#ThatDress, or why I so strongly dislike social media

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by sttngfan1701d, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. sttngfan1701d

    sttngfan1701d Commodore Commodore

    Jul 4, 2003
    I debated for awhile before posting this, since I've largely grown out of posting rants on the internet, but this issue just pushed me over the top.

    I am 30 years old. I was in college when Facebook came on the scene. Back then, I boycotted it. I finally gave in in 2007, when my friends begged me to make an account. I disliked hearing the word "friend" as a verb. People preened if they amassed more "friends." People snooped on other people. "What is whatshisname/hername from high school up to?" I never did "friend" many people, and I shut my college account down. I could never see the use of it in my life.

    A few years ago, my friends and my brother again started pressuring me to get an account, so I could see photos they posted or I could chat with them. They were annoyed at having to chat with me via Gmail or email me photos. So I bowed to the pressure again, setting up another barebones account, and not "friending" many people or fleshing out the account by liking things or adding a bazillion photos.

    This annoys my friends. Apparently, I am a Luddite for eschewing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. I've been warned that unless I embrace it, my career may one day suffer if I remain isolated and don't acquaint myself with how Facebook connects people. I am the target demographic for social media, yet I don't see the point for my life in particular. I just don't care about stuff like that. If you want me to see something, send it to my email or phone. If you want to talk to me, call me or text.

    Yes, I know that Twitter let the world in on the Mumbai hotel attacks and Arab Spring. But when it comes to things like memes (which I am frequently a latecomer to and thus don't understand), and things that go viral, this is where I really don't get it.

    So tonight, on one of my rare visits to my Facebook homepage, on the right-hand panel, I see a news item about a dress, the color of which (apparently) has "killed the internet," sparking tweets galore and overloading the servers of other popular social media hangouts.

    But it doesn't stop there...it's on THE NEWS. The damn thing has made the news. As one of the top stories, no less. It has spurred articles on brain science as to why no one can agree about the color, apparently in an attempt to justify its existence as IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

    Why? Just....why? Who gives a flying shit? I wasn't alive in the 60's and 70's, but I'm quite sure Walter Cronkite would've vetoed this shit on the spot if it came across his desk, along with whatever provocative instagram photo or tweet segment that makes up news programs these days. I can somewhat understand people using Twitter as information because it's firsthand and from the source...but this dress. This dress.

    WHO CARES?! And the only REASON this thing became an item of discussion was because of friggin' social media.

    I realize I am in the extreme minority. I realize that this is the way the world is moving and nothing can stop it. But when vapid, banal stuff like this invades the news, all because of social media, it just irritates the hell out of me. It makes me wish I could detonate an EMP over Facebook and Twitter's servers and take them all down for a solid fortnight. I wonder how many people would come down with withdrawal symptoms?

    And yeah, I know you can classify forums like this as social media, and extend the argument to the internet at large. But...the color of a damn dress making one of the top stories on the news. I'm just shaking my head.

    Why can't we have editors step up and say "No. We're not running this. This is not worth airtime or column space."

    And I've gone and written a "column" about it. Damn social media. *sigh*

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  2. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2001
    The entire thing with that dress is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen, and I've been on the Internet for 20 years, and I've seen a lot of stupid shit go "viral."

    I have no idea why people perceiving the color of a shitty dress in a crummy photo differently exploded so much, and it seemed to reach epic proportions pretty damn quickly. I can sort-of, maybe, understand how it is interesting in how brain-science works, how colors work, how lighting works, etc. But this dress thing occurred on a day when a major celebrity and pop-culture icon died and when tragedy occurred all over the nation and the world.

    Man, can you imagine how much we could change in this world if people got so animated and talky about real, important, issues as people got over the color of this dress?

    I just don't get it. And even now, after the true colors of the dress have been revealed by using software to improve the quality of the photo and, more importantly, pictures of the dress from on-line retailers and by people wearing them in better photos people still debate the damn thing.

    I've got social-media accounts and take them for what they are worth, but this? This was the dumbest thing I've ever seen and just confused me to no end.

    And, honestly, I think a lot of people have a very, very funny idea of what the colors "white" and "gold" look like.

