Global Verification: A Tech Idea That’s Overdue

So, a couple years ago I was frustrated by an article I saw that talked about reviews that had been planted on Rotten Tomatoes about the movie Black Panther. I was annoyed because the reason someone figured out that the reviews were fraudulent was simply because the movie had not premiered, and the studio had not given copies of the film to anyone to actually review it. There was no way for all of these “reviewers” to have seen the movie to make such comments.  Thankfully people at Rotten Tomatoes had realized this and were able to delete all of the bad reviews before the movie came out. https://www.indiewire.com/2018/02/rotten-tomatoes-block-black-panther-fan-score-sabotage-1201924400/

Clearly this was a huge dilemma for the studios. They realized quickly that a predominantly black movie was about to be smeared before it had even premiered.  The racist viewpoints about a black superhero or movie in the Marvel Universe that might potentially break box office standings, could easily be undermined before it had even been shown.  (Bravo Rotten Tomatoes!)

Bad reviews do and can potentially determine the outcome of film’s box office potential – this is NOT new news, but the blatant racist leanings of the comments and viewpoints made about this movie that had been unseen, made this event crystal clear: the continued power of bots, the power of unverified reviews and comments continue to be an ever mounting problem on the “interwebs”.  Of course we can reference what’s come out in the Mueller report about the election of 2016 and what may happen again – the point simply is: we have a huge problem with verified information on the internet. 

I was so frustrated by this situation when I read about it AGAIN – that the solution seemed so crystal clear to me that I wrote an email to Mark Cuban. Honestly, I have no real reason why I picked Mark Cuban except that he was on my LinkedIn feed at the time and I followed him and I knew he had a lot of money.  I’d been thinking about this problem for years – back when I started online dating WHEN IT WASN’T COOL to do it (we’re talking 2007!!!!).  I knew THEN that there had to be a better a way to deal with this.  So, yeah, maybe sending a vent email on LinkedIn to Mark Cuban wasn’t the best idea, maybe someone like Elon Musk would have been better, but I wasn’t really thinking it through, I was just annoyed and looking for someone with money to investigate this issue and start working on what I think is still an easy solution to the bigger problem!!!  

Well, let me just say, that the PROBLEM revealed itself again recently while I was on Twitter – and this is why I’m here writing this now.  During the Robert Mueller hearings lots of conversations were going back and forth on social media and again, I kept hearing that the “Russians” are trying to undermine our elections – Robert Mueller said it himself:  They’re doing it right now as we speak. The next part of the conversations always goes something like this: 

“We have to educate people on how to spot fake news”, or “People need to become more educated and be careful…”

It’s such a one-sided solution. 

What’s the “solution” I’m talking about? 

Instead of attempting to ONLY make people better educated on what is and what is NOT a bot or a “fake” website, commentator or ad, why not also make it easier for people to recognize a VERIFIED version of all of those entities online?  In other words, why not make it easier to SPOT an organization or individual online as a LEGIT organization?

Imagine, if you will, a Global Verification on the internet. It’s possible. Some companies already do it – like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  They have those little blue verification markers for Celebrities and such. Here’s an example of a verified account (@violadavis):   Imagine, if – just like passports in the physical world you were able to use your verified handle  wherever you went online and people would KNOW you or your website were verified by a legit entity?  People could then choose to “listen” to your commentary – the little blue legit “signs” or “identifiers” on Twitter and Instagram folk partially does this, but only for “celebrities”. But, imagine if everyone could be legitimized across all platforms, using their handles, across all countries on the internet? 

With the technology behind Block Chain, I know this could be done – and maybe it’s already being worked on – but there has to be a way that an individual, who wants to be taken seriously ONLINE would have a global verified handle account that they could use as they go and communicate on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn on any Website. Also, it would make it easier to spot legit sites and so on.

