Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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No excuse for racism

The attack in Woolwich, London is horrific. If you haven’t heard, read or seen the reports, a solider (confirmed by the area’s local MP) has been killed – apparently beheaded by machete (yet to be confirmed by police) by two men. It’s a horrific, and disgustingly violent incident and my thoughts are with the victim’s family, friends and those living in Woolwich.

However, what is just as disgusting is the amount of worryingly open racism that is now being aired on social media.

The two attackers have been dubbed by the BBC as “looking and talking like muslims”. How can someone look like a certain religion? Anyone can be a muslim, a christian, a buddhist; there is no certain look or type or feature that can distinguish if someone is a part of a certain religion. The BBC were wrong to claim those two men were muslims without having it confirmed. As a news source that is expected to be reliable and unbiased (obviously this is not a perfect world), this is simply not good enough. Rule number one is to not assume anything.

I know racism stems from a lack of education and a whole load of ignorance but it is simply unacceptable for people to promote messages of hate. One person does not represent a whole religious sector. If this is a terrorist attack, which news sources are reporting it is – though it does not seem to have been confirmed by any police or government officials – then promoting hate and acts of violence against a group of people is just as bad as the act of violence itself.

Every religions fundamental message is one of peace, happiness, faith and hope. Extremists twist a religion to make their actions acceptable for them. It is stupid, and cruel to stereotype in this way. Exclaiming on Facebook or Twitter that “all muslims need to go back to their country” or that we “should bomb them all” makes me so angry that I see red.

By this stupid, irrational and ignorant thought process, then every single person on this planet would be dead. Christians would be dead for the actions of Christian governments, Catholics would be dead due to the immoral actions of a few priests, those who practice Islam would be dead due to a few extremists, white people would be dead due to the slavery trade – I could go on.

A crime is committed by a person, not a religion. A crime is committed by an individual, not a group. Blame the human, not the religion and before you decide to promote your ignorant, vile views on a public medium do think twice. Spreading hate is not the way to spread unity. Hate only destroys and spreading racist, hate-filled messages makes you just as bad as those who actually carry them out.


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Why everyone’s on Facebook

I was a late bloomer when it came to joining Facebook. I actually fought becoming part of that social network web. I didn’t like the idea of it and to be honest, it felt like a waste of time. Then I went to university where most of my housemates already knew each other thanks to a Facebook group for our particular accommodation; I had to meet everyone the old fashioned way. But then I was forced to get Facebook: a mixture of peer pressure and curiosity meant that I soon became one of the millions of Facebook users.

At first I didn’t use it very often, just to post pictures so that I wouldn’t have to send them to everyone via email. It was easy and it was fast. And then people started adding me as a friend. I was reconnecting with people and even if I wasn’t actually talking to them we were in touch by their constant updates.

Facebook slowly became more addictive and not because I actually cared or found it very interesting but the curiosity and, let’s face it, the nosy part of me meant that it became a normal thing to log on at least twice a day.

I went through several phases of Facebook. They are as follows: sceptical, active user, almost addicted, bored, tired, realisation of the pointless, take back realisation as realisation that talking to family is a lot better, easier and faster (and cheaper) since they are all in another country, respect, inactive user, only use it to check people I care about; i.e. close friends and family, realisation of usefulness to swap comments and ideas in regards to a course or an event with the magic of private groups, Facebook becomes normal.

Facebook is addictive exactly because it plays to both listeners and talkers. Facebook works for those who want to show off about their lives or moan about them and like to feel like everyone is listening. It also works for those who like to hear about people’s lives out of curiosity or to make themselves feel better/worse. These people can then moan about people oversharing. Even though they’re the ones reading it. The ones that are Facebook addicts can moan that everyone knows about their lives and that people should mind their own business even though they’re posting revealing statuses on a public forum. Basically Facebook gives some sort of tenuous reasoning for all sorts of people’s arguments about how crappy other people are or how crappy the world is. It allows us to judge, and that sadly, is the crux of Facebook.

I know it tires to re-enforce positive judgement with the like button and lack of a dislike one (SO many needs for one of those though, especially with photos of myself taken by others when I am eating/sneezing/staring into the distance). But it is still judging. The ominous status about ‘him being welcome to her’ or ‘now I know who my real friends are, good to know’ are just other forms of it even if it isn’t as crass as naming and shaming.

Facebook just adds to this idea that we can say what we want because of the right to freedom of speech but if someone wants to disagree then they should just block you or ignore it. Effectively, put your fingers in your ears if you don’t like what you hear. But if they block you then they’re horrible people or rude or pathetic (people use that word too often in colloquial speech). It doesn’t make sense.

I am a true believer in freedom of speech but at the same time, people are a lot braver when they are faceless and sitting in front of a computer screen. Everyone’s on Facebook because it’s the ability to project yourself however you want to as many people as you want. It is the ability to moan and complain to a larger audience. It is an ego boost. It is a way to show-off. It is a way to pry and it is a way to stay connected.

