Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is Lady Justice Really Blindfolded?

Free Stock Images
Your gender and race greatly affect your jail sentence, and it needs to change in order for us to become a better society. You may find yourself on jury duty one day, witnessing a case in which a man, who after hitting his wife, is shot by her, in self defense. You’re thinking in your head “well, he deserved it”. Now imagine the genders are flipped, and a man shoots his wife because she hit him, not so innocent now huh? This is the mindset of your typical jury and judge. What causes people to think this way? Could it be that it is simply okay for a woman to shoot a man in self defense but not vise versa? Or could this be the result of a deep, subliminal discrimination? Unlike most discrimination, this kind can literally kill you.

By being a man, you are 20 times more likely to receive death penalty for a murder than women and will receive an average of 63% more time in jail for the same crimes. This means for every 20 men executed for murder, 1 woman is executed, and for every 10 years a woman gets sentenced, a man gets 16 years. If you are black or latino you have a much higher chance of being pulled over and will also usually be sentenced to more time in jail; people of color make up about ⅓ of America yet ⅔ of inmates are non-white. I believe that people tend to be more harsh when judging a black man than a white woman, and most of the time society sees the black man as the criminal and the white woman as innocent and nice, when often it is the other way around. This is caused by how the media portrays races and genders, for example white women are often seen in cleaning commercials, kid’s cereal commercials, and clothing commercials, while black men are often seen in movies in which the protagonist goes to a ghetto area, in which you see black men in gangs committing crimes. A recent study by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, shows that in movies, Hispanic women are the most likely to have hypersexuality indicators (tight clothing, nudity, etc), which although sounds somewhat irrelevant, may be the explanation as to why Hispanic women are largest victims of rape, which shows that the way in which a movie portrays you does affect how others view you, in this case, movies commonly portrayed Hispanic women as hypersexual, and therefore were most likely viewed as sex objects to certain people. So could it also be that if people of color are portrayed as criminals, that society will look at them that way? When society is constantly bombarded with these stereotypes, it strongly affects how the jury and judge visualize the perpetrator in court.

Some would argue that discrimination has nothing to do with this jail time gap, and the reason why men and people of color are receiving harsher jail sentences is simply because they commit the most crimes and deserve harsher punishments. If they aren’t learning, then give them more time.The problem with this argument, is that by creating such a large gap in punishments, it could allow for women to commit crimes because they think they will be spared in court, it may also bring up the issue of women accusing men of stuff they did not do in order to put them in jail or give them death penalty, thinking that they will be successful since courts favor women. This will also let white cops use excessive force against black suspects because people will assume they are guilty anyways. A racist cop may be able to get away with shooting a person of color and simply say that he was robbing someone or he was coming at him with a knife. The only thing that can fix this discrimination is to change how people are stereotyping races and genders, which all comes down to media and how these races and genders are being portrayed.


Conclusion: Updated (11/06/2014)
People's jail sentences are greatly impacted by their appearance, specifically their race and gender and is due to the media's representation of these groups. Comments on my blog post have made me consider why male judges cause a larger gap in gender discrepancies. After a small amount of read-up on a link commented, I have concluded that another cause of this gap is the nature to be protective of women, which was evolutionally helpful in order to protect babies, and the gap of the gap between female and male judges is caused by this protective instinct, however the majority of the gap is due to media representation. I really enjoyed the blogging process, the comments made me consider stuff I had not considered or known about before, and I liked being able to join the discussion on other people's posts also. The questions left in comments, which I thought would be simple to answer, ended up requiring me think deeply at the question and from different angles. I often find at random times in my daily life these subjects that we blogged about will be brought up or mentioned which causes me to repetitively question and reflect on the subject. I now not only think about the judicial process differently, but also media, movies, judges, criminals, and everything else that I have connected to my topic. Blogging has expanded my mind to include multiple viewpoints from the comments and the articles I ran into while researching. I hope to blog again.

National Spying Agency

The NSA collects millions of facial images of US citizens from various surveillance cameras each day. Over 55,000 of these images are of sufficient quality to be run through a facial recognition program, and used as evidence in a court of law, according to an article written by Fox News correspondent Trevor Mogg. This is just a small part of a much larger surveillance program codenamed "PRISM" which has been in operation since a law was amended in 2007, legalizing the project. PRISM has spanned the entire Obama administration, and is still at work today. Although facial recognition technology is presumed to be a fairly new addition to this program, law enforcement agencies have already become increasingly reliant on it to solve crimes. 

While facial recognition can be a valuable asset when searching for suspects, it is completely unrestricted and therefore a breach of the 4th Amendment, which provides protection from unlawful search and seizure without a valid search warrant. The only warrant the NSA needs is approval from FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court), which is a court set up and run by the NSA itself (see a problem?). This means the NSA is free to collect data on whomever they please, without technically being in violation of the law. Overall, the NSA's PRISM surveillance program is unconstitutional, and should be discontinued.

The most common debate surrounding the PRISM program is that of the 4th Amendment: Is it sometimes necessary to breach personal privacy to protect the American People as a whole, or is there no justification for going against the Constitution? Personally, I believe that our country can be protected without the use of technology that invades the privacy of our citizens. We don’t need new technologies, we need skilled, intelligent people who know how to use the ones we have. For example, facial recognition is not a substitute for good, solid police work. Government agencies are using these new capabilities as a shortcut rather than an aid, and placing too much reliance on computers to do their jobs for them. All new technology does is put more and more of our lives into the digital world, where they can be tracked and categorized by anyone who knows how to access the data. This software not only allows for unwarranted search to take place, it can be conducted without us ever knowing.

Facial recognition is just the beginning. The data collected by the NSA would allow for a complete database to be constructed, containing a plethora of data on every citizen to ever use a phone, or a computer, or pass a security camera. For the first time in history, capabilities exist to create a civilization in which our every move is monitored. Where the government can turn on our phones and use the cameras to record information. Where we can be constantly tracked using any security camera in the world. Where we can be constantly monitored, without us ever knowing.

Spying by the NSA is occurring on a global level as well. In India in 2010, surveillance operations were conducted on the BJP, the minority political party at the time (CNN). This caused an international backlash, and Indian officials summoned a senior U.S. diplomat to discuss the matter. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. In 2010, the FISC gave blanket authorization for international spying, and gave the NSA a list of 193 countries to focus on. (CNN)The list also contained the European Union, the World Bank Group, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and the Pakistan People’s Party. Domestic spying is one thing, but the NSA is now showing blatant disregard for the safety of American citizens by jeopardizing alliances with espionage. What’s the point of spying to prevent terrorism if the spying creates even more tension? The alliance of the countries and organizations on that list is infinitely more valuable than any of the information the NSA has stolen from them. No matter what pretense of peace is used to justify this espionage, all it will bring is war. Why cause conflict when it can be so easily prevented?

