Tag Archives: Blog Post 1 – Intelligent Filter – Annotated Link

Bullying has gone WAY too far

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been bullied at one point or another in our lives.

As a result, I’m fairly confident that the majority of you reading this are now recalling the face of that person who made you feel so small, so insignificant and so afraid that a moment is indelibly burned into your memory.  If you didn’t have one then my guess is you’ll recognize a few iconic ones out of Hollywood included herein.

Biff Tannen Continue reading Bullying has gone WAY too far

Looking to shake up your caffeinated drink of choice? Try tea!

Working, studying, raising kids, building hobbies, running a business, volunteering … the list of adult responsibilities goes on and on. It’s really no wonder that this overload of activities makes it a struggle to get up in the morning and stay focused throughout the day (the exhaustion always hits around 2 p.m. for me), and that’s why coffee is often considered an earthy, life-saving brew of caffeine and concentration.

This dependency on coffee is completely normal. According to statistics from E-Imports, a company that offers solutions and startup information to people who dream of owning and running a cute corner coffee shop, about 50% of Americans drink coffee. Out of the 50% who sip and savor a strong cup of joe, the average adult drinks 3.2 cups of coffee a day. I mean, who can limit themselves to only one cup a day? Coffee tastes good, and one cup probably only contains enough caffeine to get you through the morning (or, if you’re a coffee warrior, through a couple hours max).

Continue reading Looking to shake up your caffeinated drink of choice? Try tea!

The Truth about “The Great Jackie Robinson”

I enjoyed watching the movie 42, which is an autobiography of Jackie Robinson. I have always enjoyed and been inspired by Jackie Robinson’s story of becoming the first African American to play professional baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Watching this movie got me looking up some more facts about Jackie Robinson and I started to find many details missing from the movie 42 that I think were influential to the segregation moment.

While researching I stumbled across the article “ The Real Story of Baseball’s Integration That You Won’t See in 42,”by Peter Dreier. This article highlighted how the film 42 ignores the movement that helped and allowed Jackie Robinson to be able to be in the major leagues. The film focused on Jackie Robinson’s and Branch Rickey’s journey but did not highlight the civil rights struggle happening in the United States. Dreier writes, “Robinson would have been disappointed by the film that ignored the centrality of the broader civil right struggle.” Dreier concludes, “The film 42 missed an opportunity to express that Robinson understood that inequalities could not be solved alone but needed activism and protests to help create change.”

This article was an eye opener and reminder to the fact that Jackie Robinson was not only a major player in the American baseball league but also in the Civil Right Movement.

Dreier, Peter. The Atlantic. “The Real Story of Baseball’s Integration That You Won’t See in 42”. Atlantic Media Company, 11 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 May 2016.

The Unsavvy Millennial’s Awakening to Social Media

The Beginner's Guide to Social Media

I’ll admit it. I’m no genius when it comes to social media.

I often scroll through my various feeds in envy as I see my family and friends posting, liking, tweeting, snapping, or whatever happens to be in vogue in the present. I don’t know if it’s just that my life is monotonous or if I have a heightened sense of privacy, but I just can’t seem to keep up with the various forms of social media at my disposal. Adding to my anxiety around this subject is the societal assumption that all Millennials must inherently be gifted when it comes to this subject. I can wholeheartedly assure you that this is a fallacy. I am constantly consulting Google with the litany of questions that come from the Baby Boomers around me. I simply want to scream—“I don’t know.”

Imagine my relief when I discovered that MDST 485 was a required class for my major. In the short time that we have been enrolled in this class, I have been awaken to some of the possibilities that come along with having a firm grasp of social media. In particular, the ability that social media has to enact social change. My inner-activist has been overwhelmed with the possibilities that are at my fingertips. Now, I’m no dummy, I realize I have quite the learning curve to overcome, however, the prospect of being social-media-competent excites me!

In my haste to discover as much as I could about the subject, I turned to a trusted friend—Google! In light of the fact that we are all on this journey together, I have chosen to share my findings with all of you in my first post! Take a look at https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media! Think of it as a guide to social media for dummies (like me)! Some of the important highlights of the site are:

  • The value of social media
  • Best practices
  • A breakdown of several popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc).
  • The vast possibilities that social media offers

I have a feeling that I am not the only one who feels as though they don’t live up to the Millennial promise. If that’s you, please take a look; I think the article does a nice job of streamlining the subject. If this post doesn’t resonate with you because you’re a social media genius, please share some tips with the rest of us lowly beings!

