[GER] Ihr Twitterer, empöret euch! Aber geht nur nicht zum Arzt!

Er hat es wieder getan: Jens Spahn hat sich geäußert. Der junge konservative Hoffnungsträger der CDU und potentielle Anwärter auf den Kanzlerthron beweist als frisch gebackener Gesundheitsminister umgehend, dass er das Zeug zum Social Media Star hat – nach der Verteidigung von Hartz IV gegen die Armen und einem Angriff auf Feministinnen, denen angeblich Tierleben wertvoller seien als Menschenleben kam nun der neue große Schlag, diesmal gegen Kranke:

Jeder Patient sollte sich stets fragen, ob ein Arztbesuch wirklich nötig ist.

Dieser Satz geistert heute schon den ganzen Tag durch Twitter. Es folgt keine inhaltliche Auseinandersetzung mit diesem gesundheitspolitischen Thema, sondern eine Reaktion auf die erschreckend vorhersehbare Empörungswelle, die darauf folgte.

Continue reading [GER] Ihr Twitterer, empöret euch! Aber geht nur nicht zum Arzt!

#QuizOfThoth

Last year there has been a fascinating new tendency in choosing sexual partners: being sapiosexual, meaning that you are absolutely attracted by intelligence. Knowledge is sexy!

Guess what: I’d say sharing knowledge is even sexier!

So, after playing many many games of the famous German quiz app “Quizduell” I stumbled upon Twitter’s polling functionality, where you are able to attach up to four answers in a poll and people can choose one of those answers. My first thought: why not abuse this for a little quiz?

I have studied Egyptology for such a long time – more than 5 years. I have been a huge fan of Ancient Egyptian history for more than 23 years now. I have worked for excavation projects, I am currently working for an interdisciplinary archaeological project. I have worked as a guide for the Egyptian museum in Munich for five years. There MUST be some interesting facts I can share with my Twitter community, right?

The concept: every day at roughly the same time (= in the evening, German time) I share a question, introducing several aspects of the Egyptian culture. Architecture, religion, their writing system, history, geography, all that stuff. Trying to figure out questions which are interesting for a lay audience.

Once the poll has ended, I uncover the right solution(s) – adding a lot of additional facts. Like, when asking about the final consequence of the famous Battle of Qadesch, there is a lot to say about how the Egyptians “wrote history”, what the historic situation for the opponents was. Or maybe giving some interesting literature hints if somebody would want to dive into a scientific discussion.

My evaluation after almost two weeks: I get a lot of positive feedback, and people seem to like the idea! In most cases the “swarm intelligence” is right, so maybe I need to introduce even harder questions… 😉 But doing a quiz is only fun if you have some chance to get the right answer, and at least sometimes know what the question itself is about.

My private insight: doing a quiz right is not that easy. I try to make connections between my questions – and the Egyptian culture helps a lot in this case, because so many things are intertwined. The most difficult thing, though: Twitter and the whole concept does not allow endless chapters about scientific questions. However, many things in Egyptology cannot really be answered within 280 characters. And quite often, there are general answers – but there is always an exception from the general rule. Doing that quiz tries me. I have to look up even the simplest things to make sure I’m not saying something wrong. Which might happen anyway – I am just a human being, much more involved with machine learning and artificial intelligence these days. But I take it as my responsibility to do as much research as I can – or at least making transparent when I failed somewhere. An important aspect for science, I believe.

Doing this quiz helps me to reflect my knowledge and get a new coverage of my most favourite subject – an ancient culture so rich and colorful, so incredible that it touched my heart 23 years ago and never let go. Doing this quiz also shows me that studying Egyptology is not useless. Throughout the years I have met so many people being absolutely fascinated by this culture, so distant and so well-known, having been constant for such an enormous time.

