This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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Earlier this week, Twitter permanently banned Milo Yiannopoulos due to alleged Terms of Service violations. For those of you who haven’t been following along because you have a life, Milo has run afoul of Twitter before, but somehow this was the last straw.

And what was his crime? To hear Twitter describe it, it was harassing Leslie Jones, a star of the recent “Ghostbusters” reboot. In reviewing the Tweet logs, however, Milo didn’t really break the Terms of Service, but many of his supporters did by posting pictures of apes to Jones. There was also a possibly Photoshopped Tweet of something Jones allegedly posted, but didn’t.

Granted, I’m not on Twitter. (Too many twits on there, you know.) But what I do understand is Twitter is a private company, so the calls that Twitter are denying Milo his First Amendment right of freedom of speech to prevail in this case are not really applicable. Twitter, like any other online service, can make up their own rules and apply them as they see fit. Of course, that begs the question of how they apply their own rules.

Not very well.

The fact ISIS/ISIL and Black Lives Matter both retain their Twitter statuses for doing and saying far worse than Milo has is telling. Maybe if he starts beheading people or calling for the death of police officers Twitter will let him back on…

Seriously, what Twitter has done is egregious, but well within their rights to do. The Twitterverse has already established a couple of hashtags to protest Twitter’s decision, one of the hashtags being #FreeMilo. Twitter, being the social media geniuses they are, shut down the #FreeMilo hashtag. I guess the time they removed Milo’s verified status on Twitter didn’t teach them anything after many of his followers changed their profile pictures to ones of Milo himself.

But the icing on this crap cake comes in the form of Leftist Tweeters applauding Twitter’s decision, citing “hate speech” as their justification. Well, that’s a problem because when you start banning hate speech, it always goes underground until such time as it becomes acceptable again. By leaving it in the open, you can see the true hatred and act accordingly. For example, I tend to avoid Leftists altogether in online forums because inevitably their high-minded rhetoric will turn into the very hate they claim resides only on the Right. Need proof? Talk to Alan Keyes, Herman Caine, and other black Republicans/conservatives about how they’re treated by the “tolerant” Left.

Twitter’s double standards about their standards isn’t a good look for them, and it’s going to hurt them more than they think. That’s, of course, assuming they do think, which given their recent track record with Milo alone is suspect. Personally, I think Milo is better off without Twitter, but Twitter needs people like him to justify their draconian double standard.

Social Media

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There are a ton of social media sites out on the internet now days. We have Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr, DeviantArt, Foursquare, Google+, Identi.ca, Instagram, and MySpace, just to name a few. There are many more than these.

Some are designed and targeted to specific interest groups while others are more generalized. Some have apps and file sharing while others are just text based. And everything in between.

I have accounts on several of the sites I listed above. Some are very inactive accounts as I haven’t looked at them or updated anything on them in years. And some social media sites I just visit without being a member and browse the postings without leaving any of my own.

The goal of social media is to have virtual interactions like we would have in real life. One-on-one or in groups settings. Be it games, general chit-chat, or business collaboration. Even blogs like this one are a form of social media as they encourage interaction between users and visitors.

The most common complaints against today’s social media sites are on the topics of privacy/security, censorship, and content ownership. And sometimes they are just a time suck. Facebook is hit quite often with these types of complaints.

But there are alternatives to these social media sites where the issues of privacy/security, censorship, and content ownership are greatly reduced. And these alternatives have been around far longer than the term “social media”. In fact social media has really been around since the infancy of the internet. And many of these ancient alternative social media forms are still in use today. Even by you right now.

E-mail (electronic mail) is the oldest form of social media. One-on-one and group conversations are all possible. Files can be shared, edited, and re-shared again. And it is generally very private. You don’t have to worry about another friend who wasn’t included accidentally seeing your e-mail post.

IRC (internet relay chat) is also an early form of social media. And like e-mail it’s still very much around. Even if you currently participate in some fancy web-based text chatroom it might be IRC driving it behind the scenes. With IRC you have a lot of control on who you let into your chat and who you do not.

Both IRC and e-mail predate webpages. There was no world wide web on the internet when people started with e-mail and they were chatting on IRC. The last early form of social media had it’s birth after the web came into being. It was the start of the internet as we know it today. These are online forums. With forums groups could interact with one another and individuals could also have private conversations as well. Pictures, documents, and other files could also be shared and downloaded just as they are today. And forum administrators could setup private boards that only it’s users could see.

So social media has been around for a long time. From the very birth of the internet. It’s outward forms have changed over the years but many of the oldest are still around. I am a member of a couple of online forums that date back more than 10 years. And they are still going on today. If you don’t care for the current incarnations of social media try the grandparents that started it all.