#NoFilter

I’ve Been Living Under a Rock – What Are Filters?

Let’s take a second to discuss the trend that has swept through the nation: filters. Brought to us by Snapchat, these are digitally altering effects that can be used to make you look like anything, from a dalmatian, to even a rainbow-puking baby.

 

Why Are We So Obsessed with Them?

Yes, we all call them a ‘bit of fun’, but essentially, filters have split into two very distinct categories: some are ‘Joke Filters’. These are the ones that nearly distort your whole face, making it obvious that the selfie isn’t intended to look attractive, simply funny. For example, the ones that perhaps make your face look like a giant raspberry, or a dancing panda etc.

However, the second category is more sinister – ‘No-Filter Filters’. These ones retain an element of cartoonish fun, for example dog ears, whilst digitally enhancing your face in subtle ways. For instance, the famed ‘Flower Crown’ filter narrows your jawline and nose, smooths out your forehead, widens your eyes, plumps your lips and even throws in a free set of grey contact lenses to boot. Whilst all of these may seem like obvious alterations, when put together with the guise of a flower crown being the centre of attention, these subtle changes are easily overlooked.

 

Beauty Inflation

Go through your Snapchat stories. Count the number of times you see a selfie posted without a filter – not many, huh?. So many people are now coming forward saying they feel uncomfortable to post a selfie without a filter. Why? Because these filters have re-defined what ‘beauty’ is. They have created a world where everyone is ‘beautiful’ and therefore to post a selfie without a filter automatically puts you below your filter-sporting counterpart.

But how can we conform to these beauty standards? As a generation, we should be celebrating all types of beauty; small eyes, wide nose, prominent jaw and all! But now, such features are being hidden by the contortion of pixels, designed to re-arrange your face into something completely, unnoticeably new. And the scariest part is, these filers are making us all look the same.

 

It’s All About Inner Beauty

Your use of a filter creates a domino effect, whereby the next person may feel more inclined to use one in order to keep up with this ever-inflating sense of beauty that Snapchat has created. It’s time to act. Stop using these filters and slowly we can normalise what beauty means again. We can learn to accept the wrinkles on our foreheads and the natural colour of our eyes. So, instead of spending time hiding behind a mask on social media, let’s focus on getting our inner beauty ‘on fleek’.

 

 

 

What do you think – would you be able to abandon your favourite filter?

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#Indirects

 

What is it?

Now this is an issue that needs to be addressed head-on (directly, if you will). For those of you who don’t know, indirects are when someone talks about someone else on social media without actually mentioning their name. They usually come in the form of status updates and/or captions on social media. These can be obviously both positive and negative and sometimes ambiguous. The most common form of indirect seems to be in the form of random Drake lyrics (“Where you movin’? I said onto better things”), usually teamed with a blurry photo of someone sitting alone in a club with what looks like a bottle of champagne (but is probably a $10 bargain bucket bottle of bucks fizz from Tesco).

So, why do people do it?

There’s a great possibility that the subject of your matter may not even see the tweet/status/caption that you so devotedly crafted for them, or worse – see it and not even know it was aimed at them. On top of that, you run the risk of someone else wrongly believing it to be about them. All outcomes tend to end up with you looking rather petty and childish.

Let’s make a change.

It’s important these days to kill the tribe of keyboard warriors that seem to be swarming all over the internet. Don’t be someone who hides behind 140 characters and denies any connection to the targeted person when confronted about it. Everyone can read and everyone can contextualize.

Best Practices

Next time you find yourself having an issue in your life, try to take a step away from your phone/laptop and breathe. What good will a passive aggressive tweet do? It won’t solve the problem and has all the potential to make it even worse – especially if you get called out for it online and all of a sudden you find yourself wrapped up in the giant frenzy of a “Twitter War”. It’s not a good look and it won’t make the problem go away. Instead, remind yourself to choose your battles. If it’s something that can be addressed over social media, it probably isn’t worth your time (and phone battery) “dealing” with it.

 

 

 

 

What did you think? Have you ever been the perpetrator or victim to an indirect post? Share your comments below and make sure to subscribe to get the latest blog posts straight to your email!

#DoinItForTheGram

 

Let’s Set the Scene.

Take a look at the photos you uploaded from your last night out. No doubt they’re a blurry series of bottle girls with sparklers, selfies with random people from the table next to you, a snapshot of what seems to be your friend’s reaction to the funniest joke ever told, someone standing on the table at some point and maybe a botched video of a synchronised dance.

