stock-illustration-8093543-trollThis article is about the online troll Violentacrez and his undeniable ability to become very quickly and well known for his anti-societal antics on Reddit.  With Reddit being a free content website, users are able to post whenever and on whatever topics they want.  Trollers like Violentacrez show the ugly side of this privilege.  Content is basically arranged in “upvotes” which means that it is moved to the forefront of visible content on Reddit.  The more people “upvote” a certain posting, the larger network it spans and the more people are able to read it and have access to it.  It creates content prominence.
One of the more prominent postings Violentacrez created was about underage teenage girls, and people posting pictures of them in bikinis or swimsuits called Jailbait.  This became a very searchable posting on Reddit and soon rose to a very popular search item on Reddit as well as the internet it general.
Once this type of content was notoriously known on Reddit, the mass media quickly grabbed a hold of it, including Anderson Cooper who shamed Reddit and Violentacrez for aiding in this obvious exploitation of minors.
Because of media pressure Reddit officially banned the posting on their site.  Personally, I realize Violentacrez’s case about infringing on free speech by denying certain post subjects; however, other areas, such as child exploitation and underage semi-nudity are protected in other laws that are intertwined here.  I get the concept.  No matter what the content, America cannot censor it; however, to what extreme?  Is posting the most obnoxious foul and politically incorrect topic online the best way to prove the effectiveness of free speech, or is it simply a misguided attempt at trying to explain the importance of preserving it?  I think it’s the latter, and trolls like Violentacrez are shooting themselves in the foot when they are bringing sensitive issues such as child pornography to the forefront of their Freedom of Speech arguments. 
Some things are off limits not to censor America, but to protect its citizens.  After all the US Constitution is about protecting the welfare of its citizens.  You can’t argue that the exploitation of the innocent youth is protecting them, nor is it proving a case for censorship.
It relies on shock value and disassociates itself away from the intentions of the Constitution.
The article goes on to talk about Reddit’s involvement in providing Violentacrez a professional network of other Reddit employees.  So, while we see that Reddit takes the heat for a lot of what Violentacrez writes about, they also almost secretly (or completely open about it), support his right to do it.  In my opinion, this type of association might be detrimental to Reddit in the long run.  They are attaching their “honor” to a man who is anything but honorable and the only real thing he brings to the table is his right to be offensive.
So just what is the benefit of outwardly supported him?  Reddit benefitted from his administration skills.  He cleaned up a lot of postings that were illegal and seemingly helped to clean up Reddit content in general.  Eventually we see him leaving Reddit and occasionally resurfacing in subreddits here and there.  But the content is not the same.  Was society, or other media entities successful in infringing on his right to Free Speech?  I think that’s the point of this all.  Maybe society proved that although they can’t censor free speech they don’t necessarily have to approve it either.  Public outcry and pressures from other media outlets can effectively curb content, and, in this case, it is curbing the content away from material that the majority found offensive.  Why are the posters of such content so quick to quote the First Amendment whenever they are criticized for posting such material?  So fine, quote it, remind society it is your right to do it, but don’t get upset when the outcry becomes more of a hassle than anything else as it did for Violentacrez.  Your idea of Freedom of Speech gets lost in translation and obviously, the intentions or “mission” of trollers like Violentacrez isn’t to protect Freedom of Speech, but to be offensive.
The second article is about the first and what it really means to out someone who is posting such content.  They speak about public shaming, in that it has a way of regulating society, curbing content and protecting its citizens.  Brutsch feared being outed for the sake of his personal well being, including the health insurance gained by his employment that helped to pay for his wife’s medical care.  I think this is bullshit.  I think of the young girls who were “outed” by Brutsch and the all the women that were subjected to being photographed while they were in public in sexually arousing positions.  It is so childish to continually out people for your whole Reddit career, then exclaim your discontent for being outed for doing so.  We need to take responsibility for the content we post.  That is Freedom of Speech.  Taking responsibility in an otherwise anonymous internet era is tricky, but in cases like Violentacrez, it is justice.  He did not care about the young girls he was posting about, nor did he care about their parents.  Their parents were outed in their local communities when neighbors, or teachers or classmates saw pictures of their underage children in bikinis on Reddit.  Why are we not mentioning this aspect of it? The contents of Jailbait personally outed thousands of innocent people who had nothing to do with Reddit, nor gave their permission to use the material.  And we aim to protect the man posting it?  That’s the problem.
There was more defamation occurring that just Brutsch’s outing.  This was just the finale in a long line of posts that directly affected many lives on personal levels.  This is the tough love of internet anonymity.  It’s about social responsibility and consequence.  It is about dealing with the consequences of being outed as the creator of such content.  If you were to go the school board meeting with these types of ideas or photos, the people would be outraged.  Just because you can make up a screen name and say the same things anonymously, doesn’t mean you should receive sympathy when you are revealed for the content.


Cyberspace Declaration of Independence

   I found John Berry Barlow’s article to be very interesting and beneficial to understand the effects of legislation geared towards infringing on Freedom of Speech, both on a national and global level.  This article holds such relevency today in that we are seeing online, hacker “vigilante” groups, such as “Anonymous” who are taking this issue of online government control very seriously, and pointing out the flaws in its reasoning. 

   These types of laws are directly affecting our rights guaranteed by amendments protecting our  Freedom of Speech and Expression .  The laws of the government that aim to censor expression and speech over the internet are blatant attempts at unwarranted and unjustified government control.  But, rarely, has the slide been as slippery as this topic.  By placing restrictions on material the government is directly contradicting itself.  I think more and more people are realizing the importance of standing up against legislation such as the Telecom Reform Act.

   These ideas, strongholded by government officials that are still trying to understand the internet’s progress and benefits, try and fit, as the author of the article mentions, this idea of the internet, into an antique box of conservative ideas and government control.  But, the interent just won’t fit there and when legislation is passed to try and define the internet, it is alsways easy to determine the obvious loopholes in the reasoning. 

    As for Humdog’s article, it strengthens the idea of the internet being a place of new, yet to be defined, communication, with an influx of new ideas, opinions and thoughts, infiltrating the world. 

   Humdog speaks about gender perceptions on the internet, and references how her readers just figured she was a man based on things like her screenname, her content and her ideas.  She also speaks about the idea that, although the internet is an explosion of ideas and thoughts, services that people use on the internet, censor aspects of the content all time. 

   She also speaks about the importance of inter communication within an online community and how it is not necessarily reflective of the community (on a geographical level), that the person posting the information lives in.  I think there is something to be said about that concept.  The internet breaks down lines of geographical borders that previous media could not possibly account for.  When you are posting a blog, you aren’t necessarily writing it for you local community, but rather the online community.  A vast and different concept than a town newspaper’s editorial section.  The internet is free and open. 

  She goes on to speak about the “anonymous” aspect of the internet, in that, in a lot of ways, the content levels the playing field.  Good content, good ideas and enlightened perspectives trump the ideas behind what gender or class the person writing it belongs to.  These lines are blurred and it has acted as a catalyst for new ideas to surace and to be considered to be valid, based on their content, not on who is writing it.  She does bring light the drawbacks of this and the limitations it presents to the viewers and writers of the content.  How opinions can be harsh and held without consequence by an anonymous online community.  Is this reality?  Or is this new medium reflective of ideas that are too obscure to predict patterns and legitimacy? 


A blog post about hyperlinking blogs?

As a senior communications major at SUNY Buffalo State College I have expanded my knowledge of communication theory, mass communication, news writing and other related topics.

One sector of communications I left for my senior year:  Social Media.  From everything I have read on the topic, I realized it was constantly changing and that I would most benefit from taking a class in it, if it were fresh in my mind as I graduate.

Our first assignment was to read a blog about hyperlinking and then to blog about the hyperlinking process.  To put it simply, hyperlinking is the area of social media that allows you to expand your knowledge within a story.  This idea is to paint a better picture for the reader in regards to the content that is being described.  For instance, if you are reading a blog about dogs, the blogger might hyperlink the Westminster Kennel Club website, as I just did, to familiarize the reader with more details regarding certain breeds of dogs.

This type of accessible material is something unique to internet and to social media.  It is a valuable tool to expand the knowledge of the reader in the hopes to further their understanding of the material being blogged about.  It can also be used to reference a previous article that may be mentioned in the blog.

Categories allow for content of the blog to be grouped and easily identifiable in certain internet engine searches.   By adding categories, the blogger can help to immediately inform the readers what the blog is about.  I think of it as a headline of sorts.  The area that grabs attention and allows the viewer to decide to continue to read.

These categories allow topics to be organized, across the internet and allow for the reader to localize their search on a certain idea or topic.

Social media websites including Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin utilize this hyperlinking tool to expand their networks, connect people and ideas and to build communication bridges that would be otherwise unrelated.  The linkedin hyperlink above is my linkedin profile.  This valuable tool draws immediate attention to the main parts of each blogger’s story.