Culture, Featured, Lifeline, Schools

Cyber-Gracious Posts by Anonymous Teens Practice Kindness Not Cruelty

1 Written by: | Monday, Nov 18, 2013 12:15pm

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The Facebook post read as follows: “Zari Press goes out of her way to be nice to everyone and I think she’s just the coolest.”

By all accounts, Zari Press, Friends School senior and class co-president, does seem like a nice girl. Nonetheless, the flattering words appear somewhat out of character for a Facebook post written by a teenager.

Facebook, after all, has earned the infamous reputation as the social media outlet of choice for teens intent on slinging insults at their peers. When taken to extremes, this form of cyber bullying results in some damaging consequences to defenseless targets—ranging from deep humiliation to emotional damage; even suicide.

As cowards usually do, ‘cyber bullies’ act anonymously. But now, in a positive turn of events, come reports of high school and college students posting Facebook messages anonymously about their peers. Only this time, they’re all good.

These messages are called, aptly, ‘compliments’ pages. The first one appeared last year, when four undergraduates at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada set up a profile page on their university’s Facebook page, to which students anonymously submit compliments about classmates.

Just a few weeks ago, Friends Upper School students began receiving anonymous compliments via the Frendz Skool Compliments Facebook page, causing a buzz on the Baltimore campus as classmates try to figure out who’s behind the kind gesture.

“When it first started I messaged the people who run it offering my help and RAK’s support, but they said they would like to remain anonymous,” said Press, who is in the RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) club at Friends.

“It has to be more than one person,” she guessed, since to date over 550 compliments have been posted to the compliments page. “We think it’s a group of students, probably underclassmen, who have more time on their hands [than seniors] to take this task on,” she said.

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Bohemian Rhapsody, Culture, Featured

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

20 Written by: | Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 8:00am

Marion Winik

The writer prepares for a book reading in Martha’s Vineyard.

Feeling sorry for yourself now that summer’s almost over? University of Baltimore Professor Marion Winik’s retelling of her less-than-perfect break will have you feeling like maybe your holiday wasn’t so bad after all.

Often the best thing I can say about my attempts to live a decent, productive and meaningful life is thank God no one is watching. But then I think about how, insofar as I have any mission here on earth, it is to lift the spirits of others. And unless you are Bradley Manning or living in Syria, it might give you a little boost to hear how lame my summer was and be glad that whatever other burdens you are laboring under at least you are not Marion Winik.

1. The Breakup(s)

Despite my published proclamations of happy singlehood, the tree of life, via its avatar Facebook, shook me down a boyfriend back in the spring. From a small town in Pennsylvania, with thick-lashed brown eyes and arm muscles of granite, he was a 27-year veteran of unloading rail cars at a paper mill. He painted pictures and wrote song lyrics on the side.

He told me he was bipolar the first day of nonstop texting, so it wasn’t a total shock when he also told me that he was in love with me a couple days later. In fact, I went right along. I like intense. Before long, he was wearing my leather ID bracelet and I his varsity jacket from high school. I became quite attached to his favorite breakfast spot, his giant motorcycle, and his affectionate parrot, to whom he now probably regrets teaching my name. Read More →

Featured, Lit Cafe

Burying Facebook’s Dead

4 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 03, 2013 8:40am

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Baltimore author/playwright and UB instructor Kimberley Lynne is disturbed by the fact that the dead and gone never seem to depart Facebook — here’s what she proposes be done about this insensitive oversight.

Five of my Facebook friends have expired, yet occasionally a helpful sidebar will cheerily suggest: You haven’t talked to Greg in a long time, why don’t you send him a Starbucks gift card?

I’d love to, I think, but I hope he’s beyond those mortal concerns now. Read More →

Culture, Lifeline

Lean In: Marion Winik Reviews Sheryl Sandberg’s New Book

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 9:28am

Baltimore Fishbowl columnist and University of Baltimore professor Marion Winik reviewed for Newsday the controversial new book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Read an excerpt, below:

LEAN IN: Women, Work, and the Will to Leadby Sheryl SandbergAlfred A. Knopf, 228 pp., $24.95.

Rarely has the publication of a book been met with such a volley of snark and countersnark as “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” a business advice book by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Noticeably arm’s-length coverage by Jodi Kantorin The New York Times kicked off weeks of hoopla and vitriol in the blogosphere. Critics, many of whom had not read the book, which was published Tuesday, accused Sandberg of overreaching; of being elitist, anti-motherhood and anti-feminist; of not adequately representing poor, minority and non-heterosexual women; and, finally, of wearing Louboutin and Prada. Others rushed quickly to decry what seemed like knee-jerk feminist posturing or plain old hating the rich. Read More →

Lifeline, Links

Is Modern Life Killing Courtship?

