Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Banned PETA Commercial

Vegetarian's and carnivores alike will appreciate this ad. I found it over at Screaming Me Me- funny site!

CONTENT WARNING: Overt sexual imagery (it was apparently banned- but its amusing).

While this ad is a bit more suggestive sexually than most, I think its interesting that it was banned when so many other ads with sexual content are not. Ads selling games, jeans, cars, lingerie, even candy and many other products use gorgeous women in barely any clothing or sexual situations to sell products not related to sex at all. I generally don't condone highly sexualized ads as it leads to people, especially young girls who are still forming their identities and beliefs about their bodies and sex, to being surrounded with constant sexual imagery. The constant sexual imagery in our media can lead one to believe that the sexual situations, frequency, behaviors, body types, activities, etc, that you see on TV and in ads are the norm (or worse viewed as the only way or the 'right way') and thus seen as what you 'should be doing'.

Its ironic that one of the few sexualized ads that has been banned recently is one that is condoning eating healthy food (namely veggies!) as opposed to so many ads out there for fat and sugar-laden monstrosities. I am not a vegetarian, nor am I a hard-core PETA advocate (they do some things that I support and some things that are a bit over the top from my perspective). But I like that they, perhaps inadvertently, are advocating for a healthier diet, while also supporting their cause of saving animals (which is a pretty worthwhile as well!).


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Facebook Update

If the new Facebook TOS has you as irked as I am... you should check out this brilliant article by Amanda French. She compares the TOS agreements of the main large social media sites to Facebooks, including Myspace, Flikr, Youtube, Picasa, and Twitter. It is abundantly clear that Facebook has stepped over the line. The question is will enough people react? Or will people get a little upset and then just forget about it because it easier than fighting a big dog?

Mark Zuckerberg , one of the founders of Facebook, tried to brush this backlash under the rug, saying

"In reality, we wouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want…".
But what if I don't want them sharing my information at all?! Is that not the point of having your own account with your own privacy settings etc... we are supposed to choose who to share our information with- not them! Given if I share my photo with a friend I am open to the fact that my friend can share my photo, and chances are I am ok with that. But who is Facebook? Why are they laying claim to our photos, writings, and other content?

For a complete Rebuttal of Zuckerberg's TOS defense check out Kent Davidson's post over at Razzed! He agrees that Facebook's TOS easily could have put the content ownership in the hands of the people while still giving legal to protection to Facebook (which is presumably why they are doing this.. unless I'm being naive and their really is some sinister plan to start selling our photos for massive profit! :P) His bottom line:
I am going to stick with the tenet that if you care about privacy, you have to pay for online services to protect it. There’s really no other way.

To me Facebook has just gone up another (10?!) notches in the CREEPINESS factor. I think they need to take some advice from Google and add a 'Do no Evil' clause into their mission statement- because stealing everyone content can be considered nothing less.

2/18 UPDATE: Due to the overwhelming response from the Facebook community, Facebook has reverted back to the old TOS!!! While it is a short term victory, many questions remain unanswered- namely where is the legal line drawn for what FB can do with our content, how drastic of a change can they make to their TOS without consent, can they ever change the TOS to say that they can keep our content forever or use it for their own financial gain (again without our consent)? For the full story head over to the Facebook Blog.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Facebook Users- YOU Have Given Away the Eternal Rights to All of Your Content!

Facebook has gone beyond the brink! Long gone are the days when you had to have a .edu email address, and Facebook was just a friendly networking site for college students. Now everyone from teenyboppers to grandmas have an account on this social media giant. As the site owners realized the money making potential by opening the app development tools to the world and adding advertisements up and down the sides, original Facebook fans who were fans of the college focus and the ad-free feel were disappointed by the sell-out. But as posted on The Consumerist, Facebook has changed their Terms of Service (TOS) so they have ETERNAL USAGE RIGHTS OF ALL CONTENT.

Chris Walters from The Consumerist states:

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content.

So SCARY! =0

Has Facebook become so consumed with power and greed that they have completely lost sight of their initial mission? They claim in their company overview on their About Page:
Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected.

The real question here is why? Why does Facebook want a copy of everyone's photo's and posts etc... other than future financial gain? It seems like a devious plot to sell the photos of people if they ever gain fame some day. Next week when joe schmoe makes it in to the news for getting a date with Lindsay Lohan or for breaking into 7-11... the people behind Facebook can now go into his account (because they have access to all accounts and even if you shut it down they still own your content!) and they can pull out the most embarrassing pictures or whichever ones support the story the newspaper is running and they can SELL IT TO THE NEWS WIRES.