In conclusion, the NSA’s PRISM program is unconstitutional, and causes dangerous backlash in the international community. Therefore, it should be immediately discontinued, and it is our duty as Americans to demand its termination. Nothing will be done if good people stay silent. Spying isn’t just unconstitutional, it’s dangerous. It has the potential to cause more wars than anything obtained through PRISM can prevent. We are the only ones who can stand up for our freedom. If we do not make our grievances heard, then who will? Threats to our liberty come in many forms, and not always just on the field of battle. It is our responsibility to stand up for what is right. We as Americans have an opportunity that many don’t: to make ourselves heard without fear of persecution. The first amendment was written so that we could protect the others. Once the people take an active role in their government, things will begin to change. The government cannot ignore the desires of the people forever.

Conclusion: Edited Nov. 11, 2014

The NSA's PRISM surveillance program is unconstitutional and should be discontinued. Domestic spying is not only a violation of our justice system but a breach of our personal privacy. International spying can create distrust and cause the dissolution of very valuable alliances around the world. Overall, spying actually creates more problems than it solves. Now, to speak on the actual blogging process a bit. The research was a bit tedious, and at many times inconvenient. However, doing research allows intelligent information to be put on the web, from a valid source and with credit given to all involved. In an age where so much information on the internet isn't credible, it is invaluable to have good information that allows people to make informed decisions about issues. I learned some things from the blogging process about finding good sources and how to sort out good information from unreliable information.  Overall, while tedious, I did learn from blogging. Also, it was nice to write with less of an informational, unattached style into something more conversational. 

Phone Security in the Modern World

A guy holding an iPhone 6 
In normal life, phones might get stolen. Personal Information on the phone is even easier to get stolen. All the smart phones should have more security on  internet connections and better firewalls to be safe from the hackers and all the attacks. If the phone is physically stolen it should be able to be locked by the owner from his or her own computer and the owners should be able to track down the losing phone. But through the internet the government still does not have a well built system against all the cyber attacks. Most smart phones won’t send you a warning when you are connected to a dangerous internet connection and most of the time smartphone users are hacked because of the internet connection.

Few weeks ago some female celebrities’ icloud accounts got hacked and some personal pictures leaked out. Most of the smart phones system like iOS, and Android, have cloud systems. Although it makes people’s life much easier, it makes the information much more easier to get attacked. Password is a good way to keep your information online safe. For example iCloud Keychain on Macs and iPhones, the system will save all the passwords and bank accounts. I basically use the iCloud Keychain on every website i visit because it makes my life much easier and I don't have anything to hide in my accounts. But for most of people who's in some important business they should never use the iCloud Keychain because it might get hacked. Most of the people set their password really easy to remember like their birthday or 123456. Those password are really easy to get cracked, set a password at least 10 digits and really secure password will help you to keep your information on your phone and in the cloud much safer. It works the same way for you if you have a easy password, it is easier for hackers to crack your password.

Do you know the wifi you are using is safe or not? Most of the laptops will tell you but smartphones won't. When you are at a internet bar or some places with dangerous Wifi sources, your smart phone in your hand won't be smart enough to tell you it is dangerous. Most of the personal information on your phone offline is also liable to get hacked by some the hackers through some bad Wifi source and for sure you will not be informed. I would say do not connect to some random places' wifi. For example you are next to a little food truck with free wifi, please think is this wifi safe before you connect to it. I think smart phone designers should work on this area before they move on to how their next phone's look.

If the Wifi is dangerous then why don't we use cellular data from the carriers, that can be safer than dangerous Wifi connections? UN group announced that hackers can hack your smartphone through the SIM card inside of your phone accessing cellular data. Hackers can make copies of the SIM card and make calls and text people as you. It can make you lose a lot of personal information like bank statements, important business calls, and ruin your friend relationships. I don't think there is a way to prevent that from happening. But if there someone out there is hunting you down, I suggest you change your SIM card as soon as possible.

The new iPhone with the iOS 8 released few weeks ago has a new feature that can lock the phone and secure the phone when it’s lost, it helps a lot to protect personal information on the phone and the phone will be useless until it’s returned to the owner. I believe it is a really good feature. I used Find my Phone on the iCloud before and worked great. You set a password for the phone and lock it down. In my opinion, however the kill switch is better than Find my iPhone because it disables the Phone until the owner personally unlocks it. It cuts off the loophole of Find my iPhone. Some hackers were able to crack the password on the iPhone. This feature will change most of people's life because it is a lower chance of losing your phone or getting stolen by some people.

Technology today helps to make people’s life much easier but meanwhile, i can ruin someone’s life much easier. The government should catch up to make laws that fits the technology and the time period, not just on the computers, for the whole internet. To protect people from hacking. The technology companies should improve their security system on the phones instead of making the phones bigger and bigger, making phones look better, and the Legislative branch should catch up to the technology,make laws that fits the need of the society.

Thank you
Passive Fungi


Phone security in the modern world relies on the people, the smart phone users. Is the smart phone in your hand right now safe enough? I would say No because the smart phones don't have a well set up security system. Update the system on time to keep your phones and laptops save. For example Google Chrome, the upgrades will improve the security on your phone and laptop. Using a secure password, safe Wifi connection. The Touch ID feature on iPhone and Samsung is awesome for security. The password to access the phone changes from numbers, characters, and symbols to simple finger prints. The finger prints on your fingers are unique. The security preferences settings on the smart phones should be improved, easier to set up and more layers of security. The security settings on the smart phones should be the same as the ones on the computers. The most easiest way to keep your own private information save is keep all of the information offline in a hard drive, not connected to any Wifi or internet connections. Smart phone users should also aware what websites they visit, I personally don't use my phone to surf the internet by web browsers. At the end, thanks for all the comments, and advises.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hashtag Activism: The Internet Making the World a Better Place

Litterati is an movement where people post pictures of trash on the Internet, and they pick it up. The city looks at these pictures and finds where the most trash is so that they can put more trash cans in those areas. This is an example of hashtag activism, which is raising awareness and starting movements on social media. Hashtag activism has, and will continue to change the world for the better.

Image from Wikimedia Commons
People use hashtag activism to share information on opinions or issues. Others can then look at that information to help them make decisions. Hashtag activism comes in many forms, from #litterati to #stopKony and #ALSicebucketchallenge. These are all hashtags that have informed people on certain issues and caused many to take action. In my mind, there is no doubt that hashtag activism changes the world on a daily basis.
#Litterati helps communities because it makes picking up trash a social experience. It encourages people to take on the issue of pollution in their community. More than 70,000 pieces of trash have been picked up since the start of this movement. The impact has been even larger than that because of the trash cans that have been put in by cities. This is one step closer to a pollution free world. Lots of topics are controversial, but I can't see anybody being opposed to that. The #ALSicebucketchallenge makes a difference on an even larger scale. Everyone with ALS is affected by this because it gives them an overwhelming amount of support. Donating to ALS research can help cure this disease, and that is what so many people have now done.