Last, but definitely not least: thanks to any single person participating in this journey. Bringing joy and knowledge is the best thing in life. 🙂

Hatred

The internet is full of hatred. That’s something many people claim these days, politicians (especially those not in charge at the moment), actors, artists, writers, TV show hosts. They most likely speak of that little corner in the internet where the big party is going on – the social media corner. Sometimes it feels like the slums within a huge city. They all go there, there is the music, the fun, the jokes, the naked people. Anybody can leave their shit there, but nobody cares, and then they leave.

Next to the social media slums there is another district, the media district. It is built of huge skyscrapers, their facade done in glass. They shine and sparkle as they are the true defenders of freedom, liberal ideas, democracy. But underneath, there is the underworld, the darkest dungeon – propaganda media. Those who spread fake news and lies and things only half true. There is even some kind of pipe between those dungeons and the social media corner – a huge pipe blasting all the shit into the public. That’s business. That’s where the money comes from.

Okay, enough of these imaginations. Yes, we do have a problem with hatred in the internet. Therefore, more and more countries start to regulate the way social media platforms have to deal with that kind of shit. Germany, for example, introduced a new law – the “Netzwerkdurchsuchungsgesetz”, a name truly German. In the famous interwebs, we use the term “#NetzDG”. I haven’t put too much time into reading the thing, but in general social media platforms like twitter, facebook or youtube are now responsible for deleting user created content which is illegal by German laws. In other words: you can report something as not conform with the NetzDG and they have to check and, if necessary, to delete the stuff.

There is a huge wave of critic against this law, and even the government promised to have a second look at it. Which seems reasonable, sometimes you have to adjust things which don’t fit. Don’t give up just because it doesn’t work the first time. The loudest criticism: the NetzDG would be some kind of infrastructure or legal base for censorship.

Well, I am not a lawyer, I have never studied laws, so my opinion is just the one of a user using this famous interwebs. And yes: we do have a problem here.

One thing I never got so far: responsibilities. There are huge (and mostly American) companies providing a technical platform for people to exchange messages. At least, it has begun like that. Today, those platforms are known and advertised as social media, as a public space in web where everybody can meet and exchanges not just thoughts, but also data. These companies, they WANT everybody to become part of it. It is their business. They grab your data, they make money out of it.

But for some reasons, they never saw a reason to take responsibility for the content published on their walls. Yes, of course, some things were obvious: posting pictures of somebody killing people or nude women, such content had to be removed immediately. Another important thing: safety of children. But otherwise? I have read about very rude and very serious attacks against people in Germany, mostly politicians, and most of them women, quite often things refering to the brutal and dark history of our country. For US companies – no problem at all, as there was no conflict with their terms of use.

It is plain simple for them. They need all the people, the more people they have, the more data they have. And the more advertisement they can sell. Removing people from their platforms doesn’t make money. So they do the necessary, but not the useful. That’s something we need to change. Yes, underneath such platforms there are algorithms and infrastructures trying to monetarize people. But we need to create a new climate such that especially technicians, IT and business people learn: if you create a new product, you have a responsibility. The larger it gets, the more people you attract, the more features you implement, the more careful you have to be.

When Mark Zuckerberg claimed that his platform did have no influence whatsoever on the results of the US elections, it was his way of defending his machine for money making. I don’t believe he is that stupid or has no good advisors. Of course, such a platform has influence. Or let’s take the Brexit case. If people share and retweet news which claim false information, like the NHS sums, people will read it. Those clever business people, they defend themselves and direct the responsibilities to the users: they could read the news and understand that they are wrong. We just offer the platform!

The truth is: people don’t work like that. And that’s the second part of responsibility: the users. Let’s face it. We often like and share stuff we have never read. There is this headline saying “This is how our government tries to remove our freedom!” and people will share it. Without even knowing the content. Maybe the content is wrong. Or the content is the complete opposite. But they won’t notice it – people read the headline and know “Ah, the government is removing our freedom, may they all hang!”. That’s how it works.

