Categories
Advertising social media

Why We’ll See Less Ads, and Hopefully, Less Hate Speech

Over 160 companies have decided to stop advertising on social media platforms for the month of July to support the Stop Hate for Profit campaign – I would too, to be honest, but I don’t have a business or advertise so that’s a bit of an obstacle, isn’t it?

A continually updated list of brands joining the Facebook ad ...

This is a boycott targeted at Facebook, but since Facebook owns nearly everything these days (like your personal data), companies won’t be advertising on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp for a month. Looks like Marky Z’s big plans of owning every platform is kinda blowing up in his face(book) a wee bit, doesn’t it? Instead of making loads of dolla, he’s now losing dolla on all of them. Shame.

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Starbucks and Coca-Cola have also decided to stop their social media advertising for 30 days, but not as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, so they’re not just boycotting Facebook. The only “social media” platform they’ll continue to use is YouTube, because like, does anyone actually consider YouTube to be ‘social media’?

Anyway, Starbucks has decided to take a break from all social media advertising while they have “discussions” to figure out how they can help stop hate speech, and Coca-Cola said that “there’s no place for racism on social media platforms” and that they need to have “greater accountability”. So, they’re sort of supporting the campaign but like, not actually supporting it, ya feel?

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So, why are these companies boycotting social media advertising which is a MASSIVE way to reach their target audiences? Not because they know we’re sick of seeing so many goddamn ads, no; because pretty much everyone’s sick of seeing so much hateful content on the platforms and not enough being done about it.

Basically, there’s been a lot of issues with what gets posted on Facebook. It’s been accused of allowing fake news, hate speech, racist, sexist and homophobic content, incitement to violence against human rights and racial justice protesters AND ignoring voter suppression on the site. Last year, it was also accused of discriminating against communities of colour, by targeting housing-related ads to exclude users of certain races. Quite the list, I know.

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So, why is this content allowed on the platform, instead of being removed and users blocked? Well, Mr Mark said that two of Facebook’s priorities are: 1) Giving people a voice and 2) Keeping communities safe (I’m assuming “making money” and “capturing data” also fall pretty high on that list). According to him,

“The approach that we’ve taken to false news is not to say: You can’t say something wrong on the internet”

Mark Zuckerberg, 2018

But surely, hate speech is wrong? Incitement to violence of racial justice protesters is wrong? Voter suppression is wrong? Surely, racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism are all wrong?

Do You Have What It Takes To Be Wrong Wrong GIF - LowGif

Anyway, last week, Facebook announced some ‘changes’ to address the misinformation (fake news) and hate speech on its platform. It’s listed “trusted sources” on its new “high quality news” tab feature, which is fair. But, one of these “trusted” sources is Breitbart News, which has been known to work with white nationalists (not the Irish kind) and Neo-Nazis. According to Business Insider, it’s been called an “alt-right” and “white supremacist” platform;

“It promotes racist rhetoric and used a category tag called “black crime” for several years. Its stories often push anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim narratives, and heavily promotes Trump.”

Business Insider, 2019

Hmm. Trustworthy? High quality? Not the words I’d use, like.

Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users ...

Facebook also said it’ll label “problematic content” that might be harmful or misleading. But, the problem is, this content won’t necessarily be removed – even if it violates Facebook’s standard policies – if it’s “in the public interest” or seen as “news worthy”.  So, brands, people and Stop Hate for Profit have come out and said that that’s not enough.

Basically, they’re taking a stand and boycotting advertising on social media platforms because they don’t want to contribute to the $70 billion Facebook makes off advertising (I know, how mad is that?) when it refuses to accept accountability and take proper steps to protect users from dangerous content. In short, Stop Hate for Profit and the brands standing with it want to show Facebook that,

“Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”

Stop Hate for Profit, 2020
Why This Facebook Boycott Is Different – Adweek

The advertisers joining the campaign have decided to put people before profits and accept that they might lose money from the lack of advertising, but it’s worth it for the bigger picture. This isn’t an approach Facebook seem to take, instead preferring to follow the money. But, by cutting away a decent chunk of its profits and holding some advertising revenue hostage, Facebook might decide to do what everyone wants it do to (and rightly so), to get its customers back. Ah, capitalism.

Even though this campaign hasn’t made Mr Mark further change his policies yet, it’s already cost him $7.2 billion off his personal net worth, £45 billion from Facebook’s market value and knocked him off third place of richest people in the world, so, something tells me that he will, pretty soon. $$$

Categories
social media

Where Have All the Brunch Pics Gone?

Social media is as popular as ever, especially since lockdown when people have little else to do or to distract themselves with. I mean, how else is everyone going to know you made banana bread or went for a run or decided to endanger lives and break the lockdown restrictions because you wanted to see your boyfriend?

People might be using social media more, but they might also be mindlessly scrolling less. I know, it seems like a complete contradiction because that’s like the purpose of social media, but I think the way we’re using it has actually changed in the past month.

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Basically, more people are using their social media as platforms to promote change, rather than their food photography skills. They’re giving an insight into their culture and history, rather than their social life. They’re sharing tough and negative experiences they’ve had, rather than trying to portray a picture-perfect life of happiness.

