Archive for the ‘ Twitter ’ Category

The Deafening Silence: In The Closet Of Suicide

Tyler ClementiThe recent tragic death of Tyler Clementi, an 18 year-old Rutgers University Freshman whose sexual tryst was broadcast across the Internet leading to his subsequent suicidal jump off the George Washington Bridge, has gay activists and advocates screaming for a call to action.

This story is not that of one, but of many. Hazing mainly happens in school, especially in college, when many LGBT individuals are discovering their sexual orientation. In the case of Clementi, his unspoken sexuality was exposed twice across the Internet, which begs the question: would this have happened if he were straight?

As someone who has been personally persecuted by people of the likes of Dharun Ravi, I tend to think not. Straight people have sex on TV, in magazines and in movies everyday; gay sexuality is still not mainstream. Whether the actions of the college students were out of curiosity—or just a sophomoric prank or bigotry— remains to be answered.

In high schools and colleges across the nation, kids and young adults are forced into silence for fear of retaliation. Unless a person of authority personally intercepts malicious behavior unto another student, silence follows. It takes the death of someone to instill change in schools or a community, but these changes are often short-lived and wildly ineffective, since teachers and others are often too passive to defend the meek.

Now, another person is dead. A talented and gifted musician died because of torment inflicted over his sexual orientation. If being gay had to be personified from a state of being into an emotional context, it would be love. So, in essence these people were tortured, and in some cases killed, because they found the ability to love. This isn’t a legislative problem; it is one of society as a whole – Blind-eye syndrome.

How many more people need to die before something is done? The Matthew Shepard Law helps, but it doesn’t do enough as a preventative measure.

At my high school in Massachusetts, our Gay-Straight Alliance wrote and enacted an anti-harassment policy to reduce the level of violence and hate speech at the school. This policy was left practically unenforced until the death of Phoebe Prince, which lead to an anti-bullying state law enacted in her honor. This law was written in blood, just like the Shepard law.

Politicians, such as Tom Emmer, the current Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota — a candidate financially supported by major corporations such as Target, Best Buy and 3M — feels that our society does not need bullying laws. In fact, during one of his campaign speeches, he said that if he were elected governor, he would veto the Safe Schools for All bill, a bill that includes protection for students bullied because of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion and disability.

The Facts:

  • 45% of gay males and 20% of lesbians report having experienced verbal harassment and/or physical violence as a result of their sexual orientation during high school.
  • 42% of adolescent lesbians and 34% of adolescent gay males who have suffered physical attack also attempt suicide.
  • 20% of LGB youth report skipping school at least once a month because of feeling unsafe while there.
  • 19% of gay/lesbian youth report suffering physical attacks based on their sexual orientation.

[Source: Lambda.org]

If LGBT Americans had equal rights and were not treated as a minority, heterosexual kids would grow up thinking of them as their fellow humans. Not a subhuman class that should be persecuted, ridiculed, and tortured because they love someone of the same sex. This problem will persist, more people will die, and more laws will be written in their blood until we start changing on a societal level. Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world,” start practicing compassion and lets stop the deaths now!

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Twitter Tips & Tricks

Don't be a fail whale!

Know your audience:

Understand that you are creating a brand when using twitter – you are marketing yourself in 140 characters or less. Your tweets should be consistent with your brand or else it will be more difficult to gain followers. So, if your beat is social media, tweet about relevant things in social media, not your breakfast.

Know the key tweeps in your community:

Search for the top people in your community and follow them. If you do not know where to begin, use services such as listorious.com or wefollow.com to find the most influential tweeps.

Tweet often (3-6 times a day):

But don’t tweet “I’m at the pharmacy” that’s for FourSquare. Tweet about relevant and noteworthy things. If you have nothing to say, read other people’s tweets and retweet it.

EX: “Great twitter tips and tricks by @joshmplant [link]”

Follow back!

Unless you can bring the audience from your already established fame, you need to get yourself out there. Think of it this way, if I am following x, x, and x and they are the top in my community; people will flock to see who they are following and who is following them.

