Tag: social media

#280 characters

So Twitter have announced they’re going to double the length of characters to be used in each tweet, from the current 140 to a whopping 280.

Twitter logo

Apparently it’s for the benefit of people who’s languages are more verbose. Which is fair enough – I mean have you ever seen some German words?

Personally I can’t really get on board with Twitter. I just don’t find it that engaging. Twitter users from the blogging community tend to be quite cliquey (controversial, I know) and I see a lot of ass kissing and bullshit on there that I just don’t find necessary or want to partake in. A lot of people use it to say the most inane stuff, which just seems pointless to me. And I think you need to use it pretty much constantly through the day to build up a real rapport and following.

I’m so negative, maybe I’m the problem!

Obviously from a work point of view I use Twitter a lot more, and the increased Tweet size will be useful, but I think the beauty of Twitter has always been it’s bite size nature; you can scroll through the screen and skim read 140 characters pretty quickly, whereas something longer requires more digestion and concentration. It will be interesting to see how it works out, and if it sticks.

What do you think?

On the off chance that you want to follow me in spite of my moaning and protestations, you can find me on Twitter here!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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A post about friendship

I’ve read two articles recently, both in Stylist magazine, that have really resonated with me.

friendship

The first is about having and needing less friends as you get older.

The second is about assessing friendships and taking stock of the benefits.

Friendship can be a funny thing, especially in the days of social media where it’s easy to get to know people quickly and fairly intimately without actually seeing much of them in real life. It also makes it easy to stay in the loop with existing friends. Because of Facebook we know what people we know have done over the weekend, where they’ve booked up to go on holiday, what they had for dinner last night. I’m not saying this as though it’s a bad thing. I think it’s great. It keeps us closer in a way we’ve never had before, and I believe it keeps friendships alive where they may have drifted apart due to time or distance.

Text messages too mean it’s easier to stay in touch. A quick “hello, how are you” can be sent from my desk, whereas I couldn’t be making personal calls in the office. While they can limit the art of making telephone calls (I keep in touch with friends mainly by text rather than speaking to them physically) the ability to keep in more frequent touch is a definite benefit.

Back to the articles. As you get older friendships are more about quality than quantity. In my 20s I had loads of clubbing friends, but in truth the thing we had in common was going out and having fun. A lot of them, outside of that, I’d have nothing to talk to about. It’s so easy to think we have lots of friends when, in truth, it’s easy to mistake friendship with acquaintance.

I also think that, with age, your bullshit detector becomes more accurate. Whether that’s someone not being nice to you or to people around you; not treating you as you would treat them; or just not exhibiting the characteristics you want in a friend, you’re much more likely to pick up on it and deal with it as you age.

Plus, friendships are cyclical. Another Stylist article (this is not my lifestyle bible, I promise!) suggests that the 7 year itch is a real thing – in friendship. A friendship that is everything you want at one point, may not be at another future point in time. And that’s ok. The trick is to realise it, acknowledge it, and move on. Don’t flog a dead horse. I’m not saying walk away at the slightest hint of things not being great. But recognise when a situation has changed. It doesn’t necessarily mean not being friends anymore (and by that I mean real friends, not Facebook friends). It just means knowing that the intensity of your relationship has passed and can’t be recreated.

That leads me on to friends not being there for you at a time of need. There’s a lot of truth in the old saying “treat other people as you would want to be treated”. I’m not always the best friend to have on board. I don’t think any of us are always the best we can possibly be. Life and work and money gets in the way. But there are some circumstances where you know you would be there for a person, even if it’s just to check in and see how they’re doing. And it’s not unreasonable to expect the same in return.Going back to how easy it is to stay in touch with people, a text or a Facebook message is quick and easy to send, and can mean a lot to a person having a rough time. Feeling uncared for by the very people who should be there for you hurts. If you’re in a horrible, miserable, challenging or upsetting situation, the last thing you need is the extra emotion that comes with feeling like your pals don’t have your back.

I know. I’ve been there.

On the plus side, challenging times separate the wheat from the chaff (another cliché for you). It’s fairly easy to be a friend when times are easy; when it’s all about having fun and going out and light hearted laughs. But real true binding friendship happens when times are tough. When you need to be a rock for someone. When you need them to know that you’re there. When you can honestly say you’re supporting them in the same way you would want them to support you.

To be able to let go of a friendship, for whatever reason, is an admirable quality, and one that comes with time. To reach that destination I think you probably have to travel through anger, bitterness and disbelief first. It’s a journey that can be long and arduous. Just make sure you have real friends around you for the ride.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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The bad end of the Twittersphere – the Ched Evans rape case retrial

This isn’t a post to get into the whys and wherefores of the Ched Evans retrial, or the subsequent acquittal and not guilty verdict.

