Who will run your Facebook when you die?

Am I blogging on Valentine’s Day?  Yes I am, with birthday cupcakes in the oven (my birthday lasts the entire month of February), Dance Moms on the tv, my dog by my feet and my mom by my side.  I even had Bojangles earlier but you’d know that if you followed my dontmakemeleaveunc Instagram (go follow it, I know you want to).

Anyways, I saw that Facebook changed its policy on the profiles of people after they’ve died following in the footsteps of Google, who allows users to decide how long the Google accounts would need to be inactive before they are deleted.

In February of last year, Facebook updated its policy to preserving the profiles of the deceased so that everyone may see them: this was an update from its previous way of handling the profiles by making the profiles– and everything in the profile like images and statuses– only viewable to friends of the person before they died.  Facebook claimed this was done to protect what his or her “expectations of privacy” as Facebook stated.

Facebook has again made some changes: accounts of the deceased will become memorialized and “legacy contacts” will be more common.  Facebook defines this legacy contact as “someone you chose to look after your account if it’s memorialized,” or in other words, the authorized user that will make decisions for your account after you die.  The legacy count will be able to respond to friend requests, pin posts to the top of the page– which could be helpful in spreading information about memorial and funeral services following the death or other helpful information– and change profile and header pictures.  For all of you really concerned about your privacy, don’t worry: your legacy contact won’t be able to see your messages or change any settings you chose prior to your death.

Facebook verifies the death of the person before they memorialize the profile by a news article or obituary, and after that, the legacy contact will be in charge of it.  These memorialized accounts will have a “Remembering” label beside the name and will not be seen in friend suggestions, advertisements or other public places, but the profiles still have images and posts viewable.

My favorite part of the change in Facebook’s policy is removing the profiles from public spheres.  I’m always surprised to see people that I know are no longer living shown in the “People You May Know” category of Facebook, and not a surprise party reaction, but a negative surprised.  The same can be said when I see a brand shows that one of my Facebook friends liked the product: yes, my deceased friend may have liked Lysol at one time, but I don’t want to see that.

Mashable made a guide to make adding a legacy contact to your profile and easy process if you decide that you want a backup plan for your Facebook profile in case you die.  I, for one, don’t enjoy those thoughts so I’m going to go back to watching Dance Moms.


I’m wearing a tiara right now

Today, February 12, is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (RIP) and it’s my 22nd birthday!  I resisted the urge to wear my tiara all day long (it was in my backpack earlier but I’m wearing it now) and didn’t tie a balloon to my backpack because my sister said that was “too much.”  That being said, I love my birthday for a few reasons.

1.  I like being the center of attention.  I’ll admit it (admitting it is the first step to recovery, right?) and though that’s not one of my finer qualities, this is acceptable on my birthday.  This is probably obvious since I like wearing a tiara on my birthday and letting passersby know I’m the birthday girl.

2.  You get to spend time with all of your friends and family.  This hasn’t always happened on my actual birthday since being in college, but even just grabbing a meal with those I care about most makes me happy.

3.  I can wear a tiara and it be semi-acceptable.  Need I say more?  (If you read yesterday’s blog, you probably remember that other than Anastasia, Princess is a name I’ll always respond to.)

4.  Cake and ice cream.  And cupcakes.  And cookies.  Delicious.

5.  You’re reminded that even if people don’t constantly show it, they care about you.  This is probably my favorite part of the day.  It’s hard to keep in touch with everyone as much I would like, and even if it’s a quick message letting me know that despite not talking in a while, people still care, it means a lot.

So feel free to call me Princess today (or any day) or tell me how great I am.  Just don’t sing me Taylor Swift lyrics.



Anastasia vs. Annie vs. Ana

This morning I went to Chickfila for breakfast because I wanted to and can’t make it before my 9:30 class tomorrow.  When the man serving me asked for a name for my order, he paused and was clearly struggling to spell Anastasia (you would’ve known I went to Chickfila if you follow my dontmakemeleaveunc Instagram page… go follow it).

