Thursday, 16 February 2017

YouTube: Contentless. Soulless.

If you use the internet there is probably no doubt that you use or at some point have used YouTube - it is arguably the biggest employer in the world and has completely changed the way people watch and create. YouTube is no longer the site for cat videos and 3 minute long videos by 20-something year olds in their living rooms. Everyone seems to have a lighting set up, people have ‘offices’ bigger than a lot of peoples own homes just to make a few YouTube videos. It’s a glossy, full-of-promise business with a lot of seemingly squeaky clean professionals in the limelight.

Now I am not old - I’m 18 - but compared to a lot of the viewers and the target audience for these professionals that is 6-8 years older. It also means that I’ve been through my YouTube mad phase, the 2010-2013 period where the front page of YouTube was mainly the VlogBrothers or Alex Day or someone like that. I went to Summer in the City 2013 and stood awkwardly with other teenagers waiting for these idols that we had created for ourselves to emerge from a back room and pose for hundreds of photographs before being hushed away by a group of bodyguards. I ate cold £6 chips whilst waiting for Jason (VeeOneEye), got trampled on by Alfie Deye’s fans and on the train on the way back I listened to Alex Day as I dreamt of being back in the sweaty mess of teenagers.

Today this is my worst nightmare and some of the people I saw that day are a distant memory in terms of their YouTube career. They’ve been through the YouTube mess and have barely made it out on the other side because life has got in the way and either fucked their mental health over or left them without a career and no way of paying the bills. YouTube and the people who regularly interact with it are powerful - it is the most power 13 year old should have, and it is potentially too much. 

Take Alex Day - he was at the height of his game 2013/2014 in terms of YouTube (whether he felt personally that everything was going great is something I will never know and don’t need to know). He had a book deal, singles out and he was back together with his girlfriend, and then the accusations happened. He was accused of everything - rape, sexual assault, cheating etc. and he lost everything for quite a long time. He didn't use his YouTube, he broke up with his girlfriend and he lost his book deal. Now whether or not he did what he was accused of is something that I can not talk about because I do not know. Nothing was ever proven and no charges were ever brought against him. He lost so much over a short period of time because the power of YouTube was used against him.

By ‘the power of YouTube’ I mean the audience, the links with social media, the ease at which a video or a comment can be spread. The wrong thing said at the wrong time will be scrutinised ten times over and, if for whatever reason, you are not the YouTube perfect person it is likely to hurt you at least and in the most extreme cases ruin your life. If Alex Day (for example) applies for a job in the future and his employer Googles him the first thing that comes up is his Wikipedia page and the second section is listed ‘Sexual manipulation allegations’. Is this the best thing to have stuck to you for the rest of your life? Probably not.

Now content creators have to be so careful about what they say and who they interact with - this is their job and if something slips that people disagree with it can be next to impossible to ever rebuild that community and earn the same as they were before. So it became safe. YouTubers began making videos for their audience and not even the majority of their audience but its most active members. These are professionals who need to sell their content as ad revenue is not enough to build a career on - if a YouTuber knows that the vast majority of their audience is 18-25 year olds; however the majority of comments and products sold are to 14 year olds who are they going to aim their videos towards - the people they aren't making any money from or the group that are providing them a big enough income for their flat in London?

This in turn attracts a bigger and even younger audience making it even harder for a YouTuber to create original content that can not offend anyone. If they swear too much then they are in trouble because they have a young audience, if they talk about sex they become the subject to a DaiyMail article because they shouldn’t be taking about a natural thing as a nine year old may get a bit confused. The worst part of all is it only needs to take one person to lie about the YouTuber for their life to come crashing down - if they are telling the truth and charges are brought against that person or there is sufficient evidence then so be it - they shouldn't be in such an influential profession. But if the YouTuber can not defend themselves - no matter if it is a lie or not, the audience and the consumers will always outnumber that person and their online career is pretty much over.

