Social Media: The good, the bad and the ugly

SOCIAL MEDIA.

Wow! It has definitely come a long way since I was born – in the late 20th century (that makes me sound extremely old). Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are becoming increasing popular and essentially key forms of communication in our daily lives. Not only are they being used to connect with people all around the world e.g. friends and family, they have become platforms where companies can market themselves and reach out to a wider audience. I have no doubt that it definitely has it’s high points but simultaneously it has it’s low points.

Today, I was watching a bunch of YouTube videos and I came across one called ‘The Stripped down challenge’. As far as I am concerned, it has been surfacing quite a lot recently since Jonah Green started it in early November this year (click here to watch it). The challenge entails sitting in front of a camera for 10 minutes and talking about whatever topic you want – it could be personal, it could be random, it could be anything. The only rules are

  1. You can’t edit the video
  2. You can’t cut anything out
  3. You can’t have any background music
For many of the people I have seen, (I have only watched a few) this was quite difficult because you weren’t able to remove any of those ‘awkward thinking moments‘ or interruptions during your time of recording. The main aim of it was to demonstrate the real side of Youtubers (the true side of people behind the camera) in response to a video uploaded by Essena O’ Neil which was called ‘Why I really am quitting social media’ (click here to watch). The video was quite emotional (especially towards the end) as she talked about the negatives of social media, how her life has been consumed by it and ‘numbers’ e.g. Number of followers or number of likes. She discussed a lot of things which were very much true to an extent and completely justified in some respect but I thought her overall perception of social media was clouded by her experiences. This created a very subjective view of some of the platforms I have mentioned above. Consequently, I had the idea to just sit down and reflect on social media & respond to what she said.
The GOOD
Social media is a great way to connect with people you know & don’t know from the comfort of your home or anywhere because of the availability of the internet on all platforms of technology. To be honest, wherever there is a place where people can come together and talk to each other online, that can be defined as social media. Regardless, of whether it is a forum or just the good old Snapchat.
I am very active on social media and have numerous social media accounts because not only do they allow me to engage in different experiences, they allow me to do different things. For example:
 NetworkPeople
Twitter
It allows me spontaneously blurt out my reactions to daily life, trending topics and connect with celebrities or fandoms e.g. The Walking Dead Fans (you are AWESOME if you watch that show)
Snapchat
It allows me to be 100% free. I post stupid, funny and ugly looking content to my friends or story but I don’t care about the reaction (to a certain extent) because I don’t feel like I need to wear a ‘mask’.
Tumblr/Instagram
It allows me explore my creativity and artistic side. I’m not going to lie but I love aesthetics hence why I have a passion for photography and pictures. Therefore I create themes or edit pictures not because I want to make myself look ‘perfect’ but because I want to create a mood.
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I could write a paragraph or essay on each of these (but ain’t nobody got time for that) however, I just wanted to show that you can achieve great things by using social media as a tool rather than a weapon. It’s qualities such as these which I believe Essena overlooked and forgot to mention in her video.
The BAD

Simultaneously, there are negative things that come from social media. Similar to the saying ‘love and hate are two sides of the same coin’ this also applies. From my experiences, I have witnessed and also experienced the abuse from social media. Although many people go onto Instagram, for example. and post compliments on people’s pictures there are also those trolls a.k.a ‘haters’ who can spam your account with horrible messages.

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Art by Kristina Webb

An example of this is through the platform Ask.fm. This platform allowed people to ask questions to each other or celebrities then those people would be able to directly respond. However, there was a feature where you could make yourself anonymous and people used this as ammunition to ask horrible questions or spam you with horrible messages. I remember, seeing my friends undergoing such torment so I stepped in to protect them. Nevertheless, the hate didn’t stop, it continued and eventually I became the next target. Those days of my life where honestly the most horrible and darkest periods because I felt like I couldn’t turn to anyone. Although I put a brave face and responded back diplomatically, a part of me felt defeated because the hate began to tug on my emotions and wear me down. Fortunately, I had the support of my family and friends to get me out of the situation but not all people are able to recover. Consequently, at the time many young people were commiting suicide due to the hate which accumulated from that site.

