09th May2016

Dear Doll You Were My Idol

by admin

Dear Doll you were my Idol

All this hair and all these clothes

How I walk and how I talk

It’s all something I learnt from you

Grew up thinking it was all white and blue

That all I fancied was going to come true

 

In the age of click, click and flash

Where you learn to be hush, hush about your emotions then dash

Love does not seem to exist in my vocab

It was all perfect at first still trying to figure out where it all went wrong

 

I mean you have been there through it all you were my pillar

‘till I looked at that distorted image in the mirror

Pretty made up on the outside but all damaged inside

Picture perfect online but living with a heavy heart and swollen eyes in real life

Friends envied only if they knew

Dear Doll you were my IdolDear Doll You Were My Idol

04th May2015

#KylieJennerLipChallenge

by admin

Relebogile Nyama speaks about the recent online trend that has taken the world by storm: the #KylieJennerLipChallenge.

Kylie Jenner, the youngest sister of the famous Kardashians, has caused a storm on social media networks with her recent debut of fuller lips. Seeing as though she is highly popular amongst kylie 1teenagers, young  boys and girls have followed suit by trying to get lips that are as full as hers; hence the birth of the #KylieJennerLipChallenge. This challenge has been trending on all social media networks all over the world. It sees young males and females attempting to enlarge their lips to immitate those of Kylie Jenner. There is also speculation around whether or not Kylie has had surgical work done to enhance her lips, as they seem to appear much fuller than before.

Even though this is a global trend, people are unaware of how dangerous this could be; since the process of enlarging the lips involves inserting lips into a shot glass. Next, you are supposed to inhale for a few seconds to create a tight suction.  After a few minutes, you remove the shot glass and, tada…your lips are as big as Kyliekylie 2 Jenner‘s! This process may seem easy, but it is very dangerous.

Most of the people who attempted this challenge, ended up with swollen, bruised and bleeding lips, which obviously was not the desired effect. The shot glass method may even be more dangerous than the traditional and more expensive method of collagen injections.

A young woman from Miami, Florida was found dead in her bedroom after attempting the challenge. 19-year-old, Natalie Cardenas, was found by her found by her parents who stated that: “they found Natalie on the floor with huge lips and a shot glass in her hand.“ Doctors say that Natalie died as a result of the pressure her lips experienced. The pressure was enough to to irritate and burst the veins in the face which led to internal bleeding and her sussequential her death. Ever since this incident, American authorities have announced that the #KylieJennerLipChallenge is prohibited and participating in it will result in 30 days of jail time.

However, a young woman from the UK has developed a different way to attempt the #KylieJennerLipChallenge. Not only is her method totally hilarious, but it is also safe; instead of a shot glass, she uses Pringle‘s chips as lips which super easy and original. Did I mention that she was also labelled as one of the forerunners of the challenge?

The craze surrounding the #KylieJennerLipChallenge definitely says a lot about the youth of today. They follow any trend, despite how ridiculous or dangerous it may be. What is ‘cool’ to one person need not be followed by everyone, especially if it is potentially dangerous to one’s health. Yes, it may be cheaper than collagen injections; but should health be risked in an attempt to achieve “aesthetically-desired lips”? What is your opinion about the #KylieJennerLipChallenge? Would you dare to attempt it?

kylie 3

20th Apr2015

#WhyDoYouHashtag?

by admin

Kayleen Morgan speaks about the new obsession with hashtagging and evaluates the different reasons for doing so.

According to Wikipedia: “a hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content…the number sign has become known as the ‘hash symbol’…and is often used in information technology to highlight a special meaning”. The hash symbol has more recently become popular on social media and its usage is generally associated with creating awareness about pressing issues and allowing the voiceless to be heard. This is also known as “social-activism”.

Social-activism is an excellent way to bring attention to issues and individuals who might not be given a great deal of attention or coverage by the mainstream media. An example of social-activism is the hashtag which emerged when over 200 Nigerian school girls were abducted by Boko Haram’s terrorist group and people from around the world, including celebrities, began hashtagging #BringBackOurGirls on various social media platforms. However, change comes from actions; actions which a hashtag does not and cannot substitute – because writing about something will never equate to truly engaging with and supporting any given problem, in spite of the awareness it may bring.

