Tag Archives: Twitter

“Tweets,” “Tweetups,” and “Tweeps:” Confessions of a Skeptical Student Turned Online Science-Writer

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-Sarah Keartes

After a four year hiatus, returning to college was an exciting venture. I was ready to learn—my mind was porous and ready to sponge up the liquid gold which I knew my professors would spew from their educated mouths. “Bring it on,” I thought to myself. I was ready.

Eager and anxious, I peered through the doors of Columbia hall, scanning the ridiculous sea of chairs for just the right spot. Professor Bill Ryan walked down the isles with a calm confidence and inquisitive brow, stopping only to say hello to familiar students, making his way to the front of the room. Though his back was turned to the class, I could just make out the side of his face, and that is when I saw it. The look.

The corners of his mouth crawled up slowly, as if in a Bane v. Batman battle against the muscles in his cheeks. They stopped in a wry smirk—he knew something I didn’t. Liquid gold. I was ready.

“How many of you are on Twitter?” he asked.

Twitter? I was ready for mind-blowing, earth-shattering brain food and this guy was talking about Twitter? My heart sank and I rolled my eyes the way adolescents do when they know they could never be wrong. Twitter was a waste of time, a wannabe Facebook that only allowed enough characters to say, well, nothing important—I knew that.

“If you are serious about journalism, you need to be on twitter, you need to be part of the conversation, find your community,” he explained.

Conversation, shmonversation. How could 140 characters help me become a science writer? The next day, I set out on a new venture—to prove Professor Ryan wrong. My science mind knew that I couldn’t disprove his claim without any data. I needed  working knowledge of the tweet-world—I needed research. I set up my account, ready to taste victory.

Well, Professor Ryan, to my enjoyment, I was wrong—horribly wrong.

Sure, Twitter is another social media platform, and just like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and many others can be a forum for pointless life play-by-plays. But what I didn’t realize, is just how useful a tool it is to connect to people who share your interests—people who can debate, brainstorm, advise, and share their experiences with you. In this way, social media can facilitate educational and professional growth.

“Today, social media go beyond personal connections to permeate professional interactions, including scientific ones,” Emily S. Darling, David Shiffman, Isabelle M. Côté, and Joshua A. Drew explain in their paper The role of Twitter in the life cycle of a scientific publication.

“Twitter provides a large virtual department of colleagues that can help to rapidly generate, share and refine new ideas.”

Within my first few weeks on twitter, I connected with Bora “The Blogfather,” Zivkovic, blog editor at Scientific American. He urged me to to register for ScienceOnline2013, an “un-conference” dedicated to connecting people interested in the intersection of science and online media—many of whom met on Twitter. I was unsure if I could hold my own at the event, as I was “just a student,” but I decided to register anyway.

At ScienceOnline I learned an immense amount about online media, writing, science, and networking—but I learned the most about myself. I am not just a student. You are not just a student. We are students with passions, interests, opinions, and unique perspectives. We each have something to say, and it is that something that connects us. We have something to say, and people want to hear it.

From the moment I walked into the conference center, I felt at home. I was surrounded by my Twitter community—my “Tweeps,” (twitter peeps) people who shared my love for science, and who wanted to connect, collaborate, and learn from others regardless of position.  My Tweeps have become, in essence, a family—a network of support, knowledge, and life-long friendships that would never have been had I not reached out to the online science community.

Perhaps you have never tweeted, or you have never thought to use Twitter to network with people in your field of study, perhaps you are uninterested. But if curiosity is calling here are some tips to getting started from a former nonbeliever:

#1 Find your conversation: hashtags are more than a fad.

With over 550 million active users on twitter, there is a conversation for everyone. Searching for hashtags (noted with a pound symbol) is a great way to find people with similar interests. For example, initially, I searched for tweets which had been tagged “#sciencewriters” and “#studentjournalism” in hopes of finding other science writers and student journalists who I could talk to about their experience.

#2 Find your voice: forget titles and don’t be shy.

Reaching out to professionals can be a bit daunting. Leave your fear at the door—er, homepage. The first step in successful networking is saying hello.

