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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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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.