CIS 2050 Study Notes 2.docx

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Computing and Information Science
CIS 2050
Garvin Blair

CIS 2050 Study Notes 2 UNIT SIX: Don Tapscott: Is privacy an outmoded idea in the digital age?  A growing number of people argue that the notion of having a private life in which we carefully restrict the information we share with others may not be a good idea.  Scott McNealy, the erstwhile Sun Microsystems CEO, who in 2000 stated: ―You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.‖  The new view holds that we should all be more forthcoming in sharing intimate, personal information; that it would benefit us individually and society as a whole.  Jeff Jarvis, in his book Public Parts, makes the case for sharing — and he practices what he preaches. ―I'm a public man,‖ says Jarvis. ―My life is an open book.‖  He says this has had an enormously positive effect on his life, arguing the world would be a better place if everyone were more like him.  He concludes that while sharing should be a personal choice, privacy regulation should be avoided because it's more likely to prematurely undermine the benefits of sharing than to prevent the dangers.  The Facebook founders think ―more visibility makes us better people. Some claim, for example, that because of Facebook, young people today have a harder time cheating on their boyfriends or girlfriends. They also say that more transparency should make for a more tolerant society in which people eventually accept that everybody sometimes does bad or embarrassing things.‖  Some at Facebook refer to this as ―radical transparency‖ — a term initially used to talk about institutions, and now being adapted to individuals. In other words, everyone should have just one identity, whether at their workplace or in their personal life.  They are all ―public‖ to some extent, but we have some measure of control over which face, role or identity we present in any given context.  With radical transparency, all of our identities and behaviours become flattened and observable by others — and we lose control. We need a robust system for preserving our ability to maintain multiple and separate identities in the emerging real and virtual world of ubiquitous surveillance.  Stanford Professor Andreas Weigend, who was former chief scientist at, says ―the notion of privacy began with the creation of cities, and it's pretty much ended with Facebook.‖ He says ―our social norms are changing.‖  It may be that our fundamental ideas about identity and privacy, the strategies that we have collectively pursued, and the technologies that we have adopted, must change and adapt in a rapidly evolving world of connectivity, networking, participation, sharing and collaboration.  To be sure, digital technologies and social media are providing new benefits to sharing personal information, and not just from getting more birthday wishes. There is a real upside to participating in communities, seeing photos, hearing stories or knowing the location of friends and family.  Sharing also helps companies deliver personalized products and services. If you live in an apartment block you won't see ads on Google or Facebook for lawn mowers.  When we reveal personal information we can help society, too. Every time a gay person comes out, or someone with depression opens up about their condition, they break down stigma and prejudice. Twenty per cent of all patients with the fatal disease ALS share intimate information about their treatments and condition on Tens of thousands of others with rare diseases who use that website report that sharing has helped them better manage their illness.  And many of us are willing accomplices in dissolving our own privacy rights in exchange for new services, conveniences and efficiencies.  Before Facebook, few would have predicted that hundreds of millions of people would voluntarily log on to the Internet and record detailed data about themselves, their activities, their likes and dislikes.  Some might wonder: ―What could I do throughout the day that's so important that I would actually want to record it?‖ It's not unlike a question many people posed a couple of decades ago: ―What's so important that I would need to carry a phone everywhere so people could reach me?‖  Businesspeople will archive meetings with associates or suppliers, so that if a dispute arises they can go back and prove they're right. Of course, since everybody knows the conversations are being recorded, the dispute is less likely to ever arise.  Add to this the emerging ―augmented reality‖ tools, where you point your mobile device at the street and it gives you real-time information about the world around you. For augmented reality to work, the device must know precisely where you are and have a detailed understanding of what interests you. If you can annotate the physical world a plethora of new capabilities open up. For example, when walking down the street, through the screen inside your sunglasses, perhaps you can see the names and profiles of people you're meeting.  Consider the implications of Apple's soon-to-be-improved product SIRI. Your digital assistant knows more than what you're searching or surfing. It knows and collects detailed information about your behaviour, questions and intents and the issues you face in daily life. Don Tapscott on the need for a personal digital privacy strategy  The ubiquity of digital gadgets and sensors, the pervasiveness of networks and the benefits of sharing very personal information through social media have led some to argue that privacy as a social norm is changing and becoming an outmoded concept.  In testimony before a congressional committee, Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy & Technology — which is pledged to ―keep the Internet open, innovative and free‖ — outlined the dilemma that citizens confront when they want to participate fully in society, yet not live under constant surveillance:  ―There is an incredible amount that we as a society have to gain from innovative new technologies, but there is also an incredible amount that we have to lose. Without a framework in place to assure everyday consumers of the ability to limit the collection and retention of the minutiae of their lives by unknown third parties, any sense of a realm of personal privacy may completely evaporate.‖  Brookman cites many examples. He compares the digital record kept of stories read on a newspaper‘s website, compared to the anonymity of buying and reading a paper from a newsstand. Or going out for a drive, talking to friends, writing letters, watching TV. ―All of these rights are eroding as these activities move into the networked world and surveillance technologies become more sophisticated.  