Archive | Internets RSS feed for this section

Turn It Off

12 Apr

disconnect-posterThe new film Disconnect is meant to be a cautionary tale.

So is this review.

A laughable collection of stories whose moral is no deeper than “The Internet is evil,” the film covers the same ground that films like Identity Thief and Bully, and TV shows like Catfish, already have. Not only does Disconnect add nothing new to the idea that you need to be skeptical when it comes to communicating with others online, it way overhypes  the idea that there’s nothing good about the Internet, so you should stay far away.

Either the filmmakers — who include director Henry-Alex Rubin (the excellent documentary Murderball) — have been burned so badly by online relationships that they need to exact revenge, or they just don’t understand how the Internet works. My money’s on the latter. Continue reading

Advertisements

Something’s (Cat)Fishy on MTV

7 Jan

catfish-tv-show-logoWhere do all these gullible people come from?

On MTV’s (relatively) new show Catfish, week after week, young people learn that the person they’ve been chatting with on Facebook (or some other site) isn’t who they think he/she is.

If the name and premise sound familiar, it’s because the show is based on the movie Catfish, in which New York photographer Nev (pronounced “nieve”) Schulman meets and falls in love with a girl on Facebook, then learns she’s someone completely different when he and his two friends travel to Michigan to meet her. It’s a true story. (Mostly, anyway — depending on how cynical you are.)

In the hour-long TV show (which airs Monday nights at 11 p.m., and multiple times throughout the week), Nev and his buddy, Max (and a film crew from MTV), travel around the country interviewing people who have met and fallen for someone online. (Like, seriously fallen.) These people chat all the time, speak on the phone, and develop a bond. There’s just one problem: Every time the subject of meeting offline comes up, or even of chatting via Skype, the faker comes up with an excuse, like that he/she has to go out of town.

catfish-the-show-mtvThe stories always sound suspicious and too good to be true — especially to television viewers who (should) know better — which is partly why it only takes a simple web search and a phone call or two before Nev and Max have evidence that the online paramour is likely a fake. Then they take the episode’s subject to meet the person offline, where they all learn that the person is, indeed, not who he/she said he/she was. Continue reading

The Last Blog Post

9 Feb

I’ve learned many things from my dad over the years, but the one lesson that’s stayed with me more than any other is this one: Don’t go to bed angry.

On more than one occasion, I’ve seen my dad get angry with someone, and then, almost without fail, before the day was up, he would apologize or clear the air.

Or, at the very least, he compartmentalized those feelings and didn’t let them affect his interactions with me or anyone else.

I haven’t always heeded that lesson, and too often I’ve actually done the opposite (with not so good results), but I’ve kept it in mind as the basis for what I should be doing. Continue reading

Influential Me

29 Oct

It is no lie to say that my photo is included in the latest issue of Fast Company magazine, the one with Lance Armstrong on the cover, on page 138, in a section about Social Media’s New Stars.

(Yes, that’s how it’s referred to on the cover.)

Inside, an article is called “The New Influentials,” and it’s all about the “unexpected players” who “exert outsize impact and power online.” As the magazine asks, “Who is the most influential person online?”

Well, according to Fast Company, I’m one of them.

That much is all true. Continue reading

If You Don’t Like Twitter, Then You Must Not Be Using It

14 Oct

CNN.com reported Tuesday that 71 percent of all tweets on Twitter are ignored.

I don’t believe that.

Just because only 29 percent of the things posted on the social network get an @ reply or a retweet, that doesn’t mean the others are being ignored. I’m sure people are clicking on the links in those tweets, or reading the tweets and moving on (they’re only 140 characters long, after all).

I’m an active user of Twitter, and even though I don’t reply to a lot of tweets I see, and I don’t retweet everything people post, I’m hardly ignoring everything in my timeline. Continue reading

Hey Zuck … Leave Facebook Alone, Will Ya?

7 Oct

During a much-buzzed-about press conference yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced two significant changes to Facebook: Users will now be able to download all their data to their desktops for safe keeping, and they’ll also be able to more easily segment their friends into groups.

Great.

It’s nice to see the site evolve, and for Zuck to continue introducing forward-thinking innovations that make Facebook an even more important part of our lives.

(And I’m sure he liked taking more attention away from The Social Network too.)

Except it isn’t so nice. Quite frankly, I’m getting really tired of Zuck changing the site on me every few months, or even more frequently than that.

Continue reading

All Creation Myths Need a Devil

29 Sep

Whatever your feelings regarding Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg before seeing The Social Network, you’re bound to have them intensified.

That’s because the film, which details the early days of the site, portrays the guy as both a nerd superhero and total jerk, and it’s up to the viewer to decide which label sticks.

For me, it’s not an all or nothing answer, and I suspect I won’t be alone when I say I started on one side and moved more to the middle by film’s end, but never crossed all the way over.

Regardless of where you come down on the debate, however, it’s hard to deny that The Social Network makes great entertainment out of one of this generation’s biggest Internet success stories. Continue reading