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The Blogoweet: Facing our fears and laughing at public foibles

(Editor’s note: The Blogoweet is a social media column where commentary will focus on the blogosphere and twitterscape as topics within in it may interest, apply to, or affect, the LGBT community.)

I began this column back in September, planning it to be a fun and regular analysis and/or summation of the perks and quirks of Social Media.

Not all that surprisingly, it got hijacked early on by my own social commentary, which can and still will happen on occasion.

Both of those first two columns took off like a wildfire, each with lives of their own.

My first column shared what I thought was an amazing blog post by a progressive blogger in North Carolina, shortly after a ban on same-sex marriage passed through his state assembly.

He was angry, and clearly on our side.

I was a little baffled that in my own mind, something with such perfect, common sense was recognized as amazing, but it was extremely empowering, nonetheless; especially coming from an ally, and it needed to be seen by our readers.

It was ... and then some.

In fact, that column was shared over 1,000 times on Facebook, alone, and was read by thousands of readers that first week it was published. Author Eric Shepherd (aka @eshep) also saw a deliberate increase in his Twitter and blog followers as a result, and that made me feel good.

My second column took a local blogger -- one who calls himself a satirist (and a friend of the gay community) -- to task for his anti-gay language.

My opinion was that careless words motivate and enable abusive behavior, and in this day and age of gay-bashing and suicides, it was irresponsible of the publication. This became such a heated public argument that in many ways, my original message was lost; however, responses on the blogger's own FB wall like, "She just needs to get laid by a guy" (referring to me) proved my point, tenfold.

My position was further underlined two weeks ago when @GLAAD put pressure on @CNN to send a clear message to the world and take action against regular contributor @RolandSMartin, for his outlandish and hateful anti-gay tweets during the SuperBowl. Thankfully, they did just that.

It is important to note that when @GLAAD reached out to @SDCityBeat last fall about the article I mention above, that self-described "progressive" media organization merely scoffed at them and the author wrote yet another distasteful diatribe openly mocking the LGBT advocate. #SMH. CNN 1, SDCityBeat 0.

Onward and upward.

Traveling the interwebs

I felt it was time to bring the column back, to analyze, often poke fun of, and sometimes rant against, the ins and outs of social media in any of its forms. It is the modern day method of communication and there is plenty to talk about.

Feel free to indulge, react, comment or email me with topic ideas of interest or outlandish things you've seen while surfing from your easy chair.

Thief-diggery:

There is a lot of anxiety across the interwebs these days about the impending doom of not only the Facebook Timeline, but also Google's new privacy policies.

One will be an inconvenience and something that apparently takes lots of time to set up, while the other will again be offering up your web-surfing habits up for public and commercial consumption.

The Timeline is merely Facebook forcing yet another new graphical user interface, if you will, which many call a throw-back to MySpace. It certainly appears to make things harder for users to browse but easier for Facebook to categorize; and maybe that is the point.

How do you feel about Timeline?

The irony here is that the policy changes Google seems to plan on implementing Facebook has already adhered to. Most will notice when they enter a post on their own wall or comment on someone else's post that the advertising on the right side will immediately reflect what you are writing about.

This means that algorithms are constantly ingesting what you type on Facebook (even in messages) and reacting to your patterns and expected needs, hoping to snare you via advertising.

Facebook has been threatening users with the new Timeline since December, and although more and more clues abound that it is indeed soon going to be thrust upon us, we're rolling into March and it is not yet mandated.

Google, which so far hasn't come close to matching the popularity of Faecbook with its Google+ is trying to at least find a way to compete with them on the advertising scale. To do so means they need to have access to all your online browsing habits.

Problem is, this type of tracking and searches could reveal a lot more about you than you'd wish to give up. The new changes take place March 1.

Our lives are already closely followed in many ways and our habits are subject to targeted advertising campaigns: at the grocery store -- your receipts now often contain direct sell coupons that reflect what your spending habits; in the mail -- one personal example is the condo I live in recently was sold; I knew before the property manager told me because I was "spammed" with advertisements for movers.

So is what Facebook and now Google does really all that unusual? Probably not, but it still feels invasive and Big Brother-ish (in the Orwell kind of way, not the television show).

