Category: episode 3

In a recent interview, Forrest Stuart, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, talks about his experiences spending five years living on Skid Row. The Los Angeles neighborhood, in the heart of downtown, is known to house one of the highest populations of homeless people in the country. The 34 year old was doing research for his book, “Down, Out and Under Arrest: Policing and Everyday Life in Skid Row,” hoping to find a way for police and policymakers to eliminate the criminalization of poverty. On the subject of the American Dream, by which Americans pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps, Stuart said: “I was like, ‘Well, let’s go see if somebody who’s fresh out of prisons, let’s go see somebody who just been evicted, let’s go see somebody who’s maybe just recovered from a cocaine addiction. Let’s go see if some of these people actually can pull themselves up by their bootstraps.‘” You can read more of the interview and hear about Stuart’s experience at the Fusion website.
http://fusion.net/story/333851/forres…
http://www.wochit.com

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 3 – Character Witness

What is the real impact social media is having on gang violence, turf warfare and youth identity?:

While spending time with gang members in the South Side of Chicago to conduct fieldwork for his forthcoming book, sociologist Forrest Stuart would regularly check Twitter and Instagram. He’d be surprised to find that the young men he was hanging out with, often in perfectly mundane situations, were posting pre-prepared images and videos of themselves wielding guns.

“I discovered all this flexing on social media,” he tells me over Skype. “I’d be standing right next to these guys and realise they were posting things that were nothing to do with what we were actually doing.” Some of the young men didn’t own and had never used a gun. They simply borrowed them to stockpile photos and videos of themselves holding weapons, later curating an intimidating social media profile that they would drip feed onto the internet over the coming days and weeks.

Drill artist Digga D has found a young, engaged audience through social media, despite some of his videos being banned

“I’d be driving them across town in my car, and when we’d pass a rival block they’d start taking selfies out the window, pretending they were on their way to do a drive-by,” Stuart continues. “Another time, in a cold Chicago winter, I was sat with a young man who was babysitting his little sisters. We were in his living room watching music videos on the television. But when I checked Instagram, he was on there posting photos pretending to be stood in the blizzard outside protecting his block.”

It is no secret that social media platforms are shifting human behaviours, habits and interactions all over the world. People are increasingly able to use digital profiles of themselves to extend or invert their physical realities, and thus manipulate their social, professional and moral worlds for all sorts of benefits and incentives: the prospect of meeting a new lover, the lure of branded money from sponsors, the endorphin-hit of likes and shares, and chase votes and political power.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 3 – Character Witness

How Philadelphia’s Social Media-Driven Gang Policing Is Stealing Years From Young People:

By the end of his senior year in a Philadelphia high school in June 2017, Jamal had missed out on completing his certification in the culinary arts, playing on the basketball team, attending prom, and walking across the stage at his graduation. He was barred from working a job to help his mother pay the bills. He wasn’t even allowed to leave his home — all on the order of a judge. But Jamal hadn’t been convicted of a crime. Jamal lost a year of his life because — like many testosterone-filled young men — he acted tough on his social media accounts.

Jamal, a young black man — whose name has been changed at his request due to confidentiality concerns — was swept up in Philadelphia’s Focused Deterrence program, an initiative meant to crack down on gang violence but which has instead been used to criminalize entire social networks of young black and brown people. Philadelphia police arrested him in September 2016 on a gun charge after an officer in the department’s South Gang Task Force identified Jamal as a member of a gang. How had that officer made that determination? As officer Matthew York, a member of the task force, later testified in court, it was largely based on photos and tweets that appeared on Jamal’s social media and which York believed associated him with a gang, as well as Jamal’s appearance in a friend’s music video, a video that the officer believed was “gang-related.”

Philadelphia’s Focused Deterrence program, like similar programs in cities around the country, relies on internet surveillance. Police officers mine social media for possible gang affiliations of young people, then compile that “data” and feed it into gang databases. Police officers target young people in the databases — who may be included for as little as flashing a gang sign in a Tweet to bragging about a crime in a music video on YouTube and Facebook — for on-the-ground policing. State and federal prosecutors also get their hands on the social-media “data,” using it to shore up criminal cases. Philadelphia modeled Focused Deterrence after criminologist David Kennedy’s “Ceasefire” policing model, which, as I previously reported in IThe Appeal and The Nation, focuses policing on small groups of individuals (often referred to by police departments as “gangs”) that purportedly drive community violence. The Kennedy model and its offshoot programs have been deployed by many cities, including Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.

But the “data” police feed into these databases, for the most part, has little bearing on reality. Indeed, in December the City of Chicago settled a lawsuit with a man who was falsely included in its sprawling gang database. Across the country, young people are swept into these databases and then targeted by police — just because they bragged about actions they had no part in or made threats against rival groups they have no intention of following up on…

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 3 – Character Witness

A New ‘Peace Academy’ Is Teaching Violence Prevention Workers How To Stop The Shootings:

“They’re not on the streets no more fighting over turf, fighting over money, it’s cyber banging over clout. It’s who can get the most clout, I want a name, I want to be known.”

– rodney phillips

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 3 – Character Witness

What’s at the Root of Chicago’s Violence? A State Lawmaker, Pastor Weigh In:

On what can be done to address the violence:

Williams: Education. All of our institutions need to eternally look within and ask the question: “How violent are we?” Violence isn’t just stabbing, shooting and beating. But violence also works very subtly in human behavior. You can be violent in your actions towards yourself or someone else. What we’re attempting to do is educate.

