Teachers start powerful #ArmMeWith movement to speak out against guns in classrooms

In the wake of yet another tragic school shooting, teachers have started an eye-opening movement on social media to let the world know what preventative measures really need to be taken seriously to protect students.

In response to the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, President Trump suggested that some teachers receive gun training so they can be armed in their classrooms. But rather than adding more guns to educational environments, teachers are using the hashtag #ArmMeWith to share far more peaceful resources they wish to be armed with, such as school supplies, mental health resources and funding, impactful changes in curriculum, and stronger gun control legislation.

The movement was started by two educators: Brittany Wheaton, a teacher in Utah, andOlivia Bertels from Kansas. Both 27-year-olds met through Instagram, according to Buzzfeed, and eagerly asked the online teacher community to share their personal thoughts on how to ensure the safety and proper education of students.

Teachers across the U.S. have been using the hashtag.

One high school English teacher requested a “curriculum that tells the truth, the ability to teach the truth, a society that believes the truth, and political leaders who make laws based on the truth.”

Others asked to be armed with more on-site mental health professionals, like school counselors and social workers, as well as self-care classes, bullet-proof glass, an enhanced library, and a range of other resources that focus on the physical, mental, and emotional care of students and faculty members.

#Armmewith is a movement by @thesuperheroteacher and @missbertels_ and I invite you to join in! Skip through my pics and post your own (I’ve included a blank template) or go to goo.go/52XggF to print your own out! . . . The Arm Me With movement is to make our leaders aware of what teachers really need in the classroom. As some of you know, I’m a gun owner and I can shoot a gun, but I do not believe guns belong anywhere near a classroom. Teachers have enough burdens and the classroom is an unpredictable place. Also teachers are outnumbered by kids 30:1 oftentimes. Guns are not the solution here, and I think they’d be catastrophic. Please flip through my ideal solutions and feel free to use the blank picture to create your own solution! . . . . . . #armwithme #schoolsafetynow #educatorsagainstgunviolence #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers

A post shared by The Whimsical Teacher (@the_whimsical_teacher) on

“Since teachers are the individuals in the classroom when it happens, I like to think we know what’s best for our students,” Wheatontold Buzzfeed. “If you’re an educator, you know that [more guns] is not a solution to stopping the violence that’s happening in our schools.”

For those looking to participate in the movement, Wheaton has shared a blank #ArmMeWith template that can be downloaded and filled out. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/23/armmewith-twitter-teachers-guns/

4 strategies to avoid #resistance burnout

Image: vicky leta / mashable

I was listening to The Read recently — it’s my favorite podcast — and I was struck by co-host Kid Fury’s observations about reaching the end of the year and feeling tired. 

I posted how I felt on Instagram: “Can’t add one more plan tired. Hard to get excited about exciting things tired. Can’t project, assume, or read minds tired. I’m letting myself be tired, be imperfect, be how I am. It is time to hibernate and make meaning of this year, understand the lessons.”

Five hundred people gave it a heart within a few hours. People reached out to me to say they are also tired — exhausted, really. Falling out in meetings, losing things, fighting with loved ones, letting hopelessness have our tongues. 

I am a social justice facilitator, practicing and teaching a methodology called Emergent Strategy. The goal is to learn how we do justice work that is adaptive, focuses on the small things that make up all large systems, and prioritizes critical connections over critical mass. I am also a visionary fiction writer (part of the Octavia’s Brood team) and a pleasure activist, which means I believe pleasure is an important measure of freedom, and that we need to make justice the most pleasurable experience we can have. 

And, even as someone focused on ease, nature, future, and pleasure, 2017 was a daunting year. 

And, even as someone focused on ease, nature, future, and pleasure, 2017 was a daunting year. But I am still going. Movements for social and environmental justice are still moving forward. 

Which gets me curious about how we are surviving, how we are generating energy to move forward in 2018 when everything is heavy and everything hurts. 

What do we do? 