I’m surprised that all he did was take a few extra seconds to butcher the spelling of my name.  Normally I get asked questions like:

“Can you repeat that?”

“What does that mean?”

“Wait, is that in a different language?”

and my personal favorite, “Omg were you named after the Disney movie?!”

First of all, Anastasia is not a Disney movie, it’s 20th Century Fox.  I mean it couldn’t be a Disney film because Rasputin sells his soul in the first scene and vows to murder an entire family… not exactly a family friendly topic.  The movie was released in 1997 and I was born in 1993 (tomorrow it’ll have been 22 years since then).  So no, I was not named after a movie.  I was named after the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the last Russian tzar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra.  My mother studied the Romanovs and named me after the youngest princess and named my sister after the prince Alexei (sorry Lex, you’re named after a boy).

Other than the weird looks I get when I tell people my name, I get a wide variety of mispronunciations of my name.  Nope,  it’s not pronounced as anesthesia nor is it exotic sounding so don’t say it with an accent.

Anna is a normal name, “st” is a common sound, and we have a continent named Asia that we all can pronounce without any problems.

Put it all together and what do you get? An-na-sta-sia/ an-na-stay-shuh/ An-na-stay-juh/ I can’t spell phonetically so I’m not sure if any of those make any sense.

Regardless, I fail to see how my name is that hard to say.  Others haven’t always agreed with me and quite a few people don’t use my name at all.

I’m not entirely sure the origins of my nickname “Annie” but I attribute the name to my friend Abby back in the first grade.  I remember that Abby didn’t want to try to say my four-syllable name so instead, she gave me the name Annie.  That may be completely fabricated, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

No matter how this name came about, it stuck.  People from elementary school through high school graduation called me Annie and continue to call me by that name.  I don’t think I’ve ever introduced myself as Annie but that’s what everyone from home calls me.

Except for my family.  They call me Anastasia– always have, always will.  Occasionally Anastasia Noelle if I do something wrong (mostly used by my parents or my cheerleading coach in high school).  My mom called me Annie once and it was the most uncomfortable, unnatural, terrible thing and neither of us liked it, so that never happened again.

Because I introduce myself as Anastasia, very few people in college know that Annie is a name some people call me.  Freshman year I lived with a girl from my high school who called me Annie, so people I met with her call me Annie.  Other than freshman year friends, everyone else calls me Anastasia.

I was reminded of this dichotomy between home friends and school friends in my Current Issues in Mass Communication class in the journalism school (this is the class where our blogs are compiled on a Rebel Mouse site).  Everyone in the class calls me Anastasia except for Jenny and Brooke, two girls I know from home.  I’ve actually known Brooke since kindergarten and she’s always called me Annie (this brings doubt to the story about the origin of Annie happening in the first grade… oh well, just go with it).  I’m not sure when I met Jenny– either in the 8th grade or sometime in high school– but I’m good friends with her sisters and they both call me Annie, so she does too.  I think it’s funny when we’re having a group discussion and when people reference something I’ve said, there are two names referring to me.  Well, not ha ha funny but I think it’s interesting and I don’t know if anyone picks up on it.

I don’t mind the name Annie, but unless you’re from home or currently call me that, do not start calling me that.  I’ll repeat that: do not call me Annie unless you’ve called me that prior to reading this blog.  That will irritate me (which is weird because I don’t mind being called Annie by people that know me from home).

Don’t call me Anna.  I won’t answer.  I won’t name names, but a friend of mine has started calling me Ana and I am pretty vocal about hating it, but she doesn’t care.  Actually I’ll name names: Summer Allen, I’m talking about you.

To summarize, I like my name so unless you currently call me Annie, call me Anastasia.  I’m named after a princess so by the transitive property, I’m a princess.  Actually, you can call me Princess if you want.  I’ll answer to that.


