Online apologies: real or fake?

The topic of apologizing online came up during our lecture the other day and I couldn’t help but think that I have never been given nor would I ever apologize online. First off, I would never believe that the apology was sincere enough because it’s made out to the public. If you are going to apologize, do it on your own private time, rather than broadcasting it out to everyone on Facebook (because they can clearly see when someone post’s something on someone’s wall). What’s terrible about an online apology is that an individual can take the tone the words are written and twist it around. For example, saying this “I said I was sorry!” or this “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you”. Some people still nowadays don’t understand how crucial the way we form words can affect someone. The words “I said I was sorry!” could speaks volumes about the way the individual affected the other person and how they are handling a situation because an apology is a regretful acknowledgment of an offence or failure. Nonetheless, the tone of this example sounds insincere. Something to always remember is that the tone of your voice is more resonant than the tone in your words.

The only way I can see an apology being sincere online is when it comes through from a public figure, such as the government, newspaper, or any other organization. Of course in this case, it is hard for them to go one by one apologizing for their mistake. However, if this is the situation between two individuals, whoever is apologizing should realize that the way they are apologizing speaks volume of the relationship between these two individuals. If it were an acquaintance I met once, sure I’ll apologize online, but that’s because I don’t know them. But what if I got in a huge argument with my best friend? No way are people going to know about that online and I sure won’t apologize online since I value our friendship and our relationship.


Parental Control: Where does it stop?

As Facebook has continued to evolve over the past couple of years, more of the worlds population has decided to rid themselves of all free time, and begin to take on procrastination as a hobby. In other words, more people have Facebook. Originally intended for college students, Facebook has expanded it’s demographic to all ages. Children as young as 13 and even grand-parents are jumping on the bandwagon these days. But for most college-aged students these days, the second their mom decides to “facebook friend” them spells trouble. All of the sudden every comment you make, every picture you are tagged in and for the most part, every move you make on Facebook suddenly must hold strong under the question “What will mom think if she sees this?” and “could anything be worse?” and unfortunately yes kids, it sure does.

The whole concept of having parents using the same sites as their children raises several points, some good and some not so good. First of all, we’ve now reached an age in which technology reigns supreme over all age groups. Never before has everyone been so digitally connected no matter their race, age, or colour, Facebook seems to transcend the age barrier that has for so long created a division between young and old.

But does this fact have certain repercussions for some Facebook users? The horrors of having parents on Facebook watching your every move isn’t a desirable for most young adults, but they aren’t the only red flags that must be watched out for these days. With almost everyone nowadays aware of the benefits of Facebook; teachers, coworkers and even people’s bosses are present on the site, with access to your photos and status updates. Now however this has always been a problem, it has recently risen to the surface that the owners of Facebook, WERE infact giving our personal information to 3rd party viewers. The New York Times unveiled its information concerning the situation in an article on November 29th;

“ The order says that Facebook, which has more than 800 million users worldwide today, in some cases allowed advertisers to glean personally identifiable information when a Facebook user clicked on an advertisement on his or her Facebook page. The company has long maintained that it does not share personal data with advertisers.”

This only makes me wonder, how can Facebook survive? A Company that has pledged to undertake more efforts in the privitaization of Facebook now admitting that they’ve spread “gossip” world wide. Whats next?  Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook, went onto to explain how there were “a bunch of mistakes,” but said it had already fixed several of the issues cited by the commission. Thankfully there seems to be a light at the end of this Social Networking Nightmare, Facebook is now obliged to undergo an independent privacy audit every six months for the next 20 years, according to the terms of the settlement.

There have been countless stories of people getting the axe from their jobs over frustrated status updates about their bosses’ not so pleasant attitude. If fact, some employers have been known to scout out the pictures of potential employees on Facebook as method in deciding wether they would make a good employee or not. So next time you think about how horrified you are that your mom stumbled upon a photo of that sweet kegstand you did last Saturday, think about how you’d feel if it was on a billboard in Times Square for the whole world to see.

Think twice about what you post to the internet.

I’m begging you.

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You Better WORK!: New Application Shows When Photos Have Been Altered

Striving to look like the model on the cover of Cosmo may just be more achievable than you think! With one simple click, we have seen the magic of Photoshop create seamless beauty in less than a minute. This program can do many wonders, from removing blemishes, smoothing out skin complexion, or adding a sun-kissed glow. But now, more than ever models are shedding 10-20 pounds right before our eyes. This monster of a program has single handedly given the self-conscious market an unknowing boost in the wrong direction.

As discussed in Class, we have pondered the question of, “what happens if technology takes over?” and to be completely honest, I think that ship has sailed.

There always has been an issue with young girls and boys regarding the top models and imitating them to their best potential. However, now with Photoshop it creates the illusion that these “celebrities” are in fact at some unattainable level of perfection that no one dare compete. Photoshop gives amateurs the upper hand in this; pretty much anyone with the application is more than welcome to alter their own photos as well. However, this, as I’m sure you can imagine, does WONDERS for the self-esteem of the youth of today.

Hany Farid, a professor of computer science and a digital forensics expert at Dartmouth, sheds his insight in the New York Times on the problems with Photoshop, and the false notions of beauty that are displayed to the public through advertising and celebrity photographs.

The most recent discussion is whether or not viewers should be informed. In other words, should there be a notice or a watermark on the photo stating when it has been digitally enhanced? Will we be shocked by how many photos are in fact edited? Or will the public all of a sudden seem more and more beautiful as we begin to compete with unaltered photos of celebrities?

