Interacting in Support Groups

As I went to log back on to the project shapeshift website ( the pro ana site that I have been looking at) there was a new disclaimer at the top of the site that read:

NOTICE TO MINORS — YOU ARE PROHIBITED FROM JOINING OUR FORUM COMMUNITY!

If you are a minor, MOVE ON.  Any Member suspected of being underage will be INVESTIGATED THOROUGHLY by any means available online, and minors will be banned until they are of appropriate age to access our Forum!
EXCEPTION:  IF you wish to obtain consent from a parent or legal guardian to access the Project Shapeshift Community Forum, contact AnaGirlEmpath for the appropriate form.  The signing adult will need to provide signature verification to deter forgeries on the part of minors.  A picture of a parent’s ID which shows their signature is required as well as the permission form.  These signatures must match to be accepted.
NOTICE TO ED GROUPIES/WANAREXICS — YOU ARE UNWELCOME HERE!
If you think ED’s are “cool” or “chic” or are looking to lose several pounds for some special event; if you are obese and hoping to be motivated herein; if you are otherwise fixated, enamored, enthralled or attracted to ED Communities, MOVE ON NOW!
The intended audience for Project Shapeshift is as follows:
1.  Individuals 18 years of age or older who have Anorexia Nervosa (AN)
2.  Individuals 18 years of age or older with another RESTRICTIVE ED (EDNOS-r; Orthorexia; etc.)
3.  Individuals who walk Ana’s Path in Volition*

IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY HAVE A **RESTRICTIVE** EATING DISORDER OR *GENUINELY* WALK ANA’S PATH IN VOLITION, THIS SITE IS NOT FOR YOU!

I have always been hesitant to interact with the individuals on this site as it makes feel uneasy and I did not feel like I was welcome, but seeing this disclaimer makes me even more worried. It took a long time for me to even get on this site and be accepted and I still have a lot more I want to look through to get a better idea of what this community is about. Now that I have been accepted into this site though I have begun to look at different posts individuals have been making. First I have noticed that this is an extremely active and responsive community. I went on this site at 8 pm on a Monday to begin looking at posts and there were already 39 new posts. Not just that, but some of these posts had over 100 comments on them with the most I saw having 1196 replies. Most of the posts are different individuals telling their stories as to different times they have ‘restricted’ themselves (they use this term when referring to starving themselves I have noticed.

Not all of the posts on this site are just personal stories, or sharing how they strive to be thin and what they do in order to be anorexic, it seems like two this is a community that just shares information about what is taking place in their lives in general. For example, there was a post of a user just sharing pictures of a new kitten she had gotten, and another that was showing pictures of a new home that had been purchased. Some people post various poetry (while some is about staying thin, there was also an extremely touching poem on a user’s story of having a loved one in the War in Iraq. I am honestly very surprised in the range of types of posts that are made at this site and it was something that I was not expecting. I was also surprised of how truly supportive the users are of one another. I am not advocating being anorexic or the ways that these sites are encouraging young girls to do so. I do not approve of this at all. But it is clear how much that they look out for one another and how much they generally care (even if they are supporting individuals to do harm on their body.

The set up at Daily Strength was quite different when it comes to user’s posts. Again this site is very active with there being 13 posts in the past 24 hours, but these were stories about people who were having success with beating their eating disorder or there were others that were asking from help from the group to give them strength when they felt like giving up. Example of a posts:

 

Hey everyone, I wanted to share some positive news.

I’m celebrating 2 weeks free from ED behaviors today. It is incredible and I feel so free. I’ve been eating whatever the heck I want and totally not getting worked up about it.

I’ve decided that it’s time for me to get healthy. I’m planning on starting an exercise routine. Running, lifting weights, etc. I do want to lose a bit of weight with this, but that’s not the main focus so much. I want to have sexy defined muscle, keep my hourglass figure, and be able to show of my figure in the coming summer.