Up until recently, the Instagram stories on my feed used to be photos of coffees, friends, horrifying slow-mo videos of poking poached eggs and the yolk running out – NASTY, selfies and aesthetic landscapes. My ‘Explore’ section was always just photos of class looking salads, smoothie bowls, succulents and the odd makeup video.

But now, the stories I see – and post – are mostly educational. They’re raising awareness of social and human rights issues, sharing news stories and informing people of what the news outlets just ~happen~ to leave out. My ‘Explore’ section is pretty much the same, with loads of infographics, sources of information and more news-worthy content (well, news-worthy to everyone except the news outlets, apparently).

Only ONE avocado in sight

We’re still posting photos, sharing content and talking to people, but what we’re posting, sharing and saying is completely different. It’s like taking what social media technically does and seeing what it can actually do if that makes sense? Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?

Social media isn’t just for sharing photos of what we’re doing and eating, being plagued by ads and mindlessly scrolling to kill time. It’s for informing and educating yourself. It’s for informing and educating other people. It’s for supporting movements. And yeah, the odd avocado toast pic and girly boomerang is still there, but people are realising there’s more important content to share than what you’re eating (because literally no one cares about that, okay?).

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I think we’re seeing just how powerful and beneficial social media can be. We already kinda knew how influential social media channels are, like we’ve seen the impact of social media marketing, influencers and Marky Z bugging our phones to show us ads for things we mention ONCE. But this is all from more of a capitalism (boo) and consumerism point of view, I guess. As in, like, we’ve seen how it can influence what we do, like and buy by showing us what everyone else is.

But now, I think we’re seeing how it could be used to generate and promote change rather than profit and products.  People are learning about systemic racism, history, current events, other countries and cultures, and the experiences of people from different races.

There’s obviously the issue of ‘Fake News’ on social channels – from the pretty convincing articles and the dodgy stories that you know fine rightly never happened. But, I actually think that people are increasingly using sources like Instagram and Facebook for news content. Not just for stories from News outlets, but from people, pages and groups.

I know we’re always told that news outlets are ‘trusted sources’ and we should use them to stay informed because they’re more accurate, but there’s so much that they don’t cover. Like, I read the news and all but I’ve recently realised how little I actually know about what’s going in the world.

I’ve learned more about systemic racism, structural inequality and certain aspects of history in the past month through posts and resources on Instagram than I probably would’ve ever learned from news channels. I’ve learned of events, crimes and issues through Facebook that the news outlets just don’t cover. And it’s not just what they cover, but how they cover it. You just need to look at the reporting of the latest protests to see examples of the racial bias, like.

As well as that, I’m learning from people. I’ve seen photos, videos and infographics of real and regular people from across the world sharing their experiences, their history and their culture.

I’ve seen people, brands, institutions and ideologies being called out, like I feel like the past few months have really brought some things to light. Things that were deliberately hidden or twisted for the purpose of maintaining the racist status quo or that people were simply unaware of. The vibe basically seems to be, “if the news isn’t sufficiently or accurately covering human rights and racial issues, we’ll do it for them”.  My kinda vibe.

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It can be overwhelming, but I suppose we need to be overwhelmed to realise how bad things are and how much they need to change. Plus, I’d rather have an overload of important content that supports a movement and I actually benefit from seeing than an overload of runny poached eggs (ew), beaches and people breaking lockdown rules.

Categories
lifestyle social media

Menu Madness

Me and my uni ones were going for brunch on Friday (standard millennial girl behaviour). We (FINALLY, after a lot of veto’s) decided to go on the Wednesday, and within minutes we were all checking the menu and pre planning what we might get.

Once we got there, it still took us about 15 minutes to decide what we wanted. So imagine how long it’d take if we’d never seen the menus before, we’d still be sitting there now like.

And we’re sure as hell not the only ones. Everyone does it. Find out where you’re going, go online and download the menu. It’s the norm really.

I used to judge people who knew what they were going to order for lunch like 3 days before they went. I thought, “how do you know what you want? Why not just see what you feel like at the time?” That’s what I did. I just rocked up and chose what I fancied. So next time an interviewer asks me about taking risks, you can bet what example I’m gonna whack out.

I don’t know when exactly I moved to the dark side and started downloading PDFs left, right and centre. But to be fair, I really struggle with decisions so the whole hassle of actually CHOOSING one thing over the other 48 on the menu is a bit of a 20 minute stress-infused ordeal.

Plus, I’d be so distracted at trying to choose that I neglect the company I’m with and don’t speak to them. So you can imagine why pre-deciding and avoiding a 20-minute silence isn’t a bad idea for someone like me. I’m doing my brain, my amigos AND the poor waiter all a favour.

It’s sort of like a “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” kinda scenario.
We’ve all had those times where the waiter keeps coming over and you’re still not ready to order so you panic and choose the first thing you see or lapse into “chicken goujons and chips”. So maybe if you had’ve seen the menu before, you’d have gone for something a lil more exciting and worth the £18.

