Three Things We Can all Learn From People Who Don’t Use Smartphones or Social Media

File 20180919 146148 ymdeqb.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
‘Someone likes me.’
Shutterstock.

Rowland Atkinson, University of Sheffield and Mariann Hardey, Durham University

Many of us spend hours every day tethered to our devices, pawing at the screen to see if it will deliver a few more likes or emails, monitoring the world and honing our online presence. Social networking platforms such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are supposed to make us feel more connected. Yet our reliance on technology to “see” the social world around us can be a heavy burden.

The Pew Research Centre recently reported that about a quarter of US adults say they are “almost constantly” online. Stress, addiction, depression and anxiety seem unsurprising consequences of using social platforms often specifically designed to keep us repeating the same actions over and over again.

Even so, many would find the prospect of living offline worrisome, or simply impossible. That’s why we undertook a small study with 50 people who may seem nothing less than social outcasts in today’s screen saturated environment. None of our participants used social media or had a mobile phone, and most even refused to email.

We wanted to understand why these people had decided to switch off, and how they managed it. But rather than seeking quick fixes for overuse, we explored the principles and values that drove our participants to live the way they do. Much has already been written about how we can switch off – but that won’t achieve much, unless we really feel the benefits.

Here’s what our respondents said they’d learned, from living their social lives offline. Read more

Share

#Revolution: How the Humble Hashtag Changed World Politics

File 20181029 76408 2vkpwi.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Changing the times.
Shutterstock

Joanna Rozpedowski, Durham University

From fashion trends to global events, the hashtag (#) has become the conspicuous symbol of the Twittersphere. What only a decade ago denoted a numerical symbol of no special significance or attribution is now a call to arms for causes that are many and varied.

The “#” is a social organiser, which emerged spontaneously and dynamically from the content generated and updated by social media users. The initial intent behind the “#”, when Twitter launched in 2006, lay in its simple use as a means of organising data and information. An indexing tool for grouping anything from the politically relevant to the culturally hip, the “#” soon found itself aligned with some of the most significant events in history. Read more

Share

History of Halloween

Halloween is celebrated on October 31st every year in several countries where people wear strange outfits to drive away ghosts.

It was in the eighteenth century that Pope Gregory III proposed 1st of November to honour all saints. The evening before the All Saints Day was then considered as the All Hallows Eve and later called Halloween. After a period of time, Halloween evolved as an activity which included trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, and eating sweet treats. Read more History of Halloween

Share

Power and the Abuse of Language: A Rant by Rashad the Cackler

[The homeless old man, Rashad the Cackler is back with another rant. Enjoy as he spills his guts to passersby on a big city street corner.]

***
We’ve got these democratic, capitalistic societies we’re so proud of. That’s how we “progress,” right? By voting and making money and buying stuff we don’t need.

I’ve been trying to figure out, though, why politicians and pundits make a fetish out of the word “appropriate.” I saw it once on CNN: it was a typical American political negotiation. President Trump had dragged a Democratic senator’s wife into the Oval Office and ordered his henchmen to gang rape her right in front of the senator and his children. They went to town on her, because it was televised so they had to make it a spectacle. I saw a Taser and a cat o’ nine tails and a flaming trident. A donkey got in on the action, and in the end they cut her up into ribbons and vacuumed her remains off the carpet.
Read more Power and the Abuse of Language: A Rant by Rashad the Cackler

Share

From Fake News to Fake Profiles: Beware Feeble Imitations! (4-Chan & Reddit Fake Accounts of Wallace Runnymede)

I have just found out that I have been paid the ‘compliment’ of being impersonated online on 4-chan and Reddit. I am contacting the moderators of Reddit, to try and get the fake account closed down.
Fortunately, there are some obvious red flags. For example, one post says: Read more From Fake News to Fake Profiles: Beware Feeble Imitations! (4-Chan & Reddit Fake Accounts of Wallace Runnymede)

Share

To ‘Kowtow’ – An Unfortunate New Habit Imported From China


kow·tow
ˌkouˈtou/
verb
1.
Act in an excessively subservient manner.
“She didn’t have to kowtow to a boss.”
Synonyms:
Grovel to, be obsequious to, be servile to, be sycophantic to, fawn over/on, cringe to, bow and scrape to, toady to, truckle to, abase oneself before, humble oneself to.
2.
HISTORICAL
Kneel and touch the ground with the forehead in worship or submission as part of Chinese custom.
Synonyms:
Prostrate oneself before, bow (down) to/ before, genuflect to/before, do/make obeisance to/before, fall on one’s knees before, kneel before
“They kowtowed to the Emperor.”

