Fresh gel manicure to brighten a #TechnoFashionista’s day…

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I love how amazing brightly colored nails look on me. Especially with a splash of glittery bling on my ring finger for added “dramatic effect”. Color gel manicures are my favorites, because I can achieve a glossy effect that looks fresh for 2 weeks straight without chipping.

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Why unlawful social media behavior can get you sued

Social Media Lawsuit - Carla FranklinToday, more than 50% of Americans have at least one active social media account.  Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform with over 1 Billion active users each month.  Twitter continues to grow as an important digital information outlet with over 140 million active users posting 340 million Tweets a day.  Tumblr, Pintrest, Group Me, YouTube, LinkedIn and Word Press are other key players in the untamed Wild West of human digital life.  So it comes as no surprise that there are outlaws in the online Wild West, committing crime and using social platforms with malicious intent.  There always are criminals in every new frontier who prey on victims.  Luckily, the use of social media evidence is becoming a recognized standard in courtrooms nationwide.

Social Media Finger Print - Carla FranklinSocial media evidence is increasingly being used to win verdicts on behalf of Plaintiffs in both civil and criminal suits.  This trend demonstrates a positive, albeit slow, progression by the judicial system to recognize relevance that social media plays not only in everyday life, but also in criminal and civil offenses across the United States.   When ever a new technology emerges for providing evidence of criminal behavior, there is a “lagging effect” on the side of law enforcement and the court system to understand and recoginze its validity.  This was true of DNA evidence, which first emerged as a solid legal tool  in the 1980s, but took 10+ years to become a recognized standard by police and the courts.

As an anti-cyber abuse advocate, and a survivor of cyberharassment, I’ve seen first hand how law enforcement, attorneys and judges struggle with social media evidence in cases of harassment, stalking, defamation and invasion of privacy.  Arguments arise regarding First Amendment and Privacy rights.  Courts have had discomfort dealing with postings, and their impact on case law.  How does one distinguish between as satire, or the right to comment on “public figures“, vs. defamation in the digital world?   In the past, the judiciary often minimized the damage of online harassment and defamation online.  Thankfully this is changing.  The growing use of digital media as a primary platform for information and communication make crimes like cyberbullying, cyberharassment, online defamation and revenge porn even more damaging than those committed offline.  My philosophy is that if it’s illegal for an individual to engage in certain illegal behavior in person, by mail or over the phone, then he/sh should NOT be allowed to do it online…where the audience is larger, the rate of “misinformation dissemination” is faster, and it is harder to undo bad behavior.  Nationwide, judges, DAs and police are starting to adopt the same philosophy.

A recent article entitled, “Authentication and Access for Social Media Evidence“, written by lawyers from the firm of Jenner and Block, outlines the two main criteria that social media evidence must meet to be admissible in court:

  1. It must meet basic standards of Authentication.  This means, the user account must tie back to a specific user based on the “preponderance of evidence” in civil cases, or “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal cases.
  2. Accessibility. It must be stored and be accessible via typical methods of discovery.  This means that if I subpoena Facebook for information on an alleged online stalker, the company’s legal or security team  should be able to retrieve and provide me with an official record of the activity.

The revolution will not be televised, but it may occur via social media…

The revolution will not be televised, but it may occur via social media...

Gil Scott Heron

Today’s social movements seem to always start via the internet.  Modern day revolutions are digital revolutions. Nowadays revolutionary movements seem to only gain traction through social media, which feeds the social transformation like dry brush near a smoldering camp fire.  One random spark reaching the right network at the right time creates an inferno.  Would the world know, or care about Joseph Kony without social media? Where would the marriage equality movement be without the NOH8 and related campaigns? Anytime I see a social idea grow from a fledgling spark into a full-fledged digital movement that takes on a life of it’s own in the real world, I think of  Gil Scott Heron’s critically acclaimed poem, The Revolution will not be Televised, which starts out:

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised….

Its true you know… the revolution will NOT be televised.  Television distracts and confuses.  It makes you mistake “fair and balanced” one-sided opinion for news, buy into reality drama and fools us into believing that 24-hour headline news that only focused on 2-3 major stories in a day provides us with a global view of the world. Like a drug that makes you feel like you’ve floated outside of your body, reached nirvana and have unlocked the secrets of the universe, TV provides and escape from reality, that fools and consumes the mind.  Admittedly, my guilty pleasure is reality TV. I only watch occasionally, like going to McDonald’s or eating chips, reality TV is my brain’s fast food. It holds no nutritional or substantive value other than escape from reality, but I’m do it like most other people.  Social media, however, provides an opportunity for me to plug back in, on my terms.  I especially love the social media movements…the digital revolutions.

