Saturday, March 7th, 2020 8:37pm – Bernie Bro Conversation Surprise.
The best thing that happened today was something small but rather unexpected: I got into a Twitter conversation with a Bernie supporter — a man no less, yes, a White man — and… wait for it…I didn’t actually lose my mind! In all fairness, to those of you who don’t follow politics or understand what a “Bernie Bro” consist of, suffice it to say that in this context, generally speaking a “Bernie Bro” would be someone who gets real nasty and negative if you dare say one bad thing about the candidate, Bernie Sanders. I tend to stay away from people who support the Senator for so many reasons but this was a little different and I’m glad I interacted.
I am “into” politics. Always have been. But I tend to lean more to the middle – left a center just a tad, but mostly middle-of-the-road. I think most people actually are – more in the middle – but our polarized politics makes it hard not to be extreme — especially since technology has made it so easy to spew negativity from behind a keyboard, most times coming across as cruel and mean just to make a point. Bernie Sanders has never been of any interest to me and I hate him. Yup, I said it. I hate him. People throw the word “love” around like no big deal, I have no qualms using the word “hate”. There are so many reason why I dislike this man and honestly, not the point of this post — but if I have to vote for him because he becomes the Democratic nominee, then so be it. I’ll be first in line to vote Trump out of office anyways in November. I can’t wait.
But, today, a Twitter follower – Bernie Supporter – responded to one of my tweets and dialogue began. We’re both on different sides of who to vote for – hes’ a fan of Bernie, I’m voting for Biden and the conversation revolved around all of that. It was kind, cordial, educational and pretty fair. No one changed sides or anything, but it was a good Twitter exchange for as long as it lasted. And I have to say, it’s been a long time since that’s happened at all.
That’s definitely a good thing that happened today. It may seem small, but in our toxic social media world, it really is rather rare and surprising, at least for me. And I feel like there’s hope for all of us on social media. If we can learn how to “speak” to each other in tweets, understand that tone matters and not over-react to anything and everything someone says in a few words, maybe, just maybe there’s hope for all of us yet. At the very least, I had a good morning. And that set up the rest of the day pretty brilliantly. No complaints for today. It was a good day.
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.
I’ve been on Twitter having conversations with people
about this whole “Bagel Boss” incident. If you don’t know what it is, simply, a
man had a complete freak breakdown in a bagel shop, someone recorded it and
posted it on Twitter and the Twitter-verse did it’s thing and mocked him, bullied
him further and… well it just went down the rabbit hole from there…
Now, in all fairness, he did freak out in a public place. Regardless of how it started, he screamed about how he had a difficult time dating because he’s short and he seemed hell-bent on saying how “all women” were the same and mean. He thought the women there were secretly hating on him, though they did seem to be just going about their business.
I watched it and winced the entire time. At one point,
someone – maybe a manager – tackled him to the ground. I’m no lawyer or law enforcement, but it seemed
appropriate. He was full of rage and pretty explosive. But what happened next, is difficult to wrap
my head around.
Someone recorded it, of course, and posted it on Twitter.
And then Twitter went to town mocking him, bullying him – making fun of
him. I called a few people out – people I actually respect on Twitter for
reposting the recording and they diligently justified, without skipping a beat,
why they thought it was fine to repost it, mock and bully him.
Here’s the point I’ve been making all night: when someone
gets a bunch of guns and walks into a school and kills people — we’re all stunned.
We’re saddened and “tweeting” for something more than “thoughts and prayers” to
be done. By then though, it’s too late.
Mental Illness always comes up.
“Why didn’t anyone help him?”
“How could no-one have noticed he was so upset?”
The Twitter-verse is then filled with all the compassionate people who would have known if it was their neighbor, their family member, if their friend was in trouble.
But, here in this moment, in full display is clearly a
man in pain. He’s suffering. And what do
all the people in the store and everyone online do? Bully him further.
Surely, he was out-of-line and absolutely inappropriate. He did get kicked out of the store and
rightfully so. But what happens when this
man, clearly distraught goes home and sees he’s being mocked on Twitter? What
happens when a fragile human being who clearly hasn’t dealt with some issues
notices his own outburst on his Twitter feed and reads what everyone is saying?
We’ve lost our ability to be compassionate. More importantly, we’ve lost our ability to
connect the dots. Someone in that much
pain, is about to burst. Clearly he’s
calling out for help. Instead of
instigating the situation, wouldn’t it have been amazing if someone had offered
him some help instead? A bit of kindness.
Now, I’m not saying everyone who has an outburst is going
to go grab a gun and kill people – but that’s kind of irrelevant, isn’t it? I
mean we don’t really ever understand why people do these things – but regardless,
shouldn’t we be better people? Shouldn’t
our humanity keep us from harming someone else even further? Is there really some sort of joy in watching
someone in so much pain?
I think what I’m most upset about this evening, is all
the people who replied to me being upset that I called them out on their own behavior. Instead of just admitting they might have
made a mistake, they then tried to make it about how he deserved to be mocked
for acting so badly. They found ways to
justify their bullying. It was sad actually.
I believe that our true character, the true test of who
we are is not measured when things are going perfectly well. It doesn’t matter that you have compassion
AFTER a massacre – that’s expected. In tragedy, it is expected that people will
come together and help each other. That’s how most humans behave, that’s how most
humans survive. But the true test of who we are is really measured when things are
hard. How do we behave when it’s not
easy? Do we show courage when no one is
looking? Can we see pain and react
accordingly even when everyone else is bullying? Can we stop being part of the mob-mentality? Can we even see it happening?
I hope that guy figures it out. My prayer, my wish for
him tonight is that he has a loving family or great friends that saw what
happened online and intervened to walk him through.
I just hope he’s not alone.
And for people on Twitter and social media in general – I
pray that we do better – and that we err on the side of compassion. That we
find a way to be better than we used to be.
If you look at your social media feed when you first wake, please make sure you start your day with the possibility of joy. I follow this beautiful soul on Twitter — and seriously, every morning, with my coffee, I find myself starting the day with a smile.
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.