The permanent and temporary internet

I’ve mentioned this before, but the blog posts written about mass communication, media and journalism are complied on our class’s homepage on Rebel Mouse.  While browsing through this site reading some of the articles, I stumbled upon two articles written by my classmates addressing the permanence and temporary qualities of the internet.  Jenny wrote about how content on the internet is temporary and can be constantly updated making the internet far from permanent.  Tess took a different take by noticing how permanent some aspects of the ‘net are, including Facebook and other social medias we no longer use.

I, for one, think that there are many permanent aspects of the internet.  Sure, you can delete a tweet or Facebook status, but screenshots exist so they may really be gone.  Applications like the Wayback Machine, an internet archive of sorts, are available for users to see what websites looked like in the past.  Until reading Jenny’s blog, I didn’t know about this resource, but it helps preserve what used to exist on the internet.

The constant use of screenshots and applications like the Wayback Machine show that once something is out there, it stays out there.

This really resonates with me and I make sure to be careful of what I put out there on the web.  When I had to make my Twitter account public for a class, I wasn’t happy about it.  Not because I have secrets to hide nor do I have terrible things to say that I don’t want the world seeing, but because I could control who saw my tweets.  I could confirm or deny people based on whether or not I wanted them to see my tweets.  I no longer have that luxury and now anyone can see my tweets.

That’s fine because I think about my tweets before I send them, but others clearly don’t take as much time editing their posts before sending it out for the world to see, forever.

Turns out, I’m not being paranoid for no reason.  A girl with the name of “Cella” on Twitter learned the hard way that what you put on the internet is for all to see.

Cella was hired to work at Jet’s Pizza in Mansfeld, Texas and tweeted that she was not so excited to start her job the next day (with some expletives you can read here) but the story doesn’t end here.  Her soon-to-be boss saw the tweet and fired her over Twitter.  Ouch.

If Cella’s last name was listed on her Twitter account, I’m sure this infamous story would follow her around for a while.  Maybe not forever, but it would exist.

Justine Sacco isn’t so lucky.  After tweeting “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” before getting on a flight, she created a problem for herself.  She was let go from her PR firm and was labeled as a racist by people around the world.

Sacco has a job now and the tweet isn’t overshadowing her skills as a public relations professional (though she struggled branding herself), this mistake is still out there.  It will continue to be out there when she applies for future jobs or when anyone types her name into Google for years to come.

I don’t want to become the next Justine Sacco so I’ll continue editing my tweets.

Before reading Jenny’s take, I saw the internet as a fairly permanent platform but she brought up some great points.  However, she brought up great points about the internet having the great ability to constantly edit– or delete– content on the internet.

For the news world, it is important that content can be constantly updated and changed to keep information accurate.  For my personal world, I find the internet more permanent and for that reason, I’ll try to keep my sass toned down.


Why I dislike native advertisements

When the word I hear the word “advertising” I think of a commercial showcasing the benefits of a product or service in an attempt to make me buy it.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines advertising as:

— something (such as a short film or a written notice) that is shown or presented to the public to help sell a product or to make an announcement

— a person or thing that shows how good or effective something is

— the act or process of advertising.

I interpret this definition to mean that advertisements are obvious to the reader: that it is obvious to the reader what they are trying to accomplish.


There is another form of advertising that is different than the traditional advertising model of “Here’s my product, it is great because of A, B and C and you need it because of X, Y and Z so you should buy it.”  These advertisements are created in the form of content you’d see in a publication, like an editorial.  They are not explicitly labeled as advertisements and they are called native advertisements.

Random House Dictionary defines native advertising as:

1) Advertising content on a website that conforms to the design and format of the site and is integrated into the site’s usual content.

2) Native advertising that is almost indistinguishable from the paper’s news stories.

3) This type of online advertising, or the practice of advertising in this way.

These ads are no longer obvious to the reader because they mimic content surrounding it.  They aim to blend into the content so that readers see its advertisement as truth, as if it was an impartial review of a product or service.