Me when the waiter comes over

Now, I don’t choose EXACTLY what I want, unless there’s only one thing I actually like on the menu. I normally narrow it down to like 2 things I might go and then “see how I feel” when I get there. Not that it’s exactly hard to narrow it down when you’re THIS fussy.

Even if I’m not even planning to go to a certain place anytime soon, I still have a wee jook and see what they do; just in case I ever do take a notion. I’m THAT sad, I know. But I’m not the only one, I refuse to believe it so I’m gonna generalise and say this is a SWEEPING TREND.

So why do we (yes, WE) bother? What’s the point of looking at a menu of somewhere we’re not even going to?

1. To see the food
Duh. “Italian” – okay does that mean pizza? Lasagne? Fancy twirly pasta? What if I don’t want any of them? Is there something like normal? What about vegans/vegetarians and other fussy creatures?

2. To see the names
I want to see how posh this place is. Is it “salmon and cream cheese bagel” or “free range, organic, hand-caught Scottish salmon, with organic, hand-churned cream cheese on home-made, circular dough with a hole in the middle, topped with honey-rolled sesame seeds“? I need to see if the place is as unfancy as me.

3. The price
Ah yes, probably the main reason for us students. Once I see “olives” as a starter for £5 you can bet your donkey I’m going to swiftly exit, delete and rule out THAT establishment.

4. For a wee nosey
Of course. Bitta dinner inspo, pass the time when you’re in the dentist waiting room, new place opened round the corner so you HAVE to suss it out.

Me when a new café opens

It’s not just that more people are jooking at more menus now. it’s that more menus are available now. Not having a menu online could be what makes someone choose another business over yours. Think about it. Why I would choose to go to a place when I don’t know what it serves or how much it costs; when I can easily go to another place where I can find it all out and avoid disappointment when I sit down and read the menu?

If I’m deciding between 2 places for dinner, the one with a menu I can read is gonna be the pick, hands down. I might like the food, drinks and price at the other place, but how do I know that if I can’t see what any of that is?

That’s the downside of businesses not having websites and opting for a wee Facebook page instead. There’s almost never a menu on them. Goddamnit. Photos, memes and competitions, great. But that doesn’t help me decide where to go for brunch now does it?

For someone like me who finds decisions and committment a stressful and MELTING task, having the ability to check, decide and then RELAX when I get to the food place is a beautiful gift.

So shoutout to the businesses who do have their menus readily available for a wee nosey, go rabh maith agat. And to the businesses who don’t, you just lost yourself a very valuable customer who orders tap water.

Categories
lifestyle social media

Digital Detox

This weekend, I decided to do a wee ‘digital detox’ and take a break from social media. I had a bad day on Friday and was in STINKIN form (sorry Niamh and Amber), so I just felt like I needed to take a couple of days to myself and clear my head. Instead of looking at what everyone was having for breakfast or was doing with their day, I just wanted to focus on what I was having for breakfast, and what I was doing with my day.

The thing is, a lot of the time I’m on social media, it’s purely for the sake of it. It’s not because I particularly want to be, it’s just a wee distraction while I’m waiting on the microwave or when the ads come on. That’s why we go on social media, because we’re bored and want something to look at; we want a distraction but don’t want to have to distract ourselves. We pretty much rely on other people for entertainment when our lives aren’t entertaining enough.

It’s nothing new like, but people these days (yeah, not just us young ones) are pretty much addicted to our phones. We refresh our feeds to see what’s “new”, and if anything’s happened since we last checked 10 minutes ago. And then get a wee bit disappointed when there’s nothing to look at, like or reply to. It’s like we have this constant need to see what everyone else is doing, and show everyone what we’re doing. Or eating. Or watching. We’re obsessed. It’s almost like some sort of self-validation. Our lives aren’t enough for us, and we’re not satisfied or fulfilled by what we’re doing until we see what other people are.

That’s the thing, it’s about other people. We want to see what they’re up to and have a wee jook at what their lives are like. And then, we compare them to our own. And that’s a problem with social media, the constant comparisons. They can make you feel better about yourself, or a hell of a lot worse. We might be happy enough doing what we’re doing, eating what we’re eating, wearing what we’re wearing, but then as soon as we see someone else is doing it ‘better’, we’re not that happy anymore.

We give him a run for his money

It can be something as simple as dinner. Someone’s getting a Chinese and now you’re a bit melted because you want one but are stuck with pasta, AGAIN. Maybe other people are going out but you’re in bed, and then you think that you really should be going out but you’re not, so you must be a bore. And there’s nothing, NOTHIN like the panic you feel when you see one of your classmates has submitted their assignment and you haven’t even started yet. Help.

So, I thought “to hell with it, ya gal needs a break”.

Have I noticed anything since my detox? Well, the sky is bluer. The air is fresher. I can smell flowers. Birds are chirping. Children laugh in the distance. I am at peace.

I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the outside world or other people’s lives. And you know what? I don’t need to. I don’t care. No one knows what I’ve been doing. They don’t they need to. And they probably don’t care. Although my private stories are a GEG so I know people did miss me.

