Let me get the obvious out of the way first. Yes, I know I could use Twitter if I really wanted to. I realize nothing is physically preventing me from logging on. My refusal to use the service is on ethical and moral grounds.
I’m a writer by nature. I want to write. I LOVE to write. I want to get my messages out there. I want to engage with the written word. So it stands to reason I would find Twitter very appealing.
But I don’t.
On the surface Twitter seems cool. And don’t get me wrong there’s a lot of good things that happen there but below the surface, at its core, Twitter reminds me of an environment that I’ve tried very hard to forget: The halls of my middle school.
Some of you on here know that story, others don’t. The short version is that for the entirety of Grade 8 I suffered constant abuse, harassment and bullying at the hands of my fellow students. I was also failed by a School Administration that continually told my parents and I that action would be taken to deal with the problem only to turn around and do absolutely nothing.
I’m sure you can see the parallels already.
The truth is I nearly ended up committing suicide because of the bullying I received at that school. Obviously, I don’t think I’d ever want to off myself because of a Tweet but we have all witnessed how peoples lives can be severely damaged if not outright destroyed by the often Wild West like environment of Twitter.
Several prominent people, including Joss Whedon, Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda and some of the women involved with the GamerGate fiasco have outright quit the service over the abuse and harassment they’ve suffered over what are realistically inane, non controversial things. Not to mention some of the GamerGate women have had to move addresses or take measures to physically protect their family after their personal details were outed on the service.
And these are just the more prominent examples. I’m sure there’s hundreds if not thousands of other folks that have been driven off Twitter by an unregulated, unrestrained army of trolls and keyboard commandos.
It was the same with me when I was bullied. I never did ANYTHING to deserve the abuse. They just saw me as vulnerable for some reason and came after me. Every hallway, every classroom, every inch of the schoolyard they could get at me. Now why in the world would I want to expose myself to that again on Twitter?
Now you may be thinking: “Oh come on man, you’re being too negative. Twitter’s not that bad. Really.”
You might think so, but when Chuck C Johnson can dox, stalk and explicitly threaten people without repercussion, when any young woman can be deluged with rape threats without any intervention, when any wannabe blogger or political pundit can unleash an army of racist, misogynist trolls without punishment and when the daughter of a beloved celebrity can be mercilessly mocked and ridiculed over her father’s death, I don’t think I’m overreacting at all.
Sure, Twitter has rules, but rules are useless when you don’t enforce them. What’s the logic in putting up a “DO NOT ENTER” sign on a door when you’re just going to let everybody in anyway? Twitter comes off more like an unprotected, unsupervised, overcrowded schoolyard cafeteria than a serious social networking service.
Twitter has failed me and many others time and time and time again. Until they clean up their act and get serious about cracking down on abuse and harassment, I won’t be Tweeting anything.
I’ve already survived the “Wild west” once and I’ve no desire to try and do so again.
I’ll still do plenty of writing, but it won’t be on Twitter.
This is my second attempt at a round up post of various links on and about the devastation happening in Nepal, India, the Himalayas, and Tibet. Many are just a round up of links and lists to other in depth articles. As usual Google and Twitter are your go to places for the latest up dates.
I won’t comment on what a terrible tragedy this is. Anyone who doesn’t have a soul made of stone must realize how terrible things are in that region of the world. Things are being made worse by weather, the terrain, and, as always, the lack of governmental cohesion.
By now, of course, many of you will have heard the siren call of various agencies asking for donations. May I advise caution? Already there are reports of so-called Christian missionaries offering aid, but really seeking mass conversion. Can you say parasites?
To the links..
The latest from Al Jazeera. The people of Nepal are not impressed with their government’s efforts at relief. And they are not shy about it, either.
Thousands of displaced residents in the Nepali capital have expressed anger towards the government, as they face food and water shortages, a day after a magnitude 7.8 quake hit the country and killed more than 2,500 people.
As rescuers continue to dig through the rubble on Sunday, the densely-populated capital Kathmandu faces a “chaotic situation” with hospitals running out of medical supply, and thousands of people, who are camped in open air areas, are left hungry and thirsty, according to Al Jazeera reporters on the ground.
“A lot of people taking shelter outside in open spaces are without food or water,” Al Jazeera’s Subina Shrestha, who is in Kathmandu, said.
A really comprehensive report from The Wall Street Journal complete with maps and links. I love maps.
KATMANDU, Nepal—Residents of the earthquake-hit Nepalese capital huddled in the dark beneath plastic tarps in streets and parks Sunday night, after a day in which soldiers and police dug, often by hand, in the rubble of collapsed buildings to rescue survivors.
