Archived entries for social media

Dance for store credit, monkey boy!

And if that headline doesn’t entice you, I give up. : )

I just stumbled across a startup called Splashscore.  The premise is that for every Facebook post you write that your friends like or comment on, the more points you earn towards credit at stores such as Walmart, The Gap, Applebees, etc.  It’s not clear if you accrue points or if your rewards are dependent on an extremely popular and/or controversial posting.

Walk with me now as I spin out the future of engaging with Splashscore.  Research show that folks are already performing a sanitized version of themselves on social media platforms — no mentions of plantar warts, excema, alcoholism, bullying, extortion, you name it — so why not raise the ante a bit and get a little something something in return?  Though anyone familiar with social media also knows that the most popular posts are not always the best posts. The posts that seem to get the most traction and go viral typically activate our cute, melodrama, slapstick, rage and kitten receptors.

How does Splashscore tabulate my winnings?  Clearly they’ll have a connection into my site and my postings, and probably noting along the way my online habits — the companies I like as well as the company I keep, and what they like.

So I post something — is it true? Does it matter? — about a sick kitten who hilariously tumbles down an incline and experiences grass beneath her tiny toes for the first time — and I start raking in the Splashscore points.  To what end, though?  I appreciate the array of sponsors but it’s not clear how often one needs to debase oneself for likes, or the size of the awards. At the end of the day I may lose the trust and respect of my 500 friends all for a free Zagnut.  I can also see a shadow army paid to like or engage on a post. Nowhere in the instructions does it say that it has to be an intelligent post.  Bring on the spammers!!

And there, my friends, you have in a nutshell the passion play of modern capitalism.

Massive Online Bullying

Back in my day, bullies had to show up, often with a couple of friends in tow, and threaten to bash your teeth in person.  Now bullies are often anonymous and can just dial it in. I came cross this paper today in my travels (caution: PDF):

Changes in the climate of higher education itself may be linked to some bullying incidents. Twale and De Luca (2008) write of the “rise of the aca demic bully culture” in which opportunism and social ineptitude does not support civility in intellectual interactions. Such behaviors, considered individually, often appear to be insignificant. However, considered in context and combined with other inappropriate behaviors they can have direct impacts on the quality of instructional experience for students…

The article goes on to describe incidences of teacher-on-teacher bullying, including mentor-on-teacher, and of course the classic case of the student bully.  This piece by yours truly has some interesting information on who is likely to get bullied (hint: obese kids, those not heteronormal, ugly and pretty girls (let’s just say girls, shall we?)).

I do wonder if the fundamental qualities of bullying and bullying culture have shifted with the adoption of new digital media.  Like, is it considered better or worse to be known as a bully?  Are the best bullies now the anonymous ones who don’t get caught?  Food for thought.

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