SITC was a disaster in my books - I try to avoid the majority of teenagers who scream and cry and only talk about why they think certain people should get together; however I would say that it was the turning point. Before then YouTube had a limited number of creators and a limited audience - the creators could make content for whom they pleased because sponsorship was only just beginning to emerge and their audience was generally the same age as them. The reason that YouTube is getting so big is killing slowly - in 10 years time a lot of the people that people currently worship will have left either on their own accord or forced out. As every day passes it becomes less content based and more money focused until one day it will literally be like watching 30 minutes of adverts one after another. Contentless. Soulless. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Building an Adult: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll (Part one)


(less of the rock and roll and more about the drugs later). Yes, finally I am talking about the big guns, somethings I should have probably addressed a long time ago but could never be bothered and I didn't know how to tackle this post. Firstly I must warn you that I have a very open attitude about sex so if you feel embarrassed or upset about someone being open then maybe this isn’t the post for you. I am not going to be overly sharing my personal experiences quite yet - maybe some time in the future I will delve deeper into my relationships but I want to ease into this topic as it is quite a big one.

Let us start from the beginning, well I mean when I was 14 and sex and sexuality was what everyone was talking about, and not negatively. Before this age the majority of people in my year in school found it scandalous when someone did anything remotely sexual (but secretly everyone was a bit jealous). At this age I was still in that phase of ‘fight flirting’ where you can only seem to be able to communicate with boys through the means of insults and sulky looks - heaven forbid actually talking to them! 

At this age everyone is trying to figure themselves out: are they gay? straight? bi? confident? No one knows until they push themselves to the limit - which for me often ended with a teary conversation with my best friend in DT. Fast forward a year and everything has changed. People know what they want and they know how they are going to get it. Making out with someone was the norm, sending nudes was a Tuesday night chore and a hand job was a weekly occurrence. What happened over the course of this year was a clash of hormones and bored teenagers. When my friend told me she had given a guy she wasn't dating a hand job in her grans background it filled our conversations for weeks - everyone was fascinated with it. What was it like? Do you think you’ll have sex? Did he return the favour? And so on. Sexuality was no longer and insult but a badge to wear (if you wanted to).

I wasn’t a very confident person when it came to boys - I was interested in sex and them but I didn't know how to present myself in an appealing way. I wasn't confident enough in my own skin and didn't think anyone would ever find me attractive. But I was good on Facebook. Hours spent typing away to one boy in particular, sharing emotions, dreams but never my true feelings. When you’re 15 you can be blinded by your first ‘romance’ - regardless of how unhealthy it was I kept going back for more. 

A very close friend lost his virginity whilst I was still flirting with a computer screen. I was jealous (even though it was far from being a perfect story) and we sat there together in our local Costa begging him to tell us every single detail (which he did). This was the start of my friends sex life - we had WhatsApp groups dedicated to every graphic detail and regular Costa sessions where photos were shared over an Americano or two.

I always felt left out. I spent years wondering why I couldn't approach boys at parties and why was I so reluctant to meet up with people. I guess I didn’t want to break the idea that I had of them - it could arguably be better than reality. I wasn't until I was 17 that I had my first kiss, and 17 when I began to realise that I could be desired. Being in a relationship with the person has not really mattered to me - as long as I know them why should I wait to be romantically involved to have some fun? 

In 2016 teenagers and young adults are seen as people who only ‘hook up’. We are seen as people who are unable to have a relationship and only want sex but I do not think that is true. Societies goals are now different. The majority of women do not strive to get married young and have children by the time that they are 21, instead they want a degree, a high achieving job. They want to be the best and this may come at the cost of a proper relationship. People do not have time to slowly get to know people - it is why so many people are using Tinder where the best parts of persons personality are laid out in a couple of sentences. Love is swiped away in seconds because no one has time to find out more. 

Not that that is a bad thing. I know lots of people who are in relationships and it isn’t holding them back from achieving anything. I also know people who aren’t and are achieving their goals whilst having casual sex on the side. What separates the two? Probably what they’re into and what their favourite food item is but other than that nothing. If you want to hook up with ten people tonight then do it! If you are in a steady relationship and you are going to have very average sex tonight, then do it! If you are in a long term relationship but are saving your self for marriage and are going to enjoy each others company with wine and a film then do it! Enjoy yourselves, regardless of what you’re doing - just make sure to tell me over a Costa. I’ll pay.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

My 2016

My 2016

What have I learnt about my self this year? Probably not a lot. I’ve learnt Biology, Organic Chemistry and how the volcanic neck that Edinburgh Castle stands upon was formed but very little about myself. It has been a tough year with more downs than up until the start of this school year where I finally found my footing in my school, settled down with my work and focused on what I want to achieve. I want to do my best and show all the (many) people who do not believe that I can achieve my goals that they are wrong.