According to Jeremiah Owyang, there are more than 2 million videos on YouTube related to the ice bucket challenge, with many other related posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. That is how enormous the movement has gotten. Every single one of those people now have at least some idea of what ALS is, and it sparks an idea that they have an obligation to help people less fortunate than themselves. Some videos, particularly the example below, were made by people actually suffering from ALS who took the opportunity to educate others on the importance of raising money for research. The world needs more movements like this, more ways to make it easy and fun for people to get involved.

Anthony Carbajal, diagnosed with ALS at age 26

People who disagree with me would say that dumping some ice on your head doesn’t make you a good person or change the world at all. They would ask "what in the world does this have to do with ALS??" They would also refer to the #stopKony movement in which many people donated to an organization that promised to do just what the hashtag says. Joseph Kony is a man who ordered the abductions of more than 60,000 children. However, more than a third of the money was used to fund promotions and pay salaries. Kony remained a powerful man for a long time. Howard Kurtz from the Daily Download said “The internet is far better at enlightenment than enforcement,” meaning it lets people know what’s going on, but they don’t have any motivation to do anything about it. He said this referring specifically to the Stop Kony movement.

Dumping ice on your head may not make you a great person, but donating to ALS research is definitely a great way to make a difference. That is what many people ended up doing. In fact, since the ice bucket challenge started, donations to ALS research have averaged $35 per second! I thought that was absolutely astonishing. Over the course of 28 days, there was a total of 85 million dollars donated to the cause. The video above is one that very nearly made me cry. I would recommend that you watch it just to see what kind of effect the Ice Bucket Challenge has had. To some, it has nothing to do with the donations. The millions of videos give those with ALS so much hope and happiness. The feeling of being loved and cared about is almost overwhelming for many of these people. Now to talk about the #Litterati movement. Nobody has anything bad to say about this, because there is nothing bad to say! There is no doubt that it has and is continuing to make a difference. Who could possibly be against a cleaner, healthier earth? That’s right. Not a single person. As for the #stopKony movement, it did little to help catch the man, but it did provoke people to try to make a change. This was the point of the movement, and it was the organization’s fault that it didn’t help as much as it could’ve. According to the National Post, 48 hours after the Kony video was posted, the organization had received a total of 5 million dollars in donations. All of that income should've been used for a better purpose, such as funding the people that were trying to stop Kony. The movement had such good intentions and so many people believed in it. It really did spark something in people’s minds, and they did something about it. The fact that the people donated so much money should be enough to prove that hashtag activism makes positive changes in the world. With some of these statistics in mind, I would say that the internet is better at enforcement than some might think.


To conclude, hashtag activism is a great and easy way to make the world a better place. The fact that it is so accessible to so many people can make movements so much bigger than if the movements were out on the streets. To be a good digital citizen, it is important to be aware of these movements. Taking part in them and helping it grow and spread is also a good thing to do. Some of the comments on my post led me to find further articles addressing hashtag activism. There are many spin-offs of the Ice Bucket Challenge including the Rice Bucket Challenge to fight hunger in India and the Rubble Bucket Challenge for the victims of bombs in Gaza. The problem with these is that they weren't original. They never really got off the ground. Both of those have the word "bucket" and "challenge" in the name. If organizations want to raise money or awareness for their cause, then they need to come up with original ideas. Another issue addressed in the comments a few times was that of the #stopKony movement. I have seen the video associated with the movement, and now know why so many people have donated. It is a very moving video. I would have donated myself if I didn't know that so much of the revenue would be used for salaries and other promotions. The last hashtag that was brought up in the comments was #DudesGreetingDudes. This hashtag is all about how street harassment, contrary to the popular belief, is not about just saying “hi”. Elon James White started this hashtag to help fight street harassment. I checked it out and think that it is absolutely hilarious, but brings attention to a serious topic. It is another great example of how much hashtag activism can do for the world. It really clarifies how bad street harassment is. In the end, nothing has changed on my views of hashtag activism. It will always be one of the factors contributing to making the world a better place.

Do media really help us understand what is mental illness?


The world nowadays is full of people who suffer from a mental illness which also can cause huge amounts of suicide. News and media have finally started to address this by giving more coverage about these people. There is also a movie called “Fox Catcher” this year which talks about mental illness.

According to the NBC News, about 1,100 college students commit suicide every year because of mental illness. As reported in "Ziggy’s Wish”, every year about one million people died worldwide because of mental illness. Many people are surprised that over 50 movie stars are actually struggling with mental disorders; some of them finally give up fighting and choose to die, like Robin Williams. In order to prevent the same tragedy happening again and again, we have to do something and the media has to do something.

In this digital world, media has the power. Here is an article suggesting people care about mental health issue. The NBC Nightly News reported a Sending Silence Packing event in the United State this year. This is an event held to raise awareness of the students attending college who kill themselves because they struggle with a mental illness. Suggestions made from the government can make more people care about mental illness. For example, the Australian government posted a website on the internet which talks about mental illness and shows people how big the issue of mental illness is. After the death of Robin Williams, people started to look at mental illness again and the media got interested. A lot of people kill themselves because they cannot find someone to talk about their issues of mental illness and all they need is a friend and a listener, like in the movies.

For example, in the movie “The Good Will Hunting” , a genius has a farfetched life and a couple of bad friends who make his mental illness worse. All he needs is someone who can help him to direct his life and get on the right track. The psychologist who also has a mental illness since childhood talks to him. With a strong patience, the psychologist finally makes him talk about what he has been through and what he really wants to do in the future and just get on with his dream.

A second movie that has raised awareness is Rain man. This is a movie that talks about how a man finds out he has always had a brother who has mental illness and he finally create a relationship with his brother. The reason why I first saw this movie is just because I love Tom Cruise and I love watching movies, but the reason that I saw it again is because this movie really touched my heart. After Babbitt found out that the reason his brother was taken away from his family is because his brother Raymond accidentally hurt him when they were little. He felt regret and he wanted to stay with his brother and take care of him for the rest of his life, but the mental institution took Raymond back. From these movies, I know that if we really look into the people who have mental illness, we will find out that they are the same as we are and, we can save them by just caring about them and listening to them.

The Pacific Standard shows that people who have mental illness are more likely to cause a gun shooting crime than are mentally healthy people. So, we should not allow mentally ill people to own guns? The media also points out that people who have mental illness are much more violent than mentally healthy people. This year there were shootings in Las Vegas, Seattle, and Santa Barbara. These incidents cause people to be afraid of people who have mental illness and the people who have mental illness to feel shame about telling others they need help,so they lost chance to get help. One blogger wrote an article about why the media do not take mental health issue seriously. In her article, Nicole Knepper points out that media seems to think they should write about physical health and gossip, not about mental illness, even though it affects physical health.

Although the media has some bad messages about people who have mental illness, there are more of them presenting helpful information about good things about mental illness and suggesting people help people who struggled with mental illness. One article also points out that people with mental issues are not like those in the movies, who are often portrayed as really weird and always killing others but they are actually much more better than that. The article also says that the movies nowadays are getting much better. After all, mental illness is not a thing that we have to be afraid of; it is a thing that we have to care about. We have to help the people who have mental illness and give it a chance for these people, we will see the world become better and people with mental health issues live happier lives.

