An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

Chick-fil-A, the Muppets, and Gay Marriage?

Yeah, this is a set of things I bet that most people never thought that they would see together.  It all started when the fast food restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A took a hardline stance against gay marriage.  After this happened, Jim Henson pulled the Muppet toys from their kid’s meals.

Of course, so as not to have us all believing that they decided to take a really stupid stance on an issue that has really turned around in the last…30 years, they tried to pass it off as the Muppet toys were unsafe, hence and that is why they got rid of them.

After this sad attempt at damage control failed on Facebook, one of their PR people created a fake Facebook account, pretending to be a teenage girl.  Of course, since the internet is smarter than Chick-fil-A PR people, apparently, the internet realized that that the photo of the teenage girl, named “Abby Farle,” was a stock photo from Shutter Stock.

Now, after having taken a stance against gay marriage, lied about why Jim Henson ditched them, and then tried to cover up their lie with a fake person on Facebook, there is a Category 5 PR meltdown.  And to be honest, the people at Chick-fil-A have nobody to blame but themselves.

This is…dumb.  Really dumb.  This is like PR retardation.  It doesn’t get any stupider than this?  One must ask an honest question – where did the PR people who work for Chick-fil-A get their education?  I am a JPC student at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and even I could have told them that this is the stupidest thing ever.

Let’s take apart how stupid this is, because we are only a couple hundred words into the post, and I feel like it.  First, there is the stance against gay marriage.  Coming out against gay marriage is just bad business.  There has been a HUGE social change on this issue.  People who are against gay marriage are not the norm.  They are becoming more and more the social outliers.  The Westboro Baptist Church and the Mormons are every day making the anti-gay cause look worse and worse, the decent people are not playing ball.  There is still a large chunk that is against it, and against the LGBT community, but you can be that things are changing, for the better.

Second, you said that the reason that the Muppet toys were pulled was because of finger injuries?  Wow, what a pathetic lie.  I mean, really, that is about as bad as saying that the reason you don’t sell bananas at your store is because somebody slipped on a banana peel.  Saying that kids got their fingers’ stuck in the Muppet toys fooled nobody.  But this leads to the final point.

Third, you created a fake Facebook account?  As a teenage girl?!  Man, that is just pathetic!  I mean, that is literally the bottom of the barrel.  You can’t possibly come back from that.  It was so easy to fact-check this, because the account was created 8 hours before the post.  Did nobody at Chick-fil-A realize that that brain thing that their teachers said was so important actually can be used for something more than just space filler in the space inside the cranium?

All in all, this is the dumbest PR move in history.  Chick-fil-A, you aren’t coming back from this.  Whoever’s idea this stunt with the girl, using a stock photo, it was, they should be fired.  And I hope you learned something.  As bad as the Komen For the Cure debacle was, it pales in comparison.

But the biggest stupid mistake that this company has made is that they are going to lose business.  Big time.  Boycotts are already in place, and I am not one of those people who says that those are wrong.  If conservatives want to preach the free market, well guess what – here’s the free market in action.  People are given a choice, and they have made it.

Chick-fil-A, somebody, or a lot of somebody’s need to get fired.  I am with the boycott, not because you are bigots.  That at least makes some sense to me.  But being stupid at your business, that’s just unacceptable.

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The Massive Shift in Social Interaction

Now, brilliant psychologists a thousand times smarter than this columnist have and probably are writing books about how the psychological world and social interaction has changed because of sites like Facebook, but honestly, their books will be dry and boring and few people will care to read them.  This is going to keep it simple, and hopefully be more enjoyable.

Facebook changed everything.  Despite how factually inaccurate the film was, The Social Network did get one thing right – this was a once-in-a-generation “holy shit idea.”  This idea changed things forever and for always.  It has changed the entire face of social interaction with people.  Even as I write this, my Facebook page is open in another tab, telling me what is going on with my friends.

There isn’t much of any college students in America right now, or teenagers, or adults, who are without a Facebook page, and I think it’s a safe bet that you just leave it on while you look at other pages like YouTube or any other sites.  It is amazing how much we have incorporated Facebook into our lives.  It is like the constant connection to your social life.

