Since it’s advent in 2006, Twitter has successfully managed to capture the zeitgeist of the 21st century. Twitter has made its mark on everything from pop culture, to political campaigns to even the law. However, everything must come to an end at some point, just look at Myspace, Bebo and dare I say, Facebook. Despite being the dominant force within social media, Facebook is haemorrhaging users by the year, last year it lost 9% of its users mostly due to lack of interest.
These days, it feels as if the functionality of twitter is starting to become redundant. After only nine years, has twitter reached its tipping point?
Probably one of the most prominent cases for Twitter was the CTB v News Group Newspapers court case in 2011. A super injunction was granted against News Group Newspapers and the ever classy, Imogen Thomson, preventing the naming of the footballer CTB in the media.
Despite this legal roadblock, there was a loophole, Twitter. Details of the gagging order were leaked on twitter and soon it was revealed that CTB was Ryan Giggs making him that week’s top trending topic. At the time, Twitter had no legal boundaries on the right of privacy and therefore Ryan Giggs was fair game. This event sparked the debate surrounding the legal standing points of the internet and how to enforce privacy laws in a growing age of social media. The reaction of twitter’s role in the scandal left many MP’s standing in favour of freedom of speech. When the national newspapers were legally bound from reporting public consensus, twitter became the voice of the people.
Another argument which could be made in favour of Twitter is the Arab Uprising in Egypt, in which its function helped to communicate the activists movements. Twitter was a way for activists to share their opinions and grievances against Mubarak’s regime without fear of censorship. The speed at which the uprising unfolded could be contributed to the instantaneous nature of social media. Twitter is not restricted by the same rules and procedures as national news media. Twitter helped shape the narrative of the Egyptian uprising, however Twitter did not start the movements, it was merely used as a tool for communication. History has taught us that when social injustice and poverty prevail uprisings and revolutions occur, even in times before Twitter and the internet. Therefore it is important to stress that while Twitter helped facilitate the Arab Springs it was not its cause. Masses have, and will, always find ways to communicate with each other. It is the intention behind the revolution, not how they do it, which will be remembered.
A noted pro for Twitter is its ability to connect users from all walks of life by simply following their profile. From celebrities, to corporations, to politicians, Twitter provides a direct line to those that were once unreachable for us mere mortals. The connectivity of users inevitably means that the flow of information between users creates an instant news service where, like the naming of Ryan Giggs, tweets can become the story or a trending topic. The death of Osama Bin Laden is a prime example of when the mainstream media struggled to keep up with Twitter. The raid on Osama Bin Laden was unknowingly revealed on Twitter by a Pakistani citizen who lived in Abbottabad where the raid occurred. In the early hours of May 2nd 2001 Sohaib Athar wrote;
“@ReallyVirtual: Helicopter Hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)”
“@ReallyVirtual: A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope it’s not the start of something nasty :-S”
Athar was unknowingly live reporting giving a firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. His tweets and the impromptu press conference at the White House fuelled online speculation of the death before any confirmation had been given. An hour and a half later, former Chief of Staff to Donald Rumsfeld, Keith Urbahn (not the country singer) tweeted;
“@keithurbahn: So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”
Soon enough the speculation whipped up a trending frenzy dominating Twitter’s timeline which then prompted the mainstream media to start reporting the speculation. Two and a half hours after Athar’s initial tweet, President Obama confirmed Bin Laden’s death at the White House. In this event citizen journalism and Twitter replaced the mainstream media as the go to source for breaking news cementing its place within modern society.
Nowadays it seems as if Twitter has moved past the point of social change into social shaming. The universal appeals of Twitter; freedom of information, social change and it’s immediacy can also be used as ammunition for its demise. Chris Graham, Rangers FC board member, came under scrutiny for tweeting a cartoon picture of the Prophet Mohammed engaged in a sex act on the day of the Charlie Hebdo attack. Yes, the picture was undoubtedly made in bad taste, but a picture nonetheless. Ironically, a tool used for freedom of speech starts to selectively censor and attack users that do not fall into line with the majority’s point of view. In the end, Chris Graham resigned from the board after the tweet’s fallout. The tweet wasn’t unearthed until a couple of months after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, meaning there was a deliberate intent to find something defaming. Every tweet, every status, every user makes is stored and documented waiting to creep up upon us unexpectedly. What you may have thought was humorous at the time could be misconstrued as offensive in the future. The funny thing about Twitter, as communication device, it can’t seem to translate humour and irony well.
