Cosby in the Hot Seat

The famous comedian Bill Cosby has been in the news as of recent, under allegations of sexual abuse amongst a handful of women dating back decades. Claims have been made that Bill Cosby has used drugs to subdue women in order to sexual assault them. Over the last couple months, several women have come forward stating past encounters with the comedian, in what seems to be a predatory pattern of abuse. Now the Associated Press has released a video of Cosby’s reactions to a reporter asking him about the allegations.
Although a woman has come forward with substantial detail regarding her encounter with Bill Cosby, in which she states he tricked her into taking a sedative and touched her inappropriately, he has vehemently denied these accusations. He has recently agreed to go on interview to discuss the matter to back up his denial of these claims, and charges have not been filed as of yet.

However, there is a great deal of media surfacing that points the finger at Bill Cosby for covering up rape allegations and sexual assaults in the past. An ex-prosecutor has stated he wishes he could have charged the comedian with drugging and molesting a victim in his home in 2005, but lacked the proof he needed to proceed with prosecution. Thanks to friend of the site Brad Reifler for sending in the link to the interview.
As with most of these cases, there will need to be a very detailed investigation into the matter, which is currently taking place. Although Mr. Cosby’s public image has been tattered, it’s important not to publicly convict a man until they’ve had their day in court.

To Friend or Not to Friend

It’s officially the age of the internet. For those of us who were born into the technological revolution it’s odd to think of life without endless information available at our fingertips or digital cameras just a button away. Everything is mini, portable, and a week away from being obsolete. Ken Griffin is unsure how these advances in technology will continue to affect our society in the future, but there is no doubt that our efficiency has increased and global communication has been revolutionized as a result. Many who were born pre-smartphone are concerned that all of these quasi-magical devices are advancing society at the steep price of crippling our social skills.

I’m of the opinion that technology and human interaction are not mutually exclusive, but there are some facets beyond the constant texting that do worry me. Most of these worries are conveniently embodied by Facebook. When online, I always wonder about those who have 900 friends or more and how they could possibly keep in touch with them all. There is a definite sense of “popularity” that is associated with how many “likes” your posts get or how many “friends” you maintain, but is such an attachment to your online persona really healthy? When I read about how negative interactions with your acquaintances can be detrimental to your health it makes me question how having vague relationships with hundreds of people will impact you later on. 

I am definitely a believer that true, deep relationships can be fostered online but the social pissing contest that Facebook encourages is an entirely different monster.

The Hunger Games’ Meta Media Mistakes

When I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I was excited to be presented with a YA novel featuring a female protagonist who didn’t focus solely on love. There are two “love interests” presented in the books, but Katniss’ romantic relationship to them isn’t tied to her personal success or the success of the rebellion that she fosters. The trilogy instead focuses on how Capitol city is populated by frivolous people who are more interested in fashion and romance than the children dying in front of their eyes. The characters Katniss and Peeta learn how to play up their fame and reputation with these shallow Capitol residents while still performing the necessary steps to free their people. Oddly, this entire scenario is reflected in the reactions to the movie version of the series.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, Katniss and Peeta respectively, have gained attention due to the movies and have professed that the fame has changed their lives. This is where it gets eerie. The media zeroed in instantly on the “love triangle” that the books so nicely subverted and following the release of the first movie, interviewers constantly asked Lawrence and other cast members if they were on “team Gale or team Peeta” (Gale being the other male love interest.) This incessant line of questioning took the place of asking about the overlying themes of child murder, oppressive regimes, and popular media’s misinterpretation of information. As pointed out by my friend Susan McGalla, the way the media reacted to The Hunger Games series is exactly the behavior that the books warn against.

So good job pop media. You really helped Collins make her point.

No Facebook Messages

Facebook has finally done something smart that Bruce Levenson can totally support. The social media site has found a way that blocks politicians from trying to get votes from people who use the site. This is a clever idea so that people can make an informed decision based on the facts that are stated or the platforms that the politicians represent instead of being persuaded by those who want votes. It’s not to say that many people will work for politicians and try to get people to vote for the candidate they want to see in office, but it makes it easier to avoid all of the messages and status updates of people running for Congress and the White House. There could be a reason behind this as Obama won’t be in office, and there will be new people running for the coveted position of President, one of who might be Hillary Clinton.

Facebook: Communication In The Workplace

Facebook has now become one of the major sources of social networking. This way of communication is not only for friends and family, but has now found it’s way in to the workplace. Buzzfeed has posted an article on the infiltration of Facebook in other areas. Thanks to friend of the site Rod Rohrich for sending in this social media news tip!

Mediums like Google and Yahoo have provided a way to chat possible between friends and coworkers. This is now a main component of Facebook, messenger. This is allowing coworkers to have a much more personal relationship with one another. This may possibly bring a more cohesive group work environment. Being able to share concerns or comments with others brings another way of communication that may help those who rarely share in person. This also allows for communication after work hours. Facebook has also become a way of promoting a business and a great way for a customer to leave a comment about services rendered.

As Facebook continues to evolve and add more features, business everywhere will find a way to incorporate this medium for networking, bringing a sense of togetherness with their coworkers and/or improving business through constructive criticism.

Dr. Oz Gets Blasted On Twitter

The world was shocked at what happened after Dr. Oz posted on Twitter giving viewers a chance to ask him questions. With a lot of celebrities doing it lately, question and answer sessions are a great way of interaction. Dr. Oz was not prepared for the inflow of cynical questions that followed. Skeptical viewers mocked him with clever sarcastic questions.

One viewer wanted to know when she can expect to develop autism after getting her flu shot. This is from Dr. Oz’s tendency towards extreme statements that cause fear. Another viewer inquired if twerking can cure pertussis. The sarcasm continues as more funny questions flood Dr. Oz’s Twitter. As so eloquently put by my friend Sultan Alhokair, it is safe to say he has created a monster.