The first thing is to give ourselves lots of room and respect for whatever we have done. It got us this far. So, shout outs to alcohol, sugar, sex, and weed, which have been doing the work of comforting and numbing millions. After the 2016 election, drinking definitely became one of my coping mechanisms for that “They all want my death” feeling that has become daily life. 

I know the newness of feeling this every day is as much an indication of my privilege as it is of political change; things aren’t getting worse, they are getting unveiled. Whatever I didn’t see before this moment is a sign that I was somehow benefiting from not seeing it. It feels worse nonetheless. 

But we need to be careful about numbing. The long-term impacts of numbing move us away from the very aliveness we are fighting for, that erotic level of presence, alertness, and feeling our miraculous existence in real time. Audre Lorde taught us that, “In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.”  

I wanted to offer some strategies beyond numbing that have helped me protect my aliveness. I invite you to practice these throughout 2018.

1. Reconnect with our movement ancestors. We are not the first to be in impossible conditions. And what we know is that we have survived, that our ancestors found ways to survive, to be in dignity and resistance. Focus on ancestors of your own lineage, knowing that every lineage on earth has individuals and groups who have left lessons behind. For me this year has been lit by the north star of Harriet Tubman. You might call on freedom fighters like Berta Cáceres or Bobby Sands — there are so many who inspire. Ancestors can and should humble us. 

2. Tune in to the three Gs every day: gratitude, good news, and genius. If you look, all three are within reach.

a) Start and/or end the day with gratitude. It’s a gorgeous world; pay attention to the beauty, the connection, the generosity and growth.

b) Read between the lines and find the good news. It’s always there, but it might be very small. For me, it’s often in the news of what movements for social and environmental justice are doing to resist. Boost it, grow it with your attention.

c) Our continued survival is actually a long, iterative practice of collective genius. Pay attention to the people and organizations who are doing more than reacting to the daily news or pulling each other down. Tune into the work of the Movement for Black Lives, the Women’s March, #MeToo, Cooperation Jackson, Movement Generation, #ourpowerpr, Mi Gente. These initiatives are attempting audacious, visionary, and difficult work that relies on the genius that arises from people working together across difference to address the challenges and opportunities of their real lives.

3. That thing about putting on your oxygen mask before helping others? It’s real. It’s not like other masks that hide your true face from others, which is an important distinction here. You don’t need to put anything over your truth right now to cover the emotional rollercoaster of being a human who is paying attention. But you do need to take care of yourself at a material level. Soothe without numbing, rest without guilt, hydrate to replenish your foundation, and use your body while there is still miracle in it. Hibernate: turn inward, get still, write down what you have learned from surviving the last year as well as what has been liberated within you, and what you are ready to grow. 

4. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t remind y’all that an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away. Remember that your body is literally wired to feel good, thread with nerves that communicate pleasure and let you know what to move toward. And you can choose between the orgasm and the orgasmic — do a massage exchange with friends, eat delicious home-cooked meals, watch comedy shows. There are so many ways to turn up your aliveness.

None of these practices are small or trite. We are in the worst of times right now. If you need to be convinced to care for your body, mind, and spirit so that you can care for your community and this planet, let’s just review the past 12 months. 

There was a period of denial and grief for many of us. Perhaps you also spent some time under a blanket, wondering why our species is so self-sabotaging and embarrassing? Maybe you too called friends to discuss where you could run to, and realized, again, that there was no place far enough, no place beyond the reach of the United States?

Those of us with an intersectional analysis of our current situation know that every uphill battle we’ve been fighting is at least twice as steep. We are looking ahead at battles around the tax plan, net neutrality, protecting the planet as a livable planet for our species, resisting a police force encouraged to unleash increased violence on our devastated vulnerable communities. All while watching 45 play nuclear roulette with North Korea on Twitter.

For those of us working to create social change, 2017 was a wild year. We take our whiplashed necks and try to keep up the pace as we run from protest to petition to planning meeting. We have held some lines, we have shown up and said no to racist bans and efforts to strip us of hard-won rights, and we have reached for each other. We’ve been surprised and excited as scientists marched and national parks workers used Twitter to resist fascist policy making.