Jon Ronson’s latest book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, documents other users who have fallen victim to Twitter. In it he argues that there is a tendency for users to take on a pack mentality to publicly shame individuals who make socially inadequate faux pas. Last week, in a weird twist of fate, Ronson himself fell victim to a shaming after a user tweeted a line that was in a galley of his book. The badly phrased line was clearly not meant to intentionally offend people but Ronson found himself being hounded and forced to defend something that wasn’t even in the final copy of his book. Twitter seems to be turning into a malicious online focus group.
Finally, with the help of Hillary Clinton, Twitter has come full circle. Hilary Clinton’s campaign was leaked to the mainstream press a day before her candidacy announcement which was ironically intended to be announced on Twitter. The communication device once used for breaking news has now completed it’s revolutionary journey by coming full circle.
Nowadays it is clear to see that Twitter’s power lies within its ability to connect, however it is now reasonable to say it’s societal impact is redundant. Not to worry, the brief life expectancy of social networking services means that something new is always around the corner. At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if the result of the General Election was announced on Snapchat.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past few years, you will have heard of ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’. I have shamelessly jumped on various band wagons in my time, yet unusually, this wasn’t one of them. I think it may have had something to do with seeing my mother read the books on a family holiday which inadvertently created a link between sex and my parents. This thought was inexistent beforehand as I blissfully live in a constant state of denial over that fact. Therefore I deliberately kept one’s distance from Mr Grey and his play room.
Despite this, I, like most woman in the country, went a little bit weak at the knees when first viewing the film trailer for ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’. “Oo La La” I intriguingly said with the sexual conviction of an awkward, hormonal, teenage boy. I was starting to come down with the fifty shades of grey fever. And so, being the single gal that I am with nothing better to do, my valentine’s day was sorted.
Slightly embarrassed by the thought of spending this particular day watching this film, I was slightly apprehensive when the big day came. I was expecting to see masses of couples but was pleasantly surprised to find the majority of the cinema goers were females, groups and cliques of females. While watching the film I couldn’t help but think, why are females infatuated with this film? It certainly wasn’t that every woman wanted to be Anastisia Steele; the shy, weak, cardigan enthusiast who canny handle her drink. It definitely wasn’t that women want a controlling man in their life. Then it hit me, Christian Grey isn’t the man every woman wants to be with, Christian Grey is the person every woman wants to be.
He has it all;
A legally binding contract to keep your partner faithful, that sounds delightful.
He makes stalking look sexy and casual, something i’ve been trying to do for years now and continue to fail miserably at.
He makes breaking into a flat seem normal behaviour, which is usually an alarming act that I shouldn’t try again, so my friends tell me.
He has a few quid in the bank, something I wouldn’t object to.
He has the emotional range of a teaspoon.
He has been very successful in his career.
He can literally tie his partner to his bed and keep them there while he galavants around town with the comforting thought that they will still be there eagerly awaiting his return.
In ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, Christian Grey is labelled alluring and provocative, whilst Annie Wilkes in Stephen King’s ‘Misery’ is branded psychotic and unstable. Frankly, I see striking resemblances between the two and have equal admiration for both. The more I saw of Mr Grey the more I liked, he has got this relationship thing all figured out.
That’s not to say we should quickly disregard poor wee Anna. Women can learn a lot from her too I thought. I praise the choice of underwear worn throughout the film. She wasn’t donning Ann Summer’s latest line of thongs and brassieres if that’s what you are thinking. Instead she had what looked like the comfiest pair of briefs I think i’ve ever seen on film. When she undressed down to her “granny pants”, as I heard someone behind me describe them as, there was a murmur of laughter from the audience. How dare they. Some may say they screamed virgin, but I thought they represented good decision making ability; they’re cosy, warm and roomy, what more do you want down there? It turns out that she was in fact a virgin, which doesn’t help me make my case in the slightest. However, Christian didn’t abstain in any way at the sight of them and she never needed to worry about camel toe. Anna’s the real winner here ladies, so who’s laughing now.
The second haze of laughter came after Christian took off the “granny pants” to reveal some fuzz below, god forbid. Personally, I thought it was refreshing to see some hair below on an actress, I hadn’t seen that much hair on screen since a PSE sex education video in first year of high school. Granted, a bit of a trim probably wouldn’t have hurt her, but the laughter would seem to suggest that we have become overly sensitised to seeing a bit of hair down there that it’s no longer considered the norm. Finally a film that doesn’t conform to Hollywood’s vaginal beauty standards, something I think women should welcome with open arms (or legs).