Conclusion update 11.6 2014

After I finished typing this article about mental illness, I try to find out what the real connection between mental illness and the world. Is mental illness consider as a problem in people's mind? Human can only care about an issue until it started to harm themselves and affect their life. Mental illness get the attention of people by the spread on the internet and media. In this digital world, people can easily find articles about mental issue, good things or bad things. During my time responding the comments, there are these kind of thinking that came out in my mind. How will this affect our life? Will the things that we do actually help the mental illness? I can not just say that it will change people's thinking of mental illness, but I will say that at least we tried and there is a chance that this will help. In my point of view, I hope this article will help people understand mental illness better and start pay more attention on those struggled in the mental issue. Mental illness is a dangerous thing that can harm people pretty hard, but I believe that every action that people made will push it getting better. After all, I still have to say that people with mental issue are the same as us, they are us, what you have to do is just look deep inside their heart and listen to them, and treat them like the others. Remember, even a small movement of yours have the ability to turn the world into a better place. Thank you for checking my article.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Dress Codes are sexist towards women and, in some cases, are completely unnecessary and hypocritical. In schools all over the world today, girls are getting called out for what school staff deem as “inappropriate for school wear,” such as leggings and tank tops. However, male students may continue on with their day without interruption.

Image Source
This is actually on a high school website!
Take the dress code at your school as an example. Are there any main dress code guidelines directed specifically at males, aside from the no sagging rule? Typically there aren’t. However, there is an abundant amount of restrictions and fine lines for a girl to follow regarding her way of dress. A very common guideline is no spaghetti strap tank tops. This “no spaghetti strap” rule affected one high school student from North Ogden Junior High, in Utah. She wore a tank top to school one day, covering her shoulders with both a scarf and her hair, but still got called out by the assistant principal because tank tops were not permitted in the dress code. In order to fix this “offense” she was required to change into gym clothes. Not only did this cause her emotional despair, but being publicly humiliated by the assistant principal, who forced her to finish her day off in gym clothes, took her humiliation one step further. This was all caused because her assistant principal deemed her attempt of covering up, “not good enough.” The Utah student was spared some embarrassment in comparison to Miranda Larkin of Oakleaf High School in Florida. Miranda was not given the opportunity to change into gym clothes. Instead she was forced into what is known as a “shame suit.” The shame suit was an oversized, bright yellow t-shirt with ‘DRESS CODE VIOLATION’ displayed across the body of the shirt. To pair off the t-shirt she was also given bright red sweats to match. How can these articles of clothing not distract the boys and girls of her class? Clearly, this outfit was created to send a message, and when messages are sent, aren’t they supposed to be noticed? This actually goes against the purpose of the dress code, to prevent distraction, and it humiliates the student at the same time. Congrats society, you win “The Most Hypocritical” award.

School makes teen wear 'shame suit' for too-short skirt

Other articles of clothing frequently targeted by dress code rules are yoga pants and leggings. People have made the argument that the way women dress, like in leggings, is distracting to boys. Which raises the question of whose education is more important, being that girls are typically the people sent out of class whereas the male gender remain in class without any complaint. So who’s learning is being distracted, the “hormonal boys” in the class, or a girl sent out for a costume change? People say that they can’t help looking, and they won’t be able to focus in school, but is it really a girl’s job to ensure they can control themselves? Society as a whole is blaming the girls for this. It’s the ladies’ fault for dressing like that; they’re asking to be distracting. However, I think that it is the other way around. If boys, and other women, for that matter, grew up thinking positively about a girls’ body, and learned to not sexualize our body, then we wouldn’t have to change the dress code for the boys’ greater good in school. Is it really that big of a deal if a girl wears some leggings to school? Most girls wear them to be comfortable, not to show off anything. Not all boys think or act that way either, so should we assume this biased stereotype about boys too? There is one article I found called Seeing A Woman: A Conversation Between A Father and Son that I really enjoyed reading. It proves my point that all men do not think of women as sex objects. Father Nate Pyle says that when he sees his son looking at a girl in that certain way, he's going to have a talk with him about treating women like they are more than just objects of lust. He plans to tell his son that "It is a women's responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing." That is a very powerful and true quote.

If a dress code must be enforced, it should at least be consistent. Not just between genders, but within one gender itself. An experiment at Washington High School proved that consistent enforcement is a problem. Candee Blanc, a junior at Washington High School (WHS), purposefully wore short dresses and skirts to school in order to prove a point. Weighing 104 pounds at 5’3, Candee is very petite among her classmates, which proved as an advantage in upholding her school dress code. She never was reprimanded for her short and revealing clothing, whereas a close friend of hers, Athena Hamilton, was continuously singled out for dress code violations. Athena is bigger in size when compared to Candee, and toward the end of the year Athena questioned Washington’s assistant principal as to why she was in trouble for wearing the same leggings as other students the same day, the assistant principal replied, “It’s more noticeable on you,” as if to say because she was bigger she couldn’t “pull off” the clothing as well. How can we validate the school dress code, when it’s clearly being misused among schools, and, in fact, leads to body shaming?

Perhaps the sexist and hypocritical dress code does have good intentions when it is initially enforced. According to Fresno Pacific University News, the dress code is used as a safety precaution and to ensure better learning amongst all students. However, we see that due to the misuse and shaming of girls’ bodies this is not what is accomplished. In fact, the opposite occurs. Girls begin to feel uneasy when choosing clothes for school because they fear the embarrassment of being called down to the office. To say that this offense just happens in a school setting is a major understatement. Women all over are being deemed as distracting because of their wardrobe choices. The amount of women dismissed from their jobs because their outfits are “tempting” is sickening. For example, a woman named Debrahlee Lorenza was fired from her job at Citibank because she was too “hot.” She wore the same professional attire as the other women in the bank she worked with, but was told that they didn’t have to worry about them turning her on because “as their general unattractiveness rendered moot their sartorial choices, unlike plaintiff.” To think that an article of clothing can decide your ability to fully function around the opposite sex is wrong and ridiculous.
Image Source
This is what Debrahlee wore to work-completely proffessional. 

Don’t get me wrong, I agree there should be some limitations, but not at the expense of someone's emotional safety. If these limitations are enforced they must be equal and just, as any good regulation and guideline should be. What starts locally can have a more global effect in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the technology and media of today’s generation, people are awakening to what’s going on in the world and can (hopefully) fix the flaws in society abruptly and right. Girls and their families everywhere are using the media to explain to the world their problems with the dress code. Before there was social media, the problem that the girl in question and the school had about the dress code would have stayed really quiet, only between the school and the family. Now girls can share their problems with their school and how they’re handling the dress code on a variety of social media. After so many years of women living in the shadow of men, they are ready to break free from constantly pleasing others and have developed perspective and now have people listening to their voice.