I won’t be going on some radical diet. I’ll be eating everything – protein, carbs, and yes, fats. It’s not about eliminating them it’s about “watching” them. I will eat whole grains instead of white. I will eat healthy fats such as those from avocados and peanut butter. Sugar won’t be eliminated either, it’ll just be monitored. And when I go out to eat, I won’t freak out that nothing fits my “diet”, I’ll just be mindful about what I eat and heck, if I want the occasional treat like cheesecake I’ll eat it.

I’m motivated by this beautiful young women who posted her journey to health on YouTube. She is incredibly beautiful with sexy muscle, defined and toned but not bulky. Her weight is healthy and she’s is focused on her health not how low a weight she can be. It’s very motivating and tonight I’ve decided this is a time for ME to change. Tomorrow marks official Day 1.

So, I thought I’d share that with everyone. I think that this is incredible for me to have come this far. Saying I want to be toned, defined, and sexy. It’s time for me to get a grip of life and grow up. Enough of this obsession with being emciated and child-like. Enough of the “how little can I eat”. Enough of the ED thoughts, the ED obsession, the ED consumption. Times are changning for me. I hope that this inspires you to think about changing. Wish me luck!

And again at this site, users were very helpful and supportive congratulating when someone  was on the right track and getting healthy again and offering advice and guidance when someone felt like they were slipping. This gave made hope and made me happy to realize that there are people that are truly trying to help others overcome their illness. This site seems like it does a great job with it as well and that users have really grown to know and trust one another. For example in one post where a user had said that they feel ugly and think that the only way to fix this is to throw up after eating users responded with giving different ideas of other things they can do to feel better about themselves so that they would not resort to developing an eating disorder.

 

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Attempting to win over the Senior Citizens

Over the course of the semester i have been entering more and more senior citizen chat rooms. Recently i have been on seniorchatters.com. In majority of the chat rooms ive entered i have been having a lot of trouble getting the other members to answer my questions. I originally entered this particular chat room with hopes to disguise my age and chat with them like a  fellow peer. However, eventually today i wanted to see if anyone was willing to answer some questions for me so i announced I was a student. I asked one lady who had answered a few of my questions when she thought i was a senior if she would private chat me. The rest of the bench said ooooooooooh and ahhhhhhh and basically called me a pervert. Then once she ignored my private chat i decided to ask the general group if anyone was willing to help me with my project. I got completely ignored and no one in this chat room seems nearly as friendly as the ones in seniorsite. I decided instead to just observe the conversation. The lady i offered to chat with ‘blocked me’ and the rest of the bunch explains how they are gonna ‘get me.’ One of them even said that her/him and I have some talking to do. I decided to explain myself because i was pretty mad at the user called ‘pad’ for assuming I have bad intentions on the site. Now they are all yelling at me basically because Im to young to be in the chat. I proceeded to get blocked by majority of the users and then banned entirely from the chat. In all the chat rooms this has happened but typically one or two users offer to answer my questions and love that im a student. Based on my observations it seems as though all the chat rooms are a mix of friends or people who have never met. However in this chat and a few others they have meet ups and it seems like  a lot of the users spend majority of their down time in the chat room. They talk about casual things but also can talk about much deeper issues. Even though some are married, a lot seem to be lonely or widows/widowers who come to chat with people they can trust. For seniors, a lot of them seem to be pretty used to the internet and some even taught me how to change my font and icon. I think based on a lot of my research the seniors who use the internet and these chat rooms do not have interest in speaking to younger people. They all were immediately offended when i announce I am a student, and still to this day have only found one woman willing to answer all my questions. I think a main difference between “average” internet users and senior citizens is the idea of support and community. Yes we all use facebook and twitter and connect and create virtual communities. However i do not think its typical for people our age or the average internet user to get as personal with strangers as senior citizens do. I think they feel much more comfortable about opening up on the internet about their personal lives. Yes, they are aware of predators and creeps but even users who say its their first times are discussing illnesses and personal issues. I think that is a huge difference. Some average user share personal information in terms of a facebook status or tweet, but i dont know anyone i would consider an average internet user who uses chat rooms as frequently as the senior citizens im observed.


