Online Insults and Suicide

The debate is growing.  From today’s NYT:

Gregory K. Brown,  a specialist on suicide at the University of Pennsylvania,
said that public humiliation could play a role in suicide because
“hopelessness is often a major risk factor, and if you’ve been publicly
humiliated and your reputation has been tarnished forever, you could
see how someone could become hopeless.” Such situations, he added,
could contribute to feeling that life is unbearable.

And unlike
some other forms of public humiliation, online insults can live in
perpetuity. Whether that increases suicide risk, Mr. Brown said, is an
open question, adding, “Although it’s plausible that’s the case, we
know very little about the role of the Internet.”

Link: After Suicide, Blog Insults are Debated

See also this TechCrunch discussion: When Will We Have Our First Valleywag Suicide?


Liveblogging Your Vasectomy

On a related note… Medical science blogger "Abel Pharmboy" liveblogged his vasectomy last week.  You can relive the adventure here if you have the stomach: Liveblogging the Vasectomy Chronicles.  It’s yet another proud milestone for the web.  I don’t know who is creepier — the blogger who did this or the readers who tuned in live.

(Via io9.)

Daniel Solove’s The Future of Reputation

Daniel Solove’s recent book The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet is now available for free online.  I learned this via Danah Boyd’s blog — she is apparently the one to thank for this, and she offers kudos to Yale University Press.

As someone who has been aware of this book since it appeared, I’m happy that I can now read a chapter or two for free, but I’ll probably still wait to get it from the library.  I’m not likely to buy it in hardcover or to read the whole thing online.  If the publisher had put it out as a $20-or-cheaper paperback in the first place I’d have snapped it up quick.

A Techie Discovers Irony, re: Lee Siegel

Blogger academHacK has discovered that Lee Siegel’s Against the Machine is available in Kindle format, which, you know, is ironic.  Link: Saturday Humor: Fearing Technology, via Smart Mobs.

Here’s more irony: an "academic" who can’t capitalize words properly! ha ha.  Gosh, this is easy.

Seriously, though, I just finished reading Siegel’s book yesterday and my thoughts are mixed.  He makes some good points about participatory culture and internet hype, but the book is much more a piece of cultural criticism (not technology related) than anything else.  He spends more words criticizing American Idol than he does criticizing YouTube.  So I find it puzzling that the book was given such a provocative title, but I guess that’s marketing for you.  I also think his logic is pretty weak, though the book is really more a rant than an argument.

And of course Siegel points out clearly in the book that he’s not blindly anti-Internet, which should ease academHacK’s mind.

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Link: Gift Idea: Diary™