I applaud advertisers for finding another platform for advertisements because users are quick to click “Skip Ad” when they appear on videos, fast forward through ads on recorded content on DVR devices, or zone-out during ads.  Native advertisements blur the line between content and advertisements making viewers less likely to tune it out.

At the same time, the content is not coming from an impartial source nor is it content exactly like the content found on the site: it has an ulterior motive.  Since I’ve learned about native advertisements in UNC’s Journalism school, I know to look for native ads.  I have been able to identify that some content is not like the rest of the content on the website, and I have then taken that article with a grain of salt.  Everyone doesn’t know about native advertisements, and this is where I find the issue.

Advertising Age reported on The New York Time’s native advertisements for 2014.  The NYT stated that native advertisements composed “inside 10 percent” of its digital-ad revenue, which amounts to $18 million spent on native ads.

On one hand, this can make a lot of money for businesses.  It expands the market for advertisements, especially for online content, and if they’re done well, it would have positive effects for the advertiser.

On the flip side, advertisements will be blended into real news content and only time will tell if consumers will be able to tell the difference between the two.  I have already seen a pattern of some of my Facebook friends (not to be confused with real-life friends) that interpret anything they see on the internet as truth which is a problem for multiple reasons, but native advertisements would not be ads in the eyes of these people (“What do you mean ‘you people’? What do you mean ‘you people’?! –Tropic Thunder, ha ha ha).  Beyond that, I don’t want to be skeptical about articles on a website like The New York Times worried that they are native ads.

I would prefer all native ads to be clearly identified as advertisements, but this somewhat defeats the purpose.  Some websites identify these pieces as “sponsored” or “advertisements” but it is not required.  A stamp of identification would make me more of a native advertising fan, but I don’t know if this will be come a uniform practice among all news sources.

I think the distinction between ads and news content is an important one:  I am definitely a skeptic when it comes to ads in general, and I find native ads to be sneaky.  No matter what I think, they seem to be here to stay.

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I “Literally Can’t Even” with Snapchat’s mini series

“My favorite mini series is on Snapchat!” – No one ever.

Turns out, Snapchat is more than a platform in which you can take pictures of your distorted face and send it to all of your friends for under 10 seconds.  We saw this with the launch of the Discover feature making Snapchat more of a serious platform, offering news to an audience that may not be getting news anywhere else.  As you can see in my blog post covering the release of this feature, I was excited about it.  But truth be told, I haven’t paid any attention to it beyond the initial day.

Snapchat is changing yet again, this time mimicking a television show.  Entitled Literally Can’t Even, this mini series debuted on Snapchat’s channel on the Discover feature.  The first episode was this past Saturday and– you guessed it– it disappeared off into a black hole after 24 hours.

The two protagonists will be played by Sasha Spielberg, daughter of Steven Spielberg, and Emily Goldwyn, daughter of John Goldwyn, in a fictionalized version of their lives in Los Angeles, Calif. reported Mashable.  The first episode was entitled “Sip and Surf Party XXX” and lasted 4 and a half minutes.

I hadn’t heard about Snapchat releasing a mini series until Tuesday of this week so I missed the first episode, but I wasn’t on the lookout for a show lasting 5 minutes on Snapchat.  In fact, if someone had told me about it, I wouldn’t have believed them.  There was nothing on the app on Saturday alerting me to this series (poor promotion in my opinion: you should promote your feature on your own app, duh), nor was there a buzz on social media about the change like there was about the Discover feature (and the fact that Snapchat best friends were gone– RIP).

Just like Twitter’s While you were away feature, none of the people I follow on Twitter talked about this.  None.  There were people that were aware of this launch and an overwhelming amount of the commentary that I’ve seen has been negative.  Mashable compiled some negative reactions and I’ve included some of those reactions with reactions I found on my own.

