Is social media becoming a mean place?

So we were having a discussion in the office this morning about how sometimes it’s frightening to just make a passing comment on social media about something that’s happening, without someone jumping down your throat.

And I don’t even mean anything controversial.

For instance, during the last tube strike I tweeted something like “Just the thought of tomorrow’s commute is giving me a headache.” Someone then decided to very helpfully tweet back “Use your legs, lazy Londoner” or words to that effect…

Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m sarcastic and even if you don’t, if you look back on previous tweets etc, knows I’m partial to a satirical quip.

Taylor Swift

Picture courtesy of YouTube

Now I know that in this day and age, people couldn’t care less about doing a bit of stalking research or even engaging in a thing called ‘having a sense of humour.’ Equally I know sarcasm isn’t easily conveyed online but it feels like Facebook and especially Twitter have become a breeding ground for spiteful, judgemental trolls.

People seem to think it’s fair game to have a pop at journalists in particular. At the end of the day, there is a real person behind the words and it’s about time, people started transferring some manners to the online world.

You wouldn’t tell someone on the tube that you hated their outfit.

You wouldn’t tell someone in the supermarket not to buy a microwave meal.

And you certainly wouldn’t just go up to someone and call them all the names under the sun.

So why do it elsewhere?

I’m not saying that people aren’t entitled to their opinions, a bit of healthy debate is good for the soul apparently but to be outright mean or respond with “YOUR WRONG !!!” isn’t constructive nor grammatically correct…

Instagram appears to be one of the only platforms where people are actually nice to each other, to people they don’t even know, purely because they’ve stumbled across something through searching a tag.

Why fuel so much energy into being hateful? What do people actually get out of it? And why not actually explore the context around something first before commenting?

And if you can’t be bothered with that – if you’ve got no kind words to say, you should say nothing at all.

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Turning a Quarter of a Century

I turned the grand ol’ age of 25 at the end of January and previous followers of this blog might remember my little to-do list before I blew the candles out on my cake.

At the halfway point, I’d managed to tick off quite a few of them and I’m glad to say that I’ve done a lot more since, and probably outside of what I set out to do when I first created this list. Yeah I still haven’t been to Paris (wah) but the 365 days leading up to another mile stone birthday were pretty darn good…

  1. Visit Paris – TO DO!!! THIS YEAR!!!
  2. Take on another sporting challenge- Last year’s 5k has now turned into a Half Marathon… eek.
  3. Camp at a music festival- Festival season is long gone.
  4. Get more work published  I’ve been writing my gig panel for a year now, still getting in reviews and writing online. 
  5. Visit somewhere in the UK I’ve never been– Had a nice little jolly around the South-West in October, so much so that it’s my retirement destination.
  6. Try different foods (Big step for a fussy-eater!) Hmm…yeah, sort of. I likes what I like.
  7. Cook dinner for my family- Erm…I’ve bought a 30 Minute Meals cookbook, that’s a start right?
  8. Finish a TV boxset- On the last few episodes of Breaking Bad. I know I suck at life.
  9. Start saving for the future  On my way!
  10. Have two mad nights out in a row or go out on a school-night (Deal with the aftermath without complaint) Done on a couple of occasions (*cough* Christmas *cough*). I’ve only just started to drink white wine again.
  11. Experiment more with my personal style (Note to self: You can’t live in floral dresses forever)  Yup but I can’t pull off culottes.
  12. Host a charity event- We’re a charitable bunch in my office.
  13. Create a collage/photo album of “My Life 18-25″-  Needs an update.
  14. Move forward in my career BIG SMILEY FACE.
  15. Learn a new skill or take up a short course- You never stop learning.
  16. Stop worrying incessantly about EVERYTHING! Just STOP.- Well…I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t.
  17. Develop and be consistent with my blog  I promiiiiiiiiise.
  18. Face my fear of public speaking- I don’t think I ever will, if I can help it.
  19. Buy a newer car- I still have Bella, my precious.
  20. Visit more of London’s landmarks   Of course. 
  21. Learn when to say “NO.” You can’t always be Super Girl Getting better at this.
  22. Be a bit more impulsive  I’ve learned to take a back seat with plans too (go me)
  23. Start writing short stories again – One day…
  24. Tick more bands off my Live Gig list Forever the music lover. 
  25. Be happy with where I am in life and enjoy living in the moment- Overall, yes, I’ve tried to stop getting too far ahead of myself, stop worrying about where other people are in their lives and concentrate on the here and now. Deep.