My search for “#sciencewriters” brought me to aviation and space journalist Miles O’Brien. I had recently seen one of his films, and had some questions about his experience working on it. He had 31,745 followers, so I assumed he wouldn’t respond, but I reached out anyway. To my surprise, he responded right away, and was happy to talk shop. Remember that most people are active on social media because they want to talk and share.

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#3 Find your “tweeps”

Once you find people who interest you, start looking at who they follow. What are those people saying? Who do they follow? By taking the time to see what your tweeps are saying, and who they are saying it to, you can quickly expand your network.

#4 Find each other elsewhere: “tweetup,” and “Hangout”

Yes, “tweetup!”  Just like ScienceOnline brought together 450 people from an online community, small-scale Tweetups (in person meetings with twitter friends and colleagues) are a great way to stay connected, and make new connections. Find people in your area who share you interests, and suggest a meeting to bounce ideas around, or talk about your work.

At ScienceOnline I was able to connect with the four other undergraduate students attending by sending out the following tweet using the conference’s designated hashtag “#SciO13:”

“Hey #scio13 undergrads, meet in the Marriott [hotel] lobby?”

Now that we are back in our home-states, we are able to stay connected with Google+ “Hangouts” (multi-person video-chats). Every two weeks we meet on Google+ to talk about internships, school, blogging, and science writing in general.  We share our questions, and comments by posting them on twitter using our hashtag “#sciyoung.”

 

@scifleur, @shanpalus and @sarahkeartes discussing the best way to handle rude comments on blog posts at the last #sciyoung Hangout

@scifleur, @sarahkeartes and @shanpalus discuss the best way to handle rude comments on blog posts at the last #sciyoung Hangout.

You can see how my twitter community is helping me achieve my goals. Get out there, get creative, and get connected.

Has social media helped your career? Let me know by commenting below!

Follow Sarah on Twitter!

Infographic by Katie Ph.D.

A few reasons why working in the games industry kind of sucks for women

-Eder Campuzano

Video games are a tricky business. Talk about Xboxes with anyone born before 1990 and the image that immediately comes to mind is of a bunch of twenty-somethings downing Rockstar energy drinks in front of a 52” HDTV fragging the hell out of each other in Call of Duty.

Unfortunately, that perception is alive and well within the industry, which is why feminists the world over flocked to the #1reasonwhy hashtag on Tuesday. Posts in this category detailed the trials and prejudices women in the industry face, whether they’re creating games or covering them for media outlets. The most impactful Tweets were posted by industry insiders: writers like Leigh Alexander tweeted that working in the games industry can be disheartening because “my male colleagues are allowed to occasionally be obnoxious, silly, immature, annoying, drunk. i’m (sic) not.”

Games designer Mattie Brice tweeted that “I had to make my own game in order to see someone like me as a main character.”

You couldn’t refresh the search results for #1reasonwhy fast enough on Tuesday. The stories posted seemed more like something you’d expect from an episode of Mad Men than contemporary accounts of life in one of the most profitable industries on the planet. But why is it so tough for women in the games business to be taken seriously?

Remember the bros chugging Rockstars and playing Call of Duty?

The aforementioned franchise breaks sales records every time a new annual installment arrives on store shelves. Its protagonists are gruff, stereotypical military men who blow shit up and spout cheesy one-liners while they chase gruff, stereotypical evildoers who plot to blow shit up and spout cheesy one-liners. In fact, most flagship franchises are cut from similar cloth. You need look no further than games like Gears of War, Uncharted, and Halo to see that the most popular franchises are anchored by archetypal men who like their explosions big, their women curvy and mysterious, and their guns loud.

Even Super Mario, the man who replaced Mickey Mouse as the most recognizable children’s character in the early ‘90s, is guilty of one-sided gender portrayals games. In the 25 years he’s graced American television screens, Princess Peach has saved him and his brother Luigi a grand total of—wait for it—one time. And that was in a spinoff title for the Nintendo DS. Heaven forbid that game to make it onto a console.

