control. The idea that is slowing spreading throughout the interweb is that a user can’t be boss. Although this idea is offset by the success of entertainer Soldja Boy(that’s how you spell it.), the popularity of a Tila Tequila or a Justin Bieber, it must be noted that the wide spread notion of many of the users of social media is that it is “just Twitter”, or that it is “just Facebook”. Even more widely miscalculated is the notion that it is “just the web”. As if Google started anywhere but on the internet. As if Amazon started anywhere but the internet. As if social media sites have an existence somewhere off the grid. These are the sorts of thoughts that are necessary in order keep the status quo, the growing digital hierarchy, and frameworks such as “internet as cable” in existence. It is the asili of a corporate technological society. It is that asili that promotes such activities as archiving the updates on Twitter, recording the actions of consumers on Facebook, as well as other privacy violations. It is why Google records our search queries.

Due to those sorts of violations of simple human courtesy, social media is not my base. The Asylum is my base, and only here can I begin to assist in any meaningful way without fear of censor. Social media is simply a beachhead. Social media is the populated network that I set up my post, my ground for introducing the most important matter, The Asylum. Twitter is not Owl’s Asylum. Owl’s Asylum is The Asylum. Being completely practical, the Asylum is still only an extension of the efforts of the man behind the curtain. Ultimately, the thought that created the sun was brighter and more influential than the magnificent orb that we depend so much on.
I make it my business, usually, to see a tool for what I need to accomplish. I tend to use my sledgehammer to destroy or damage things that are in my way, if I were on a construction site, that might be different. Let’s all know where we are and use our tools accordingly.

We Write The Web…

A few thoughts tonight.

 

Had a great conversation early about the need for bloggers to be sincere with their content. It wasn’t another one of those “keep it real” type of discussions, more so about writing what you feel without limitation. I was reminded of a post I read earlier this week that touched on a few of the same ideas.

 

Much of what I discuss here is media analysis and social commentary. However, that shouldn’t mean that I am obligated, or that anyone is obligated for that matter to use their blog or their mini-blog for the promotion of consciousness raising on any level. I personally feel driven to discuss certain issues, while at the same time my blog and my mini-blog can cover superficial topics that deem interesting enough to write about. I’m not that one dimensional to sincerely write content on one topic. Furthermore, if it comes to my attention and I have an opinion about it, I’m most likely going to write about it.

 

Another thing that I’d like to discuss tonight that holds some relevance to this discussion is the stalking of people’s mini-blogs and social media accounts by human resource workers. What one says on their Facebook page or their Twitter stream, if not work related, shouldn’t be used as means to gauge their work performance. We as a citizenry have truly allowed the marketplace to dictate far too many rules of our personal behavior. We are already in a situation where most of our lives are controlled by how we make our money, and we spend most of our lives at the workplace. Many of us hate our jobs and now we have to worry about job security in our personal online associations.

 

There may not be much one can do about the draconian practices of the corporate world, so I’ve been advising many of those that respect my advice to make two accounts and stop using identifying names as your login name. If that is more than you are willing to do, I say boycott the social media application altogether. We are the writers, artists, bloggers, what have you that provide the content for all of the web. What is twitter without people making updates? What is the point of having a twitter account, or a Facebook account that you can’t openly express yourself on?

 

The more I spend time on the web, the more I realize how much it reminds me of the blinking boxes in George Orwell’s “1984”. We have truly given up much of our private lives in the pursuit of entertainment and information that is not being fairly appreciated by those we do business with. Without the person interacting through these mediums, they cease to exist. And I believe that a message needs to go out that it is end-users that should be given the highest regards in certain matters. Even with private accounts the owners are able to sell information about our surfing habits with advertisers and who knows who else. I enjoy using the service, but I have read three people thus far expressing how a company has gone through their time line and suffered some sort of reprimand. I don’t personally fear expressing myself, yet, when will this stop? I understand that it is a public forum, so is a restaurant. I don’t expect the waiter to pass my credit card information on to any other businesses.

 

We make the web what it is.

Aiyana Jones, Unforgotten

As the world slowly becomes aware of the tragedy that occured when a quasi-military style apporach used by Detriot special units to capture a suspect of murder ended up in a murder, we here at the Asylum would like to reflect on Aiyana. Today mourners viewed the young angel’s body. Statements have been made regarding the tragedy by Al Sharpton. And I still don’t feel that this has garnered the deserved attention. Some have alluded to the sloppy manner in which Black organizations pick and choose who can and who shouldn’t be allowed to speak up in this tragedy. I am saddened more about how the discussion of Aiyana’s senseless and brutal slaying has turned into an argument about and of self-aggrandizement. I am saddened about how the Detroit Press in at least two coverings are attempting to divert attention away from Aiyana’s murder to that of the suspect the police decided to treat like nations treat foreign terrorists. With this sort of coverage and no gag order from the judge, I suppose a change of venue will be in order when the man goes to trial. It needs to be said that Aiyana Jones, a seven-year young baby of the Black Community was slaughtered with a bullet in her neck. While she lay bleeding, the police forced her father to lie her blood. No amount of political volleying will change that. I am overwhelmed by this feeling to scream out: WHO THE FUCK CARES HOW ATTENTION IS BROUGHT TO THIS SITUATION?

When students in Tehran, Iran decided to inform the world of voting practices that they deemed unjust, twitter exploded with green avatars, and anyone who was not apart of that cause was deemed inhumane. During the campaign to bring attention to the MURDER of a SEVEN-YEAR YOUNG CHILD BY POLICE, many have stated that twitter was the wrong means, and it was useless. The name Tehran stayed on the globally watched “Trending Topics” list for several weeks. There are still avatars that have been photoshopped green on twitter. The name Aiyana has not been on that list once. Simple measures to inform are all that many had, and I would believe that if I were to have not been killed in an instance were my child had been struck down by police, I would at least wish the world to know and to support in some means. It is indeed strange that the Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox was moved to use Twitter to denounce Al Sharpton for his planned eulogizing of our sister Aiyana JOnes, but those that use Twitter to show their sex organs, and clamor for attention from celebrities can’t type a simple “#Aiyana”. It disturbs me. It disturbs me beyond words.

I commend the sister whose twitter screen name is @_Peech. It was she who designed the ribbon that is being displayed in honor of Aiyana. I would like to thank all those who been so diligent in sacrificing their time, and we know how valuable that is, in their efforts to bring attention to this human rights travesty. I would like to thank all those using social media, and all those that have posted here on the blog, and have assisted the Asylum in my small efforts to raise consciousness surrounding this issue.

The hashtag Aiyana remains…