Monday, March 29, 2010

The City of Brotherly Love? Teen Flash Mobbing Takes Control of Philadelphia

When we hear the word “flash mob” many of us are reminded of the brilliant T-Mobile dance in the London train station or the Trafalgar Square sing-along. However, in recent days, the word “flash mob” is beginning to take on a new form. While the original flash mobbing was organized and carried out in a harmless and fun manner, new forms of flash mobbing are starting to turn violent. According to the Associated Press, at least 5 different violent flash mobs have occurred in the Philadelphia area in the past year.

Flash mobs, which are often organized on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, have recently become more popular among teens in Philadelphia. However, while most teens choose to carry out flash mobs through song, dance, or even pillow fights, Philadelphia teens have taken things to a new level through the use of violence. According to the Associated Press, an estimated 2,000 teenagers took to the streets of Philadelphia on March 20th to wreak havoc. Witnesses claim that teens were blocking traffic, jumping on cars, and roughing up bystanders around the South Street area. Seth Kaufman, a 20-year-old pizza deliveryman was one of the bystanders attacked in the flash mob. Kaufman suffered from gashes along his back and arms and bruises on his forehead from kicking.
“By the time you could hear them yelling, they were flooding the streets and the stores and the sidewalks” said Kaufman.

The March 20th attack was not the first flash mob to hit Philadelphia. In the past year, there have been an estimated 4 violent flash mobs organized and carried out in the Philadelphia area. The first flash mob to create violence occurred on December 18th, 2009 at the Gallery food court and resulted in teens assaulting pedestrians in the Center City area. Authorities discovered that the gathering was organized via Facebook. On February 16th, between 50 and 150 juveniles rampaged a Macy’s department store ruining signs, mannequins, and displays. Also, fights broke out on March 3rd that were related to teenage rioting and flash mobbing that resulted in 28 arrests.

While it appears that flash mobbing teens are taking over Philadelphia, officials are vigorously fighting back. On March 22nd, 10 teenagers from the Macy’s riot were charged of felony rioting. Also, on Wednesday, March 24th, Mayor Michael Nutter addressed the flash mob issue to a crowd gathered at Headhouse Square in Philadelphia. The Mayor aims to control the flash mobbing issue and to reassure business owners and Philadelphia residents of their safety.

Prior to his public speech, Mayor Nutter and 40 uniformed officers took to the streets of 40th and Market to address an online rumor of a future flash mob occurrence in the area. Mayor Nutter requested businesses to close their doors and stationed officers at various corners. In Philadelphia, they mean business. Nutter plans to continue with his serious efforts to control the flash mobbing through curfews and various citywide restrictions to minors. However, while city officials work towards keeping the streets clean of flash mobbing, Nutter urges parents to keep a better eye on their children. In his public speech Nutter bluntly stated,
“I ran for mayor. I didn’t run for mother. I don’t know what causes someone to act like a jackass.”

Considering this new teenage adaptation of flash mobbing makes me wonder about the negative affects of social media. We have clearly seen how social media can positively bring people together for causes and goals, but the recent Philadelphia flash mobbing attacks really make me wonder how social media can negatively impact people. It is up to each individual to decide whether or not to use their social networking and Internet resources for good or evil, but are we giving adolescents too much power? Perhaps it isn’t social networking that is the danger but rather the actions that occur outside the realm of the World Wide Web. But is social networking to blame for bringing the individuals together?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Podcast #1

Podcast Show Notes

Hilltopper Weekly Podcast: Episode # 1- Monday, March 8, 2010

This week on the Hilltopper Weekly Podcast, Ellie, Natalie and Annie discuss the 125th year anniversary.

00:17 Quick introductions
00:26 Natalie introduces today’s topic
00:45 Ellie introduces the guest speakers
00:52 Natalie discusses the history of the university
02:15 Ellie interviews Marcie Lasseigne and Mischelle Diaz
06:46 Annie discusses the future of St. Ed’s
07:53 Ellie and Natalie close


Monday, March 1, 2010

"Can this pickle get more fans than Nickleback?"

The most asked question among Facebook fans this past month was “Can this pickle get more fans than Nickleback?” Seemingly odd question at first, but those participating in this ‘inside’ joke can quickly find the humor. On February 3rd, 2010, a Facebook user named Coral Anne created the Facebook fan page “Can this pickle get more fans than Nickleback?” as a joke. The joke being that more people would choose a pickle over the band Nickelback. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, Nickelback is a Canadian group of 3 that sings rock/pop songs. The band, while ridiculed among other musicians and music fans, still retains a large fan base. On Facebook, the band currently has 1,434,193 fans. So for Coral Anne to set out to find 1,434,193 plus people to choose a pickle over the band Nickelback, seems like quite a feat. However, on February 19th, 2010, only a little over two weeks of creating the page, the pickle won!

Within a matter of days, the pickle phenomenon launched into overdrive. You can now find pickle videos on Youtube, buy pickle fan t-shirts, and find pickle fans all over the world. Today the fan page has 1,533,368 fans, nearly 100 more than the band! How did she do it, you might ask? Well below is an excerpt from the fan page written by the founder herself:

1. This is all strictly intended for humour and nothing more or less. I am not using this page to endorse any hate towards the band Nickelback. I respect Nickelback and do not hate them. I am not behind any negative or hateful content that others post on this page as Facebook pages are designed to be public and I, the page's creator, have posted nothing of the sort myself. I do not wish Nickelback or any other bands any ill will and hope they would see the same humour in making this page as I have.

2. I have had no correspondence with Chad Kroeger or anyone affiliated with Nickelback. Anyone who says so is just spreading rumours and/or are mistaken by pictures that were posted on the site of someone with what was likely a fake account. Nickelback have not done anything wrong in lieu of the making of this page and if anyone out there says that they have, it is not true.

3. I am fully aware that I misspelled Nickelback as "Nickleback" in the name of the page. This is because Facebook doesn't allow you to put the word Nickelback in the name of a page because I guess if someone did it would be copyright infringement.

4. Yes, this page was inspired by "Can this onion ring get more fans than Justin Bieber?" before anyone tells me that I copied the guy who made that. I know I have but I thought his idea was so hilarious that I just had to do something in its likeness. So I was inspired, more or less!

In the description, Coral Anne admits to copying a fellow Facebook users idea for the page and purposely misspelling the band’s name in the title of the page in order to avoid copyright issues. However, as she claims, it is all for humor! Personally, I love the fact that a Facebook user can bring together a million and a half people who prefer a pickle to a well-known band. I also find humor in the Facebook group, as it is easy to put Nickelback at the butt of many music-based jokes.

Once again, the power of social media at it’s finest! One thing I do wonder is how the band plans to respond to the group. Do you think it is negative for their public image to lose in a Facebook battle to a pickle? If you were in their position, what would you do?