In the 12 main-series platformers the portly plumber has appeared in, Peach has been playable just once, a fact that becomes less and less forgivable with every new release of the New Super Mario Bros. series, which allow up to four players to share the screen. What’s wrong with having the princess join in on the action every once in awhile?

As much as gamers would like to think that the industry is making progress, it just isn’t happening on an acceptable scale. Games, by and large, are designed by men for men. Even the titles featuring female protagonists marginalize their stars. Remember Lara Croft’s enormous, um, assets? Or the Metroid series’ Samus Aran and her Zero Suit? We don’t even want to touch the Dead or Alive series of fighting games. Those developers invest more time in jiggle physics than it would take to tour the country twice over via unicycle.

But there’s hope. The same people posting #1reasonwhy also created the #1reasontobe hashtag, which encourages women to remain in the industry. Megan Patterson, technology editor for the Paper Droids blog, put it best: “b/c if you don’t, it will never change.”

Follow Eder on Twitter!

Image from the Tomb Raider press site, Tomb Raider Chronicles.

Flaghead Ushers Us Into A New Age

-Aubrey Wieber

Four years ago, I was able to vote for the first time. There is something special about the first ballot you cast, and in 2008 it seemed more important. The nation was more divided than it ever had been in my short lifetime, and the idea of my opinion having an impact was enchanting.

I remember election night; I crowded into the basement in front of the TV with friends and family as we gazed in awe, chatting about our predictions. The race was over much quicker than expected with Obama defeating John McCain in a landslide victory.

No one really knew what this meant. Obama had preached change, but that is a hard thing to define. The most memorable part of that night was the crowd at Grant Park in downtown Chicago. The size of the crowd was unbelievable, with the New York Times reporting it could have been as big as 240,000 people.

Then Obama gave a chilling speech that was undoubtedly inspiring for Democrats and Republicans alike.

Going into the 2012 election, I thought it would be completely different. The race was supposed to be tight, possibly taking all night for the votes to be counted. Romney jumped off to a sizable lead, but none of the battleground states had been counted yet.

Then Obama took off, winning every key battleground state on his way to tallying up 303 electoral votes. CNN called the election at 10:15 p.m. Eastern time and although it wasn’t a landslide victory with the popular vote, it was far from the nail-biter people expected.

Then again, at about 2 a.m. Eastern, Obama came out to give his acceptance speech. It was an Obama that I hadn’t seen in four years. He was inspiring, motivating, but also more mature. He didn’t preach the wildly optimistic things that he did in 2008, but rather the importance of being realistic with expectations for the next four years.

A popular theme for the Romney/Ryan party while on the campaign trail was the notion that nothing had changed in the last four years. Sure, maybe policy didn’t change as drastically as people initially thought, but throughout last night I was constantly reminded that America has changed greatly in the past four years.

The 2012 election night was tweeted about more than any other political event in US history, according to the LA Times. People no longer feel the need to personalize their vote; they want to shout it from a digital mountaintop.

During most of the acceptance speech there was a woman standing over Obama’s left shoulder who stuck a flag in her hair. Within seconds she was trending on Twitter as Flaghead and YoungOprah, because she had a striking resemblance to Oprah Winfrey. Today, the Internet is already flooded with memes of flaghead, something that would have never happened in the infant days of Twitter back in ’08.

Aside from lighthearted fun on social media, some major decisions were made last night. Colorado and Washington became the first states in the nation to lift the prohibition on marijuana. My feeling is that many other states will follow suit in the years to come.

Gay marriage was legalized in Maine, Maryland, and (most likely) Washington. New Hampshire became the first state with an all-female delegation with the election of Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter while Massachusetts elected their first female senator, Elizabeth Warren. Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin, who became the first openly gay woman elected to the senate.

Last night surely dolled out flashbacks to 2008 when the country felt they were opening the doors to a future sure to shake the world, but it also stressed the importance of being realistic with expectations. In my eyes, the notion that we as a nation have not progressed is ludicrous.

Follow Aubrey on Twitter!

Image from http://s4.cdn.memeburn.com

The Social Media Election

-Jamie Hershman

Guess what yesterday was? Election Day. Shocker. But guess what yesterday also was? The day that I couldn’t bring myself to go on Facebook or any other social media website I have an account on.