So, what did I do with all this free time that I’d usually spend on my phone you ask? I stared at the walls in my room. There are 459 bricks on next door’s extension. Nah. I didn’t do anything, because I was already doing other things. I went for wee danders, met friends for coffee, did shopping, did uni work (and ACTUALLY got stuff done?? Class), and watched First Dates Hotel. What a show.

me

So there was no real time that I needed to be on my phone. Well, I did to arrange meeting up with my friends like, but I did it retro-style and used TEXT. Yeah, people do still do that. To be fair, I did go online a few times (I’m a fraud, I know) to listen to music, check the weather (rain again, SHOCK) and check the Celtic score. Although I really wish I didn’t. The world’s revenge for me going online I guess.

But I didn’t go on social media. And I didn’t need or want to. So I didn’t miss it. I didn’t miss seeing selfies, coffee art or food. I didn’t miss seeing how people were at the gym, how drunk they were getting on Saturday and how much they were dying on Sunday. My thumbs weren’t twitching from lack of double tapping or scrolling, I didn’t get cabin fever and I didn’t start talking to inanimate objects. So, it was an overall success I’d say.

What about when the ads on iplayer came on? What I did do with all that free time? How did I distract myself from the marketing traps in front of me? Well, first set: made a cup of tea. Second set: washed my cup. Third set: Get this, I just watched the ads. *Gasp* That’s right, I watched them. Well, it was more ‘saw’ than ‘watched’ because I didn’t really pay attention like. But yeah, there actually are other things to do than sit on your phone when ads are on. Wild like. 

It was a short detox, but that’s all I needed. And sure, people only stick at those weird tea detoxes for like a day anyway so I didn’t do too bad like. I just needed a few wee days to myself. I was still busy, I still went out and I still met friends. I didn’t miss out on anything and it actually did help me clear my head. PLUS, did you know that I got uni work done? Unreal. Go me.

Now, I’m not trying to be condescending and tell everyone they should boycott social media and “live in the moment, man”. Because social media isn’t a bad thing. You can talk to your friends, stalk your exes and just have a wee nosey at what other people are doing. You can see where’s nice to go for coffee, or get dinner inspo. And that’s fine. It’s a good wee distraction for when we need one and it can give us a few minutes to just take a break from our lives. I just needed to focus on mine and take a break from other people’s.

So, yes, use social media, but make sure you give it all a rest as well. Just to take a wee bit of time for yourself and forget about everything else. We spend so much time focusing on what other people are doing, when we really should be focusing on ourselves.

Categories
lifestyle social media

Fakebook – Our Fake Lives Online

Let’s be real, the “us” we portray on social media, isn’t the same “us” that danders around tesco in their jammies or watches Netflix for 8 hours straight. Everything we post has been polished, filtered and approved by 3 friends in the group chat. You don’t just post “whatever”, you make a conscious decision to upload something specific. Out of 56 selfies, you chose to upload that one – even though you might delete it later but you “felt cute” at the time. Out of a million memes, you chose to post that one (which isn’t even funny). And out of all of the giveaways for a free trip to Malibu for you and 4 friends, you chose to share that one – oh but I’m sure this ones definitely real.

Why? Why do we make such an effort to control what gets posted? Because everyone wants to have friends and followers. The aim of the game is give the people what they want so they decide to follow you. So you post what you think people want to see and what you think will get you the most likes and follows; there’s a constant desire to impress. You try 6 different filters, 13 captions and debate with yourself whether or not to post that selfie. People creep their own profiles and do a “detox”, deleting the photos or statuses that they don’t like anymore. They check notifications, count their likes and comments and panic if there’s less than 11 in 5 minutes, because sadly, we live in a society where self esteem and value is determined by this. We let how many strangers like our photo effect how we feel about ourselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s edited beyond recognition, it gets more likes. Do you ever wonder why people don’t look like themselves in their Instagram photos? Because they get more likes on these, so they’re basically told that they’re prettier and more popular this way. It gives people a chance to change their appearance to one that they’re happier with – the way they wished they looked. The way they’re told they should look.

In real life, you decide to be friends with someone based on what they’re like, and online is no different. Your friends, family and anyone who actually knows you, well, knows you – so they know that they like you. But strangers need to gauge who you are and what you’re like based on what you post on your accounts to see if you’re the sort of person that they want to “add” or “follow”. They don’t know you, so they don’t know your flaws, your personality traits or what you look like without makeup. You get a clean slate. You choose what they see and what they know about you. Don’t like the photo? They don’t have to see it. Don’t post it, delete it, remove the tag. Don’t want people to know something about you? Then simply don’t mention it. No one needs to know about your Goth phase in 2008. Thank God.

So, it isn’t always a bad thing to hide some things or be a bit ‘fake’ online, and not just with photos. In private conversations, you can say what you want and openly express how you feel, especially with controversial topics. But on social media, you have to be a bit more cautious. Say something out loud and there’s no real “proof” unless someone’s recording, but put something online and there it is, a lil digital paper trail. As we all know from FILM, once something’s been uploaded, it’s up forever. You can delete it if you want, but how many people already saw it? And who knows how many screenshots have been taken by then?