1 UntitledMany times social media users endorse certain initiatives with the wrong intentions, such as amplifying their audience or number of ‘followers’ and gaining more ‘likes/retweets’ in the process. This was evident in initiatives, such as, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, where the amount of videos posted did not coincide with the amount of money raised for the people suffering from Amyotrophobic Lateral Sclerosis; illustrating that people had other motives for participating in the campaign. Therefore, it can be assumed that many people tend to follow a popular hashtag simply for the reason that it is popular, and they want to keep up with the in-and-now of what’s happening around them. Another recent example 2 Untitledof this includes: the #NoMakeUpSelfie; wherein hashtags were used with the pure intention of creating awareness and funds for patients suffering from cancer, instead of merely becoming another social media trend. Therefore, it is apparent that hashtags lose their sense of social-activism when the element of devotion toward a specific issue or cause is missing, because social-activism aims to inspireaction outside of social media.

On the contrary, most initiatives do not underestimate the power of using hashtags, as they do have the potential to create awareness on a global scale. However, as previously mentioned, individuals are simultaneously encouraged to donate even the smallest of tributes toward the cause behind the hashtag for it to be truly successful. In many instances, though, this does not happen because social media users are more than likely only using the initiatives’ hashtag for their own personal gain and online ‘popularity status’.

What’s more, 3 Untitledmany people are beginning to use hashtags in everyday speech when they are communicating with friends and others are repeatedly using the hash symbol on their social media posts to attract followers. Although this might attract people to the posts, “it’s often the wrong kind of follower – spammers or people only interested in being followed back”. This reinforces the idea that people are purely including hashtags on their social media posts in an attempt to attain more likes and/or retweets on them, so as to improve their popularity online.

Many of us are guilty of participating in and following the current trends because we want to stay relevant within our social circles; but it is first 4 Untitledand foremost important that we understand a trend before we actively engage in it. This will ensure that when we do decide to participate in a trend, we are doing so for the correct reasons. Hence, one should not only take part in social-activism, but additionally play an active role in society and go beyond just speaking about causes online. Because, at the end of the day, social-activism is not effective if everybody knows about a particular situation or issue, but does nothing about it #I’mJustSaying.

I’ll leave you with this quote: “If we don’t fight for what we ‘stand for’ with our passionate words and honest actions, do we really ‘stand’ for anything?”
― Tiffany Madison, Black and White

5 Untitled

04th Aug2014

#BringBackWho?

by admin

Tk1Tsholofelo Kwakwa looks at the efforts of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign

It has been more than a hundred days since 273 schoolgirls were abducted from Chibok, Nigeria. In the first month of their kidnapping, various campaigns, news stories and social media blew up all over the world in an attempt to rescue the girls. One thus saw the rise of things like the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag on Twitter and many other methods to reverse the current situation that Boko Haram has placed us in. However, more than a hundred days later – the campaigns have died down and our girls are still not back.

Currently, social media has been a news source for many of us but how has the way in which social media shapes the news we receive influenced our response to the news we engage with today? What are we, as ordinary citizens, doing to change the current situation that is happening in Nigeria today?

Whether we judge or actively respond to the way in which the Nigerian government have reacted to the current situation to try and bring back our girls, with 3 months passing by there are many unanswered questions and few results.

While the campaigns like #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter & Facebook has not quite died down yet, there is a steady decrease of campaigns and manpower to fight harder to release the girls from their captivity.

Seeing that many people heard about this tragic event from social media, how is social media currently shaping the manner in which we receive and respond to various news stories? How do hashtags and the likes positively affect the manner and time in which these situations are sorted out as fast as possible?

It is suspected that many of these abducted girls will be subjected to genital mutilation and/or being sold off as child-brides but how does activity on mentioning the hashtag ensure that a safe and decent release of the kidnapped girls occurs?

Even with many high profiled people including Michelle Obama tagging along on this rescue hunt, it does not seem likely that a like or retweet from the comfort of our homes will do much to get the girls back safe and sound. The social media hype on this topic in the past 3 months demonstrates this.

From their repeated requests of a swap, it is also quite clear that Boko Haram is not going to do much to return the girls until their request is fulfilled. They have also further struck again with the kidnapping of the wife of Cameroon’s vice prime minister and the killing of three others. This gives rise to bigger questions about Boko Haram – what it is that they are after and how can they be stopped?

Furthermore, how can we, as regular citizens, make a difference to the problems affecting the world at large? How can we positively and actively make a difference to what is happening in the world?

All of these questions, of course, vary according to the individual but it is nonetheless up to us to make the opposition realise that we will forever fight for a democratic system for all citizens of this universe. The best way to do this is to never give up and use the little power that we have as individuals to fight for the greater good…

#BringBackOurGirls!!!

31st Mar2014

Six seconds of comic relief

by admin

Pontsho Pilane looks at social network Vine.

pp4We live in an era of social media, and social media applications drive our daily lives. Since the boom of Facebook and Twitter, many other social networks were created, however many seem to not have staying power and therefore dwindle. The popularity of a social media application is based on its reception by users and how they can get the best out of it. This is why Twitter has had the success that it has had in eight years of its existence.

