Facebook Makes Breakups Easier – Rochelle S

facebook-breakups-1-1024x822Having troubles moving on from a break-up? Maybe you’re checking your ex’s social media too much. According to this study, individuals who surveil their former romantic partner’s Facebook are more likely to have a more difficult time moving on.

To help you with this, Facebook has just released a new tools that will, “Help people manage how they interact with their former partners on Facebook after a relationship has ended,” according to Facebook product manager Kelly Winters. Once you change your relationship status, individuals will be promoted to try these new features.

This WIRED article explains these features more in depth and provides some interesting insights on the “digital break-up” process. With these new tools, users will be able to:

  •  Prevent suggestions of the person’s name when tagging photos or people in updates
  • Limit the presence of the person’s updates/content in Newsfeed
  • Simultaneously untag themselves from photos with that person

Of course you could just delete the person from your Facebook…but that would be dramatic, right?


Diana T – The Great Thanksgiving Listen

I came across a very interesting video on Thanksgiving about a project by StoryCorps called “The Great Thanksgiving Listen” which has occurred every year for the past 12 years. This is a national American project intended to engage people of all ages in the act of listening. Participants have the chance to record a conversation with a loved in a booth or through an app. These conversations are archived at the Library of Congress for future generations to hear as oral histories of everyday Americans.

Check out a video by ABC News explaining the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a-zRH2RrpI You can also hear these interviews on StoryCorp’s website. Here is an example of a conversation between a transgender mom and her daughter: https://storycorps.org/listen/alexis-martinez-and-lesley-martinez-etherly/

This year high school students were invited to record an interview with a grandparent or another elder. The objective of this project is to bring people together and remind us what’s really important and how much we all have in common.

I thought this was a great example of how digital media can create an intimate connection and impact others positively.  What do you guys think about the project?

Michael Robertson – The Fit Bark

Many of us are familiar with wearable technology such as the Fit Bit that has the ability to track our daily activity,  sending the data directly to our smartphones. Fit Bark, went one step further by integrating the same technology into a tiny device that attaches directly to a dogs collar giving the dogs owner or “ parent” as advertised by Fit Bark a whole new virtual connection with their animal. The Fit Bark is able to track daily activity, location, heart rate 24/7 that is all accessible from the app which the dogs’ parents would install on their smartphone device. Their goal was to further the human pet bond with statements such as “Who’s keeping you active? Inspiring a healthy lifestyle, for the two of you” Fit Barks apple indicates daily percentage goals in order to maintain both the Dogs and “parents” healthy active lifestyle. These devices are giving dog owners an ability to further connect with their animal furthering the human dog intimate relationship, but is this taking it a step too far?



Victoria E – What’s Your Sex Number?


Someone posted earlier about BuzzFeed quizzes in general, but today I stumbled across a very interesting one entitled “What’s Your Sex Number?” They call it “the ultimate ‘purity test’ for the modern age.” The quiz is essentially just one long game of “never have I ever” to be played alone; you simply check off what you have done on a big list of intimate or sexual acts, and the quiz tells you how sexual you are based on a number out of 200. It also gives you some kind of adjective to describe your sexuality based on the score you get.

It’s interesting that technologies, like some of the ones we discussed in class this week that had been posted on the blog (like Funderwear), have become so interconnected with sex lives. Shouldn’t we know “how sexual” or what kind of sexual we are without needing a BuzzFeed quiz to tell us? And why do we feel the need to classify our sexuality in this way anyway? Finding out which celebrity should be our BFF through these quizzes is understandable, because it’s fun, arbitrary, and makes us feel connected in some way to others. However, I feel that doing a quiz about our sexual experience may be crossing a bit of a line. The other thing it makes you think is, is someone storing this information somewhere based on every box you click? Scary.

Victoria E – Why You Should Delete Snapchat

Article: http://adammclane.com/2013/08/22/why-you-should-delete-snapchat/

Like many others in this class and in our generation, I am an avid user and fan of the Snapchat app. It’s a fun way to send pictures and short videos back and forth to friends without waiting for large files to transfer, and you can set a time limit no longer than 10 seconds for your friends to view your photos. This creates an illusion of privacy, because the photo can only be seen by the intended receiver (unless they have someone right beside them) and they cannot retrieve it later to view again or show someone else. If they screenshot your image, you get a notification, so you know when they’ve intentionally kept the photo you sent them.

The aspect of sexuality that this article mentions is very interesting as well. He explains that Snapchat was made as a safer way to sext. Obviously, it can be argued that there is no way to make sexting safe, because it involves mediating a sexual relationship through technology, which is never truly private. Like Berlant discusses, intimacy has a public aspect because what we consider public and private are closely connected and subjective.

The app surely has an impact on real-life relationships, both positively and negatively. Here is just one example of each:

  •  Negative: Snapchat gives users the ability to view people’s “Best Friends”, letting you know who is sending Snaps back and forth most often. Imagine how easy would be for a lovers’ quarrel to start over the fact that one partner has an ex or a “friend” as their #1 Best Friend instead of their current significant other. All made worse by the fact that the images disappear, so there is no way to prove what kind of content was being sent.
  • Positive: On the other hand, being able to see someone’s face (Snapchat selfies), or what they are doing, regularly through images could be great for a long-distance relationship, especially if country borders and cellular fees prevent traditional texting or calling.

The author of the article stresses that there is no such thing as privacy, anonymity, or impermanency in digital media, only the perception of these things. This is made even more interesting by what was posted below by Cassandra R: the fact that Snapchat was hacked recently, exposing access to millions of user accounts. This article was posted before that scandal occurred, and even after some of our fears were challenged, not a single one of my friends disabled their Snapchat account (and, admittedly, neither did I).

After reading this article, which makes several valid points, are you persuaded to delete your account?