Now, Take Another Look

Now take another look. Those bottle girls weren’t headed towards your table, those random people had no idea you were in a selfie with them, and the photo of your friends laughing was meticulously chosen out of 45 different shots and an hour-long discussion over WhatsApp. That person standing on the table? They climbed up there themselves and yelled at you to take a photo of them until it looked “believably candid” (it didn’t). And that dance? You and your friends watched a quick YouTube tutorial before you left and mastered the basic moves.

The Cooler Something is, The Less Time You Have to Get Out Your Camera

Think about that night. Was it really that fun? Did you remember it though your own eyes, or through a Snapchat filter?

Next time you go out, be truly spontaneous. Our generation is obsessed with doin’ it for the ‘gram, so maybe try and do cool things without feeling the need to replicate it as soon as it happens in order to catch it on camera (“Wait wait wait, do that again! My Snapchat was still loading!”). It’s time to realise that the cooler something is, the less time you have to get out your camera.

 

#DigitalDetox

It’s Time.

Forget juice cleanses, this is the new detox to hit us at full speed – and we need it desperately. Whilst it’s important to look after our bodies, we need to ensure that our minds too, stay free of general nastiness.

False Advertising at it’s Finest

According to DoSomething.org, 70% of girls believe they don’t “measure up” or aren’t “good enough” in some way – this includes physical appearance, school performance and relationships. What’s the source of these standards that girls feel the need to compare themselves to? You guessed it: social media.

What Are We Going To Do About it

So, take a break; turn off your phone, deactivate your Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr (temporarily, of course – you will eventually need contact with the outside world in order to find out exactly what Kylie wore to that red carpet event) and enjoy the world in front of you. Appreciate the un-edited wrinkles in the face of your best friend, laugh at jokes that are said in over 140 characters and see the world through rose-coloured lenses, not a rose-coloured filter.

Start Small

It can be that simple. Try it – and if a full detox scares you, start small. Go for an hour and build your way up. Think it’s not possible? Remind yourself of this: you managed up until around 7 years ago without social media, so you can probably handle 7 days (or minutes, no judgement) without it now. Go for it.

 

 

 

 

What did you think? Is a #DigitalDetox the way forward? Like, comment and subscribe to keep up to date with the blog!

#TheDMs

You Know the Drill.

Direct message, inbox, PM – whatever you call it, that creepy guy found it. You know the guy: the one with no profile picture, a username like @usher23940_1 and collection of retweets in a foreign language filling his timeline – with the odd blurry selfie thrown in for good measure. You don’t want him in your DMs. You don’t know how he found you and what you posted that gave him the signal that you may indeed want him to enter your DMs, but he did it.

Knight in Shining Pixels

In some way, you have to admire the confidence of these guys; they craft a personalised message just for you and bravely press send – their heart on the line – with no assurance that you will even read his greeting/compliment/poem (yes, poem). Surely the sheer bravery of this act should be rewarded? The gallant, unabashed initiation of courting you? No? Didn’t think so.

If They Weren’t There You’d Notice

The majority of direct messages go unanswered, so surely this should correlate with the number of broken hearts per day, right? No! The very nature of social media makes it even easier to talk to several people at once, meaning that the beautifully written poem that you received this morning was possibly sent to 11 other people (sorry). As a generation, we are becoming immune to both compliments as well as rejection. One girl doesn’t answer you? Don’t worry, because the next one is only a scroll away. Equally, how would you feel if you posted a photo and no random guys slid into your DMs with a handful of compliments and heart-eyed emojis? Relieved? Probably. But surely a little, niggling part of your brain would be thinking something along the lines of “Maybe the Amaro filter wasn’t working. I’ll try Crema next time and see what happens”. We can’t help it. We have become accustomed to being complimented day-in and day-out; so whilst we may complain about the creeps in our DMs, if they weren’t there, you’d notice.

 

 

 

So what do you think – does #ItGoDownInTheDMs? Like, comment and subscribe to keep up to date with the blog!

 

 

#SocialNarcissism

You start getting ready for a night out, leaving an extra twenty minutes to spare, set aside for the most important part of your night out: taking selfies. It all begins with primer (you don’t know what it does but everyone on YouTube uses it) and reconstruct your face from the bottom-up. Foundation (flawless skin = less editing required), eyebrows (“Maybe if they’re bushy enough, people will ask if I’m related to Cara Delevingne!”), liquid eyeliner (so you can use the hashtag, #WingOnFleek), lipstick (“No this is my natural lip colour”) with a heavy dosage of lip liner (not conforming to the rule, ‘Don’t Colour Outside The Lines’) and 700 pairs of false eyelashes (from h&m, but you tag @HudaBeauty).

