It is time! By now, I have upped my Snapchat game… We have all upped our Snapchat game! Snapchat right now has so much in common with the early days of Twitter, it’s ridiculous! There is the active community that is in love with the platform, and then there is the normal folks who “Just don’t get it.” But they will!
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have for sure heard of the operations carried out by the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous time and time again in recent years. They are they ones that have taken down thousands of ISIS-related Twitter accounts. They also received press for acts such as threatening to expose the names of thousands of KKK members; taking on NSA over censorship of free press; hacking government sites that don’t support LGBT rights, and more. On smaller scales, they have been known to use their Internet wizardry to combat police coverups; track child predators; and find evidence to support victims of assault cases. Pretty impressive stuff, right? But who are they?
The Complex Web of Anonymous
- A member notices that something wrong is going on
- Other members check to see if the problem can be fixed using the Internet
- An operation leader steps up, gathers troops, and organizes the operation
- Maybe create a video detailing the cause and outlining the plan of attack
- They maybe organize a protest or two
- Members disband from the operation and never talk about it again.
Some of the members might join forces for other operations. Others might just leave. The amorphous nature of it all is pretty fascinating. Are you wondering if they can be stopped? Don’t bother, the answer is no. Authorities have busted members a few times here and there, and those members were quickly replaced by several more.
Characteristics of Anonymous
According to Brian Kelly, there are three characteristics that tie-in with Anonymous:
- An unrelenting moral stance on issues and rights, regardless of direct provocation
(Makes sense, because they usually fight against large groups for the greater good)
- A physical presence that accompanies online hacking activity
(They go out and talk about their missions with their videos, social updates, newsletter, protests, etc.)
- A distinctive brand
(Their use of the Guy Fawkes mask is no joke. The logo with the question mark, suit, and tie- woah. And their tagline is so creepy: “We are Anonymous, We are legion, We don’t forgive. We don’t forget. United as one. Divided by zero. Expect us.”)
I guess most of us don’t have to worry about being attacked by Anonymous. We can sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show. But if you’re doing something wrong- some kind of injustice using the Internet- THEIR INTERNET…. oh Mister… as Stephen Colbert once said, you’re “sticking your penis in a hornets nest.”
And by the way, they are generally good to the media. They love being in the press. They love being in the headlines. That’s because they proudly stand behind all that they do, and want everyone to know that they are doing it.
The Origins of Anonymous
Operations and Shenanigans
Anonymous can’t stand hypocrisy. They don’t like it when the US Government practices what they say is illegal for others to do. The government has repeatedly done DDoS attacks and shut down sites. When regular people did so, they were prosecuted. This was especially the case when people would use software for such attacks, but it was always totally okay for the government to it, and Anonymous did NOT like that. Despite being harshly punished by the US government (10 years in prison,) DDoS attacks are viewed as “virtual sit-ins” by Anonymous. I guess it goes without saying what they did to different US government sites to teach them a lesson, haha.
There was one point they even overthrew the Egyptian government. Mubarak had shut off the Internet in Egypt, which was a major no-no. Anonymous instructed people on how to get the Internet back by setting up virtual networks that cannot be shut down by the government. They even went as far as helping people send out tweets. Same in Tunisia. And China. And many more countries.
On a smaller scale, Anonymous assisted citizens in a series of high-profile cold cases, coverups, and police brutality cases. They also launched crusades to uncover truths behind assaults, and reported their findings to authorities accordingly.
If you are active on the social web, surely, you get this question a few times a week, at the very least. “How do you find the time to be everywhere? I mean there are so many platforms out there and you seem to be active on all of them. How do you balance it all?”
We’ve been down this road before. You signed up for Twitter after years of hearing all your friends talking about tweeting this and tweeting that. You open Twitter.com and are completely and utterly lost. What do you say? What do you read? How do you get more followers? Who do you follow?
If I had a dime for every person who said to me “Twitter is dumb. I don’t get it and will never join.” or “Google+ is a ghost town, I don’t need another social network and no one is there anyway” or “Facebook is of no value to me or my business”, I would be a very wealthy individual.
Like many of my posts, this topic may be obvious to some, but unfortunately, based on the literally tens of messages I have personally received this week alone, it is far from obvious to others. Ask yourself why you are using social media. Why are you on Twitter? (You’re not? Then you have other problems you need to work out.) Why have you started using Google+? (You haven’t? See above.) Pinterest? Instagram? Foursquare? Why do you use any of these platforms? Really, ask yourself that question.
Before I begin, let me just clarify something. I have never launched a startup. There, I said it. I have insane amounts of respect for someone who can have an idea, execute on that idea, deal with all the struggles involved in that execution, and last all those years not sleeping, barely eating, until that idea becomes a success.
I am a huge believer in content. Seriously, no matter what you are trying to accomplish, writing or generating good content for people to consume is generally a good strategy. I am of the opinion that there are very few exceptions to the rule that every human being should have a blog!
Over the years, I have ranted quite a bit about different types of behavior that annoy me on the social web. Things like group tagging on Facebook or Twitter, begging for likes or retweets, and others. It was time for another addition to the “Please don’t ever do this on social media. Ever” list.
Someone had to say it so I figure why not me. Not a day goes by in which I don’t see a so-called marketing expert overuse and even worse, misuse hashtags on the Web. It happens most often on Twitter but recently, both Facebook and Google+ started using hashtags as well, so the same principles apply there.
Over the years of blogging, there have been a few defining moments. Not many, but each was pretty significant to me. The decision to leverage my personal blog to interview some of the most amazing people with whom I have connected was such a moment. People like Alyssa Milano, Guy Kawasaki, Walt Mossberg, David Pogue, and many more.