Connect with us


Social Media Needs A Reboot



Our society currently reboots two things: computers and tired horror franchises. But one thing that could really, really use a reboot is social media. The Institute for Rebooting Social Media is embarking on a three-year “pop -up” research initiative to take a look at what’s going wrong with social media, what’s going right, and how to fix it. 

A Communications Renaissance

When social media was first created it was supposed to be the next level of communication. A renaissance of ideas because everyone could have a voice. It was the new town square where you could share your ideas and gather a community of like minded individuals. 

It was a place you could reconnect with old high school friends and see who got fat. You could share local events, plan get-togethers, and show off what you’re having for lunch. It was the birth of memes, of “liking,” how you remembered birthdays, and it was quickly becoming a primary source of information for the masses. 

And that’s when things started getting tricky…

What Is Wrong With Social Media

In the last several years, social media has gotten increasingly toxic. The hostile use of misinformation has taken what was supposed to be a new type of community has instead slid deep into the muck and mire. Instead of grandma posting “I’m eating peanut butter and jelly today, YUM!” she’s now posting, “beat COVID-19 with Ivermectin! Take that Big Pharma!

People taking Ivermectin to stick it to big pharma are going to feel really silly when they realize who makes Ivermectin… 

Since Zuckerberg and Dorsey are reluctantly doing the absolute bare minimum, it’s going to have to take this special commission to enact real change. Social media is arguably doing irreparable damage to institutional trust and our collective truth. 

It is also serving as a place where hatred thrives and spreads. Racism, sexism, homo/transphobia are all much easier to take part in from behind a keyboard. When you don’t see the person in front of you, suddenly being mean isn’t so difficult. 

Social media is particularly good at exacerbating conflict and insulating people in their own worldviews. It’s a little ironic that the very tool intended to bring people together actually divides them. 

And let’s not even get into FOMO

What’s Good About Social Media

Social media isn’t all bad. There are some clear benefits to having an online community. Business intelligence, for instance, has made direct-to-consumer marketing easier than ever. Have you seen Wendy’s tweets? That kind of engagement with customers is endearing and certainly one for the “pro” column. 

Another benefit is the ability to stay in touch with people who live far away. You may have a very dear friend who lives in Ottawa while you live in Philadelphia. Thanks to Instagram, you’re able to keep in touch with a very special friend. 

One crucial trait of social media is also the ability to campaign for a social good. Organizing a peaceful protest, sharing important issues quickly among the masses, and gathering support is enhanced specifically because of social media’s reach. We may not have a George Floyd Square if it were not for social media

What’s the Plan, Stan? 

The Institute’s plan over the next three years is much like a congressional commission. It will gather research using participants, analyze that data, write a report of their findings, and make suggestions as to how to act going forward. 

It will be the Institution’s goal to strengthen the healthy aspects of social media while minimizing its harmful effects. The scope of the study is very wide. They are going to throw everything they can at the wall to see what sticks. When democracy and peoples’ lives are at stake, something needs to be done. 

Their findings after three years will be anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, Uncle Stephen is going to have to make more selective choices about what he posts.

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Prince Andrew Stripped Of His Official Titles



Britain’s Prince Andrew will no longer use the title “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity after a judge ruled a sexual abuse lawsuit against him could proceed. 

With The Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen.

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.” 

Elizabeth has officially had it with Andrew. 

All of the Duke’s roles have been handed back to The Queen with immediate effect for redistribution to other members of the Royal Family.

Anne did everything anyway

Why Is Prince Andrew Losing His Titles?

On January 12, a New York judge ruled against a motion by the prince’s legal team to dismiss the civil suit against him brought by Virginia Giuffre. She first came to media prominence after the whole Jeffrey Epstein thing blew up. 

Giuffre alleges that she was trafficked by the Epstein-Maxwell duo while she was 17 and underage. 

Prince Andrew denies these claims, of course. 

So, Do We Still Call Him “Prince” Or…?

Yes. Andrew was born a prince and remains in the line of succession, he just can’t officially use those titles. And just because he’s in the line of succession doesn’t mean he will end up king. He’s got nine people ahead of him, and three of them are children. 

Going forward, the media and general public will still refer to him as Prince Andrew. The only official title that he retains is that of Vice-Admiral by the Navy. 

So, essentially, the prince has been ‘canceled’ by the Royal Family. 

What Is The Case Against Prince Andrew?

Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell while underage and that the prince was among the friends she was distributed to. She claims these assaults happened in London, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Giuffre was able to bring this case against Andrew thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act. Enacted in 2019, the law expands the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. 

Andrew’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss, but the effort failed. They can try and settle with Giuffre, but that probably won’t happen. 

Prince Andrew is going to be held accountable. 

Continue Reading


Sidney Poitier Transformed Hollywood Forever



Sidney Poitier, one of the most groundbreaking actors and filmmakers of all time, has died at 94.

Poitier is best known for being the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. What he will be remembered for is changing Hollywood for the better, forever. 

An Unexpected Miracle

Poitier was born prematurely in Miami while his family was visiting from their farm on Cat Island in the Bahamas. He was so small he could fit in the palm of his father’s hand. He was not expected to survive, and yet…

When Poitier was 10, his family moved to Nassau. At 15, he was sent to live with his brother’s family in Miami. At 16, he moved to New York City where he worked as a dishwasher and joined the army. 

After being discharged from the army, Poitiet landed a role in an American Negro Theater production. 

A Rising Star

Poitier began to score roles that allowed him to stand out for his commanding presence. He worked with legends like Ginger Rogers and James Stewart. He earned his first Academy Award nomination starring alongside Tony Curtis in Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones

A performance alongside Ruby Dee in A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway landed Poitier rave reviews. He later starred in the first film adaptation of the critically acclaimed stage play. 

