Sunday, October 19

Why I love YouTube

In preparation for an upcoming interview, I faced the question, "What is your favourite Google product or tool?"
Two answers come to mind quickly, Blogger and YouTube. It was on further probing of my mind that I realised just how truly useful YouTube is. I've known I've loved the platform for a good few years now, but really it has changed a lot of the things I do in my life. I decided that my main reasons for loving this platform fall under 3 categories.


Number 1. Relatable reality.

I'm not too sure when reality T.V. first came around, but seeing as Big Brother is in the late teens of existence it must've been around 20 years ago now. Increasingly reality T.V. has grown in popularity with channels such as E! and MTV showing The Hills, Kardashians etc.. depicting real life scenarios, that can be somewhat staged. Even if the shows are all staged, they are meant to represent real life situations. I believe ITV has recently created a channel solely devoted to reality shows called ITVbe showing TOWIE etc..
So when YouTube came along, born from that was amateur content. And this amateur content has proved immensely successful. From my years of watching YouTubers, in recent months one cannot ignore the vlog-style videos. A kind of follow me around, day in the life style video, with many content creators uploading a video each and every day such as the Shaytards.
It has been amazing to watch this style of video grow in popularity and it says something about the content viewers like to see these days. Staged, choreographed and scripted shows still survive, but the real growth is in mundane but real-life content.




Number 2. Informal instructions.

Like many people out there, I often struggled to study by putting my head in a book and reading, or listening to lectures, or answering questions in an exercise book. YouTube has opened up a new way of intaking knowledge. A quick search of keywords in the search bar, and one in inundated with options to watch cooking videos, language lessons, knitting techniques etc.. The way in which these videos are structured can vary from taught classes to interactive engagements with the audience.
My favourite kind of instructional video to watch is that of an expert in their field mumbling on about certain scenarios. I find that is what suits me, and where I extract the most relatable and interesting facts or snippets of information for later use. For others, step by step videos take preference. But the learner is no longer subjected to one strict way of intaking information.




Number 3. Politically correct policies.

I happen to know quite a bit about YouTube policies, and how and why they are implemented so strictly. Protection of identity, of minors, of shocking or abusive content, is something we all want for the internet, but what I most admire about YouTube is that they stand firm against corporate or governmental threats in hosting content. It is no secret that YouTube gets into an awful lot of trouble with nations and political parties, but while YouTube profits suffer when they become banned or restricted in countries, they remain firm in their stance as a platform which supports the freedom of speech.




Sunday, September 28

Thoughts on this feminist movement - Sheryl Sandberg and Emma Watson

I didn't believe that I was a feminist, or that I aligned myself with those kinds of views.
It's an unpopular category of individuals to be associated with dare I say. Feminists, I thought, were those with rash views, annoying ranty Facebook statuses, and constant complaints.

I was wrong.


Unfortunately the word feminist has the word feminine in it, which assumes it to be solely about women's rights. A better word might be "genderist" or "equalist".

A similar faux pas was probably made when Emma and the UN chose the caption "HeForShe", which indicates that the movement is one way. 
If we can move past these words, and instead listen to their definition, statements, and missions, then we will align these words with equality for all, as opposed to only women.

A favourite part of Emma Watson's speech was when she described gender on a spectrum. 
I love this, and I think there are many things in the world that need to be viewed on a spectrum instead of two opposing ideas, gender is one, sexuality is another. In lieu of polarised ideals, lets be realistic and acknowledge difference and minorities.

When I first began reading Lean In, I couldn't stand it. I thought to myself, why on earth did the editor allow this book to start with an apology several pages long? Sheryl wrote a disclaimer to everybody about to read the book, and it kind of goes against everything else she wrote in the ensuing pages!
I can understand that the book had to make clear several points to avoid upsetting women picking up this book from underprivileged backgrounds, Sheryl did not have such a background, but the apology was far too long and put me off completely. I thought oh god, I don't want to read this woman constantly making excuses for her successes in life.

Fortunately, the book itself changed dramatically. It wasn't until I was close to the end of the book that I realised how much I was enjoying it. Since finishing the book, I've decided I like it even more.
I like Sheryl, I admire her, and I want her to write a sequel.
So my advice, don't judge the book by its first chapter. I'm so glad I kept reading, however hesitantly.

