Does Social Media Cater To Our Needs?

Last week in one of my classes, I gave a presentation on Snapchat (making that my third university assignment on Snapchat; I’m basically an expert now). The presentation and the class discussion that followed afterward was on a study about Snapchat’s ephemeral style and how the platform is great for sharing little moments in our lives. In my presentation, I talked about how Snapchat is the only platform that really allows us to post nonsensical updates because if we just shared random clips of rain or our breakfasts on any other social media platform, it’d be very weird and annoying. I’m sure you know someone who posts dumb Facebook statuses often or tweets incessant junk.

I also talked about microblogging and how most social media platforms rely on that. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that I think there’s a reason why regular blogging isn’t seen as inherently cool to the masses. Anyway, what my prof got us thinking about in class was if social media was designed for our needs or do we adapt based on the design. There’s no definite right or wrong answer, but it is an interesting idea. Were humans really itching for a short 140 character platform before Twitter or did we just take to it easily? Or, more in general, do we constantly want microblogging platforms because we’re desperate to share and interact?

So many of today’s big social media platforms are microblogging platforms. Even new ones, like Vero, utilize this (side note, I made a Vero account but have done literally nothing with it). And while Vero doesn’t seem to be taking off too well and likely won’t be the next big platform, there’s a good chance that whatever does take over will be microblogging too.

Image result for the future gif

And I guess it’s because we like to share. We like to shout into the void and know that someone, even one follower, is receiving that shout. We like to livetweet and speak out on issues and interact with friends and strangers. I think we’re all a little desperate for attention by means of a Like, and if we weren’t, we would be on social media.

But back to the question in question: does social media cater to our needs? Sure, it gives us platforms to send pics to friends and connect with others, but what about our other needs? One point brought up in class was that cyberbullying is prevalent, going against our need to be safe. Or how there’s so much fake news, going against our need to be informed. My newest issue with social media, Twitter especially, is how much blatant copy and pasting there is going on. I am so sick of seeing word-for-word tweets from years ago time-stamped to a day ago with thousands of retweets. This goes against the need to be authentic. Social media may make it easy to tell people about what I’m eating for dinner, but these platforms aren’t flawless.

In a lot of ways, social media is more of a game than a tool. Part of me likes this, and part of me dislikes this. Maybe that’s why I kind of still like Snapchat. As I said in my presentation last week, Snapchat isn’t about numbers and popularity, it’s about sending my best friend selfies with ugly filters.

Anyway, the question of social media caters to our needs is not one with an answer. Or at least not an answer I can provide. If I had to answer, though, I suppose I’d say that yes, social media definitely caters to the social and media part of our needs, which is what we want of them, and I appreciate them for that. But there is work to be done. Social media should be about the social and the media, but platforms like Facebook and Snapchat are turning into more money makers. As someone studying communications and hoping to get a job working with (social)media, topics like this interest me greatly. So I hope you enjoyed my two cents on the matter.

Image result for social media gif

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too, so please leave a comment or tweet me or something!

 

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Creativity And Creative Friends

A while ago I found myself watching a lot of Vine compilations on YouTube. Like, a lot. They’re addicting and so stupidly funny.

I noticed that there are, for the most part, two types of Vines: those that are staged, scripted, and acted, and those that are filmed on the spot. And I realized that for both of these types, the Viners need a certain level of creativity. Levels that I don’t know I’ve seen in real life.

The people who stage Vines need to come up with the idea, they need to consider angles and timing, sometimes get other people involved, and then actually take the time to make it. What’s it like to have a friend come to you and say “Yo I have a Vine idea I need help with”? No one I knew made Vines with any dedication.

The people who happen to film stuff on the spot must always be filming in hopes to catch something good. They must always have their phone out, recording conversations and jokes and anything that happens. Not only do I not know anyone like that either, but I can’t even imagine doing it myself. Do the people around them think it’s weird that they’re always being recorded? And what do the people do with all the footage?

Creativity is a gift. I like to think I’m fairly creative because I have this blog and continuously produce content, but I don’t know how mind-blowingly original any of this stuff is. And I’m definitely not always thinking of new ideas or thinking of ways to improve. A lot of the times, my post process is something like crap, I should be posting in a few days and I have nothing ready. Okay, what half-developed idea can I build up? As weird and unprofessional as that sounds, at least it’s something, right? At least I’m producing something and I like it. A lot of people don’t do anything creative. No videos, no art, no writing, no anything. How do they live? Do they not have urges to be creative ever? Or are they creative in ways I/the public don’t see/appreciate?

When I starting thinking about creativity, I started then thinking about my friends. Do I have creative friends? I have a few friends who used to vlog and a few that do some occasional writing. I have one friend who started a small jewelry business. I have another who’s a great artist but doesn’t often show art off. I’d love to have more creative friends. I’d love to have friends who want to build things and do things and have fun while doing it. How does one find people like this? And how does one be more creative in their own life?