This year I fell in love with a city. Like millions of other people New York stole my heart but it did more than that. As I sat in a restaurant watching the workers who live in New York go out for office drinks after work it made me realise that I need to study what I want rather than what other people want me to study. I am an intelligent girl and had always strived for the best - I wanted to go to the best university and do the hardest course that I could. I chose A Levels - not because I particularly enjoyed the subject but because they were ‘hard’ A Levels. They would get me far. I never factored in how they would make me feel though, the stress of drawing out organic molecule after organic molecule. So I stopped telling people that I was going to try and go to Oxford to study Geography and instead set my sights on Manchester or Leeds to study Criminology. It is a degree that people look at you funny when you say it but I know that it is something that I will love to do. I’m doing something for myself for once.

I had my heart broken again in 2016 by the same person. That was hard, especially when everyone told me it was a stupid idea to go back to him, but it isn’t something I regret. I know that we have ended in a better way that we did last time which is something that I am happy about. I lost contact with some of my old friends as we drifted apart over time but became fast friends with new people. I realised that I shouldn’t hesitate to meet new people because I already had good friends and that I should try and meet as many new people as possible without judging them. I am now friends with people that I would have never thought I would have been this time last year (or even 6 months ago).

School work is demanding and social life is tempting but in a boarding school your school work is your social life (sort of) and I would like to think that over the last few weeks that I have managed to find some sort of a balance between the two. In September I directed a school version of Macbeth which is something that I am very proud of as it was completely out of my comfort zone and was a successful play (after one or two breakdowns). It showed me that I should go out of my comfort zone more frequently which is why I have become an active member of my debate team and vocal in my house. I would like to think that people are proud of how well I have managed to fit in. 

Now I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions because I think that changing yourself comes over time but I do have aims for 2017 - things that I don’t need to change about myself but what I want to achieve. 
1. I want at least ABB in my A Levels (preferably AAB or maybe even AAA to surprise everyone!)
2. I want to have an offer from every university that I applied to (not something that is particularly in my control but we will see - I’m just waiting for you Bristol).
3. Get an award at the end of the year. It is given to leaving students - I only have 6 months of school left. That’s terrifying.
4. Go to University and not hold myself back like I did when I moved schools for 6th Form. Have fun. It’ll be good.
5. Make time for myself in the summer - it’s all about me and my friends and family this year, not just about myself.

What are your goals/ resolutions? Did you have a good 2016 or a bad one?

Friday, 30 December 2016

What I Got For Christmas: Beauty

What I got for Christmas: Beauty

I got a lot of stuff for Christmas and I thought I would share it with you! I would like to say sorry about the warmth of the lighting - the weather isn't great here in Dorset at the moment so it is quite artificial! Firstly I got the Soap and Glory Beauty Box (it was half price in Boots) which contains some great things (some I personally feel are a bit over rated - I'm looking at you The Righteous Butter). Also I don't use the Scrub of Your Life scrub as it contains microbeads that I am personally against - as does the face wash I believe so I will probably be regifting these; however the rest I love and would recomend. Soap and Glory is one of my favourite brands. 

Lush! Finally I have some more Lush stuff which I will be doing reviews and stuff as I use them. I have already used two items - the Father Christmas one (hence the different background and better lighting) and Satsuma - which I do not have a photo of (sadly). I am very excited to use these bath bombs - this gift set is no longer available in stores as it is a Christmas gift but it will probably return next year so keep an eye out then!

Miscellaneous items are often the best and some of these I have never heard of before so I am buzzed to use them. The Palmers is my favourite body moisturizer and the Origins body lotion is my favourite smells. The Soaper Duper body wash is a knew one (I think its only found in Liberty) and although it is lemon scented it smells more like banana and that diffuser smells fantastic (I can not explain how nice it smells or what it smell like but it is lovely and you can find it in Waitrose).