Obviously, everyone has an opinion and the right to express it too, but there’s certain things which are probably better left un-typed. You wouldn’t walk down the street shouting racist or homophobic comments, so why do the equivalent on your ‘wall’?

It goes for anywhere, but especially here in the north of Ireland, you have to be really careful about what you post in relation to politics or religion. You pretty much have to accept that you’ll be judged on what soccer team you support, what passport you have, what you call the artificial state that you live in and what you do on the 12th of July. It’s the same in the UK with who voted ‘leave’ and who voted ‘remain’, and in America with who voted for Trump (and more importantly, why?). If people know where we stand on these sort of things, they’ll judge us and it will effect their opinion of us; but online, if we don’t post about it, then they won’t know and so will judge us based on other things like what we’re like, not what we believe in.

Let’s be real, we’ve all googled our own names to see what comes up. And most of the time, it’s nothing bar old Bebo accounts or other people with the same name (shoutout to the 134,000 other Niamh Murrays rolling about). But what else comes up are our social media accounts. So, if someone’s doing a lil dig on you like Joe from ‘You’ checking up on your woman Beck, that’s all they really have to find out about us, that and the primary school photos from the Andytown News website. Yikes.

Aside from stalkers, potential employers are going to be doing a little snooping on you too, to see what you’re really like. Even they know that you can’t really gauge what someone’s like from applications or CVs, and no one’s their true self in interviews. They want to see if you’re the sort of person they want working for them and representing the company, so what they see can affect whether or not you get a shortlisted, an interview, or the job even. If something negative or offensive gets broadcasted on social media, it’s going to put off employers and customers too. I mean, footage of a company executive singing a sectarian song doesn’t exactly scream “professional and trustworthy source”. But that’s hypothetical, of course…

I reckon that’s why a lot of people are getting and using LinkedIn. Having a social media especially for networking and professional use means people don’t have to worry as much about what they post or hide hide on other accounts. It gives employers a first port of call too, they can see your LinkedIn and think “hmm, doesn’t seem like a bad spud” and give up, rather than keep digging and finding your drunk alter ego’s Instagram account (yeah, you know who you are). See, there’s sort of an unspoken hierarchy of how “behind the scenes” your social media accounts are:

  • LinkedIn is professional, so you post about achievements and current affairs.
  • Instagram is basically where you post photos of yourself and your friends to show off your contour and social life, it’s basically all for show, like a polished version of you.
  • Facebook is mostly used for memes, but this is where people feel most free to post what they want. They’re not afraid to say how they feel on current affairs and political matters, or when they’re drunk.
  • Snapchat is where you can be your true self and send ugly selfies where you look like a thumb, super behind the scenes.

Saying all this, how ‘fake’ you are depends how much you care what other people think about you; some people really don’t care and still post statuses and photos which are pretty questionable. But, they’re doing what they want on their accounts. Don’t like it? Unfollow. Unfriend. If you don’t like what they do, say or are like, then you wouldn’t be friends with them in real life, so why be online?

Categories
lifestyle social media

Don’t @ Me

Well, it’s pretty ironic that I want to go into digital or social media marketing but don’t have Twitter, isn’t it?

Truth is, I do have Twitter. I actually have like 6 different accounts floating about somewhere, one for every time I decided to get it, then didn’t have a baldy how to use it so just deleted the app.

I did use to have an account and tweet the occasional witty comment or inspirational Lil Wayne lyric that just resonated with my soul ~there’s just something about degrading women, murder and drugs that rly spoke to 2013 me~. But I think I just got a bit fed up and couldn’t really be bothered with it anymore, I never tweeted much anyway and then got offended when people unfollowed me (the NERVE).

So why don’t I have Twitter?

There’s a couple of reasons (apart from the fact it adds a lil bit of mystery because people can’t creep me online).

1. Coming up with a username (or “handle” as I believe the Twitter kids say). Niamh is a really common name so a lot of usernames are taken – and as much as I’d like “niamhm1223216” as my handle, it doesn’t exactly scream “memorable” and no way would I remember it when trying to log in.

2. Coming up with a bio – as if coming up with my Instagram one wasn’t tough enough. What do I write, my age and uni? “Follow me pls”? another Lil Wayne quote? I don’t want to be boring (not that I could be) but I don’t want to be trying too hard either, people have to think “oh I’ll give her a wee follow”.

3. Ever get when you’re running late and you think to yourself “it actually looks worse if I show up this late than if I just don’t show up”? Like am I too late to the Twitter party? Years ago I decided to wait until the “whole Twitter thing” died down, so I wouldn’t have to make it. But here we are, about 6 years later and yep, it’s STILL a thing. Yay.

4. What’s my first tweet gonna be? “Hi”? A meme? “I don’t know how to use this”? If I’m making a comeback after about 5 years and finally joining the Twitter world, I need to have a good entrance. Like a washed up 2000s singer trying to be a somebody again. Craig David needed a BANGER when stepping back on the scene like.

5. Followers. Like how will people find me? No one wants to be that person with 5,000 tweets, following 893 and only 4 followers, it’s a bit scundering like. No harm.

