Why Google Is Your Best Friend

Why Google Is Your Best Friend

All. You. Have. To. Do. Is. Ask. Her.
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There's been a startling trend on social media as of recent. The dissemination of misinformation and the promotion of skewed, outdated, and simply irrelevant information has kicked into high gear. 2015 has been full of socially and politically charged situations; and social media has been at the forefront of pumping out information at an unprecedented rate.

Social media has been critical for movements such as the Arab Spring, but it's equally dangerous as it is advantageous.

The internet can be a museum of social media blunders, leading to gems such as our friend Eric's celebrity slip up:

(source: http://pandafeed.net/tag/social-media-fails/)

We laugh, we share it, our friends laugh, they share it, a hearty good time all around. But our entertainment has been replaced with a rampant sense of dread and false judgement when posts like these show up on our newsfeeds:


(source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ellievhall/gamergate-photoshopped-a-canadian-sikh-man-to-make-him-seem)

The above image is a photoshopped picture of Veerender Jubal, critic of GamerGate, who had a picture of him photoshopped to have the supposed Qur'an, dildo (really?), and suicide bomb vest in the image. It made him out to be an Islamic State member who participated in the Paris Attacks last month. It was actually a picture of him taking a selfie with a regular iPad, without the suicide bomb vest, Qur'an, and dildo (really, again?). Thankfully, this picture drew skepticism from social media users, who were able to debunk this myth.

However, the fact that this image had already made rounds on the internet, and people fell for this sensationalized mess, tells an alarming tale about the presence of misinformation on social media; and its ability to fuel ignorance. Too many times, people have fallen for horribly captioned pictures on Facebook, and before even stopping to consider the validity of said image, have already clicked the "Share" button. This epidemic capitalizes a developmental issue when it comes to this socially charged environment. Those who are anxious and fearful in crisis situations are easy targets to be swayed by bigoted posts, many of which are obviously doctored to skew people's perception of what is actually happening. Take this image that equates victims of the refugee crisis to M&Ms and considers them possible terrorists

(source: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-21/syrian-refugee-situation-summed-using-mms)

This image, or similar analogies, have spread like wildfire across virtually all social media platforms, gathering thousands of retweets, favorites, and shares.

Why is it that our fanatical obsession with shock value has made us refuse to even do the slightest bit of research? How has exorbitant amounts of incorrect material become so popular?


1. The Mediums We Use to Share Our Stories Have Evolved.

The number of platforms to share information has increased exponentially. We are able to pick from a pool of websites such as Medium, Mashable, and Vice, to generate and share content.


2. Fear + Ignorance + Internet = Content Frenzy.

It's incredible how much ignorance can be spewed just by capitalizing on fear. The aforementioned image on refugees and M&Ms is a clear example of xenophobia working overtime, using fear mongering to reduce populations to mere clickbait.


3. Competitive Internet Arena Leads to The Spread of Inauthentic Media.

Simply telling consumers to purchase something no longer works. Businesses, organizations, companies, and the like are using the ubiquitous power of social media to sway the interests of consumers. This competitive market becomes a race, and often times, those who make it to the finish line of having their article shared the most does so with poor quality.


THIS NOT TO PUT DOWN SOCIAL MEDIA!

Social media is a powerful tool, and we must give credit where credit is due. The amount of information stored on massive sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, has made it a cookie jar of content. Movements have been, are being, and will be formed, from social media, but the excessive sharing of poor quality content has lead to the promotion of fear, the reduction of value and the poor competency of shared data.

This is especially true when sites and posts use attention grabbing headlines to generate traffic, otherwise known as "Clickbait." There is no explicit distinction between old content and new content, leading to this hysteria.

So, what can we do?

Well, if you don't know, you have a friend and didn't even know it yet. Her name is...


(source: http://gizmodo.com/serifs-had-it-coming-1728015048)

See. Our girl Google is the most powerful person on the internet. She is an omniscient being whose knowledge only continues to grow every second. Her ability to find anything and everything should be heralded as godlike.

And be used to stop misinformation.

The many times I've found a particularly suspicious post on social media that was debunked by Google is incalculable at this point. She has been fighting a long battle against ignorance, but she will not be stopped. if you don't know, this is how our girl Google can help YOU.


1. Distinguishing Incorrect Information.

Google doesn't play games. She doesn't break down her links into clickbait just to appease you, nor does she incorporate images that will sway your perception. She gives you facts, backed with data, statistics, graphs, images... She is the reference librarian you need, without having to register for a paid service.

2. She Will Help You in Arguments.

Have you found yourself in the middle of a 50 comment argument with someone over White Privilege? Google is such an amazing and supportive person. With those aforementioned statistics, data, and facts, she will lend you a helping hand in exercising your moral responsibility to call people out. Just hit ctrl+c on the link, then hit ctrl+v, and she will lay your facts out like freshly scented bed sheets.

3. Google is a Beacon of Inspiration.

Surrounded by nothing but links about why Planned Parenthood is a crime of the century? Google knows your frustration as you smash all your keys to respond to each and every single person with an APA-cited essay followed with clear shade in the conclusion. However, instead of engaging every one, which becomes incredibly exhausting, take the road less traveled and share a factually-based article which sheds light on some of the situation.


You can fulfill all three steps just by asking her. Google is right there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. She will never let you down, or make you feel like you're inconveniencing her with your wish to dismantle ignorance. If you can share a picture about why Obama is the supposed test tube baby of Karl Marx and ISIS (really?), then you can ask Google. She won't judge you.

Google has a cousin, and his name is...

(source: http://www.snopes.com/)

He's more straight to the point.

Cover Image Credit: IsagenixHealth

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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