And, in our exhaustion, we have sometimes turned on each other. Interpersonal beef drains organizational resources. Tactical differences become landmines. Places where we could learn together instead become battlegrounds that play out on social media. We long for something different but are stretched too thin to practice new approaches. We want each other to be perfect and to be transparent about our flaws. We are punitive and transformative in the same breath. 

We are in a fight for our survival and there’s no turning away from it, no turning back. 2017 was a reckoning, an unveiling. An embarrassment, yes, but it’s honest. And now we are at a very real risk of becoming too exhausted to continue our fight, our journey. 

Ella Baker taught us that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” 

Ella Baker taught us that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” I wrestle with these words all the time, because I believe in freedom, and I believe my body is a crucial part of the fight for freedom. So I interpret these words through my work. I do not rest in terms of how I work. I tirelessly show up for movements I believe in, to hold planned or unexpected hard conversations and mediations, to invite transformation in the face of frustration. I tirelessly seek out old and new ways of moving through our current paradigm and into a viable future. 

But when it comes to my body, I rest. I rest in myriad ways that allow me to show up fully for each facilitation. I ensure that I have quiet time each evening, a bath when there’s a tub, at least seven hours of sleep each night. I want to give us more permission to rest our bodies so that we don’t burn out our spirits and minds in our lifelong commitment to liberation.

It is in that spirit that I invite you to honor your ancestors and remember that they believed in you before your first breath. They believed you could generate gratitude, uplift good news, contribute to genius. Put on your oxygen mask and open to the pleasurable experiences of life. This is our moment to shape.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/12/resistance-burn-out-activism-new-year/

Facebook is overhauling its News Feed so users feel better again

Facebook is re-tweaking its News Feed again. 

This time it wants to bring it back to friends and family instead of viral videos and media posts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a post Thursday. 

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions,” he wrote.

He said the change should make everyone feel better: “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health.”

With fewer posts from businesses, brands, and media, expect to see more of what your “friends” are sharing and liking. 

Zuckerberg didn’t mention Facebook’s role in the 2016 election or Russian meddling through the platform as motivation to change what shows up on the social network.

A breakdown of the “closer together” initiative (also outlined in a video above) indicates news stories will get de-prioritized, while conversations that Facebook thinks will spark a lot of engagement will get a boost. 

To achieve a happier Facebook user base, it looks like Facebook will focus on comment-heavy posts — and not just quick comments like, “Oh no!” or “Thanks!” but lengthy (meaningful!) comments.

All those “likes” won’t mean as much as full-on engagement, which under the new rules seems to mean back-and-forth conversations. Sounds like posting links back and forth won’t count as much in the meaningfulness meter.

In other words, publishers will almost certainly see traffic drop and video views decrease.

Zuckerberg rationalized that the changes will ultimately make for a better Facebook experience, naturally, but might actually cause people to spend less time on the social network.

“I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable,” he wrote.

UPDATE: Jan. 11, 2018, 5:07 p.m. PST This post has been updated with more information about the News Feed changes.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/11/facebook-news-feed-algorithm-changes-family-friends/

Soon, you’ll be able to save tweets for later

Image: Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Twitter, the social network that redefined the term “information overload,” is working on a feature that’ll make it easier to bookmark those cool tweets that deserve a second look. 

Announced by several key Twitter employees, including product VP Keith Coleman, the new feature could be called “save for later.”

According to Coleman, this has been a “top request,” and Twitter wants user feedback before they push out a final version of the feature. 

And Associate Product Manager at Twitter, Jesar Shah, has implied that the feature might first become available in Japan. 

As she pointed out, there are roundabout ways to bookmark a tweet — for example, you can DM it to yourself, like it or retweet it. But a dedicated “save for later” button is probably a better option than cluttering your direct messages and likes. 