    And from the "white and gold" photo I could tell that it was a crummy photo taken under crummy lighting conditions or bizarre settings because the whole photo was washed out and looked like crap.
  3. Bad Father Christmas

    Bad Father Christmas I Am Not A Merry Man! Moderator

    Jul 5, 2004
    Locutus of Bored
    I beg to differ. I give you Cronkite's coverage of TieGate in October, 1972:


    I'm on anti-social media, so most of this passed me by (except for some random mentions on the news) until my sister asked me what color I thought it was and sent me the pic on my phone.

    I guess there is some interesting discussion to be had from it, but I agree with you about the excess of news media coverage.
  4. AusterityXmas

    AusterityXmas Writer - Australis Admiral

    Mar 12, 2005
    The Dress thing is profoundly uninteresting to me, but I'm a guy, and more amused by it than angry.

    I saw a news clip t'other night, and yes, said dress is black/blue. Okay then. Photograph made it white/gold.

    I suppose where some people would get upset is if they start to wonder, "OMG, can I trust my eyes an more?!" One person sees one set of colours, you see something else, what's going on?! Suddenly the world doesn't make sense! Fireballs in the sky! Dogs and cats living together! You know the drill.

    At the end iof the day, it's a distraction, like so much else in the media, which is talking about this instead of Real News... but you knew that.
  5. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 20, 2007
    inside teacake
    It is DEFINITELY a dull slate and a dull beige. Definitely.

    And you're not really eschewing social media if you let it upset you so much ;)
  6. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

    Jul 23, 2001
    Howrah, Hobart, Tasmania
    The dress thing didn't annoy me, I just ignored it for the most part though I did like a couple of photos that sent it up (one with the dress on fire, the other with a cat wearing a dress). Even with all the dress posts my timeline was still filled with things that were actually interesting - such as the octopus catching a crab and the snake whose tail looked like a spider. I also think that the number of tributes to Leonard Nimoy of my timeline greatly outweighed the number of posts about the dress. I think whether you are flooded with the dress was dependent on who you have as friends and what pages you have liked. I only have about 50 friends and The pages I like are mainly science, atheist, animal, Lammily doll, some news and books sites, hence I wasn't totally inundated.
  7. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 17, 2010
    I am so outraged by this dress thing that I have already started a fundraiser to "Stop The Dress Madness". In a few minutes I am going to the printing office to print some signs saying "Dressghazi Killed My Grandma".

    More seriously, what's so much to dislike about it? I barely noticed there was a thing going on. I wouldn't have noticed it if it hadn't gotten to me. I quickly glimpsed at some story about a dress, with a picture of a gold-white dress in it, I thought it was silly and closed it. What's the bother?

    The only thing that did bother me is that when I accidentally opened the same site on the next day and the dress had changed colour, and that colour had nothing to do with the one from the day before. And even then I only thought it was a freaky optical illusion and cool. Aren't we supposed to be excited about the way our vision works? I've been excited about optical craziness for some time, so I thought it was cool that this one happened to be popular among more people. I will also say that's one of the most bizarre ones, as I have never before seen my eyes be deceived in such blatant fashion, and without a trick behind it.
  8. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2005
    Mr. Laser Beam is in the Confederation of Earth
    At least the thing with the llamas was funny.
  9. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

    Apr 14, 2003
    Norfolk, VA
    It made news for a day, everyone discussed it. If the worst thing that can be said is it's boring, then it can be ignored.
  10. mimic

    mimic Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    I think the dress thing is cool. I usually see blue/black, but do recall seeing white/gold once or twice. I just assumed it was a different picture, but now I'm not sure. I think my brain just interpreted it differently that time. I can't make it switch back and forth.

    My students were so curious about why people saw different things that we got into a short discussion of color perception. We looked at that checkerboard shadow optical illusion and talked about everything you see your brain interprets with context. With the dress, your brain attributes the light blue tint either to the dress or to bluish lighting and that determine what colors you see.

    So yeah, it's not 'serious' news or anything, but where's the harm?
  11. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

    Dec 23, 2004
    Northern Ireland
    I was on Twitter and Facebook more than usual because of the other news that broke that day, and I didn't even notice this supposed outrage until I watched The Last Leg that evening.
  12. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 27, 2010

    I agree w/ the OP that it's silly that it made the news. But that kind of thing is exactly why I read the news not watch it. I can ignore the silly stuff that I'm not interested in.
  13. shivkala

    shivkala Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 26, 2004
    Social Media is a tool. Like any tool it takes some experience to make it work for you. Yes, no matter what, things like the dress will seep in. And, like any tool, if you didn't like the dress, you can use Social Media in such a way as to block the dress. To me the dress is no more or less annoying as "The Dancing Baby," "All Your Base Are Belong to Us," "The Hamster Dance," "Rick Rolling," etc. And, all of those things hit before Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    As you refer, while some people use it to pass along trivial things, others are using it to inspire change. There will be some overlapping, though.