Every time I scrolled through my news feed, I would see a new Facebook status expressing a political view that I frankly did not care about. Having sent in my ballot over a week ago (which I’m sure many of the people making statuses to vote did as well), I couldn’t really care less who people chose to vote for and what propositions they were supporting. I’m not being inconsiderate, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I just feel some opinions should be kept to yourself—or at least off of your timeline.

Most, if not all, students know that November 6 is Election Day, so looking at all the obnoxious “MAKE SURE YOU VOTE TODAY” statuses just made me overwhelmed with annoyance. It almost seemed that everyone posting these statuses, tweets, and Instagram photos showing that they had voted thought doing so would make them seem cool. It’s true that voting is a great thing and that every adult should do their duty as an American citizen by voting, but advertising it via social media just seems like you are trying too hard to prove to people that you are educated in politics. I don’t know if these obnoxious people actually know what’s going on in the election or not, but it almost looks desperate.

The worst cases, though, were those statuses that tried to sway your vote for their candidate choice. Using Facebook as an outlet is surely not going to make me take you seriously, and, in my opinion, makes you look like a fool.

I know that freedom of speech is included with all the social media sites, and I’m not advocating for people to stop voicing their opinions. What I’m trying to say is, nobody cares. No one cares if you are voting for Obama or Romney. While you may think everyone is on the edge of their seat waiting for you to update your status as to what time exactly you cast your ballot, I hate to inform you that it’s untrue. Be a good citizen and vote; just please, for the sake of everyone’s newsfeed, don’t put it on Facebook.

Follow Jamie on Twitter!

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovememphis/8161099567

Twitter Decides VP Debate Winner

-Aubrey Wieber

Joe Biden went into last night’s debate knowing he had to make up for his running mate’s faltering performance in the first 2012 Presidential Debate. Obama went into the debates with a hefty nine-point lead over Governor Romney, but with Obama’s passive performance, the race became dead even.

Just four years earlier the world saw a different Obama, one that attacked his opponent and inspired the American people. During the debate, that man was nowhere to be found. The president spent the majority of his time looking down at his podium while Romney fed on him like a wild animal.

Biden also excelled during the 2008 debates and, unlike his running mate, came out swinging. He repeatedly took shots at the hypocrisy in the Romney/Ryan campaign while still finding time to point out his opponents’ lack of use of statistics when explaining how their policies would work.

Ryan also energized his base with a decent performance; though, it was nowhere near the victory that Romney took home the week prior. Before the debate, pundits from all sides agreed that Biden would attack Ryan’s lack of proficiency on foreign policy, a subject Biden is exceptionally well-versed in. However, much to the Obama camp’s dismay, Ryan actually performed very well during the foreign policy section.

After the debate, I wanted to see the world’s reaction. Polls didn’t seem to have a clear consensus on the debate other than claiming it was strong for both camps, much better than the first round between the presidential candidates, and most on the left side felt that moderator Martha Raddatz, an ABC reporter, was a strong improvement over the previous moderator, PBS’s Jim Lehrer. I took to Twitter to see the public’s reaction.

 

 

 

Conservatives, however, felt that Raddatz was favorable to Obama’s campaign.

 

 

Overall, people had a range of reactions to the debates, but most seemed to think it was more entertaining and competitive than the first round.

 

 

 


After the debate, CNBC sent out this tweet declaring Paul Ryan as the victor:


Tallying up a winner in what appeared to be a good back-and-forth debate seems to be a near impossible task, but it’s clear that this debate was an improvement from the first, and that these debates will have a huge impact on the presidential race.

Follow Aubrey on Twitter!

Image from http://www.salon.com/

The Constant Update: Keeping Up With The Fast-Paced World

-Emily Fraysse

The image of a person sitting down with their morning coffee and unfolding a newspaper is being replaced today with a person slouched over and glued to a computer, smart phone, or iPad. Today’s news has turned from complete sentences to bite-sized tweets, statuses, and headlines only to instantly grab the attention of the reader like a line of cocaine presented in front of a drug addict. This instantaneous information via sources like the Internet and television are preferred over “older forms” of getting the news through print media.  With the ability to get information on what is happening second by second, why would anyone settle for reading yesterdays news?

