Posts Tagged ‘Rutgers’

Check us out

February 14, 2011 1 comment

As we celebrate our first anniversary and approach our 150th post, please join us in celebrating our 30,000th hit.

Over the past year, we’ve written on a variety of subjects. Some articles have commented on whole industries or cultural movements, some on incidents of spectacular successes or dismal failures.

We’ve written on the changing face of masculinity, and how men shop in the second decade of the 21st century. We examined why England lost it’s World Cup bid, and what the World Cup meant for the world as a whole, and the businesses that aim to profit from it.

We talked about the future of content; what it means to own something that only exists as a file on a computer, but you still have to pay for, as bookshops and videostores fade to dust and intellectual property rights evolve along an uncertain path.

How social media is used for good, for ill, for Gatorade and for Conan O’Brien.

We’ve ruminated on leadership, on how luxury justifies itself post-recession, and how antique brands like Louis Vuitton attempt to keep themselves fresh, as well as ultra-premium.

We’ve talked about how movie studios win by marketing their product, and how auction houses lost out to the pitfalls of behavioural economics.

We’ve debriefed you on our visit to the UK’s Google HQ, while waxing lyrical on Nintendo as it moves from taking on Sega to taking on Apple.  We’ve asked what it means for the future of TV when everyone has Sky+ and a broadband connection. And we’ve looked at several examples of superb brand activation.

Lastly, we’ve tried in vain to present the glory of Roger Federer.

Stick around and have a browse, we’re not going anywhere.

Anti-social media leads to student suicide

September 30, 2010 2 comments

The dark side of social media leads to suicide.

Zeitgeist recently commented on the mini-furore surrounding Justin Bieber‘s attempts to gain revenge on a ‘fan’ who had obtained his phone number after hacking someones Twitter account.

Bieber’s actions caused a storm in a tea-cup, much inconvenience to his nemesis and a not inconsiderable phone bill.

Upon our trawl of recent news Zeitgeist was saddened to learn of another example of social media being used maliciously in an instance that exacted a much higher price.

Pranks have long been part of university life and last week at the prestigious Rutgers University in New Jersey, a student set up a live stream of his room-mate engaged in an intimate encounter. For many friends it may be been a jape to be avenged. Unfortunately, the victim in this instance was a painfully shy 18 year old musician. And his companion was male.

His victim was called Tyler Clementi and three days after the broadcast he committed suicide by jumping into the River Hudson from the George Washington Bridge.

His roommate, Dharun Ravi, who started the episode by tweeting

“Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

and another classmate, Molly Wei have both been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy, which could see them spending 5 years in prison.

“We are profoundly saddened by this report, and our hearts and prayers are with the parents, family, and friends of this young man, who had started at Rutgers this semester as a first-year student on the New Brunswick campus,” wrote university president, Richard McCormick, in a letter to students. “If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.”

Gay rights groups have labeled the broadcast a hate crime and there were demonstrations at the end of the inaugural event for the university’s “Project Civility”, a two-year, campuswide project to teach the importance of civility.  Long in the planning, the campaign will involve panel discussions, lectures, workshops and other events to raise awareness about the importance of respect, compassion and courtesy in everyday interactions.  Particular attention will be paid to the use and abuse of new technology.

The lessons come too late for Ravi, Wei and Clementi, though the message is as relevant to brands as it is to students – if you mis-use social media it can have devastating consequences.