Conclusion: Updated November 14

The dress code has been an issue in many schools for a long time. Dress codes are sexist towards women and, in some cases, are completely unnecessary. Dress codes are relevant to digital citizenship because when someone violates the dress code, schools try to keep it quiet, but the media makes it so that people can tell everyone about their experiences with the dress code. One of the main reasons I wanted to write about this subject was because all I saw on the internet were stories about dress codes, and dress code violations. I realized that a lot was being said in the media about dress codes, but nothing was being done, so I guess I wanted to make a difference. I was hoping that someone would read my blog and care as much as I do about it to do something about it at their local school, or to at least bring it up. It gave me a good feeling when I heard that I was invited to speak at a Student-Faculty Senate meeting discussing this very subject, because I had made a small difference after all. All of the comments left on my blog have agreed with me (so far), so I haven’t been challenged to change my opinion, but they did give me more examples to support my thesis, thanks to some of the links that were left in the comments. I got really excited the minute I heard that I got the opportunity to make my own blog. I was looking forward to sharing my thoughts with people, and seeing what they thought about my opinion. Blogging was a definite adventure for me.

Respect my Securitah!

The internet can be a very unsafe place, from people accidentally giving away their first child, to hackers having at it at peoples computers. All this stuff can lead many people to the conclusion that the internet is a bad place, when in fact if you know how to use network security to your advantage you will be just fine. A better way to describe it, is that they have themselves a double edged sword, in the way that they get all these cool services and yet they always end up having troubles with their computers. These troubles may include getting hacked, having your private information stolen, or getting stuck with an annoying virus. All of the above
problems that can happen to you and your computer can be avoided, with a little help that I like to call knowledge.

A study done by Armeen Khan from the Telegraph, stated that over the past six months about 12 million people had their computer attacked by a virus. All of those people got attacked, even though 95 percent of them said that they had antivirus software. Following that study, let's get into the basics of protecting yourself and your computer. When you first get your computer, be sure to adjust your computer's security settings. As you are adjusting the settings make sure that you have some sort of updated version of virus/malware protection loaded on to your computer. Many computers already have a free version of this so make sure to have it on. Besides this be sure to have your firewall up and running, by going to the security settings on your computer, which stops unwanted outside access to your computer. The last important security setting that you may want to adjust is the cookies section. Cookies are pieces of data that websites hold on to, this can be good if you want some websites to hold on to what you like to buy for instance. It can be bad, though, if you don’t want certain websites holding on to secret information.

When searching the web you must be careful. A little tip is that at the top of the url the s in https stands for secure, and if there is a little lock that is closed it means that site is even more secure. If you are knowledgeable about safer websites try to only go to those, because websites that are corrupt can load unwanted viruses, adware, and other things onto your computer. One last tip is that when you are in your email, never open up spam or suspicious looking emails for they may contain unwanted programs. That also goes for ads on the side of websites in that they may also harm your computer.

The many different types of harmful things include: Worms, which travel from computer to computer through networks; Trojan Horse, which hides in files that seem to be harmless; Malware, which is defined as something that is designed to disrupt the way your computer works; Adware which shows advertisements that are unwanted; and last but certainly not least the big one Viruses, which are basically all of the above. You can protect yourselves from all of these by being suspicious, being smart through common sense and your gut feeling, and just having good antivirus/anti-spyware programs. If you have a computer from Apple, here are some safety tips for Apple. If you have a computer that runs on windows here is something that can help, Microsoft Safety Scanner.

This brings us to the last thing, and definitely the most important thing that people need to read all of a contract, understanding while doing it that a signed agreement is binding. What I am referring to is the terms of service, for almost anything digital like signing up for services and games. These terms of service are usually very long and full of words, which led a certain company known as F-secure to do a little test on the public. This test was taking place in London, and the plan was that in exchange for free wifi, the people had to give away their first born child to the company. They hid this exchange within their terms of service to check if many people would still agree to it anyways. In the end thirty three people only accepted the wifi once the terms were taken off, but six people unknowingly signed it without reading it. This shows the biggest point of all , which is that you need to be smart when using the internet/digital world. If you do this, nothing within the internet will be able to bring you down, and you will be able to use the internet to your full advantage with an eased mind.

People who argue against me might say that whenever a better antivirus/antimalware product comes out, there is always an updated virus to outmatch and bypass your security. This is infact true and there is always a risk, but if you keep an updated antivirus/antimalware, and use your wits, you have a good chance that you will be fine. This relates to Digital Citizenship because hackers and other people are taking advantage of other peoples dim-wittedness. It also relates to it because although that one company did it as a test, another small business could actually take advantage of the fact that fifty eight percent of adults would rather read an instruction manual or a credit card bill than the terms of agreement. This previous test was a 2011 survey, and it is my last example of the connection between digital citizenship and the internet. And how you are responsible for yourself, which includes your safety online.


Copyright? More Like Copy and Paste

Image by Glogster.
Have you ever broken copyright laws while searching for images to use in a project? The purpose of this blog is to inform you on how to avoid copyright infringement with a few easy steps. Though copyright pertains to music, movies, books, and other forms of fixed media, I have experienced difficulty with images. People should be careful while sharing images online because they could be breaking the law. Copyright is a difficult topic to understand. The vast spectrum of copyright does not draw a line between breaking the law as opposed to following the law. After learning more about copyright, I can now pick out situations where I have broken copyright laws.

Everyday, people use others' pictures without permission.There is one major test you can use to determine whether or not you are following the law: fair use. Government takes infringement seriously. Consequences for violating copyright laws can be major, leading to huge fines and even jail.

Caitlin Seida posted a picture on her personal Facebook account of herself on Halloween dressed up like a character from a video game, Lara Croft. Not knowing her privacy settings were off, she found her picture on a website that made fun of people of what they looked like and what they were wearing. Like Caitlin Seida, many of those pictures were of overweight people. Not only was posting her photo unethical and public embarrassment, this is an example of copyright infringement because the specific website did not confront Seida and ask permission to post the picture of her. If you were in Seida's position, being publicly ridiculed and finding a picture of yourself shared with many people which was only meant for your close friends, how would you try to solve this problem?
Image Courtesy of Kai's Blog

Fair use is trying to balance the right of the copyright holder and the public. Within fair use, there are eight factors: use in small amount, rework and use in a different way, use for nonprofit purpose, add new meaning and make it original, schoolwork and education, news reporting, criticizing or commenting, and comedy and parody. The first reason, small amounts, means to use small samples of the material. For example, you could use only 30 seconds of a copyrighted song or just the middle of a picture you found instead of the whole piece. The second reason is to rework the material. This corresponds with the third reason of adding new meaning and making it original. For example, the Obama “Hope” poster used an actual image for inspiration and changed the colors, the purpose, and the designs of it. The fourth exception is for nonprofit use. If you buy a song on iTunes and make it the background of a video you made, and used it for personal use only without profit, then you are not breaking the law. However, if you don't receive permission from the artist of the song and distribute your video online or to others (in addition, using the video for profit), then you are breaking the law. The last four exceptions are easier to understand and self explanatory. If you use copyrighted material for school or education, news reporting, criticizing or commenting, or comedy and parody, they you can claim Fair Use as long as you are not breaking the other four exceptions.

