07th Aug2017

Connections

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week, our talented writers have written great pieces for you to enjoy. Leah has written a piece about how our subjective experiences affect our ability to connect with others. Stephanie Schaffrath ponders whether social media is worth the loss of privacy that comes with it. Finally, Veli Mnisi writes about all of the great shows on offer that have come with the current Golden Age of Television.

Have a fantastic week and a Happy Womxn’s Day to all of the strong womxn in your lives.

Enjoy!

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Technologies and Connections

07th Aug2017

Truth, Dare and Command

by admin

Is social media truly worth breeching our personal privacy?

social media 4

This month I have decided to play a little round of truth, dare or command. This week we shall begin with truth because I doubt that anyone can truly claim to be innocent when one is asked whether one has Facebook stalked their ex for months after a break-up? Raise your hand if you are guilty, because I most certainly am.

In today’s world, there really is no need to call up a friend anymore; all the information we need is just one click away. If you go through a break-up, the greatest fear is not losing the actual person, but rather the embarrassment of changing your relationship status to the dreaded “Single” option. And heaven forbid you spot their Tinder profile whilst casually checking out social media’s most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. All in all, I think it is safe to say that social media can be rather detrimental to our social lives- how ironic.

social media 2

Not to say that technological developments are all bad. In fact there are plenty of amazing benefits such as keeping in touch with old friends and family members who are living abroad. Plus, we have eliminated the anxiety of waiting for those dreaded high school reunions in order to see just how much everyone else has changed. And now we can even find and befriend people on Facebook, whose names we probably don’t even remember. Thanks to technological advances, Facebook can track exactly where we have been throughout the day, people we are likely to meet, and make friend suggestions. Now that’s what I call service!

But then where do we draw the line? What should or shouldn’t we post on social media? What is deemed private and what is suitable for public knowledge? Last week I went to see a newly released film called “The Circle”, starring Emma Watson, that left me with a sense of wonder combined with fear. Every day I find myself in awe of the technological developments that have been made over the past few decades. But as the famous author C. S. Lewis once said “You have to let go at some point in order to move forward”. So then, what are we having to let go of; our right to personal privacy perhaps? The question we should be asking ourselves is whether the benefits of technology are truly worthy of that kind of sacrifice?

Sociall networking

31st Jul2017

We’re Back

by admin

We're Back

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to second semester of the academic year. In our first edition back, our talented team has put together a light-hearted and poignant edition for you to enjoy. First, Sandiswa Sondzaba profiles the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion journalist, Robin Givhan, who has successfully used fashion as the lens through which she may provide social commentary. Sekhumbuzo Obvious Nomaele welcomes us back to the second semester by directing our trends that have dominated on social media in the past few weeks. Finally, we end off on a poignant note with Sandiswa Tshabalala’s poem which was inspired the recent incidences of gender based violence that have dominated the Johannesburg public imagination.

Hope you enjoy this edition.

Until next time,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

31st Jul2017

ISSA PATIII

by admin

POST

The June holidays came as a blessing after weeks of submissions, exam preparations and, finally, writing the long-awaited exams that one has had cold sleepless nights for. Waking up for the last exam, one obviously has to think about nothing but finishing the exam. Afterwards, one has to concern oneself with how to celebrate finishing one’s exams and, after the celebrations, how one is going to make good use of the month that is given to freshen  up in preparation for tackling the workload that comes with the second semester. Not forgetting that one will miss the Varsity vibes, the Wi-Fi, the buddies that chill with you on the library lawns during break but most especially the weekday Kara Nicha’s specials.

It is very funny how when you are in Varsity you always have money; that’s if you know how save or use money wisely but when you get home you are super. You cannot even buy airtime over R30 and even if you buy that 200MB bundle it will be gone in “ like 2.1 seconds” just like how Bonang Matheba changes her moods.  Thanks to our “ loyal” service providers they don’t just want our money , they sometimes put themselves in our shoes . If you are on Vodacom you will understand what I am on about, yes that Facebook free mode that lets you login to Facebook free of charge but you cannot view any pictures which are posted.

Speaking of Facebook- this reminds me of the hilarious yet creative trends that cooked up a storm of laughs. Starting with the naughty trend; if you have been up and about, you will remember the inseparable  peach emoji which looks like butt  and the eggplant emoji  used to represent male genitalia. A combo that has taken up way before winter introduced itself. These emojis have been trusted to save time and make the message clear as the spirit of lust takes over. I’m sure that they will still be making waves on our interwebs years to come. Now onto the creative side of things; plastics and packaging of various products, including condoms, have turned the fashion industry upside down. People have replaced clothes with these seemingly useless props and turned them into a fashion statement. Plastic has been used to create crop tops, head wraps, skirts, earrings and various other accessories. I guess this is a good way of making use of what has been known as rubbish which pollutes the earth. Pollution is one of the major problems facing our country. With this trend, we are able to see recycling as being both creative and eco-friendly. I hope that fashion designers recognise the new trend because I would like to wear an outfit designed from plastic and, thus, become part of this great initiative.

Ask me about the National Patii songs and I will be able to create a playlist that will last for quite a few days. Starting with Nigerian songs which have made a name for themselves in our local clubs. I’m talking about Davido’s If and the recent Fall which have taken the youth’s playlist by storm. Not forgetting Pana by Tekno, you cannot argue that these African jams have not made an impact on the charts. And the recent kasi songs that will get you of that chair and even remind you of home like Memeza  Gqom by Benny Maverick which when translated to English means “shout” can be called a song of activisim yet hearing that one word “hayi” will get your touching your body like you have been stung by bees . Then we have Ko Mkokotlong by Biblos ft. Fiesta Black which will leave you hitting your back as if you have unbearable pain. However, you cannot publically respond to what the song asks you “Oe batla kae/Ko Mkokotlong” (“Where do you Want it?/ On my back?” ) . As to what the song refers to- it really does not matter ;-). Whether these songs will still be flaming in summer only time will tell.

Become active on social media and you will never get bored of or miss out on any important updates like news, parties, performances and even exhibitions. With a wide range of funny pages such as Wits Crush and Wits Confessions you can never go wrong . As the first week of the second semester passes, I just hope we will all make it out alive because the struggle is real.

 

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.

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