Newt calling Mitt a liar, boorish friends texting at dinner, bad Facebook manners: The nation’s etiquette gap – from a shove to a shooting – can breed more incivility.
Mary Beth McCauley, Correspondent /
March 4, 2012
No one should do anything that can either annoy or offend the sensibilities of others.
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In Pictures: The Civility Gap
For all her family’s generations of well-mannered breeding, Lizzie Post is not immune to the awkward moment. She was out to dinner not long ago with friends, and as the hour grew late, the wine flowed, and so did the foul language coming from her group. A man from another table came over and asked that they tone things down because he had children with him.
“I was really embarrassed,” winces Ms. Post, great-great-granddaughter of the legendary etiquette giant Emily Post.
But not so for one of her table mates. He said that it was the father who was out of line, that people curse, and that if the man wanted to take his children out in public, they’d better get used to it.
Related: Top 10 tips for the social media age
Such is the state of American civility in 2012, as individuals – increasingly, it seems – defy convention and claim the right to define their own behavior. Some are just doing what they see being done around them – in the ubiquitous, often-weird entertainment industry; in the frequently immature and sometimes violent world of sports; in the tempting anonymity of the Internet, where each aberration-gone-viral seems to become the new norm.
This year, so far, Americans have seen the smack-down world of politics and cable TV honing its affinity for the juvenile while continuing to embarrass the governed (Newt Gingrich calling Mitt Romney a liar; a presidential primary debate moderator launching his questions with one about Mr. Gingrich’s marital affairs). They’ve seen the middle finger flipped during Super Bowl half time, and they’ve heard expletive-punctuated poor sportsmanship by a losing player’s wife. They’ve seen Adele gnaw chewing gum at the Grammy Awards.
Good manners are keepers of the peace, say experts, who suggest that as indicators of social intelligence they may be better predictors of success in life than IQ.
Manners empower people to demonstrate respect for others, to avoid inflicting the unintentional insult, to defuse the kind of confusion that leads to conflict and violence. The mannerly know how to make good apologies when they mess up, as they inevitably will. And – as with the well-placed snub – they know how to deviate from convention as a means of voicing their concerns.
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Who are you? A collection of motley atoms, yes. An intelligently designed human, probably not. An accidental mammal evolved from a kind of ape, almost certainly yes. But what do you like? What do you think, or consume, or covet? And crucially, who cares?
In real life, certain traits mark you out: your clothes, your hair, your choice of Mac or PC. You’re easy to categorise into a tribe. And online you’re increasingly even more textured, and more visible. And the people who care are not your friends or your mum, but people who sell things.
Facebook is at the centre of the gold rush of marketing spend. Brands are piling on to the site, interacting with users and chummying up to potential customers. The brands are essentially “like”-farming. If you “like” their page, their news pops up on your news feed. The boundaries between personal and consumer are blurred.
Frank Lampen, creative director at Independents United, a London-based agency that has pioneered the use of social media, says: “Rather than a top-down advertising model, it’s about an interactive, engaging, two-way communication channel.” His clients include Asos and Vue Cinemas, and their Facebook pages are buzzing with people sharing views on clothes or films. Asos, an online-only UK retailer, has 1.6m likes.
Even these UK success stories are dwarfed by the big names. Up there in the top 20 liked pages, alongside Facebook itself and Rihanna and Lady Gaga, is Coca-Cola, which more than 40 million people officially “like”. According to allfacebook.com, which tracks “likes”, Jesus was in the top 10 risers last week. But the Messiah has a long way to go to be more liked than Coke, or Starbucks, or even Burger King.
Facebook last week held a conference in San Francisco for the burgeoning industry of third-party experts – the marketers and geeks that big brands bring in to boost the buzz on their pages. Your pootling about in cyberspace is someone else’s marketing dream. It’s easy to see what’s in it for brands. The potential reach of their message is huge, measurable and all wrapped in the cuddly Facebook terminology of all-round mateyness; what you are seeing are recommendations from your friends. It makes the old days of billboards look like open heart surgery with a chainsaw.
