Don't Shout at Tea, It Talks Back.

So, if you’ve been on the internet at all since Friday, you’ve probably seen #SueYoureShoutingAtTea trending.

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Saying that, I didn’t even know anything about it until today, I really should get Twitter, like. BUT, in my defence, us Irish ones don’t care much for Yorkshire tea when we’ve got proper Irish stuff like Nambarrie and Punjana to keep us going. Just saying.

Anyway, here’s a lil summary to keep y’all in the loop:On Friday, Rishi Sunak (a baddie tory ) posted a photo of himself (the vanity) with a massive bag of Yorkshire tea on Twitter. A lot of people obviously thought that this was a paid partnership or advertisement of some sort – which, is a bit ridiculous when you think about it, I mean, who would pay to be associated with that party? No harm, like.

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So, in true Twitter fashion, users pretty much ripped into Yorkshire Tea, threatening to boycott them and calling them all sorts. Must be pretty scundering that you’ve got the opposite of Midas touch and people will boycott something as serious as tea brands just because you use ’em. And brands are actively trying to disassociate from you. Take a hint, lads.  

Even though Yorkshire Tea actually came out at the weekend and said that it was nothing to do with them. One woman in particular was having NONE of it, behold, the star of the show: Sue. Spoiler alert: Yes, it was her who shouted at tea. Let’s take a look at what she said. Enjoy.

So, how did Yorkshire Tea respond to all this negative criticism? With a well thought out, articulate public announcement, of course. Ahem:

Twitter pretty much went nuts over this, hence the trending hashtag. Someone jokingly said they should make t-shirts with a “Sue, you’re shouting at tea” slogan, which of course, someone did. If Forever 21 was still around, you can BET they’d be stocking ’em. 

Yorkshire Tea’s response got a hell of a lot more attention than the original post by Rishi Sunak did, and it got people talking about something else other than the whole right-wing-association thing, AND didn’t just “restore” attitudes towards the brand, it improved them. I personally always assumed they were a bit of a boring brand, because well, look at the box. Plus, look who uses them, just saying. But, now, they seem a lot more interesting. I’m still not gonna buy their teabags like, but still, fair play lads.

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As with EVERYTHING, some people aren’t happy with how Yorkshire Tea handled it. They said that they’ve pretty much humiliated Sue and made her a laughing stock on the internet. Thousands of people have seen the tweets are basically taking the mickey (keepin’ it PG [Tips]) out of her. She’s pretty much been scundered in front of thousands. 

I know she called them out, so they can call her out back, but, at the end of the day, she’s one person, and they’re a major brand. They’re more cut out for bad press than she is. Saying that, Yorkshire Tea, no matter how good their PR team is, probably didn’t think the tweet would go as viral as it did. And, at least her display photo (I don’t even know if that’s what they’re called on Twitter but O well) wasn’t even her. 

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Probably Sue right now

But, all funny tweets and tea-shirts (ha ha) aside, it highlights a problem for brands.  What happens when someone who a lot of people hate likes or uses your brand?  At the end of the day, you can’t stop people posting photos of your products and “promoting” your brand, even if you would rather they bought from your competitors instead.

Regardless of any bad press, I think it’s safe to say that Yorkshire Tea more than recovered from the lil Tory blip. So, what does all this teach PR and social media managers about crisis management? A witty tweet can do a hell of a lot more than a press release, apology, official statement and Labour-inspired photoshoot combined. 

Celebrity Goss: What's the Obsession?

Okay so, this morning I went on Buzzfeed (the credible news source that it is), to see what all was going on in the world, and to see if I’d missed anything. But all I saw in the “News” section was celebrity goss and drama. I mean, it’s a lot lighter than all the absolute madness going on in the world at the minute, but like, “breaking news”? Really¿

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Basically.

But, the thing is, that is “news” to a lot of people. For some reason, people are obsessed with celebrity gossip. They know who’s going out with who, who cheated on who with who, who’s beefing with who. But like, what’s the point? Why do people care?

“Omg did you hear she’s pregnant?” No. And to be honest, I don’t really care. I don’t really need to know who’s married or divorced or expecting. I’d rather focus on my own mess of a life and people who actually know me and care about my mess of a life’s lives. But sure, called me old-fashioned !!