These videos below may or may not follow Fair Use. Do you think these videos are following Fair Use? Why?

Scary Mary Poppins Trailer 

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Even though there are exceptions to help you make copyright easier, the government takes copyright infringement seriously. If laws are broken, the owner of the material is able to charge fines and even send people to jail. If the infringement is large and serious, the fines can be up to $25,000 per piece of work or the jail time can be up to 5-10 years.

Many people with different opinions may argue that copyright laws don't make a difference and are irrelevant because it happens many times a day and the government does not punish all citizens. For example, Joel Tenenbaum was charged with $670,000 for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them with others. He was caught for infringement but not all people are caught with infringement. For example, someone using YouTube mp3 to download songs onto their computer might not get caught for their infringement. Another counterexample is that copyright laws disrupt the convenience of the internet, meaning if the pictures are on the internet, then they should be for the public domain.

In response I could state that even though people violate laws everyday there are organizations,websites, and people that are trying to stop infringement and piracy. For example the website takedownpiracy.com has stopped 1,226,708 infringements just on photos since August 31, 2014. With infringement, many times people in the society or the artist of the material call out the infringers and bring the problem,if big enough, to court. I would also argue that copyright laws are no different than any other law like speeding laws. Many people drive over the speed limit and the consequences are a ticket with a fine, but some people are also able to speed without getting a ticket. Similarly, many people break copyright laws and are fined or imprisoned for their actions, but some people are able to get past the laws. In response people would still argue that speeding causes danger towards others. Similarly, copyright causes danger also. For example, Caitlin Seida's picture was shared publicly to the whole world when she was only trying to share her picture with her personal friends. This puts her personal identity and self confidence in danger because of the public ridicule. This quote from her article shows the negative impact she received from this example of copyright.
"We all know the awful humiliation of a person laughing at you. But that feeling increases tenfold when it seems like everyone is laughing at you. Scrolling through the comments, the world imploded –– and took my heart with it." 
Many times, big copyright cases with hundreds of thousands of dollar fines, suspension, or even jail can act like a warning to others to make sure they are following copyright laws effectively. This example shows how copyright is just as important as any other law.

One way to stop copyright infringement is by making technology and sources easier to follow copyright laws. For example, search engines could make their settings easier to search for images for the public domain instead of all images. Right now, google is set up to search for all images (even copyrighted) and the settings to change the search results to "labeled for reuse" takes a few steps. Even though it only takes a few steps, many people do not know how to get there and what the settings mean. Another way could be to block copyrighted images on websites. For example if you went to website on how to make a cake and there is a copyrighted picture of a cake, then the website would not allow you to drag the picture to your desktop or a document. The last way could be to put copyright symbols on copyrighted images that are not in the public domain. This could enforce users to pay for the image first or get permission from the owner. This would also enforce users to credit the author, illustrator, artist, etc to use their work. These techniques could help reduce the amount of copyright infringement.

Have you ever been in a situation where you/ you witnessed copyright infringement happen? Now knowing about Fair Use, how would you deal with the problem?



Updated 13 November, 2014

Conclusion: Being careful while using copyrighted images is an important concept of digital citizenship. Images that belong to a specific owner should deserve credit for their work. Although this would be the ideal, it does not always happen in the media world. The eight points I stated before were made to help people avoid copyright infringement. As the author of this blog, I hope I was able to simplify such a complex topic. As for the comments, many of the comments stated how specific parts of my blog were useful facts and information. None of the comments countered my thesis, but some definitely asked questions to further the discussions. Instead of these questions changing my mind, or clarifying the issue, it resulted in me researching more about their topics. Commenting was a big part of blogging that is different from normal school writing. This being the first time blogging, I found that the style of writing was much more casual and more like a conversation. While still trying to convince, persuade, and make your point, the blog was able to be more personal due to the informal writing style. I thought the preparation towards the final draft was stressful because my topic choice was so vast and related to multiple subtopics that I didn’t necessarily want, but once the “Publish” button was pressed, all my preparation work was shared with everyone. I thought the process of seeing my number of views slowly increasing also added to the experience. Along with that, commenting, having a friendly dialogue with other people and sharing opinions made the experience more interactive. Overall, my first blogging experience was enjoyable!

When Objects That You Use to Wipe Your Snot Have Genders

Powerful Yogurt for Men
Products that are as unisex as it gets are beginning to have genders. Tablets, yogurt, pens, you name it, marketing teams are gendering these products in order to cater to either men or women. While in many ways gendered advertising can be a great way to get people to buy things, gendered advertising is taking a toll on our society and how boys and girls of all age groups view themselves by promoting limiting and sometimes harmful gender stereotypes.

Products are being marketed as strictly for men or women. These products are reinforcing gender stereotypes. When things like tablets are marketed towards women, they come with a pink background, and included apps for yoga and weight loss. When products like yogurt were “gendered” they come with red and black packaging, and renamed “powerful yogurt.” These products create a notion of obligatory masculinity for men and obligatory femininity for women, and doesn’t even allow any space for the people in between. When men and boys feel compelled to be masculine to please society and others around them, they may feel the need to drink, be strong, attractive, heterosexual, competitive, gruff, and domineering. When girls and women feel they need to be feminine they may feel the requirement to be skinny, pretty, obedient, empathetic, and sensitive. Granted these strict ideals did evolve from biological instincts of both sexes, wrong signals and ideas are beginning to be implanted in peoples’ heads because of these generalizations. These social limits our society sets for masculinity and femininity are beginning to show in advertising.

Gender stereotypes can be harmful to our overall health in numerous ways. They can be harmful to mental health by creating ideas in people’s minds that they must fit into a certain outline to be loved and accepted. This can create self-destructive habits that can take years to get rid of. The gendered products augment gender stereotypes and act as a measuring stick for health, beauty, and behavior. On top of the psychological impact of the gendered products and stereotypes, they charge a physical toll on our health as well. Gender stereotypes can cause eating disorders in both boys and girls. Sixty-nine percent of 5th-12th grade girls’ idea of a what their body should look like has changed according to what they see in magazines. Eighty-one percent of 10 year old girls fear being fat according to the National Eating Disorders Association. The physical effects of an eating disorder can be devastating. They can include anemia, amenorrhea, and can cause severe issues concerning internal organs along with potential miscarriages. If you ask me, that’s an awful lot of trouble to go through just to fit into a cookie cutter image of what femininity should look like. When one is bombarded with so many idealistic images of perfection, it can cause health serious health problems. In a study done in Peru over the course of a few months of adolescent behavior by gender, all of the girls were depriving themselves of food in some way. All of the boys felt the need to drink large amounts to feel masculine. At a young age, copious alcohol consumption will damage one’s brain development severely. The boys also felt the need to fight each other when they felt threatened, and this could lead to momentous injuries. Gender stereotypes can cause serious trouble if they risk proper brain development and physical injury.