The real message of Fifty Shades is really quite powerful and moving: sociopaths are into lavish pubic hair. I admire Mr Grey, I wish I could inflict punishment on the submissive, not out of sexual fantasy but out of bitter revenge. Unfortunately, the ever present gender stereotypes hold us women back from being the dominator. There will never be any Christina Greys, only Annie Wilkeses. Now that really is “fifty shades of fucked up”.
January, the most depressing month of the year. Your purses are lighter and your jeans are significantly tighter. Everywhere you turn you are bombarded with health and fitness adverts seducing you into believing that with this new year, you truly can become a new you.
I’m ashamed to say I was amongst those gullible few. I decided that I would try a 5 Day Juice Cleanse to rid all the toxins out of my body thinking that I would be starting the new year fresh. Consequently if I happened to turn into a Victoria’s Secret model in the process then so be it. It seemed so glamorous on Instagram. I did my research weighing up the pros and cons, which were all really vague with neither side offering any solid evidence of success or failure. Therefore, with nothing to lose but weight, I decided to give it a bash.
It turns out I did have more to lose, happiness.
I arrived to pick up my pre-ordered juice cleanse very optimistic thinking about the inevitable health benefits that would ensue. That optimism was short lived. When starting a juice cleanse it is recommended that you have a ‘metabolising boosting shot’ to kick start the cleanse. My shot had only two “all natural” ingredients, pure ginger root and cayenne pepper. Being called a shot I assumed that this meant it was to be taken like one, so I downed the miniature in one gulp.
If you haven’t tried pure ginger root and cayenne pepper the best way I can describe it to you is looking and tasting like spicy bile, it was vile. Water wouldn’t tame the spice, it seemed to only aggravate it. Not a minute had passed after swallowing it before I was physically sick. My body literally rejected the shot, a healthy sign of what was to come.
I eventually got rid of the shot’s taste and apprehensively took the first of six drinks for the day. They weren’t quite spewing material but they weren’t far from it. I couldn’t actually tell what was in the drinks but it didn’t really matter when all of them were just plain nasty.
Just before I was about to take my last drink of the day my head began to feel as if someone was taking a chainsaw down the middle of it. No amount of water was easing the pain. I even forced down the last drink hoping it had a bit of sugar in it to level it out, but two hours on the pain continued.
I caved and had a bowl of cereal, before I knew it the pain had disappeared. When it comes down to either being able to sleep or having the desire to healthy, sleep will always win.
Waking up I had to admit I did feel slightly lighter but that was mostly due to my stomach being completely empty. The thought of only tasting those juices for the rest of the day was so depressing, but I pressed on. This was mostly due to the fact that the juices cost so much I felt I had to make it worthwhile.
By midday I was, and this is not an exaggeration, starving. The battle between being so hungry and hating the taste of the drinks was pretty challenging. I couldn’t help but think that after a day and a half of having nothing but juices (bar the tastiest bowl of cereal I’ve ever had) the inevitable bowel movements had not yet occurred.
Thought too soon. Now I’ve been to Asia, so I know how the shits work but I was not prepared for this. Stomach wrenching, uncontrollable movement below. The glamorous appeal of a juice cleanse took a dark turn, I might as well of had an enema. I also couldn’t help but notice that my pee was crystal clear, which after a nervous wikipedia search found out was actually a very good sign.
It was round about this point where my five day juice cleanse turned into a three day cleanse. The thought of continuing for another three days was unbearable. I totally underestimated my love of food. I missed the physical act of biting solids and chewing. If you like the taste, smell and look of food then you’ll struggle with a juices cleanse. I persevered with the comforting thought of only one more day to go.
I woke up feeling less groggy than usual but hungrier than ever. By day three the drinks were no longer fresh. I didn’t know how it was possible but they actually tasted worse. They were slightly bitter and had more of a sour kick to them indicating that they were beginning to go off. Because of this I couldn’t actually finish the first two.
Not only had my stomach slightly deflated due to the lack off food but so had my spirits. All I could think of was food, even the thought of coffee seemed nectareous. On the bright side I noticed that my skin was looking clearer than ever, a noted pro in my research work making me think if I just continue for another two days I’ll look more like Victoria’s Secret model and less like a swedish wrestler. That didn’t last long.