More than 2,400 people were confirmed dead after Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake, which devastated a broad swath of the Himalayan nation, severely damaging the historic heart of Katmandu, flattening remote villages and triggering an avalanche on Mount Everest.
Nepal was hit by aftershocks Sunday from the earthquake that has so far killed at least 2,200 people and injured 5,800. Eyewitness photos, videos, and accounts show the destruction in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and on Mount Everest as survivors continue to fear for their safety and rescuers work to free victims from debris.
Here are some images and accounts from people on the scene.
A series of photographs and eyewitness accounts from on the ground. The devastation just takes your breath away.
The death toll from Saturday’s powerful quake stood at more than 2,288 people on Sunday, according to the United Nations, and that number is expected to rise. Deputy Chief of Mission at Nepal’s Embassy in New Delhi Krishna Prasad told Buzzfeed News the aftershocks are “continuous” and “getting stronger.”
A constantly updated post from Buzzfeed including many graphic photographs, emphasis on the graphic. So be warned. There is also much information on how the people of Nepal are responding to the havoc.
I do love the BBC. Very comprehensive, with maps, (did I mention I love maps?), pointing out that the damage and deaths extend to Tibet and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, there have been avalanches at Mt. Everest, killing 17 climbers, destroying Base Camp, and stranding a currently unknown number up on the mountain.
With the death toll now at now estimated at over 2,100, according to ABC, the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday is one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. With countless lives lost and major archaeological and historical sites irreparably damaged, the devastation in Kathmandu and elsewhere is truly awful.
Photos taken from before and after the earthquake show just how much damage the earthquake has wrought in this South Asian nation, where rescue efforts continue and the full scale of the tragedy may not be known for days.
Two links that show that Nepal hasn’t just lost lives and buildings. The country has also suffered the loss of some of its most important historical and archaeological sites, which can probably never be rebuilt.
A timeline of the various recent earthquakes that have hit Nepal in the last century.
A snapshot of what is currently trending on Twitter under the hashtag #NepalEarthquake. There is a lot and some of the photos are painful to behold.
There is a whole list of videos available on YouTube. Most of it looks decent, although beware, the conspirators are beginning to make their presence known. More parasites.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of Saturday’s quake in Nepal at 7.8. It said the quake hit at 11:56 a.m. local time at Lamjung, about 80 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu. Its depth was only 15 kilometres, the largest shallow quake since the 8.2 temblor off the coast of Chile on April 1, 2014.
A bit of science. Shallow earthquakes are more dangerous than those deeper down. This article explains why.
An earthquake can be one of the most destructive events in the natural world. More than three million people were killed in quakes in the 20th century alone. Although scientists are able to predict which regions are most likely to be hit, it is impossible to predict precisely when a major temblor will occur.
More science. What makes earthquakes so dangerous. At least the people of Nepal and Northern India don’t have tsunamis to worry about. Avalanches and landslide are another matter entirely.
Shell-shocked and sleeping in the streets, tens of thousands of Nepalese braced against terrifying aftershocks Sunday while digging for survivors in the devastation wrought a day earlier by a massive earthquake that ripped across this Himalayan nation and killed more than 2,500 people.
Survivors of the quake are struggling, amongst the ruins. Even those who have shelter are too terrified to remain inside, as aftershocks and another, smaller earthquake continue to rock the region. They lack food, shelter, water, and, of course, medical supplies. Aid agencies are rushing to help now that Kathmandu’s International Airport has reopened. But there are fears of a bottleneck building up, like the one that formed during relief efforts for the Haiti Earthquake. And, as mentioned at the top, the government of Nepal is not exactly covering itself with glory as it tries to help its people.
Thousands of desperate Nepalese have spent a second night in the open, terrorised by strong aftershocks, as Australian authorities have confirmed more than 830 Australians in Nepal are safe after the devastating earthquake.
All disasters are local. Nepal, Kathmandu, and Everest are all together some of the top tourist destinations in Asia. So the reach of the disaster stretches all across the world. Several hundred Australians are missing, fate unknown. 3 Americans are known to be dead, including a Google executive who was killed by the avalanche on Everest. 61 people in India are dead, and the trains in Mumbai and Kolkata temporarily ground to a halt when the earthquake struck. 17 people are said to be dead in Chinese controlled Tibet.
A raft of links from The Guardian, very comprehensive, with a video link to CCTV footage taken in Tibet when the earthquake hit.