Social media has changed the way business, government, individuals, and society work as a whole.  In the past few years, newspapers and other major corporations rely on and utilize social media sites to connect with the rest of the population in hopes of furthering and expanding their company.  A variety of widgets and applications have dominated the smart phone scene as an alternative to using the Internet.  Global newspaper companies rely on these applications to get their work out to the public in a timely, cheap, eco-friendly in comparison with paper news.  From a smart phone, a person can check his or her bank account, update a status on Facebook, buy their Christmas presents from Ebay, check the latest tweets on Twitter, view the news on the New York Times application, and even watch live television.  With the world literally in the palm of your hands, why would you ever need to leave your own house?

In a way, this sort of instant gratification is encouraging a more connected world that is constantly in the “know.”  But, it is also promoting a world that is fully enthralled and immersed in its own egocentric sphere.  Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, BlogSpot and Tumblr all promote the same thing: a type of self-centeredness.  These countess social platforms are a way of socialization and marketing of the news, but it also a method of self-promotion.  While people spend hours absorbed with who posted what, stalking potential soul mates, pouring out feelings and ideas into blogs, and living vicariously through other people’s photographs, crimes are committed right outside our front door. The reason for all this madness is so simple: it is a way to memorialize us on the world.  People want to be “liked” on Facebook or StumbledUpon because deep down, people want a witness.  They want acknowledgement of their existence, like a name etched into the dirty wall of a high school bathroom.  Whether it is in a tweet, a status, or a blog post, technology has changed the way people think and act. Now, do you dare take a bite out of the technology apple?

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane

Social Media vs. Bob Jones University

-Jamie Hershman

On April 24, Chris Peterman, a senior at Bob Jones University (BJU) was suspended nine days before his scheduled graduation because of his activity on Twitter and Facebook. He created a Facebook page titled “Do Right BJU” in an effort to create a safe space for victims of sexual abuse as a support network, as well as a place for outreach. Peterson’s personal motivation for creating the page was driven by his witnessing a church cover-up of sexual abuse.

Peterman organized a protest back in September to spread awareness but the dean of the private Protestant university told him to shut it down. Peterman did not, citing that his rights are protected under the First Amendment and the dean backed off. BJU even said they were planning on making a sexual abuse committee soon after the protest.

But things changed when Peterman returned for his final semester in January. He had to attend weekly counseling meetings and was intensely questioned about his Facebook page. The dean also went as far as to question Peterman’s friends about his social media use. Peterman’s online activity was being watched by the university.

At the beginning of April, he tweeted just before a church service that “this thing is 2hrs long?! What could they possibly talk about for so long!”. The school immediately came after him for tweeting during the service, punishing him with demerits that could ultimately affect his ability to graduate.

Just three weeks before his graduation, Peterman was once again called into the dean’s office after having watched an episode of Glee at an off-campus location. While watching TV is prohibited on-campus, that was not the reason for the dean’s questioning. The dean’s rationalization was that Peterman was watching a TV show that has homosexual relationships as well as debauchery behavior. Because of this, Peterman was given even more demerits and was almost prohibited from graduating.

The final straw came when Peterman posted lyrics to a Christian country song as his Facebook status. He received demerits for this and was officially over the allotted number of demerits that a student could have in order to graduate.

Peterman contacted local media and appealed that he should not be suspended for his watching of Glee off-campus; and, while the appeals board accepted his appeal (therefore allowing him to graduate), the dean was angered and forced Peterman off-campus. Peterman was practically dragged off campus by BJU police forces and was told that he would be arrested if he tried to return.

Ultimately, Peterman cannot graduate in his final semester at BJU. But, it wasn’t so much about all the social media activities that Peterman was suspended for; it was about his speaking out about sexual abuse on a Christian campus.

This incident does not generalize all schools with a religious focus as being strict with freedom of speech, but it does show the lengths that one school will go to throw a student under the bus and save their reputation, which, in the end, did not save their reputation at all.