Girl, you crazy.
By dinner time I truly did not care anymore, I wanted solids, I needed solids. I am ashamed to say the fat girl got the better of me and I gave in, I haven’t stopped eating since. I’m not even sorry.
Reading this you may think that this was a pathetic attempt to be healthy and I would not argue with you. Everybody will react differently or in my case physically reject it. Looking back I do feel there were some benefits; I felt lighter mostly due to the hunger, the drinks helped me to develop a pretty good gagging reflex and my skin had the glow of a pregnant woman. However for me, this was definitely was not enough to continue. I think it has been the most counterproductive idea I’ve ever had, from now on I will only listen to Honey Boo Boo.
“i’m relaxing.. eating.. having a great time“.
The festive season has begun which only means one thing, it’s that time of year again where I send you my wish list. Before we get down to this year’s requests, I have a few bones to pick with you from last year’s list which you failed to deliver on.
Firstly, I think you misunderstood me in my last letter when I said I wanted to see more of John Barrowman in my life. I meant it in the way where maybe you could of set up some circumstances where we’d meet, face to face, and we would have some sort of love affair. Not in the kind of way where I see him prancing on top of a bus surrounded by giant teacakes. That hurt Santa, that hurt. I know he likes men but for some reason that isn’t squashing my feelings or desire for him.
I thought I made myself pretty clear last year. Under no circumstances did I want to see Bruce Forsyth on my TV screen ever again. So it baffles me to me read that Brucey is set to return for a strictly christmas special. Is this some sort of sick joke you’re playing on me? I know I’ve done a few things to put me on the naughty list this year but my punishment should not equate to suffering his cringe worthy presence. At least give him a better catch phrase that doesn’t make me immediately do a face palm, or even one that actually makes sense.
Now I don’t want it to sound like I’m being ungrateful but you’ve got to give me something to work with here. This year you’ve got to get your shit together Fred.
I don’t know what kind of leeway you have in our judicial system or if a few MP’s have been naughty this year you may have some power over them, which could come in handy with my first request. I want you to make it illegal for couples to post pictures or statuses of their christmas gifts from one another. Sentences could be harsher depending on the captioning or hashtags; 5-18 months for “Best boyfriend ever!”, 1-3 years for “Look what bae got me, love my bae so much”.
I don’t need that in my life, period.
Slap them with those sentences and Facebook would be a much happier place. They’re basically just announcing that they will be getting lucky that evening as I have no doubt in my mind that this possibility is a factor in deciding which present to buy. So the next time someone asks you to get them a Michael Kors bag for their girlfriend just hand them the tinder app, they’ll save a boat load of money and still receive the same result. More importantly, my newsfeed won’t look like the House of Fraser’s website.
Secondly, I need you to stop with the influx of burger restaurants in Glasgow. Seriously enough, my waistline can’t take anymore. My ass is still recovering from 2011’s Nando’s surge. You know I’m all about that bass but with Five Guys opening up soon I don’t know how much more it can take.
I would like a wifi kettle, no I need a wifi kettle. That is just the best invention I’ve ever heard of especially for the Scottish winters. No longer will I have to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed to walk downstairs into the freezing cold kitchen to wait while the kettle boils. Now that’s really not a lot.
I guess a job would be nice. You know the one that warrants the efforts of my education. Any job, anywhere will do, I’m not that fussy. If you fail to deliver this I fear that next years christmas list may only have one wish on it, to have a nicer street corner where I can pick up a wealthier clientele.
If not you can just pay for me to go back to the comfort of University or even better, you could somehow lessen the achievements of my friends. Therefore I won’t feel so inadequate in life when I’m five hours into a Netflix binge in the middle of a week day. Either or is fine, like I said I’m not fussy. Selfish maybe, but not fussy.
I would say I’ve been pretty good this year, lost a bit of dignity along the way but who hasn’t. All in all, I think I deserve everything that’s on my wish list. I’ve done my part now it’s time for you to suck it up and make up for last year’s performance.
Eagerly awaiting your arrival
“Welcome, welcome, the time has come to select one courageous man and woman” – Wait. Is this the hunger games i’m entering?
Nope, it’s just another job application. Although there isn’t the inevitable threat of death, don’t be fooled, part of you will die – your soul.