Think about this: you leave it on why?  To get information about your friends, or strike up a quick conversation, or put up pictures of what you and your friends have done and see what the response is.  The same things that we used to do with phones, visiting people’s homes, and email (back when people actually checked that).

It truly is remarkable just how far that humanity has come within such a short time.  The last 12 years have seen a massive paradigm shift in human interaction and cultural behavior.  This kind of thing used to take place within 100 or dozens of years.  Now, within the space of just 12, we have completely changed how we interact with our fellow human being.

But more than that, this also ties into the fact that everything is becoming digital.  Truly, this is the greatest time to live.  Say what you want about the fact that America’s culture is dying, but the fact is that life has never been as wondrous as it is right now.  Where once people had to travel across great oceans to see what was happening in Britain or Japan, we can now link up webcams and talk to people thousands of miles away.  Video of a person’s adventures can be loaded up and streamed quickly, giving the rest of their friends the chance to see what is going on with the click of a button.  Of course, it will never be as good as going and taking part yourself in these kinds of things, but it does bring us closer together as a species.

Granted, there are problems to this.  For those like myself, chatting online does feel horribly impersonal, not really connecting to the person in a very deep level, but that is a small price to pay for how much progress our species has made.  The internet brought us the world in a way that nobody ever thought before.  It’s so ironic that the government is just now trying to get bills like SOPA, PIPA, or their latest incarnations, ACTA and CISPA to bring the power of the internet to a halt.  It is ten years too late for that.  Sites like Facebook have made the internet something that not only controls business in this country, but has become an integral part of the social contract of the human race.  This government, nor any other, will ever be able to reign it in.  There was a time when it could have been done, but not anymore.

Another great thing about the social sites is that they bring the world of knowledge ever-closer as well.  When a story gets out about something big, it is viral in a second.  Within the span of an hour, there can be a massive viral video that changes how we look at an issue or another person.  Videos like the ones with the police brutalizing the Occupy protestors.  TV-esque networks are even trying to tap into this, like the new network on YouTube, WIGS.  They are making a series of videos on YouTube, much like a TV show.  The idea is ambitious, and although they aren’t getting the views I’m sure they wished, it still shows how much power the internet has over this world.

The government is going to have to come to terms with the fact that the internet is beyond them now.  It is more powerful than any government, or any force.  If they pass something like SOPA someday, there will immediately be a group of hackers who will work to bring us what they don’t want us to have.  Just the way that Prohibition didn’t work, and the drug war isn’t working now.

The world of social interaction has changed, for better and for always.  People will complain about how this is wrong or whatever, but the fact is that they don’t seem to realize that the truth is that what has happened with these sites is that they have linked the world in a way that has never happened before, and never will happen again.

It is an amazing time to be alive.  For sure.

America’s Government is Old

People can argue until they are blue in the face about it being a left thing or a right thing, but the fact is that it is not.  What is wrong this this country can be seen in what is happening in Congress right now.  It has been going on since the beginning of the Internet, and it can be seen in perfect clarity at this very moment.  So, what’s wrong with this country – the government is old.

Nowhere is this problem more visible than with the battle for SOPA and PIPA.  It is all over the internet today.  Google and Wikipedia are blacking out their pages to protest it.  If they were smart, Facebook and Twitter would have joined the fight.  If you want people to fight against these two acts, deny people their Facebook.  It would be a fury of anger at the government.  But alas, it is still a good fight that has been done on the behalf of this battle that all of the internet is firmly on one side.

But it is a sign too about how this government is.  It is very, very old.  What’s more is that the age is starting to show, and it is getting to be a real problem for the people in this country who are becoming more politically aware.

Over the last ten years, technology has changed everything.  As more and more people are becoming connected online, the cultural values and the like that have dominated society are eroding away.  Culture is becoming one online.  The online communities are growing every day.  Technology has linked our world together the way nothing ever has before.  It is an amazing time to be alive.