(for anyone not familiar, or not in the UK, Evans is a footballer who was accused of, and jailed for, raping a drunk teenager in a hotel room. He has been in prison since, but appealed and has now been found not guilty)

If you want to read more about the background to the retrial, the Guardian does a pretty good job of outlining some of the very questionable methods used in the “justice” system.

But this post is about something different. I just want to put this out there as an example of everyday sexism, vileness and male entitlement that exists on social media.

I shared this tweet following the not guilty verdict. I stand by it.

tweet-1

My tweet was picked up by a complete stranger, who wanted to get into conversation.

tweet-exchange

He’s entitled to his opinion, as I am to mine.

What he isn’t entitled to is to say things like this:

tweet-3

I appreciate that social media – especially Twitter – is a platform for people to express their opinion. I respect that. I don’t think everyone should agree with me, and discussion and debate is healthy.

What isn’t healthy is the growing trend for strangers to be rude, aggressive and threatening to people because their opinions differ. This isn’t an “I think you’re wrong and here’s why” response. This is an “I’m trying to intimidate you and threaten you and make you feel like rubbish” response.

Why? What possible enjoyment can this lowlife have got from being an obnoxious, vile, ignorant person?

Not content with that, he expanded his hatred further:

tweet-4

Now, if not wanting to be raped makes me a feminist then yep, guilty as charged. That would also make every woman on the planet a feminist.

And why is that such a bad thing? Why is it used as a dirty word to insult women who care about themselves, each other, and women’s issues?

I love social media, with a passion. I think it’s amazing for connecting people – friends and strangers alike. But I also believe it’s contributing massively to a decline in society, attitudes and morals. There is no excuse for belittling sexual abuse or sexual abuse victims, or using rape as a threat or, more disturbingly as is the case here, a measure of attractiveness. Bonehead is trying to tell me I’m not attractive enough to be raped. Well, thank fuck for that, eh?

It’s alarming that people feel suitably empowered to say such disgusting things without fear of recrimination. That they’re willing to put their face to a level of vitriol they would probably never say in a face to face conversation.

And it’s alarming that the social media generation will grow up seeing such behaviour and believing it’s acceptable.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Five things I love about Instagram, on World Photo Day

I’m always late to the party with social media. I remember declaring that I didn’t “get” Facebook or see the point of it, long after many of my friends already had accounts.

Similarly, I only got an instagram account just over a year ago.

Little did I expect to love it so much!

Here are five things that make it one of my fave social media platforms.

  • It’s so pretty! Such vibrant colours; sometimes it’s like looking into a world of make believe.

Images: sprinklesandwiches and catoinamsterdam

  • It gives me wanderlust. All these places in the world that I might not even have considered before.

the_naughtyfortydiaries

Image: The_naughtyfortydiaries

  • Food porn. If I can’t be eating great food then the next best thing is looking at it.

TheBodyCoach

Image: thebodycoach

  • It satisfies my nosy streak. Like taking an illicit peak through the curtains into someone’s everyday life, except without the fear of police action or a restraining order.

archertj

Image: archer.t.j

  • It’s my very own photo timeline that I can look back on and remember things, memories or experiences, but not in a traditional way

My instagram

Image: moi!

What are your favourite things about instagram?

Oh, and leave me your links so I can follow you.

(and feel free to follow me – thisandtatt

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

 

 

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Wanting it all

I wrote a post last year about being overcommitted in terms of time and events and money. It was a note to myself to not let it happen again this year.

Yet, here we are, 5 months into 2016, and our calendar is as full as ever. And it’s pretty much my fault.

I most definitely suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). I want to do everything, see everything and be everywhere. This has become magnified since my Dad’s illness was diagnosed, and only escalates as time goes on.

FOMO

I think we live in a want it all society these days. When I was younger travel was less easy to arrange, flights were more expensive. High Street shops would carry the same stock for weeks on end. There was no internet, or online shopping, or even Sunday and late night shopping! Eating out was an every so often treat we used to get dressed up for and takeaways might happen once every couple of months.

(I’m aware this is turning into a “when I were a lass” diatribe, which is not my intention at all!)

