21 blog posts series ease eighteen

21 blog posts series ease eighteen

Eighteen: “Knowing and trusting the power of your own voice”

I’ve come to learn that having your own individuality, being proud of it and embracing it for what it is, is something of great importance. This comes in to your likes and dislikes as far as your political views and lifestyle choices. I think if we can master how to delve in and out of trends new or old that suit us, that keeps your own individual originality intact. Maybe and hopefully by doing this we can be truly happy and comfortable in our own skin.

What can stand in the way of this is simply: fear. Fear of not fitting in or even fear of those around you disagreeing or putting you down. But I will say that overcoming this fear is something so totally freeing and worthwhile that it’s worth the (possible) hassle you might face. It takes time for people to be comfortable with change but that’s helped by a little reasoning and sometimes even persuasion. If you’ve a view or opinion that can be well backed up in the form of fact and true belief from your own perspective, I think that you can fight it on any battle field.

There’s nothing worse than knowing you’re right on something or having a good idea but not having that belief there from the people around you. The convincing part of this can be a challenge but honestly, it just takes a bit of bravery and commitment in not giving up on yourself and really testing your belief in order to get it off the ground. I agree with the idea that there’s no one size fits all idea in terms of how our world should be, how politics should work, economics and even how religion fits in. But certain things that make sense for the progress of the world all the way from the richest to poorest, should be sought out. This being done by the power of the voice of individuals.

The ideas I have in mind are that of equality and feminism. Call me biased, but I don’t understand why in a democratic society we wouldn’t want to aim towards this goal? How somebody could vote in favour of the “yes equality” campaign and not support feminism, boggles me. Feminism is about equality between genders, aiming for a fairer society in which we all live. Although in its roots, the main writers on feminism were women – I believe currently that feminism has undergone and is being embraced by both men and women. (Maybe it could do with a name change to prevent confusion, but that’s another debate altogether).

What I’ve always believed when it comes to views is that you shouldn’t push them on people in terms of forcing a view onto someone. Make an argument, state your case but at the end be willing to accept that others may not agree but they should respect your idea and give you that chance to voice it. What I particularly dislike are those who take the form of a so called “keyboard warrior” who are all for one view and simply block out opposing views. These people are shutting their eyes to the world as much as those who they claim to against, making them in some of way of it: no better.

So what I would say and encourage everyone to do to counteract that fear of being opposed to is to express yourself. Whether it be through writing, getting involved in political campaigns, taking photographs or even just following things on social media – don’t be afraid to admit that you’re part of something because trust me you are not alone. Communities based on politics or political views are growing and we shouldn’t live in fear of saying who we are affiliated with, because if we truly believe in our views and opinions – they shouldn’t be something hidden.

21 blog posts series seventeen

21 blog posts series seventeen

Seventeen: “The changing face of journalism”

Journalism first and foremost, should be informative and engaging – fact based certainly, but in no way boring. You should as a reader, want to get to the end of the sentence, end of the paragraph and indeed – end of the piece. Now I know we are all human, we have our favourites whether that be newspaper providers and the type of writing included in that or the glossy magazine or indeed website. I think journalism has done well for the most part in spreading itself across different mediums but everything changed simply because it had to, when social media came into the playing field.

Newspapers on social media, did we ever think we’d see the day when the Irish Times or the Guardian would be updating their current Facebook status? Well it’s here and we just have to get on it. The good thing about social media is that it’s interactive and various views can come into play in the comments section (if you’ve the time to read it all). The bad part of this can be the lack of filter there and it’s hard to tell what is worth reading as that is no longer defined.

Instead, we must use independent thought to decide what is worth spending our time on as it’s not all set out in front of us in a newspaper style. The question of funding here is up for constant debate as although advertising is still a relatively good foundation for a paper, actually paying for the quality of journalism with limited resources puts extra pressure on editors to make sure they’re surrounded by fellow quality journalists and not just “content creators” to make money off simplified masked content.