Group Questing (Happy HaWoWeen!)

So the title of this post is lame,  I know, but it’s Halloween! And WoW is in the spirit as well:

 

Every now and then, depending on the season of the year, the creators of WoW add cute little touches like these to the landscape, and I thought I’d share this easter egg, err…jack-o-lantern with you guys.

Anyway, this week I focused on observing class (warrior, priest, warlock, etc) distribution and how it affects questing. It turns out that class plays a large role in how a player quests in WoW. There are class attributes that determine whether an avatar is more or less capable of completing certain tasks, fighting a certain way,  and essentially the way a player experiences the world of Azeroth.

In other words,  choosing a class defines a player’s avatar’s role, capabilities, and social tendencies in WoW.

Let me start with an example: My class is warlock, and warlocks are especially good at casting spells and summoning demons (by the way, check out my new pet demon in the picture above. So badass!). But, warlocks are unable to take large amounts of damage, as their armor rating is not as high as other classes. This means warlocks can deal heavy damage with spells while allowing their pet demon to do all of the hand to hand combat and absorb any damage the warlock couldn’t handle.

By contrast, consider the warrior class. Warriors can deal a lot of damage in hand to hand combat. They also have high armor ratings enabling them to absorb higher levels of damage. The downside to being a warrior is that they have a limited arsenal; they can only use the weapons that they carry with them (unlike the warlocks who can cast many spells with different effects).

Thus, the class of an avatar affects how a player quests. Warlocks and other spell casters (priests, shamans, mages) are more capable of going solo on quests, as they are aided by a tanking pet demon or a variety of spells, while warriors and other fighting classes (hunters, rogues, druids) tend to quest in groups to aid each by balancing out each other’s weaknesses.

I would not have considered any of this if I had not noticed my tendencies of questing. I am almost always on solo missions, and when I run into other groups of questers, they are usually warriors accompanied by a single caster.

So by choosing a class, a player is really choosing what kind of quester they will be and how they will experience their time in Azeroth. Of course, players do not need to adhere to their class’s strengths. Any warrior can solo quest, but it is to his/her advantage to have help during quests. Whether WoW players are aware of this or not, it seems to be the general tendency among classes.


So far….

This post is updates of my Foursquare usage so far.

Read the rest of this entry »


Twitter iPhone App

I’ve found that I really love the Twitter app on my iphone. It’s incredibly easy to set up and use on my smartphone. All you have to do is provide your username and password and then it automatically shows you the real-time news feed ticker. In order to refresh the twitter feed on my iphone, I simply have to slide the news feed down via the touch screen. Twitter on a smartphone basically works the same as it does on a computer, except that it is a smaller and more simple version. You definitely need to be familiar with the twitter lingo and processes, however. The “@” symbol at the bottom of the screen allows you to see if anyone has tweeted at your or mentioned you in their tweets. Similarly, you can see if you have any direct messages through an envelope symbol, and there is also a convenient search engine that you can use to find a topic or name throughout the entire site.

Tweeting on the app is just as easy. By clicking the icon in the upper right-hand corner, it brings you to a page that allows you to add a new post. Again, it is extremely unfussy and clear. When twitter is used on a computer, you add a tweet at the top of the news feed, whereas this separates it as its own entity. Still it allows you to do all the same things as the online site does, including tweeting at other people, using hashtags, attaching images and providing a location. It also conveniently shows you how many characters of the 140 that you are using, so you can make sure that it doesn’t go over the limitation.

When attaching an image or video, you can choose from one already on your phone or you can take one while you’re on the go. I think this is very convenient because often times you take a picture on your smartphone and then want to share it on twitter, and the only way to do that online is to email it to yourself and then post it from your computer. With the app, you can post the attachment straight from your phone which is a much better alternative. I will definitely be utilizing this more to tweet and not just to keep up with my newsfeed. 