These all come back to one main reason which is that I don’t know what I want from Twitter.
For me, LinkedIn is professional and proper, Instagram is more “behind the scenes” and not so serious and Facebook is for changing your profile picture so people don’t forget you exist and tagging friends in memes. So what’d my Twitter be for? Do I want to use it to stay in the loop with current affairs, look at memes or follow celeb gossip? (Obviously there are other options. I hope).

It’s important to build a digital presence and brand, and I don’t know what mine is yet. It’s the same reason I don’t know what handle I’d have or what my first tweet would be. I don’t wanna tweet about the latest first dates episode if I want to be taken seriously. But do I want to be taken seriously and just retweet business news? Isn’t that what LinkedIn’s for? I want to be me and have my social media reflect that. But I don’t really know what that “me” is yet. Ya girl’s still growing (one day I will be 5ft4, just you wait and see).

If I knew what I wanted, I could choose a handle, I could write a bio, I could think of a first tweet. I’d know who I wanted to follow and what photo I’d want as my dp. But until then, I don’t see the point making Twitter. I don’t want a seventh account floating about, and I sure as hell don’t want to waste a good name.

Categories
Advertising PR

How to Lose Customers and Alienate People

Have you ever entered a competition or giveaway online? Probably. Well, why not? You might win; someone has to, right? Wrong.

When you enter and don’t get that notification or ‘tag’, you assume you haven’t won and someone else bagged that takeaway or voucher. Lucky son of a gun. Disappointing, isn’t it? Well, would it make you feel any better if I told you that maybe no one actually won it? Yeah, thought it might.

Recently, a lot of brands have started doing “giveaways” and competitions on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. “Simply ‘like’ and ‘share’ or ‘tag your friend that you’d share it with’ for your chance to win”. Now, it’s not exactly a news flash that this is just to increase engagement, activity and interest among consumers. It doesn’t just promote the “prize” product, but the brand and all of its products. Pages you don’t follow come up on your feed because your friends or followers have commented, shared or tagged you in posts (I’m flattered you’d take to me to the spa with you, Amber – much appreciated). And why shouldn’t they? There’s no harm in it. It’s a win-win, really. Brand gets publicity, attention and sales; consumer gets free goodies. Sounds pretty g to me.

I see these competitions and giveaways all the time. I personally don’t enter them because I don’t want a “munch box” that clogs your arteries just by looking at it, and sadly, I don’t exactly have good luck (or any luck for that matter) when it comes to these things. So I just keep scrolling and don’t think anything of it. But the other day, I noticed something th.at annoyed me a wee bit: companies do these “giveaways” but without the whole, ya know, “giving away” part. Basically, there is no winner. Hmm, maybe I’m not unlucky after all.

Over the past week, online retailer Missguided launched several “giveaways” – how to win? Simply comment an emoji representing your favourite of the two items shown. One came up on my newsfeed, so I thought “eh, may as well enter and see”, so commented (the pink was definitely nicer, I can’t pull off baby blue). “Enter by midnight.. Winner announced [the next day]”. So the next day, I checked their profile to see who the winner was, or if they’d been announced yet. Nope, nothing yet. So I checked a few hours later, but still nothing. By 10pm, still no joy. The next morning, they posted another one. “Winner announced tomorrow”. “Maybe I’ll win this one” (grey was a better option, I’d just get the white one boggin’). Tomorrow came and went and still no winner. But they continued to post about other products and memes, as well as launching ANOTHER competition. You see where this is going. Didn’t even bother entering this one, not just because I wouldn’t suit either outfit, but because I caught on to what they were doing and so was huffing on them a wee bit.

I was right, I didn’t win the competition. But no one did. So, why did Missguided do it? Why choose to misguide consumers? *pause for laughter*. Well, this is a shot in the dark, but the 10,000 comments, thousands of likes and hundreds of shares might have something to do with it. Show people a product – one they wouldn’t have otherwise seen, because they weren’t on or going to go on your website and see it there. Now that they’ve seen it, they like it. If they don’t win it, they might decide it’s worth the £25 anyway and buy it. May as well. Just because they didn’t win it, doesn’t mean they can’t have it.

How many of these items did Missguided give away? 0. Now, how many do you think they sold? How many people saw the items? And how many would’ve seen them otherwise? How many new followers did get as a result? You sort of have to follow the page to find out the winner, like. Then, there’s the people like me who went on the page specifically to see who won, and ended up seeing other items being promoted. Their new Playboy range launched in the meantime (yeah, I didn’t know it was still a thing either). Chances are, some of these people clicked links on the posts to see these items. So, chances are, some people ended up buying something. It was payday week after all. Yeo.

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I really hope the collection’s not like this

Now, I’m not just singling out Missguided – I’m guessing they’re not the only ones who have used or are using this promotional ploy. They’re just the only ones I’ve actually seen. Lucky duckies.

These fake giveaways are a great way to boost user engagement and activity. They’re a great way to increase sales of individual items. They’re also a great way to have a blog post written about them. But they’re not a great way to build a reputation. Lies, unfulfilled promises and unmet expectations – what a fab way to portray the brand!!

