Time to Save the World, Again


That he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart…

Henry V, St. Crispin’s Day Speech,
Henry V, William Shakespeare

Casus Belli

2015 may prove to be the last great year of this century. Obama was President, Trudeau got elected on a promise of Sunny Ways, and the narrowminded, right-wing appeared to be coalescing around a final hill to die on; Donald Trump. In short, we were experiencing the calm before the storm and we didn’t even realize it.

We all took for granted a world of freedom, equal rights, and relative peace. What we didn’t foresee was the dangerous misuse of social media slowly creeping into politics, journalism, and public discourse.

This perverse use of social media was subtle, subversive and ultimately successful. It didn’t just impact the 2016 U.S. election but changed the rules and undermined truth to the degree that should terrify us all.

In short, the shots were fired and the war began.

 The Glass House of Saud

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This is a chilling image. What is even more chilling is that a pro-Saudi media group sent produced it. Although they have since apologized and removed the meme, the damage was already done. We have gone from a world of diplomats and statesmen to one of Twitter Trolls and Facebook Instigators.

What is particularly unnerving is just how ordinary this state-sponsored political slander has become. Hmmm…where have I seen this before?

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It is terrifying how quickly a moronic Tweet becomes a major international incident. As we are learning with the Canada/Saudi spat, the genie does not easily go back into the bottle.

Rise Up

If this course has taught me anything, it is that the future will exist online in a way that we are only just starting to grasp. So too, then, will our wars. Right now, with no exaggeration, we are in the opening battles of a long war. A war that will put truth and freedom on trial to a degree that it has not faced in generations.

Once again, good people will be called upon to fight. This time, the fields of battle are Facebook and Twitter, and the enemy is trolling, bullying, fake news, and e-zealots.

Are we at war to save the truth? If called upon, will you fight?


Twitter: Are we at war to save the truth? If so, read my blog post and join the fight. https://tinyurl.com/y9n4bp3x

Facebook: I watched Election Night 2016 with the smug confidence that a second Clinton Presidency was guaranteed, and the dangerous, small-minded right wing was toast. Like so many others, I was dead wrong. Two years later, the battle lines are clear. Good people must rise and defend the truth, the only real source of freedom. Read my blog, join the discuss and join in the fight. It will be the battle of our generation. https://tinyurl.com/y9n4bp3x

Make a Meal-Teach the World

E-clipsing the Cook Book

This past weekend, my family gathered to celebrate my grandmother’s 94thbirthday. I ended up in a conversation about cooking with what was, admittedly, a group of middle-aged women. Not too long ago, the conversation would have sounded more like this “Lynn, I loved that cabbage salad, can I get the recipe from you?”, “Sure thing Shirley, let me find it in my cookbook and write it out and send it to you.” However, this time it sounded like this. “No problem, I will post the Pinterest Link on your Facebook page”. (real names used)

While I am often hyper negative about the benefits of social media, this is one aspect where I am hooked-sharing life hacks.

Those that Came Before

Other than my grandma and mom, there are two women have been style icons for me since I was very young: Martha Stewart and Ina Garten. Gone are the days when I would have to wake up early on a Saturday morning (and skip hockey practice) to watch Martha cover a turkey in puff pastry or Ina throw another swishy beach party for her seemingly endless entourage of fabulous gay friends. Now I can just YouTube these clips myself as I attempt to master the art of the effortless entertainer. (For the record, I have made the BBQ sauce, but a pastry-covered turkey is utterly insane)


Well Fed, and Well Dressed

The power of internet advice does not stop at food.

Few sartorial missteps are as disappointing as the pre-tied bowtie, and few things are trickier than learning to tie one. Well, a google search results in 531, 000,000 hits on how to get this job done. And the same can be said for polishing shoes, ironing a shirt, brushing your teeth and removing stains from pants.


I can say, without any hyperbole, that there is no excuse for anyone with a smartphone to appear improperly dressed ever again! For me, this may be the most significant step forward since the moon landing.

The Bigger Picture

These may feel like silly uses for something as influential and controversial as social media, but they are just the opposite. Pinterest has replaced the cookbook (for everyday cooking at least) and YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are the go-to authority on dressing and self-care. In short, an endlessly influential community of user-created knowledge exists to answer any question we can think up. And the most impressive part is, it is almost never wrong. I cannot think of a better example of the Internet achieving its most pure goal-connecting people for community and learning.

Can you think of examples where your traditional avenues for knowledge and advice have been replaced with digital ones?

Tweet: Cooking, cleaning and dressing well; all areas transformed by social media. How has the power of Pinterest changed the way you live?