Technological advancements have enabled an application that is still in the works, however, essentially the purpose of the tool is to point out when a photo has been digitally Photo shopped.

“The algorithm is meant to mimic human perceptions. To do that, hundreds of people were recruited online to compare sets of before-and-after images and to determine the 1-to-5 scale, from minimally altered to starkly changed. The human rankings were used to train the software.”

Their work is intended as a technological step to address concerns about the prevalence of highly idealized and digitally edited images in advertising and fashion magazines. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.
So maybe there is hope? Or just a really beautiful future?

You decide.

Parents + social media = not the perfect combination

My parents are clueless about social media and I don’t think they are the only ones. They don’t have a Facebook (thank goodness), a Twitter account, Flickr, or post videos on YouTube. I am hoping this will never be the case. I remember one day my mom asked me to set her a Facebook account, and I blankly refused. This is because knowing my mother; she is the 15 percentile that does not conform to technology. Back in the day, I got her MSN Messenger so we would be able to video chat during my first year at university. I can count on one hand the amount of times that happened.

Now it may be because my parents were born are baby boomers and part of generation X. They didn’t grow up the way I did having Internet and all this technology at a young age and only started learning how to use this no more than 15 years ago. But still, I cannot see them adapting to being connoisseurs about social media. The only form of technology, not even social media, my parents can successfully use is e-mail, and that’s because their jobs require them to constantly e-mail clients. Don’t even get me started about texting – my mother has never sent a text message in her life and when my father sends a text message, he tends to have numerous           gaps             in           between          each           words. Unless parents are willing to be taught how to use certain social medias, I don’t see them taking the initiative and learning themselves how to create a Facebook account or post videos on YouTube because their generation never had this intergraded into their lives at a very young age. Our generation, generation Z, will be more inclined to keep up to date with social medias and conform to certain social media because we grew up with this our entire lives and we won’t remember a time where Internet didn’t exist.

Social media belongs to generation Z and generation Y – any generations older than that will be less inclined to adapt to new technology, notably social media, unless someone tells them they should.

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Check out our Final video on the topic of Using Social Media as a Recruitment Tool for Universities to reach out to prospective students!



Robotic animal relationships – d’oh!

Last Sunday, I was watching a new episode of The Simpsons and a storyline came up that instantly reminded me of the topic we’ve been discussing in class recently. The storyline was that Bart and Martin created a toy seal robot for their science fair. No surprise, the boys won first place. Prior to accepting their award, Principal Skinner exclaims how the boys’ invention “will provide comfort when humans fail to.”

I found the irony in what we have been talking about recently, especially how robots will sooner or later be replacing our human relationships, and now of all shows, The Simpsons are satirizing about robotic animals companionship that they provide to humans. As Bart exclaims, “You will never need to clean up after them!” After all, the best part of the relationship between man and animal is the companionship, even though animals will never be able to say a word – unless of course they are robots and can “voice” their feelings.

As the episode progress, the retirement home takes a liking to the boys’ invention because it provided companionship and made them happy. However, the funeral directors find a way to turn the robots evil so the senior citizens become miserable again and die quickly in order to make money. Doesn’t that sound a bit like capitalism?

The last shot of the episode was a robot seal with a menacing face, even though Bart, Martin and some nerds made, what we assumed, all the robot seals back to friendly robots. Could this foreshadow the ultimate doom of our robotic relationships? Eventually, robots could figure out what their true use are and ultimately turn against the people who create them just by the flick of a switch.

Instant Photography Pro?; The Pros and Cons of Instagram

An interesting note to speak about on the quality of cell phone photos, and more importantly, photo taking applications. What’s the big deal about Instagram? And why is that the single thing making me want so desperately to become an IPhone user? Is it ownership? Is it that the photos that any amateur with an IPhone takes looks like a gallery worthy image that would take years of education and portfolio building to achieve?

Nope, simply answered, the application uses filters to enhance the photos appearance, and give it a vintage look. This leads me to my second question? With technology that is on the brink of discovery and is so fresh and new, why would you want to upload photos that look like they were taken in 1867?

The merging of old and new technology has been a recent fad. From Skype calling, to ipads, there is clearly a need for society to hold onto these old mediums as we brace ourselves for what is in the future. I appreciate the success of Instagram. It’s a very well-executed product. It’s fast, fun and has a very expedient way of blasting out photos of things people see as they go about their lives. The fact that the entire social network revolves around pictures of relative mundane activities relieves users of the pressure of creating great works of art before showing them to the world.

However, is there really a necessity to making mundane photos seem more appealing? Does society really need another procrastination tool?

It almost seems to me like a money grabber, another application for the iPhone turning consumers into bandwagon chasing zombies. An article in the Globe & Mail discusses the situation and brings to light some very interesting points.

“Vintage filters became the barbecue sauce of the photography world: a strangely appealing taste that’s so pungent it overrules whatever might have been going on in the underlying food, for better or for worse.”

However repetitive it may seem, why do people stick to Instagram over any other photo editing application? Trust me, I’ve looked it up, there is no close to awesome equivalent to the BlackBerry, or the android.

I guess ownership is the glue of this operation. Knowing that YOU took that photo, and it looks just as good as anything a professional could take, is what keeps the users happy and entertained. The social media aspect included is also a great way to enhance a networked community, with the uploading and sharing of photos, only users with the application are able to participate.

So this leaves me wondering…how long until I cross over to the dark side?