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Art by Kristina Webb

The sad thing is the hate/ judgement of other people is almost like a drug. You know it is bad for you but you keep taking it because you’re addicted. You need to see/ know what people think about you so that you can be secure about yourself but this shouldn’t be the case.
The UGLY
The ugly side of social media is this side I believe Essena was dicsuccing about predominantly in her video. Most of her opinions about social media seemed to come from this line of argument so I thought it would be reasonable to share this angle.
After using social media for a while, sometimes it has this undesired affect on people to crave more. It turns you into a person who is no longer content with what they have because they always want more. This is mainly represented with ‘numbers.’ You want a good number of likes, followers and comments in order to demonstrate the social power you have amongst social media and to also gain personal satisfaction. For example, I would feel really gassed if one of my pictures received 10,000 likes because it would feel like 10,000 people approve of your looks, they like your photo and possibly like you. Once you hit that target, you always want to achieve better and better. This applies to all people regardless of whether you are on social media or not e.g. if you get an A on your test, the next time you take a test you would either aim to get another A or possibly an A* because we are generally brought up under the principle tat working hard allows is to achieve success.luubet9hck0dpddtgmhl
However, the problem with this desire is that sometimes we become hungry for it which then makes it a neccessity. You begin to ask for more shoutouts or ask for more likes. You research ways in order to create a better appeal and then start changing yourself in order to conform to the ‘perfect person’ that society wants you to be. You are no longer an individual, just as copy. So this allows the question to arise… What makes you special? How are you different? At this point you have lost your scence of identity and your life becomes dedicated and infatuated by social media. Whenever you get a notification you check your phone and do things that you wouldn’t do in real life (the world outside the computer screen). Therefore, you slowly damage the memories of life because you ‘don’t have time’ to create them because you are stuck behind a screen.
These arguments may seem extreme or a bit far fetched, but honestly social media is a combination of all, even though it doesn’t want to be. For example a person can be kind, a liar and manipulative, they compromise of different personality traits  but depending on who comes into contact with it depends on your perception of them. One person may perceive them to be really kind whilst another may feel like they are a total liar. It’s all down to perception. The problem with perception is that if you’re not open minded then you won’t be able to acknowledge the full package and you will be limited to one view. So I am not going to glorify social media and give it a ton of praise when there are still negative sides to it BUT unlike Essena I will acknowledge the positives rather than allow the negatives to shut them out. As a result, I still stand by my original view about the amazing benefits of social media.
What do you think about social media?

Wait… it’s Christmas?

Christmas EVE

Raise your hand if you still haven’t got that feeling of ‘Christmas cheer’?

I can definitely say that I feel the exact same way. For some reason I don’t feel very festive for Christmas this year. I don’t know whether its because I am getting older or because I don’t celebrate it religiously but for some strange reason Christmas doesn’t make me excited. The weird thing is, I have been bombarded by Christmas advertisements, deals, movies, jumpers and Christmas dinner (at school) but I still feel like we have another month to go. Regardless, I can say that I am looking forward to stuffing my little mouth with all the delicious food and deserts which I am yet to eat. Hmmmmm…. thinking about it now makes my mouth water.

Christmas DAY

I have now eaten that delicious meal and I am very satisfied. To add to that, I have a lot more food still yet to come – my Christmas wishes are certainly coming true. Now that it is Christmas, I want to quickly take the opportunity to say MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Throughout the day I have been messaging, whatsapping and snapchatting people and I have received many myself which makes me very happy (spread the Christmas love). Although I don’t really celebrate Christmas, it has been so nice to watch all my friends Snapchat stories or YouTube videos to witness the happiness which has been dancing across the homes of many. Call me cheesy… but it’s one of the best Christmas gifts I can receive (considering I don’t get any). My thoughts are still with those all around the world who might not be as fortunate to receive iPads and Mac products but it’s still nice to see how people remain grateful for what they have whilst acknowledging those who are less fortunate (e.g. ME LOOL).

Sorry this isn’t a very long post but I know that many people will not be reading this and are more concerned about having a nice chilled day with the family. SOOOO once again Merry Christmas and I look forward to speaking to you a lot more in the new year.

 

 

 

General Update #1

Hellllooooooooo readers,

How art thee?

Yes, sometimes I have very weird urges to speak in ‘Shakespearean English’. However, this is just how my random and complex mind works so I enjoy giving you guys a sample of what’s inside.

Regardless, the main point of today’s blog post is to update you all about where the heck I have been for the last couple of weeks. I am definitely not the world’s best blogger (because I DO have a life outside of the computer screen LOOOOL – I know, not really funny) but I do try my best. I really wanted to fill you and myself in with what’s been happening lately. It’s not until you actually sit down and think about things until you realise how fast time has sped by and all the crazy things you have done in the process.

One word to sum things up is SCHOOL! Yes, as a 16 year old blogger it is not easy balancing books and a blog at the same time. Especially as your focus usually zooms into one. Consequently, I have been procrastinating with my blog and pushing it aside in order to prioritise my school work. However, today is the first ‘official‘ day of my Christmas holiday so I thought that it would make logical sense to sit down and really have a heart to heart with the computer.

In terms of school, I get to look forward to a lot of mocks and exams in the new year…. Yippee! As a result, I have been trying to be productive in my revision and studies to ensure that I don’t jeopardise my A Levels. Additionally, I want to ensure I practice good habits e.g. time management in preparation for university and simply life in general. I know that sounds a bit deep, but I just find it important to practice good habits now so I don’t regret anything later. In contrast to all the academic activities, I have been quite engaged in the social activities at school e.g. watching the school performance so that I can remind myself that a 16 year old girl still needs a life outside school. Thus, I can look back in 20 years time and brag about all the fun and crazy memories of my teenage/ youth years.

