What global story is getting your attention?

Today we are talking about digital culture and global storytelling. Take a plunge and tell us what story got your attention this week and why. How is it presented in social media? Connections with class readings are always welcome!

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9 thoughts on “What global story is getting your attention?

  1. One of the recent stories that caught my attention is the mountains of garbage, human waste, leftover supplies, sleeping bags, abandoned vehicles and tents etc., that so-called “environmentalist” protestors left behind after vacating their camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota.
    This is an example of community building gone wrong! As it turns out, many of the activists who rushed to join the call to protect the drinking water and surrounding sacred lands from the Dakota Access Pipeline, were doing nothing more than ‘virtue signalling’. That is, they wanted to be involved in something big, something that said, “Hey, look at me! I’m doing the right thing! I’m putting my life on hold to protect the environment!” (i.e. “I’m a good person. Give me more publicity.” etc.) Obviously, when you get that large of a crowd together in one place, especially a place that does not have the infrastructure in place to accommodate so many people, there are going to be issues. But, one would think; if all these people (or even the majority) are here for the right reasons (i.e. because they truly care about the environmental issues a pipeline could cause) would they not be careful to leave the land in at least as good shape as when they arrived? It’s as if once the fight was over, once the eviction notices came in and the media left, these people no longer cared to stick around and clean up their own mess. There was no more publicity to be had so they scampered back to their nice warm homes and patted themselves on the back for “doing the right thing”.

    The most ironic part of this whole ridiculous mess, is that, according to the clean-up and sanitation crews now working overtime to clean up after these umm, toddlers in adult bodies…they have inflicted actual damage to the land/water, while playing at protecting it from “potential” harm. And who is paying the price? Who is working hard to clean up the rubble and human waste before the spring thaw pushes it into the river and dangerously contaminates the drinking water? Certainly not the majority of those who caused this problem! And the celebrities who went on TV and spoke out about the dangers of the pipeline (to loud applause and a boost in publicity), calling out to everyone “Come stand with us at Standing Rock!”….what about them? Are they out there in sanitation suits scraping up the debris? No. So how can this be anything other than virtue signalling? These people had no regard for the environment they proclaimed to be saving. No regard for the people who actually live there, who will be impacted by these actions. It was all done in the name of environmentalism/activism, but it helped no one other than themselves.

    The Washington Times reports:
    Clean-up crews are racing to clear acres of debris at the largest Dakota Access protest camp before the spring thaw turns the snowy, trash-covered plains into an environmental disaster area.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that the camp, located on federal land, would be closed Feb. 22 in order to “prevent injuries and significant environmental damage in the likely event of flooding in this area” at the mouth of the Cannonball River in North Dakota.

    “Without proper remediation, debris, trash, and untreated waste will wash into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe,” the Corps said in its statement.

    Those involved in the clean-up effort, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, say it could take weeks for private sanitation companies and volunteers to clear the expanse of abandoned tents, teepees, sleeping bags, blankets, canned food, supplies and just plain garbage littering the Oceti Sakowin camp.

    And, as an update from the West Dakota Fox states:
    Sanitation crews are working hard to dispose of six months’ worth of garbage from a community the size of Wahpeton or Valley City. The mountains of debris need to be moved before the spring thaw occurs.

    Making a dent in the immense amount of trash being hauled out of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp is being hindered by the weather. All the garbage that was left behind is now frozen into massive chunks of junk.
    In a month, all this trash could become toxic.

    “Standing Rock Environmental Protection Agency and Dakota Sanitation are working together to try and advert an environmental tragedy,” says Tom Doering, Morton County Emergency Manager.
    It’s estimated it will take 250 trucks filled with litter to clear the camp.