Social media is about the user and is a free-forum for expression. After being censored by his university, Peterman had a right to get the media involved and appropriately did so. There is no excuse for what BJU did to Peterman, and they should be exposed for banning one student who showed an interest in peaceful activism.

More information at check out the story at CNN.com

Off Campus Eateries: Eugene’s Best Sandwiches

-Diana Roure

Spring has finally arrived in Eugene!  Winter’s gone and so are the soups, stews, and warm food.  Who doesn’t love a perfectly crafted sandwich on a beautiful spring day?  Lucky for us, there is no shortage of bomb sandwich eateries in the area.

Here are some of my favorites:

The Bier Stein

It’s certainly a rite of passage for every U of O student (once they turn twenty-one) to grab an awesome sandwich and a couple of beers at the Bier Stein.  Located right next to Cheba Hut on West 11th Avenue, the Bier Stein offers 10 Panini’s and 10 cold sandwiches, along with the largest and most diverse beer collection south of Portland and north of San Francisco.  My personal favorite is the “Turkey Up in the Club,” which consists of thinly sliced turkey, peppered bacon, and cheddar and Swiss cheeses topped with a to die for garlic aioli on grilled ciabatta bread for $8.95.  The bar is always packed with students and the workingmen and women of Eugene, though service is quick and pleasant.  The Bier Stein is a must for every beer and sandwich connoisseur!  Follow the Bier Stein on Twitter to receive updates on daily specials and events @biersteineugene.

Cheba Hut

Cheba Hut, the marijuana-themed sub shop, arrived in Eugene just two years ago but has quickly become the favorite for many U of O students.  Their signature sandwiches come in three sizes and consist of a variety of delicious yet off combinations.  My preferred sandwich is the Thai Stick – teriyaki chicken breast, green bells peppers, pineapple, and pepper jack cheese for under $10.  In addition to their amazing sandwiches, they have mouth-watering “munchies,” red Kool-Aid, and delivery until 2 a.m. on weekends.

Hideaway Bakery

Located next to Mazzi’s on Amazon Drive, Hideaway Bakery offers the most amazing homemade breads, baked goods, pastas, pizzas, and top of the line organic sandwiches.  All ingredients are fresh, local, and prepared to perfection.  My personal favorite is the black forest ham, Gruyere cheese, arugula, and garlic aioli sandwich for $6.75.  The bakery is tiny and usually crowded no matter what time of day, but outdoor seating, friendly service, and delectable eats make the wait absolutely worthwhile.

Barry’s Espresso & Bakery

With two locations, Barry’s Jewish deli services both the South Eugene neighborhood and the campus area.  Barry’s offers a variety of baked treats, homemade soups, sandwiches, breads, and other assorted delicacies.  They have the best challah bread and thinly sliced kosher meats.  I always order a half ham sandwich on challah with a cup of matzo ball soup for $7.75.  Barry’s is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat in between classes!

Honorable Mention: Cornucopia, Webfoot, and Not Your Mom’s Sandwich Shop.

Junior Seau’s Death Forces Us to Look in the Mirror

-Erik Gundersen

No matter what time of the year in the sports world, it is evident in our country NFL football is king. Although exciting playoffs in both the NHL and NBA are underway, any football news takes precedent. A bombshell hit early Wednesday morning with the suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012-2013 season.

Then, breaking news came from Oceanside, California: Junior Seau, one of the greatest defensive players to ever play football, died at the age of 43 in a suspected suicide.

Allegedly, for the second time in a little more than 14 months, an NFL player has taken his own life. Dave Duerson, who had a 10-year NFL career, took his own life last year. He shot himself in the chest after sending a text message to his family saying that he wanted his brain to be studied at the Boston University of School of Medicine. Seau, a far more recognizable figure for our generation, took his life in the same fashion: a gun shot to the chest.

This brought myself and others to start talking about these problems, mainly on Twitter. When will this, and other cases of players suffering long-term damage finally weigh on the conscious of the American people? Is the enjoyment many of us feel on Sunday’s in the fall really worth all of this?