0 Written by: | Friday, Feb 01, 2013 11:00am


Our dating expert Sara Lynn Michener shows us the up side of dating in the Digital Age.

It’s not what form of media you use, it’s how you use it.

I’m really profoundly tired of all the trend pieces that have been coming out proclaiming that Twitter, Facebook, texting, and otherwise “modern life” is destroying romance. Clearly, they are written by and about people who aren’t enjoying what dating is today instead of those who are. Writers are interviewing people who are trapped in a state of perpetual confusion; navigating these digital love waters in paper ships, and then forming sweeping conclusions about those waters instead of the seaworthiness of its vessels. Arguably, any other new strain of culture would be documented from the perspective of those who are successfully shaping its future. This other approach is like telling the story of a new social media application solely from the perspective of its least savvy users. Read More →

Money & Power

Facebookers, Do You Really Want a “Want” Button?

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Oct 09, 2012 9:45am

Uncle Sam, America’s most famous “wanter”

Facebook is adding a new verb to its repertoire — it’s another one you probably never thought you’d need a computer with Internet access to perform. Soon, Facebook users will be able to “want” things. It’s kind of like we’re robots that are slowly learning to be human. Read More →

Culture, Lit Cafe

“I Hate to Ask”: Are You Addicted to Social Networking, Baltimore?

0 Written by: | Monday, Aug 20, 2012 10:00am

Check out this funny poem by regular Baltimore Fishbowl contributor Elisabeth Dahl, which won an honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest sponsored by Winning Writers. We love the rollicking rhythm and the way Dahl tilts her silly lens to look at a topic to which we can (virtually) all relate (and interrelate). We’d love to hear your reaction below!


I hate to ask, but would you click
This blinking rainbow fetching stick?
For every click, a dollar goes
To stray dogs in the Poconos. Read More →


Monday Links: Trayvon Martin’s Mother Visits Baltimore Church, Police Squash Inner Harbor Protest, Baltimore’s Beach House Ripped Off by Volkswagen, and More

0 Written by: | Monday, May 21, 2012 7:42am

Preakness mess takes a lot of people to clean up – Baltimore Sun
Trayvon Martin’s mother gets an ovation at Balto. church – Baltimore Sun
Beach House addresses VW ad controversy – Baltimore Sun
Increasingly, Men Seek Success in Jobs Dominated by Women
NAACP endorses same-sex marriage, calls it a civil right – Baltimore Business Journal
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: How they pulled off their surprise wedding – Washington Post

Featured, Money & Power

Facebook’s IPO: A Good Investment? U of MD Prof Says, Maybe

0 Written by: | Friday, May 18, 2012 6:30am

This story was originally published on Feb. 1, 2012, but given today’s Facebook IPO, we thought we’d re-run it. – The Eds.

Rumor has it that Facebook is set to file an IPO in the near future. No doubt, this will be a big deal. Not only is Facebook omnipresent in our social lives, its also helping shape our economy. A few months ago, a study showed that Facebook apps have created 182,000 jobs worth more than $12 billion. So is investing in Facebook a good idea?

Well, maybe, according to Gerard Hoberg, associate professor of finance at the University of Maryland. In the pro-column:  Facebook is already huge, and it seems like it’s here to stay. And word on the street that Morgan Stanley is underwriting the IPO. “History shows that IPOs underwritten by strong names… tend to be successful investments,” Hoberg points out. But the big question is growth. Is it possible for Facebook to get bigger than it already is? “How much upside is left?” Hoberg wonders. “Although the first day return for Facebook will likely be substantial, its long-term outlook may be average for the industry.”

So invest or not, as you see fit… but prepared for a whole lot more Facebook in your future.

Featured, Money & Power

Mark Zuckerberg’s Sneaky Visit to Baltimore Last Week

0 Written by: | Wednesday, May 16, 2012 9:00am

As was reported earlier this month in The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg visited Baltimore last week as part of his Facebook IPO dog and pony show. One place he paused? The downtown headquarters of T. Rowe Price, of course, whose stake in the social media juggernaut is worth over $500 million.

Boy Wonder brought along his chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and the two had to sneak inside.

“They were trying to avoid  a Fox 45 camera team near the building so they came in throught the service elevator,” said one person who attended the meeting. “Mark was in his hoodie, as is his M.O.”

Zuckerberg presented to the group and munched on chicken parm, pasta, and Italian bread, just like any 27-year-old (he turned 28 a few days later).  Then he was off to BWI to head back to California and more of the roadshow.


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