The problem is that while the technology is becoming a river of discovery and growth, the government of this country is behind.  This government is living in the 20th Century.  There is proof like no other when you look at how things are being handled right now.

At the end of the 90’s, things were great for this country.  Our economy was on top of the world, and there were no signs that things were going to go wrong.  Not on the surface, anyway.  Our government, especially the Republican side of the fence, keeps wanting to go back to that.  They don’t seem to realize that we can never go back to that.

The reasons are simple – everything has changed since 1999.  The world is a 100% different place than it was at the end of the century.  The Internet has changed business in this world forever.  Technology has changed the way people live their lives.  The economy dramatically failing has changed the opportunities this country has.  And most of all, the demographics have drastically changed.

Other nations have figured this out, and have taken steps to change with the times.  Europe has invested in infrastructure.  While many nations are in bad shape, many others are holding strong.  They have an up-to-date transit system, universal health care, a national wireless service.  They aren’t investing the way America is in war and bad business practices, along with deregulation.  They are embracing the future of technology.  Some nations quicker than others, but America is going next to nowhere in a big hurry.

Asia is really coming into its own too.  Japan is looking to be coming out of the economic slump that it has been in for the last twenty years.  China is rapidly expanding their economic power.  South Korea has the largest wireless network on the face of the planet, universal health care, and they are doing very well.

Even our friends close to home are doing pretty good.  Canada is holding strong.  They have some problems, but they are holding out.  Meanwhile, America is falling into a grave of economic failure.  This country is headed in the wrong direction again, and fast.

We haven’t learned that the way we are doing business isn’t working.  The reason we haven’t learned that, in my opinion, is because our nation’s congress is too old.  We have an old guard, and they want to do things the way that they have always been done.  But as we have seen, that system is no longer palatable.  The times have changed, and we have to change with them.  But the old guard is looking to keep things the way they always were.

And the old guard doesn’t stop at the government.  The people who run the corporations aren’t figuring it out either.  SOPA and PIPA are the result of the media industry not wanting things to change.  Never mind that what they call “piracy” has changed the shape of business forever.  Napster opened the flood-gates of a new way of doing business, and it has changed the face of business not just in America, but across the globe.

That’s the really ugly part of SOPA and PIPA.  They wouldn’t just hurt business here in America, but across the globe.  It would effectively kill the internet.  It would destroy the livelihoods of thousands, maybe millions of people.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Yahoo, all of those sites would be gone in a day.  Because these acts aren’t targeted, like the DMCA was.  These are a nuclear weapon, because the media industry has realized that this isn’t going to be stopped.  The technology is going to grow and change things even more.

There is hope, though.  There are signs that the old guard is being fought against.  The Occupy movement has shown that the young guard is growing, and they are tired of things staying the way they are.  They know what I know – that things can be better, if we change the way we do things.

For 50 years, deregulation and “free market” has been the mantra.  We’re now seeing that that isn’t going to work anymore.  America isn’t the massive growing market.  We have stopped our growth spurt.  Now things have to change.  And the youth are getting active.  However, more needs to happen.  We have to elect younger leaders with an eye for changing things.  These old men and women who run Congress are driving us into the ground.

So, what’s your next move?

Peace out,

Lefty

The Full Footprint of Humanity

When one looks at history, and how far the human race has come from the days when the problems of daily living, such as plowing a field and raising crops, and then one looks at where humanity is now, with our technological world that has connected every corner of this vast sphere, it is easy to see how this generation of youth is now the total amalgamation of human progress, the full footprint of our species.

The bulk of all innovation through the 20th Century was driven by humanity’s urge to make the tedious tasks of everyday living easier.  When electricity was able to be harnessed, the world grew.  The combustion engine made getting around the world no longer a long and laborious task, but now something that can be done within a day.  Bigger, more powerful engines, along with certain kinds of fuel, allowed the human race to be able to reach past the heavens.  It guided the hand of the human race to touch the very stars, and to begin to realize just how much there was that we do not understand.