In a study that was done of a couple who decided to raise their child as gender neutral to free them of stereotypes, the family got a lot of backlash. The backlash is understandable because the majority of the people involved in the study thought the couple was doing it to make a political statement. The people strongly opposed this because they argued that there is no such thing as socially defined factors that go into gender, it is all biologically created. Some of their arguments involved the school of thought that gender identity and sexual identity are the same thing. Other arguments against the gender neutral child included that gender was “God-given” or “assigned by God.” One should not bring religion into sociological arguments because it perpetuates endless bias. In the case of a girl in Virginia, she cut off her hair to donate it to Locks of Love. After showing up the next day to her Christian school, her parents received an e-mail from the principle saying that their daughter’s haircut was inappropriate for their school because it did not represent her gender that was assigned by God, and she was not allowed to attend the school anymore because they had a policy against “ungodly conduct.”

In response to this, I would say that sex is separate from gender. One is biologically determined and one is not. One’s sex is determined based on whether a person has male or female genitalia. Gender is a spectrum, and a social standpoint inside a person’s mind. If someone is biologically male or female, it does not mean that they are automatically male or female inside their head. A person’s gender can be male, female, and anywhere in between. A person can be genderless. It is difficult for society to wrap their heads around this today partly because we have been using sex and gender interchangeably for so long and because we have been conditioned to think that sex, gender, and sexuality are corresponding.

People who believe this idea, that gender, sex, and sexuality are all the same thing are the majority of the people who are in charge of advertising, marketing, and merchandising. Given this, it is no surprise that gender and sexuality stereotypes are starting to come through in their marketing strategies. Some may say things like “Well it is just a marketing technique, and not something to get worked up about,” and yes, it would not be worried about so much if it did not cause psychological and physical damage to children and adults. The marketing teams are doing wrong to society because they are reinforcing gender stereotypes and in the case of younger people, they are cashing in on low self-esteem and puberty. What they are doing is not “just a marketing technique.” They are planting ideas in peoples heads that being gruff and domineering are qualities of a man when they are qualities of high testosterone, and that being empathetic, sensitive, and emotional are qualities of a woman when they are qualities of high estrogen. When people are not aware of this, they believe the companies and that is how physical and psychological damage caused by gendered advertising occurs.



Over the course of time that I have been in digital citizenship and written this blog, I have realized more and more about how gender stereotypes show through in the media. I have developed more complex opinions than the ones I already had, and have learned many things myself throughout this process. Before our discussions on men and women in the media and before writing this blog I didn't realize how many conventional and idealistic images of perfection are thrown at us day by day when we use the media and view advertisements. Then again I also never realized how that the world is changing, and positively adapting to a more gender-neutral society. I would never have considered blogging as a medium to get people around the world to hear opinions and to get people to know about important information, but it is a fun way to get people's attention over the internet safely, and I am glad I had the opportunity to do this. I liked that we got the chance to respond to commenters, and I liked seeing feedback from my classmates on a blog that I got to see form and take shape. In the end there was a long strand of comments consisting of nothing but non-hateful opinions, uplifting messages to bloggers and commenters, and constructive criticism. Commenters always had polite and thought-provoking things to say. Every comment and response on every post was a good example of civilized interaction through a digital platform, and that was refreshing to see.

"That's so Gay"

 Anti-Homophobia Poster
Homophobia, or the persecution of homosexuals, is one of the major topics of debate in our country, and has been for many years. Webster’s Dictionary defines homophobia as “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals." A major issue surrounding homophobia has been persecution in the digital world.

Homophobia online, and cyber bullying in general, is a huge problem. With little or no restrictions on what people can say online, words like “faggot” are tossed around carelessly in video game chat rooms, YouTube comments, and other places without people knowing or not caring that they could actually be hurting someone’s feelings.  According to Gay Activist, between the ages of ten and twenty-four, nearly fifteen percent of gay and bisexual men have either tried to harm themselves or commit suicide. As stated by Infoplease, between 1950 and now, suicide rates for all teenagers between the age of fifteen and twenty four has more than doubled, increasing from 450,000 a year to an astounding 1,050,000. Since the incorporation of social media into our daily lives, suicide rates have increased dramatically. It is fair to assume that this is at least in part due to online homophobia, because people encounter so much more bullying and harassment online than they would outside of social media. According to Psychology Today, almost half of all people online experience some type of homophobia.

Before technology became part of our daily lives, bullies had to say stuff to people’s faces. Now, those bullies were bad enough, but there was always a knowledge that people were watching, and that they couldn’t do too much. Now, online, those boundaries have been thrown out the window. Without having the face-to-face contact, bullies can use masks of anonymity to say whatever they like without fear of retribution.

Something I don't understand is why do people feel the need to squash other's happiness by connecting with them online and saying hateful things.  Even if your personal view differ from those of others, and there is nothing wrong with that, they are your opinions, you don't need to go trying to impose your opinions on others. It is people like this, who believe that they must “save” all the sinners in the world and convert them to their way of thinking, that spark this homophobia. I am going to ask you all briefly to try to put yourself in a situation where you are the one being persecuted.  To give you an idea of what this might be like, here is a very powerful and moving  movie showing what it would be like if being gay was the norm.

Love is All You Need? (Wingspan Pictures)

Some people might even say that it is a choice that people are gay.  That gay people could just... turn it off.  With all the persecution that goes on, why on earth would anybody choose to be gay? We all may have our different opinions on the subject of homophobia, but it is the people that try to force others into their way of thinking by posting comments online that really affect people. The Washington Post published an article with brain research behind heterosexuality and homosexuality. They concluded that gay men’s brains are actually more like that of straight women’s, and vice versa. It is not a choice, people, it is who they are, and there is no changing it.

There are some things that “the common folk” can do about this. If you hear someone say “faggot” over the microphone in a video game, say very loudly and clearly back: “I am leaving because you said that,” and then exit the game. If you see someone has left a nasty, homophobic comment on a site, post a comment of your own stating that you are not going to use this site anymore because of what people are saying on it. Doing things like this, drawing attention to the issue, and convincing people that there is a problem. Many people still don’t think that there is a problem with homophobia. “The defense of marriage act got struck down, there must not be a problem anymore.” The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that there is one.

What we need to do is to fight cyberbullying with different methods than we have been doing to fight regular bullying, and on a much more profound and larger scale. We have started to see slight improvements within the past few years on this particular issue. Websites have started to monitor the comments people are posting, and removing them if they are offensive. This is something that cannot be done in a chat room. At the same time, you could make the argument that monitoring what people say to each other online is suppressing their free speech. It is a very tough debate, and the end result is most likely do nothing, or take down the chat rooms in the first place.

We need LGBT teens to know that there are people out there who do support them, who do love them for who they are. We can all agree that bullying is bad, yet so many people do it, and so many people will just watch and let it happen. Websites like the “It Gets Better Project” are great examples of sites that LGBT teens can turn to for help and support. Don’t listen to the people online, because everyone is beautiful on the inside.



