Media, Technology, and Education

Arrested for Poking

A Tennessee woman was arrested after poking another woman on FaceBook.  What’s interesting to me about this story is that ABC News decided it was newsworthy.  It just doesn’t seem like it is to me.  The woman who was poked had a protective order against the poker.  A protective order means no contact.  Poking is a form of contact and so, yes, if the woman violated the protective order, she should be arrested.  Her lawyer, of course, is questioning whether she actually was the perpetrator of the poke and if she wasn’t, then she should not go to jail.  But if she did poke the woman in violation of the protective order, then she should face the same punishment as if she had called the woman or showed up at her house.  I think ABC News thinks this story is newsworthy because it involves what ABC News considers an unusual medium for communication.  I only wish they had made it clear that THAT was the reason the story was interesting to them.  As the story reads now, it seems like they think it’s ridiculous that a poke would be considered contact.  If it wasn’t contact, people wouldn’t poke their friends, right?

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I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in astrophotography, game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.

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