18/25

Y’know what? This list wasn’t ever really in the back of my mind throughout 2014 and I never sat there and thought to myself ‘Quick, I must do this before I’m 25 otherwise I fail at life.’ It was a fun thing to do and to look back on I guess.

Life isn’t a to-do list, it isn’t a series of tick boxes with JOB, HOUSE, MARRIAGE, KIDS on it. It’s about doing what you set out to achieve individually, whether that be working towards a promotion, taking up a post-grad course and even things like having some more ‘me’ time or visiting a place you’ve always wanted to go to.

I think with even more so with social media now, we’re into the concept of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses,’ in the sense we get FOMO and life-envy. For most people, social media is like an Instagram filter of their lives, we’re only seeing what we want everybody else to see. And that’s fine, why wouldn’t you want everyone to think your life is amaaaaazing?

Just take everything with a pinch of salt and think about everything you have that makes YOU happy the next time you see something that makes you go ‘Oh, why can’t that be me?’ Why would you want a regram of somebody else’s life when you have the option of your own, no matter how tough it can be at times.

How Do You Get Your News?

It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘discussion’ piece and with the massive headlines that are dominating the news at the moment (namely the missing Malaysian plane and the Crimea crisis) I wondered how most of you got your day-to-day information?

Looking "studious" back in 2012...

Looking “studious” back in 2012…

We all know that the newspaper and print industry is sadly in decline, with more people getting their news online rather than popping to their local newsagents and leafing through a paper with their morning coffee.

We’re a convenience generation and we like things to be instant, quick and easily accessible if we’re on the go. It’s so easy now to flick through Twitter on your commute and get the gist of what’s going on, without it taking up too much of our time. It’s a shame really.

Admittedly, I do tend to scroll through my Twitter feed first thing in the morning and if a headline catches my eye, I might click on the link for the rest of the story. However, the problem with social media is if you’re not following news organisations directly online and you’re just basing your information on what’s trending, then the context can spiral hideously out of control. It’s also an open gateway for hoaxes to go viral and mislead readers- anyone remember Will Smith’s  ‘Twitter death’ earlier this year?

It was for that reason, that I was convinced for half a second that RMT Union boss Bob Crow’s death was indeed another Twitter stunt. Sky News happened to be on in front of me at the same time, which helped to void any doubts, but it did make me wonder how many people actually cross-reference the news they see online with another platform?

According to a 2013 Ofcom report– News Consumption in the UK, “Across all platforms, UK adults use an average of 3.7 sources,” however 32% of people use the internet for news, with 82% using Facebook to reach news-related articles. Not necessarily a terrible thing if social media users are being directed to an original news source but what about those who take what they read on social networking sites at face-value?

The report did also find that people who use Twitter as a news source “do not rate it highly for being accurate (29%), trustworthy (28%) or unbiased (28%)” whereas Sky News and the BBC received the highest ratings for this attributes at 60% and 70% respectively.

I mean I’m not saying that the only source readers should consult are the major news networks because as we all know the press can over speculate and exaggerate the truth, I’m just interested in knowing how many people read a newspaper on a daily basis or listen to the radio first thing in the morning or even watch the news before going to bed? Technology is an amazing thing and it’s great that you can find out at the click of a button what’s going on in the world but call me old-fashioned, there’s nothing better than reading a newspaper with your Weetabix.

Please let me know your views and take part in my little poll below.