Another example: funny memes and pics. Oh, there is something funny, therefore we share it. Do you always use your time to look up the person who made the joke? It might be a racist. Or a guy offending women. It might be someone who spreads lies. But due to his funny tweet, he will gain new followers, thus reach for his other, darker news. By retweeting the fun stuff, you have some responsibility. But we never think about it.

And we cannot. How shall I read all the stuff there is on social news? Sometimes I already roughly know what this is all about, but I have no time to read it. Or no interest. And most of the times I am not really interested in the faces behind a funny joke. The tweet is funny, not the person. The joke may be stolen anyway. Who cares?

This is an inconvenient truth. We all work like that. And companies providing the platform, they know it. They use this. As such, they cannot avoid the responsibility of checking their content.

There is something else we need to make clear, though: illegal actions remain illegal, no matter whether done in reality or in the “safe zone” called famous interwebs. If you threaten a person, you have to face the consequences. If you lie about somebody and destroy their reputation, you have to face the consequences. We have courts and judges for that, and they will do their work. Which is why I am no super fan of anonymity in the famous interwebs. Which would be another discussion, and yes, I am well aware of the useful cases for those who are being repressed by cruel states. Let’s keep it like that.

But finding illegal actions is not enough. If you are provider of a public space, you have to make sure that the general climate is sufficient for the discussions and communications. Hatred, threats, wrong claims, they are never the basis of a discussion, they end it.

Twitter. Facebook. Youtube. You have a responsibility. It is a shame you have to be forced to it by law, but that’s something which has to be done. The NetzDG may not be perfect. But maybe there is a chance for something better.

Little Update – Website and Roadmap

These days I don’t spend as much time on my blog as I should – I know, folks. Even though my time is rather short due to some duties at university, I could at least write an article every two days. However, I don’t. Why is that?

First, I remembered that this blog (http://blog.stephan-unter.de) is not my landing page. Actually, the entrance to my gigantic universe of brilliance shall be http://www.stephan-unter.de – however, I had never put any content on there! So I decided to change that. Finding the right type of page for me was not easy, but here and now, I am rather pleased with the current design. I hope you like it as well! There are still minor bugs and I need to figure out another version for mobile devices, but all step by step.

On the bottom of the page you may also notice that there is not just one single field to enter the weblog – but also two other fields, grey now. That’s for a good reason. I plan some more projects to come, not just a WordPress-site, but also some personal projects. My overall topics are clear, however, I am not quite sure how to distribute them. Some of them I will cover on this blog, that’s for sure – the current design will be changed and I will have much more structure. I’m already working on my very own theme, which takes some time, though. Besides, I want to have some other portals. One, for example, for my passionate hobby video games – I have more than 460 in my collection, and they deserve some place on my page as well. Not just to be listed. But also with some basic information and my personal stories about them. Another part of my website could be a portal for coding tutorials. I have made up some ideas, though I lack the spark of brilliance to make them come true. 😉 Oh, and I definitely need some place for my roleplay addictions! That’s a hobby which needs to be spread into the world! And languages, there is so much I’d love to say about languages!

As you can see, there is a lot to come – I’ll keep you posted about my progress. 😉 Stay tuned, folks! In case you have brilliant ideas, let me know – my comment section is always ready for you. 😉

[GER] Die nicht ganz so klugen demokratischen Twitterer

Abstract: Some Twitter users spread and retweet unloved messages without thinking – and by that, they help their foes gaining even a bigger platform. Written in German, because most people doing so I know are German.

Auf Twitter herrscht ein schräges Ungleichgewicht, ganz so wie im echten Leben – manchmal hat man fast den Eindruck, den Anständigen bleiben gar keine Werkzeuge, ihren letzten Rest menschlicher Vernunft gegen die Widrigkeiten der dumpfsinnigen Menschenverachtung zu verteidigen. Man schreibt, man teilt, man macht aufmerksam – und doch scheinen es immer mehr zu werden? Kein Wunder, dass beispielsweise Sibylle Berg den Einfluss des Einzelnen – auch in sozialen Medien – für überschaubar hält.