Brookman likens the decision to opt out of being party to the data collection as analogous to opting out of electricity 30 years ago. ―To disconnect from the services that collect such personal, sensitive data would be to disconnect from society.‖  Stewart Brand wrote famously in 1984:―Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine — too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient.  ―That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, ‗intellectual property,‘ the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better.‖  The tensions between information freedom and personal control are exploding, and not simply because of the benefits of sharing information using new media. Massive commercial and government interests, along with malevolent individuals, have much to gain as each of us reveals highly granular personal information, much of it in the public domain by default. The clear and present danger is the irreversible erosion of that most enabling of liberties: anonymity.  The champions of personal openness argue that it‘s futile to try and restrict what information is collected. They say we need better norms and understanding in society about how that information is used.  Jeff Jarvis, an advocate of personal sharing and author of Public Parts, suggests an intellectual exercise to try and probe the limits of personal openness. He poses the provocative question: ―Why can‘t we be completely open about our health?‖ He says there are three reasons: insurance, employment and stigma.  The fundamental problem with the case of radical personal openness is that we are a long way from a world where being open will not hurt us — a world where employers don‘t discriminate because an applicant has had a mental illness, held a certain political point of view or was photographed as a teenager having a beer on Facebook.  The now-notorious app Girls Around Me showed the unintended and unwelcome consequences of sharing information online. The iPhone app combined the information people provided on Facebook with the location information from the Foursquare site. In both cases, users would have deemed their personal information to be public. Girls Around Me created a map showing the location and photographs of nearby women. So if you were a guy on the town looking for female company, the app would tell you who was in the neighbourhood.  On its website, the company bragged that the app was a ―revolutionary new city scanner app than turns your town into a dating paradise! Use it to see where hot girls and guys are hanging out in your area, view their photos and make contact!‖ Users could browse ―photos of lovely local ladies and tap their thumbnail to find out more about them.‖  The women whose faces appeared on the screen did not ask to have themselves presented this way. Girls Around Me did not have permission to use their personal information this way. But Girls Around Me didn‘t need their permission, since the profiled women had put the info online and said it was public.  True, the problem was corrected. Foursquare has since said its information was no longer available to the Girls Around Me application. Apple has removed the app from its App Store. But we should ask ourselves how many other countless bad actors will attempt to use our data in damaging ways.  Given that few social and legal controls exist over what happens to our personal information, a life plan of ―being open‖ is probably a big mistake. Personal information, be it biographical, biological, genealogical, historical, transactional, locational, relational, computational, vocational or reputational, is the stuff that makes up our modern identity and is the foundation of our personal security. It must be managed responsibly — not just by others but by each of us.  We each need a personal privacy strategy governing what information we release and to whom. Rather than default to openness, we should default to privacy. We could then opt to share information when the benefits outweigh the dangers. Privacy, the self and human relationships  It may seem an odd notion today, but initially the Internet was a favourite refuge for many seeking privacy.  This idea was best captured in a famous 1993 New Yorker cartoon, featuring two dogs sitting in front of a computer, with one saying to the other: ―On the Internet, nobody knows you‘re a dog.‖ People were assured of anonymity if that was what they desired. A teenager questioning his sexual orientation could visit gay-friendly sites that would offer helpful information and answer questions without him having to reveal his identity  Even though the human condition requires connection, we also need to feel confident that we can be alone and unwatched when we want to be, says privacy advocate Ann Cavoukian: ―We are social animals who seek contact with each other, and we benefit from sharing information appropriately. But we also seek moments of solitude, intimacy, quiet, reserve and private reflection.  Masud R. Khan‘s essay collection The Privacy of the Self. The book discusses our need for living in a community with others alongside our wish and need to preserve our unique individual selves.  ―The main concern about radical transparency is that all of our identities and behaviours become flattened and observable by others, and we lose control,‖ writes Kahn.  True, we form ourselves in response to each other. But if we are constantly interacting, being scrutinized and revealing everything, is there not a danger of losing track of where you end and other people begin? This is why most developmental psychologists argue that personal secrecy is a crucial part of human development.  During adolescence, the period where ―the self‖ begins to jell, there is a critical need to be able to start again, to redefine your self. But in order to refashion oneself, and embark on a new self definition, it‘s necessary to cut loose from the past. This was hard enough to do when a handful of people had a clear concept of who you ―are.‖ It becomes infinitely more difficult when your more personal feelings, photos and other private data have been circulated to the world.  Privacy is also important to building strong relationships. Many people have worried that social media extends the number of weak ties that we all have, at the expense of strong ties. This is a complicated topic, because all ties in society that are strong begin as weak ties. In theory if we can expand the number of weak ties this should expand the pool from which strong ties can be formed. However, true intimacy involves the symmetrical sharing of very personal information. We share secrets with close friends, loved ones and with those we might come to love.  