Vine is no different; this is one of the latest social media applications to gain popularity in its circle. Vine is an app that allows users to make six-second videos and then upload them on the site, just like you would a picture on Instagram. These six-second video clips, referred to as vines, have been the reason this application has gained the popularity that it has in the year it has been launched. According to The Verge, the social media application was birthed in January 2013 and it has received quite the welcome. It was named the most downloaded free application on iOS AppStore. Although Vine is popular in the United States and some other parts of the world, the vine craze has not fully hit South Africa yet. However there are people in South Africa, myself included, who watch Vine videos on YouTube. Some people even call this kind of viewing a Vine binge. Furthermore, its popularity in the US is based on many users who use the application as comic relief- for themselves and others.

Here’s a little How-To guide on using Vine, with a little help from Mashable

First you need to download the application from your iOS, Android or Windows Phone. Then you will be prompted to sign-in.

You can start following different people and friends you may know who are already users. Another easy way to follow people is by going through the “Popular Pages” and “On the Rise” pages. Like with any social media application, there are always the popular users and the easiest way to get the best out of Vine is through following the likes of Jerome Jarre, Brittany Furlan, Ry Goon, Simone Shepherd, King Back and many more viners. Celebrities such as Eric Stonestreet are also popular viners- not because he is famous, but because he is genuinely funny which comes across on his vines.

Vine is mostly used by up and coming creatives – mostly comedians, animators and special effects guys- however, some of the users are just ordinary people who express themselves. There are common “vine formulae” that most users tend to follow, sort of the hashtag version of vines. One that seems to be the most popular is the “Be Like” vines: This is a satirical way of expressing cultural and social observations from certain groups of people. The “Be Like” vines ridicule certain behaviours from these groups in an over the top manner. Some of the most famous and funny “Be Like” vines are centred on stereotypes about men and women, like the vines in the video below.

Vine is a breath of fresh air to the social media scene- it is like tweets have come to life. I love how creative ordinary people are and how they make fun of ordinary situations. It makes me realise how fun life is! This application is for anyone who finds humour in just about anything and would like to share that with the world- you would be surprised how many people feel the same way. Are you not convinced about Vine? Here are a few videos that I hope will convince you about how awesome this application is. Enjoy!

26th Aug2013

Social Media: Your new resume

by admin

Sharney Nel looks at social media and its role in the job-hunting process.

Social Media ResumeSocial networking has become a global phenomenon since the proliferation of digital media and communications technologies. According to a survey by Michael Horrocks 41% of South Africans have access to the Internet with the majority of this figure falling within the age group of 15-25 years. The survey also indicates websites such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo and LinkedIn are amongst “South Africa’s top 10 most visited websites”. There are therefore two important deductions that can be made from this survey. First, the South African youth population constitutes the majority of internet users. Second, the websites that are accessed are mostly those that include personal information and behavioural trends of users.

It is therefore no surprise that an increasing number of businesses seeking to employ candidates are accessing and screening their social media profiles. Jacquelyn Smith from Forbes indicates in an article that over 37% of “employers use social networks to screen potential job candidates” and that in most instances, information is used to determine the qualifications, character and professional capacity of candidates. This poses yet another threat to South African matriculants and graduates who are seeking employment. The majority of young people active on social networks do so within their personal capacity and many do not consider the implications of their profiles on their future careers. This could be due to the common notion that their social identities are separate from the professional world.

An example of the negative implications of Facebook behaviour on one’s career is considered in a report by Zack Whittaker. In the report it is noted that Apple fired an employee due to his “negative comments” about Apple stores on one of his social media profiles. The report thus also highlights that companies such as Apple, include strict social media rules within their company policies as their brands could be exposed to “potentially damaging posts”.

One experience that I have had recently in searching for jobs online was that various employment agencies such as Adzuna request that candidates provide a link to their social media profiles, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, so that they are able to access these profiles. Companies may therefore gain access to your media feeds through employment agencies and online application forms. Facebook’s online Help Centre also clearly states that any “information you share online – even on Facebook – always has the ability to be copied, pasted and redistributed” be it the user’s intention or not. Access to social networking sites is not only lethal to job seekers, but also those already employed. The Telegraph reported that companies investigates current employees’ Facebook profiles, disciplining them on online behaviour such as their drinking habits, making racist comments and posting indecent photographs on the social networking site.