Was mich persönlich wahnsinnig macht: Es sind genau jene Twitterer, die sich offenkundig für eine freie, gerechte, gleiche Gesellschaft einsetzen wollen, die rein gar nicht verstanden haben, wie sie dem politischen Gegner mit ihren Aufregungen gelegentlich in die Hände spielen.

Es ist ein ungleicher Kampf. Denn während die Populisten mit Provokation und Angriff zwei mächtige Instrumente besitzen, den vernunftbegabten Menschen schonungslos aus der Reserve zu locken, ja, was hat denn da selbiger, um sich zu wehren? Was hat sich geändert zwischen der Nachkriegszeit und heute, dass mit einem Mal die Thesen und Begriffe der Nationalsozialisten wieder öffentlich diskutiert werden? Nicht einmal 100 Jahre nach dem Ende einer der größten Katastrophen unserer Geschichte?

Die demokratischen Nutzer bedienen sich normalerweise eines Werkzeuges, das gesellschaftlich seit der Antike funktioniert: soziale Isolation. Soll der beschränkte und unbelehrbare Geist seine Haltung bewahren, als isoliertes Element verliert er seine Bedeutung und seine Wirkmacht. Doch wie isoliert man in der digitalen, vernetzten Welt, in der sich Kontakte nicht durch Distanz, durch Verbote, durch Überbrüllen auflösen lassen? Was tun, wenn die Betreiber von sozialen Plattformen gar keine Veranlassung sehen, soziale Blasen zu kontrollieren und zu sprengen, diese gar als ein überzeugendes Beispiel gelebter Meinungsvielfalt zelebrieren?

Einige Twitterer bedienen sich der Verbreitung von Nachrichten. Sie retweeten hasserfüllte Meinungen, kommentieren sie mit eigenen kritischen Anmerkungen, deren geistiges Niveau oftmals auf dem gleichen Höhenlevel, nur in einem anderen politischen Spektrum zu suchen ist. Ihr Ziel? Andere darauf aufmerksam machen, was für ein widerliches Subjekt hier öffentlich seine Thesen kundtut. Stigmatisierung. Gemeinsam rückt man dem Übeltäter zu Leibe, meldet ihn, damit Twitter endlich seinen Dienst tue und ihn entferne. Dass Twitter unter Umständen nicht die gleichen Richtlinien zugrunde legt für die Löschung eines Accounts, das interessiert nicht. Dass nicht die Menge der Beschwerden, sondern die Schwere des Regelverstoßes entscheidend ist, das verstehen ausgerechnet jene nicht, die umgekehrt auf Rechtsstaatlichkeit beharren. Die Gesetze der sozialen Plattform bestimmt derjenige, der kassiert – der Entwickler. Zumindest, bis der Gesetzgeber endlich die Notwendigkeit echter Kontrolle anerkennt. Merkwürdige Welt.

Anstelle sozialer Stigmatisierung erreichen diese Twitterer aber das absolute Gegenteil von dem, was sie beabsichtigen: Sie verbreiten ihnen unangenehme, zuwidere Haltungen und Accounts. Mit jedem Retweet verbreitet sich die Hassbotschaft ins Netz. Erzeugt nicht nur Gegenhass, der gewiss nicht minder schlimm ist, sondern fängt gleichzeitig Gleichgesinnte ein, die den Account vorher noch gar nicht kannten. Die einstmals Isolierten vernetzen sich.

Nun man mag sagen: Ja und? Gleich und Gleich gesellt sich gerne, ist das beisammen, was zusammen gehört! Dass man damit plötzlich dem Unsäglichen wieder eine Plattform bietet, die soziale Isolation aushebelt und das ganze System ins Wanken bringt, das stört keinen.