One of the stories was “this is why [celebrity who I can’t remember or don’t really know]  fans have been commenting snake emojis under [other celeb that I can’t remember or also don’t know]’s Instagram photos.

I FOUND IT. And I have heard of one of them. Go me.

And this happens all the time. Celebrity fans comment threats, insults, abuse, and the most severe form: emojis, under other celebrities’ photos on social media when there’s beef. I’m all for showing solidarity and having your friends’ backs, but like, friends’ backs.

One thing I hate (maybe the only thing, I’m not easily annoyed, as you know) is when girls insult, slabber about and threaten other girls on social media over some wee lad. Especially when the “girls” in question are like 30. And when the “wee lad” is Justin Bieber or someone from One Direction, or whoever else is like trending. Yes, I’m well aware that I sound like a middle-aged woman right now but my mind has gone BLANK and I literally can’t think of popular celebrities. Scundered.

Moving on.   

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Me right now

Point is (yeah, there is one), you wouldn’t want TeenQween2003 calling you fat, ugly or threatening to “hurt” you (even though she’s like a literal 12 year-old from Philadelphia and is never actually going to see you, let alone square up to you for a scrap)  under your selfie because unfollowed someone. Or started dating someone who GOD FORBID had an ex.

You (I hope) wouldn’t comment death threats under a stranger’s photo because they broke up their boyfriend and now he’s sad (😞).So why are people commenting death threats under a stranger’s photo because they broke up their boyfriend and now he’s sad (😞), just because both parties are famous? Like, why do you care? And why did you spell Queen with a ‘w’? WHY.

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Well, there you go. That answers my question.

I don’t know, I’ve just never really got the whole “spending time and money to stay in the loop of celebrities’ business” thing.  To be fair, I don’t follow celebs on Instagram or Twitter (still don’t have it oops) and I don’t watch celebrity shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians (I don’t even know if they still make it) or buy those weird £1 “OMG!” magazines.  So maybe that’s why I don’t get it. Or maybe I have enough of my own STRESS AND PROBLEMS to worry about to be so involved in strangers’?? Could be it, too.

I also don’t see how trolling people online is really making a difference. I doubt Justin Bieber’s (yes, that example again) gonna be like, “Omg, Caitlin from Crumlin just commented under my ex’s photo. Maybe I should slide in her DMs and ask her to marry me?!”

Like, what are people trying to achieve apart from having the their account blocked? How much better are they than whichever celeb “did something wrong” (usually didn’t invite someone to their birthday party or side-eyed their dress at an award show) when you’re commenting knife emojis under their photo?

Answer: Not much. And a lil bit sadder, too. And a LOT less rich. Please go outside. Find a hobbie. Befriend a cat. Anything. Please.

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Note: If there is someone with the username TeenQween2003, I apologise for using you as an example. I tried to think of a ridiculous teen-girl name so had ‘TeenQween99’ and then realised that you’d actually be 21 years old, got sad that I’m old and changed it. 😞

A Tinderella Story: The New Norm of Online Dating

Today, eHarmony (the posh dating website for people actually looking for something) released figures saying that by 2035, more relationships will start online than in person. Isn’t that mad?

And apparently, between 2015 and 2019, nearly a third of relationships started online. Suppose a good lot of them probably went on to break up, but sure they’re not gonna promote that are they? Anyway, it’s pretty clear that online is the new, popular, and probably the most likely way of meeting someone these days.

Maybe it’s just us millennials (before baby boomers start having a go at me), but meeting someone in person is becoming a bit of a novelty. When I hear people talking about how they met their boyfriend or girlfriend and they say “in person”, I’m genuinely surprised, because like, how?? Mutual friends, went to school together, met in Limelight, they’re the standard meet-cutes (learnt that wee term from ‘The Holiday’, hope I used it properly). But people don’t seem to talk to strangers in cafés, on buses or trains, or in department stores when reaching for the same pair of gloves.