Shah also shared an “early prototype” of the feature in a short video (below), but said the final version of the feature is “likely to change.” In her example, the feature is simply called “Bookmarks.”

We’ve pinged Twitter about details on this new feature, and will update this post when we hear from them. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/10/twitter-save-for-later/

Facebook and The Trevor Project hope to help prevent LGBTQ youth suicides

Facebook has been working to make users feel safer on the platform for years, and in its latest effort to enhance the online community, the social media platform partnered with The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

On Tuesday in the middle of Mental Health Awareness month Facebook announced that users will be able to connect with mental health resourcesfromThe Trevor Project right from their direct messages. The project rolls out over the next few months.

According to The Trevor Project’s website, the rate of suicide attempts is “four times greater for LGB youth and two times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth,” so it’s clear how helpful access to a supportive chat bot could be. And though The Trevor Project is aimed at helping suicide prevention in young people, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 40 percent of transgender adult respondents reportedly made a suicide attempt during their lives, so Facebook users of all ages could certainly benefit from the helpful resource.

The messenger crisis support will also expand awareness to other areas of the mental heath community with the help of participating organizations likeCrisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The social media site recently received a great deal of backlash surrounding the spread of live-streamed suicide videos and earlier this month after a violent video of a Cleveland man shooting and killing a 74-year-old man was posted to the site founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted more human intervention is necessary on the site to ensure the safety of users.

The site also collaborated with mental health organizations back in 2016 to launch tools and resources aimed at supporting the mental health community. Users now have easily accessible support groups along with the ability to report concerning posts related to self-injury or suicide directly to Facebook.

Back in March the site was even testing a pattern recognition system that would use AI to identify posts that include certain keywords pertaining to suicidal thoughts.

Studies have shown that excessive social media us could increase levels of depression, so the more resources the better.

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/17/facebook-lgbtq-trevor-project/

How to protect yourself when live video shows a suicide

Image: Shutterstock / Pressmaster

The thrill of social media is often the possibility of surprise. It’s fun to log on and see which viral videos, political rants, news stories, and baby pictures your friends and family have shared.

What we don’t expect is to see someone die. Watching a suicide attempt (or murder) in real time is not part of the bargain we’ve made to stay connected with the world. And yet it happens. Earlier this week, a Thai man killed his infant daughter and himself on Facebook Live. The video appeared on both Facebook and YouTube before being taken down by the companies.

While such incidents are rare, even news coverage of them can make us feel sad or angry. For some people, learning explicit details about these tragedies may lead to suicidal thoughts or behavior. We know this from years of research, but the phenomenon of broadcasting suicide via live video is so new that even experts in suicide prevention are grappling with how to understand its emotional impact.

“This whole medium has not existed long enough for us to have a good understanding of how it might be different from what you might see in the newspaper or on a TV show,” says Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer of The Jed Foundation, a suicide prevention nonprofit.

“Theres nothing more lurid than seeing something like this in real time.”

He suspects, however, that witnessing a suicide on social media can be as bad or even worse for our emotional health as encountering graphic details in the media: “Theres nothing more lurid than seeing something like this in real time.”

That violence could be overwhelming and deeply disturbing, particularly for people who are at risk for or already experience anxiety or depression, or are struggling with their own suicidal impulses.

To ease that anguish, Schwartz recommends first walking away from its source. “If you were eating or drinking something that tasted [bad], you would stop,” he says. “This is the same thing we cant control what [we see] online, but you can spit it out.”

Once you’ve got some distance, find ways to make that space bigger. Try talking to a supportive, trusted friend about the emotions you felt after watching or hearing about the suicide. Sit down with a TV show that makes you laugh, take a walk or run, or do something else that gives you joy. Essentially, says Schwartz, find ways to distract yourself.

Taking action is important too. If you see a suicide attempt take place on a social media platform, report it to the company. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat all provide users a way to report suicidal behavior or content, and Schwartz says following those guidelines can make someone feel less helpless. (If someone appears to be in immediate danger, you can also contact local law enforcement or 911.) Finally, he urges people experiencing relentless despair or suicidal thoughts to discuss their feelings, seek profession help, or call or text a hotline.