And people like to feel connected. Whether that be through having a face-to-face conversation in the middle of the night or through liking someone’s status or posting a picture on someone’s wall. People like the idea of being listened to and heard. It makes people feel more important. Facebook is a blessing and a curse, there is no denying however that it is an incredible and very powerful tool, if used correctly.

 


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Self Promotion

I have been running this blog for a little while, and before this one I had another which I decided to leave in bid of a fresh start. I don’t get as many viewers as I’d like but that’s entirely through my own fault. Self promotion is completely necessary if you’re going to be able to get the recognition you want, especially  in a medium such as the blogging world which is so vast I’m pretty sure it would take at least three human lives to at least look through half of them.

The topic of self promotion has been something the boy has been hassling me about for about the same amount of time as when he started reading my blog but I’ve always been reluctant. Then today, a short visit to Facebook during my lunch break from revising found me looking at a status of a friend who had started her own blog. Naturally I clicked the link she had posted and read her post. It was good and I realised I would never have bothered searching for a blog like that had I not seen her self promotion.

It’s a great tool to get the ball rolling when it comes to hits, but self promotion is a fantastic tool in everyday life – if used with balance and truth. Self promotion in interviews and job applications could see you cinching an important step up the career ladder (also known to students as the work experience ladder). As long as you’re not arrogant and there’s some truth in your claims of being absolutely fantastic (at least a little truth, which I’m sure there is) then self promotion is great, well founded and a brilliant tool to show that you’re confident and capable.

In the real world I don’t have a big problem with self promotion. I’ll do it when necessary and if it will benefit me and is necessary for e to do better than whatever it is I’m currently doing. However, self promotion in the blogging world seems to leave my palms sweaty and my heart beating that little bit faster.

Since I first began blogging a few years ago, I have never been able to promote myself or the things I am writing. I have no real idea why I can’t either. This is my way of putting a few thoughts into the blogging world and maybe, hopefully, getting a response. It’s almost cathartic in that I feel like I am still talking to someone and yet, for all I know, no one is reading it. But that’s okay, I started using wordpress more for myself than anyone else (although I do like checking those stats pages!) Yet getting even a few hits on my blog always gives me a buzz, I do want readers. If I didn’t, I’d write a diary not a blog.

Self promotion would be a sure fire way of ensuring that I would get at least a couple more hits and yet when it comes to typing browneyesandgreenbees.wordpress.com on my Facebook page and ‘writing check it out, tell me what you think!’ I just can’t. I freeze.

I don’t even think some of my closest friends know that I have a blog, or if they do, they wouldn’t know how to find it because they don’t know what it’s called. I’m pretty sure it’s an insecurity that I’ve suppressed and only resurfaces when I’m pressured by the boy into promoting myself (still haven’t cracked though…) The thing is, someone else promoting me is fine, I can handle that but doing it myself seems, I don’t know. I think my writing still needs a lot of work, my posts need to be tighter and more entertaining (be it in an intellectual, superficial or humorous way) and I just need to be better before I can take responsibility for unleashing my blog on the world through self promotion.

Until then I’ll be thankful for my handful of lovely followers and those that seem to check it everyday (including my sister). One day, after a few shots of tequila and a mouthful of cheesecake I will push that Post button on Facebook and I will self promote! I may have to give myself a deadline to really commit to this whole online self promotion thing though…

Funny considering one of my student jobs is media and marketing.


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Still no internet…

It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have the internet. It’s marvellous to find out you don’t actually miss IT, just the convenience it brings you when needing to complete university work.

I forgot what it was like to have time; I forgot what it was like to sit in silence without hearing the buzz or drone of my laptop being forever switched on. I now only turn on my laptop to do work or something along those lines, it’s a whole new world for me. I have been without internet for about four days, five by the time I get to post this tomorrow morning when I trek onto campus. Want to know what’s crazy? I don’t feel deprived. I almost, wait for it, like it.

I have more time to sit and chill, I am not checking Facebook, Pinterest or Tumblr all the time (I’m a fan of all now, an ashamed and hateful fan of Facebook, I should add, but pathetically still a fan).  I am preparing my coursework, work and paper schedules WAY early. Why? Because I can. Because I figure once the internet arrives, this calm state of bliss, organised mind and ability to spend my time doing useful things may come to an end. It makes me a little sad.

I am preparing, like those charming pessimists, for the worst though, which is reverting back to my once internet addicted state. Hence my preparation at organising my work and starting everything early; this second term at university is always an extremely busy one and with the distraction of the internet, things take that little longer to get started. (Thankfully, once I’m on a roll with work, nothing can stop me. Not even the internet, like those cheeses they roll down hills somewhere in England. I would tell you the correct name and form it into some kind of joke but I have no internet to Google it).

So I’m writing this the night before I’m posting it, after reading a chapter of my book and about to read some more. Tomorrow morning I’ll be heading onto campus to do some work and will make the most out of the internet the university provides and put this post up on wordpress, do a little research and send some emails that need to be sent. I can already tell you that I won’t check anything out on Facebook, Pinterest or Tumblr like I would normally. I’ll check my emails, grab a few references for books I need and then I’ll head on home.

Geez, this no internet thing has really changed me.