 

 

 

 

Monitoring Children on Social Media Makes Sense

Texting

I frequently scrutinize social media through the lens of a protective parent. Knowing that the brain isn’t fully developed until closer to twenty-five years old, I worry about young adolescents who are obsessed with posting things on social media. Parents and teens can learn about the dangers of cyberbullying and how to prevent it  and gain more information on what they can do if they become a victim of cyberbullying.

With the surge of social media there has been an increase in cyberbullying, which is linked to depression in teens. At the same time, several high-profile teen suicides were linked to various social networks. In a study out of Leiden University in the Netherlands, on suicidal thoughts and suicidal behaviors in adolescents, Mitch van Geel, PhD considers, “This may be because victims of cyberbullying feel denigrated before a wider audience, or because the event is stored on the Internet, they may relive denigrating experiences more often.”

Sure, kids learn right from wrong at a young age. However, their emotions and impulses are not fully developed to understand the devastating consequences of their actions. (Read the MIT Young Adult Development Project). I am not excusing children for bad behavior. Rather, because their brains are going through many changes parents/guardians need to be involved—and stay involved—in their children’s social media interactions. Monitor what your children are posting and reading online. Use that time for teachable moments to foster positive interactions.

van Geel M, Vedder P, Tanilon J. Relationship Between Peer Victimization, Cyberbullying, and Suicide in Children and Adolescents: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(5):435-442. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4143.

http://www.livescience.com/43994-bullying-suicidal-behavior-adolescents.html

http://hrweb.mit.edu/worklife/youngadult/brain.html

Extraversion + Intuition + Thinking + Judging

Yep, I am an ENTJ.

 

Some of you might have already pegged me as such, but who cares about my personality type anyway? Whether you realize it or not, you all do.

Continue reading Extraversion + Intuition + Thinking + Judging

Parent-Child Relationship At Risk

Often a genial area in the heart of a child—though sometimes, just the opposite. I’m talking about a child’s relationship with his/her parent(s). I’ve seen both extremes around me throughout my life. There’s the extreme of the parent and child who are best friends, and there is the extreme of the parent and child who are worst enemies. Somewhere in between, I would say, is a healthy place to be.

As many of you are probably at a stage in life where you have kids or are thinking of having kids somewhere down the road, please know this key fact: “Parents play an irreplaceable role in the lives of their children.” Because the parent cannot simply be traded for another without an emotional difference in the child-parent relationship dynamics, it seems that nothing can shatter the innate bond a child has with his/her parent. Sure, there are relationships that aren’t healthy and there are relationships that are stationary or absent, but still, there is a yearning in a child to be loved and not overlooked–not just by any person, but specifically, his/her parent(s).

This yearning may present itself at many different points and crossroads in a child’s life. Perhaps, when a young child falls off of his/her bicycle and the result is a skinned knee. Perhaps, a senior in high school is overwhelmed with figuring out what college or major to pursue after high school. Perhaps, a young adult is thinking about getting married. In all of the aforementioned scenarios, the child looks to his/her parent(s) for comfort, guidance, and support.

 

The child-parent relationship is important for younger children as well as young adults. A healthy relationship helps young children developmentally in various ways. For young adults, a healthy relationship can mean better grades and healthier life decisions. Amidst all of the benefits of the child-parent relationship, there is danger of that relationship being obliterated. Federal judges are refusing to notice the rights of parents and the impact these rights have on children.

The argument is that the constitution does not explicitly state the parental rights, so, in that case, the government thinks it should be able to administer the child’s education and development.

Blog Post 1: Short (or How to Write in the Digital Age)

One of the basic skills we in this class use is writing. There are a lot of ways to write, however, and different styles are better for different mediums. Take right now, for example, this introductory text that’s as boring as your dog sleeping on your shoes for the seventeenth straight morning in a row. And it just goes on and on.

There are two simple solutions: make it emotional, typically funny and comedic to write, or make it brief. Short, simple, and to the point is the best way to convey concise information, yet even then it’s more than just writing down information.

Jennifer Miller talks about how to write short, with some special focus on Shakespeare. The leading and ending words of a sentence should be the most important. It emphasizes your message and meaning with a good narrative flow, and leaves a brief pause at the period to let the point sink home.