Applying for jobs nowadays feels like your volunteering as tribute in a fight to the death of future employment. The questions, the tests, the stages, the interviews – WHY GOD, WHY?! It all makes me think Gale was right when he said “they just want a good show, that’s all they want”. Why else would a company subject other human beings to this torture if it wasn’t for the shits and giggles of it all.
The Districts – different universities.
District Representatives – other applicants, potentially old classmates.
The Capitol – the merciless employer.
The Arena – the job application.
Me – Jennifer Lawrence, the resemblance is uncanny i know.
My Mentor – my cv, (which might as well be a drunken Woody Harrelson from the mismatch jobs I’ve had in my lifetime).
STAGE 1: Job Applications questions;
You see a job advertisement online and before you know your saying: “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE”. Instantly you regret it when the likes of this question pop up;
“What was the last thing you wondered about” – a genuine job application question I answered.
Right ok, you got this, you are Katniss Everdeen. Just give an answer that’s interesting, funny, and up to date with current affairs. Oh and remember to sound intelligent, but not too pretentious that you come across as an arse, but then again not too simple that it makes you look like a Kardashian.
STAGE 2: Tests;
You receive an email. They want you to come in for an interview after impressing them with your witty, intelligent and down to earth answers right? Nope. They want to test your ability to answer more pointless questions, but wait for it, this time you’re timed. Right Katniss, just think of it as another higher english test. I’m sure this requirement wasn’t in the ‘ideal candidate’ section.
“Right here we go, this isn’t too bad – I think it’s this answer – phew that was close – wait – what? – What does that mean? – I don’t get it – ”
*session has expired*
STAGE 3: The assessment centre;
Finally the time comes to enter the real arena and the games can officially begin. You meet the other tributes, eyeing every one of them up and instantly there is a mutual hatred for each other. Like the hunger games, there is a group training exercise and other tributes who have trained for the games can show off their skills. Again, just like the Hunger Games, only one comes out victorious and I’ll be damned if it’s not me.
But wait, you meet your very own Rue.
That person is the only one you can relate to in a room full of pretentious twats. But she has to go, you have to outshine them all because this the hunger games and there’s only one job position!
STAGE 4: The Interview;
The time has come to remember everything your mentor taught you. Impress them with your made up skills from your CV. OH, tell them how much Nick Knowles liked your soy lattes, that’s bound to impress them, but maybe leave out the part about the accidental burn. Like a bow and arrow, take aim with your buzz words and release a perfectly rehearsed one-liner. BBHAAM, Jennifer Lawrence who?
At the end you take stock and for a second you think you’re the last one standing, everyone’s dead. But your glory is short lived, as a week later you receive an announcement from the capitol and your reminded that there can only be one winner in the hunger games, and it’s not you. Despite the extraordinary resemblance, you are not Jennifer Lawrence, you are just a ploy in their twisted game.
In desperation you reach for the poisonous berries and guzzle them down as you can’t let these vicious corporations get away these acts of torture. But they’re not poisonous berries, they’re grapes, and the only thing they’ve destroyed is your soul.
- If their local sports facility centre was a ski club.
- If their packed lunch to uni consists of cous cous with vegetables.
- If their summer days were spent at Balamaha on their friends jet skies instead of getting drunk at their local park.
- If their birthday party spread consists of cured italian meats, fresh bread and cheese instead of iceland’s spring rolls.
- If they say “yeah man” more than twice in a sentence.
- If their first car was better than the car your parents drive.
- If they put foundation on their lips, wtf is that about?
- If their version of misbehaving in class was challenging the philosophy teacher to a debate.
- If their scariest fight in school consisted of someone getting belted with last seasons Prada.
- If their hardest decision in 6th year was deciding between touring Europe or Southeast Asia.
- If the local delinquents were as effective a young team as the cast of Made in Chelsea.
- If their biggest fear at house parties was that their parent’s fine crystal champagne flutes would get chipped or god forbid the ice dispenser would break.
- If they know at least two people who own a boat. Or they actually have a boat themselves.
- If they pretend to like sushi while secretly gagging on the inside.
- If they know at least three people who are Tory voters.
- If their life ambition in school was to be part of the fashion show committee. In fact if their school even had a fashion show.
- If they complain about how much money they spent in the casino after being “like so, so drunk man” off of grey goose and patron.
- If their local ‘scheme’, if you could even call it that, resembled a cul de sac in a street.
- If they write a blog.