Wie absurd die Denkweise mancher Twitterer ist, lernt man an einem anderen Beispiel: Kinderpornographie. Wie KOMMT man eigentlich auf die Idee, seine Follower darum zu bitten, einen kinderpornographischen Account zu melden, indem man einen Tweet MIT BILDMATERIAL in die eigene Timeline retweetet? Ich kann mich nicht mehr entsinnen, was ich schlimmer fand – den Ekel ob des originären Tweets respektive des Accounts, oder die Tatsache, dass jemand Gutes tun will, indem er kinderpornographisches Material verbreitet. Grundsätzlich gilt hier: “Gut gemeint ist das Gegenteil von gut gemacht”. Aber das ist mir in diesem Fall zu schwach. Ein solches Verhalten ist einfach widerlich.

Wer hasserfüllte Tweets retweetet, Accounts als Mention verpackt, Screenshots abspeichert und diese in seine Tweets einbindet, der dient sich selbst als Nährboden für die unfreie, hasserfüllte Gesellschaft an. Es gehört zu den Perversitäten Twitters, dass ich dies schon früher schrieb – und ausgerechnet von jenen favorisiert wurde, die dieses Verhalten andauernd zeigen. Was selbige nicht daran hinderte, ihr dissonantes Verhalten munter fortzuführen.

Abschließend kann man eine Frage in den Raum stellen, auf die auch ich keine Antwort weiß: Hilft es wenigstens, den argumentativen Diskurs zu suchen? Ich weiß es nicht. Gefühlt weiß man bei den meisten Usern sehr schnell, ob jemand diskussionsbereit ist und sich im Zweifelsfall zumindest davon überzeugen ließe, dass die eigene Meinung nicht die einzige ist. Oder ob jemand schlichtweg Feuer zündet. Der Diskurs mit Letzteren kostet Energie und bietet dem Destruktiven Raum, sich zu entfalten. Wäre es nicht sinnvoller, diese Fälle stumm zu schweigen, ihre Provokationen zu ignorieren, sie als verlorene Fälle in die soziale Isolation zurück zu treiben? Ich weiß es nicht.

The Seven Ways of Twitter Interaction

Twitter is an important social platform for short message communication – not just for American Presidents. Thus, people should know how to interact with other Twitter users. In the following I want to show the seven ways of interaction between Twitter users – and my personal interpretation of it.

Fav(orite)

Whenever you like a certain tweet, you can give the author some feedback – without writing a single word. Just click the little red heart and “like” the tweet. For a very long time, this was called “favour” or “to fav”, depicted with a neat little yellow star, until Twitter decided to spread more love.

Please be careful! People use these favs in various ways. Some want to return their agreement, want to give you good feelings. However, don’t be shocked whenever you write a posting like “I’ve broken my leg!” and people fav it – they usually either want to show you they share your pain. Or they use these little icons to bookmark tweets they’ve already read.

Some people say there is a fav limit. I’ve never reached it so far, but seemingly you cannot fav everything.

Note that many people think it to be good manners to fav other people’s tweets in a discussion. It is like acknowledgement for the nice and decent conversation.

Mention

Sometimes you do not just want to write 140 characters, but you want to link your message with somebody. Either directly, because you want to talk to somebody. Or you just want to hint other people towards another user account. In those cases, you use “mentions”, by adding the @USERNAME to your tweet.

Important note: Whenever a tweet starts with a Twitter account name, Twitter assumes you want to write a direct mention or reply. Only you, the other account and all accounts which follow you both will be able to read it. Others would have to search for it. Thus, many people who want to start a sentence with user accounts put a little “.” before the user account itself. Like: “.@donaldduck is a neat little duck”.

Nonmention

This is Twitter highend content. You assume that your beloved one is reading you – and write some Twitter lines without mentioning him, hoping he or she will read it. And know he/she is addressed. Some people absolutely dislike replies to such nonmentions, so be careful and don’t freak them out. Be also aware that nonmentions are absolutely stupid – if you have something you wanna tell somebody, address him and don’t make it public. Otherwise, don’t offend people who react on your tweet.