Now, I know that there’s a place for entertainment and opinion based pieces in media as there is a demand there to be met and people who are very skilled at creating this. But I think branding this kind of media as “fake news” is something completely outrageously wrong. These styles of media are new and growing and although they’re not what we might call traditional, they’ve earned their place for the moment.

I feel that journalists work for the people as the messengers and if the people want these light news pieces, somebody has to be there to provide it. Although they want this kind of content, they also need the factual news based journalism as well that should not be forgotten about. To be well rounded, you must take samples and engage with various types of news and journalistic styles. Sure, find what suits you, but don’t completely ignore everything else that’s going on around you.

I will say as well, just like you hold your elected politicians to account, hold your journalists and newspapers to account also. We speak about the place of people power and this can be true of journalism as well. I will admit that journalists can make mistakes, often quickly corrected by themselves, their editor or even a fellow colleague but I would advise that the public be on alert too. This will allow you to play out your full potential as an engaged citizen with the free press.

Quality can be sometimes hard to find when social media is ruling the roost. But I think journalism can be found that’s clear, concise, non-biased and fact based if you’re willing to give it the time. Look to the sources of the news provider or even follow the journalist to get another impression for yourself. I can tell you that journalists have the audience in mind when they are writing and we want to know what your impression is of the work we are doing. So please, don’t hold back and hold us to account.

I think that we can all agree that we need journalism in a democratic world and we need it to be done in the right way for everyone to benefit from. So let’s not start digging our own grave, not just yet anyway.

All images are from my personal instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

21 blog posts series ease eight

21 blog posts series ease eight

Eight: “The curse of social media”

Love it or hate it, social media is something that has marched into our lives with some amount of force. Gone are the days of giving the love on Bebo, sending mini messages on MSN or updating your presence on Myspace. Bigger players have taken the scene and trust me, it’s hard to block out the bad form the worthwhile in the online world even more than it is in reality.

The outliers who have chosen to avoid social media have proven to me that it can be something good. These examples are the infamous Ed Sheeran who threw his phone away and went on a years hiatus. Not saying that’s something that could really be in our paths, but it’s not something to be knocked either. My aunt is giving up social media for Lent and I think that’s a little bit more up our alley for the minute.

I think social media really can draw us in and with the constant updates available by simply refreshing a page or feed – you can really get trapped online sometimes where it’s very hard to switch off (literally). The fear of missing out is a factor, whether this be a Facebook competition, a funny meme or a shocking Snapchat story. Is it a crime to miss the latest scandal, a Snapchat streak or a Twitter argument between two celebs? I’d like to think it isn’t but I strongly believe that social media is growing in power.

Actually, there’s a lot of similarity going on across the boards of social media. Within the last couple of months, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat have gotten quite similar and maybe that makes it easier to update them all. I don’t know about you, but I preferred when each had something different to offer and I’m just not sure if that’s going to continue to be case.

I ask you this honestly, do you think that having social media accounts now is essential for living in the world? As regards jobs, more and more now businesses of all types have social media accounts and it can be seen as essential that employees have something to contribute on that front if needs be. Maybe social media is something now part of every day life that we can’t possibly avoid.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t some toxic things out there. Social media encourages gossip and even the very real and annoying, “keyboard warriors”. I don’t know what it is that makes people think they’re more powerful when looking at a screen than someone in the eye. It’s hard to know whether we are unintentionally contributing to this world of social media. As it’s primarily us providing the content for the most part on these various platforms.

I sometimes find social media as a huge place for unfiltered bragging and sometimes people can share to much leaving nothing really else left to know about a person. Is that the best way to live and allow people to get to know you? How much of that is real? I’m no psychologist but it’d be interesting to see how having a high social media following could affect a persons self-esteem. Friends or followers, which is better for a person socially (without the media part)?

One thing I find to be the real curse of social media is that of the time stolen from us by it. Time does not seem to exist when it comes to social media as it can really hook a person and I feel social media demands our time. But it could be us after all that are placing high importance on it. So take a step back, it’s actually not that important.

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/