The term ―oversharing‖ has become a popular cultural meme referring to the act or practice of sharing too much information, or TMI, with people who have no need, or who are not necessarily prepared or qualified to receive it. Telling a co-worker you went to the doctor is pertinent information. Telling them you were having your hemorrhoids treated is probably oversharing.  The term is pejorative. If you overshare it can hurt your relationships with others, as much as being rude can.  ―Some oversharing is the result of a poorly developed social filter or shut up button‖ says The WiseGeek blog. ―Different people may have different ideas over what constitutes oversharing or TMI, so they may not realize they are making others feel uncomfortable. Once the oversharing line has been crossed, it is often difficult to erase those images from others‘ minds.‖  In a simpler time such restraint in social life was called manners. Manners are the largely unwritten, underlying ethical codes in society about how we should interact with each other. They have a deep function — to help ensure civility, consideration of others and in some ways civilization itself. Unlike the formal legal system, the punishment of bad manners is social disapproval. Rude people can suffer reputational damage.  Similarly, oversharing can cause reputational damage and hurt relationships.  Of course manners change. In the past it would have been inappropriate to meet someone without a letter of introduction. But as the Linked-In referral system shows, some manners encode deeply held norms about human behaviour and protocol. They not only help us be civil but productive.  Further, when we share information we need to be considerate of the interested or related parties. Many young people I‘ve talked to have a rule about parties — no tagging of photos without my permission. Plan on publishing your personal genome? You might want to discuss with your children first, as you‘re essentially communicating very personal information about them.  Oversharing can also undermine trust. Trust is, in part, the expectation that another party will be considerate of your interests. In many circumstances oversharing of information is inconsiderate. Increasingly we hope those we trust share information that is pertinent — that helps us if we receive it.  Personal reputation management is a new challenge of the digital age. Irving Goffman‘s seminal 1959 text The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life needs an update. Goffman used the metaphor of the theatre to portray the importance of human — namely, social — action. An actor performs on a setting which is constructed of a stage and a backstage. The props at either setting direct his action. He is being watched by an audience, but at the same time he is an audience for his viewers‘ play. Actors strive to be coherent and adjust to the different settings offered them mainly through interaction with other actors, all of whom are attempting to perform in a way that reflects well upon themselves.  When Goffman was making his observations in the late 1950s, the stage upon which we presented ourselves to others was pretty limited, and it was a physical place, involving face to face contact. Today our tweets, Facebook updates, emails, texts, photos, even the places we visit all become public. The number of actors on the stage and audience has grown exponentially.  Surely if we are to present ourselves well in everyday life, build strong relationships and a solid reputation, we need to be discreet and respectful of the beholder‘s need to know information about us.  The fate of the Twitter ―oversharer‖ is instructive. Flood the world with a river of information that is not pertinent and you‘ll lose followers. More dire consequences can result. The digital debate: real dangers of thoughtless sharing  Privacy is important to our concept of the self and our relationships with others. But there are other dangers that should cause us to be careful about the information we share. These are not simply the unfounded fears of ―privacy fanatics,‖ as Jeff Jarvis calls them in the book Public Parts.  As noted earlier, we are collectively creating, storing and communicating information at nearly exponential rates of growth. Most of this data is personally identifiable, and third parties control much of it. Practical obscurity — the basis for privacy norms throughout history — is fast disappearing. More and more aspects of our lives are becoming observable, linkable and identifiable to others. Thanks to networked computing technologies, this personal data will be archived online forever and be instantly searchable, and none of us have any idea how it might be used to harm us.  At the same time, novel risks and threats are emerging from this digital cornucopia. The availability of so much detailed personal information can be used for secondary purposes, many of which are not known or intended by the individuals.  Yes, likely someday there will be norms, laws and practices governing the responsible use of all this data. But practically, these do not exist today. There is little guarantee that personal information you share from social media sites is locked down or will not be used in ways that harm you. Much of it can be searched and retrieved by anyone on the Internet, including employers, law enforcement officials, public sector agencies, infomediaries, lawyers, the press, and anyone else who may be interested in the data. When this data is assembled into profiles, matched with other info and used to make (automated) judgments about (and decisions affecting) individuals, such as whether to hire them, or whether to admit entry, or to calculate benefits or terms of an offer, or to corroborate a claim, then the effects of privacy loss include discrimination, especially if the data is inaccurate.  Ninety per cent of all employers access young people‘s social media pages when they are considering an application. Seventy per cent reject people based on what they find. In some cases employers demand that job applicants provide social media IDs and passwords as a precondition to hiring.  College applicants are being rejected because of their Facebook newsfeed. Facebook postings have been deemed admissible by courts during litigations. And is some cases privacy settings won‘t help — information you have restricted to close friends can be discoverable.  While the exact extent of this practice (sexting) is debated, studies have indicated that 20 per cent of teens have sent nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves electronically. There are countless stories where the reputation, happiness and even safety of girls and young women have been compromised as result.  As Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, says: ―Just as there are laws that prevent discrimination based on gender, race and age we need a law banning discrimination on the basis of something you said on Facebook before the age of 19.‖ But lacking such, a parent‘s mantra should be ―sharer beware.‖ Corporations: the main beneficiaries of personal sharing  The most powerful forces making the case for sharing personal information are not philosophers or media pundits — they are social media companies and other corporations that have a lot to gain from our social norms about privacy changing.  As the Net becomes the basis for commerce, work, entertainment, health care, learning and much human discourse, each of us is leaving a trail of digital crumbs as we spend a growing portion of our day touching networks.  the hundreds of other network transactions in a typical day — point to the problem.  Computers can inexpensively link and cross-reference such databases to slice, dice and recompile information about individuals in hundreds of different ways. That means companies want to know more and more about what makes each of us tick — our motivations, behaviour, attitudes and buying habits. The good news is that companies can give us highly customized services based on this intimate knowledge — and build trusting relationships. Sometimes it is great to have highly customized ads. I don‘t want to hear or see car ads except when I am interested in buying a new car.  Many companies have no problem trying to convince customers to do things that are not in their interests. Millions of homeowners got a taste of this in the subprime mortgage scandal. They were seduced into purchasing homes they couldn‘t afford.  Now, imagine a world where corporations have near-perfect information about each of us. As the aphorism goes ―knowledge is power.‖ Could firms go beyond fairly influencing us, to being able to manipulate us?  We already live in a consumer society where people go into debt to purchase things they really can‘t afford. If corporations had information about our every purchase, how could they use that asymmetrical power to advance their interests against ours?  Sometimes the information is used in a very roundabout way. Drug companies buy information from pharmacies about the drugs doctors prescribe to their patients. That way they know which doctors to target for their advertising and promotional campaigns, with the intent that the doctor starts prescribing different drugs.  Moreover, the information you provide has value — to market researchers, advertising companies social networks and other online platforms. But most companies disagree that individuals own the rights to such information since people provide the data free or nearly free. The entire value of Facebook, estimated at $100 billion, for example, is the knowledge it has of its users: their likes and dislikes, what they say, what they do, where they shop, who are their friends and so on.  The degree of detail Facebook has is unprecedented. It pays no money to users in exchange for this information. Facebook insists that it provides a superior service as a result, and that is sufficient payment. The same is true of Google. It prides itself on accurately targeted advertising, for which its advertising clients pay top dollar. None of this money is shared with Google‘s users, however. If they are selling your information without your permission, they are depriving you of the opportunity to capture that income yourself.  The situation becomes more grim when companies exchange information with one another or with different arms of the same corporation, taking a series of seemingly simple isolated acts and compiling them into a detailed profile of an individual‘s behaviour. Google recently announced it would share information across its search engine, YouTube downloads, Gmail use and more than 50 other separate services the company provides. Again, this is done so that Google has as detailed a profile of individuals‘ behaviour as possible, so that advertisers will pay more for the possibility of influencing your behaviour. The digital divide: Big Brother 2.0 is watching you  George Orwell‘s iconic text 1984described the dystopian society where a totalitarian state rules in its own interests and everyone is under constant surveillance by authorities. ―Big Brother is watching you‖ became the rallying call for privacy advocates around the world.  Today Orwell‘s ―telescreens‖ have been replaced by ubiquitous, ambient networked computing, where billions and soon trillions of devices connected to networks collect real-time data. True, governments in the developed world are not totalitarian, but many advocates of personal ―openness‖ are naïve — assuming that governments are benevolent and will act in the interests of their citizens.  Fascism, Stalinism, McCarthyism and the myriad repressive and totalitarian states of the last decades and today should remind us that our personal data can be used against us. Listen to Pete Seeger‘s ―Knock on the Door‖ (―here they come to take one more‖) for a reminder. And today, in the name of national security, governments are collecting real- time information from us, sampling phone calls, emails, social networks and taking our biometrics at airports and a growing list of other places.  We actually have very little idea exactly what governments are doing with the flood of personal information about us. And the aftermath of Sept. 11 should remind us just how quickly our civil liberties can be undermined in the name of national security. Everywhere in democratic societies, governments are campaigning to intrude into our private lives to collect more information. In the U.K., the ―Intercept Modernisation Plan‖ would permit authorities to intercept every form of online communication, all in aid of vague goals of fighting crime.  Recently the New York Times reported that ―law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight.‖  The Times reports that this practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, as carriers market a catalogue of ―surveillance fees‖ to police departments to determine a suspect‘s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services.  But we still need to resist attempts of governments to collect unnecessary information. We still need to fight for the basic privacy principle of ―data minimization‖ — of limiting the information collected to clearly definable and socially helpful purposes.  