Reply

Whenever somebody writes a tweet, you can reply to it. Just click the little arrow underneath and write your answer. Please use this arrow! By doing so, Twitter will realise that these two tweets are connected to each other. Which makes conversations much more readable. Don’t worry – some people claim Twitter wouldn’t be a chatting platform. It is. Chat as much as you want to. They need to be annoyed.

Please note that many Twitter users do not like criticism. They want you to agree, to strengthen their opinion, to pat them on the shoulder. Be aware that critique or little refusal of their theories might lead directly to a block. Do also note that many Twitter users tend to disqualify other users by calling their replies “replies from hell“. It is their way of telling “I cannot cope with your intelligent answer”.

Retweet

If you really want to boost a friend of yours – or another Twitter user who writes awesome stuff – retweet him. All your followers will then see his/her tweet, plus the information that it was you who shared it. Thus be careful – even though another guy might have written bullshit, if you retweet it, everyone knows your spreading bullshit as well. Think twice! Retweeting is a neat and very nice way of promoting other accounts. Do it often and regularly. People will love you for doing it.

Quoting

A new retweet feature. You have to be careful with it. The original message will be shown, and your own tweet on top of it. Actually a nice feature, as you are able not just to share tweets, but to share your own opinion as well. Note that there are two versions of quotes:

  1. The nice quote, where you share another user’s tweet and add some additional thoughts, thank for the idea, the joke or the view.
  2. The evil quotes, where you share the other opinion and write bad stuff about it. People may think you want to make a fool of them. Even if you want to do so – don’t. This is super bad style. Do NEVER quote when you actually just wanna make conversation. Super bad style!

Direct Messages (DM)

If you follow each other, you are able to send direct messages. Fortunately, your direct messages are no longer bound to 140 characters. Thus, you can write whole books if you want to. Nobody else will be able to read your messages – except you are part of a DM-group. Well, but you all have WhatsApp and such apps, so you will know how it works. Please be aware that privacy is no approval for bad manners. You should never insult people or write rude stuff. And men – no woman on Twitter is interested in dick pics. If you are a man, send the face. Police tracing by genitals is never a cool thing.

 

Of course, there is more about Twitter – if you now feel ready to dive into this fantastic social world, don’t forget there are many more unwritten rules. You will learn them. Learning by doing, learning by failing. First and most important rule, though: follower count is not that important. Okay, it is your currency, shows your market value and can actually bring you some money. But hey. Who needs money, right?

Have fun tweeting!

2017 Resolutions [0]

New Year’s resolutions – a good old tradition. At the end of the year, we look back and realise: this year has been horrible. We’ve achieved NOTHING. We’ve gotten fatter, we’ve learned nothing, we’ve lost money, we haven’t moved on… and thus, we make plans. So much has to change, especially in the first 10 weeks!

Well, I’m not any better. I have some plans or ideas for the next year, because I want to improve my life drastically. I am almost 30 now and I feel like I need to do a major jump. Some of these resolutions are super private – so don’t expect me to write them down here. But all the others are just public. I will provide a little list, and every month I will review my resolutions and write about the current state. Please note that I am a busy man – I know that my time is limited, and thus I tend to make achievable resolutions. It might well be that over time I extend my resolutions. But I won’t reduce them.