I feel like romcoms really gave me a false sense of security. I mean, I’m still waiting to sit beside the love of my life on a plane, or have someone take pity on me and give me an umbrella when it’s absolutely LASHING outside. But no. And this is Ireland, where it always rains. So there have been AMPLE opportunities for people to swoop in there. Raging.

I’ve been waiting YEARS for a re-enactment of this ad.

People are on Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and all those other sites like Plenty of Fish etc, because, even though the chances of meeting someone who isn’t a serial killer or bloon are pretty low, they’re still higher than meeting someone in person. It’s like a catch-22 situation: less people talk in person so more people go online, then because everyone’s online then no sees the need to talk in person.

Online dating sites had the reputations of being full of strange people, but now it’s the stranger ones who actually approach you. Let’s be honest here, if someone sat beside you on the bus and started flirting, would you think “ooh dreamy”, or “hmm seems like a weirdo. Could be a distraction so his friend can mug me”? Sad, isn’t it?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s something so much nicer about having actual face-to-face conversations with people. You can tell in like 30 seconds if you’re going to actually get on or not. Whereas, you could spend weeks talking online or texting, then meet up and realise they’re zero craic and don’t laugh at any of your jokes (but at least you find yourself funny). It saves you wasting your time and effort. Not that sending a gif is much effort like, but still.

My main concern is, what’s going to happen to romcoms? “Successful ladies man who has zero emotional capabilities and a hard-to-please da who always taught him to run from commitment, finally opens his heart to love and decides to quit his million-dollar-salary job for a small town girl he accidently superliked”? Doesn’t exactly scream ‘Box Office Record Breaker’ like. You’ve Got Mail is as modern and techy as I’m willing to have in a chick-flick, sorry.

Another thing is that surely it’s making people more superficial? You don’t swipe right on someone because they look like they might have a great personality, do you? We make a judgement on whether someone could or couldn’t be our future partner based off a few photos. I mean, who REALLY swipes past the third like? We judge people off wee trivial things like their hairstyle (even though they might only have worn it like that once), their shoes (they might’ve since binned that pair) and their names (don’t even pretend you don’t do that too). But maybe we’d overlook that if we had met them in person and realised that they’re actually really nice or funny.

There’s a lot out there about how social media is bad for our mental health and self esteem. What about online dating? Why is its popularity so celebrated when it’s making us all pretty shallow?

Thank you reading my rant about why I’m still single. The end.  

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.

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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.

2,599,964‬ Fake Fans

We all know that ‘IG Influencers’ are thee new, hip-happening social media marketing tactic, with many major companies ‘collabing’ with bloggers, vloggers and other ‘big names’ on social media (although clearly not because I haven’t been DM’d yet?) to get them to promote their goods.

The whole idea is: “okay they have 1 million followers, so we should get x many impressions; they get around 50,000 likes so there’s at least 50,000 active users who will be exposed to the content. Of these 50,000, x many will actually ‘like’ the product (not just double tap while mindlessly scrolling) and then proceed to buy the merch”. Simple.

So, how come an Instagram influencer with over 2 million followers, was unable to sell 36 items from their own clothing line?

Instagram influencer Arii launched her own clothing line, and then 13 days later uploaded (and since deleted) a post apologising to her ‘fans’. I think. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the point of the post was, she seemed to be apologising to customers, calling people out and thanking others at the same time? I’ll let you be the judge because here’s a wee screenshot. Enjoy.

Anyway, Arii states that the clothing company she was working with had a rule that she had to sell a minimum amount of products for them to keep working with her and producing the clothes, which seems fair enough like, it has to be worth their while. But, the minimum order amount wasn’t achieved, which meant the clothes couldn’t be produced so any buyers had to get refunds instead, and the company would stop working with her. Yikes.

So, what went wrong? How could someone with (apparently) such a big ‘influence’ over hundreds of thousands of people and the power to persuade them to buy certain things, fail to persuade them to buy her own line?

Well, likes aren’t everything. *Louder for the Gen Z’ers in the back*. 40,000 likes doesn’t mean 40,000 orders. Your followers and likers aren’t necessarily going to be your customers. People follow companies just to have a wee jook, but have no real intention of buying their products. And on the flip side, I don’t follow a single clothing company on Instagram, but I buy from them. It’s not about how many follow you, but who. Are they actual customers, fans or just wee robots?

