By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
Burglary, arson and murder are all considered to be pretty terrible crimes, but one look at any number of ranting articles on the web could have one believing that there is no atrocity more heinous than that of the “selfie.” Yet they’re out there, and multiplying by the second.
Though the term itself has become a recent phenomenon, selfies have long been a staple of social media.
Come with me now to a simpler time, when Myspace reigned supreme in the kingdom of the internet. Ah, yes, I can see it now: the profile layout that you carefully selected after hours of scouring the web, that Dashboard Confessional song with just the right amount of angst for profile’s music player and, most importantly, your profile picture.
You spent time on that photo, if not in staging it then in scrupulously selecting it from all those photos you took at your cousin’s wedding where your hair looked, like, so good. Myspace gave us the selfie, and we all embraced that sweet little nugget of vanity in our arms like it had come from the holy womb of Kate Middleton herself.
In fact, if we really want to “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” this into the depths of history, any artist who has ever produced a self-portrait has engaged in the not-so-sacred practice of selfie-dom. Yes, these portraits vary in their realism (I’m looking at you, Van Gogh!) and require a certain level of artistry, but doesn’t every great selfie? Today, the tricks-of-the-trade are a soft-focus filter and a steady hand.
And really, vanity is the social media endgame no matter what you’re posting. Sure, your Instagram might not be flooded with photos of your face, but it’s still a collection of the things that you see, the things that you experience. No matter what you’re posting about on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram, it all comes down to the bare-bones fact that you’re commanding followers and strangers all across this great internet nation of ours to care about you.
Therefore, there’s nothing really so egregiously arrogant about wanting to share your cheesin’ mug with the rest of the world. Selfies should be something to praise, not to condemn. You’re looking and feeling good, and you should be encouraged to share that positivity with the rest of the world. Selfie on, Garth!
By Kristina Saliba, Staff Writer
One thing I never thought I would share with the President of the United States? We both Vine. That’s right America; your President was recently featured in his very own Vine, a relatively new social media app that let’s you put together short video clips that you film on your smart phone.
According to an article from Yahoo! News, the President’s first Vine features Bill Nye the Science Guy and PBS host LeVar Burton. They are promoting the third annual White House Science Fair, an event that encourages science and celebrates student winners and their projects from all over the country. During this event, Obama goes from exhibit to exhibit examining different scientific and technological experiments and designs. Fortunately for all of us, this leads audiences to the White House’s second Vine post: Mr. President himself skillfully pedaling a stationary bike in his suit and tie, demonstrating the “bike-powered water filtration system”.
This Vine is one step among many that the White House has been taking to immerse itself more fully in social media, which is a great thing to see. It takes our President down from the heightened position he has. Vine makes him seem far more approachable, more like a regular guy who also rides stationary bikes on the White House lawn to filter water.
I would personally love to see more Vine videos to get a glimpse at the daily activities and events our President and the White House partake in. The Vine of our President on a bike is just another example of how social media has made our world smaller, bringing people closer to each other for better or worse. The White House also has a Twitter that let’s us know what’s going on up there on Capital Hill. Hopefully they keep it up.
By Alex Diantgikis, Staff Writer
For the past couple of weeks my phone has been taken over by the new craze– an app called Snapchat. The smartphone application allows users to edit and send a picture to their friends or contacts. Which pretty standard.
The catch is that the photos are only visible to the recipients for a set amount of seconds, decided upon by the sender, and the pictures don’t save to your device. The sender can see when the receiver has opened the picture and if they have taken a screenshot of the image.
Every day my phone is bombarded by Snap Chat. Pictures of food. Pictures of shoes. Pictures of tongues. Pictures of lecture halls. Pictures of this too close for comfort guy on the T. Pictures of the hot guy on the T. Pictures of painted nails. Pictures of snow. Pictures of the Citgo sign. Pictures of freshly rolled out of bed hair.
In the beginning, I was skeptical. The idea sending photos for a set amount of time seemed sketchy to me. “Snap me,”seems to have become an everyday phrase. Particularly embarrassing photos usually get a screenshot.
And where do the pictures go if they are not saved to your device? Are they just floating out in cyberspace? Are they deleted? Or is there some massive database warehouse of selfies where Snapchat workers laugh as they scroll through your most embarrassing shots?
Besides, what was the value of sending pictures on a timer? Why was this such a craze?
And then my hipster, I’m too cool for mainstream-attitude caved, and I downloaded it. I’d like to say I was peer-pressured into it, but it was simply curiosity. I wanted to understand the madness.
Then it hit. The hurricane of images.
And slowly, it started to seem less weird. It allows me to connect with my family and friends at home. It’s cute and harmless and slightly addictive. Bottom line: it isn’t what it appears to be and, like most forms of social media, its content and usefulness is created by the consumers. You can use it to your own purposes–I certainly do.