If someone wins a product and likes it, they’ll probably buy from that company again. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that won’t happen if no one wins the product. Just another slight flaw to the plan. Apart from people actually catching on to what they’re doing.

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So, hats off to the social media and marketing teams out there who do this (especially the ones who don’t get caught). Credit where credit’s due, gaining sales without losing merch seems pretty smart. But, gaining a bad rep and losing trust – and potentially customers, seems less smart.

If consumers don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. And something tells me that’s a bigger price to pay than giving away a free playsuit.

So, chapeau to the companies who actually give away products. You deserve your likes.

Categories
Feminism lifestyle social media

How Social Media Has Helped Empower Women

Here we are again. Social media. Most of us have it, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Bebo (ah, those were the days). The list goes on. We rely and depend it on really on a daily basis, with so many of us glued to our phones. What did we ever do without it? TALK to each other? Perish the thought.

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Social media hasn’t just provided us with ways to connect with new people and interact with friends and families no matter when or where they are. It hasn’t just enabled the government to collect an abundance of personal data and keep tabs on where we are, who we’re with and what we’re doing. It hasn’t just given us ways to stalk our exes and judge their new partners. It’s also given women platforms and opportunities which have helped empower them, enabling them to speak up and be heard. Or ‘read’, rather.

Social media gives women a channel to speak out about their personal experiences and share them with others. From something trivial like what they ate for breakfast (who honestly cares?) to more pressing issues like their experience on the train that morning. That last one wasn’t a sarcastic comment (for once). Women are sexually assaulted on public transport on an alarming and disturbing scale. So much so that the British Transport Police have launched a TV campaign urging women to report it.

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Hashtags such as #TimesUp, #WhenIWas and #MeToo among others have provided women with a channel to speak up and share their sexual assault experiences. Women share things that they have kept built up for months, years, decades without telling anyone. So why are they tweeting about it?

Everyone has their own reasons, to generalise would be unfair. But here are a few common ones:

1) They feel as though they have a voice and their story is heard

2) It’s easier to type than say face-to-face. We’re all guilty of resorting to messaging rather than doing something in person, because you can to some degree reduce confrontation, embarrassment, and rejection.

3) The audience.

4) There’s a degree of anonymity which gives extra confidence and reduces potential embarrassment or fear.

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This was the least creepy ‘being anonymous online’ photo I could find

If you’re going to report an incident to someone, who do you go to? Your friend? Family? What are they going to do? They can’t (legally) punish the perpetrator. So, go to the police? What if they don’t believe you? Do you have evidence? Witness statements? Did you somehow manage to capture this on video? A signed confession and DNA samples? No? Oh. Well, then, hmm, that’s tough. How do you know you’ve told the right person? What if you haven’t, will the message be passed on?

Few women report incidences of sexual, physical, or emotional/psychological abuse. Sadly, the criminal justice system has failed so many of these. What do you do when you’re not being listened to and being ignored by those supposed to help you? Go elsewhere. So we go online. We tweet about. We tell everyone. Maybe we’ll be listened to when the problem is so big that it can’t be ignored. Do you think one woman coming forward inspired a national campaign about sexual assault on public transport? Sadly, the police want numbers. They want ‘big’ numbers. How many women have posted their experiences online? How many of them do you think would go to a police station and report it there? In person, a woman can speak about her problem. But thanks to social media, women, as a collective group, can shout about it.

Now just say the police do choose to ignore this (imagine that !!), even though they do have a ‘big’ number and evidence. Do you think Twitter can ignore it just as easily? These admissions are liked, favourited, retweeted and shared. Most likely millions of people have seen at least one of these entries. We all know that once something is online, it’s there forever (dun dun dun). Yes, that goes for those photos of you when you went through your ‘nobody understands me’ goth phase. And your full fringe phase *shudders* – don’t worry, we all had one.

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Why stop one perpetrator and try to change their behaviour, when you can try to stop and change the behaviour of a whole society? Social media is making a massive audience aware of these issues and incidents which have sadly become normalised, and a taboo. It gives a glimpse into others’ lives and what lets us understand and get an idea of things we may have had no idea even happened.

Being able to share these stories means that women can see that they’re not alone. Which, in a way is sad because it shows the scale of how many people are subjected to such horrendous behaviour, and how often it happens. Women can find support and reassurance from total strangers, people who have absolutely no loyalty to them. You know if you tell your best friend something that they’re going to have your back; so having strangers treat you this way is in a way more reassuring because they’re less likely to comfort or support you if it’s undeserved.

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So, despite the issues and negative impact social media has had on women in today’s society, some good has come of it. Good in the form of empowerment. Women have spent too long being silenced, so post a photo of your breakfast, take your duck-face selfies, share your experiences. You go gurl. *sassy click*

Categories
lifestyle

Has Social Media Made Us Anti-Social?

We’ve all heard older generations saying that nowadays, young people are anti-social and “nobody talks to each other anymore” or “they’re always on their phones”. True, we do use phones and the internet a lot more; especially for social media. But is social media really, well, ‘social’?

Yes, and no -agreeing to both means I can’t be wrong, right?