You are not alone if you are concerned about these new changes, which hit the street in just two days. Unfortunately, a federal judge is turning the other cheek; for now.

According to Courthouse News Service, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) tried to stick up for all of us, but U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she had "no authority to force the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to keep Google in check."

This belies a decision last summer, where a class action lawsuit forced Google to eliminate Google Buzz and pay out $8.5 million for "exposing personal information" through Buzz.

One of the arguments was that by sharing everyone's email contacts, Google could be inadvertently revealing "the names of doctors' patients or lawyers' clients, or even the contacts of a gay person "who was struggling to come out of the closet and had contacted a gay support group."

Berman Jackson noted in her decision that the FTC is still reviewing Google's new policies and may come forth with an enforcement action at a later date.

Until then, there is a method circulating the interwebs that explains how you can clear your cache of personal information and web history prior to March 1st, which will limit Google's ability to track your moves.

For more info on how to do this, click HERE.

Are you concerned enough about Google's new policies to eliminate your Gmail account?

Cultural Humor

#SheGotLeggs

Angelina Jolie makes news wherever she goes, but after her right leg upstaged JLo's left breast at this week's Oscar telecast, it appears that leg will be getting all the attention, at least for a while.

Some clever person immediately created a Twitter account, called, "Angelina Jolie's Leg" (@AngiesRightLeg) and as of this writing, has 31,176 followers.

Funnyman @Albert Brooks was "shaking his head" in a major fashion last night, when he tweeted, "I know genuinely funny people who have like 5k followers and this has 25k @AngiesRightLeg #endoftheworld."

This "flash in a pan" Twitter account has quickly surpassed @ElBloombito, the parody account set up after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg butchered a message he delivered in Spanish last summer. That account still has alotta legs of its own and Rachel Figueroa-Levin (who describes herself as a soap maker/hyperlocal inwood blogger/diarist/satirist/mom/ animal wrangler/wife/Puerto Rican/Jew/nerd) clearly enjoys entertaining her 29K followers.

As for the most recent walking parody, we're taking bets on how long @AngiesRightLeg lasts …

#Bachelor

This season's The Bachelor has become somewhat of a parody of itself, with what appears to be a scripted villain (Courtney) and a mindless but likable main man, winemaker Ben Flajnik.

Ben has already sent each of the season's favorite faces packing, keeping the ever-conniving Courtney, which will undoubtably prove better for ratings than it will for his heart in the long run.

Comedian @PaulaPoundstone loves to Tweet through special events (she has done the Oscars, the Grammys and Bachelorette seasons past, to name a few). Apparently she has spent so much time on this current Bachelor, she decided to create a special Twitter account just for her non-stop rants, called @cantstoptweet, to spare her 58K regular followers from her constant diatribes.

Although only 800 of her 58K regulars have "followed her lead" and jumped on the @cantstoptweet bandwagon, Poundstone's dry humor is always smirkable and will often cause a LOL, and don't be surprised when she uses four letter words. Worth a follow.

San Diego joins NOH8

The founders of the @NOH8Campaign, Adam @Bouska and @JeffParshley, stopped into San Diego recently to add faces to their global response to anti-gay sentiment.

They were quite pleased with the results and Bouska took to Facebook to say, "Way to go San Diego! Today was one of our largest photo shoots to date! (still awaiting a final count) #NOH8Worldwide!"

I checked with Parshley today for a final count, but I know it was over 500 people. Many of my friends waited a very long time to get their photo taken. I will update HERE when I find out the final tally.

I got my #NOH8 photo taken (above) in February 2010. The shoot was done in the small Missiongathering administrative offices in Hillcrest, the wait was minimal and I was #2547.

Now they have four-hour waits in upscale hotels and are well over 20,000 photos. ROCK that cause.

If you missed out, you can still get snapped in the upcoming Las Vegas open shoot at the new SHARE Nightclub.

Until next time ...

Morgan M. Hurley is the Assistant Editor of SDGLN. You can follow her on Twitter at @morganOPINES. Follow @sdgln, too. She can be reached at morgan@sdgln.com.