There should be no tapping of phones or anything else without due process. If a government agency proposes to set up video camera in your neighbourhood, you need to decide if the benefits of possible crime reduction outweigh the possible dangers of unknown governments being able to watch you constantly.  Or increasingly, governments want to collect biometrics information about you — fingerprints, retinal scans and even DNA. We each need to make choices. Sometimes this benefits you with better government services or faster movement through airports. But what are the long-term implications should a government agency or individual become malevolent? The average person must be cautious and vigilant and even resist the collection of unnecessary personal information.  The more appropriate metaphor for the growing loss of privacy today is found in Franz Kafka‘s The Trial, where the central character awaits trial and judgment from an inscrutable bureaucracy for a crime he is not told about, using evidence that is never revealed to him, in a process that is equally random and inscrutable.  In likewise manner, we, too, will be judged and sentenced in our absentia by unknown public and private bureaucracies having access to our personal data. We will be the targets of social engineering, decisions and discrimination and we will never really know what or why.  If history is any guide, advances in privacy have tended to arise in the wake of widespread privacy abuses, for example, the negative effects of mass printing presses, the emergence of the fascist state, the abuses of credit reporting companies in the 1960s. Something similar may be happening today with data breaches and identity theft ―in the cloud,‖ as more and more people come to understand the pain and consequences of personal data misuse. Corporate secrecy and personal privacy are opposites  The issue of personal information has been muddled with the opportunity for corporations to become more transparent. To be sure, as I wrote almost a decade ago inThe Naked Corporation (co-author David Ticoll), firms can gain huge benefits from sharing pertinent information with customers, employees and other stakeholders. Corporate secrecy is highly overrated and increasingly companies will become more open in many areas — simply to perform better.  because of the arrival of the Internet, transparency is a powerful new force in business. People everywhere have at their fingertips the most powerful tool ever for finding out what‘s really going on and informing others. Customers can evaluate the worth of products and services at levels not possible before. Employees share formerly secret information about corporate strategy, management and challenges. To collaborate effectively, companies and their business partners have no choice but to share intimate knowledge. Powerful institutional investors are developing x-ray vision. Finally, in a world of instant communications, whistleblowers, inquisitive media and googling, citizens and communities routinely put firms under the microscope.  Overall this is a positive development. Whether you‘re a government or company, when you‘re increasingly naked, fitness is no longer optional. Transparency will force you to get buff. And if you are fit, you can open the kimono about your organization and when you do good things can happen. Appropriate transparency drops transaction and collaboration costs. It increases loyalty and trust. It speeds up the metabolism of collaboration and contributes to organizational performance.  There are many areas where secrecy pays off, from your business strategy to your product release plans. But increasingly there are many areas where companies can ―undress for success.‖  Yes, when companies become transparent they also may find themselves releasing personal information such as the compensation levels of corporate management. But senior executives control the institution and as such are not simply private individuals. In their corporate capacity they have a social obligation to reveal some personal information.  Conversely they have an obligation to fiercely protect the privacy of their employees, customers and other stakeholders. Unfortunately the debate about personal ―openness‖ has obscured and muddled these important differences.  As the new movement for ―personal openness‖ grows there is a bizarre new danger that people who are ―private‖ become stigmatized.  Personally, when it comes to each of us as individuals, I think we all need a balance between the public and private.  we all need and benefit from human interaction and relationships so being a completely public person undermines one essence of what it is to be human — to be private, reserved and discreet.  When you share, consider the benefits. But realize that withholding most information about you is in your interests: there are many ―bad actors‖ who would misuse it. Privacy is important to the formation and maintenance of human relationships, reputation trust and even ―the self‖ and its presentation in everyday life. Society lacks the laws and norms to protect you from companies being invasive or manipulative. And don‘t assume governments are benevolent: we may be harmed in absentia by unknown public and private bureaucracies having access to our personal data — perhaps the targets of injurious decisions and discrimination and we will never really know what or why.  By all means, be as open as you want but realize that with openness can come vulnerabilities, especially for your children. And as the expression goes, ―Discretion is the better part of valour‖ meaning that it makes sense to be careful in the face of unintended consequences and risks. UNIT SEVEN: Seeing Social Media More as Portal Than as Pitfall  More than a hundred years ago, when the telephone was introduced, there was some hand-wringing over the social dangers that this new technology posed: increased sexual aggression and damaged human relationships. ―It was going to bring down our society,‖ said Dr. Megan Moreno, a specialist in adolescent medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  ―When a new technology comes out that is something so important, there is this initial alarmist reaction,‖ Dr. Moreno said.  Whether about sexting or online bullying or the specter of Internet addiction, ―much social media research has been on what people call the danger paradigm,‖ said Dr. Michael Rich  Many have started to approach social media as an integral, if risky, part of adolescence, perhaps not unlike driving.  Dr. Rich, who sees many teenagers who struggle with Internet-related issues, feels strongly that it is important to avoid blanket judgments about the dangers of going online.  ―We should not view social media as either positive or negative, but as essentially neutral,‖ he said. ―It‘s what we do with the tools that decides how they affect us and those around us.‖  Dr. Moreno‘s early research looked at adolescents who displayed evidence of risky behaviors on public MySpace profiles, posting photos or statements that referred to sexual activity or substance abuse. E-mails were sent to those adolescents suggesting that they modify their profiles or make them private.  Girls were more likely to respond than boys, Dr. Moreno found, and sexual material was more likely than alcohol-related material to be removed.  Her current research, by contrast, approaches social media as a window, an opportunity to understand and improve both physical and mental health. In a study of the ways college students describe sadness in status updates on their Facebook profiles, she showed thatsome such expressions were associated with depression in students who completed clinical screening tests.  Since freshman year is a high-risk time for depression, many college resident advisers already try to use Facebook to monitor students, Dr. Moreno said.  Still, she acknowledged that this new strategy raised privacy concerns  Our children are using social media to accomplish the eternal goals of adolescent development, which include socializing with peers, investigating the world, trying on identities and establishing independence.  In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media issued a clinical report, ―The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families.‖ It began by emphasizing the benefits of social media for children and adolescents, including enhanced communication skills and opportunities for social connections.  ―A large part of this generation‘s social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cellphones,‖ the report noted.  Our job as parents is to help them manage all this wisely, to understand — and avoid — some of the special dangers and consequences of making mistakes in these media.  ‗How is this going to interact with my child‘s personality?‘ ‖ said Clay Shirky ―Digital media is an amplifier. It tends to make extroverts more extroverted and introverts more introverted.‖  At a 2011 symposium on the Internet and society, two researchers presented information on how teenagers understand negative talk on the Internet. What adults interpret as bullying is often read by teenagers as ―drama,‖ a related but distinct phenomenon.  Social media, said Dr. Rich, ―are the new landscape, the new environment in which kids are sorting through the process of becoming autonomous adults th Social Media in the 16 Century: How Luther Went Viral  after decades of simmering discontent a new form of media gives opponents of an authoritarian regime a way to express their views, register their solidarity and co-ordinate their actions. The protesters' message spreads virally through social networks, making it impossible to suppress and highlighting the extent of public support for revolution. The combination of improved publishing technology and social networks is a catalyst for social change where previous efforts had failed.  That's what happened in the Arab spring. It's also what happened during the Reformation, nearly 500 years ago, when Martin Luther and his allies took the new media of their day—pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts—and circulated them through social networks to promote their message of religious reform.  More recently historians have highlighted the role of media as a means of social signalling and co-ordinating public opinion in the Reformation.  the wider system of media sharing along social networks—what is called ―social media‖ today. Luther, like the Arab revolutionaries, grasped the dynamics of this new media environment very quickly, and saw how it could spread his message.  Luther - Pinning a list of propositions to the church door, which doubled as the university notice board, was a standard way to announce a public debate.  In December 1517 printed editions of the theses, in the form of pamphlets and broadsheets, appeared simultaneously in Leipzig, Nuremberg and Basel, paid for by Luther's friends to whom he had sent copies. German translations, which could be read by a wider public than Latin-speaking academics and clergy, soon followed and quickly spread throughout the German-speaking lands.  Luther's friend Friedrich Myconius later wrote that ―hardly 14 days had passed when these propositions were known throughout Germany and within four weeks almost all of Christendom was familiar with them.‖  ―They are printed and circulated far beyond my expectation,‖ he wrote in March 1518 to a publisher in Nuremberg who had published a German translation of the theses. But writing in scholarly Latin and then translating it into German was not the best way to address the wider public.  Luther wrote that he ―should have spoken far differently and more distinctly had I known what was going to happen.‖  For the publication later that month of his ―Sermon on Indulgences and Grace‖, he switched to German, avoiding regional vocabulary to ensure that his words were intelligible from the Rhineland to Saxony. The pamphlet, an instant hit, is regarded by many as the true starting point of the Reformation.  The media environment that Luther had shown himself so adept at managing had much in common with today's online ecosystem of blogs, social networks and discussion threads. It was a decentralised system whose participants took care of distribution, deciding collectively which messages to amplify through sharing and recommendation.  Modern media theorists refer to participants in such systems as a ―networked public‖, rather than an ―audience‖, since they do more than just consume information. Luther would pass the text of a new pamphlet to a friendly printer (no money changed hands) and then wait for it to ripple through the network of printing centres across Germany.  Unlike larger books, which took weeks or months to produce, a pamphlet could be printed in a day or two.  if they sparked sufficient interest, local printers would quickly produce their own editions, in batches of 1,000 or so, in the hope of cashing in on the buzz. A popular pamphlet would thus spread quickly without its author's involvement.  As with ―Likes‖ and retweets today, the number of reprints serves as an indicator of a given item's popularity. Luther's pamphlets were the most sought after; a contemporary remarked that they ―were not so much sold as seized‖.  