“Who Let The Dogs Out?”

Eighty some odd days into COVID quarantine our canine has had it. Keeping track of everyone’s comings and goings; protecting a full house and a 24/7 property watch for feline predators, is exhausting. Household changes have muddled her once stable routines. Yet, I have a sneaking suspicion the endless lavish cuddles and a bottomless cookie jar have kept her sane.

In return, she has kept us sane.

I took this picture the other day, and realized our dog continuously offers relief to our COVID blues. As boredom persists, our dog Rosie, has become the target of affectionate teen amusement. With a comic twist and a little help she has learned to dance, sing, sulk, smile and model our favorite sport gear. 

It has become common practice for us to speak for our dog using a “weird baby talk” tone. I suppose this is the voice we presume Rosie would possess could she talk.

Would you believe me if I told you our dog can talk? 

“My Talking Pet” app “lets your pets do the talking”. This lighthearted app will bring you joy and laughter.  Watching your pet perform a rendition of the latest rap craze, a joke or a Trump monologue is sure to make you giggle. Simply upload your pet’s picture, record a voice and voila. In no time you will be sharing your pet’s performances on your favorite media platform.

Our dog’s rendition of “Bad to the Bone” and “Who let the Dogs Out” have revealed she is an unlikely understudy for Disney’s latest pick. However, world wide fame is no match for the attention she gains being the star celebrity in her local gig.

This app is loaded with prompts. Using the prompts, your pet can be transformed into any personality. After watching the movie “Rocky”… well you can imagine the effect this had on our dog’s voice and character! 

Social media has made it trendy to extend  birthday and milestone wishes from your pet. If you are looking for a break from the mundane, give this app a try.

Many people have a strong connection with their pet. Chances are, at one time or another your profile sported your pet’s picture. If your pet is basking in your profile spotlight,  Petzbe, is the perfect social media platform for you.

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This platform gives pet lovers a chance to share pet stories via pet perspective.  Petzbe offers pet owners an unconditional community where they can show off their savvy companion without ridicule from those who don’t share the same sentiment. 

“Petzbe provides the social and psychological benefits of belonging to a community that’s funny, positive, genuine and supportive of pet posts. There’s no room to be judgmental or cynical, as being the friendly animal lover you are is what matters in our community – nothing else.” (Adopt me Please – Kansas City Adoptable Dogs at Protective Animal Welfare Society, 2020)

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Petzbe gives your pet an independent social media presence. Move over, “likes” and follows”; pets prefer “licks” and “sniffs”. “Users BEWARE”, this site is strictly pet friendly, “OWNERS ARE PROHIBITED”! 

If your pet thinks it can outdo “Gidget”, Petzbe, is the place to be seen. There are plenty of “pet influencers” looking to match your companion with a corporate brand. If your pet is receiving plenty of “licks” and “sniffs” it might be the next brand engagement celeb.

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Exposing the voice of animals in shelters and rescue centers raises social awareness and thus support. Animal adoptees longing for human companionship are able to capture global hearts and potential forever homes world wide.

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My friend embarked on a journey that would take him thousands of miles from home. After completing several legalities this trip was the final step uniting him with his rescue pet. This union continues today and is a heartfelt story for both. Social media is given full credit for making this union possible.

Social media gives all animals a voice to advocate for themselves. While posts of animal affection can go viral within seconds, so can animal cruelty. Those with a cause to protect animal rights can join global animal protection movements through social media.

Social media has allowed us to open the door into animal kingdoms. “Pre”- social media, these doors were closed to most of society. Today, we can all peer into the habitats of both domesticated and wild animals. Educators world wide can use social media as a tool to teach animal reproduction, extinction, human interference; the list is endless.

Social media gives a voice to all those vulnerable. Without it, this voice is remote if not silent.

I wonder what, our dog Rosie, would say if she could really talk.

“Who let the Dogs out?” Social media “let the dogs out”!

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Source:

Kansas City Dog & Pet Photography by Jennifer Starr. 2020. Adopt Me Please – Kansas City Adoptable Dogs At Protective Animal Welfare Society. [online] Available at: <http://www.fixyourimages.com/adopt-me-please-kansas-city-adoptable-dogs-at-protective-animal-welfare-society-2/&gt; [Accessed 18 June 2020].

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wholetthedogsout/ https://bit.ly/3ewL7QQ

Twitter: Social Media gives animals a voice https://bit.ly/3ewL7QQ

#animalshavevoice#socialmediapetsvoice#petshaveavoice #

Location, Location, Location

If you grew up or have lived in a hamlet, you will know that privilege of privacy is sketchy at best. Most occupants share a mutual understanding that this lifestyle means forfeiting a little privacy. The odds are that at any given time someone in your community knows your whereabouts: the second trip to the liquor store last Saturday; the cigarette you didn’t smoke behind the barn; the chance encounter with an old girlfriend. Call it if you will, “hamlet location tracking”. This invasion of privacy for the most part is innocent, maybe even helpful and certainly no more than a harmless nuisance.