It’s not entirely simple, however. Facebook employs proximity measures, which look at how actively you engage with a brand, before allowing the news to migrate over to your newsfeed. Yes, they’re watching you. They’re listening too. So-called “listening platforms” allow brands to monitor what people are saying about them across a range of social media.
The proximity measures protect users from clogged newsfeeds, as only about 16% of fans get newsfeeds automatically. But they also give brands a reason to pay the company for its different forms of targeted advertising, rather than just relying on the free elements. Facebook earned around $3.15bn in advertising last year – and sponsored stories are increasingly used to direct people to brands’ pages.
Brands need to work hard to engage with consumers, partly to high-jump the proximity measures, but also because interaction is what works. They use Facebook apps; running games, promotions, giveaways and all manner of tricksy marketing ploys. Hence the blossoming of a new breed of specialist marketers. Never a breed to resist some jargon, they call it “newsfeed optimisation”. Lampen says: “The strategy is to constantly engage people, and the most important thing is content. At Asos, it’s about highlighting new collections or designer collaborations.”
A report Facebook commissioned last month from the consultants Deloitte estimated that businesses are making $7.6bn a year across Europe piggybacking on Facebook. Nor is it the only network of interest; there’s Twitter, Google+ and the new flavour of the month: Pinterest. But if it’s obvious what’s in it for them, what about us? Why are we so happy to be like-farmed? Ten minutes in the British Museum suggests some of the reasons: humans have always been identified by what they buy. Ever since Stig stepped out of his cave with a particularly on-trend club, the link between who we are and what we possess has been there.
Brand adherence is a convenient shorthand to build up a projection of how we wish to be perceived. Boden or AllSaints? Guinness or WKD? I-stuff or I-not? Opting out is still a choice made with reference to that consumerist impulse. It makes perfect sense, then, to include our likes of big brands in our online identities. Technology is re-inventing a familiar wheel, and making it spin faster.
If you don’t want to be part of the consumerist game, don’t hit “like”. Except most of us are not so purist. We willingly surrender our privacy, our lists of friends and our affections. And they give us free stuff. What’s not to like?
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Last night Lindsay Lohan played a DJ’s intern, a member of a girl gang, Rapunzel, and even herself on SNL to a variety of audience reactions. Some seemed to think this could be a positive turning point in her career, some urged her to ditch the platinum blond locks in favor of her natural red hair, and some were completely distracted from her job as host by the presence of Jon Hamm. Here are a collection of tweets with thoughts and musings on her performance, coming from everyone from SNL super-host Alec Baldwin to her fans.
In a move that has sparked privacy concerns among social media users, Twitter is granting data mining companies access to comb its archives.
More than 250 million tweets are sent everyday, representing a treasure trove of personal data. Twitter says it’s opening that data vault and selling tweets dating back two years to marketing companies.
Gnip Inc, of Boulder, Colorado and DataSift, based in the U.K. and San Francisco, are licensed by Twitter to pore through archived tweets as well as users’ personal information such as where they live.
DataSift said it will release Twitter data dating back two years to its customers. Gnip said its information will encompass the previous 30 days.
Some prolific Twitter users have cried foul, arguing their 140-character posts weren’t designed to help marketers build brand profiles.
Privacy specialists agree, saying social networks haven’t been upfront about what they do with the information that users offer up freely.
“We tweet for a particular audience,” privacy specialist Avner Levin told CTV News Channel. “We don’t imagine when we do that, that they will actually be used for market research purposes, so . . . (they) can learn more about me about me, about my segment, my age, about where I am, about what I prefer in a brand.”
Twitter isn’t the first social service network to mine user data. Google and Facebook also sift through their users’ online information for marketing purposes.
In 2010, Twitter agreed to share all of its tweets with the U.S. Library of Congress. Details of how that information will be shared publicly are still in development, but there are some stated restrictions, including a six-month delay and a prohibition against using the information for commercial purposes.