The horrific earthquake that struck Nepal Saturday did not come as a surprise to experts. They knew it was coming. In fact, just last week a group of earthquake specialists gathered in Kathmandu to try to figure out how the country could prepare for the major earthquake they feared was imminent. “It was sort of a nightmare waiting to happen,” seismologist James Jackson, head of the earth sciences department at the University of Cambridge, told the Associated Press. “Physically and geologically what happened is exactly what we thought would happen.”
Alas, what happened in Nepal was foreseen. Experts knew and steps were being taken to mitigate, but in a country so densely packed, with no real building codes, and not much of a government, little could really be done.
It’s impossible to walk through some streets of Kathmandu on Sunday. And it isn’t just because of the rubble, but rather because it’s where tens of thousands of people have decided to stay, terrified of the multitude of aftershocks that have been hitting the capital a day after a massive quake killed more than 2,500 people and injured around 5,800. At least 2,430 people died in Nepal, with 61 reported deaths in India, 17 in Tibet and four in Bangladesh, according to the latest Associated Press count. Terrifying screams engulfed the capital again on Sunday as a magnitude 6.7 aftershock hit the region, one in a seemingly endless stream of tremors that have made people fearful of going back indoors, reports the New York Times.
Earthquakes just don’t happen. There are always aftershocks, terrifying traumatized survivors, and hampering rescue efforts. Even as aid is beginning to arrive, the people in 5 countries are trying to come to grips with their new reality. History as well as lives have been lost. Mt. Everest has suffered its worst disaster in history, and no one is clear on how many climbers are still on the mountain. People round the world are donating, and the Nepalese Diaspora are rallying, but it is going to take a long, long time to put these shattered lives and countries back together.
Terrifying. German climber Jost Kobusch was at Everest Base Camp as the earthquake that devastated Nepal, hit Everest too. You can see the people realize the ground was shaking and then immediately get hit by a horrific avalanche right after. So sad.
It’s so scary that the time to process the earthquake had hit and the incoming avalanche was coming was only a few seconds. 18 people died in the avalanche
Some really frightening video of the avalanche that destroyed Everest Base Camp. Language most definitely NSFW.
A major shallow earthquake hit near Kathmandu in Nepal just before noon on Saturday local time. Between high population densities, intense prolonged shaking, unstable slopes, and inadequate buildings, this has the makings of a very nasty disaster.
A really, really in depth analysis of why the earthquake was so bad, and why it’s going to take a long, long time for the area to recover.
The disaster in Nepal is heartbreakingly close to the worst-case scenario for any region in the world vulnerable to earthquakes—a “nightmare waiting to happen,” in the words of one seismologist. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 2,500 people had died across the country—placing the earthquake among the two-dozen or so deadliest quakes worldwide over the past 40 years. The tragedy is only compounded when we consider how badly prepared the nation was for such an event, a fact that is sadly still common among developing nations in earthquake zones. In a world that’s getting better at preventing disasters, Nepal and other poor countries continue to bear the brunt of tragedy.
A bit of meta analysis here. While developed countries like Japan and the US have found ways to mitigate and even prevent earthquake damage and death, poor, undeveloped countries like Nepal and Haiti are falling further and further behind.
Another update by The Associated Press. The official death toll now stands at 3,617, a horrendous number that is bound to climb.
On Saturday, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, leaving at least 4,000 people dead and more than 6,500 injured. Parts of the Himalayan city of Kathmandu are in near ruin: The quake leveled buildings and brought an avalanche down on a Mount Everest base camp, possibly claiming the lives of at least 18 climbers, including five foreign nationals and a Google engineer.
New drone footage shows people gathering in large, frightened throngs throughout the city, rushing out of buildings and consolidating in the wide-open streets, dodging the crumbled debris of the buildings that used to stand there.
Incredible drone footage of the devastation in Nepal.
Raising the Roof of Canada, an organization that aims to eliminate homelessness, filmed people without homes reading some of the most terrible comments written about them on social media, ranging from remarks about how they smell to dehumanizing insults.
It’s a startling, upsetting visual that not only humanizes homelessness, but also shows the damage someone can do in 140 characters.
As I hope to have made clear in the title, I am not wasting my or your time here to rail against harassment, stalking, or espousing bigotry of any type. These things are repugnant no matter what form of media is used to transmit them. I think most sane people are disappointed that Twitter has done an awful job of addressing these issues.
Instead, I would like to share some common behaviors in the Twittershpere that are annoying me more and more.