    As Andrew Lam writes in his article “From Arab Spring to Autumn Rage: The Dark Power of Social Media”; today, anyone with an agenda can push the buttons that create protests, marches, uprisings etc. It is incredibly easy to build a community around an issue – almost ANY issue – and although it can be a wonderful thing, it can also lead to situations such as the one we see at the abandoned protest site of Standing Rock. Social media has given us all the power to lead, the power to create, the power to incite and call to action, but this power comes with a price. As he explains it; “people do not only leverage URL power for self-promotion or product sales, but to change the outcome of world history. While governments worry about sophisticated cyber terrorism, a virtual town square is now available to any second-rate hater willing to desecrate what others consider sacred in order to push the buttons that might lead to mass protest” (Lam, The Huffington Post). I couldn’t agree more. With power comes responsibility, and apparently, this is a responsibility that is too often being neglected in the thrill of the action.

    ***You can check it out for yourselves using one of the following links – http://www.mrctv.org/blog/standing-rock-protesters-leave-gobs-trash-could-threaten-river
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-trash-is-upright-at-standing-rock/article/2006734
    https://www.sayanythingblog.com/entry/video-nodapl-environmentalists-left-behind-hundreds-truck-loads-garbage/
    and many more! Enjoy!***

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  2. http://punchng.com/recession-telcos-may-block-skype-whatsapp-calls-target-n20tn-revenue/

    Nigerian telecommunications companies to block voice and video calling apps which have reduced profits on traditional voice calling. The blocking of these communication apps has sparked outrage and much discussion of corporate greed in social media spheres. The apps being targeted are skype, facebook, whatsapp among others. These services are provided using telecommunications data therefore the user is paying for the data service but using the free communications service. This issue is being faced across the world and most telecommunications providers are facing losses in their voice and landline segments.

    This story is interesting because the restriction of communication to a population is controversial. We are living in the information age, one where revolutions are being orchestrated using social media this media allows for planning, conveying information, and creating unity for groups. In the case of the Arab Spring protests social media fueled the fire, will more problems be created by silencing the people? Is it right that the telecommunications companies can block these services and essentially double dip on revenue (voice/text and data providing) satisfying their own corporate greed by taking advantage of the nation or should the companies have to adapt to remain relevant?

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  3. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an independent federal agency that provides grants and funding for artists, museums and other programs that support arts education and facilitates access to the arts in more isolated regions of the USA. Art is important to understanding our past and for passing messages through the generations. It is, as it has always been, a way for people to freely express political views, cultural disparities, or emotional turmoil. Self-expression is a personal freedom that belongs to everybody. Unfortunately, access to the arts and the education associated with historical art is not easy for everyone to obtain but the NEA does what it can to bring art to as many people as possible. For now. (visit https://www.arts.gov for more information about the NEA)
    It has recently been put out there that President Trump plans on abolishing the NEA completely, as part of his new budget plans (check out a list of other agencies being cut at http://money.us/2k4PWEe). This is just one agency being cut among many others, like science, and the environment, that Donald Trump doesn’t believe are important enough to keep in the budget. I find it funny that this comes in the wake of Trump’s “fake news” bashing. He doesn’t seem to be able to appreciate anything or anyone who speaks out against him or any of his controversial new policies.
    Artists have always been notorious for using their creative affinities for calling attention to dirty politics (or politicians) in their work and Trump has been very vocal on his position regarding freedom of expression and free speech. He has recently started banning certain news outlets from attending conferences because he doesn’t believe that they report honestly. He has started to believe that he gets to make the call on what news is real and what is fake, and has resorted to censorship in order to control the news. After this it was only a matter of time before he got his hands on the funding that facilitates the education and nurturing of these future free-thinkers that might write an anti-trump article, take unflattering photos of him and his hair, or draw insulting editorial cartoons about him.
    Even though the NEA is just one agency among many that are looking to be cut from the budget, one quick glance over the list of proposed cuts will show that he is in the process of eliminating all agencies that don’t align with his business model for America. Arts, humanities, climate change, women’s rights, civil rights, minority-owned businesses, renewable energy and more are all under attack. So many things that people have fought for, lost their lives for and continue to fight for are being torn apart by one man who believes that he has the right to tear apart the rights of the common people and minority groups who have struggled for years already to try and find a place to fit in this world. This news struck me very hard, because by cutting the funding to the arts Donald Trump is really making a statement about his position on freedom of speech and expression.