Imagine all the applications  – people would not confuse websites like www.abcnews.com with www.abcnews1.com  — which is a good example of how people were creating FAKE new sites with similar names and confusing people with actual FAKE news.  But the applications are endless.  Most importantly, even if YOU choose to go to the FAKE site or you visited it accidentally, you would know it hadn’t been VERIFIED.  After that, the choice is yours to accept that information as truth or not.    

Now, I know this is a huge idea.  And this is just the beginning – I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and don’t even get me started on the 2016 election!  To me, this has been foreseeable for a long time and has been in my non-techy head for a while.  It may seem too big of an idea, but so wasn’t going to the moon when no one thought it possible – for me, it’s just always been about interest and yes, about necessity!!!! 

Anyways, I have to believe people smarter than me are working on this somehow – but I’m stunned that simple things like verifying me – a non celeb – on Twitter is still a non-possibility.  Why can’t Twitter find a way to verify committed and decent “regular” users of the service?  They seem to only verify people based on celebrity or size of followers or what they deem impactful situations. This is what leads me to believe that NO ONE is working on a bigger more important solution that would inevitably be how we all identify online. 

This is a HUGE idea. It continues to eat at me and so trust me, in the past couple of years, I’ve tried to get some people interested who I thought might be.  At the very least, they had money to make things happen — and as always, people tend to say they’re “interested” but then really don’t follow up. Totally cool. Asi es la vida. But after sharing my idea with a few “very interested” who would have the means to follow up on it, I realized today why not share it with my cool contacts online who might have some insight and care about this too? Either way, ENOUGH wasting time on the possibility.  It’s an idea. Someone “stealing” an idea is just bad juju on so many levels. But this really isn’t about one person. It’s not about making a profit (though this would clearly be HUGE) – but it is a necessity.  We need to do something to help people recognize legitimate sources of content on the internet.  And maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg? Maybe there’s a better way to go about it – I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I can only imagine that there are others, way smarter than me – who have some thoughts on the subject. Maybe someone knows of something like this and it’s being worked on all along?  If so, please, do tell! I’ve done my research so be ready for a clapback if it’s something I’ve already heard of (hahahahaha! I say that with such love though) but yeah, send it my way. I need to know someone’s working on making the internet a better place to be!    

And another way to think about it is this: if Amazon can deliver packages to people all over the world and not be confused by “authenticating” an entity, then why isn’t this possible?  To me, it seems like such a no-brainer. But you know, I have a million of these ideas that stream through my head — never once have I felt the need to share….

Hit me up if you have any thoughts or questions on this – I’d love to hear more information and more ideas.  Hmmm…imagine an internet where you could land on a website or read a comment and KNOW there was a way to trace back to who said it and why and not worry that it may be a bot or fake information?  Think passports, licenses… validation. Verification. It doesn’t mean you can’t go on “anonymously” if you wanted too – surely, there are people who lie all the time about who they are online and if you wanted to do that, you could.  But, for the times you wanted to be taken seriously – or more importantly, as a consumer – imagine feeling comfortable about going to a site and reading a comment and KNOWING through a simple visual that it was the legitimate source…

Let me stop. I can go on and on forever about this…

Just an idea from a non-techy-but-very-techy-interested-kinda-gurl.

Carmen Lezeth Suarez  

Old List, New List

I kinda wish 2018 wasn’t over.  I feel like so much is unfinished…

Here’s the list I wrote at the end of 2017:

Michael Roud Photo Shoot 2018
  • Visit home (Boston) for a couple of weeks.
  • Finalize the Book Canela, get published before end of 2018.
  • Clean out my storage area / donate everything.
  • Meet 10 new people who are extraordinary.
  • Rid myself of the 5 toxic people – kindly.
  • Stop “facebooking”.
  • Connect with like-minded creative folk and be inspired.
  • Buy a new car.
  • Find a new apartment / quieter, still close to the beach.
  • See a movie a month at least.
  • Read a book a month at least.