However, if you are troubled by this type of location tracking then it is time to think about who else is keeping an eye on you. A more sinister privacy thief may have moved into your “community”.

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Your cell phone’s GPS is working overtime to determine your location. Many applications and app users are reaping the benefits of location tracking.  The newest, the National Health Service App (NHS). The objective of the NHS app is to track COVID-19 by tracking you.

The system uses your phone’s short-range Bluetooth Low Energy transmissions, coupled with randomised tokens, to look for individuals who are within a few feet of you every five minutes. Your phone logs those tokens, and if someone who is COVID-19 positive has crossed your path, an alert will be sent to your phone about the potential exposure.” (Tillman, 2020).

Simply put, once the app is downloaded, the user can secretly share if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and/or have tested positive. The app then anonymously notifies your contacts and other app users; informs the user they may have been in contact with COVID- 19 and suggests a manner in which to proceed. 

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This app is also helpful in determining COVID-19 hotspots. If several users in one location share symptoms, this location would then be considered a hotspot. The root of the hotspot’s existence could potentially be defined and eliminated.

Sounds good right? Anything to rid the world of this ugly calamity.

Hold on…”location”, “secret”, “anonymous”: These words haunt the persuasive arguments of Apple and Google as they try to convenience society that this app is safe and private.

There are two things that must exist for this app to be fundamental: Location tracking and anonymous identity.

Hypothetically speaking: 

I am a sports parent. The parents of my children’s teammates are listed in my contacts. What if the day after attending a game, I receive a positive COVID test; my contacts are anonymously informed; for the next 14 or more days I am not in attendance at any game. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to put two and two together! This transparency is far too obvious.

“The use of anonymised IDs and the way the service works, will mean that an individual cannot identify another individual, unless they have very few contacts”. (Tillman, 2020).

There are both negative and positive qualities of this app. Argumentatively, this app could be the most important means of prevention. If opting in means flattening the curve, then maybe we all have a moral responsibility to one another to do so.

However, there is controversy which is contingent upon the answers to the following questions: Eventually when a vaccine is found, what will happen to this mass collection of data? Will the government uphold its moral responsibility? Will this information remain private or will it be sold for economic benefit? Will Apple and Google uphold their promise to “delete”? 

So far the app is voluntary, but what if the power in having this global database tugs at the temptation to make participation mandatory. Will this be the real life rendition of Geroge Orwell’s “Big Brother”?

Before you embrace the notion that this app will save the plane, be aware that your trip to the “weed” store, the rendezvous with you “friend” etc. are  tracked.  Are you ready to air out your innocent secrets? It is one thing when your hamlet knows your location but the state…

Is it possible, in the near future, leaving your cell at home, will be the only way to secure privacy? This action could render the new COVID-19 app illusive.

Source:

Tillman, M., 2020. Apple And Google’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing System Explained. [online] Pocket-lint. Available at: <https://www.pocket-lint.com/phones/news/151795-how-apple-and-google-plan-to-use-your-phone-to-track-covid-19&gt; [Accessed 9 June 2020].

Tillman, M., 2020. How NHS COVID-19 Coronavirus Contact Tracing App Will Work. [online] Pocket-lint. Available at: <https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/151807-how-the-nhs-coronavirus-contact-tracing-app-will-work&gt; [Accessed 9 June 2020].

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/National Health App. Is tracking you. Pros. and Cons. https://bit.ly/2UH6QO7

Twitter: National Health App. Is tracking you. Pros. and Cons.#NHS #NHStracking#locationtracking https://bit.ly/2UH6QO7

Just Another “Fad” Diet

Social media has become our “go to place”. It organizes our pictures, music, emails, posts, tweets etc. It is our choice of communication and our contact resource. It remembers our likes and uses our curiosity to sell. In some ways it has become our business manager.  Our social networking devices have become our best friends. Social media is the new addiction.

Lately, I have noticed hours and days seem to slip away. I have grown envious of my “friend’s” “lounging poolside posts”.  My phone has become my dinner partner. Try as I might, I can’t remember my last face to face intellectual conversation. Every notification sound sends me running for my mobile device. I am a prime case study for Pavlov’s “classical conditioning theory”. 

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When the covid-19 lock down hit, our clothes dryer broke down. Long story short, our house began to look like a laundry mat. A few days ago a new dyer was delivered. I was so excited. I could now rid the living room of drying clothes.

As I was perusing my new dryer directions, there it was in big bold print: “DOWNLOAD THE APP”. I can download an app and manipulate the dryer settings from my cell! I raced up 6 stairs and across the room to my phone. With cell in hand, I was standing only 20 feet from the dryer. “This app is going to be so convenient”!

