Tag: gaslighting

On What We’ve Lost


Welcome back, friends and family.

In 2020 I was selected as one of the winners of the Divergent Award from the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research. Because we could not meet together for an awards ceremony and series of keynotes, the honorees submitted a video. Here are my responses.

This video was edited together into a literacy doczoomentary reflecting on the past twenty years of 21st-century literacies and where we go from here. Enjoy.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self – 1 Year Later

It’s been exactly one whole year of forest fires, murder hornets, pandemics, isolations, protests, quarantines, elections, vaccines, and riots and yet here we find ourselves, back at the beginning…

This series of videos from Julie Nolke is funny…and terrifying at the same time.

Enjoy Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


Guns don’t kill people…good guys and the legitimization of gun violence

It’s Time To Retire The ‘Guns Don’t Kill People — People Kill People’ Argument. Actually, guns DO Kill People.

The research linked above utilizes an online concealed carry forum to critically analyze how firearm proliferation is rationalized in the U.S.

The analysis focuses on three specific examples of violence—the Parkland, Florida, and Philando Castile shootings, and stories of children who find guns and shoot themselves and/or others to critically examine the discourse used to rationalize the proliferation of guns as a response to gun violence in the U.S.

The “guns don’t kill people” argument is flawed because it sidesteps the debate. The issue is not whether guns can spontaneously kill people on their own. The issue involves how incredibly easy a modern weapon makes killing.

Police Violence And Reform: The Inequality In Restorative Justice Opportunities

From George Floyd to Adam Toledo to Daunte Wright to countless other killings, the world is asking questions about racial injustice and excessive use of force by police. A patchwork approach to police reform has left the nation at a critical crossroad with no clear path forward.

One possible path might be available in restorative justice. In educational contexts, this is based on three pillars:

  • Empathy for all and by all
  • A mumbled “sorry” is not enough
  • Everyone is involved in the healing

NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with attorney sujatha baliga about whether restorative justice principles are useful after a shooting incident or killing involving a police officer.

How to Help Your Adolescent Think About the Last Year

For many of us in education, we’re turning the page to the summer…and the fall. As the number of vaccinated adults rises, we begin to imagine a post-COVID world.

In previous posts and interviews, I’ve discussed the need to learn lessons from this global pandemic.

Online schools are here to stay, even after the pandemic. Some families have come to prefer stand-alone virtual schools and districts are rushing to accommodate them — though questions about remote learning persist.

Judith Warner suggests that we should not refer to this as a “lost year.” Also, screen time with friends? It’s good for mental health.

Pew Report on Social Media Use in 2021

A new report from the Pew Research Center suggests that despite a string of controversies and the public’s relatively negative sentiments about aspects of social media, roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they use any kind of social media site. This is a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years.

A majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, while the use of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok is especially common among adults under 30.

Google Earth is now a 3D time machine

Google has pushed out what it says is Google Earth’s “biggest update since 2017” with a new 3D time-lapse feature.

Entering the new “Timelapse” mode of Google Earth will let you fly around the virtual globe with a time slider, showing you satellite imagery from the past 37 years.

Using the 3D Google Earth globe, you can watch cities being built, forests being cut down, and glaciers receding.


What to say when someone is gaslighting you

The term “gaslighting”— as in, the psychological manipulation, not the 19th-century profession—has been thrown around a lot over the past decade or so.

Here’s how to deal with gaslighting and stand firm in your truth:

  • Know how to recognize when gaslighting is happening
  • Stand firm in your truth
  • Write things down
  • Keep the conversation simple
  • Be willing to leave the conversation
  • Don’t worry about trying to outsmart the gaslighter
  • Increase your support system and share your truth



Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first.


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If spiders and spiderwebs fascinate you, then you may be interested to know researchers have turned spiderwebs into music. It’s a virtual look into the world of spiders and the vibrations they sense.

Look/listen here. Perhaps VR (virtual reality) is more your speed.

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

How The Truth Was Murdered

How The Truth Was Murdered
Digitally Lit #263 – 10/10/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate and issue #263.