1) Accounts that retweet virtually every single word of praise they receive
Everyone loves positive feedback. I think it is an element of human nature to want to share received praise…we all rushed home to show mom good notes on our grade school report cards. Even so, when you feel the need to flood the timelines of your followers with how great people think you are, it makes you look extremely insecure. Donald Trump is the king of this, but plenty of far less odious personalities on Twitter engage in the practice.
2) Accounts that retweet the same content over and over and over
I get it. When you or your website produce something you believe is worthy of attention, you want to do whatever you can to get it. Obviously, the majority of Twitter users are not monitoring their feeds constantly, or for even most of any given day. Go ahead and retweet a link to something good several times. If you preface such retweets with “ICYMI” (in case you missed it), it is a nice way to let your most faithful followers know this is something they have probably already read. When you retweet the same content 20+ times over the course of days (or, in some cases, WEEKS), you are telling these same faithful followers that you are willing to risk annoying them in favor of reaching more casual readers.
3) Accounts with a following related to a specific topic that feel the need to comment on EVERY celebrity news item
I have nothing against “celebrity news” at all. I will also confess to having been wrapped up in the celebrity death announcement game from time to time. That is, trying to be the first person among an online community (or group of friends offline) to spread the news of a famous person’s passing. Having said that, so many people on Twitter who have a following related to a very specific topic seem to also fancy themselves popular culture commentators.
Here is an example: if I follow you because you are a prominent journalist covering international soccer, I am not relying on your feed to inform me of the death of Robin Williams, or Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show. Furthermore, there is a good chance I DON’T CARE about your thoughts or reflections on either topic. Perhaps this sounds harsh. I know I have a wide variety of interests, so do the people I follow on Twitter. However, if I am following you because of my specific interest in a topic on which you are an expert, I feel a bit like a captive audience if I am constantly subjected to your views on things totally unrelated. Run a second account if you have SO much to say on topics other than that for which you are known!
Thank you for letting me get this off my chest.
Curt Schilling showed a young punk you don’t mess with his daughter on twitter.
Schilling’s fond paternal congratulations were met with “tweets with the word rape, bloody underwear and pretty much every other vulgar and defiling word you could likely fathom,
Schilling outed those responsible for the most heinous social media abuses.
‘“The Sports Guru”? Ya he’s a DJ named Adam Nagel (DJ is a bit strong since he’s on the air for 1 hour a week) on Brookdale Student Radio at Brookdale Community College. How do you think that place feels about this stud representing their school? You don’t think this isn’t going to be a nice compilation that will show up every single time this idiot is googled the rest of his life? What happens when a potential woman he’s after googles and reads this?
The student has since been suspended.
Excellent and thought-provoking article today in the NYTimes about the lynch mob mentality that has set in on social media. It tracks what happens to someone who says something stupid on social media, and then gets drawn & quartered for it.
The writer goes back to the colonial era, back when the stocks & whipping were still common, to see how & we moved away from these forms of punishment (although apparently Delaware was still whipping people until 1972? WTF Delaware? Was the Christian Grey the f’in governor there or what?).
The movement against public shaming had gained momentum in 1787, when Benjamin Rush, a physician in Philadelphia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote a paper calling for its demise — the stocks, the pillory, the whipping post, the lot. “Ignominy is universally acknowledged to be a worse punishment than death,” he wrote. “It would seem strange that ignominy should ever have been adopted as a milder punishment than death, did we not know that the human mind seldom arrives at truth upon any subject till it has first reached the extremity of error.”
There’s a line between calling someone to account for something they say deliberately, with malice aforethought. And then there’s destroying someone for saying something stupid, making a bad joke. Most of the time in these here parts, we’re pretty firmly on the side of cutting someone a break, not flying off the handle, not setting out to deliberately cause an unsuspecting bystander pain.
But we can very easily tip over onto the other side. Please keep that in mind as we skewer the malevolent RWNJs. Not everybody deserves painful public immolation for being stupid.
In a series of Facebook posts obtained by ThinkProgress, the senior adviser for policy and communications to Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) posted racial comments and endorsed gentrification of his neighborhood.
Benjamin Cole, a former Baptist pastor and energy industry spokesman, posted a series of videos and comments on October 13, 2013 mocking two African Americans outside his DC apartment. In the first, he compared them to animals escaping from the National Zoo engaged in “mating rituals.” That message included a video of a woman, shouting and seemingly engaged in an argument with someone not visible as she walked. In each of his posts, he used the hashtag “#gentrifytoday.”
The National Zoo was closed that week due to a federal government shutdown.
The posts appeared to have been removed Wednesday.
Later that year, Cole described witnessing a shooting of “one of the hood rats on my street” by “another hood rat.”