In 1963, he starred in Lillies of the Field, a film about a black handyman who reluctantly helps a group of East German nuns. Poitier’s performance allowed him to make history as the first black man to win the Oscar for Best Actor. 

“They Call Me Mister Tibbs”

By 1967, Sidney Poitier was a top box office draw. The films To Sir With Love, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and In The Heat of the Night were all released the same year to much success. 

It was his performance as Virgil Tibbs in In The Heat of the Night that featured one Hollywood’s most iconic scenes: 

The scene had originally called for the character Tibbs to take the slap and walk away. Poitier refused to perform it that way. Instead, he insisted that Tibbs slap the character back. He even had his contract rewritten so that the studio could not edit it out. 

That kind of a scene, which would have been electrifying on the screen, was either avoided, not thought of…

“And I insisted that if they wished my participation in the film. That they would have to re-write it to exemplify that.” 

From Actor To Director

Despite his groundbreaking roles and history-making performances, Poitier experienced brief backlash. Film critic Elvis Mitchell said:

He suddenly went from being the lone representation of his race to being unfairly castigated as the man who apologized for being Black.

“And he was just working, he wasn’t in control of the movie business, he didn’t choose to make the movies. He chose to be in them, because he just wanted to work.” 

Poitier changed course by turning to directing. His best-known films are Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do It Again, For the Love of Ivy, Buck and the Preacher, and Stir Crazy – his most successful. 

Awards and Accolades

In 2002, at nearly 75-years-old, Sidney Poitier received an honorary Oscar for his lifetime achievement. 

I accept this award in memory of all the African-American actors and actresses who went before me in the difficult years, on whose shoulders I was privileged to stand to see where I might go.

That same night, Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress.

In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Sidney Poitier the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. 

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino spoke his praises in 2011:

In the history of movies, there’ve only been a few actors who, once they gained recognition, their influence forever changed the art form.

“There’s a time before their arrival, and there’s a time after their arrival. And after their arrival, nothing’s ever going to be the same again.

“As far as movies are concerned, there was Hollywood pre-Poitier, and there was Hollywood post-Poitier.

Continue Reading


Why Antonio Brown Deserves Our Sympathy



Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown had a very public meltdown during Week 17’s game against the New York Jets. During the third quarter, after a spat with coach Bruce Arians, Brown ripped his jersey and gear off and ran off the field. 

He’s no longer a Buc.”

Arians suggested in the post-game press conference that Brown was now off the team. 

That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys that went out there and won the game.” 

As of today, Antonio Brown is still a member of the Buccaneers. 

What Happened?

Last week, Brown returned after a three-game suspension by the NFL for submitting a fake vaccination card. A player known for acting out in recent years, Brown was already on thin ice as far as Arians was concerned. 

When asked to go into the game during the third quarter, Brown reportedly refused, citing an ankle injury. There was a disagreement. Brown removed his jersey, his pads, and his undershirt, and stormed off the field. 

The moment went viral as another “Antonio Brown makes trouble” story. But people quickly pointed out that there may be much more going on underneath the surface. 

You can hear a sympathetic tone in Tom Brady’s comments post-incident.

Why Would He Deserve Our Sympathy?

During the AFC Wild Card Bengals vs. Steelers Game in 2016, Brown was brutally hit by Vontaze Burfict. 

Burfict was fined $50K for the hit. He has a reputation for being a dirty player

That hit is what many are saying changed Brown’s behavior for the worse. Brown has denied that the hit may have caused significant injury in an interview with reporter Josin Anderson. 

Anderson: Some people speculate that Vontaze Burfict’s hit has adversely impacted your behavior after that. Is that true?

Brown: Nah, he didn’t hit me that hard. You know, I got up and walked off the field. We won the game, right? I was alright.

Anderson: So some people when they talk about you, they say Antonio Brown needs mental help. Or he shows signs of needing mental help. Do you need mental help?

Brown: We all need mental help. I’m like an animal in a cage. Like, everyone just talks about me. I can’t go out of my house. … Everything I do is in the face of people – facing someone talking –  someone making an assumption about me.

Anderson: So you don’t feel like you have CTE? You’re not concerned about it?

Brown: No, If I had CTE, I wouldn’t be able to have this beautiful gym. I wouldn’t be able to be creative. I wouldn’t be able to …

Anderson: You might have the early stages, AB, just to be clear.

Brown: I don’t know. Aaron Hernandez? No, I’m perfectly fine.

Aaron Hernandez certainly comes to mind when reading about Brown’s trouble. 

Football Is Dangerous … And Fun … But Dangerous

Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins had a great take on Sunday’s incident

It’s easy to be sympathetic to Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka or Michael Phelps for their mental health issues. Their struggles were largely invisible, their confessions soft-spoken.

Not so much with Brown.

In his case, he lives his crazy and his pain right out loud, in front of the cameras and social media, and it’s unnerving, unlikeable and in some instances perhaps inexcusable, from alleged sexual misconduct to refusing to pay debtors to faking a vaccine card.

But the remarks of his teammates make it clear that they have deep affection for his best side and view much of his behavior as stemming from emotional unwellness.

Football is a very dangerous game. But it’s also an incredibly exciting, very complicated game that is endlessly fun to get into. It’s a bonding experience for families, it’s a brutal expression of sport, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to play. 

People like recently deceased John Madden celebrated the violence of the game. Many still do. But as we learn more and more about the dangers that football injuries create, we have to wonder if the fun is worth the harm.

Continue Reading