As a society, we’re always so concerned about what other people think of us. Even, or perhaps especially, when we reach celebrity level. One of my classmates posted on our “Tweets from everywhere but Twitter” (#tfebt) tag an article about accidental internet stardom. It gives accounts from the subjects of popular memes, such as Success Kid’s mother and Doge’s owner.
What I found most fascinating is that even when someone’s picture is used for harmless jokes, that person is worried about how it reflects on them. Success Kid, actually named Sam Griner, started after his mother, Laney, posted his picture on Flickr, a popular photo sharing website. The photo features Sam on a beach with a fist clenched by his chest, like he is pumping it up and down. According to the article, someone originally photoshopped another child in the background and captioned it, “I hate sandcastles.” Laney Griner said that she didn’t like how that portrayed Sam as mean-spirited and aggressive. Even when Sam was a baby, she was worried about his reputation as an internet star. Fortunately for her and Sam, the meme eventually evolved into one with a positive connotation.
Another internet celebrity discussed in the article is Doge, also known as “dumb shiba.” The original photo features a shiba inu sitting on a couch with a peculiar look on her face. The dog is named Kabosu, and she lives in Japan with her owner, Atsuko Sato. Sato rescued Kabosu, and enjoyed posting pictures of her online when this photo was taken.
Sato says that at first, she was scared of how the picture took off, because she didn’t find the picture particularly cute. However, she has since come to see it as a good thing. According to the article, Kabosu’s story and fame are inspiring people to adopt rescue dogs like her.
It’s definitely strange how people worry about reputations even at such harmless stages. Nobody today would recognize Sam Griner as Success Kid, and Kabosu is a dog, and dogs don’t usually have reputations to uphold. However, we live in a world where the internet can make or break you, and therefore have to be wary even when the circumstances seem silly.
Last week, I tweeted an article from one of my favorite websites that I found funny, yet strangely relevant to this blog’s theme.
Cracked’s article, written by contributor C. Coville, highlighted some of the strangest and most absurd things people will do when a threat to their reputations online arises. These reactions range from arguing back on the website the review is posted to showing up at the reviewer’s house.
That’s right, I said showing up at a reviewer’s house. Coville cites not one, but two cases of authors going to a reader’s house after that reader gave their work a bad review. One decided to turn around on the front step and walk away, while the other was not so wise. He ended up in a physical confrontation with the reader.
Two restaurant owners severely overreacted to bad reviews when they decided to attempt to ruin a person’s real life reputation. One woman, after her restaurant was spoken ill of online, sent the reviewer’s coworkers an email regarding outlandish sexual preferences under a fake account with the reviewer’s real name. Another restauranteur created a fake blog with the reviewer’s name and wrote posts “confessing” to several illegal activities.
Ironically, these acts of revenge only furthered the bad reputations of those being reviewed. Rather than having a few accounts of a single bad experience that they could easily shrug off, they are now featured in an extremely sarcastic article on a comedy site and being spread around the internet over and over again. That brings back the point I made in my last post, that people who draw negative attention on the web tend to be remembered better. When it comes down to it, sometimes the easiest way to protect your webutation is to stay calm and classy, and roll with the punches.
The popular blogging site Tumblr has, in the past few years, jumped aboard the social mobile app train. For the past two years, I’ve been using their iPhone app, and while it lacks some of the features that the website offers, I still absolutely love it. It’s user-friendly and incredibly convenient.
Tumblr is a platform for users to write and share original content and communicate with other users, as well as share content from other blogs on your own page (called “reblogging”). Content ranges from stories, to opinions, to random thoughts, to pictures and videos. It’s main purpose is to entertain, but recently it has also become a popular platform for advertising and dialogues about social justice issues. It is also commonly used to make and maintain friendships with users around the globe.
Upon opening and logging into the app, you are shown your dashboard, which is a collection of posts from all the blogs (called tumblogs) you follow.
Located at the bottom of the screen is a menu bar with options for your dashboard, a search bar, new posts, your profile and your list of followers and followed tumblogs, and your notifications. Everything you need to operate the app easily is located in that menu bar.
When you select a user’s URL on your dashboard, you’re taken to their mobile homepage. The page is customizable for each user so that the mobile page theme can parallel the actual website theme. Posts are shown in order from most to least recent in a continuous-scroll format, which is the same way they are displayed on the dashboard.
On the app, you can set up notifications so that your phone will display whenever somebody reblogs a post you made or tags you in a post, which, while convenient at first, can get a little distracting. However, notifications can be turned off at any time.
I only have a few real complaints about this app. For one, you’re never notified when somebody responds to a message you sent, whether it’s answered publicly on their blog or privately in your inbox. You instead have to constantly check your inbox to make sure you’re not missing any new messages. Additionally, sometimes images and videos are slow to load, which can take away from the experience.
Overall, the app does its job well. It makes it incredibly easy to create and share content from anywhere you may find yourself, and allows you to communicate with others in a whole new way.