    Here are some links that I checked out on this topic if you’d like to know more:
    National Endowment for the Arts
    https://www.arts.gov

    List of Reported Budget Cuts
    http://money.us/2k4PWEe

    The Original Article that Caught my Attention on the Subject
    http://wp.me/p2G6tR-3QDm

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  4. I posted this a month ago, but it never showed up, so there is a gap in how current this story is. Hopefully it works this time!

    Article link:
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/02/19/here-how-trump-explained-his-head-scratching-sweden-comment/pDvrVfwkagkfr3MFM5NKRJ/story.html

    Donald Trump Sweden Comments

    I have become accustomed to Trump controversy over the past few weeks, and have seemed to become desensitized to his ever increasing, questionable comments. However, this recent one caught my attention, as he targeted a country I never thought he would. Sweden?

    To summarize the article, Trump voiced recently at a rally event that Sweden was an example of why countries that have accepted a abundance of immigrants were having so many new crime problems. That it was solely to blame for their recent increase in crime, and highlighted a recent terrorist event there as a main example of why American needs to stop accepting immigrants from these countries.

    The problem was, no such specific event ever took place, leaving global viewers in a state of confusion of what he was referring to. To make matters worse, social media feeds from a variety of news and personal outlets started posting connection stories to a variety of events that had no connections to any terror activity in Sweden. Leaving the public to spread further hatred to other social media channels, and motivating race related reactions publicly.

    This event for me just showcases how dangerous social media can be to spreading hatred and false facts, especially when they are attached to powerful public figures, such as Donald Trump. What Donald Trump stated, was completely untruthful (he later stated that he was referring to a news story about Sweden, not about a specific event), but the damage had already been done. People use his comments as a way of spreading additional hatred and propaganda worldwide and as motivation to attack community members that had nothing to do with these claims.

    Sweden’s own government figures took to twitter to retaliate to Trump on his comments, referring that Trump must have been “smoking something” when he voiced these stories. Furthermore, they factually reinforced that what Trump had referred to was completely untrue, and that he needs to refrain from spreading false knowledge without first identifying that the source has a legitimate claim.

    In conclusion, this post summarizes the power certain people, especially with the development of social media, and those on a global have and how their lack of research that leads to false comments can have devastating consequences on social stance, and global political relationships.

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  5. A story that caught my attention is the Australia Cyclone that is terrorizing the north-east coast. 260km/h winds and 250mm of rain are devastating the coast resulting in severe flooding. There are three confirmed injuries, but locals are being urged to stay indoors and off the roads. Social media is doing a strong job of covering this, the platform that caught my eye was facebook.

    Facebook has been doing a really good job of adding real global news to its homepage. By adding links to trending news stories on the right hand of the page it gets people involved in the conversation. The posts around this incident are mainly people raising awareness to the severe weather. This is real good to help people stay safe in disasters like this.

    http://www.clickittefaq.com/australia-cyclone-prompts-flood-alert/

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  6. ** I originally wrote this blog post the week you presented us with this question!

    Today we are talking about digital culture and global storytelling. Take a plunge and tell us what story got your attention this week and why. How is it presented in social media?

    Funny enough, the story that caught my attention this week is about the same person who is the header image for this blog post; Lady Gaga. As almost everyone should know by now, Lady Gaga was the Superbowl halftime show performer. What many people may not know is that leading up to her Superbowl appearance Lady Gaga was the center of an online global story being told by many pro-Trump supporters who were using Twitter to spread the word that Gaga was anti-Trump in hopes that people would boycott her performance or at the very least “boo” her offstage. And, like many halftime performers before her (see Katy Perry’s left shark and the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake fiasco), Lady Gaga was also subject to heavy online criticism post-performance. That’s the thing about social platforms such as Twitter– no longer are people relying on the insight of those who attended an actual event to be passed down to them by word of mouth, now anyone and everyone can click the well-known blue bird logo on their smartphone and have a live play-by-play of a performance thousands of miles away from them, right in front of their very eyes. Even though people aren’t physically included they have the ability to be virtually present and, in today’s society, that is more than enough to allow anyone to take part in global storytelling.