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Other than Pierre Lipton, the responses were focused at the content inside of the series rather than the fact that an app was creating a mini series.  I’m not too concerned with the content of the mini series because that’s not the point.  A series of episodes is being released on Snapchat.  Snapchat!  An app that features a dancing ghost when it loads is like a television show.  This is groundbreaking and perfect for Snapchat.  Pinterest doesn’t have the appropriate platform to release episodes, nor does Facebook or Twitter.  Snapchat allows users to make their own “episodes” of their lives on their My Stories.  This is just a fictionalized version of a My Story released by the app itself: it’s really innovative and I’m impressed with Snapchat yet again.

I, for one, don’t think I’ll spend 5 minutes watching anything on snapchat because I sure don’t watch Snapchat stories that last more than 100 seconds.  For starters, Snapchat is an app that I use for very short periods of time.  I’ll literally have it open for 2 minutes maximum to send pictures of myself to my friends and to see the snaps they’ve sent me, but that’s it.  I can’t spend a lot of time on this app like I can with Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, there simply isn’t enough content to consume.

Either way, Snapchat is innovating faster than any other platform right now.  Maybe I’ll watch episode 2 of “Literally Can’t Even” this Saturday and actually like it.  I doubt it though.

I'm on the left, FYI

I wrote this while dressed as Beyonce

“Yo, Katy, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best Super Bowl halftime performances of all time! One of the best performances of all time!” –Anastasia “Kanye” Bowden

I love Beyonce.  If I could, I would be Beyonce.  I was Beyonce for Halloween and hot-glued gems to a leotard– while wearing it– for upwards of 40 hours to make it happen because how else could I be 2014 VMA Beyonce without recreating that Tom Ford onesie??!  I wish there were more times I could wear that costume, and the accompanying weave that I bought, without it being weird (though being the weirdest one in the room doesn’t phase me).  I posted pictures of me as Beyonce all over her Facebook in hopes of her noticing and I had no shame.  None.  I’d do it again.

Aside from young Britney Spears (think ’00 and ’01 VMAs), I don’t think there’s anyone else who gets close to Queen Bey.  No one.

Now don’t get me wrong, Katy Perry KILLED it.  She has an amazing voice and it was immediately clear that she was not lip-synching.  Katy is very theatrical and since I’m an ex-musical theatre girl myself (don’t ask questions), I appreciate that.  In other words, Katy puts on a show.  You can watch her performance below and form your own opinions before I share mine.

Like I said, left shark killed it. Uh, I mean, Katy killed it.  That powerhouse voice, the visual effects making the floor appear to be tilting with human chess pieces, the fact that the entire stadium sang part of “California Girls” without any music (I got chills), the fireworks closing the show: it was all incredible.  When she brought Missy Elliot out, I LOST IT.  I literally screamed.  I danced, rapped along with Missy and remembered all of the dances I had to “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It” in middle school.  I legitimately lost control during “Lose Control.”  I watched the game with 10 other girls and we were all the most excited during the 2 minutes and 35 seconds Missy was on stage.  Missy stole the show and without her, it wouldn’t have been as memorable.

For a very brief second, I thought she did better than Beyonce.  Then I quickly came to my senses.

I’ll acknowledge that the performances were very different right now.  Katy had many different elements working alongside her during this performance: the over the top costumes, dancing beach balls, human chess pieces, giant lion/ Aladdin-Cave of Wonder-esque creature and fireworks all contributed to the performance.  I honestly don’t think I would have been so blown away if she just walked around the stage.

Beyonce, on the other hand, doesn’t need this.  She’s flawless (get it???) and she knows it.  Watch 13 minutes and 59 seconds of perfection below.

Beyonce is an incredible dancer, singer and performer.  Or should I say, Sasha Fierce is all of those things.  When multiple versions of her appeared on the screen, I was captivated.  She didn’t need a smiling palm tree dancing beside her.  She definitely didn’t need Lenny Kravitz or Missy Elliot taking up 3 and a half minutes of her performance to be memorable.  Beyonce brought back Kelly and Michelle.  Yes.  Destiny’s Child.  Need I say more?  Probably not, but I will anyways.  They sang part of Bootylicious together and I cannot physically sit still during that song because I love it so much.

