Black Mirror?

For the past two weeks I’ve been watching Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror on C4 and I honestly don’t know what to think.

For those who don’t know, Brooker is an English Jounalist, Satirist and script writer with a flair for the savage, sometimes cruel and more often than not downright mean types of humor. I’m a huge fan of Dead Set, which Brooker wrote the script for. It has zombies, makes fun of the public’s obsession with reality TV shows and a friend of a friend was in it as a zombiefied extra.

Black Mirror on the other hand. I don’t know whether to love or hate it. My boyfriend’s reaction to the first episode sums it up well. ‘I can’t tell if Charlie Brooker is a genius and I just don’t get it or if I wasted an hour of my life’. A friend memorably put on Facebook that he would gladly have a sex change operation if it meant that he could marry Mr. Brooker. So opinions are clearly split.

To sum it up, Black Mirror is a series of three one off drama’s depicting stories based on Modern technology and where it could lead to if we’re not careful. The second one was a little more fantastical and futuristic so I’m not going to go into it here, but the first one is somewhat relevant to my Social Media studies.

We’ve been discussing how Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general have been changing the ways that people communicate, and what the consequences of this could be. These ideas where the concept of the first episode’s plot. A fictional beloved Princess was kidnapped and the kidnapper threatened to kill her unless a rather… unusual demand involving the Prime Minister and a pig was met. The twist? The kidnapper uploaded the video of this demand to Youtube for all the world to see and it had received millions of views before it was taken down and it had become the most popular trending topic on Twitter. Rather than discuss details let me link you to Channel 4’s On Demand website  because despite my reservations it is a very interesting look at how powerful some of these platforms have become.

In a way it reminded me of the video by Tom Scott about the (fictional) Flash mob gone Wrong  that we watched in class.

I just couldn’t tell it if were meant to be darkly comic or hard hitting drama, and I don’t know whether I liked or hated it. But it has certainly been something to talk about


MSCSM – Online communities

Ok, first off this post was a LOT later than I intended. I’ve recently started a part time job and I’m tired a lot of the time now, so apologies for that.

This is the blog I should have wrote last week. Online communities, or, the people you interact with online. We all do it now, sites like Facebook have made it the normal thing to do. You think something, you put it on Facebook and people reply. It’s a great way to keep in touch with friends, get stalked by random wierdos (this has happened to me, not a pleasant experience) and get friend requests from the kids who used to bully you at school who are now grown up and have nothing better to do it seems.

Facebook and social networking sites are one thing, but there is a lot more out there, and some of it is good. When my boyfriend and I first got together I lived in Newcastle and he lived in Manchester. We were a long distance couple for about six months and as well as using emails and Facebook to keep in touch there was also the option of Skype chat. The world is constantly coming up with new ways for people to keep in touch.

And as for the Community part, people do it all the time. My boyfriend plays Minecraft on a private server with his work friends. They can chat, help each other build stuff and laugh at each other when they accidentally dig through the rocks into a lava pool. I read Winter Is Coming on a regular basis, this started as a blog about HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series but grew as fans began to contribute news, behind the scenes pictures and other such pieces of wonderfulness. Fans now refer to themselves as members of House Gatewatch (a reference to fans nitpicking over details as ‘gates’, eg Nights Watch Horsegate when the english horses used in the first season were replaced with Icelandic horses for the second. They look very different) and sharing information, photos and stories related to GoT is called ‘Supporting the Bottom’ (The story behind this can be found by clicking here)

An online community is exactly what it sounds like. People contribute and become well known members, or there are those who prefer to stay at the side. It’s all the same. It’s a group of people using the internet to share their thoughts, interests and experiences.

And now I am tired. Long day has been long and I need to sleep


Illamasqua S.O.P.H.I.E

In today’s Social Media class we talked about morals, rights and wrongs and different ways that people look at them (the ends justify the means, do no harm etc) and I couldn’t stop thinking about something that happened that is just plain wrong. While the point of today was to understand about Online Communities and the morality thing came up as a part of that this is where my mind went. I’ll do another blog post that’s on topic a little later.

In August 2007 Sophie Lancaster was beaten to death by a gang of youths simply because she was a goth. The worse part in my eyes is that she was trying to protect her boyfriend from being hurt by cradling his head with her body. When I read about this back in 2007 I was sick. I was a bit of a goth myself back then too. I’ve had my share of the taunts and mockery from narrow minded idiots thrown at me for no other reason than it made them laugh. I’ve toned down because life happened, I grew up. Not because of anything anyone said or did. But this story still makes me sick.

I don’t wear much make up in uni these days because it’s too much effort and I have enough to stress over these days. I still love to play with make up and when I have an excuse I love to dress up for things like parties and nights out. Illamasqua, my favourite make up brand, supports the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. A charity set up by Sophie’s mother after her death in order to raise awareness of this tragedy and teach respect and tolerance towards other cultures. As well as charity wristbands, £3 from every sale of their bestselling black eyeliner pencil, named S.O.P.H.I.E in her honour is donated to the charity.

…come to think of it, it’s about time I bought a new eyeliner pencil…

Social Media Classes are about teaching us to use the Social Media platforms at our disposal to communicate things, raise awareness and share things with each other. I hope that by sharing this story I’ve helped to raise a little more awareness