Although many people are against linking their social media identities with their professional profiles, the digital media world is allowing the distinction to become increasingly blurred. This however does not mean one should not engage in social networking activities. As much as social networks pose a threat to individual identity and employment, it may conversely be used as a tool to promote positive values and ideals, as well as a good professional profile. Alexis Grant from US News provides ten effective ways to use social media to your advantage when seeking employment. Here are some of her helpful tips:

  • Use social networks to indicate that you are in the job market
  • Network with social media contacts to assist you in your job search
  • Limit your social media privacy settings as much as possible
  • Search employers’ social networking profiles to give you an advantage in knowing them better
  • Hyperlink your CV to social networks in order to highlight your qualifications
  • Separate your professional Facebook contact list from your “Friends” list
  • Use social media to make new professional connections in your desired field
  • Be active on sites linked with Google (eg. LinkedIn) for greater exposure to employers
  • Join in on Twitter chats specific to your industry and/or expertise
  • Use social media for job seeking advice from career experts and employers

There are therefore positive and negative implications in engaging with social media networks and if managed adequately these media platforms could serve to enhance your online image.

22nd Apr2013

Strong is the new Skinny

by admin

Alexandra Swartz looks at the latest fitness trend amongst women.

image-3I have to thank my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram friends for inspiring this article. Without your day-after-day posts about your recent gym sessions or your raging determination to “train insane or remain the same”, it wouldn’t have got me thinking…

Have the female body images changed that much recently? Could it have anything to do with the CrossFit movement and the changes that are going on in fitness? I was pretty inspired recently by all these gym posts and I pondered these questions along with one other; why publicise your #gymflow on social media?

Basically, it all comes down to this. It seems as though, heavy strength training and high-intensity boot camps are having a “moment”. According to the American Academy of Sports Medicine, strength training and bod-weight training are expected to be the top fitness trends in 2013. Women are particularly attracted to this trend, since cultural ideals of femininity are gradually focusing on strength over slimness, with fitness becoming a priority.

Women and the media have been put to the challenge. In a world with more advertising “noise” and where there’s someone filling virtually every need and every niche, women are being referred to as “purple cows”. Now I know women and the term “cow” shouldn’t really be used together, so before anyone overreacts, allow me to explain. A “purple cow” is someone who stands out, and is something remarkable. A “brown cow” is dull and ordinary. This therefore does not link to the comparison of women to cows but is actually a mere expression.

Muscular women are seriously going after mainstream exposure and are living up to their “purple cow” qualities. Bodybuilding is becoming less and less of a subculture and a toned body is something that most girls seem to be after. Sure, we have yet to see a muscular woman on the runway or in Victoria’s Secret catalogue, but in a few years I truly believe it’s what we will be seeing.

image-4So it may seem CrossFit is an over-night success but it actually started quite a few years ago. At the beginning it looked like a small program to train SWAT teams and police units. Now it has over 2 500 affiliates worldwide and a large female interest. Women these days are not as afraid as they were to work harder, lift heavier, do less cardio and eat more protein. Based on the changes that have been going on within the fitness movement, I think it’s safe to say that “strong” really is “the new skinny” when it comes to female fitness.

What baffles me the most though, is the number one update I read daily on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed of people telling me that they are at or are going to the gym. I would assume right off the bat that it’s because you want to let people know how in shape and dedicated you are. However, this firing interest in posting on social media about your latest gym sessions must be something cognitive.

imageAfter giving it some thought, I have come to this conclusion: if say, you’re having a bad day, or even a good one, and you need to express yourself the first place you turn to is social media. You can say what you want when you want and whether or not anyone sees it or not, at least you’ve been given the opportunity to do so.

This is comparable to when people feel like they have achieved or accomplished something. In this case I am referring to going to the gym as an achievement or an accomplishment. Posting about the gym is definitely a psychological abstraction in the sense that people want to tell you that they’ve been active to make themselves feel heartened.

I think it’s thus fair to say that it’s a great thing that people have started leading a healthy, active way of life. With “strong” becoming more and more attractive on females everyone should just accept the annoying posts and be thankful that we are working towards a fit and healthy world.

13th Oct2011

Engaging bloggers

by admin

Aima Jwalane Majola, a second year student majoring in Media Studies and Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand, offers a report on last week’s seminar hosted by exPress imPress on ‘Blogging, social media and freedom of expression in South Africa’.

The ingredients were Dr Last Moyo, Khaya Dlanga and Tumelo Mothotoane, the chef was Welcome Lishivha and the occasion was exPress imPress’ first year anniversary.

