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Quick to respond

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As a teenager in high school, one of my greatest fears was my mom tracking me—not necessarily because I was doing anything bad or going anywhere I wasn’t supposed to, but solely because that fit into the stereotype of the overprotective mom. No one wanted a “Big Brother,” whomever it may be, tracking their every move and location.

Rumor had it James’s mom put a tracker in his phone—his razor cell phone, and that was weird. James’s mom was weird.

Fast forward 10 years, and I check “Find My Friends” like it’s social media.

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A Senate hearing with tech support

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“In my college dorm room,” Mark Zuckerberg repeated over and over again during his testimony before half the US Senate yesterday, repeatedly reminding the world where he created Facebook and reminding me, a college student, just how unaccomplished I am.

I didn’t think Zuckerberg was going to fare well before the Senate. Hours of cameras, long complicated questions and facing a panel, elevated just enough you actually have to tilt your head up.

This is a hot, complicated topic, so intricate, delicate and complex it would be hard to talk about, answer questions on or frankly, just understand. Consequently, the first hearing revealed more about the Senators than about Zuckerberg. The elderly bunch clearly didn’t understand how Facebook worked on a basic level — much less how to regulate it.

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Addicted to Buzzfeed quizzes? Same.

facesI heard the door close for the third time, signaling that all my roommates had left. I grabbed a banana from the pantry for breakfast and went back to my room. I had half an hour to kill before I had to leave for class, so I sat on my bed and played with my Google Home.

“Hey Google, tell me a joke.”

“Okay Google, what’s the weather like today?”

“Hey Google, what’s the latest news?” *cue programmed podcast.

“Hey Google, what planet would I be?”

That’s a real question I can ask my Google Home, and it will cue a personality quiz. Apparently I’m Pluto—that’s not even a planet. So, I took the quiz again.

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Podcasts: How to engage by listening

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My walk to class is 20 minutes. That’s 20 more minutes I could have slept, exercised, stood in the coffee line, read another chapter in my book. Needless to say, 20 minutes is a long time, and in a 20-minute walk, I get bored.

I started wearing headphones on the way to class like many of my peers, but after a while, I still got bored. I listened to the same songs on the same walk over and over again.

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Only 4 stars for you — China’s Social Credit System

pexels-photo-233129Confession—I have a poor Uber rating. Not terrible, but just below satisfactory, and lower than mom’s. That’s embarrassing.

Maybe it’s from splitting Uber ride with my friends, convincing the drivers to “please, please, please can we fit just three more girls?” We are really good at squeezing. Or maybe my poor rating is from choosing to engage in a conversation with my driver—or staying completely silent. Do people want to talk or does Ubers etiquette follow airplane etiquette?

It feels weird, getting out of the car, knowing that my driver just rated me—and I rate them, do I give them four or five stars? And that rating determines who might bother to pick me up next time I decide to Uber—and in some cases, if they keep their job. Drivers with a rating below 4.6 are automatically on probation and most likely fired—all because a passenger might not have appreciated being dropped off only one block away.

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A selfie at Auschwitz

Just after my sophomore year of high school, I went on a school trip to Eastern Europe, traveling from country to country by a charter bus with a terrible driver named Jerry. When I say terrible, I mean we made a U-turn in the middle of the highway—the Autobahn actually. 

One day of the three weeks we spent traveling through the countryside of Poland, we went to Auschwitz.

I won’t spend this blog post talking about the things I saw and the emotions I felt at the concentration camp because the experience was literally indescribable. I believe that even words have epistemological limits, and this sort of experience falls right outside those literary parameters.

Instead, I want to consider the controversy of social media at memorial sites such as Auschwitz.

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Streaming movies destroys Hollywood

I took a class this semester by an art professor—one of the most stereotypical professors you can imagine. Exactly one minute before class would start, he would stroll into the lecture hall, carrying a leather satchel and wearing what seemed to be a beret. Just picture it.

He must have been someone pretty well known during the prime of his life, or maybe he just acts like it. Nonetheless, he name dropped like you wouldn’t believe, quicker than the girl-next-to-me’s jaw would drop when “Madonna” came out of his mouth and echoed through the microphone.

He planned for a guest speaker one Tuesday class. The speaker was late, and after five minutes of his powerpoint, I was ready to go. But in walks the extremely well-known producer in Hollywood, Mark Johnson.