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People don’t talk to strangers on buses or trains as much as they used to. Yes, there’s the occasional chat about the weather or how bad the transport system is and how pointless the new Gliders are- they don’t even glide? They just roll slowly. Anyway, if I’m using my phone on public transport, I’m normally on social media, talking to people (how popular am I?!). So yes, I may not be speaking, but I’m still talking. If there’s no one I know beside me, then how much would I really be socialising otherwise?

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Here’s where I draw the line. There’s few things I hate more than when you’re out with someone and they just sit on their phone instead of talking to you. I personally think choosing virtual social interaction over personal social interaction is rude and antisocial, like am I not enough craic for you? Who could POSSIBLY be more entertaining and funny than me? Give me attention, damn. Unless you’re about to show me your new boo or a funny meme, put the phone away with you’re with me, cheers.

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Some people may choose to be ‘antisocial’ because they aren’t comfortable in social situations, or don’t have the confidence to speak to others, and so dodge social interaction instead. Sort of like the way you do everything you can to avoid phone calls, but with actual talking. Others may find themselves being accidentally ‘antisocial’ because although they’d like to make friends and socialise, they don’t really have the social skills or know how to or. Social media has enabled these people to talk and socialise without having to experience the personal interaction. It’s also meant that they don’t have to reply instantly, they can sit and think about what to say next if they find themselves unsure. They’re able to practise having conversations, so that they’re more comfortable when they do have face-to-face interactions. So I think social media is really good at helping improve some people’s social skills and enabling them to build relationships that they may never have had in the ‘real world’.

Although, this is only well and good if people take these skills and put them to use in the ‘real world’ to build personal relationships. But some people become reliant on online relationships and choose these over personal ones can then isolate themselves further, because they think “I have friends online, so I don’t need friends in person”. This leads to people becoming recluses, and so they don’t experience many human or social interactions. Which means that they’re more uncomfortable and awkward when they do have these interactions. So they avoid them. And this goes on and on and on.

Do you see why I said “Yes, and no” at the start now?

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What a lucky gal

Social media gives us access to people we’d otherwise never meet- admittedly, some we’d rather we didn’t (@ 90% of people on Tinder), but that’s not the point. People are less restricted to who or how many people they can talk to. I mean why would you want to deprive anyone of having the chance to talk to me? It just doesn’t seem fair that people should have to miss out on this.

A lot of relationships now start online. Be it reconnecting with old friends on Facebook, sliding in someone’s DMs on Instagram, or the gift that just keeps on giving that is online dating apps like Tinder. Brilliant. People are meeting and falling in love with people they wouldn’t have met in a bar, or sat beside on a plane (one day this will happen me, just wait and see) or in a department store when reaching for the exact same pair of gloves. So I watch a lot of romcoms? Sue me. Dare you.

So yeah, social media is actually pretty damn good in my opinion at meeting new people and potential baes, if of course you ignore all the weirdos and catfish and bad experiences. But sure, they just make for great stories, eh? Eh?

I couldn’t choose which photo was funnier so I had to include all 3. Stock photos are so tragic sometimes.

We can keep in touch with family and friends abroad or on holidays. My sister lived in Korea for a year (I will never forgive you, Aoife) and if it wasn’t for social media, my parents wouldn’t be able to make sure she didn’t end up like Liam Neeson’s daughter in Taken, and I’d have no way of telling her what face masks to post me over. So many of my friends also ditched me to go to England for university (I’ll never forgive youse either), but that doesn’t mean that I’m not able to talk to them everyday and make them feel guilty for leaving me behind. You think moving countries is gonna get rid of me? Nice try. Buzz, buzz girl. Me again.

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So yes, people do seem to use phones more and speak less; but a lot of the time we’re on our phones talking to people, it’d be physically impossible (or unhandy) to be with them in person. I’m not exactly going to dander over to my friend’s house at 9am on a Sunday or at 11pm at night – that’d be a wee bit weird don’t you think?

Yes, there are phone calls, but once that call’s over, so is the interaction. I’d personally rather be able to talk to people throughout the day, than be limited to one certain time (I’m so clingy, damn). Not to mention trying to find a time when you and someone else are actually free at the same time; you can just quickly reply when you’ve a few minutes to spare. Basically, you’re able to fit your socialising into your schedule.

And yes, there are carrier pigeons, but I mean come on guys, animal rights? And they fly into a lot of windows. R.I.P Gary.

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I know not everyone’s the same, people use social media for different things. Some use it more than others. I use social media to talk to people when I’m not able to talk to them any other way, but I meet them in person whenever I can because I’m a social butterfly who needs constant attention and interaction. 🙂

So I think social media is social, and antisocial at the same time; depending on how, how much and when it’s used. I do think that society as a whole is becoming scarily dependent on technology (@ creepy Alexa), but sadly, I doubt this will change. So I’m using social media in a way that suits me and that I’m comfortable with. That’s the beauty of it. It’s so diverse that it can be used in so many different ways, so everyone can find what works for them. Yeah it’s changed how much we interact with each other, how and when. But is it necessarily a bad thing?