That is where DataSift comes in. More than 700 companies are on a waiting list to try out its offering, DataSift CEO Rob Bailey told Reuters in an interview. Those who buy the data will be able to see tweets on specific topics and even isolate those views based on geography. Bailey likened the experience to holding a huge number of sporadic focus groups on brands or products.
For example, PepsiCo could look at what people in Oregon are saying about its Diet Pepsi Lime, or Tim Hortons could find out what people in Regina are saying about its new extra large-sized beverages.
Gnip, which offers the short-term data package, said the information collected — which involves real-time viewing — can also be used during natural disasters to help rescuers, to monitor illnesses such as a flu outbreak and to analyze stock market sentiment.
However, Levin, who is chair of the Ted Rogers School of Management’s law and business departments, said social networks should be more upfront with users about how their data will be used.
Even though Twitter posts are intended for public consumption, Levin argued that users don’t necessarily want their messages sold.
Twitter has said it won’t provide marketers with deleted tweets or direct messages. Levin urged Twitter users to scroll through old tweets and delete the messages they don’t want passed to marketers.
In Britain, the Twitter changes were criticized by some devout users. The Guardian‘s Grace Dent, who has 43,081 tweets under her belt, recently wrote: “I don’t want the flippant utterances that passed through my head and on to screen since 2010 mechanically harvested and used to flog me tat.
“Twitter needs to stop presenting their product like a delicate, chirpy pale blue sparrow, then behaving like a giant, dirty, corpse-stripping vulture.”
Levin urged social media users to think twice about what they post.
“The problem with the online experience is that we want to socialize with our friends and with our followers and share information with them. We don’t necessarily want to participate in a lifelong focus group.”
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Facebook shares more users’ personal information with moderators than it has so far acknowledged, it has been revealed. The revelation comes to light after the social network was slammed last week for employing third-party content moderators in the developing world for one dollar an hour.
New evidence has, however, shown that these moderators, who have to deal with distressing images and messages, can clearly see the names of people who upload the ‘offensive’ content, the subject of the image or person tagged in a photo and the person who has reported the content. Moreover, there are currently no security measures to prevent these moderators from taking screen shots of people’s personal photos, videos and posts.
“On Facebook, the picture alone is not the content. In evaluating potential violations of our rules it is necessary to consider who was tagged and by whom, and well as additional content such as comments. Everything displayed is to give content reviewers the necessary information to make the right, accurate decision,” The Telegraph quoted a Facebook spokesperson, as saying in defence of charges levelled against the company.
His statement comes after a Facebook moderator, Amine Derkaoui showed several screenshots of what these outsourced workers see when deciding if a piece of content is suitable to be on the site.
Derkaoui, who was employed by oDesk, used by Facebook to employ outsourced content moderators, claimed that there was no decent security at all through the content system and looking at each report – was like “looking at a friend’s Facebook page”- that’s how much information was on there. A privacy specialist at Pitmans law firm, Philip James called on Facebook to improve the security around the content system.
- Calls for the Facebook page to be taken down after ‘trolls’ branded ‘idiots’
- Tearful Darren Rathband completes charity run in his brother’s memory
Last updated at 3:35 PM on 4th March 2012
Sick internet ‘trolls’ have posted abusive messages about tragic PC David Rathband on a Facebook tribute page set up in Raoul Moat’s memory.
PC Rathband, who was found hanged at his home this week, was shot in the face and blinded by gunman crazed killer Moat in Newcastle, who was on the run after shooting dead his former girlfriend’s new partner Chris Brown, 27 in July 2010.
However this week, as PC Rathband’s family and
friends struggled to come to terms with his death, ‘fans’ of Moat took
to Facebook to criticise the hero PC.
Screen grab from the RIP Raoul Moat Facebook page where internet ‘trolls’ have criticised Pc David Rathband who was found dead this week. The page has been ‘liked’ by almost 30,000 people
Last night, a spokesman for PC Rathband’s charity The Blue Light Foundation, set up to help members of the emergency services injured in the line of duty, called for the page to be shut down.