Another lil issue may be that Arii didn’t really promote the line? She posted one video announcing the launch. Then another promo post for good measure. And then, boom: the line “failure” post. I’m no expert, but how can people buy what they don’t know about?

But, apart from all that, what about the clothes themselves? Look at Arii’s feed. Look what she wears – the style, the colours. Now look at her clothing line. Does it look like the sort of thing she would or does wear? Sweatshirts and what I can only assume are cycling(?) clothes don’t really fit in with her style. She isn’t even wearing her own clothes in her posts? Even if you don’t actually wear them, at least whack on a sweatshirt, take some pics saying how “comfy” and “cute” it is and then change into something else. Just lie, girl.

People follow influencers and like their photos because they like what they’re wearing. They have similar style, so will buy clothes of that style. If you show them something completely different to what they like or wear, why would they buy them? You need to know who your customers are and what they want. Just because you are selling a product, doesn’t mean that people will buy it. Especially if you wouldn’t even buy it yourself.

But sure don’t we all love a wee conspiracy theory? What if this was just a marketing ploy? Did Arii think and hope that sharing her story of fake friends, fake fans and unfulfilling promises would make some of her 2.6 million followers feel bad and buy the products to help a gal out? Did she want them to take pity on her? Young girl starting her own clothing line in this massively competitive market is bound to be daunting like, why not give her a hand in helping her achieve her dream? Or did she want them to take pity on the people who actually wanted and bought the products but now had to be refunded instead because not enough people ordered them? I don’t know much (or anything really) about clothes production but it seems a bit weird that a minimum order amount is 36 pieces? Could’ve at least picked a round number, pffft.

The post was also deleted which is a bit sus. Maybe she realised that it was a bit questionable to blame people who didn’t buy her clothes and broken promises for the failure of the line. I mean, maybe making your fans feel guilty isn’t the best move? Neither is calling out people who didn’t leave you a review. Or maybe, the post had caused enough drama and pity to get people to buy enough clothes to fulfil the order amount. Either that, or she noticed that she forgot the word “take”. I sure did.

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So why did Arii’s clothing line supposedly fail? Was it because she didn’t do market research before launching the line and people just don’t like the clothes? Maybe it was because she didn’t actually promote it? Or, was it all a big lie and this is actually her way of promoting it? That post got Twitter and Instagram talking about her and her line, with everyone giving their (very qualified) marketing opinions and advice. Buzzfeed wrote about it, and more importantly, I’m writing about it. So it must be a big deal.

Then again, maybe we’re giving her too much credit and it was just an ugly clothing line that only 35 people liked. Who knows?

Do it for the ‘Gram

Nowadays, people seem take photos of almost everything they do, buy or eat. It’s all about the “aesthetic”. Not just any angle, gotta be birdseye and of course you’ve to draw a wee heart with the pen tool. Very cute.

We’re all guilty of doing it – well most of us millennials anyway. Out for coffee? Snap that cappuccino art. Out for food? We want to see your poached eggs and avocado. Nails done? Ooh girl, show me. Don’t dare start sipping or eating before you’ve got the perfect photo (if you’re feeling nice you might even include your friend in the background). There’s no disappointment like getting blobby latte art, like how are you meant to insta that?? Pffft.

So why do we do it? Is it because we’ve got smartphones now so it’s easier to do? I don’t remember people whipping out disposable cameras in Barnam’s when I was younger, and I didn’t find photos of brunches when I went through my family photos. I didn’t find many of me either but that’s okay, I’m not bitter 🙂

Our camera rolls and galleries are like a digital diary – we can look back and see all the places we’ve gone, things we did, food we ate and people we were with. It lets us reminisce the good days, and when we’re older and can’t afford a house, we can look back at all the avocados we ate and know that they were worth it.

But we don’t just take photos for ourselves and the people that steal our phones – I don’t scroll through my gallery to fondly remember all the cappuccinos I’ve had like. We upload them on social media, namely Instagram. We whack a wee filter on it (mostly “Lagos”) and post it on our stories with a wee geotag of where we are, much to the delight of stalkers, kidnappers and the government. I mean, what’s the point going out somewhere or doing something if people don’t know about it?