    From my rather unscientific understanding, the idea of a meme is that ideas can spread like diseases. A meme is supposed to be something that one gets and then passes on, until it becomes a matter of cultural understanding. You see an image and immediately know what it is. A phrase is uttered and is universally understood. "Never Gonna Give You Up" is played, unexpectedly, and everyone knows you've been "Rick Rolled." Therefore, these ideas are "viral" because of how they spread.

    Memes for me range from inconsequential to irritating to amusing to entertaining. They also come and go quickly.

    As for the news media, well their job, of late, seems to be less about passing on hard news and more about trying to be "hip." The reasons behind such range from the mundane, "People are interested in this, therefore it will increase ratings," to the conspiratorial, "They want you to focus on the dress so you won't focus on X" (where "They" refers to the "Powers that Be," and "X"=whatever terrible, tragic, etc. thing that ostensibly should concern you more, but they don't want you to worry about).

    In a way, though I am on Facebook and check Twitter and Instagram every once in a while, I think all of this is why I still come back to this board. The bulletin board format allows me to judge my interest in a topic before I click on the title. I can easily find shows I'm interested in discussing and ignore the ones I'm not interested in. Social Media seems to inundate you with information you have trouble avoiding and could not care less about.
  14. Ethros

    Ethros Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 4, 2001
    1123 6536 5321
    It doesn't make me hate the media or social media, it makes me hate people
  15. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 20, 2007
    inside teacake
  16. sttngfan1701d

    sttngfan1701d Commodore Commodore

    Jul 4, 2003
    That's almost as stupid as the Romney face tattoo. But since he's just 24, I guess he's put a lot of spur-of-the-moment pop culture stuff on his body (if his comment about "extra space" is true, he must be inked all over) that he'll have to live the next 50-60 years of his life with, and wonder what it meant when he's old and gray. I guess he's okay with that, though. And at least it's on his leg, not his face or neck.

    In any case, I know social media is a tool. It just annoys me when trivial shit is perceived as "important information" just because it goes viral. Social media is changing what society views as "important," and that is troublesome to me.

    People's addition to it is troublesome, too. As is how it's replacing the ways we contact people. Several of my friends can ONLY easily be contacted via Facebook. "I don't check my email anymore and I get a mountain of texts...just find me on Facebook."

    Texting replaced calling, and now Facebook is gradually replacing email and messaging.

    It's damn annoying.
  17. Cash or Credit

    Cash or Credit Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    astral plane
    I think the dress thing is genuinely fascinating.
  18. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

    Aug 8, 2006
    Brooklyn thestrangequark
    My thoughts exactly. I find the contrarian cynicism of all the "it's just a stupid dress" comments a lot more annoying than the enthusiastically abundant coverage of the dress. I think it's great that a silly dress posted on social media has thousands, if not millions of people world over interested in one of the most wonderfully peculiar fields in science. The study of perception is not only fascinating, but hugely important. Yeah, this is just a dress. But the fact that our brains can fool us when it comes to how we perceive reality, that two people can look at the exact same thing and the exact same time and see something different, that one person can see something different when they look and look back, well, that has far less trivial real-world consequences. Because of this dress and because of social media, tons of people who wouldn't otherwise be doing so, are curious and asking questions about science. What could be better than that?

    To be frank as fuck, I find it depressing when I see people react to the dress with such a lack of intellectual curiosity.
  19. Avon

    Avon Commodore Commodore

    May 7, 2010
    i don't know, it seemed like a helpful way to weed out people to unfriend on facebook :P
  20. HaplessCrewman

    HaplessCrewman Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 24, 2006
    Office of Scientific Intelligence
    Agree. It took me about two seconds to realize it's the old "checker shadow illusion". It is amazing that so many people had not heard of it and that so many had no curiosity about the phenomena.

    It's not an argument about a dress but a fun way to teach science.

    It's especially disheartening to find such an anti-science attitude on a Star Trek board of all places. :rolleyes: