30 Days of Facebook to Make You Sick of Social Media Forever

social media

Ah, Facebook: the writer’s biggest procrastination tool. Or, I suppose, anyone on the internet’s biggest procrastination tool. We spend many an hour when faced with writers block, burnout, or simply  a case of CBF. It comes second only to Twitter, but since there’s a lot more to do on Facebook (i.e. waste away the hours with), more time can be wasted. Time that can be spent creating, sleeping, eating, cleaning the house and generally catching up on that 200-strong to-read list (cough, cough).

For anyone new to the internet—or fresh from an internet detox—Facebook is a social networking service created by Mark Zuckerberg and a few classmates in 2004 to perv on his attractive classmates at Harvard. Now, it’s the domain of middle-aged women playing Farmville, Candy Crush Saga and other monotonous freemium games I long ago blocked in my settings; 20 somethings posting about their boring lives to make them seem more exciting; 30 somethings posting the most cringeworthy pictures of their kids; and, of course, the many, many random fads everyone talks about obsessively, and then forgets about forever.

You don’t know what I’m talking about? The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is probably the most popular, taking over everyone except Fred from down the street who hasn’t had Facebook since 2008. What originally started as awareness for Motor Neurone Disease (MND), it quickly spiralled into an attention seeking pit of: “Watch me throw ice all over myself…for LIKES”. You may have obsessively played those freemium games like the Housewives of Facebook: Candy Crush Saga, 4 Pics 1 Word, Petville, blah, blah, blah.

Since most people see the events of Facebook as a blip on their constantly whirring monitor, these fads on Facebook fade out of our consciousness as quickly as they attention seeked their way on. In order to make the most of our utterly useless Facebook addictions (I suppose you could also do this on Twitter or, God forbid, Google+, but most of these fads were originally on the Zucker-zone) and to slowly release ourselves from the grip of social media and its constant sucking of time, hours, and resources, I propose the Internet Explorer Facebook Challenge.

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The Non-Issues of the Modern Gaming Internet

Gamergate is one of the most ineffective movements of the twenty-first century—and not just those for it, but particularly those against it. For a movement that started from a simple bad breakup, who’d have thought it would turn into a debate about censorship of the internet?

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who knows the patterns of the internet, however. Ever since it became widely used in the 1990s, there have always been a select group of people using their influence to try and control the internet. With the most widely known examples being Government initiatives such as SOPA, it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but current attempts at invading our privacy have become more and more intrusive. The common saying, “If you haven’t got anything to hide, it shouldn’t be a problem” is useless now in the modern era of the internet, because despite how moderate your opinion is, someone will always find you offensive. And that’s where censorship of the internet becomes dangerous.

In August 2014, after finding out his girlfriend was cheating on him with five guys, Eron Gjoni wrote an essay detailing the behavior of Zoe Quinn and what led to their breakup. Of course, things that we write in the heat of the moment will always come back to bite us, and this essay Gjoni wrote about his ex-girlfriend is now considered on the same level as revenge porn. Despite all this, a few men and MRA’s from that bastion of internet loners Reddit and 4chan, latched onto Gjoni’s website and used it to send Quinn some harassing messages as well as “proof” all women were evil. However, Quinn wasn’t innocent as most claim, and used this to cement her recently released game Depression Quest, paving her way to fame on the backs of a few internet harassers, and claiming all women in tech were bullied and abused out of the industry. A few other people—namely Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh; Brianna Wu; Arthur Chu; Sarah Nyberg; Katherine Cross; Jessica Valenti; Tauriq Moosa—all latched onto the Quinn/Gjoni breakup saga, christened it “Gamergate”, and an internet movement was formed.

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I Decided to Write a Blog Post About Clickbait. What I Really Did Will Blow Your Mind.

It really surprised me.


A modern term, just one word, used so simply, but so very dramatically.

You may not know anything about clickbait, but if you’re reading this, then you probably already do. If you don’t, or just like reading dictionary definitions, clickbait is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

(On the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page

Back in the day (2011-2013), when I was studying journalism at university, I thought there were only two styles of news writing. Tabloid is your popular, run-of-the-mill trashy newspaper or website, where it draws you to the page with dramatic headlines, i.e The Daily Mail, Herald Sun, New York Post. If your tastes are a bit more refined, there are broadsheets, which just state it simply, without any need for red cordial-esque hyperbole, such as The New York Times, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.

But this isn’t the case anymore.

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“Back in my day” and the Downside of Extreme Nostalgia

“Back in my day” is a popular phrase that has become increasingly common in recent times. It’s probably not that recent—I’ve read older books where the author bemoans the newer generations—but it’s becoming far too common, so much so that it really needs to be addressed.


Just have a look at Google Images.

Back to the Future II may have been wrong about a lot of things in 2015, but not the 80s nostalgia. Entire television stations are devoted to shows from our childhoods. If you even suggest the 21st century is a better time than back in the grand old days, you’ll be given a funny look and told: “We didn’t need no gizmos and gadgets. We used to make our own fun by playing with dirt and throwing bricks at each other! Children these days are so lazy and selfish.” Have a look at any newspaper or online comments page, or even scroll down your Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll see this overwhelming nostalgia.