(Definition courtesy of Wikipedia)

Kowtow is a Chinese word that we Westerners and, yes, we Americans are starting to learn the true meaning of. It means to bow down before someone, to grovel, to be subservient. Unfortunately, we are doing it increasingly towards the inventors of the word. Read more To ‘Kowtow’ – An Unfortunate New Habit Imported From China

Share

The End of Euthanasia? New Public Intelligence Register Tracks Death Threats & Potentially Defamatory Abuse


The militant autism lobby are notorious for sending death threats and potentially defamatory abuse to autistic people, as well as autism parents.
So, the Autistics Against Hate project, previously limited to just a Twitter account alone, is now providing a detailed public intelligence register of threats and potential defamation from the neurodiversity lobby; which latter is mainly, but not exclusively, made up of the self-styled ‘autistic community.’ (The latter, like all so-called communities without exception, represent only themselves; rather than all autistic people). Read more The End of Euthanasia? New Public Intelligence Register Tracks Death Threats & Potentially Defamatory Abuse

Share

New Medium Journal: Tyler’s Army!

I’m back on Medium! I’m running two journals currently… Enjoy! Give ’em a follow, and please do share anything that catches your eye!

Libertarian Third Camp: Preliminary Notes

By analogy with the Socialist Third Camp, the Libertarian Third Camp will avoid ‘pragmatic’ compromises with neoconservatives, homeless humanitarians and bourgeois cosmopolitans (First Campers). The pragmatist temptation is always there for libertarians, and it must be staunchly resisted. Read more New Medium Journal: Tyler’s Army!

Share

What Kind of Immigration System Will We Have Post-Brexit? Ask Newsthump!

A funny story from the satire outlet Newsthump humorously portrays Jeremy Corbyn in terms of a common British trope: the ‘angry old man’ who doesn’t like ‘foreigners,’ is overly critical of immigration, and is very defensive about the economic interests of British workers. The humor is effective because as a hard-left socialist figure, Corbyn is supposed to be the opposite of a Daily Mail reading working class Tory ‘class traitor.’
Of course, all this will probably sound fairly ridiculous to the notoriously dogmatic and highly strung Corbies, who will undoubtedly have been triggered by some of the funny stories on Glossy News. Read more What Kind of Immigration System Will We Have Post-Brexit? Ask Newsthump!
Share

Random Thoughts (XIV): Fundies, Agitators & Toxic Males!

Not All Faiths are Equal


Yes, you judged rightly: I am indeed a man of peace. And I can see much good in many faiths.
And it’s precisely from this spirit, that I simply cannot accept moral equivalence between all faiths. Read more Random Thoughts (XIV): Fundies, Agitators & Toxic Males!

Share

WTF?! Sacha Baron-Cohen’s Psychologist Cousin Makes HORRENDOUS Autism Gaffe! Please share!

What’s the worst Godwin fail you’ve heard all year?

There’s a lot of it about, but I am quite sure you’ll all have no trouble agreeing that the story that’s about to follow is one of the worst you’ve heard in a long, long time.

A Tale of Two Cousins

Read more WTF?! Sacha Baron-Cohen’s Psychologist Cousin Makes HORRENDOUS Autism Gaffe! Please share!

Share

Victimhood is Mighty! The Autistic Dark Web Confronts the Bitter Orthodoxies of Disability & Mental Health


One of the most unintentionally hilarious things about the current postmodernist consensus is the bizarre notion that there is something incredibly edgy, provocative and radical about the moronic SJW boilerplate du jour.
TERF-punching misogynists consider themselves to be an oppressed minority, heroically fighting back against their omnipotent and omniscient cisscum oppressors. Read more Victimhood is Mighty! The Autistic Dark Web Confronts the Bitter Orthodoxies of Disability & Mental Health

Share