His first pamphlet written in German, the ―Sermon on Indulgences and Grace‖, was reprinted 14 times in 1518 alone, in print runs of at least 1,000 copies each time. Of the 6,000 different pamphlets that were published in German-speaking lands between 1520 and 1526, some 1,700 were editions of a few dozen works by Luther. In all, some 6m-7m pamphlets were printed in the first decade of the Reformation, more than a quarter of them Luther's.  Tetzel, the indulgence-seller, was one of the first to respond to him in print, firing back with his own collection of theses. Others embraced the new pamphlet format to weigh in on the merits of Luther's arguments, both for and against, like argumentative bloggers.  Sylvester Mazzolini defended the pope against Luther in his ―Dialogue Against the Presumptuous Theses of Martin Luther‖. He called Luther ―a leper with a brain of brass and a nose of iron‖ and dismissed his arguments on the basis of papal infallibility.  Luther, who refused to let any challenge go unanswered, took a mere two days to produce his own pamphlet in response, giving as good as he got. ―I am sorry now that I despised Tetzel,‖ he wrote. ―Ridiculous as he was, he was more acute than you. You cite no scripture. You give no reasons.‖  Arguments in their own social circles about the merits of Luther's views could be seen as part of a far wider discourse, both spoken and printed. Many pamphlets called upon the reader to discuss their contents with others and read them aloud to the illiterate. People read and discussed pamphlets at home with their families, in groups with their friends, and in inns and taverns.  Luther's pamphlets were read out at spinning bees in Saxony and in bakeries in Tyrol. In some cases entire guilds of weavers or leather-workers in particular towns declared themselves supporters of the Reformation, indicating that Luther's ideas were being propagated in the workplace.  One observer remarked in 1523 that better sermons could be heard in the inns of Ulm than in its churches, and in Basel in 1524 there were complaints about people preaching from books and pamphlets in the town's taverns. Contributors to the debate ranged from the English king Henry VIII, whose treatise attacking Luther (co-written with Thomas More) earned him the title ―Defender of the Faith‖ from the pope, to Hans Sachs, a shoemaker from Nuremberg who wrote a series of hugely popular songs in support of Luther.  It was not just words that travelled along the social networks of the Reformation era, but music and images too. The news ballad, like the pamphlet, was a relatively new form of media. It set a poetic and often exaggerated description of contemporary events to a familiar tune so that it could be easily learned, sung and taught to others.  hey were distributed in the form of printed lyric sheets, with a note to indicate which tune they should be sung to. Once learned they could spread even among the illiterate through the practice of communal singing.  Both reformers and Catholics used this new form to spread information and attack their enemies. ―We are Starting to Sing a New Song‖, Luther's first venture into the news- ballad genre, told the story of two monks who had been executed in Brussels in 1523 after refusing to recant their Lutheran beliefs. Luther's enemies denounced him as the Antichrist in song, while his supporters did the same for the pope and insulted Catholic theologians  Woodcuts were another form of propaganda. The combination of bold graphics with a smattering of text, printed as a broadsheet, could convey messages to the illiterate or semi-literate and serve as a visual aid for preachers.  Luther remarked that ―without images we can neither think nor understand anything.‖  Some religious woodcuts were elaborate, with complex allusions and layers of meaning that would only have been apparent to the well-educated. ―Passional Christi und Antichristi‖, for example, was a series of images contrasting the piety of Christ with the decadence and corruption of the pope. Some were astonishingly crude and graphic, such as ―The Origin of the Monks‖ (see picture), showing three devils excreting a pile of monks.  he best of them were produced by Luther's friend Lucas Cranach. Luther's opponents responded with woodcuts of their own: ―Luther's Game of Heresy‖ (see beginning of this article) depicts him boiling up a stew with the help of three devils, producing fumes from the pot labelled falsehood, pride, envy, heresy and so forth.  Printers in Leipzig were banned from publishing or selling anything by Luther or his allies, but material printed elsewhere still flowed into the city.  What they had was lots of Catholic pamphlets, ―but what they have in over-abundance is desired by no one and cannot even be given away.‖  The Edict of Worms in 1521 warned that the spread of Luther's message had to be prevented, otherwise ―the whole German nation, and later all other nations, will be infected by this same disorder.‖ But it was too late—the infection had taken hold in Germany and beyond. To use the modern idiom, Luther's message had gone viral.  In the early years of the Reformation expressing support for Luther's views, through preaching, recommending a pamphlet or singing a news ballad directed at the pope, was dangerous. By stamping out isolated outbreaks of opposition swiftly, autocratic regimes discourage their opponents from speaking out and linking up. A collective-action problem thus arises when people are dissatisfied, but are unsure how widely their dissatisfaction is shared, as Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, has observed in connection with the Arab spring.  Amid the outbreaks of unrest in early 2011, however, social-media websites enabled lots of people to signal their preferences en masse to their peers very quickly, in an ―informational cascade‖ that created momentum for further action.  The surge in the popularity of pamphlets in 1523-24, the vast majority of them in favour of reform, served as a collective signalling mechanism.  ―It was the superabundance, the cascade of titles, that created the impression of an overwhelming tide, an unstoppable movement of opinion…Pamphlets and their purchasers had together created the impression of irresistible force.‖ Although Luther had been declared a heretic in 1521, and owning or reading his works was banned by the church, the extent of local political and popular support for Luther meant he escaped execution and the Reformation became established in much of Germany.  Robert Darnton, an historian at Harvard University, who has studied information-sharing networks in pre-revolutionary France, argues that ―the marvels of communication technology in the present have produced a false consciousness about the past—even a sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the internet.