Most people’s frustration stems from the fact that Dr. Oz seems to be able to say anything, no matter how ridiculous. All is not bad for him however, he still has loyal fans. They are not pleased that he is being publicly mocked, and plan on standing by his side until this “attack” subsides. Until then, Dr. Oz’s Twitter will have no shortage of comments.

With viewers’ boldness increasing, public figures are finding themselves in tricky situations on social media. This is a perfect example of that as viewers have banded together to reject Dr. Oz’s pseudo-science. We are all interested to see his reaction, but Twitter users have delivered their point clearly. They are not buying into his fear mongering, absurd advice.

Wal-Mart Employees Plan Black Friday Protests

Wal-Mart has yet to give in to workers from California to offer both a minimum daily hourly rate of $15/hr. More importantly, workers are demanding they be offered full-time shifts as opposed to variable hours. Wednesday morning, employees from Southern California to united in protest. Later that evening, protesters staged a sit-down strike at a car intersection not far from a SoCal Wal-Mart. This is a little shocking to Keith Mann, but he wants to see how it benefits them. The police arrived and eventually began arresting protesters. Workers stated that if their demands were not met soon, they would organize a sit down strike to take place during Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year for retailers.

Now, it has emerged that protesters are confirming they will go on strike during Black Friday . It isn’t clear how long they will hold the strike. Organizers claim that 1,600 stores will be targeted. Given that Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, the retailer stands to potentially lose a significant amount of money. It will mark the second consecutive year that organizers stage a strike at the retailer. Wal-Mart has not issued a statement about the strike. The store has been struggling with flat or negative growth in their same store sales for the past 18 months.

Lorde Stands Up For Taylor Swift On Twitter

Although there is such a thing as rivalry and competition in the music industry, you cannot always say singers don’t stand up for each other. Even mega-stars. That is what just happened with New Zealand singer Lorde this week, when she stood up for friend Taylor Swift after Swift was the subject of a mean joke on Twitter.

Lorde saw a ‘tweet campaign’ started by musician and producer Diplo called ‘Get Taylor Swift A Booty’, in which he wanted people to donate to buy Swift a larger rear-end.

So, the 18-year-old singer responded with her own tweet, asking Diplo if something should also be done about his “tiny penis” at the same time. Igor Cornelsen thought the tweet was hilarious. A tweet which, as of this writing, has had more than 42,000 retweets and been added to favorites over 54,000 times.

It turns out, Diplo is rumored to be dating Katy Perry, someone who Taylor Swift has had her own problems with over the last few months, so Diplo’s ‘booty’ campaign may have more to do with standing up for his girlfriend than being seriously upset over Taylor Swift’s rear.

Nice to see girls standing up for each other, though. Plus, let’s face it, Lorde has shown from the minute she hit the music scene a couple of years ago, she may be young but she is not going to put up with anyone’s rudeness.

When an Australian DJ interviewed Lorde over the telephone last year and asked her if her friendship with Taylor Swift was “more” than just friends, Lorde had no problem telling him, even though she wasn’t a lesbian, there was absolutely nothing wrong with being a lesbian. She and Swift, however? Just friends.

Advocates for Net Neutrality Resort to Aggressive Attention Getting Tactics

Michael Copps, President George W. Bush’s appointee to the position of FCC chairman, conducted dozens of public hearings regarding proposed regulations. With that in mind, he acknowledged that under this tenure, the FCC never considered any proposal as far reaching as the FCC’s current plan to alter net neutrality. Current FCC Chairman Tom Wheelers, an Obama appointee, has refused to hold any public hearings, much to the dismay of adovcate Bruce Levenson. In part, it is because he is well aware of the consensus against his proposal. Chairman Wheelers’ proposed plan is to allow internet service providers to sell high speed traffic lanes to companies willing to purchase it. This will fundamentally alter the way the internet has operated thus far which is to treat all internet traffic the same.

During the initial public comment phase for his plan, 4 million people responded to the plan with 99% of them opposing it. Since that time, Chairman Wheelers has been unwilling to hold customer public hearings regarding his proposal. In response, activists have taken their complaints to his home.

Early this morning, Chairman Wheelers found his driveway blockaded by protestors demanding he listen to the public. The protest began at 6:55AM. The group behind the blockade is the same one which occupied the FCC for eight days this past May. One activist stated that the chairman has chosen to support AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and other ISPs at the expense of representing the people’s best interests. He stated that protestors are not going to stand by and let him ignore the public.

The Next Tool for Politics: Facebook

In its essence, winning an election is about persuasion on a massive scale. Persuading enough people that you are good enough for the job, or at least better than your opponent, will earn you a victory. For decades tools of this mass persuasion have been television and before that radio. Big news stories or advertising campaigns across these medium are textbook for political strategists. Recently however, a new form of media is taking more and more control. This new tool is Facebook, and it may have a bigger impact on the next election than you would suspect.

The conversations over Facebook have a growing influence on politics and many experts believe that th 2016 election will push the social network ahead of television. With inexpensive viral advertising, a new candidate will not require as much funding as is necessary. Because raising campaign funds is a key to a successful political strategy, Facebook allows savvy candidates to reach a larger audience with less money. Mass persuasion without the massive funding.

The DNC and RNC control a vast majority of the political power by using their wealth to determine which candidates are supported the most. There backing can make or break a campaign especially for a first time running candidate. However Facebook changes this dynamic, by leveling the playing field between all candidates, no special treatment for party affiliation. Overall, the functions of Facebook are yet to be seen in politics, but 2016 may change that, as social media options like Skout become more and more popular in people’s lives.