Getting Arrested for a Tweet: The Age of the Post-Anonymous Internet

Can saying terrible things on the internet land you in jail?

Thanks to social media, it looks like the answer is creeping closer to “yes.”

In March, a 21-year-old who drunkenly tweeted racist remarks was charged with “inciting racial hatred” in the United Kingdom. He was sent to prison for 56 days.

Two British boys, age 20 and 22, were sentenced to four years in prison for creating Facebook events about the rioting taking place in the summer of 2011.

Four years is also the standard sentence for people who have committed sexual assault.

The Spokesman-Review, a Washington newspaper, must reveal the name of an anonymous online poster who wrote disparaging comments about the chairwoman of a Kootenai County Republican Party.

Because Jacobson wants to take the commenter to court for defamation.

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The 3 Reasons All Young Adults Are Liberal

Reading Time: ~20 minutes

JobCrater2Last month, I wrote a fairly innocuous piece on my Open Salon blog. To say the least, I was surprised by the waterfall-velocity at which comments flooded the article. At first, I was determined to respond to all of them, but soon gave up. What was the point of responding to a comment if I had to write something that was as long – and took as long – as an actual blog post?

As I pondered the deluge, one sentiment from conservatives struck me: that I was too young to understand the wisdom of conservative ideology. As if my neocortex needs to evolve for another ten years, until finally developing that Personal Responsibility Radar that seems to be a byproduct of age.

As if, given the fact I haven’t paid too much in taxes makes me unqualified to speculate about how our country spends the money. I understand, and sympathize with some of the more burnished conservative talking points. Yes, government could be doing a better job. But could private sector companies be doing a better job than the government? Sure, if you want those jobs done overseas. After all, that was the corporate solution to the Great Recession. And how are the workers at Foxconn?

More like job craters, eh? Hahaha.

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Why Major in Humanities?

Reading Time: ~3 minutes

Last year, when Math majors were struggling with a series  to complete their Senior Thesis, I quietly laughed and wrote another short story. But, a year later, maybe the joke was on me.

Really, I can’t tell. I’ve got a job, so I’m more fortunate than most (since 56% of my class of 2010 wasn’t employed by Spring 2011), but even my fellow Humanities majors who also stumbled onto positions have a similar rallying cry: “Wow, I wish I had majored in Business.”

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The Three Faces of Facebook

Reading Time: ~5 minutes

I’ve been using Facebook since 2006. I remember eagerly awaiting my college email address so I could make an account, because I had seen a sample account before and it looked like a set dinner table, with all of the silverware and plates and tablecloth carefully laid out. At the time, I just had a clunky, awful Myspace account, which had turned into some overgrown tangle of weeds replete with parasites and viruses, a lumbering beast of spam and pop-ups. Every time I wanted to look at someone else’s page, it was like a freaking jungle safari and the cursor was my machete.

Unfortunately, my newfound VIP access to Facebook was short-lived, because that was the same year that it opened to the rest of the world and any old peasant with a gmail account and the urge to show all of their friends, acquaintances, and strangers their slide-by-slide biography.

When people originally got their Facebooks, there was an unprecedented level of use, but I think it’s boiled down to three different categories nowadays. And here they are:

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Gen Y: Vanity and Narcissism Through Music?

Reading Time: ~5 minutes

This wasn’t the exact title of the recent New York Times article. It was The Huffington Post-esque “A Generation’s Vanity, Heard Through Lyrics.” Of course, I wasn’t really that upset or offended by the title, I was a little exasperated. I’ve touched on newspapers and their desperate appeal to their vastly middle-aged to older audiences through generational slamming before.

No, I phrased it the way I thought that the title should have been phrased: as a question. A generation’s vanity, heard through lyrics?

So then, I could answer: no. 

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Bachelor’s Degrees: A Dime A Dozen

It was March 2010 and I was sitting in one of the uncomfortable, steel chairs of my college’s study hall, looking at the decomposing scraps of snow on the sidewalks below and tapping my finger like a metronome against the mouse. Every now and then, I would gaze at the cover letter on the screen in front of me.

Why did I want to work at Company X? Well, since infancy, I had dreamed of selling whatever Company X made, or doing whatever Company X wanted me to do. Right. And I vastly admired that Company X did whatever Company X’s website said it did.

After slapping on a custom-tailored resume to my heartfelt letter, I emailed it, straight down to the bottomless wishing well where all my applications seemed to go – dropping down without even a splash.

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In Defense of the Man-Child

Reading Time: ~3 minutes

Kay S. Hymowitz planted a landmine of a post (read: publicity stunt for her book) on The Wall Street Journal last month.  “Where Have The Good Men Gone?” claims that a man in his 20s can “live in pig heaven” thanks to revolutionary advancements such as video games, women’s rights, poor social role models, and pornography.

She cites varied evidence for the gender’s laziness, mostly relying on employment statistics and the rate at which women are outearning men when it comes to college degrees (34% vs. 27%). Hymowitz also brings up “Knocked Up” as emblamatic of the times, beacuse it shows a successful woman and stoner-loser-slacker-man-child.

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