It’s entirely possible to write engaging tweets, but they’re not something you just sit down and kick out.

– Shawn

As The Crow Flies

I have been fortunate enough to serve in the United States Army for the past seven years now. I have been through hundreds of different training scenarios all around the country preparing me for war. In 2009 I was deployed to Iraq. I did missions just about every day for the year I was there. During my years of service and everything I have been through, I have been very lucky not to be injured, but not everyone is as lucky as I am. Many soldiers receive serious injuries during their careers that will require continued health coverage for the rest of their lives. The Veterans Affairs Department was established to provide this health coverage.

The Veterans Affairs department has a lot of history of neglecting their responsibilities of supports veterans. This article by CNN http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/23/politics/va-scandals-timeline/   highlights the controversies, scandals, and inadequate care that have been happening. Many veterans have been voicing their frustrations with the lack of and poor care that they have been receiving while visiting VA hospitals. More controversies have come to light the past year with at least 69 veterans that have died waiting for appointments and treatment.  President Obama orders an investigation into the VA department different facilities nationwide. The results have the investigation revealed bribery and deception. Many high ranking officials have either resigned or put on leave as well.

The VA department has been attempting to make changes to their system and policies. A recent change has made headlines and it also shows how far the VA still has to go. This change was in reference to traveling distance a veteran would have to go to receive health care that is covered by the different health plans. The old rule was if a veteran has been waiting for more than 30 days for an appointment and a clinic is 40 miles away as the crow flies then they could seek assistance else where. The new change will include driving distance and not how a bird may fly. This change has allowed 45,000 more appointments to be made, but this is just the start. The VA needs to continue to revise its policies and start doing their job, which is taking care of the welfare of the military veterans. They have given so much for this country and now it’s time for the country to give back to them.

John Stewart does a great job in the following video explaining the issues that veterans are facing which is highighted by the recent change distance traveled by crows.

Opt-in: Big Data Done Right?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the concept of “big data” and all of the information I generate on a daily basis makes me a bit uncomfortable. That someone could mine this data to predict my future behavior or publicize my past behavior conjures images of a world I don’t want to live in.

Ever since Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations I swear I have heard tales of 100 different spying schemes. The differences between big government and big corporations are not clear in this regard. The details are always classified, anonymously reported or otherwise vague and tricky to properly analyze. Which is why I opt-out of everything, use fake information where possible and generally try not to leave too many digital footprints.

I have noticed that many of us who try to be “data concious” still have our blind spots. I happily let Google track my whereabouts to make predictions about traffic in places I might go. I pour my soul into Pandora in an attempt to uncover some new musical gems. And last but not least, I rate things on Netflix like there is no tomorrow. It is somehow satisfying to imagine adding IQ points to Netflix with each rating. Nobody wants to waste time trying to figure out what to watch, right?

As it turns out, Netflix is using those ratings for something more elaborate. Salon.com recently ran a piece about Netflix making use of its “big data capabilities.” One intriguing nugget really stands out. From the article:

For at least a year, Netflix has been explicit about its plans to exploit its Big Data capabilities to influence its programming choices. “House of Cards” is one of the first major test cases of this Big Data-driven creative strategy. For almost a year, Netflix executives have told us that their detailed knowledge of Netflix subscriber viewing preferences clinched their decision to license a remake of the popular and critically well regarded 1990 BBC miniseries.

Netflix’s data indicated that the same subscribers who loved the original BBC production also gobbled down movies starring Kevin Spacey or directed by David Fincher. Therefore, concluded Netflix executives, a remake of the BBC drama with Spacey and Fincher attached was a no-brainer, to the point that the company committed $100 million for two 13-episode seasons.

Even if this type of thing makes you uneasy, it’s still kind of cool, right? Netflix broke down our viewing habits into something modular, and then used it to rebuild (or remake) a show with the utmost confidence that we would enjoy it. If I had never watched House of Cards, this article would have me predicting it to be a contrived failure — a pseudo-artistic attempt at making some cash. But I have watched it, and the show is truly well written, acted and shot.

Critics and viewers have seemed to agree — the show is good. Considering the resounding success we must assume this will not be Netflix’s last Frankenstein. Get your popcorn ready. Although data collection remains a serious issue with major consequences and implications for society, I can’t deny that this is one fascinating side effect.

* Cool Kevin Spacey image linked from Salon.com