 

 

 

 


Gaming Networked: Words With Friends

My game play has progressed drastically in Words With Friends. I have started to truly enjoy this game and start beating a lot of my opponents. I am no longer a newbie and consider myself as a competitive advanced player now. Not only is it a game of scrabble but it makes you really think. I will sit there stumped on a word and feel so good about figuring out one that works. I truly have become engaged in this game play as well as using the social aspect of it. I have found a new feature that is the “chat” option. This is a chat box that appears when you click in the upper right hand corner of the screen for the Iphone but is different for each device. I have yet to look at any other device but I plan to look soon in order to figure out where if the chat button is placed in a different spot or not. This feature has given me the ability to keep up with some of my friends I had not talked to in a while. My old camp friend asked to play me from facebook and we started to catch up in the chat section. Also if I am playing someone and do not have their number it gives me the ability to connect with them in another way but facebook. It is easier for me to “chat” on Words With Friends while I’m playing than switch to a text message and talk to someone. Therefore I have recently been talking more with my boyfriend as well in this chat feature. This an example of how networked game that has a social aspect. There is an actual chat options; therefore anyone using this game on facebook, iphone, ipad or any other device that has this app (see pictures to the right)

I have also begun to play random opponents to increase my skill level and see how others play. They have extremely interesting names one is “Omgmclizzie” and the other is “JESSYJAMESBITCH”. Something I realized is that I have not chatted with any of the random opponents I have played with and do not think I will. This is a feature meant for people who know each other I think.

Another feature I realized is you can decline an invitation if you want. You do not need to accept anyone that asks you to play.  This is a good thing that one can accept or decline whoever they want. This creates some sort of safety feature and gives you the will to chose who you play or not.

Random Game: My Game improvement (winning): Declining an invitation:


Entering and Signing Up for Self-Help Sites

When going to join daily strength- group that offers support to those with eating disorders it was super easy to join, all I had to do was create an account.   I had to enter very basic information (nothing even personal about myself) and I was allowed to be a part of the website. The sign up process is shown in the screen shot below.

Just minutes after I had set up registration for my account I had gotten an e-mail welcoming me to the site and offering me helpful hints as a way to get started with daily strength. These hints including how to make a profile, offering different ways to make friends and connections with other people on the site, how to join one of their support groups and how to set up security measures and be able to protect myself on the website

It is not easy to see, but if you look at the screen shot below, this was at the pro-ana site that I have been looking at (entitled Ana’s underground Grotto) and is the disclaimer that is shown for people who try and attend the site. This is just the disclaimer if you are trying to enter the Grotto- where different tips and dieting strategies to stay thin are located. If one is trying to enter the forum there are different requirements. To enter the forum you have to sign up to be a member.

When one tries to enter the forum there is another disclaimer and terms of conditions that appear. The main part of the registration conditions say, “You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-orientated or any other material that may violate any laws be it of your country, the country where “Project Shapeshift” is hosted or International Law. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned, with notification of your Internet Service Provider if deemed required by us. The IP address of all posts are recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that “Project Shapeshift” have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should we see fit. As a user you agree to any information you have entered to being stored in a database. While this information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent, neither “Project Shapeshift” nor phpBB shall be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.”

The weirdest thing that I had to do when I was registering was to type in the word anorexic in a box. They said this was a way to prevent automated submissions, but that seemed odd to me. It also said that they would have to review my submission and report back if I was accepted to be a part of the forum.

My submission was not granted until three days later and when I was accepted to be part of this site all it said was “Your account on “Project Shapeshift” has now been activated, you may login using the username you received in a previous e-mail” There were not hints as to how to use the site as with the daily strength website, which may have been better because in my opinion people should not be on these sites to begin with, so teaching them how to accurately use them would not be the best thing in the world