Testing how suicide on live video affects people would be unethical, which is partly why we don’t know its consequences for our emotional health. Yet Madelyn Gould, a professor of epidemiology in psychiatry at Columbia University who specializes in suicide prevention research, believes the existing evidence on the “contagion effect” of suicide is robust enough to suggest that it could harm certain people.

Most of these studies look retrospectively at whether the suicide rate spikes after a high-profile incident and show there appears to be some association between media reports and increases in the suicide rate. Those most affected are likely to be emotionally vulnerable people who can identify with the person who died. So geography, gender, age, and other factors can make a difference in how someone perceives the death, whether it relates to their own life, and how it could influence their frame of mind.

Gould is less worried that we lack research on the impact of seeing a suicide on live video and more concerned that the norms around suicide may be changing to the point where people see it as a widespread, acceptable outcome.

Talking about suicide requires a careful balance of acknowledging how and why it happens while avoiding making it seem inevitable, glamorous, or the best solution to ending one’s pain. That’s why she and other prevention experts were so alarmed by the vivid portrayal of suicide in the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, in which the main female character meticulously plans her suicide almost as a means of revenge against those who bullied and assaulted her.

“Its ok to talk about your fears or concerns about what youve seen or felt.”

Gould, among other advocates, wants to focus more time on encouraging healthy conversations about self-harm, including coping strategies, how to get help, and spreading the knowledge that many people who have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide can still lead happy lives.

These are all things to focus on the next time a suicide airs live on social media. And don’t be afraid to express what it meant to encounter that imagery or reporting or to listen to someone else trying to make sense of that.

“Its O.K. to talk about your fears or concerns about what youve seen or felt,” says Schwartz.

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Lineat 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a listof international resources.

WATCH: Break free from social media with this minimal phone

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/30/dealing-with-emotions-of-live-video-suicide/

What happens after you ghost someone? They come back to haunt your Snapchat.

Social media is now spookier than ever.
Image: ambar del moral/mashable

Do you have lost loves lurking on your Instagram feed? Do you feel a spooky shiver whenever you use Snapchat? Youre probably being haunted.

Yes, haunted. Basically it’s when someone youve ended things with decides to reassert themselves into your fragile mind by watching your Instagram or Snapchat stories or liking your social media posts.

As with actual ghosts, they usually appear out of nowhere often they don’t even follow you officially. And seeing that notification pop up on your phone gives you a fright or, worse, brings up all the bad feelings you’ve tried to leave behind.

To be clear, you don’t have to have ghosted or been ghosted by someone in order for them to haunt you. Even a former mate with whom you had a proper wrenching goodbye can pop up months or even years later to remind you of their existence.

Haunting is the newest new term for a longstanding dating phenomenon, and it’s the logical followup to our recent plague of ghosting. Modern romance is really moving into a scary place, y’all.

Its not entirely new, obviously. Former lovers have been finding ways to irritate and stalk us from the beyond for as long as there have been people, and the term itself has been around since at least last summer.

It’s really starting to take hold though, even getting a shout out in Cosmo. This rise has almost certainly been fueled by the fact that Instagram and Facebook stories now provide yet another realm for these otherworldly presences to rattle around in.

Fittingly, it can be very hard to exercise these dating demons once they’ve found you. You’ll only out yourself by pinging them and demanding to know why they’re hanging around in your social media space.

Boooo!

Image: giphy

There’s always delete your account, but that’s a bit like burning down the house to get rid of the ghost it’ll never work. For now that leaves you with blocking them, an imperfect but effective solution, or making peace with the ghost’s occasional presence.

We can only hope that someday there will be a way to burn virtual sage and exorcise these spirits from our feeds. Oh, right, there already is. It’s called blocking.

WATCH: Lady Gaga FaceTimed with Prince William to discuss a very important issue

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/20/haunting-dating-ghosting/