Myles Brown of SLAM Magazine (@mdotbrown) had these remarks: “Lie to yourself, not me. Depression and suicide have been linked to several players with a history of concussions, including NCAA players,” Brown continued, “if you need to deny that to enjoy your Sundays, go for it. But I bet you’ll think twice about putting your kids in harm’s way.”

I doubt football’s popularity will decline, but there has to be a point where viewers start thinking about the players on the field as people.

Last year, former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who has suffered memory loss long after his playing days, along with six other former players filed a lawsuit against the NFL last August for “negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the headaches, dizziness and dementia that former players have reported.”  The cases have been piling up, and although NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell has unleashed his recent crusade on the New Orleans Saints, the problem is still not solved.

I love football and as a student these last four years, it has given me some of my lasting college memories. The NFL is the most competitive league in professional sports, but now I find myself reevaluating my love for it.

At what point do we reevaluate the fact that our favorite sport is one that leaves so many that play it, as shells of their former selves?

The feel good story of the day was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing paralyzed player Eric LeGrand. Bucs coach Greg Schiano was LeGrand’s coach at Rutgers. I saw many of my Facebook friends repost the articles about the signing and comment about how great of a gesture it was.

It was truly a heartwarming gesture on the part of the organization, but I’m sure if you’d ask LeGrand, he’d give it all up just to walk again and live a normal life.

Maybe he will be able to walk again. But would you take a full athletic scholarship and a great public gesture in exchange for the certainty you’d walk again?

But that discussion has its place outside these six hundred or so words.

Please Browse Responsibly

-Sam Bouchat

Social Media—it connects us. It lets us hang on to old friends, and introduces us to new ones. It lets us organize, socialize, and express ourselves. And, every so often, it brings out our inner idiot.

As social media becomes more popular, the line between appropriate and ridiculous becomes blurred. Where things were once private, now they are presented to the world on a platter made from a need to be noticed in the online world. Here, when everyone is yelling, only those who offer something of magnificent stupidity can truly be heard.

Last week, 20-year-old Kentuckian Michael Baker landed himself in jail. How? He siphoned gasoline from a cop car. The best part: his girlfriend snapped a quick photo of Baker in the act as he gave the camera a hearty middle finger. Perfect Facebook profile pic, no? And take one wild guess as to how the cops found out about his little crime.

Moving on.

Washington woman Ellenora Fulk was looking through her “People You May Know” suggestions on Facebook. You know the drill: Facebook uses its detective skills on your profile and those of your friends to see who else you might be friends with that you haven’t requested yet. One of her suggestions? A woman named Teri Wyatt-O’Neill, whose profile revealed a picture of Wyatt-O’Neill and Fulk’s husband drinking champagne next to a wedding cake. Fulk’s husband, Alan, has left in 2009 but has not divorced his wife. Mr. Fulk was then charged with bigamy. Aw yea.

But hey, it’s not just Americans doing this stuff! A Swiss woman was fired from her job at Nationale Suisse after she called in sick from work. The reason? She had a migraine, and couldn’t bear to work in front of a bright computer. As a person who gets migraines, I say, power to her. However, when her boss discovered that she was “online” on Facebook, one less person worked at Nationale Suisse. Come on, the “invisible” button is right there!

A British man, Craig Lynch, escaped from a minimum security prison in Suffolk in 2009. While on the run, this intellectual posted status updates about what he was up to: holiday plans, lunch details, the weather. He gave only enough information to taunt police, who were no doubt one of his 40,000 fans and were subscribed to his less-than-interesting news feed. He was caught in January 2010, though whether or not it had anything to do with his online fame, no one knows.

Here’s a great thing to tweet: “I still gotta warrant in pearland .. those pigs will NEVER catch me … NEVER!!!” Wait a second, no it’s not. That’s flippin’ stupid. Well, someone should have told that to 20-year-old Texan Mahogany Mason-Kelly, who had not one, but three warrants out for her arrest for traffic violations and failing to appear in court. Funny, how these things work.

In conclusion, students, be careful what you post online. Believe it or not, not everyone will laugh at your silly crime. Some people may actually do something about it.