The point I’m trying to make is how different things are now. The flight for my trip to Lyon and back cost less than £100. A weekday train ticket to London for work is more than that! Stores get deliveries of new ranges on a weekly if not daily basis and the number of items they stock and supply online is into the thousands. Next day, or even same day, delivery means not having to wait. Popping to the pub for a bite to eat and a drink after work is no big deal, and a takeaway at least once a week is more or less an expectation. Sites like Groupon and Wowcher offer cut price hotel stays. Websites like Red Letter Days enable people to fly a plane, drive a tank or go in a hot air balloon. All of these things are out there, seemingly for the taking, and we’re bombarded with them through email, advertising and the media.

Social media has a big impact on the want it all society. There have been studies on the mental impact it can have when we’re looking at photographs of perfect people on perfect holidays in perfect bikinis when we’re sitting at home in our scruffs and unwashed hair watching Friends on repeat. The trouble is, in an age where we can follow people we’ve never met on Instagram and Twitter, our minds and expectations aren’t just confined to the realms of what our families and friends are doing. We’re seeing people our age with what we perceive to be better lives than we have. We have an insight into the worlds of people we probably wouldn’t mix with or even meet in real life. And it magnifies FOMO.

Me? I’m a realist. I know that I’m never going to have the gorgeous bronzed bikini body because I like food too much. I’m never going to be a constant traveller because I have a life at home with family to think about and a mortgage to pay and a car to run. I can’t just give up life and follow my dreams. I’m never going to be posting pictures of fancy hotels and fancy restaurants serving fancy foods because that’s not my comfort zone; I’m too down to earth and clumsy to feel at home anywhere with fine china or silver service!

But it doesn’t stop me wanting the most out of my own life, within the realms of what I know is possible for me. Which is why I never say no to a gig I want to go to, in case I don’t get chance to see the band again. Or why I’m always pushing for a city break or a holiday or a day out to soak up everything that’s out there to see. Or why I cave when husband mentions takeaway, even mid week, because food is such a joy and a pleasure and I love eating more than I love being the skinny minnie I was when I was 20 (damnit!)

I’m lucky that I have disposable income to do (most of) the things I want in life. It hasn’t been handed to me on a plate though. I have studied and worked to reach this point, as has the husband. We’ve also made conscious life decisions that facilitate our lifestyle. We don’t want children and we don’t live in a big house. We choose life over possessions (apart from shoes. Because, well, shoes!)

I also control my expectations, to a certain extent, by not overexposing myself to social media accounts of people who will make me question my own life. As a rule I don’t follow aspirational blogs or instagram accounts with millions of followers, because they’re unrealistic. I don’t see them as something to aim for, I see them as a way for me to belittle myself and my own happiness. Which I really don’t need, thank you very much! It’s not being jealous, it’s just being truthful to my own mind.

I’d much rather read about someone living a real life that’s similar to mine, with all it’s failings and foibles. A funny story about falling over. A day out at the UK seaside. A new pair of shoes from New Look or Primark. Look at Instagram photos of pretty flowers in a local park or a bright Rimmel nail varnish.

On that note I will stop my waffling and look forward to all the nice things I have coming up in the next few weeks whilst most definitely NOT thinking about things I’d like to be doing but can’t. Because really, what’s the point? Whilst I’m engulfed in FOMO about something, I’m AMO (actually missing out) on the things happening in the moment.

(P.s, if you fancy giving my realistic Instagram account a follow, click here!)

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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I’m on Instagram!

Oh, and isn’t it addictive?

instagram

Suddenly I see things in a different way.

“That would make a great instagram photo”

I’m a social media whore.

So sue me.

(or follow me! https://instagram.com/thisandtatt/ )

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The phone phenomenon

Last week I read this article in Stylist magazine. And it really resonated with me, as I’m sure it does for a lot of people.

I’m hugely guilty of mindlessly flicking through my phone most nights, not with any real purpose, but just because it’s there. I’ll play a couple of rounds of Candy Crush (don’t judge me!), look up TV characters on Wikipedia while we’re watching a show, or scroll through Twitter activity. I keep promising myself that I will take my focus away from this mindless behaviour and do something more constructive, like read a book, but it rarely happens.

Even if we’re watching a film, I can never fully immerse myself and concentrate if my phone is on the sofa next to me. I get twitchy. I should probably just banish it to another room.

I’m not glued to my phone, but I do use it as a crutch – if we’re in a pub and I’m sitting on my own while someone’s at the bar, for example. And that’s just normal behaviour now I think.

