Monday, August 30, 2010

Social networking site apps offer ways for friends to "mute" contact; Juror gets in trouble over Facebook

So here we are, with your typical situation where someone wants your attention more than you want theirs. Or they want to see you, and you really, well, would like to skip it. Even at the friendship level. (The “it’s over” problem.)That used to be a problem in the urban gay community particularly, but now social networking site and Twitter users look for tricks more subtle than just unfriending or deleting a friend’s or follower’s link. You don’t even want the other person to know. Maybe just suspect, and get the message.

So clever twenty-something programmers, probably aided by their own personal social experience, come up with more aps. For example, on the iPhone there is Twittelator Pro. But the most sinister tool is something that comes out of GPS, if people allow their locations to be known. It’s not so much security; if someone wants to avoid you, and you’re in such-and-such disco, they don’t have to show up. Of course, that all sounds a bit self-defeating and spiteful. Ask Amy.

The Washington Post story by Michael S. Rosenwald Aug. 30 is “Pesky online friends? Firms offer online ‘mute’”, link here. I like the analogy to the disciplinary “time-out.” No thigh thorn loops, please (as with Opus Dei).
A juror in suburban Detroit faces court contempt charges for writing a speculation on Facebook that the defendant is guilty (subjunctive). The AP story is here. People have been pre-emptively disqualified from juries after voir dire because of their online content.

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