Every year I write a list of at least 10 things I’d like to do, but no more than 20.  All of them tangible and possible.  Here’s how it all panned out:

Visit home

After my book was published in June, I visited most everyone in the book and spent a lot of alone time in my home town of Boston.  It was magical, emotional, inspiring!  I had only been “home” for brief moments over the past 20 years since I moved to Lost Angeles. I’d visit for a funeral or a wedding. Just quick weekend trips where I only saw the airport, freeway, and/or a church. But this past year, I was home for a while.  I got lost in my own neighborhood – that’s how long it’d been and that’s how much things had changed in the city I grew up in.  I saw old friends and fell in love with my childhood all over again.  I saw how far I’d come and I realized how much I loved Boston, but missed Los Angeles. It really was beautiful.  Maybe my favorite part of 2018.  

City of Boston at Night - Taken at the top of the Prudential Building in August 2018 on a clear evening. The glass and lights give it an eery feel.

My Book Canela

I’ve written so much about publishing this book – but let me say this again: if you have the want, the desire to write your story (because everyone has a story to tell) please, do it!  For me, it was cathartic and life learning at every level. The process of writing is one part, editing another – what I didn’t realize was that AFTER you publish it, well…. maybe it’s just me… but this part has been just as incredible and teaching as well. It has changed my life and the way I view it.  Creatively I’ve changed. How I view people’s importance in my life has changed.  And the book has become a very central part of my every-day life in ways I’m just starting to understand.  Tell your story. Preach your story. The world will be a better place because of it.    

Clean out Storage

Done and done.  We all have that STUFF we keep “just in case” we need it.  Uhm, I got rid of all of it.  Period. Just a housekeeping item that I had put off for too many years so… done. 

Meet New People

I met more than 10 extraordinary people in 2018. My point in writing this in my list (I write it every year by the way) is because I think when you meet new people, you have the opportunity to grow and learn and be “better than you used to be”. If you are constantly around the same people all the time, well…. that’s cool. But for me, it can become pretty stagnant.  Here’s the cool thing about the people I met this past year:  I met so many of them because of my book!!!   Yes!  I have done no publicity, no advertising, just giving it out to friends and yet, others have read it and reached out and it’s been amazing!   I ‘ve learned so much and am excited to get to know these people even more over the next years. 

Rid Toxic People

We all have people in our lives we wish we didn’t have to interact with.  And for most people I get this is a hard thing to do.  For me, eeeh, it’s pretty easy. I’m really great at walking away from people when they are toxic.  Even if I have to work with them or be around them for some reason (creatively). I have a pretty tough barrier that keeps them at distance.  It’s a skill I developed growing up the way I did.  You know “bad” people right away and learn to always keep them at arms-length, while still “dealing” with them as best you can.  This past year I had 3 people I definitely wanted OUT of my life, but there were 2 others I was hoping to also end the “pretend” friendships with. That happened earlier this year.  Wow.  Clearly a great thing!  Rid yourself of people who do NOT lift you up or make you a better person. Seriously, it’s the best thing you can do for your health! 

Stop “Facebooking”

Well, this I could have done better for sure. I do not have messenger and I am not on there often.  I also have Instagram and eeeh, use it sparingly.  I’m a huge fan of Twitter though so I’m not sure any of these are better than the other.  But all are a part of our daily lives now – whether we use them or not.  But the point is to get better at NOT being on social media so much and I’ve accomplished that.  I think social media is finding its equilibrium in our lives in that it’s not a constant way of “talking” to each other.  Many times this year I went out to dinner or was hanging with a friend at the beach and missed so many calls and texts. And it’s simply because I’ve learned to turn off that ring/sound and just enjoy my time with the person I’m with.  It seems like things are calming down for all of us on social media.  Maybe we’re all learning that there really is something to actually (physically), talking to each other and enjoying REAL time with one another.  Maybe.