Next step? Hair. Centre parting, straight and tucked away neatly behind your ears so you can begin your chest contour. After enlisting the help of both your sisters (and your neighbour), you manage to get your bodycon dress on, only smudging one of your boobs (#success).

Finally, the time has come. The golden twenty minutes you’ve been preparing yourself for over the last five hours. You scour the whole house for the best lighting, running like a one-legged donkey down the stairs in your strappy, open-toe, death contraptions. At last! You’ve found the perfect place. That cute little nook just under your kitchen sink, where you can point the lamp you brought down from your bedroom directly at your face to get the full-on effect of all your gloriousness. Brushing a sponge out of the background of your shot, you begin your process. You know your angles and you know your poses.

14 minutes later you emerge, your phone nearly dead and with no extra storage space. But it was worth it. You present your accomplishments to your sister, ready to start whittling down your top ten to send to your friends to determine the best, most Instagrammable photo. But instead, your sister takes a step away from you, wrinkling her nose, “You smell like bleach, go and have a shower”

 

 

So what is it that has made this trend spiral so quickly out of control? Selfies used to be the source of ridicule for its proprietors, but now even the most anti-selfie person will have at least one hidden away in the depths of their Facebook photo albums (most likely, a grainy webcam quality type, with an Apple salesman passing by in the background). When did it become cool to openly admit to the participating in the epitomic act of narcissism? The notion that one applies makeup in such a way to alter their facial structure and will happily journey around their house in search of the best lighting is alien to older generations, but to millennials; simply a way of life.

So what do you think? Should we embrace this form of social narcissism, or try and change our ways before it becomes too late?

 

Share your opinions below!

#Followers

Because who needs friends when you have followers, right?

We as a generation are obsessed with that little number underneath our name every time we log into the likes of Twitter and Instagram. Do we see it as a measure of our popularity? Because surely if that was the case, we’d be avidly watching our friend count on Facebook, sending out random invitations and liking the cover photos of people we don’t know. But we don’t. So what does that say about us? Essentially we have come to value the appraisal of people who only know us over the internet, more than people who actually know us the old-school, face to face type of way.

Followers ≠ Friends

It’s hard not to be a victim (or perpetrator, depending on how you look at it) of this issue. Social media has found a way to quantify how much people like “you” and have made this information public to the world. Be honest, imagine the last time you met someone and found out afterwards that they had a huge online following, did you find yourself comparing their follower count to yours? Those extra few pixels on a screen can damage self-esteem within a matter of seconds – not only that, but they can change your perception of people. Would you see someone with 1 million followers the same way you’d treat someone with 57? Probably not, because social media is giving you the message that they are inherently more liked than you, therefore superior – as proven by those damned little pixels.

Sad, right? Now let’s get back to boosting our followers.

 

 

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#FollowUnfollow

What’s Your Ratio?

A trend as old as social media itself; the strategy of following an account in the hope of them following you back, (or at least liking a few of your photos) and then unfollowing them to keep your “ratio” (number of followers to followings) sweet. People are pretty divided on this issue; either you are someone abhorrently against it, or you pretend to be – whilst secretly tapping the follow button under the table.

We Get it

To be honest, it’s understandable. It really is. We’re living in a world where your popularity is measured by the number of people who follow you online – not the number of friends you actually see in a week or those who text you, rather than tweet you. So of course people will go to such time-consuming lengths to increase their number of followers.

False Inflation of Followers

Essentially, this whole practice degrades the point of social media and growing your online community. Real connections aren’t made on genuine interest for one’s posts – instead, connections are arbitrarily made based on who appears to be nice enough to follow you back as a gesture of goodwill for following them first. It’s true, the foundations of this strategy are sound – people are psychologically more inclined to help someone who has helped them. This inevitably results in false inflation of followers. As one chronic ‘Follow-unfollower’ grows their follower base, the people around them start to feel like they need to keep up. Sometimes it’s not so easy to gain a large amount of followers in a short amount of time (unless you have access to good lighting, a small bikini and lucky genes), so people resort to the cheap strategy of following an unfollowing to inflate their followers. The cycle goes on.

With the increase in apps which let you know when someone has unfollowed you, the social media community has become obsessed with this notion of reciprocal following and/or unfollowing. It’s a tit for tat game which no one can win.

So Let’s Start a Revolution

(Yeah, I said revolution). From now on when you get a new follower, check out their profile and only follow them back if you are genuinely interested in what they have to say/show. Also, if you find yourself looking at your follower number with the face you have whilst watching YouTube FAIL Compilations, remind yourself of why you started using social media in the first place. Was it to have a large number next to your name? Or was it to share your thoughts (and occasional cat selfie) with people following you, for you.

 

 

 

 

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