My thoughts on homophobia have not really changed very much throughout this project. Since people mainly agreed with my view in their comments, I saw no need to change it. People did post some good articles, which I have read and was very intrigued by. But one question seemed to pop up occasionally, and I wanted to answer it for all of those people out there who are wondering. Why do people discriminate against gays? I think it is the same reason that racism and sexism and still around. People will discriminate against people who appear weaker than themselves, and also people who are different. I wish it weren’t so, but my view is still that the use of the internet only makes it easier for homophobes to speak their minds, and affect even more people without even identifying themselves. Without face to face contact, bullies can say whatever they like with no repercussions. If someone tries to stop people from doing this,the people initiating the hateful speech will immediately say that the people trying to stop them from commenting are violating their 1st amendment rights. Which herein lies the problem, that there is almost no way to stop this online homophobia. What we can do is make it better for ourselves, first of all by not posting hateful comments. We can further help by calling attention to the issue. Some sites have started to make things better. For example, some sites give you the ability to vote down a comment, and if enough votes are received then the comment is taken down. Report abuse buttons are starting to show up for certain sites, but there are still issues. People need to be more aware of what people are saying, and call attention to it. In conclusion, I would like to say that I had a great time blogging, and I will continue to research my topic with the release of new information pertaining to online homophobia.

Fundraising with Social Media! Support the Causes You Care About

Fundraiser Help.com
     Let’s be reasonable here. Most people cannot afford to contribute to every cause about which they feel strongly. But Social Media Fundraising is the one way that will catch someones attention enough that will make them feel like this is the one that is worth to contribute. Social media fundraising is a great way to support a cause.

     Social media fundraising is not just a joke or a gimmick, it is a way for people to easily learn about and to
contribute to a cause. Social media fundraising is the most effective because so many people have switched into a more digital life. The fundraising technique is the most used out of all of the fundraising techniques. One example of great fundraising is the recent Ice Bucket Challenge which was a global media fundraising fad. Do you know what the Ice bucket challenge is really about? Well if you didn’t it was a social media fundraising technique set up by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis association. The point of pouring freezing cold water over yourself was to have the sensation of having Lou Gehrig's disease, which is losing all body functions except your brain is still active. The challenge where you either dump water on your head or donate money. The challenge is very large with many celebrities and also other day to day people. Up to 1.2 million videos uploaded. The association raised up to 4 million dollars for the cause. That may be seen negatively except the organization still gained a lot of money then if they were not to use Social Media fundraising in the first place. Many celebrities, athletes and other famous people took part in the challenge which was a big attention grabber to many people. If you were to see your favorite actor or actress do the challenge it’s likely you too would want to be a part of it. This is just one of the many examples of how social media is able to create support for a cause. In general social media fundraising is a great way to gain support for your cause.
Image:DL Cade

     Organizations that use social media fundraising will result in a 40% increase in their fundraising. Most organizations do this by using Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, which are all very popular social media sites. If a picture is worth a thousand words then how much would a video be worth. That is why youtube is such a great way for organizations to gain attention for a cause. I know that if someone were to hand me a piece of paper asking me to donate money I wouldn’t be very intrigued but when a video is placed before me I will gain a sudden interest immediately. Almost anyone or group can use social media fundraising, schools, churches, medical organizations, organizations to help with community service, social media is free, which makes it more accessible, too. Groups don’t need a giant budget for their campaigns because they can spread the news through free sites. That is another way social media fundraising is so useful because of how accessible it is.

     Though social media is an absolutely great way to raise money people do see it has flaws. Going back to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, many people also used social media to bring attention to problems with the campaign. Most people that took part in the challenge did not even know what the purpose there was to it. Those people never found out the true meaning of ALS. In social media the meaning of the fundraising gets lost through all the commotion. So, though the organization is gaining awareness, it doesn’t always show the true meaning of the cause. In the 2000’s there were many organizations that used a type of social media were unsuccessful at gaining awareness. The attention the cause gets depends on how viral it becomes. Sometimes social media fundraising is used for the wrong reasons like for promoting someone's personal needs or pages. Did you know that malaria is 5 thousands times more deadly than Lou Gehrig's disease, so why isn’t there a huge campaign to raise money to fight malaria? My point here is that there are flaws in social media fundraising but it still is a great way to support a cause.

     Social media has changed the way organizations are able to interact with their consumers. They are really able to make the consumer interactive and implied with the cause. The consumer will feel a sense of “I should do something” when approached with social media fundraising. An example of this is a British charity called Refuge who used YouTube to get a powerful point across about women being abused. It made the consumer aware of what the victims had gone through and what they challenge with. Another example of how social media is a great way to fundraise is the use of social media in Education. Students at Columbia University used social media and gained 6.8 million dollars in a day for their school Social media also allows charities to receive donations directly through phones, computers, and other electronic devices. That is because people are able to donate with a click of a button on their phone. Charities with small budgets are able to use social media fundraising because it is affordable and easy to use. Fundraising price in marketing through broadcasting is actually much higher than social media fundraising. Charities have the ability to gain donations regardless of the charity’s size.

     All in all social media is a great way to gain support for a cause that truly matters. Though it may have some flaws, it still gives the one using social media fundraising a unique way to interact with the consumer. And reacting with the consumer this way helps create attention for the cause they are trying to promote.


Conclusion: updated November 14, 2014

After doing extensive researching and thinking about social media fundraising, I have come to the conclusion that social media fundraising is a great way to support and help a cause. Social media relates to being a digital citizen because taking part in social media fundraising has a lot to do with how you can be influential and helpful in your digital life. Everybody has a responsibility when accessing one’s digital life, and social media fundraising is a way to make your voice heard about a cause you care about. From the great comments left on my blog I was able rethink things on social media fundraising that I haven’t thought about. One comment talked about how this person (that I will keep anonymous) did not know how participating in the ALS ice bucket challenge helped support the cause and what it did for the ALS organization. This made me realize that many people do not know that fun challenges where someone is challenged to perform a task or other activities help support a cause. The comment clarified my thinking on how many people do not know what they are supporting when participating in social media fundraising. When I answered the person about my thought on the issue, I stated how that is why social media fundraising can be lost in translation over time, but even if the content of the fundraising may be lost, the idea of spreading the fundraising technique stays intact. My experience as a blogger has been very interesting, of course. I learned how my voice is able to affect many people and how I can use my own participation as a digital citizenship to get my thoughts and ideas out in social media. I also found that the comments and the extra insight on a topic that I’m expressing, can change my view on the topic and gives new meaning to it. Granted, I have found that some parts of being a digital citizen can be very hard because you need to be very thoughtful and wise when sharing your opinion with such a broad audience. I have also learned that when I was blogging, it was very empowering because I was able to share my feelings on a subject which I feel strongly about and a life changing task. I am very glad to have taken part in this journey of blogging because it taught me how social media fundraising is a great way to support a cause that is important and how, in digital citizenship, you take on many responsibilities and how it is up to you how you share your ideas and express yourself in your digital world.