With the endless expansive growth of technology, there has been a new growth in understanding of the entire universe, and just how small the human race actually is in direct comparison to all the things that exist in the universe.  Truly, when one thinks about just how large the universe is, the idea of our species each having a special place to exist in it is truly misguided.  In direct comparison to the universe, humanity doesn’t take up the most basic of percentage of space.  And now that science and technology has allowed us to escape the basic tedium of everyday life, humanity is starting to grow as a species, looking into the realm of the philosopher, the academic, the scientist.  We are beginning to become more than any previous generation ever believed we could be.

If the Founding Fathers of this nation could see where our species is now.  The globally connected market which, while it has some severe problems right now that need a lot of work, is a truly marvelous innovation.  The United States’ effort to stay out of global affairs during WWI and WWII are now made impossible by this global connection.  Of course, like any system, it is a double-edged sword.  Still, the founders would never have been able to see where our species is.  This is one of the reasons that when people say things like Jesse Ventura said, about how the Constitution should be “written in stone,” they are missing the point that Joe Pesci made in With Honors.

 Our “founding parents” were pompous, white, middle-aged farmers, but they were also great men. Because they knew one thing that all great men should know: that they didn’t know everything. Sure, they’d make mistakes, but they made sure to leave a way to correct them.”

The fact is that those who created this nation did realize that the Constitution needed to be looked at with a grain of salt, and people needed to be more open-minded.  That said, this country is dominated by the idea that those who started it knew exactly the truth about everything, and that the Constitution is a spectacularly perfect document.

But back to the idea of how far our species has come, there is one thing that has truly made this generation the symbol for all future generations – the internet.  Never before has a system of knowledge been given to us like the internet.  This has connected the entire world in a way that nobody of previous generations could have believed.

It used to be that a person could actuall obtain all the knowledge of the world that they lived in.  During the times of cavemen, the caveman or woman could learn about their whole world.  They knew about all the activities they had to do to live, and that was all.  All the knowledge that they were capable of having was there for them.  But now, the very idea that a person can achieve the level of knowledge that is even a fraction of a percentage of what our entire culture, which is now a global culture, has.  Another thing that internet has done is it has created a world without barriers.  There is no nation online.  There is no seperation of barriers there.  It is a place that is an open market for all people.  Truly, the world of the Federation has already been discovered.  In a recent video that Anonymous put out, they talked about this very concept.

Anonymous is simply ideas without origin.  May it be a phrase, a fad, a proverb, the concept of Anonymous has always existed.”

There has never, at any point in human history, been a connected world like this one.  Never has there been a vast labyrinth of interconnectedness that has made the suffering and prosperity come into focus like this generation has.

With the world changing so quickly these days, it is almost a little difficult to comprehend how something like religion, that has more or less been unchanged for the last 2,000 years, been able to continue.  When things that are only a few years old are now considered obsolete, how can something that has completely unchanging doctrine continue?  How can something that has been this same organization since the Dark Ages hardly change at all?  Truly, there almost seems to be an effort to this point.  Religion has always been deemed by the powerful as useful.

But regardless of issues like that, the fact is that this time, this day and age, is the greatest era of all the days of humanity.  The truly wonderful thing is that it is only beginning!  The sun is still just rising on the human race!  Who knows where we will be in 50 or 100 years.  It is almost impossible to wrap one’s mind around the fact that 100 years from now, the interconnectedness that we enjoy now may be viewed as a relic.

Science and technology are evolving at a more rapid rate now than at any other time in history.  It is an incredible time to be alive.  Those who are living with the inventions of this day and age sometimes forget that 100 years ago, or even 30 years ago, this was all the dreams of people who worked in basements.  But the internet has changed everything, for better and for always.  Facebook gave the human race a place to gather.  As Sean Parker said in The Social Network

We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!”

This creation that so many people take for granted, is the one thing that has made an entire generation the full footprint of the human race.  That is our generation.  Our time, is the culmination of all time, and that, I think, it an incredible thing.

Peace out,

Lefty

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