Connect with Creative People

I found a few groups on MeetUp.com and got inspired for sure.  WritersBlok was a great place to go and finish up the last edits of my book.  I’m really glad I found it.  I also had lunch with up and coming Directors this year, met with other writers, had dinner with a few musicians.  I met with dancers and graphic designers, actors…  being around creative people fuels me and I made an effort this past year to be around those people more often than not!  So glad I did. I’m a better person for it! 

Movies and Books

I did much better this year with Movies and Books but there’s still room for improvement. The movie that surprised me most was clearly Black Panther.  I’m a huge fan of all action movies (Marvel and DC) but Black Panther stunned me. It’s not what I expected at all and I loved it. I loved it when I saw it alone, then again with a few friends, but my favorite was watching it with my 10 year old God-Daughter who’s take on it was exactly how we all want the world to be! 

Black Panther viewing with Julie

Another favorite movie this year was definitely Mary Poppins Returns!  Loved it, loved everything about it. And can I just say, Lin-Manuel Miranda?  I think we’re in the midst of genius with this lovely talented man…I’d love to work with him.  Hmmm. 

As far as Books are concerned, I’m a slow reader and if a book doesn’t grab my attention or is too difficult, I just put it down. It bums me out. I didn’t finish four books this year to make my goal complete, but I did start them…that counts, right?  Ughh. *insert big cheesy half smile emoji here*

In 2019, I’d like to think I have a list as long as former President Barack Obama’s. I’m not sure I’m as interested in his entire list of books, but I’d like to think I’d read as much to even have such a list. #Goals.

Things I didn’t accomplish:

I didn’t buy a new car – and I guess I really don’t need one.  So, you know, there’s that.  I also didn’t move out of my current apartment.  That may still happen next year.  I love my apartment and it’s close enough to the beach (3 miles) but I hate my neighbor upstairs. She has a great kid but it’s just loud all the time. When I was a little girl and lived in an apartment with my mom, we were never allowed to run and jump in the house.  You just didn’t do it.  You were taught to have respect and consideration for the neighbors that lived next to you and below you. If you wanted to run, you went outside.  But not these people. It’s incredible. I don’t blame the little girl. It’s her parents. They are inconsiderate and…goodness, it’s a one bedroom.  They run up there, always have too many guests – every day.  And it’s just incredibly loud and not a great place to live if you like quiet and need to write, to work, to just be. So, it’s still a goal. But, seriously, I keep thinking:  First. World. Problems. Hmmm.   

More Time

Well, if I had more time I guess I’d finish the books I didn’t complete and maybe I’d… 

No, it’s all good. I had enough time for all the things that matter. 2018 is almost over and it’s been a good year personally after-all. There were some missteps along the way, but nothing too damaging or unfamiliar to move through. 

Actually 2018 started out with my sweet sister (Jo-ann) from Boston visiting me in January for my birthday.

The year ended with me hanging out at Christmas time with one of the guys – also from Boston— who helped me go to college (Scot in the book). 

And in-between it all I became an author, traveled, got inspired, did a GREAT photo shoot (with Michael Roud!), saw so many of my dear friends, met new people from all over the world (shout out to Jean-Claude in Luxembourg) and really accomplished so much more than I realized!

Okay 2018. Actually I’m ready to move on. Bring it! I’m starting my 2019 list right now.  🙂

Happy sweet New Year to all of you!  We got this! 

Carmen 

Stop Giving Stupid A Platform

 

The new skill to master:

Learning NOT to respond to people who don’t deserve a platform. 

Everyone talks about “fake news” – specifically trying to figure out  what is legitimate and what isn’t.  Another way to fight the possibility of misinformation is to just STOP responding to all of it in a knee jerk way.  ALL. THE. TIME.  Take a breath. Think. Verify. React, if need be.

Here’s the new skill you have to master:  Just because you’ve read something outrageous on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else doesn’t mean you HAVE to respond to it.  Maybe the new norm should be:  if it sounds outrageous, makes your blood boil, or causes you to gasp, then you need to just assume it’s written to make you feel all those feelings and it should be considered an AUTO BOT until otherwise verified.