Dr Last Moyo unpacked many factors concerning blogging. He indicated that blogging is still considered a ‘white topic’ in South Africa, and therefore taboo to many South Africans, whereas it could be used as an effective platform of expression for communities across the country. He cautioned that blogging can be problematic if bloggers were to blog about serious issues without offering the correct information. He also highlighted that blogging can be beneficial because there is generally very little political and economical influence exerted on bloggers (particular in contrast to mainstream mass media).

Khaya Dlanga argued that blogging has given people the power to participate. He brought to light that whether the readers of your blog think you are relevant or not gives the blogger some sort of power. It means that they are taking time to read and respond to what you have to say. He emphasised that the real power is in the doing, using the claims that Twitter and Facebook have been the main source of the ‘Arab spring’ as an example. He stated that individuals have now become media houses. According to Dlanga, blogs should not be regulated as  “regulating blogs and the internet is like regulating thought and ideas”. He underlined that bloggers should be responsible in their writings. Dlanga stated that there was no need for print media to stress about the blog boom as “each new form of media has not destroyed the previous one but has actually lifted all the other ones up”.

Tumelo Mothotoane – an exPress imPress blogger and also host of television show ‘Sisters’ on Soweto TV – unloaded exPress imPress. She gave a presentation about the content of the blog, its history and the different divisions and sub-divisions. exPress imPress was launched by the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof. Tawana Kupe, on 21st September 2010. According to Mothotoane, the blog’s main function was to give students a platform to debate and to express themselves.

After the edifying and enlightening seminar, guests were treated to delicious refreshments while further engaging with one another about the seminar and the issues that were unpacked!

Check our Facebook page for more photos of the event.

 

 

29th Sep2011

Blogging, social media and freedom of expression in South Africa, 4 October 2011

by admin

You are all invited to join us in celebrating exPress imPress’ first anniversary through a seminar on blogging, social media and freedom of expression. Full details are below (click for bigger version). Drinks and refreshments will be available. We look forward to seeing you all next Tuesday evening!

 

28th Mar2011

Foursquare and Google Circles: the new social networking kings?

by admin

Tired of Facebook? Valentia Lekekela takes us through a few other social media options.

Social networking has undoubtedly become an enormous part of popular culture and contemporary lifestyles, especially amongst the youth. The grandfather of the social networking phenomenon is of course Facebook. Everyone has a Facebook account and those who do not are probably about to activate an account or living under a rock somewhere on the Mount Everest. It is virtually unfathomable to imagine a world without social networking and fortunately it keeps getting better. The giants of social networking, Facebook and Twitter, might be facing serious competition in the social networking world as new social networks are emerging faster than you can say ‘retweet’ or upload a picture! Two new social networks are out and about to kick Facebook and Twitter out of their dominant spots in the social networking world: Google Circles and Foursquare.

Google Circles, which is not yet ready for use on the net, is arguably the next Facebook. Circles, founded by search engine giant Google, will be launched in May of this year in San Francisco. Circles will allow users to share content in the form of photographs, videos and messages with members of the diverse social circles in their lives. It will work just as Facebook as users will have to confirm their ‘friendship’. This will allow users to form their own selective groups and to filter what content to share with which group. Could Google Circles possibly take on Facebook? That is the question on everybody’s mind.

Foursquare is a rather new social network which allows users to do more than merely posting updates such as on Twitter and Facebook. Foursquare makes the experience of social networking real and a lot more exciting for people who love to experience new cities and their hot-spots. This is the ultimate social network for those of you who love a good time and always want to know where the party is and if it is hot or not.

Founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, Foursquare was launched in March 2009 and already has over 6.5 million users worldwide. Foursquare is essentially a location-based social network which works with built-in GPS to allow users’ friends to see where they are located. It lists social areas such as bars, clubs, restaurants, parks and many other attractions. When a user goes to a certain venue such as a bar, he or she will ‘check in’ via Foursquare and this allows his or her friends to see where she is. This is beneficial to those of you who want to know where your friends ‘hang out’, in case you would like to meet them or stalk them – it is all up to you!

Foursquare allows users to leave bookmarks which have information about the venues which they have visited. This information is given in the form of a critique and also allows for users to give suggestions as to which places are great ‘hang out’ spots. The great advantage of using this social network is that every time a user ‘checks in’ one of the locations that is registered on Foursquare, he or she gains points and virtual badges which results in major discounts for the next time he or she ‘checks in’ to another Foursquare hot-spot. Foursquare can be downloaded as an app for a smartphone or accessed through the internet on a laptop or a PC. Users are also given the option of ‘checking in’ through SMS.

It is evident that social networking is taking over popular culture and keeps improving. It all began with a status update on Facebook and has now developed into your friends and stalkers being able to see where you are on a Friday night. With the overabundance of social networks available, finding one that is right for you should prove to be an easy task.

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