Category: Social

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Who Mourns for the Fourth Estate? (Part 2)

June 2009, the future of 21st Century journalism moves with protestors across Iran’s capital. In an area somewhat removed from the commotion, philosophy student Neda Salehi reportedly steps from a car and is soon shot by a sniper. A bystander videos her death and uploads it to YouTube. The moment becomes the rallying point for demonstrators in the country and for spectators from around the globe. It is a seminal moment of change for the news media.

The next night, June 21, I write

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Flickr a Day 98: ‘NgaNga’

Dramatic is my reaction to this protest shot from Freedom II Andres, in Makati City, Philippines, on Oct. 4, 2013. The second “Million People March” rallied against the country’s so-called pork-barrel scam that a Philippine Daily Inquirer investigative series exposed about two months earlier.

The photographer’s name is appropriate for a protest shot like this one, and spotlights his family heritage. The second of four sons, “we are all named Freedom“, he explains, “simply because our father was one of the student-activists of his time in the 1970s, when Filipinos fought against the dictatorship of then president Ferdinand Marcos”. 

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Rolling Stone Story Undergoes Brutal Forensic Analysis

The symbolism is recognizable, but as what depends on the eventual outcome. Dateline April 5, 2015, Easter Sunday, “Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report” posted to the magazine’s website. The holiday celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection, following crucifixion. The Washington Post and several other organizations crucified Rolling Stone in December 2014 for long-form news story “A Rape on Campus”. The exhaustive autopsy of the story’s reporting and publication is another another crucifixion, arriving on a day that celebrates resurrection, salvation. Will RS have the one by voluntarily inviting the other?

“A Rape on Campus” spotlights the alleged sexual assault of a University of Virginia student identified as Jackie. The investigative report paints a campus culture of acceptable assault without reproach or reprisal. But the veracity of Jackie’s account later collapsed. Rolling Stone sought outside examination, which by itself demonstrates just how strongly the magazine strives to report responsibly. 

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Sometimes Reddit Comments are the Best Storytelling

What could be better Sunday reading than cats jumping into cars? I stumbled onto this Reddit post roundabout way from something that appeared in my social network. Stated simply: A “cat climbed into” Jonny_Bloodbeard‘s “work van in downtown Detroit to keep warm. They choose you right?” Nearly 500 comments later, I’m impressed by the civil discourse and some of the cat tails—er, tales.

Take a look at the screenshot and the story about the cat riding to church for attention and a couple other Redditers’ ribbing responses. I love it. This is what interaction should be among commenters, and their personal stories add so much to the original post. 

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Where are the Comments?

Websites without comments feel barren, like there are no visitors or no one is home. Reader reaction makes a site feel lively, and it generates energy—desire to participate. More importantly, comments can extend the storytelling. But as you survey my site, most posts stand solitary, creating, perhaps, impression that no one reads them. So why should you?

For numerous reasons—among them my putting priority on social networks during 2011-14—interaction is so seemingly limited. Engagement takes place, but mostly on social networks like Google+ where I have audience and where links to posts from here also appear. Readers engage where they share community, so the majority of interaction is elsewhere. I could flush out more commenting here by using Disqus, which spreads community across many thousands of sites. The choice to stick with WordPress’ system is quite deliberate. 

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Academic

My fourth installment of excerpts from ebook Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth takes an interesting directional shift. So far we’ve met The Dark Knight, Medieval fighter, and twin-brother toy collectors. Would you believe there are people who study toys as a profession? Read on to see.

To recap: I attended San Diego Comic-Con 2013 with intention of profiling one-dozen among the 130,000 attendees. As SDCC 2015 approaches, I am posting 13 installments, after which the book will release into the public domain, on July 8, 2015, when my current commitment for Amazon KDP Select ends.

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I finally say Ello, But Worry It’s Goodbye

I posted to Ello tonight. Finally. I registered three months ago and then did nothing. The text of my first post hints a little bit why not then but more why now. Thomas Hawk convinced me to try, in a ditty he posted yesterday.

Because I’m anal, the text that follows has embedded links, which isn’t their original formatting. Otherwise, the content is as it appears on Ello, which longevity I still have some doubts about. If the site ever goes tits up, the post is preserved here. With that introduction: 

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The #ArtofSocial is What?

This morning, on Google+, successful self-promoter Guy Kawasaki posted about the #ArtofSocial quiz, which promotes his new book co-written with Peg Fitzpatrick  You can see from the screen grab my score, which isn’t as good as I expected. Dammit. (By the way, I didn’t take nearly 6 minutes to complete the quiz. I had a cat interruption midway through.)

Grumble. Grumble. Now I must buy another Guy Kawasaki book, with hopes this time there’s gold. I’ve yet to earn a living writing ebooks, even after reading APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and blame the author—meaning me, not him. 🙂

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O Canada, What Say You?

What do two forts share in common? Kaci Hickox, the 33 year-old healthcare worker from Fort Worth, Texas, taking refuge in Fort Kent, Maine. Surely you know of the so-called Ebola nurse and the legal scuffle about quarantining her. As an Aroostook County native born about 70 kilometers (okay, I rounded up) southeast of FK and having traveled widely across the Lone Star State, I know something about the character of both regions. Think independent-mindedness times two, which equals “Don’t tell me what to do”.

The simple story: She volunteered in Sierra Leone, where the disease rages. She returned to the wrong state, New Jersey, which put her in isolation. She fled to one of the most rural and remote areas of the Northeast. Maine’s governor demanded voluntary quarantine. She defied it. A federal judge ruled against the Gov. News reporters who couldn’t find Fort Kent with a Google Map ruined the autumn tourist trade by filling up the only hotel. We all wait to see if she stays symptom free through November 10. Pass the popcorn. The suspense is thicker than a horror flick. 

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‘Friends Forever’ is More than a Cliché

I can’t express how much we enjoyed hosting Richard Abendroth, Andreas Hochmuth, and Jake Mas. The young men, all in their earlier twenties, motorcycled across the country, from Maryland to California. They left here yesterday heading up the coast, with an eventual destination of Seattle before traveling back East.

These are fine young men, whose comradery and energy inspire me. Jake’s description of the three huddled together under the rocks at La Jolla Cove watching the sun set over the Pacific for the first time was evocative. “Friends forever” is more than a cliché. It is a living vital force as demonstrated by the travelers’ familiarity and trust.