Another skill to develop is to do what reporters have done in the past:  find three different legit sources before taking anything seriously and worthy of your precious time.  Whenever I read something on social media, I look for three other sources to validate that information.  And friends or other “friends of friends” don’t count as LEGIT sources!   Even your smartest and best friends fall into this trap – especially those who tend to get all their news from Facebook.  They never question what they read because it’s streaming on their newsfeed.  Wow!

Find three legit sources that you KNOW are reputable.  Whether it be print or television or online – but find three good SOLID sources who have a track record and bookmark them on your devices.  That way, anytime you hear something stunning, you can check easily if this story has surfaced through legit sources.  And “FACEBOOK” and “TWITTER” cannot BE your sources! These are platforms that deliver all types of  information – ANY INFORMATION – they are NOT NEWS SOURCES!!  Please understand the difference.

Stop wasting your time.  Social media is a part of our lives. And it’s an incredible medium that provides such good and wonderful possibilities. But understanding what to react too, what to be bothered with, and how to use your time wisely, is another skill that we just have to learn.  It’s a tough thing for sure – it’s hard to walk away from a headline or tweet that burns through your very core – but once you stop the knee jerk reaction to responding to everything – it gets easier to notice the obvious BOTS and nonsense stories.

And that’s another thing:  this knee jerk reaction to everything needs to stop.  When did everyone become so sensitive? When did everything become so damn important?  And seriously, when did everyone become an expert at everything?  We need to stop reacting emotionally to every story or thought and stop thinking we need to share it in 140 characters or less – not only is it a waste of our time, but 9 times out of 10, it’s also just not our place.  I hate to be so cliché, but yes, everyone has an opinion and opinions are like assholes… or something like that.  Simply, you can have an opinion, but sometimes its appropriate to keep it to yourself!

Let’s stop feeding into the very thing that is making the internet a very dangerous medium.  Instead, let’s start teaching ourselves and our children to investigate, scrutinize, and develop critical thinking skills to use this amazing vehicle in the best way possible.

Let’s stop giving STUPID a platform.

 

CARMENISMS: Off My Game Update – Distractions

The Gist:

After the week of the horrible “interview”, I got another chance, another shot — and it turned out brilliantly!  Remember that we’re all human.  Sometimes we make mistakes, but it happens, and the trick is figuring out, once you fall, how to get back up!  Also be careful of distractions.  You may think you need to lay in bed for days because you’re depressed, but the truth is, that’s just avoiding the work you need to be doing.  Find your way back into the game!

Good Links: 

Whitney Houston  – I Want To Dance With Somebody 

Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun

The Recognition: 

Shot with a Canon PowerShot S110 Digital Camera

 

 

Quote Overload

InspirationalMsgI swear I’m not bitter.

I just get tired of seeing so many “inspirational” quotes and messages on social media that sometimes I just have to stop logging on and take a break.

Don’t get me wrong, I love waking up to see a motivational message on my Twitter feed or Facebook page.  They can be from the Dalai Lama, Winton Churchill, Beyonce or the old friend you haven’t seen in 20 years.   But at some point, because they’re used so frequently and by so many people, these “inspirational” quotes  just become diluted blurs on a page. And all that keeps streaming in my head is: blah, blah-blah-blah, blah-blah.

And then, out of nowhere, one will stand out.  The one you needed to read – it hits you like a ton of bricks, makes you smile a bit and brightens your day!  All of a sudden things are put in perspective perfectly!

I love when that happens.

I love social media.

It’s why I keep coming back, eventually.

So, keep sharing.  Keep writing, Tweeting, Blogging, “Facebooking”, “Tumblr-ing”  or whatever it is you do!

Keep on keepin’ on.  Someone.  Is.  Reading!

And you never know how your words may change someone else’s day.  And that should be enough to keep you sharing!

Peace, love and all that good stuff!

Carm.