In terms of my blog, I have a lot of fun things planned that I want to write about. Many of which are locked away in my head but never get typed up. Consequently, this holiday I am going to try and blog once a day so that I can save those blogs for ‘rainy days’ where I need to post but don’t have time to write anything. Additionally, I want to start posting on Mondays and Fridays just so I have a bit of time during the week and weekend to think/ see what’s happening in the world so I can write about current affairs whether it relates to politics, fashion or my life in general.

I am also under going some new personal challenges which I want to accomplish by the end of 2016. Rather than setting new years resolutions which I am unlikely to fulfil, I am just setting myself personal goals whenever I feel like it so that I am more likely to commit. For example,  I am undergoing a hair journey where I am currently transitioning to natural hair, therefore, I am aiming to commit and share the journey so I can track the progress along the way.

I apologise if this post isn’t as interesting as my others but I really wanted to have a ‘sit down session’ to review things before the upcoming year of 2016. Regardless, I look forward to being a bit more consistent and organised with my blog and with any other goals I have set myself.

 

 

DON’T BOMB SYRIA!

There are only 2hrs remaining (from when I started this post) until we here the verdict in reference to whether the UK will launch airstrikes in Syria to destroy the extremist group, ISIS and their bases. I was very close to not typing this up but I believe that it would be a shame to not share my opinion regarding such a controversial issue. My blog is all about huge political issues such as this, therefore, it would make sense for me to elaborate on my position in this long debate. If there is one thing I want to make clear if you haven’t already noticed, I do not support airstrikes and I do not support the government.

I am a young British Muslim who like everyone else is against terrorism, extremism and violence. I do not appreciate stupid comments or stereotypes attached to the 1.57bn worshippers of Islam because of the actions of the minority. I have no shame of what I believe in and what I practice so when people such as Donald Trump want to brand us with identity badges just like the Nazis did with the Jews, it makes me frustrated that such thoughts can be gathered in any persons mind, let alone escape his shameful mouth.

It makes me raise questions such as: what has happened our world? Why are we not moving forward? Why are we repeating the mistake we have made in the past. In response,  I remember that it is only the minority that I need to be challenging with those questions, not the majority. We have actually come a long way since the past, we have improved so much and extremism is another hurdle in our path to equality and democratic values.

So why d0n’t I support airstrikes?


1. The innocent civilians. I watched a video demonstrating the air strikes from France and I couldn’t help but feel so helpless to watch families, women, children and men screaming for the lives. Some were crying because they were trapped within the rubble which they used to call home, crying for the opportunity to witness the sky once again. 700 of those people lost their lives, and for what reason, because the French couldn’t care less about protecting the majority and innocent. No, they just wanted to destroy ISIS (the minority) without considering the burden attached. The world prayed for Paris when they were victims of such brutality but when the roles are reversed, who is praying for Syria

2. Extremist expansion. The USA releases statistics which stated that 10,000 ISIS members had been killed. Well done! However they failed to mention that ISIS membership doubled, increasing by 20,000. By using violence, we are only adding fuel to the fire and letting it burn. When do we put it out? All these air strikes are not preventing ISIS from committing acts of violence! As a matter of fact, I won’t be surprised if ISIS is just sitting back laughing at all this conflict because you are doing their job for them, killing the innocent and providing an increase to the membership of their ‘club’.
3. What do the people want? Finally, I just wanted to talk about what the people want. Throughout this tough time, all I heard is MPs this, MPs that. At the end of the day only parliament have the final decision in regards to the UK’s position not the people. Why am I not hearing about a referendum? Is it because the government are afraid that we don’t know enough? Is it because the government want to take the decision upon themselves? I find it sad that we don’t directly get a say in an issue which is crucial in our life and that we are left helpless about the final decision. On the other hand, what about the people that matter most – Syrians? I have heard politicians saying that they have gone to Syria and visited innocent civilians and how they are saddened by what ISIS are doing. However, I haven’t heard any of them actually asking them what they want? How can we help them? If they believe airstrikes are the best way forward? At the end of the day, their the people at the heart of this all. They are the people who wake up everyday, unsure about whether that day will be the last day. Not us. If we really ‘care’ about helping Syrians, we need to know what they want and we need to stop making assumptions about what we think is best for them.
I would love to continue explaining about why I am so anti-airstrike but like I mentioned I am a young person who fortunately gets to resume to her homework.  Before, I leave though, I just wanted to say that I find it quite appalling that when 30 school girls were taken by the Boko Haram, when Malala was shot by the Taliban, when 147 were killed by terrorist in Kenya… Where was the UK? Why is it only when Paris had fallen, we jumped to its aid in the name of ‘combating extremism and protecting the innocent.’ I don’t remember hearing  politicians preaching about our democratic values then, so why now?
I am not a ‘terrorist sympathiser’! I am only a young human being who want justice and equality to be applied to every individual that matters! War has proven several times in the past and will once again prove to be ineffective in keeping all us and all those innocent people safe.
So after once again, I urge you to oppose airstrikes. DON’T BOMB SYRIA!!!
 
P.S If you are also want to oppose airstrikes and actively contribute please click here to sign a petition registering your opposing regarding airstrikes.