So, my resolutions for the year 2017 – let’s go:

  • Read more scientific papers: In 2017, I want to read and understand at least 200 scientific papers. I usually do not read so many of them, as I’m busy reading other stuff. I don’t care about the subject, though. I guess most papers will be biological, chemical, or about dinosaurs.
    [Done so far: 0/200]
  • Reinstall twitch streams: I used to do some twitch streams in the past. However, due to a bachelor thesis and moving to another city, I stopped doing so. I miss it. So, I want to come back. Maybe I’ll be able to do it in English – though gaming PLUS talking in a foreign tongue might be a little bit too much. I don’t know. If you don’t want to miss it: ZwitscherPixel on TwitchTV.
    [Streams so far: 0]
  • Create a useful smartphone application: I’ve wanted to create a smartphone application for ages, but somehow I avoided doing so. I do not even know, why. Probably the lack of time, or the reluctance to start stuff I don’t know anything about. There always has to be a start, 2017 will be mine!
    [Current state of progression: not started yet]
  • Learn about financial stuff: Another huge gap in my knowledge – financial stuff. Even though I know some things, I would never call myself an expert to financial transactions, interest, banks etc. – oh no, I am far from it. By now! However, I want to learn about it.
    [Current state: nothing learned]
  • Increase knowledge in biological and chemical subjects: I miss those subjects. As an Egyptologist and computer scientist, I usually don’t have that much contact with living creatures anymore. I definitely have to do it on my own, I want to do it, and thus it is a goal for 2017.
    [Current state: nothing learned]
  • Start writing a book: Everybody is writing these days. I’ve started some books as well, but nothing ever close to a serious project. Recently, I had a fascinating idea, thus I want to write about it. New project for 2017!
    [Current state: 0 pages written]
  • Doing more multimedia stuff: I studied media informatics. Thus, using media should be my daily job. However, I feel that I am still too conservative. I had many impressions from design and art over the last days, so I want to use this valuable input and make something on my own. Be it conventional art, music, audio stuff, 3D artistic – I want to create and present some stuff. I need to express myself.
    [Opus done so far: 0 items]
  • Write at least weekly articles on my blog: Over the last year I have not really been regular in writing articles. Shame on me. Fortunately, some people have told me they actually read my blog – by that, thanks to you guys, you make my heart shine! I want to become a little bit more regular this year – at least one article every week should be achievable. Two articles a week does NOT mean one week free!
    [Weeks with articles: 0]
  • Blog redesign: This blog is old. I want a more creative, a more individual blog. And I want to write my own blog theme. I’ve already done that for work, but doing it for my very own, personal blog is much more difficult – somehow I want to represent myself, which is a very intimate, and very personal task. Will I be able to do that?
    [Current state: not yet started]
  • Make a difference: Okay, that’s a little bit striking. Over the last year, I’ve gained some strong foundation in myself, about myself. Yes, this is a very private topic, but still public. I’ve learned about young people who kill themselves because they don’t know how to stand the pressure on their shoulders. We all read about those daily tragedies in the Mediterranean. Young people come to our European countries, alone, looking for help, without orientation. And, we have a lot of hopeless people in our societies as well. Back in school, I helped founding an organisation called “Go Social”, where we wanted to do social events to help people – far away and close with us. I’ve stopped doing such social stuff thanks to my studies – and realised that getting money became an important task of my life. Which is absolutely okay, I have to live as well. However, I need to rethink. This society gave me the chance to study and learn amazing stuff, gather abilities. How can I make the difference? How can I – with my abilities, my ideas, my personal background – help people? This is something which has constantly driven my mind the last year, and I want to become more active this year.
    [Current status: not yet started]

This is my list of resolutions for 2017, starting on January 1 and ending on December 31. 365 days. Not much time to do so much stuff. But hey, I’ll stick to my very old credo: You need to reach for the stars to get to the sky.

What about you, guys? Do you have some resolutions for the next year? Something you might want to share with us? Maybe you lack some external motivation as well – in such a case, feel free to take my resolutions and my monthly review as a personal reminder. 2017 can be an incredible year. But it won’t be with doing nothing. Let’s get it done, guys!

Back to the living!

Hey folks!

Some of you may have recognised that my blog underwent some serious downtime during the last two months. I wouldn’t even have noticed it without some nice readers telling me on Twitter and via email – thanks again for taking action and trying to resolve the problem!