Facebook: Somewhere, at the back of a cupboard, I have a recipe binder gathering dust. Now, my computer is a one-stop Cordon Bleu with endless videos on how to dice, slice, cook and fry. This revolution doesn’t stop at cooking. I suspect I could find a video, column or article teaching me how to do just about anything. What have you learned to do recently online? Was it a success? Check out my blog post and join in the discussion.

Kylie Jenner is (virtually) a Billionaire…Thanks,​ Instagram

The Wonder Years

My dad tells the story of watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show at his grandparents’ house. As a side note, the reaction of the adults to the mop-top rockers was unsurprisingly cliché “they need to cut their damn hair”. TV made so many of these 20thCentury Icons famous and by extension very wealthy. This is very much the role social media is playing in the wealth and fame game today.

Jenneration Kylie

There is no starker example of this phenomenon than the fact that Kylie Jenner, a  huckster of white-label cosmetics and pouty-lipped Insta-Drivel is (almost) a billionaire…yup, BILLIONAIRE. In the linked New York Times article, Jenner gives a lot of credit for her fortune to social media, “Social media is an amazing platform,” she said. “I have such easy access to my fans and my customers.” (New York Times, Arts Section, July 11, 2018)

Did I mention she is only 20?

Jenner did not invent makeup or even a formula for makeup. Rather, she took a generic product, slapped her name on it and gave it a hearty injection of Kardashian-Jenner social media steroids.

For Jenner, social media is her own personal Ed Sullivan…a captive audience totally within the zeitgeist.


There’s Hope

The same forces that made Kylie Jenner a Billionaire also helps raise record amounts of funding for causes such as the Humboldt Broncos survivors and disaster relief. As the rules continue to be hammered out, let me know what you think of this new channel for raising money and building fortunes…is it the natural evolution of commerce or a cheap trick for exploiting fame?

 Twitter: Kylie Jenner is a Billionaire…as you let that sink in, check out my latest blog posting on the use of social media to make money.


Facebook: The Beatles used TV, Kylie Jenner credits Instagram. Either way, if you want to be rich and famous today you need to embrace the media trends that your audience uses. Join the discussion on this topic by reading my latest blog posting and letting me know what you think.


Social Security-Are we Safe on Social Media

Mr. (Erksine)-Smith Goes to (Ottawa)

I first met Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Nate)when I was a Queen’s student during the municipal election cycle in 2006. Nate was in law school and challenging the popular incumbent city councillor, Bill Glover in the downtown Sydenham Ward in Kingston. Glover was anti-student, and Nate didn’t like this. Instead of complaining, he signed up to run against him. Nate lost that election but inspired a young guy like me with a valuable lesson. He taught me that when something isn’t right, the only option is to stand up and to say something.

In 2015, Nate was elected as the MP for Beaches-East York in Toronto’s East End. Always a tireless advocate for what is right, he took up the charge against the careless misuse of user data by Facebook in Parliament.

But for now, let’s put a pin in this.

My Story

I left Facebook in 2008 because of the unsettling encounter with an individual who I felt was stalking me. By removing myself from that social media platform, the stalker lost his last avenue to contact me, and the behaviour stopped. I have vowed to never return to Facebook, a promise I am still keeping ten years later.

This story is not uncommon and something that continues to become a real concern for law enforcement and policymakers: how do we legislate and police the digital world? I recently read a Guardian article about the use of “smart home” devices by abusive partners to control and manipulate, even after the relationship has ended.

This doesn’t mean that technology and social are a demon we need o to remove from our lives. What it does say is that policymakers and police need to take it seriously. In a world of trolling, cyberbullying and revenge porn, laws and policies need to ensure the privacy and safety of individuals.

Giving up on social media, as I did with Facebook a decade ago, is no longer a fair response to mistreatment online.

 Back to Nate

Nate decided it was time to speak up again. He took on this issue and brought it front and centre. We need more policymakers like Nate. They cannot dismiss social media as a vanity tool. It is where people live and interact. Manipulation of this is dangerous, and self-policing has proven impotent in solving these serious problems.

When I supported him, all those years back, I know I was backing a winning horse!

Is this work enough? Are there enough Nate’s taking this issue on and our the those at the centre of power listening? Is this a problem that is too complicated now to solve?


Are we safe on social media? Lawmakers and policy struggle with these Questions. Do you feel safe in an increasingly digital existence?

Facebook: Our policymakers need to take online safety and security seriously. MPs like Nathaniel Erskine-Smith are doing it right and speaking truth to power. Let’s call on all leaders to do the same. Please check out my blog at:

wordpress.com/post/algonquincollegesocialmedia.wordpress.com/75484 and let me know if you feel the same way.