Beyonce is an incredible dancer and she displayed these skills on Super Bowl Sunday back in 2013.  In fact, she danced through most of the performance and I wouldn’t have asked for anything different.  Katy isn’t rhythmically challenged, and that drop while singing with Lenny Kravitz was impressive, but she’s no Beyonce.

Bey also has some pipes on her, and she had a power ballad to close her performance to remind everyone that in addition to her abilities to whip her hair around while shaking that thang, she can sing.

Katy Perry made me compare her to Beyonce, so that in itself is evidence that she her performance was nothing short of amazing.  But I ultimately choose Beyonce.

Always choose Beyonce.

Ugh, can I be her? My birthday is next week, someone make this happen please.

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No More’s Super Bowl ad: 5 stars

This year I watched the Super Bowl with a bunch of girls (and even more food).  I don’t particularly care about any NFL teams other than the Panthers, but I decided to cheer for the Seattle Seahawks.  I won a free meal from Chick-fil-a last year after predicting that they would win and I chose them again this year, so maybe I was really hoping for a free #5 8-count with sweet tea.

I love watching the commercials during the big game but I missed some at the beginning of the game because I was a little distracted by all of the food, oops.  After I started watching, I was hooked.  Some of them were a little strange, some of them were hilarious, some morbid.

Halftime had just been called and I was excited to see Katy Perry perform (LINK TO MY BLOG ABOUT HALFTIME PERFORMANCES).  So when I was a commercial started showing an empty home showing signs of an altercation with audio of a phone call between a woman ordering pizza and 911-operator, I was expecting it to have a funny ending.  I thought this ad was for a pizza company, maybe Dominos or Pizza Hut, but I was nowhere close to being prepared for what it was actually about.

To say that I was wrong about this commercial being about a funny commercial about pizza would be an understatement.  This ad by No More addressing domestic violence is the first of its kind to be aired during the Super Bowl.  Ironically it was sponsored by the NFL, a company that has infamously struggled with how to handle situations involving players and domestic violence disputes.

I was shocked.  This audio is a recreation of a real story of a woman who called 911 pretending to call a pizza place looking for help.  She was involved in a domestic dispute, like the images of this commercial showed, but didn’t have the privacy to call for help.  That’s what affects me the most: this isn’t some cleverly fabricated story to make us think about domestic violence.  It actually happened to this woman, and it happens to so many people across our nation.  It’s real.

I’ve now watched this ad in both the 30-second version that aired on Super Bowl Sunday and the original 60-second version many times, and it still gives me goosebumps and makes my heart beat out of my chest.  Quite frankly, I hope it never stops giving me heart palpitations because this is an important issue that I refuse to become indifferent about.

I wasn’t expecting to see social issues during the Super Bowl, but it’s actually the perfect platform.  Why not address an issue plaguing our nation when 120.8 million people are watching?  That’s a lot of eyeballs and a great way to raise awareness.

McDonald’s must agree with me because they, too, use its commercial to address cyber-bullying.  Nationwide made an advertisement about how many children die from preventable deaths in a slightly disturbing and morbid way, but it also addressed a serious issue.  This year there was a trend of creating advertisements that weren’t the norm of funny talking babies or celebrities making fun of themselves (though we saw that too), and I think it was necessary.  2014 was a year full of issues in our nation from unrest in Ferguson, MO to ISIS attacks to NFL players being in domestic violence disputes.  These issues needed to be addressed.  And thankfully, some of them were.

I love funny ads, but I’m glad these issues are being aired during the most watched event of the year.  I don’t want the entirety of the commercials to be serious in the future, but they deserve to be included.  I applaud No More for this commercial and it has definitely prompted the nation to talk about the issue.


(Still sad I didn’t win a free Chick-fil-a meal, thanks Seahawks.)