Let’s face it, a lot happens each week in the news. A lot of important bits and pieces. I use this space each week to take time to highlight the things you need to know and provide some context. Enjoy. 🙂

This week I worked on the following:

If you haven’t already, please subscribe if you would like this newsletter to show up in your inbox. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think of this work at hello@digitallyliterate.net.


Dictators – Kim Jong-Un

As a regular reader of this newsletter, we’ve talked about deep fakes a lot in the past. Deep Fakes are machine learning products where a face or voice are replaced with those of someone else.

Creative agency Mischief at No Fixed Address developed these deep fakes to shock viewers about the fragility of American democracy. Do yourself a favor and check out the websites for these companies…they’re great. 🙂

Read more here. Check out the video with Putin.


Facebook and the Group That Planned to Kidnap Gretchen Whitmer

This week, 13 people were charged with a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Wolverine Watchmen sought to instigate civil war by kidnapping the Governor and having her stand trial for treason.

We should have known this was coming as we see this wave of extremist groups radicalized online. A line of rage that flows from online memes to real-world violence.

Charlie Warzel pulls these threads together and lays the blame of the feet of Zuckerberg and Facebook.

With every bit of friction Facebook introduces to its platform, our information ecosystem becomes a bit less unstable. Flip that logic around and the conclusion is unsettling. Facebook, when it’s working as designed, is a natural accelerating force in the erosion of our shared reality and, with it, our democratic norms.

How the truth was murdered

Pandemic, protest, and a precarious election have created an overwhelming flood of disinformation. Abby Ohlheiser on why it didn’t have to be this way.

Irony-dependent meme culture has flourished over the last 10 years, with the racism and sexism often explained away by white reporters as simple viral humor. But the path jokes took into the mainstream, originating on message boards like 4Chan before being laundered for the public sphere by journalists, is the same route now used to spread QAnon, health misinformation, and targeted abuse. The way reporters covered memes helped teach white supremacists exactly how much they could get away with.

QAnon shows that the age of alternative facts will not end with Trump

Alice Marwick and Will Partin on QAnon, and the growing trend of people believing in things that are wrong.

QAnon is a right-wing conspiracy premised on the idea that Donald Trump is working with military intelligence to bring down a global ring of child-eating pedophiles. Q researchers call themselves “bakers” and turn “crumbs” of information from Q (an anonymous account who claims to have insider knowledge of the Trump administration). The “bakers” research, aggregate, and combine these “crumbs” into “proofs” which are then “bread” or a form of worthy research.

In this, QAnon believers think they are paving the way for the “Great Awakening,” an earth-shattering event in which all of Trump’s enemies will be arrested for being Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

Marwick and Partin connect this group and their practices to Henry Jenkins’s notion of participatory culture and ask how is this any different than Star Trek or Harry Potter fans.

The Overlooked User

While social media has beneficial elements, it is also optimized for repeated, daily active use and is potentially harmful to the mental health and sense of well-being of some adolescent users, and has some negative effects on adolescent users more generally.

Amanda Lenhart and Kellie Owens on how social media companies also need to take responsibility for how adolescents use their platforms.

8 Ways Gaslighters Manipulate and Control Relationships

  1. Chronic Lying
  2. Normalize Falsehoods and Induce “Insecure Complex”
  3. Debilitate the Victim and Suppress Dissent
  4. Aggressive and Hostile When Confronted
  5. Isolate and Divide
  6. Perpetuate the Fake “Savior,” Fake “Superiority” Myths
  7. Offer False Promises
  8. Social Domination and Psychological Control


How to guard your social feeds against election misinformation

Preparing for misinformation might mean decluttering your feed, or making some suggestions to your friends and family.

Practice saying this along with me:

“Like you, I am concerned about the XXXX. Like you, I am concerned about the direction of this XXXX. However, there are other sources out there that may dispute some of the facts and dispute some of the stuff that you’re talking about.”



Feel free to share on Instagram or Flickr.

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While on this topic, listen to this interview with Marwick on Building Power Online. A quick overview is available here.

Connect at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.