    Prior to Lady Gaga’s Suberbowl performance the pro-Trump supporters were dominating the world of Twitter working tirelessly to post screenshots of Gaga’s personal tweets against the Trump establishment or circulating pictures of her protesting against his administration after he was elected President back in November to start worldwide anti-Gaga trends. Needless to say, Twitter gave Gaga’s ‘haters’ a place to reach out to a likeminded audience and form a conversation that was anti-Lady Gaga. As Robert Young discusses in his article, people not only have leverage URL power for self-promotion or product sales, but they also have the ability to change the outcome of world history. And for Lady Gaga’s pro-Trump haters along with other online trolls who don’t even need a reason to hate on someone but do it just “for fun”, they were determined to make Gaga’s performance go down as the worst halftime show performance in the history of the Superbowl. So while Lady Gaga’s fanbase/fandom was celebrating the singers upcoming performance, many others were using social media platforms such as Twitter to try and tarnish her identity and tear her down by presenting her as badly as they possibly could to the online community. Which, as () states in her paper, smartphones and smart tablets really do allow average Joe’s to take on the persona of super villains if they really wish to be.

    Lady Gaga is known for her strong values, two of which happen to be feminism and equality. She championed hard for Hillary Clinton during the campaign and even harder once Trump became the elected presidential nominee. She loudly states her support to woman’s rights causes and celebrates the diversity of the country for which she resides, that being America. However, although political in her everyday life, she vowed to the media that her performance would be less politically driven and more focused on keeping the crowd engaged and energetic. Although at the beginning of her performance she did do a number that discussed America’s freedom/constitution but otherwise she kept her promise to the media and gave 110% energy towards an up-tempo performance. And although pro-Trump trolls circled many online messages about boycotting Gaga or “boo-ing” her offstage, Gaga ended up performing to a packed stadium where not a single “boo” was audible to anyone watching the televised event. However, post-performance trolls weren’t letting Gaga off the hook that easy as they slammed her on Twitter instantly by body shaming her. This just goes to show that no matter how hard people, especially females, work, there will always be those on social media or those with opposing views ready to critique and criticise whenever they can. So yes, it is easy to see how online communities often lead to cyber bullying, harassment and abuse.

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  7. News Reports:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/united-leggings-dress-code-1.4042184

    Two young girls were not allowed to board a United flight just over a week ago because they were wearing leggings. Apparently, the girls were asked to change their outfits to something “more acceptable” otherwise they would not be permitted on the flight. The various news reports reveal that the girls were travelling as a dependent of another family member who works for United. According to United, these passengers must adhere to a specific dress code while flying on this type of ticket. However, is it really necessary or appropriate to tell a 10 or 11-year-old girl that her leggings are unacceptable?

    As far as I am concerned airplanes are just another mode of public transport, albeit a pricey one, but public transport nonetheless. So why should it matter what type of apparel a young tween is wearing, assuming it’s not offensive or revealing? How are leggings going to be any different from skinny jeans? Or a dress for that matter? Technically speaking if I were to wear a dress, then I am not wearing pants, yet I would be allowed on the flight, but if I wear leggings I am barred from entering the plane? It doesn’t make sense to me.

    Interestingly, it wasn’t the girls or even their parents that took to social media to voice disgust over this situation. It was another passenger on the flight who observed the situation as it was unfolding. This passenger, @shannonrwatts, made 4 tweets on this, one of which received 5,973 retweets. This was followed with countless others weighing in on social media including Chrissy Teigen, Patricia Arquette, and Sarah Silverman (see link below) who were creating a sort of counter public around the topic. However, there were many people on Twitter who were in support of United’s decision which they further explained in a link through the United Twitter account (https://hub.united.com/our-customers-leggings-are-welcome-2331263786.html).