Remember the cliche about seeing things through rose-tinted glasses? Are we too far stuck into the past to acknowledge, while not everything’s great, things have sure as hell have improved from only upper-class males being able to vote, the wars of the Old Testament, and a society that only spoke in grunts and snarls?

It’s not always a bad thing to have a rip-roaring sense of nostalgia. Childhood and the journey to becoming an adult is incredibly crucial, and we want to recall the good times of these well into adulthood. We want to be able to tell the stories—the good and the moderately bad—in order to teach our children and grandchildren all about the big wide world.

grandmatalesStories are incredibly important in relation to humanity. Without stories, we wouldn’t know about the past, we wouldn’t be able to make up stories about the past, and we wouldn’t be able to envision the future. As a writer, it is my job to make up stories; to be able to create worlds and characters readers can just slip into and enjoy the moment. Before Gutenberg invented the printing press, people had to rely on telling stories through word of mouth or by reading well-crafted handmade books.

In this case, nostalgia is incredibly important as a way to relive the past, to [attempt to] avoid making the mistakes of the past, and to show we are better than those before and after us.

Is it changing the way we head into the future? I mean, we are so clouded by the perfection of our own past, we refuse to see the downsides, and in a sense, refuse to acknowledge change. The 1950s is seen as a wholesome, family-friendly time where everything was simpler and friendlier, but the rose-tinted glasses hide the darker elements: invasive fear of the ‘Reds under the bed’, nuclear war, and gender and racial inequality. In the 21st century, video games are seen as a terrible influence on young minds, but the reality is violence has been around long before the invention of arcade machines, not to mention there are ratings on video games parents should abide by.


In the end, there is a clear cut reason for why we’re stuck in the past, and it isn’t really for the reasons above. The true reason is fear. We’re deathly afraid we didn’t learn as much playing with bricks and dirt, whereas children nowadays can learn so much more at the tap of a finger. Video games show the best of reading and television in an interactive element, where you actually have some control as to how the characters behave. The internet is able to connect millions of people around the world to each other at the same time, something that has never previously been seen on Earth.

I still can’t explain the music change, especially hip-hop/rap and dubstep. Maybe that’s the nostalgic part of me holding onto the past.

In the end, holding onto our past is important. As a writer, things that have happened to me inspire my works, and change how I view the world. I’m able to write about a character with a particular issue more clearly if I’ve experienced it in my past. We can’t hide from the past as much as we try. As long as we can acknowledge the truth about it, isn’t that what matters?

The next time you start a conversation with “Back in my day, things were better,” ask yourself why you’re saying it. Was it really that great, or are you just living in the past as a refusal to live in the moment?

It’s important to tell the story but understand the logic behind your opinion. Telling stories are incredibly important to human growth and development, but being a dick about how the current generation is awful isn’t. Note the difference.


Image courtesy of /phasemonkey


Political Correctness Gone Mad

It’s a phrase that’s been in the media and on the internet long before I regularly started caring about what happened outside my narrow bubble-head (oh, how I was naive).

I’ve been hearing it myself for roughly six years now but, in any case, it’s called Political Correctness, or PC.

When I first saw people in the opinion pages of the papers going “This PC crap’s gone too far!”, I sighed at the older generation and their lack of commitment to computers. However, now I actually know what it means, and what a ridiculous phrase it is.

According to Wikipedia (yes, Wikipedia), it is:

a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent.

I prefer to look at it from the Things Bogans Like perspective, considering the way they describe it seems to be the most common form of usage nowadays:

Possibly the most abused phrase in our contemporary lexicon, ‘political correctness’ initially referred to the project of re-engineering certain terms to remove implicit discrimination, and promote neutrality and inclusiveness in language.

Yes, much simpler, isn’t it?

However, I’m not trying to quote every single thing off the internet in order to complete this blog post. This isn’t an essay. Snap out of it.

Would this be considered Political Correctness Gone Mad?

PC Gone Mad has literally taken over the vocabulary of most people I know, and most people I read about. It’s a bit like the word literally, which is literally used far too often.

Political Correctness isn’t that bad an idea, if you think of it. It’s a phrase that would’ve been laughed at a few hundred years back. Discrimination was an unheard of concept. Luckily, we’re a nice bunch of people nowadays, who actually don’t want to start war with everyone we meet…

Discrimination is bad; being friendly with people (even if you don’t like them that much) is good.

Some people don’t think like this. They want their right to abuse and to discriminate whoever the hell they want. It’s their God-given freedom of speech, and/or it’s the current Government out to get them.

What really needs to be found is that fine line between having the rights we deserve, and not abusing people.

So, if you want to abuse someone because of their sexuality, then that’s not alright, and it’s good we have PC to stop the abuse being acceptable (no matter what those people who think it’s their right to yell expletives at every homosexual think).

However, if they’re insulting someone who has killed 10 people, then this should be acceptable.

Just don’t call them a “stupid homo” when they’re not. Because that is unacceptable.