Meanwhile film director Michael Winner, whose charity the Police Memorial Trust is planning a tribute to PC Rathband, branded the trolls ‘idiots’, the Sunday Mirror said.
Stuart Dube posted on the wall of the R.I.P. Raoul Moat! group: ‘David faces more rawth (sic) of the big man upstairs for shunning a second chance which Raul didnt have so sod him for the decision he has taken on his life. blame his employers the gvt and his family cause these are the people who let him down big time!’
The group has been ‘liked’ by almost 30,000 people.
Tom Day posted the sick joke: ‘Bet david dint see that comeing’, while Neil Freshwater said: ‘we love ya moaty you did what you did because you was pushed to do it, now that w***** is dead you can RIP’
Another fan of Moat ranted: ‘One less pig to worry about.’
Tragedy: Pc David Rathband, pictured here with his wife Kath who he had separated from
Fugitive: Raoul Moat shot Pc Rathband in the
face while he was sat in his police patrol car, leaving him with 200
shotgun pellets lodged in his skull
PC Rathband revealed shortly before killing himself that he could no longer remember the faces of his wife and children – but could recall the image of gunman Moat.
In November last year he announced he and his wife Kath were to separate after 20-years of marriage.
The officer was discovered dead inside his home in Blyth, Northumberland in a suspected suicide on Wednesday night.
The father-of-two had struggled to come to terms with his blindness and had posted a series of worrying tweets about his own death just days before he was found.
PC David Rathband’s twin brother Darren joins runners in Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne for an emotional minute’s silence and 5k run in memory of the brave blind police officer
Duncan Bannatyne (left) with Pc David Rathband who set up the Blue Lamp Foundation to raise money for injured police officers
Yesterday, PC Rathband’s twin took part in
an emotional charity run in memory of his
brother, saying David was with him ‘every step of the way’.
Darren Rathband, 44, flew back to the UK from Australia immediately after hearing of his brother’s death.
Darren told a national
newspaper he did not believe Moat was responsible for his
brother’s death, and said it was David’s decision to take his life.
Cordon: Pc Rathband lived alone after separating from his wife of 20 years. An officer is pictured standing guard outside his house after his body was found on Wednesday
said in the interview: ‘It’s heartbreaking he has made this decision.
But at least it was his decision. We’ve got to accept it.’
he was joined by sister Debbie, his wife Angie, and David’s
running partner and friend Kerry Marshall in Exhibition Park, Newcastle
the Newcastle Park Run – a 5km race – for the Blue Lamp Foundation,
alongside more than 200 other runners under overcast skies.
Supporters gather as Darren consoles David’s running partner Kerry Marshall pictured clutching balloons
PC Rathband had taken part in the event in previous years, and even completed the London Marathon.
Speaking at the event, Darren said: ‘I was determined not to stop, if David did it, I can do it.
‘He came with us every step of they way.
that turned up today and cheered us along the way, that shows a good
spirit of human nature. We seem to have lost that socially.’
The race was an emotional event, with a minute’s silence held for PC Rathband at 9am before balloons were released into the sky.
PC Rathband’s race partner Kerry Marshall was in tears as she crossed the finishing line, holding hands with Darren.
Determined: Darren pictured (second left) with David’s running partner Kerry Marshall and Darren’s wife Angie were determined to finish the race
A label attached to her balloon read: ‘RIP to my best friend David Rathband.
‘Our lives have been blessed with you running with us. I will treasure our memories for the rest of my life.
you always, Kerry xxx’
Darren, wearing a Blue Lamp Foundation T-shirt,
kept his composure throughout and lifted his hand as he finished the
inquest opened on Friday at South Northumberland Coroner’s Court in
Blyth heard that PC Rathband was found hanging from a banister at his
home in Heather Lea, Blyth, Northumberland at around 7pm on Wednesday.
He was due to
return to work with Northumbria Police in April this year and Chief
Constable Sue Sim spoke of her devastation over his death.