A man yelling 'tell me how'

Bloggers, for all that they are, are pretty creative people, and being in the blogosphere, even from the outskirts, has really shown me how great it is to be around a supportive, creative environment.

Anyway, this is just some late night rambles about creativity and what it means to have creative people in your life. Personally, I’d like to be more creative, and I think I want to work on that. I don’t know how or what, but I do sometimes have urges to create, and I think I need to see that through. Creative people probably flock together.

If you’re looking for a sign or something to tell you to keep being creative, this is it!

So I ask you: how are you creative, and how do you stand out amongst the others?

a painter painting

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100 Reasons Why I Love Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

On March 9th, the Marvel and ABC show Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. will air its 100th episode. 100 episodes is always a remarkable feat for any show, but I am particularly proud of AoS because it’s my favourite show and I’ve been watching since day one. I’ve proclaimed my love for it numerous times on this blog, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. To celebrate this milestone and to further state my devotion to this show, I thought I’d list 100 reasons why I love it. I’ve managed to list 150 reasons why I love Canada, so a mere 100 reasons for a show I adore should be doable, right? Let’s go.
agents of shield logo

  1. We’re five seasons in and the show has not wavered in quality at all.
  2. It continues to be the highlight of my TV watching every week (and I watch a lot of shows, so that’s saying something).
  3. There’s edge-of-your-seat excitement all the time.
  4. Is it a drama? Yes.
  5. Is it a comedy? Sometimes (though season one was peak humour).
  6. Is it action-packed? Big time.
  7. Are there cool sci-fi elements? Heck yes.
  8. It has a very diverse cast.
  9. And the cast, by the way, seem like such a nice, pure group of people.
    The cast laughing
  10. The crew also seems really friendly and nice on Twitter.
  11. The cast live-tweets when they can.
  12. Also, special shoutout to Brett Dalton and his top-notch puns and his cheekbones that I miss.
  13. The show’s special effects are almost always on point, which is impressive for a TV show.
  14. The acting is always outstanding. The cast (especially Iain) is robbed of award nominations every year.
  15. The show is a part of the MCU.
  16. There have been some really cool direct MCU tie-ins.
  17. And a lot of interesting comic references.
  18. And some cool guest characters like Nick Fury and Maria Hill and Lady Sif.
  19. The show isn’t mandatory for MCU understanding, so it’s just one big long bonus.
  20. The show isn’t afraid to slide in some relevant political digs.
  21. Each season has its own theme and issue so they all feel fresh and exciting.
  22. Of course, the characters make the show, and AoS has so many amazing, unique characters (and I will now name a few).
  23. Phil Coulson, who is the heart and soul of the team. Marvel was right to bring him back to life.
  24. Melinda May, who is my ride or die favourite. Watching her fight is a blessing.
  25. Leo Fitz, who is the bravest, kindest, smartest guy around. An icon in sweater vests or leather jackets.
  26. Jemma Simmons, who is a brilliant pure ray of sunshine. Watching her grow from the quiet rule-follower to the sassy rebel over the years has been a pleasure.
  27. Skye/Daisy Johnson, who has really come into her own, going from hacker to hero. Though I miss her computer days, seeing her fight and stand up for S.H.I.E.L.D. is so awesome.
  28. Grant Ward, who I loved so much in the first season, and would have supported through a redemption arc. At least he sort of got one in the framework…
  29. Alphonso Mackenzie aka Mack, who’s been there since season two, and though I didn’t love him at first, he’s really grown into a deep, heartfelt, and interesting character. He’s relatable and dedicated.
  30. Okay, I don’t want this whole list to just be characters, so here are a few more stand-outs: Elena, Bobbi, Lance, and Trip are four characters who I adore and who are/were great additions to the team in their own special ways.
  31. The beautiful relationship that is Fitzsimmons. From best friends to lovers, these two are one of the purest, most magical and functional couples on TV ever. No one will ever love me as much as Fitz loves Simmons, and I am honestly okay with that.