One place I do totally switch off is on holiday, yet only when I’m abroad, weirdly. It used to be because the cost of using internet was so prohibitively expensive, but now it’s because of that feeling of getting away, being totally separate from everyday life, and not knowing what inane crap is going on in the real world. I relish it. I actually get quite cross with people who are very socially active during holidays. Get out there and live it people! Upload your photos when you get home. We’ll all survive if we don’t see your hotdog legs/roman ruins/swimming with dolphins pictures within a minute of it happening. The news that Mount Fuji is to get a WiFi signal because people are disgruntled that they can’t immediately upload selfies when they reach the summit is ridiculous. You’ve just conquered a mountain. Breathe in the air, check out the view. Don’t start pouting and posing and making sure you look your best for your audience at home.

Admittedly, for some reason on breaks in the UK, I do dip in and out of social media and emails. I have no explanation. Maybe it’s because they’re usually just a couple of days (I don’t know why that would make a difference). Maybe it’s because, geographically, you don’t feel as far away and therefore not as removed and switched off. Maybe I’m just a hypocrite.

However, whilst in Wales this weekend the signal was so intermittent that I hardly bothered. And it was liberating. Knowing that I couldn’t use my phone was so much easier than making a decision not to use it. Although on the odd occasion the signal did reappear I felt compelled to check in, just in case (of what, I’m not sure!)

Anyway, I’m going to try and make a change. Ditch the phone and be more productive. Now let me just go and check my texts…

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My blogging experience so far

I’ve wanted to write a blog for a long time. Why? Because I love writing. It’s that simple. It wasn’t to use as a platform for self promotion, or to get freebies or recognition, or even necessarily to engage with people. It’s purely for me.

Which is a good job really, because gaining followers is tough! I’ve been blogging now for coming up to 4 months, and I’ve posted a lot of content, but there doesn’t seem to be any regularity of followers, much growth in numbers or a lot of interaction. Maybe it’s because there isn’t a lot of consistency. I flit from food to clothes to travel to music. There’s not a lot of beauty because I’m not that into it (not to say I don’t wear make up or want to look good, obvs, I’m just not a product junkie). Seemingly it’s the beauty side of blogging that people seem to respond to most. But, because I blog for me, the feel of my site is very much like the inside of my head – all over the place!

A lot of blog advice columns suggest finding your niche so that people know what to expect. What if you don’t have a niche? Or an angle? What if there isn’t one thing that you want to be known for? Does that mean you shouldn’t blog?

Of course it doesn’t. But I guess it does mean that you should be prepared to wonder whether you’re talking to yourself! And that, if you are, that’s perfectly OK.

As a Twitter virgin, I recently moved into a job where I have responsibility for the company social media. That meant a crash course in Twitter, and how better to try things than to set up a personal account? And so I have, unwittingly, found myself trying to promote my personal blog and, I guess, myself. Shamelessly tagging blog promoters in the hope that they’ll retweet me and I’ll reach a bigger audience. And every time I do it I feel like a number hungry desperado. Even more so when my blog traffic doesn’t increase anyway!

The other thing I wasn’t prepared for? How having a blog has changed my outlook on things I do. I take a lot more photographs now. Only last Friday my husband told me off for taking photos of our food in a restaurant. I look at things in terms of how they’ll translate onto the blog. I think about it a lot – way more than I probably should!

My Mom “doesn’t get” blogging and that’s probably the case for a lot of people. I’m sure to many it comes across as vain or self centred. Not at all. Twitter has made me more critical of myself and my appearance. Seeing other Twitter accounts, shamelessly promoting their blogs, obviously leads to curiosity, nosiness and comparisons. Younger, prettier, cooler, with better hair and photography skills. And that’s dangerous.

Beauty

Asking myself, am I too old for this, when the average age seems below 30? Also dangerous, not least because I can’t do anything about how old I am!

Getting older

Forget your age

Anything that brings out negative traits and self doubt should be discouraged, surely? But yet I still enjoy it. Maybe not the Twitter side of things so much; the need for validation and the constant stream of people linking to their blogs, the elitism amongst well established users and the seeming exclusion of newer kids to the block. But the writing, yes I enjoy it. I enjoy composing my blog posts; organising my thoughts into words and articulating them accordingly. So what if my photos aren’t magazine quality and I don’t review the latest MAC lipsticks? So what if I very rarely get comments and don’t really know if anyone is even reading most of the time?

Because, ultimately, it shouldn’t matter. I know, deep down, that I’m doing this for my own personal enjoyment. I write about the stuff that I would want to read elsewhere, in my own voice, in a way that reflects me. And, because I can’t be anyone else, or think in any other way, that will just have to be good enough.

PS – if anyone is reading and would like to let me know, feel free to do so! But if not, that’s fine too; I’ll just carry on doing this for li’l ol’ me!

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