11.02.2014

An Experiment in Social Media

            Greetings followers and readers of Criminology and Justice, I have missed our communications greatly, life has indeed been somewhat busy.  Nonetheless, I have had several thoughts flowing through my mind in regards to the world around us, disease, fighting, politics, and the general state of the US and some of the world abroad.  For the past several months, my mind and body have been back to work in the field of property preservation, two months ago, something in my lower back on a Sunday while walking across my living room said, “Nope, time to stop.” The pain was immense; it felt like I had been stabbed with a spear in the spine right about the level of my waist line.  Immediately, I decided to counter the pain with over the counter medicines and try to go to work the next day.  I made it through the Monday but by that evening I decided it was time to see a doctor, Tuesday would be my last working day for a while.  Progress has been slow but I am a fighter and am determined to just find another way, not just to keep on working but because of a few encounters that literally angered, frustrated and caused me to go back to the books, so to speak.  As I began to look at the world around me, home life, friends, news and just a heap of miscellaneous items and looking through my notes, I decided I would recreate an experiment I performed a couple of years ago, but with a twist.  Sit back and enjoy this “life experiment” in Social Media and what power it may contain.


            When this particular bout of back pain set in, I immediately starting wearing a back brace and preparing to overcome the slight obstacle so that my original field of employment chance would not be in vain.  I worked with a guy, Jeff, who I considered even more talented than myself, as his will to learn is eager and his mind was like a sponge, he even helped correct some of my own techniques making me a better person.  In time, along with encouragement from others, he earned his EPA license in HVAC including the now popular 410 series.  My manager, very skilled in her knowledge base and the owner, highly motivated to provide the best possible dwelling for the most reasonably feasible price.  I am ever aware of all my surroundings, very organized, very detailed, it has been ingrained in me since somewhat from birth.  So as I sat astounded at my misfortune and looked for that better way, again, going back to the books, I uncovered a psychological experiment I conducted about the anonymous faces within the internet and how easily anyone can pretend to be anyone, mostly without question.
            I created a fake identity, found some random pictures, put them together in a profile of the “average” citizen with a few little tweaks in persona and did infiltrate several professional groups related to the field displayed, met and re-met friends that I had known and not known, conducted everyday conversations and acted as normal as anyone other than it being myself.  When I revealed those results, the awareness shockwave went through the entire circle involved and we all learned a very valuable lesson on what true awareness is when it comes to the things and people around you.  Being the ever curious person I am, I decided to go ahead and try it again, this time, no fake identities, but a presentation of circumstances to see what people are either attracted to or distracted from in the world of social media, who really is paying attention and maybe cares and who is scratching their heads wondering if you are losing your marbles completely, some things were posted out of my own expected character, done deliberately in the name of science and maybe a few of the students or professionals in these fields might learn and grow from the digital ages influence when persons don’t “see” each other face to face.
            The chosen platform was my own Face Book profile and since I do have tenacity for stating the obvious, the posts began, including creating a new group that I believe in wholly for what it represents, sort of a reward if you will for others to enjoy, but I will get to that later.  The first series of posts were classified as “activity” the first entry, a watermelon that had been grown for the first time ever by my family, sadly we didn’t let it ripen far enough but, we did it.  16 people liked it and a small conversation did occur under the posted picture, lots of people support a good watermelon picture.  The next day, a more serious post but with a bit of enthusiastic reproach about overcoming the obstacle of pain, the post contained what was to be expected, and the hopes that it brings to getting back to life, 8 people liked it, one person commented and could relate to the slated set of circumstances.  On the thirteenth of the month a statement in regards to the ongoing ISIS event in our world, designed to rally people, 7 people liked it, one comment verifying circumstances posted.  Around the 20th of the month, getting somewhat bored and having to continue on with medical issues, I decided to start building some Popsicle projects, each one, a phase in of the build, slated toward, what one does when bored, each post averaged 3 likes per post, with a few scattered comments, in all there were about ten pictures.
            With each of the examples in mind, Fruit leads the way, followed by overcoming adversity, rallying cries and then home projects of interest or hobbies.  During this entire time, I encountered several things in my quest to become pain free or manageable at least, without using drugs as a means to do so if at all possible, although, they were prescribed and I did take them as asked, however the end result was it didn’t work as planned, moving on, I decided to see how people would react to the “outcry” of the wounded soul, the downtrodden or oppressed, so a series of random posts in relation to my obstacles, with my naturally given writing flare resulted in a few surprises.  Firing up the political hot bed bus, I decided to include the rhetoric and obscurity of the waiting and running out of time to make blatant and factual points about several issues, focusing on corruption and intertwining my own interests of whom I think would be the better person to occupy the seats available.  On the 28th of the month, I flooded my timeline with as many negative themed items that I could find, some from sources that are credible, others a bit unstudied.  This, done after a series of pleas and rants about the obstacles encountered and why one must go the longest route available to get to a diagnostic tool that could have shortened the amount of down time or at least provided more answers than what is known, but that’s another story.  The results, nearly all political rants, or personal rants that went from anger, prayer, factual statements that could have been questioned, nearly all of them had 0 likes.  A few had a like here or there, a couple did open up some conversation where the person who responded attacked the subject by mocking my own situation as a valid reason to support the other side and to pin the blame on who it belongs, the president and his particular flavored Kool-Aid. 

            In the midst of all this chaos, I did take time to be myself, including a genuine prayer for a family members pet, a reach out and thank you to a few folks for their ongoing support for keeping on keeping on, many great conversations and laughs and of course a rare opportunity to do something else I love to do, study human beings, being, human beings.  My daughter nearly liked all of my statuses along the way, my spouse only a few as she is still working striving to try and keep this boat floating until we can construct that new path for myself, note, I said we, not I as my family works as a unit when we need to.  On a final note and thought for this very brief look at life through my own eyes, on the next to last day and last day of the month just to be consistent and make sure my month long quest of probing the public would net some off center results, I posted a little of each of the classes of items I chose on those given days, in no particular order, the results, more positive thought, happy moment, life’s funny items received likes that any of the others nearly combined, including a thought provoking look at poetry and life with daddy’s girls.  So, to finally break it down, fruits and veggie pictures average 10 per post, challenges and obstacles, 6, religious and spiritual, 5, outcries and pleads, 3 or less, negativity or agony zero.  What this resulted in and I am happy to say thank you to “Uncle George” for the post where a cab driver left open a book that contained happy messages and a pen to write you own, is a group now on Face Book, entitled, “The Power of Positives”, where those who come aboard, may use this group to express happiness, positive flowing thoughts and positive energy as much as they desire, free to enjoy and read and all in the name of hoping that someday, we can all use the same positive energy it created to overcome all the seemingly high mountains in front of us.  Thank you for reading this little humble article.  Good Day! 

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