We post these for all our followers and creepers to see, incase they didn’t know how much this social butterfly flapped her wings. Uh yeah I have several friends, didn’t you know? You can show off your social life and show your ex that yeah you ARE living your best life. You got a hair cut and you have your life together. Ha. You can show off that yeah you do cook sometimes, you actually did go to the gym after work (go you) and you did get paid today. Make it rain, babe.
It’s nice to post and broadcast things that we’re happy about, things we’ve achieved and people we love like.

As well as this, people are nosey and want to know what you’re doing. Like yeah you work 9-5, but what else do you do? The whole point of Instagram stories is to let people see you what you do when you’re not getting candids or going on nights out as shown by your normal posts. It lets people get to know you a bit better, you’re not gonna pollute everyone’s feeds by posting “pointless” photos (not that your mirror selfies have much of a point either like), but whack a wee story up and people can choose to see it. Who cares if it’s just a photo of poached eggs? And so what if your hair looks weird? It’s gone in 24 hours anyway.

Some people underestimate the power of Instagram. Without realising it, we’re all influencers: showing off your claws and tagging the salon, tagging the tattoo artist in your tat photo, posting that coffee, brunch or clothes haul. Instagram acts as a little window shop basically, you get to see so many things you otherwise wouldn’t, and find out what they’re like, where they’re from and how much they are. It’s not just the “behind the scenes” of people’s lives, but clothes, food, drink and activities. Even posting stories and photos of you going on holidays lets people see what that town, city or country’s like – and what there is to do. What would you rather see, “Top 10 Things to See” on TripAdvisor or real people taking real photos of what they saw there?

Even small things like going out for dinner and taking photos of the food lets people see what it’s actually like. Hardly any restaurants post photos of their food, and when they do, you can never really trust them. Before I go somewhere, I love having a wee jook at the menu, downloading the PDF and of course, having a wee creep on Instagram to see what the food actually looks like. But I don’t go on the restaurant’s account, I look for the tagged and geo-tagged photos. Why? Because these have been taken by real people. It’s like when you see the advertised vs real product from clothes sites. You can’t always trust what the business posts, because they need it to look good, it’s their job to. Like we’ve all seen the McDonald’s ads and know it’s just plain lies.

We need others to take one for the team and be the guinea pigs for us. It saves you going somewhere or buying something that turns out not to be that nice. Yes, “looks can be deceiving” and “don’t judge a book” and all that, but we rely a LOT on what we see. If food doesn’t look nice or the portions are tiny, I don’t want to eat there. If clothes are crap material and poor fit, I don’t wanna buy ’em. If a destination doesn’t have much to do or see, I sure as hell ain’t wasting my sanity or time going through security and flying there.

Businesses are relying on us too, to promote their brand for them. They need us to tell our friends that we went there, what we had and how nice it was. They need us to take photos and share them with our followers. Even those candids and photos of nights out do this. They lead to “omg love your top😍” “thanku sweetie it’s from topshop!!” There you go, Topshop got some free advertising. The girl you follow just acted as a mannequin, but she’s more your size than the 5″10 girl on the website. So you know this top is nice, looks as shown online and yeah you actually could wear it out. So Topshop just got a wee sale and customer. And they didn’t have to do or spend anything to do so.

These real-life posts are a lot more reliable than what you see in ads, websites and brand social media accounts. We all know that the most trustworthy reviews are by people who gain nothing for leaving positive feedback. Critics writing reviews in magazines and blogs isn’t a true representation. They’re normally given the best service and treatment, and are “rewarded” in some way for the review. Imagine getting free food in exchange for giving an opinion, pfft. But most importantly, their tastes are probably more “refined” than ours, well, mine anyway. They go to fancy places for fancy food, posh boutiques for one-off quirky pieces, and cafés that do teeny tiny flat whites and “biscotti”. I’m never going to go to these places, I don’t want to. I want to go to places that my friends and NORMAL people go, because I trust them a lot more.

So, to all the story spammers and feed polluters: please DO continue taking photos of everything, you’re doing us a favour. Shame that you never take pics of the bill though.

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?

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.