This is a public health issue. If there’s something in the air or something in the water. If there’s something that affects all of our humanity, then we need to educate people in order that we might heal as sufficiently as we possibly can. We need to educate people. We need to work in collaboration. It’s very important that entities and people and institutions are working together. Civility. Violence has taken us way out into left field and right field. Civility means we can agree to disagree. No civilization can exist with this type of abnormal behavior becoming normal behavior. And lastly, redirecting resources as it relates to the issue of violence.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 3 – Character Witness

After My Ex Stalked Me Online, I Saw the Dark Side of Romantic Obsession:

I grew up on (500) Days of Summer, Love Actually, and all those romantic comedies that beat us over the head with the “love is persistent” trope. Usually it’s a guy who decides he’s going to go all out to win the girl of his dreams, even if she doesn’t seem at all interested or is already in a relationship. The main thing is that he never gives up.

I loved these movies and their handwritten letters, expensive chocolates, and gifts—a romcom hero could have called anything a grand gesture and I would have lapped it up. My hopelessly romantic adolescent brain thought that I would find The One when they dedicated their life to getting me like Noah in The Notebook and the 365 letters he sent his ex.

So that’s what I ended up with—and it’s exactly what I didn’t want. 

Digital Human: Series 17, Ep 3 – Obsession

Parasocial Relationships: The Psychology of One-Sided Intimacy With Celebrities:


In their 1956 article, “Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a distance,” Horton and Wohl described both parasocial relationships and parasocial interaction for the first time. They used the terms somewhat interchangeably, but mostly focused their exploration on the illusion of conversational give-and-take a media consumer experiences with a media figure while watching a TV show or listening to a radio program.

This led to some conceptual confusion. Although a great deal of research has been done on parasocial phenomena, especially since the 1970s and 1980s, the most widely utilized scale in that research, the Parasocial Interaction Scale, combines questions about parasocial interactions and parasocial relationships. However, today, scholars generally agree the two concepts are related but different.

When a media consumer feels like they are interacting with a media figure—a celebrity, fictional character, radio host, or even a puppet—during a discrete viewing or listening scenario, they are experiencing a parasocial interaction. For example, if a viewer feels like they are hanging out at the Dunder-Mifflin office while watching the TV comedy The Office, they are engaging in a parasocial interaction.

On the other hand, if the media user imagines a long-term bond with a media figure that extends outside the viewing or listening situation, it is considered a parasocial relationship. The bond can be either positive or negative. For instance, if an individual adores the host of their local morning program and often thinks about and discusses the host as if he is one of their friends, that individual has a parasocial relationship with the host.

Scholars have observed that parasocial interactions can lead to parasocial relationships, and parasocial relationships can strengthen parasocial interactions. This process resembles the way that spending time with a person in real-life can result in a friendship that then gets deeper and more committed when the individuals spend additional time together.

Digital Human: Series 17, Ep 3 – Obsession

Love, sex & Google: living with OCD in the digital age:

I would spend most of my day looking for articles on relationship issues, taking online quizzes, and ruminating on what I read online,” says Victoria, 23, from Spain. “It was a very tiring process. The relief would only last for a short while – and then the doubts would creep back in.”

Victoria has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). When she was younger, this meant that she was plagued with religious obsessions, and felt compelled to beg for forgiveness a specific number of times every time she did something ‘wrong.’ But over the years, her fixations have shifted toward love and sexual attraction.

Now, Victoria constantly questions whether she is in the right relationship, and regularly doubts her sexual orientation. She spends hours online looking for information to determine whether she is heterosexual and if she really loves her boyfriend. “Google is the worst enemy for people with OCD,” she says, with exasperation. “It’s the perfect vessel for reassurance-seeking compulsions. Googling allowed me to endlessly feed my obsession without anyone telling me to ‘shut up about it already’.”

Digital Human: Series 17, Ep 3 – Obsession 

Obsession:

At its worst, obsession is an iron mask that permits us to gaze in only one direction at one thing—or, to use another metaphor, a giant tidal wave that crashes through our minds and washes away all other concerns. We may become obsessed with a person, a place, a goal, a subject—but obsession amounts to the same thing in all cases:addiction.

At first, like all addictions, obsession is intoxicating. It fills us up, and what a relief that feeling is (especially if we felt empty before). But even if we didn’t feel empty, obsession makes us feel potent, capable, and purposeful.

But also like all addictions, with time obsession unbalances us. We often begin to neglect parts of our lives we shouldn’t. If allowed to become too consuming, obsession causes us to devalue important dimensions of our lives and tolerate their atrophy and even their collapse. But even if our lives remain in balance, if the object of our obsession is taken from us, as my patient’s was from her, we find ourselves devastated, often convinced we’ve lost our last chance at happiness.

Digital Human: Series 17, Ep 3 – Obsession

‘I’m Really Good At Internet Stalking…’:

Nosing in on what people are up to isn’t new. The only thing that has changed is that our subjects used to be acquaintances from school, clubs, and down the road. Then, face-to-face conversation was within the realm of possibility even if fear got in the way. But keeping up-to-date with people you’ve never met from continents you’ve never visited isn’t weird to us. I’ve repeatedly found myself so entwined in the lives of unremarkable strangers that I feel the need to see how they’re doing (because actually following their account would be going ‘too far’).

Weird? Maybe a little, but the old saying that it’s not what you know but whom you know has taken on new meaning. Because lurking has become a part of our daily life, it’s not unacceptable to use it to benefit you. Creeping is currency.

Digital Human: Series 17, Ep 3 – Obsession