    Airlines tend to garner a lot of unwanted publicity through social media these days. If passengers feel that have been mistreated by an airline social media could be their outlet to vent frustration. Or if there is an unruly passenger onboard it’s most likely going to be captured and shared on social media.

    I’m not one to voice a complaint about a company on social media, but I suppose some people feel like it’s their only option to be heard.

    How about everyone else, would you complain about a company through social media?

    Teigen, Arquette, and Silverman’s Tweets:
    http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/twitter-divided-over-airline-decision-to-bar-girls-for-wearing-leggings-1.3342089).

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  8. The big story that I have been trying to follow right now is the airstrike in Syria. Yesterday 70 people were killed in an airstrike Khan Sheikhoun, a northern city in Syria. A chemical agent is suspected to have been released, due to the autopsies of the deceased showing signs of asphyxiation. The images accompanying this story are brutal. The full story can be found at: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/05/middleeast/syria-airstrike-idlib-how-it-unfolded/index.html

    Last semester I took journalism studies, and I learned about how a story gains traction with an audience. From an analytical standpoint, this story has an emotional edge to it that makes it personal for many who read it. I want to share the story with people I know. Stories like this one tend to catch my attention far more often and more severely than stories with a lighter issue (i’m sure this is the same for most other people), because it is about the fundamental aspects of life, living and dying, rather than the trivial parts of our world, such as business or entertainment-related stories. Another aspect to this story is the potential involvement of Russia. There are lots of conflicting articles surrounding the attack, which has been the case for a long time with stories such as this. Although the facts have not been clearly sorted out, it is still interesting to read the articles and see what has been reported. However, when reading these articles, one must take into account that all of the facts may not be in place, and that some sources do not have the credibility to be reporting on such matters.

    This story has been widely covered by most mainstream media outlets, as well as on most of my social media news feeds. I tend not to follow most of the links that appear on my social media, as they tend to be less reliable or up to date than the more formal media outlets. Although the mainstream media is criticized for using click-bait titles, the links on my new feeds are far more “click-baity” in their approach.

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  9. Twitter vs Trump on Free Speech

    The Trump administration is at it again with silencing free speech, this time demanding that Twitter turn over user names and other confidential information for a Twitter account called ALT Immigration @ALT_uscis. According to NBC News, the official summons was issued by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Homeland Security, and was received by Twitter on March 14, (Johnson).

    According to reporter Alex Johnson, Twitter will hold firm in not handing over the information and has countered by suing the federal government “to protect the identity of the person or people behind” the account; The Twitter account in question has been posting criticism of the US immigration policy and Donald Trump (Johnson).

    In having a look at ALT Immigrations’ Twitter feed, their bio states “Immigration resistance… not the views of DHS” (Department of Homeland Security) “or USCIS” (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services; the page confirms that the summons was indeed sent to Twitter and that Twitter is fighting back to protect their rights. The site has Amendment 1 of the constitution of USA, 1789 pinned to the top of their feed, citing the famous quote … “Congress shall make no law…. or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” (ALT Immigration).

    This kind of silencing of social media has huge implications to users. Part of the internet’s beauty is that people can remain anonymous if they wish, therefore avoiding possible reproductions from employers, governments, family or friends for speaking out. The price of this freedom is that we take the good with the bad on the net. Free speech can also mean coming across material that I don’t agree with, including pornography, bullying, recruitment for terrorist organizations, racism and general hate.

    This winter Canada has watched as fearful immigrants crossed our borders, passing through the US to access a place where they feel safe. If I were in their shoes, the US in its current political environment, would not feel safe to me either. I for one am glad that there are people speaking out about immigration policies on the internet. It seems I am not alone. As I write this, 2547 followers have joined the Twitter feed @ALT_uscis, just since I logged on fifteen minutes ago.

    Works Cited
    ALT Immigration. ALT Immigration @ ALT_uscis. 01 2017. 06 04 2017 .

    Johnson, Alex. US News. 6 April 2017. 6 April 2017
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/twitter-sues-feds-keep-anti-trump-admin-user-alt-uscis-n743566

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