I am just speculating. But it seems very possible that this it what this type of language in the TOS could be for. It seems completely against all copyright law to "use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising". For example, if I take a picture of myself and friend and upload it I own the copyright. If Facebook used it in an Advertisement without my permission they will be infringing on Copyright law. If Facebook ever tries to use someones pictures without their consent even with this new TOS that person would have a good case namely because no one consented to this new TOS and it goes against copyright laws!

How are people supposed to trust a company that claims a 'right' to use all of your content (writing, pictures, videos, etc) in ANY WAY, FOR ANY PURPOSE? They can sell your images for profit, use you profile pictures for advertising purposes, sell any written articles or content you have uploaded... the possibilities seem endless with such a broadly worded TOS.

The new Facebook has grown into the largest social networking site on web, bar none. The plethora of new apps has spawned a range of amusing, useful, useless, creative, and hilarious apps that allow Facebookers to connect with each other and the outside world. People upload pictures and write posts on each other's 'walls' (bulletin boards) on a weekly or even daily basis. We all need to be aware of the content we upload to the web, aware that the whole world can see it. But normally you have the power to remove content you think outdated or decide against later (perhaps an image uploaded at a time of impaired judgment or if in time your opinion changes and a post you wrote you no longer fully support). But this is the first time that I know of that a company has basically sanctioned stealing your uploaded material... forever and for their possible financial gain. Facebookers beware.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Optimism of Crisis: 8 Steps to Make the Best Choice

The phenomena of 20-somethings going through a 'quarter-life crisis' is no longer just found among a few- it has become a rite of passage into adulthood. With the multitude of career options out there and different ways one can lead her life it is easy to become overwhelmed. From choosing which college to go to, which major to pick once you get there, and finally which career path you will travel down, life becomes overrun with monumental decisions after 18 years of having the plan mainly laid out for you. Choice is jumping off a cliff from the dream of possibility into the of reality of action- but if you don't jump you'll never get to swim.

Instead of seeing all of the possibility and wonder of choice, having so many options makes one see only loss of possibilities when choosing – even the best possible option. When choosing a major, perhaps a guy has always wanted to be a doctor and the pre-med track is an easy pick. But in today’s culture where we teach our children that they can ‘do anything’ and ‘be anything’… we want to do everything! All of a sudden when Mr. Pre-Med is there about to sign that slip committing his school career to all of the biology, chemistry, and math classes… he remembers his love of painting and foreign cultures and starts feeling an overwhelming sense of loss. All of a sudden choosing medicine is no longer just gaining the knowledge and skills to become a doctor- which he still wants to do- it is now also losing his chance of becoming a famous painter or an anthropologist who leads the exciting life of traveling to foreign cultures.

Now imagine you do not have a good idea of what you want to do with your life, or what will make you happy. This is when the ‘quarter-life crisis’ begins to really spin out of control. There are so many options and you want to choose the ‘best’ one- the major, job, career path, or even place to live that will make you happy in the long run. The fear of making the wrong choice can lead one to delaying making a choice at all. It can become immobilizing.

Recently I heard a man mention he was going through a quarter-quarter life crisis…yet I could not focus on what he was saying because one thing kept running through my mind: This man is 30 years old! How amazingly optimistic to be crying ‘crisis’ with the intrinsic assumption that you will live through it - and beyond to be 120 years old! Part of me wanted to shake him! While I completely appreciate the overwhelm of choice, it is not a crisis! Perhaps we should reframe these moments as times of gratitude where we have the extreme good fortune to have the opportunity to have the freedom of choice.

Next time you feel a crisis of choice coming on, take these steps:

  1. Be grateful for the opportunity before you!
  2. Think about where you want to be in the future, and where each of the choices will take you.
  3. Make a list of positive and negative outcomes for each choice, and make sure to include what the positive and negative consequences will be for not choosing an option.
  4. Decide!
  5. Know you made the best choice for you given the information at hand so there is no reason to look back!
  6. Know that the choice is not your entire life. If there were appealing pros on the other choice’s list you can find ways to incorporate those or similar aspects into your life.
  7. Give the decision your all, and enjoy it(!), for you were given this wonderful opportunity!
  8. In the future when a new choice comes barreling down your path, or if circumstances change and you want to reconsider your career, location, or even something as simple as where to go on vacation… start over at step one!

Always remember when you begin feeling the stress of an impending life choice that gratitude is the best outlook! If you are having a hard time deciding it is because there is not a bad choice in the bunch- if one of the choices was bad it would be pretty easy to rule out! Think about the options, appreciate the opportunity, and you will make the right choice!


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