The more people you follow the more you increase your likelihood to be seen. However, a caveat to note is that if you are ‘upside down’ (you follow more people than follow you) be cognizant of the gap. It looks bad if you follow 900 people and only 200 are following you.

Lists:

If you are following several hundred (or even thousands) of tweeps, create lists to help organize your tweeps. This way you can stay in touch and on top of the conversation without having to weed through a bunch of tweets.

You can regionalize, categorize, alphabetize, or whatever to your lists, it is up to you. But, keep in mind that other people may follow your lists, so try and have some order to them, so you can gain list followers too.

Say thank you!

If people are following you, thank them. Especially thank them if they retweet, @mention or #FollowFriday you.

# FollowFriday (#FF):

Participate in #FF. Every Friday the top trending topic will be #FF, this is because every Friday millions of tweeps recommend their favorite tweeps to their audience. This is a great opportunity to meet new tweeps and see who’s hot!

When you do #FF, make sure you are following the people you are #FFing. How can you recommend them as a great tweep, if you yourself do not follow them?

Interact:

Find tweeps you like. It is important who you follow, but it is also important to like who you follow. If you are a bleeding-heart liberal, chances are that you are not going to follow Ann Coulter, let’s be real here.

Do not just follow: @ and DM the people you like. Join the conversation with ‘@replies’ and retweets. (NB: you can only DM your followers)

Lurking isn’t going to build your twitter presence. If you go on twitter (or any social networking site) with the expectation that people will find you and that you do not need to interact with your community, you are wrong. Think of it like a small town. No one likes the woman who sits in her living room gazing nosily at the neighbors without saying a word… she’s creepy and so are you.

More twitter tips & tricks soon! Be sure to follow me on twitter (@JoshMPlant) for the latest blog entries, articles and favs!

Social News: Chile’s Earthquake Shakes Up Social Media

On February 27, 2010, just outside of Chile’s second-largest city, Concepción, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake devastated the area. It wasn’t long thereafter, that social media was feeling the aftershocks.

First, it was Twitter: Because of twitter’s accessibility via text message, many locals were updating their twitter pages in an effort to tell others that they were okay and safe. Other users were using it to get in contact with locals to try and find loved ones. Twitter instantly became a back and forth of information about those affected.

Hashtags such as, “#terremotochile,” “#Chile,” “#ChileEarthquake” were being used to centralize tweets about the quake. Many users were retweeting missing persons tweets, in an effort to reach more people in the Concepción area.

@SherylBreuker, in particular, tweeted “Any info on Maria Alicia Moya, please update http://tinyurl.com/yfjtzed or contact @kencamp or @sherylbreuker ASAP #chile #quake.” It wasn’t long after, that Maria was found and @sherylbreuker tweeted “we just got word that Mariali is safe and ok thanks to an amazing new friend and the power of Twitter! OMG! Awesome!!!!” This is just one instance of how social media helped connect people.

Another is Google’s Person Finder app, which was used in Haiti in January after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Port-Au-Prince, was relaunched for the relief effort in Chile. The app gives up-to-the-minute information about nearly 63,400 records to those providing (or seeking) information about those affected by the earthquake. Although the information is not verified, it still provides a resource for families and friends to find missing loved ones faster than an agency could.

It works simply by providing the user with two buttons, “I’m looking for someone” and “I have information about someone.” The user selects which one and enters the information accordingly. It also provides a map pinpointing aftershocks.

(Credit: Google)

To some, social media is a stupid time-suck, but in times of crisis, it saves lives, helps connect loved ones and keeps people better informed at a faster rate than mainstream media outlets.

Text your support:

1. Text the word “CHILE” to 25383 to donate $10 on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity

2. Text the word “CHILE” to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision

3. Text the word “CHILE” to 52000 to donate $10 on behalf of the Salvation Army

4. Text the word “CHILE” to 85944 to donate $10 on behalf of International Medical Corp.