By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
Type “Texting turns 20” into your state-of-the-art iPhone, the search engine on your laptop at home or your easily transportable iPad, and what will you find? You will be reminded that something we pretty much all take for granted wasn’t always alive and functioning for your convenience.
As a 90s kid, I’ve grown up with a lot of things my parents never had. In fact, I didn’t even realize that my parents lived without these things until I was much, much older. A world without snap chatting? Please.
In all seriousness, though, it can be nice to stop and take a moment to appreciate all of the commodities that fill today’s social life. And it can be humbling to think about all of the ways that life would be different without technology. What would our social lives be like?!
Certainly, without technology, information would travel a lot more slowly. You wouldn’t know the news that your cousin is having a baby without the excited phone call, you wouldn’t hear that your uncle is getting divorced again without the self-righteous Facebook status. Although, hey—maybe that would be a GOOD thing. I mean, half of us receive our social information through Facebook stalking. How healthy can that be?
If we didn’t have technology, it might actually strengthen relationships. Nowadays, the fact that you sent a letter to your dad or reached out to your long-lost best friend through carrier pigeon means everything to them. It would certainly clear out your friend list if the only people who talk to you were the ones who really wanted your company. And yes, everyone loves saying that they have tons of friends, and maybe technology even convinces them that they do have tons of friends, but sometimes it’s good to know the fake friendships from the real ones. A lack of technology would filter out the bad relationships and strengthen the good ones.
If there were no technology, it might also make you (and society) more productive. Wait, what? More productive? Well, no, not in some ways. For example, with that research project you need to do, does the teacher think you’re going to go to the lengths to retrieve all of your information from the good ol’ library and its wonderful collection? Hell no. But think about all of the time you spend wasting on the Internet. What if that just wasn’t there?! What if you spent that time learning something you’ve always wanted to learn, or visiting somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit? Yes, it’s cliche. And yes, it’s worth thinking about.
Mind you, there are plenty of things that technology makes you thankful for. It’s difficult to feel isolated when surrounded by thousands of Facebook friends. You are always connected to the news, always connected to society, always connected to the world. Technology, of course, has simplified things in a lot of ways. And we should always be thankful for that. I would just say: be careful about over-using these miraculous technological inventions. Don’t break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend through texting, don’t make all of your friends through the Internet and don’t become a recluse because you’re addicted to Tumblr. Life is full of many important, invigorating experiences. Appreciate technology, but get out there and enjoy what’s around you, too.
Oh, and happy birthday, texting.
By Allison DeAngelis, Daily Free Press staff
Take one part Google+, one part Facebook and another part real estate agent and out comes SocialRent, the apartment-finding application created and programmed by five BU students over winter break. The application works to help young adults find roommates and housing over the Internet.
“There is no one else focused on the customer, that’s focused on making the renter or the group of students have the best experience possible,” Zar said. “The truth is there’s no one doing that right now, except for us, and we’re proud to say that.”
After four weeks of winter break spent working 12 hour days, the finished product emerged as an application on Facebook where friends looking for housing can collaborate on their ideal place to live, each with the ability to make changes in a format that Cohen says resembles Google+.
After logging onto Facebook and downloading the app, users choose their ideal location on the “area chooser” map and rent limit. From there, they drag and drop the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. that they prefer onto the “place creator blueprint.”
Almost immediately after it launched, one of Conrad’s friends used the site instead of a local realtor. After the agent showed the girls a rat-infested former-frat house, “I said, ‘Don’t use them, use our app… We’ll just take care of it,’ and she was like, ‘perfect.’”
Photo courtesy of SocialRent Facebook Page
Users have flocked to SocialRent since it hit the web on Jan. 17, and Zar estimates that they already have around 700 housing projects in the works and more than 1,000 users.
Conrad said he was surprised by how quickly people began signing up with the site. “One time I checked [the amount of users], it was about 450, and the next time I checked [the amount], it was like 800. So it went two-fold in two days,” he said.
SocialRent now partners with 15 real estate agents nationwide. They currently work with realtors in ten different cities, but stress that the very day they get a request from a user, they work to make a relationship with a real estate agent in that town.
As they expand naturally, they look to put SocialRent in “college- and high-tech cities where young adults and recent grads live—the millennial generation, as we refer to it,” said Zar.
Despite the positive feedback from BU students in particular, the team still has work to do on the site. They continue to look for investors to “accelerate their growth process,” but having just returned to school, they are focusing on fortifying the experience users are having as well as juggling the business with schoolwork.
When asked how he was handling the workload as a programmer for the site, CAS junior Jeffrey Giardina said, “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It’s a good idea and it’s getting a lot of press, a lot of users. It is tough, but we just try to make it work.”
Keep an eye out for this new start-up, and the changes they’re planning to make, including a “roommate finder” and a way for users and their parents to process forms digitally.