That’s when it hit. I was hooked. I needed to escape from the social media monster. I needed to go on a social media diet.

I was apprehensive at ending my friendship with social media. I feared I would fall back into my phobia of the virtual world. Nevertheless, I new a social media diet was in my best interest and vowed to refrain.

Among the growing reality of social media lurks a hidden social addiction that people are trying to escape from. We are so busy mastering our online social circles that our lives away from the virtual world are in need of improvement.  Relationships suffer and we have begun to lack communication skills outside of social networking. “Real life” time is being eaten up by the countless hours we spend on Facebook, Twitter etc.

Focusing on the negative will give us justification for an impromptu social media diet. However, a social media diet is not the answer nor will it solve the negative realities of social networking. There is a need to focus on the positive aspects and use these aspects to set your social media plan.

Similar to any diet, it might be time to set limits, rather than terminate, the number of social sites we belong to. It is time to focus on choosing platforms that best suit our needs and feed our wants. We need to set time limits that allow us to have “real time”. We need to carefully pick who we network with. A good social media regime will give social media the chance to enhance not inhibit our lives.

One thing I have learned; if you are planning a social media diet, be sure to follow the rules of social media protocol and let others know of your intention. Others will be waiting for you in the land of social media.

Sources:

Karr, A. and Karr, A., 2020. Why It May Be Time To Go On A Social Media Diet | Canadian Living. [online] Canadian Living. Available at: <https://www.canadianliving.com/health/mind-and-spirit/article/why-it-may-be-time-to-go-on-a-social-media-diet&gt; [Accessed 1 June 2020].

Facebook: https://facebook.com/socialmediadiet

Twitter: Another “Fab” Diet. #soicalmediadiet

The Journalist Giant

A new topic has exploded on all platforms of social media: “Covid-19”.

“Seasoned veterans” of social media are using giant media outlets to share their talents and “newbies” are learning to embrace social media as their “new” normal. As we wade through endless streams of Citizen Journalism (the facts, the fake, the snitching, the horror, the healing, the heroism and the kindness), we find ourselves trusting social media to guide and inform us as we navigate through this difficult time. Why? Why did social media grow in popularity and how does it continue to endure the test of time?

Traditional media has been questioned and not trusted for many years before social media made it’s debut. Until the evolution of social media, society had relied upon traditional media to inform us of news events. Today, social media has changed how we are informed. We are no longer victims of large news networks owned and operated by rich powerful companies: Companies who edit and alter the information they share with society. This form of government regulation is being challenged by Citizen Journalists.

Citizen Journalists are able to capture stories traditional media would never be allowed to record. They are able to capture culture stories and news items where traditional media is frowned upon. Social media allows everyone who chooses, to act as a Citizen Journalist.

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With the click of a button one can record, capture pictures, videos, document by voice or text and upload this information to their favorite media outlet. These events are captured in real time. In many cases Twitter and Facebook are the first to announce large news items. Traditional media falls behind in the race to inform the public.

Twitter and Facebook are among the most popular outlets chosen to share news items however, many peer sites like Reddit have built a large geography of followers. One is likely to read the “latest news” on these social media giants long before traditional media gets the approval to broadcast the news. It can’t be ignored that using social media is a way to capture the interest of millions for the good or for the bad. Media news can be falsely reported or done for the purpose of self gratification. Sometimes “news” produced through social media is satisfying for those who seek more gossip then reality. Traditional and social media have advantages and disadvantages but it is no mistake that traditional media is finding ways to cooperate and communicate with the Citizen Journalist. Non-cooperation will have devastating results.

Many Citizen Journalists have become famous for stories they have produced for society. Traditional media has recognized this and has found ways to entice the Citizen Journalist to share their news items. They are not only recognized but encouraged and even interviewed by large media corporations. This entices citizens to share or sell information to traditional media. It is not surprising then, that growing recognition for the Citizen Journalist is on the rise.

Social media has provided an outlet for Citizen Journalism and in turn has changed how people find and report news. In a society where government, politicians, and large companies are being questions and mistrusted, society is learning to rely on itself and Citizen Journalism is proving to be the answer.

With social media growing …newspapers and magazines rate lower in production and popularity. I can’t help but wonder if the fallout of Covid- 19 will be the final blow that leads to the end of some traditional media as we know it.

Sources

Noor, R., 2020. Citizen Journalism Vs. Mainstream Journalism: A Study On Challenges Posed By Amateurs. [online] Athensjournals.gr. Available at: <https://www.athensjournals.gr/media/2017-3-1-4-Noor.pdf&gt; [Accessed 20 May 2020].

Social Media Posts

Twitter: Social Media created the” Citizen Journalist Giant” #thejournalistgiant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/citizenjournalistgiant