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These people should have their Facebook profiles closed. Sickening.
These people need to be found and sent to prison, none of that useless community service. Zero tolerance.
People like this dont count as far as I am concerned. They must lead terrible lives to feel like this.
It’s not hard to find these people on facebook and leave them a suitable message or contact their employers
Joe, Manchester, 04/3/2012 14:32 You serously think that dinosaurs and Humand coexisted? Crikey, the level of education in the country is poor. Oh, and making such presumptions is petty and moronic, what they say is horrible and nasty, but presuming they have no job is silly.
This hate campaign is orchestrated by a far-right hate group who claim to speak for the English people, they are openly boasting about it on their facebook page. Shouldn’t be difficult to catch them, they’re famously not very bright.
The solution to this is to fix the root cause of the problem and not just to hide the symptoms. For anyone to have this view of the police is saddening, but if we simply make it illegal to say anything bad against the police, then there is an increased risk that the police will abuse their powers (knowing that nobody can criticise them). Over time, this will lead to a worse situation. The ability of people to post their views, however unpleasant and distasteful those views might be, acts as a feedback mechanism which hopefully leads to action being taken by both sides to improve the situation. We have allowed ourselves to sleepwalk into a society where so many “petty” things are now deemed to be punishable that we now have an inherent distrust of those in charge. Perhaps if we got a grip on reality and focused on the serious issues, the public would support the police when it really matters
Having read the comments on that FB page its so unsurprising that the idiots leaving nasty messages can barely spell or use appropriate grammar. It seems that we live in a time where being thick isn’t something considered to be a negative trait, or embarrassing, but instead these Dunces have a public platform to proudly reach millions with their moronic bile. That hateful Moat page seems to be a Mecca for the dumb and as much as I stand for free speech I don’t think that that freedom should cover hate speech intended to upset the family and besmirch the memory of the recently deceased PC.
this breaks my heart the man was doing a job to protect…they would thank him if he saved their sorry useless lifes. RIP PC Rathband to all the nasty scum on this earth rot in hell
FACEBOOK CANNOT BE CLOSED QUICK ENOUGH !!
Everyone forgets the amount of youngsters have committed suicide via Facebook?
Everyone who is a member contributed to the worlds largest data base including photos and details of all friends and families etc.
I think it was discovered a very top ex- C.I.A. operative was deputy COE of facebook-
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Halsman provides the actors of the subtitle, all of them comic (Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, Cantinflas, Jacques Tati, Imogene Coca, Tony Randall, Ray Bolger) and most of them mugging for the camera.
The 20-year-old Manchester United forward was brought to Loftus Road on loan by recently sacked manager Neil Warnock, and has not featured in the squad since Mark Hughes took over the reins of the struggling club, including Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
Macheda , who has a history surrounding his conduct on Twitter, posted after the game: “Totally p****d off…this is not what i deserve! **** all!!!!!”
When the Welsh manager was told of the striker’s outburst on the social network site, he told Sky Sports News: “What is he talking about? Perhaps he has broken a watch or dropped his phone.
“Who knows what he has done. You’re assuming it is about the game and not being involved. Until I speak to him I can’t really comment, can I?”
Hughes was asked how he would discipline the United loanee, if the post was related to his selection policy, saying: “Well, when I know it is I will come back and talk about it, but I can’t talk about it because that is the first I’ve heard about it.”
“Why we are talking about a player who was not in the squad?
“I would rather talk about the guys who worked their b******s off today, to be perfectly honest, rather than somebody that wasn’t even in the squad, don’t you think?”
Macheda revealed earlier in the week that he was frustrated not to be playing more regularly, but could understand that Hughes will have his own ethos.
The Italian told Tuttomercatoweb.com: “At QPR it’s going pretty good, but things could be better. Mr Warnock, who wanted and took me, was sacked just three days after my arrival.
“Then Hughes took [Djibril] Cisse and [Bobby] Zamora and at the moment they are playing more. However, as soon as I get the chance, I want to prove that I can deserve a starting spot.”