My frequency of blogging has gone down lately. Is it because of the pervasiveness of microblogging? For the most part, no. The answer is that I’m consuming a LOT more information than outputting, which leaves little time to share all the great things I’m learning about at the end of the day.
A great book I’m currently reading is The Psychology of the Internet by Patricia Wallace. The last edition was from 2001, so a lot has changed, but it takes on concepts and issues that exist and are still considered progressive today. So far, the book provides great insights into the reasons behind a lot of online behavior. Another great book I’m digging into is How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python. I’m by no means a developer, but I’m insatiably hungry to learn new things, so I’ve been toying around with the very basics of Python for fun. I definitely recommend this book if you have no experience with coding.
Another type of research I’ve been casually looking into is my referral links from Google that won’t reveal your name, but will reveal what search terms you typed in to get to my site. Here’s just a sample few:
“I have a friend who is being stalked and harassed”
“can the state or federal courts stop a stalker from continually using the courts to continue his stalking and harassment?”
“why internet harassment in work should be bad”
“aol tos me when i was being harassed”
“how to harass someone on twitter”
“can i file a harassment suit if i’m being harassed over the phone?”
“can a banned user sue?”
“twitter safety stalking”
“my employer sent me some random item after firing me, can i sue for harrassment?”
“isp tos violations liability case”
“can you give a cease and desist letter for someone stalking you on the internet”
“i’m being stalked how do use a private mail box as my physical address”
“can someone be arrested for identity theft for less than $60”
“when harasser starts more trouble after restraining order is giving”
“does twitter track ip addresses”
“twitter.com is not responding in a sane manner”
That is just a small sample of things people are looking to find out more about. It really hits me hard when I see that someone came to my site after typing into Google that they’re being stalked or harassed and are looking for resources.
Cyberstalking and harassment on-and-offline has been an ongoing topic I’ve talked with people about for years. From helping build site architecture and standards to sharing stories and screencaps, the one insight I have is that there is not enough awareness or education about these issues. Often times, people have good intentions with building sites and services, but may simply overlook taking these into consideration. Other times, I have read very gut-wrenching interactions. A personal example is when I have discussed publicly about being stalked. Some women decided to assume that I was delicately-skinned about mean blog comments and that I was grossly misusing the term “stalker” instead of them taking the time to *ask* me if their assumptions were correct (at which point I would’ve explained the long-term offline threat to my physical safety and that I had contacted the authorities before, but had chosen not to disclose those details in a blog post).
Of the resources that do exist, almost all are geared towards children and parenting. An interesting resource I stumbled across recently is a Teach Digital wiki about “Safe Digital Social Networking (DSN) -or- Proactive Approaches to Address Cyberbullying and Digital Social Networking”. I would love to work on a resource guide for these types of issues that expands the reach beyond just children.
Other interesting things I’ve been reading through (thanks to my lawgeek friend) include various laws concerning online behavior. Some great ones to follow are:
- “The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a lower court ruling striking down the controversial Child Online Protection Act (COPA) that required Web operators to restrict access to large amounts of constitutionally protected speech. COPA placed severe restrictions on a wide range of legal, socially valuable speech, including content relating to sexual identity, health and art. CDT, which has filed friend-of-the-court briefs opposing COPA and supporting parental empowerment technology, applauds the ruling. July 22, 2008″
- New Missouri law on online harassment and cyberstalking.
There are a ton of other things I’m consuming lately (not all of them so “dark”), but this has turned out to be a long post already! Hopefully I can get back into a more regular blogging routine again soon.