Lean In is like a longer version of Emma's speech. Well constructed, politically correct, and eager to encompass both men and women in this movement of equality.
My views on feminism have rather dramatically changed and I would urge others to enlighten themselves to the conversation that is both intriguing and affecting you, whether that be directly or indirectly, everyday.




Sunday, August 3

An August wishlist..

This August is hopefully going to be a pretty busy month because I've got a job interview, a driving test, some friend's birthdays, and of course Electric Picnic at the very end.
Other than those big things, I will be doing my usual part-time work, some research into coding and digital marketing, might film a youtube video, and still reminiscing on renting a modern apartment around Grand Canal Dock.


As for a couple of things I wouldn't mind picking up when I get my first pay check are Hatching Twitter, the book about the founding of Twitter which sounds pretty similar to the Facebook story.



Another is the Nutribullet which I have been eyeing up in Brown Thomas for a few weeks now and which I am certain will be the beginning of a new healthier me.. !


Another thing on the wish list is that trip to Berlin in September. 
I have some close friends who are planning a trip over to visit a friend and I have never seen Berlin which almost seems like a crime these days. It sounds like such an exciting city so a few days there wouldn't go amiss seeing as I haven't been abroad in several long months.




Next up is a polypro hula-hoop. 
My current hula-hoop does the job, but I am simply outgrowing it and need a lighter and smaller hoop that will make practicing off-body tricks much easier.
Unfortunately they are pretty hard to track down and purchase the right kind. Maybe I will have some luck at a stall in Electric Picnic.



Ukulele lessons are also a must, since I bought that uke a few months ago now and I still cannot seem to be able to get it in tune, in spite of trying many times using youtube tutorials and buying a cherub tuner.



Oooh yes, another thing that fits in nicely to my new fit and healthy approach in September is black Nike free-riders. Although Im not much of a running fan, I do enjoy the gym, or hiking and at least having nice sports gear.



And I think the last thing on my wish list is some accessories for Electric Picnic. 
Half the fun of festival life for me is being able to look a bit crazy and release the inner hippy, tree-hugger. So I'll be after plenty of feather headbands and face paints for the festivities this year.



Saturday, August 2

Boyhood.



Last night I went to see Boyhood.

I had heard a little about it because it was filmed over 12 years using the same actors, so it immediately sounds a little different.

Well wow. I can tell you that this is an exceptional movie. In fact, I would go as far to say that it is the best movie I have seen since that of Lone Survivor or Shutter Island, although completely and utterly opposite.

This offbeat story is nothing remarkable, following the journey of a young boy (from the age of 5 to 18) and his family as they grow up in the states of southern America, but it is in the development of the characters that the movie excels.
The story doesn't revolve around any major event, and is both simplistic and realistic in its portrayal of normal family life, so maybe it is this mundane reality of the family journey that makes this movie so refreshing to watch. 




The acting is outstanding by all four of the main characters, the mother (Patricia Arquette), father (Ethan Hawke), sister (Lorelei Linklater) and brother (Ellar Coltrane). 
I particularly enjoyed the interaction of Coltrane who plays movie's protagonist, and Hawke his father, who have such an amusing relationship over the years which is delivered with perfection. 

I am excited to see Coltrane play other characters because he does seem to have been born for the camera. There isn't one moment in the movie where you don't believe he is his character, in fact, I wonder if Coltrane was playing himself the whole time and that is why it came so easy to him... I must look it up. 
He is so natural in fact that he makes ordinary performances like that of his girlfriend in the film (Zoe Graham) look weak. Fortunately, the three main characters of his father, mother and sister (who is interestingly the directors daughter) are good enough to keep up with Coltrane.




Overall, I cannot recommend this movie enough, and feel as though it would have done well in award season if it was released then. 
This movie gets a ten out of ten for me, I loved it so much, and despite being lengthy (nearly 3 hours long), I really couldn't get enough. I wanted to continue the journey to find out what happens next and see where this family ends up and how the relationships evolve. Unfortunately if they do decide to do a sequel, it won't be released for another 12 years as they follow Coltrane in his twenties.



It wasn't just me who thought this movie was exceptional because it seems to have gotten a 9.0 from IMDb and 5 stars from The Ticket.

For a more lengthy in-depth review look at:


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