Unfortunately, I happened to be on vacation when the problem occured – a full week of London, magnificent city of my dreams, before the British people eventually shut down their country. Afterwards, my new studies began, because of which I was not able to spend much time into any investigations why my blog showed a rather nasty error 500.

To cut a long story short: My htaccess-file was broken. I had to comment out some lines – et voilà! The blog is up and running again. The functionality of those lines is now taken over by some decent plugin.

Even though my free time is rather sparse these days I hope I will be able to write some new postings this week. I definitely have some words on the current political situation in Germany, Europe and the world. There are some video games I want to write about. I definitely do want to improve and increase my multimedia section on this website. Oh, and I plan to do a massive graphical overhaul. To be perfectly honest, I rather dislike the current blog layout. I managed to dig deeper into the mechanisms of WordPress thanks to my job – but it’ll need some time before I’ll have created something I can show to you guys. My aims: a responsive website, modern, cool, classy, supporting multimedia content, being more structured, offering more community features – and use less JavaScript. I won’t be able to reach all those goals (from the beginning), but we need high aims to achieve the minimum, right? 😉 Maybe I will even split the blog to provide mainly English content and have a special section preserved for German readers. So many ideas…

Okay guys, thanks for having me! I hope you stop by again every now and then. In case you don’t want to miss any blog post on my website: feel free to register on the left hand side. I won’t send advertisement or anything else – just automated messages that there is a new post on my site. If you stop by and leave me some comment under one of my articles – even better. Love you guys! See ya soon! 🙂

Blogparade „Mein Kulturtrip für dich im Sommer“ #KultTrip

Abstract: This article is an entry for the blogparade initiated by Tanja Praske. I’ve already written some German contribution to a very basic blogparade asking her readers: To me culture is…? This time the topic is about travelling: Where to go to grab some culture? Why? What shall we see there? What is a perfect culture trip? I have no plan what to write, so let’s just dive into it!

Continue reading Blogparade „Mein Kulturtrip für dich im Sommer“ #KultTrip

Blog-Change

Some time ago, I asked my beloved followers on Twitter about their opinion on multilingualism on my blog. Not many people have participated, though the result is quite clear:

2016-05-04 21_47_41-Stephan M. Unter on Twitter_ _Okay guys, now the poll. Will be open for three da

A quick explanation: I gave them four possible scenarios on how to deal with language in the future.

  1. Either GER or ENG: Would have been the status quo. Right now I just choose the language to write in before writing the actual article, but I don’t spend any time to translate the content.
  2. German AND English: Most ambitious approach. Meaning that I should write my articles not only in German OR English, but in both languages. As a result, I would have to find a proper way to present both languages on my blog. Either by creating two completely different blogs, or by finding or creating plugins allowing my users to switch during their visits.
  3. Only English: Stop writing that strange German content, stick with the international version.
  4. Only German: Stop writing English nobody will ever understand, stick to your roots and write German texts.

My main problem: Writing texts in English still costs me a lot more time than writing German ones. So the creation of new content would be much more time consuming: I cannot just go ahead and write down some simple lines about a topic coming to my mind. It needs some planning. And after writing the German text, I will have to write it a second time. Phew. Less output, more work, but all in all a good presentation of language skills and a big step towards international audience.

Anyway, I do not want to discuss this topic any further – Twitter decided, I will try to figure it out. Besides the language thingy, I thought about wanting to make this blog more interactive as well. I thought about polls, for example. Most people don’t like to write comments, because they need to think about the topic, they need to spend time to write down their opinions, they don’t want to show off in public. I really want to find out whether or not people would be more likely to answer a poll. Because: Writing is fun. But getting feedback is even more fun. And I love fun. 🙂

These are my current thoughts about this blog and its future. Of course I will have to rearrange the range of topics as well. I want to become a little bit more political, more critical, more scientific. We’ll see how that works. If you have any additional hints or thoughts on how this blog should go on, just let me know. Best way: a simple comment. Down there. Just here. Look! 😉