Random business musings: Man Lotion

Man Lotion Vaseline Men

Man Lotion – Vaseline Men

Perhaps I’m late in discovering man lotion. I saw this black container of Vaseline Intensive care on the desk of a colleague, at one of my corporate consulting clients. The bottle is a very masculine black, with white lettering. No frills or flowers…basic and bold.  One pump releases lotion inside that smells of “Old Spice” mixed with musky brown bear and the smell of your dad when he got dressed up to take your mom out for a night on the town. It is the personification of “hyper-manliness” in a body & face lotion.  At first I laughed at this rugged looking lotion bottle that was only a line extension of my lavender and berry scented hydrating cream. Then I thought about the brilliance behind it. This is Business Strategy 101: Market Segmentation and niche specialization by Vaseline. Man Lotion that is priced for the average consumer. Brilliant. It must be flying off the shelf. My boyfriend has always complained that regular lotion smells girlie…like berries, flowers and sugar. He usually buys the unscented brands. Well, now all of our problems are solved. Lol.

The Seven types of Cyber Abuse

Cyber Abuse Carla Franklin

Cyber Abuse is a vicious crime that occurs through digital channels

The fact that “ignorance of the law is never a defense“, doesn’t stop people from continuing to engage in online behavior that is not only unethical, but also illegal. As someone who survived and fought back against cyber stalking, I’m often invited to speak to high school and college-aged students on the topic of cyber abuse. Consistently, I find that most young people and adults who attend my talks don’t understand the full emotional and legal impact of cyber abuse. Many don’t even know all the forms that cyber abuse takes and that there are some laws on the books to protect victims from each type. Now, these laws aren’t always appropriately enforced, and most are unreasonably limited given the damage that cyber abuse does, but the laws are there nonetheless and should be used.

Typically when people discuss general online digit abuse, harassment and stalking, they use the term “cyberbullying”.

Stop cyberstalking

Stop cyberstalking

This is a misnomer.  Cyber abuse the most appropriate term to describe crimes and other legal violations that are directed at individuals and committed through digital channels including cell phone services and the internet.

Cyberbullying, like Cyberharassment and Cyberstalking, is a type of cyber abuse.  Specifically, it is cyber abuse committed by young people (age 17 and under) again young people, while Cyberharassment and Cyberstalking are commited by adults.   Cyberharassment may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass (Wikipedia).   Repeated patterns of cyber abuse against a victim by an adult constitutes cyberstalking.

Cyber abuse can though any digital means, not just online.  Victims are damaged mentally, financially and professionally to a degree that is far more severe than similar behavior done in person, by postal mail or by phone. Why? Because online and digital communication is global and available to anyone 24 hours a day. Ignoring a perpetrator’s is not always a solutions for victims, especially in cases where this is on going intention to intimidate, alarm, humiliate and irrevocably damage the victim.  Understanding the primary types of cyber abuse, and associated legal consequences, can help empower the victim and his/her loved ones to fight back appropriately and put an end to the behavior.  Below are the seven high-level forms of cyber abuse and the legal consequences associated with them.  Over the coming months, I will be blogging about the real impact of each type of cyber abuse and how victims can empower themselves.

TYPES DEFINITION LEGAL CONSEQUENCES
Cyberbullying
•Cyberbullying is digital abuse committed against young people (17 and younger), by young people
•Suspension from school and athletic teams
•Juvenile arrest
Cyberstalking/ Cyberharassment
•Cyberharassment – a form of cyberbullying committed by adults (18 and older)
•Cyberstalking – repeated acts of cyberharassment
•Civil lawsuits
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, impersonation, defamation
Phone / Caller ID spoofing
•Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to display a number on the recipient’s Caller ID display that is not that of the actual originating station
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, impersonation, identity theft, fraud
Sexting
•Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, primarily between mobile phones.
•Copyright infringement
•Criminal arrest for distribution of pornography, child pornography, invasion of privacy
Revenge Porn
•A form of cyber-rape that involves the distribution of sexually explicit photos and/or videos of an individual (either real or photoshopped) on the Internet without permission.
•Civil lawsuits
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, impersonation
Internet “bombing”/ bombarding
•Creation of 100s to 1000s of harassing and defamatory online postings in an effort to negatively alter a victim’s search engine results and deliberately cause mental anguish, job loss and misconceptions
•Civil lawsuits
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, defamation
Digital burglary
•Illegal entry into or access of another person’s online account
•Criminal arrest for invasion of privacy, impersonation, identity theft, fraud

Ratchet or Refined: Keeping it real while panhandling

Ratchet or Refined: Will work for Weed; Carla Franklin

It takes all types to make the world go round.  This is probably why life in the microcosm of New York City seems to zoom by at the speed of light.  There are literally all types of people here.  In general, I prefer people who are consistently pragmatic and painfully honest.   Why?  Because that is my approach to life.  There is no need to “beat around the bush”.  Life is too short.  For the most part, my friends and colleagues always know where I stand.  Now, I do believe that maintaining civility and kindness are important when walking the path of honesty and pragmatism.

Given this, I truly appreciated the honestly of a panhandler that I passed the other day.  He wanted money for “weed”, and his sign said as much.  Disclaimer: I do not support or condone drug usage or raising funds through panhandling purchase drugs.  That being said, I’m not here to condemn these activities either.  Who am I to judge?  I do respect the honesty…the realness, if you will, of this man’s approach in raising funds.  There was no need to lie, or pretend on his part.  He “kept it real”, and was civil while doing so.  So, what do you think friends?  Is keeping it real while panhandling Ratchet or Refined?