‖  Modern digital networks may be able to do it more quickly, but even 500 years ago the sharing of media could play a supporting role in precipitating a revolution. Today's social-media systems do not just connect us to each other: they also link us to the past. Social media: Did Twitter and Facebook really build a global revolution?  Protesters mapped their uprisings, and the violence that followed, adapting their online cartography in real time to reports gathered by text message and Facebook updates.  After only a few weeks watching the events in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, it seemed conclusive: This was the global revolution that Twitter built – that, maybe, only Twitter and other technologies could have built.  "These technologies collectively – everything from cellphone cameras to Twitter – are disruptive not just of other technologies like landlines or newspapers, which the military could shut down, but [of] the whole social construct. Social media is really a catalytic part," says Peter Hirshberg  Two years ago, Iranian pro-democracy activists protested against the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as the world watched its Twitter feeds. In a country with so few foreign journalists on the ground, and where information was so tightly managed, the Green Revolution was quickly dubbed "the Twitter revolution."  When the uprising was crushed, the "cyber-topians," as one writer calls the digital revolution enthusiasts, were chagrined. They seemed naive for believing that even "Tweets heard round the world" would bring democracy with them.  Analysts and observers say social media networks were used in the Arab Spring in two distinct ways: as organizing tools and as broadcasting platforms.  "Without social media," says Omar Amer, a representative of the Libyan Youth Movement, based in Britain, "the global reaction to Libya would have been much softer, and very much delayed."  Al Jazeera English, the first outlet to jump on the story, relied heavily on social media to inform its reporting. "One protester in Benghazi told me, 'It is our job to protest, and it is your job to tell the world what is happening,' " says Mr. Amer, who administers a Facebook page for the youth movement.  the international euphoria about social networking may be misplaced when it comes to organizing uprisings. Deeply rooted cultures of online activism were more important than the newest social networking brands.  She pegs the start of bloggers' networking and activism globally to 2000 or 2001. In Tunisia, she points out, it was not a known social media brand but a popular Tunisian blog and online news aggregator called Nawaat that played a key role in pushing events forward.  In Syria, in fact, one blogger says it was old-fashioned activism that pushed the digital world into the fight against President Bashar al-Assad.  "The street led the bloggers," says Marcell Shewaro, who left Syria for Cairo on June 19, after veiled threats from the government over her three-year-old Arabic blog,, which she says has about 50,000 readers a month.  That feeling of not being alone brought people together in a way that literally saved lives in Tahrir Square, saysYasser Alwan, a photographer in Cairo  Jillian York, who has been following old and new media in the Arab world for several years, says the symbiosis between off-line activity and online activism is critical to how protests move forward.  "Egypt had longstanding digital activists, who for a long time were using these platforms for their own causes.... They already [knew] what they were doing and how to use these platforms for activism, so when the time came, they knew exactly where to turn."  Most famously, the murder of Khaled Said, in 2010, prompted online outrage – and organizing. The young man was allegedly murdered by police in Alexandria, Egypt, after he posted a video of their corruption online. His death caused an outburst of online activism.  A quarter of all Facebook users in the Middle East are Egyptian,  From January to April this year – the height of the Tahrir uprising – membership on the social site increased by 2 million,  Fewer than 5 percent of people in Libya even use the Internet, according to the United Nations' Human Development Report.  Printed pamphlets were powerful in the American and French revolutions. When [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini came back to power in Iran [in 1979], his revolution ... was spread by cassette tapes," says Mr. Hirshberg.  His visit to Argentina coincided with antigovernment riots that were spurred by the country's peso crisis.  There was mass organization of neighborhood groups through the Internet.... There was no way to control popular opinion or behavior because it was being organized essentially invisibly in online communication – in the chat rooms and on the e-mail lists of early social media."  As social networks have gotten more sophisticated, network specialists say, it's been harder for governments to maintain the kind of mass silence that corruption and abuse require.  "Therefore, the very simple tools of repression" – silence and secrecy – "are no longer operative, unless you're willing to use the ultimate tool, the Tiananmen Square approach of putting up tanks and killing ... people." Mr. Espuelas.  The Chinese authorities do their best to censor politically sensitive news and information from social networking services, or SNS, and they are a lot better at it than any other government in the world.  the Chinese are most sophisticated in understanding, monitoring, and manipulating social media," says Bill Bishop  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all inaccessible in China without sophisticated software that allow users to jump the censors' "Great Firewall."  Still, more than half of the 460 million-plus Chinese citizens with Internet access use copies of those networks, such as Sina Weibo, an enhanced Twitter clone, or RenRen, a Facebook look-alike.  When a herder in Inner Mongolia was run over and killed last May by a coal truck, for example, and local people began protesting against Chinese-run coal mines, the censors unsuccessfully banned all mention of the demonstrations in traditional and new media, but the local authorities also moved swiftly to calm the situation using both security forces and promises of justice to the herders.  Also in May, Qian Mingqi bombed three government offices in Jiangxi Province, killing himself and two other people. He had hinted at his intentions in one of his last postings on Weibo, the Twitter clone; his earlier posts descri
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