Say "goodbye" to Instagram -- and six other Internet goals for 2013
It's that time of year when we start to let go of what has happened over the last twelve months and look forward to doing things in a better way over the next twelve. Or if you're like me, it's just that time before the total hysteria of another year sets in and you proceed to re-up your diet pills, charge your crystals and pray to god(s)/Magic 8-ball that someone digs up a husband for you.
2013: The year we stopped freaking out over our own lack of concern for Internet privacy.
Anyway, inspired by the suggestion of words that need to be retired in 2013, here's a list of Internet-related things that should also cease to exist in the coming year, and make our virtual world a slightly better (if not less irritating) place.
7. Using Twitter as a news source and Facebook as a human database
I know, not doing this seems impossible. Especially as Twitter has taken over as the way up-to-the-minute information is disseminated to the public in times of crisis. But when a news anchor quotes a random person's Twitter account as the source for information -- or worse, uses Twitter itself to share incorrect information and Facebook to gather photographs -- unverified data travels fast. Which is why the wrong individual was initially named in the recent Newtown tragedy.
At some point in the near future, it would rule if there were a way to quickly and accurately verify information as it was being spread. But for the time being, it is important to remember something: anyone can have a Twitter account. Famous dead rappers have Twitter accounts. Political gaffes -- Binders of Women, anyone? -- have Twitter accounts. Aziz Ansari's tweenage cousin Harris has a Twitter account with more than 26,000 followers. I'm not saying these accounts aren't trustworthy*, I'm just saying.
*However, if you get all of your news from Buzzfeed, I will trust you.
6. Creating social/political statements with memes if you can't use the very Internet you're posting within to spell/fact check the information first
I don't even know where to start.
I've already rallied against the stupidity of memes in general, and how disappointed I am in my otherwise intelligent friends haphazardly reposting these idiotic, misinformed pieces of art-news on Facebook. But seriously. Make it stop. Or at least do a simple google search of the proposed "facts" you're trying to convey before posting commentary about gun control -- when a case (like the one used in the meme above) involves a fatal stabbing.
5. Writing sensational headlines that battle The Onion's in legitimacy
Another sensational headline? Like T. Swift says, this is exhausting.
Granted, legitimate news stories involving politicians saying things like "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" made actual headlines read like sensational ones, but there was a point in the midst of 2012's "legitimate rape-gate" at which it felt out of control. While the Todd Akins, Richard Mourdocks and Ron Pauls of the political world provided the fodder for Onion-like stories, there were still plenty of "Panel of rape supporters supports rapist's story of not-raping!" -type headlines that read like dramatic Facebook updates.
Meaning, readers couldn't even get to the lede without the publication/blog making up our minds for us. Just because journalism now happens on the Internet doesn't mean there are no rules. Can we maybe save all of the OMGs and WTFs of the written word for the copy, and at least leave headlines alone? It's the only part of an article anyone reads these days, anyway.
Continue reading for more Internet don'ts.