Activism has saved lives

This blog post can be about whatever we like, so I want to talk about something that I think Doug missed from his lecture this week. I feel like, in fact I know, that activism using social media has changed the world we live in for many minority groups. In 2013 the bill for marriage equality was passed, allowing same sex couples to marry from March 2014. I’m not saying that this wouldn’t have happened at all without online support, but it wouldn’t have happened when it did. In response our world and society has become more accepting of the LBGT+ community. Depression is a huge problem for our community (see here), and while this legalisation has not solved the problem it has absolutely helped. Social campaigning and activism has saved lives.

I continue with the story of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender girl who posted her suicide note on tumblr with the wish for us to fix the world we live in. Again while the attention this brought did not solve the problem, we are all aware and pushing to make changes in order to save others from the same fate. Without the internet this would have been swept under the rug, pushed out by people who believe that gender and sexuality is a choice, and consequentially forgotten.

We lose too many souls to the discrimination and phobic attitudes of the world we live in, and without online groups, petitions and awareness we would not be able to take steps to solve the problem. We have built a community and a safe place using campaigns, including Pride events and huge social media awareness campaigns. Give twitter and tumblr and every social network the credit it deserves for helping us take steps towards saving this generation.

Netflix

Netflix has become arguably the biggest and most widely used library of shows and films on the Internet, and while you do have to pay to use it the cheap price means it’s not much of a stretch for most people. The U.K. library is pretty good, but as we all probably know because of our use of VPNS, the US library is even better. Recently Netflix has gone on a big banning spree on VPNS, so now what will you do to watch your shows? I think the answer is quite clear, find them on some dodgy online site and stream them. So that’s what happens when things aren’t available to us through legal means because of rights and copyright.

We use sites like Netflix when we can, because of quality and possibly respect for the show. But if a show isn’t available, that doesn’t mean we won’t watch it, we just find it somewhere else that probably doesn’t have the rights. This is a shame because lots of shows get reduced views and cancelled because those watchers don’t contribute to the counted viewers of the show. I wonder why some shows and films only allow their content to be seen on one countries Netflix and not another?

How Visible Am I

I am well aware that I am very visible online, I have Facebook, tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and an online blog. My Facebook is the most private social media I have, and honestly I’m not really sure how much security I have on there. My Twitter, Instagram, tumblr and blog are completely available to the public, but that’s kind of the point. As a journalism student my online presence is important and i want an employer to be able to find and contact me via social media. I do filter what I put on these sites, but the entire point is to get my personality across.

Often people will comment about my airing my opinions on politics and equality online, and whether or not I would want employers to see this. My reply is normally that as a person I am entitled to my opinions, and this doesn’t mean I can’t be professional in the workplace. I feel like filtering out social media so much has removed the point of even using it. It seems wrong to me that my Facebook page would be part of a job interview. So yes, I am very visible online, but I don’t mind.

Tumblr

In my experience Tumblr is one of the better and more positive online communities. I have found fantastic support and advice, and even met one of my best friends online. Tumblr comes forward to support mental health, LGBT+ issues and many other minority groups. They have hosted blackout, women’s day and is a great place to ind out what’s is going on in the world. Tumblr raises awareness in a powerful way.

Tumblr can be a place to go when nowhere else is listening, you can talk to people and have a sense of belonging if the outside world isn’t accommodating.

However many people will argue that Tumblr can be dangerous, as a self made support group doesn’t always offer the best advice. People are free to send and say what they want, leading to abuse and sometimes people will be encouraged to act in unhealthy ways. Many eating disorder encouragement blogs exist, and this can contribute to the growing mental health problem. There isn’t as much censorship, and you can chose to be anonymous, which leads to further abuse problems.

What do you think? Is Tumblr a good online community, or a dangerous one?

Social media is ours

When you look at the Internet one of the most used platforms is social media, a concept entirely shaped by the participation and contribution of the audience. Without the audience social medias like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr would be nothing more than empty shells. However due to the participation of people they are among the most popular sites in the world. Social media gives us the opportunity to get our thoughts out into the world, and in return we shape it into a key tool for communication and presentation.
Many people claim to hate social media and say that it is toxic, but if this is true it is only because we as consumers have made it this way. And regardless of this we continue to use it as a part of our everyday lives. Social media allows us to create a kind of online persona, and we frequently forget that anyone can see it. This ignorance can lead to the toxic environment I previously mentioned.
But it is not just individuals that use social media, businesses also use it to network and build contacts. These businesses are also helping to shape social media and the websites adapt in order to make this easier. The job of social media is to adapt to best suit the needs of the consumer.

Have you read the book?

One big example of convergence in the media is the transformation of page to screen. It becomes more and more frequent for people to simply chose to watch the film instead of read the book. The film business grows larger and larger each year, books are turned into films and new concepts are thrown at us three or four times a month. Marvel offer us a community of super heroes with the Avengers, featuring film franchises for each individual character. Why read the comic book when you can watch a collection of films, so it seems. Disney create long awaited sequels; Finding Dory, Toy Story, Alice through the Looking Glass. More and more films are made, leaving little time for the hours it takes to read a book, especially in today’s busy world.

However does this ruin the story? Films very rarely capture everything a book can, things are missed out, characters adapted and story lines twisted. Personally I’ve loved to read since I was little, and the idea of not reading is just ridiculous. But it seems that more and more people and children are turning from the page to the screen.

 

Are we utilising our resources?

Our library portal is a resource available to us in order for us to complete our readings. I imagine that this is the only use most students have for it, and it is probably that very few people read more than the essential reading or stray from the given list. This is such a shame because there are some fantastic resources in our library, thousands of books on the Internet and how society interacts with it.
As students we pay huge fees, and we should be making the most of the things available to us. Taking advantage of our library helps with essays and coursework obviously, but also helps to build a more well rounded knowledge of whichever subject you choose. This even applies across subjects, for example while I study Journalism I love books on sociology and fashion. The library allows me to gain more information on these subjects with some fantastic books and journals, contributing to my learning and make me more rounded as a person.
I think everyone should read more and take advantage of the books we have here in site.