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016

I thought that I would share some of the stuff that I got for Christmas just because I love to see what others have, I am not going to write in detail about them just yet - I will probably do this at a late date for each section. I hope you had a great Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and ate loads of crappy food! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Building An Adult: How I revise

Revision, Revision, Revision!

A slightly different Building An Adult today but this is something that is probably very important to help you get on the path of become an adult. Revision. Its boring, tedious at the best of times but it is very rewarding in the long run and is so important if you want to achieve highly in exams!

Unless you are a genius and one of those students that seem to be gifted at everything, revision is crucial if you want to achieve anywhere near your best in your exams. I am not incredibly intelligent; however I work and revise hard - this lead me to achieve 5 A*s, 5 As and a Distinction at GCSE and, due to the ranking of the state school that I attended, this placed me well into the top 1% of students in the country. But it was far from easy! I was revising hard every day and night and started months before the exams started - don't wait for your course to have finished to start revising. You can always revise something! I am now going to go through some of my revision tips and strategies to try and help you achieve your best grades - if this post helps you and motivates you to work I might do another one with my other revision strategies.

  1. Forest - the brilliant app. Forest is a simple app, with no levels and not even fancy graphics but it is brilliant if you want to focus hard on something without the distractions of you phone (Instagram is killer for procrastination). All you need to do is set a time, you have a choice between 10 and 120 minutes and then you 'plant' a tree. If you then go on and use your phone in your plants 'growing' period then the tree dies and you're left with a horrible dead tree in your field. I can't bring myself to give up and kill my tree so I have completed every growing period. It tracks how well you've done and adds up your total number of minutes/hours growing per week so it is also motivating - you can do that 20 minutes more! It is available for free on every know app store (as far as I am aware!) and I can't imagine revising without it now!

2.  Highlight the key parts. This seems stupid and simple but just reading a piece of text is going to get you no where. Highlight the key parts and even annotate them if you need to simplify something for yourself and link it to another page. It may feel a bit odd to write in your textbook, especially as so many people will have paid an arm and a leg for them and want them in good condition so they can resell them but you shouldn't be thinking about that! Are you grades less important that getting that £30 back? If you have borrowed the textbook/book and are not allowed to write in then sticky notes and arrows are your best friend.

3. Another simple but so effective way of making sure that you are working to the best of your ability is to have a pencil case. For many people this is just obvious but I now so many people who just turn up to lessons with a chewed Bic pen and a few pieces of crumpled paper. How are you ever supposed to achieve grades if you aren't even organised enough to have a pencil case? My pencil case is just the most simple one - it is covered in the names of previously banned books but any one will do (even a plastic wallet if you really can't get one. Pen wise take great care with you stationery - think that they are the pens that will carry you to victory. Personally my favourite pens are the black V Ball roller balls or the papermate ones for all my colourful notes. Personally I find that writing in pencil doesn't improve your notes as it is not bold enough. The key points just point stand out. 

4. Write your notes down. It is all well and good reading a textbook and highlighting some important sentences but what if you aren't then using that information then you will have forgotten it within minutes. Make a poster or buy a pukka pad for each subject and write down all the notes you want to. Make sure that you aren't just copying entire pages from the textbook - try and take a paragraph (or some of your highlighted sections) and rewrite them in your own words, using highlights and different colours to emphasise the hardest bits and the most important bits. Then make sure that you have a pack of page markers to hand. I use these to point to entire sections or key parts that I still haven't quite got the hang of so that when I am going back through my notes I can focus on these harder areas. Once learnt and understood I simply remove the page tag. It is so satisfying to watch the numbers fall.

5. Questions! Consolidate your learning with textbook questions or ones that you have found online. My school has access to Exampro so all questions are online with markschemes and examiners reports. I find these especially helpfully but I know that a lot of schools don't have it so just use the questions provided for you or find some online. If you don't get the question try and find the answer in the textbook before giving up and looking at the answers - only when you can't find it then look and see if you understand where this has come from.