    A gif of Fitzsimmons being in love
    Pure love.
  32. We get bloopers every year, and they’re hilarious.
  33. I’m forever going to say “It’s a magical place” whenever someone mentions Tahiti.
  34. When the show wants to make you cry, it can and will. The show has got me in tears many times. The biggest cry so far for me was when Bobbi and Lance left and there was the whole spy’s goodbye montage.
  35. The show really introduced me to the superhero genre and how cool it can be. I now watch many comic book TV shows, all thanks to AoS.
  36. The Grant Ward plot twist in season one which shook me to my core and remains one of the best twists in TV history.
  37. And show in general has some of the best plot twists that I’ve ever seen. Every season astounds me.
  38. The show is great for all ages.
  39. S.H.I.E.L.D. has a cool logo.
  40. Even though this current season aired later, we’re still getting 22 episodes.
  41. The hashtag #itsallconnected has really proved itself accurate, and still does even years in.
  42. I’ve made some great friends because of the show.
  43. There was a character who had the same name as me, and she was pretty cool.
  44. We got the Slingshot miniseries.
  45. The music man, Bear McCreary, is a talented dude, even if my dumb brain can’t compute the music while watching. I did appreciate that at the end of season one we got a soundtrack because I downloaded and still regularly listen to two of the songs (‘Aftermath Of The Uprising’ and ‘Rocket Launch’; the latter was my morning alarm for a while).
  46. There have been some great villains. Aida and Hive were particularly interesting.
  47. Trying to figure out who the Clairvoyant was in season one was really fun. I saw some very creative theories thrown around, and had a few of my own.
  48. Star Wars, Harry Potter, and other pop-culture references? Check!
  49. There are some really talented people in the fandom.
  50. Livetweeting is always fun because there are so many people who match my levels of excitement and emotions in sync.
  51. Fitz, Simmons, Lance, and Radcliffe have some amazing accents.
  52. Sometimes we get episode poster art and it’s always really pretty and fun to dissect. We should get that more often, to be honest.

    A show poster featuring a maze
    This was one of my favourite ones.
  53. The prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella with a hint of homemade pesto aioli sandwich, which most of us have never had but we all know.
  54. My favourite episode ‘T.R.A.C.K.S.’ had a different narrative structure, which was super interesting.
  55. Jed and Maurissa, the show’s creators, seem like good people. Fun fact: Fitzsimmons is lowkey based on them.
  56. Watching the show is a great way to forget about real-life stresses (because you’re too busy being stressed from of the show). I always love when shows can draw me in like that.
  57. The S.H.I.E.L.D. team dynamic is very strong, which I totally dig.
  58. Furthermore, it’s really cool to see the mini dynamics once in a while. Coulson and Daisy, Fitz and Mack, Simmons and Daisy….it’s good stuff.
  59. In season one there was a series of videos called S.H.I.E.L.D. Declassified where the cast would play games, and they were always so fun to watch.
  60. “Don’t touch Lola.”
  61. I love how after season one, we’ve never had to doubt the goodness and loyalty of the main team. They’re in it for the long haul, and the writers never toy with that, which I appreciate.
  62. We got the Agents Of SHIELD vs Agent Carter Dubsmash battles, which were iconic.
  63. Mack’s legendary shotgun-axe. I don’t know who came up with that, but yes.
  64. Before the Hydra reveal, I loved Skyeward, and when they kissed for the first time in that storage room, I lost my mind. I’ll always love them.
  65. The show makes good use of the MCU’s advanced technology (without getting too farfetched) like with the holotable in season one or Coulson’s robot hand in season three onwards.
    Ward and Coulson trying to use the holotable
  66. I love that even in season five when the Bus is long gone, we still refer to Fitz, Daisy, and Simmons as The Bus Kids.
  67. And Coulson and May being the exasperated team parents is always amusing.
  68. And speaking of, I love the fandom joke that Coulson loves to adopt kids to his team.
  69. There was a top-notch Stan Lee cameo.
  70. The show brings in other races of aliens very well.
  71. The characters take murder and killing very seriously, and I appreciate that because some action shows are just kill-fests.
  72. Though he didn’t stay very long, the Inhuman Joey was the MCU’s first openly gay character.
  73. There’s amazing character development. I mentioned Simmons’ briefly already, but everyone has grown and developed for the better, really. Daisy is a hero, Fitz isn’t as awkward, May is channeling her sadness and opening up more… I love watching it all and rooting for them.
  74. Furthermore, all the characters are so well-rounded. They’re real. They have flaws.
  75. Yo-Yo usually ties back her hair when she fights.
  76. As any good spy show should, there’s been some brilliant undercover scenes.
  77. There are so many strong female characters!
  78. Even with the addition of Inhumans, the show does a great job of proving that you don’t need to be super to be a hero.
  79. The dialogue is never awkward or forced.
  80. Most of the time, the episode trailers do a perfect job of getting me hyped.
  81. In season one or two, Ming-Na Wen started the #Mayisms tag on Twitter, and it was hilarious.
  82. It’s fun to recite what SHIELD stands for (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division. I had that memorized years ago).
  83. The show’s title card changes every once in a while, and it seems like every new design is better than the last.
  84. The show airs all around the world so there are fans worldwide.
  85. CTV airs the show in Canada at the same time as America, and when CTV has their upfronts each year, a cast member or two usually attends.
  86. Though it’s not perfect or lasting, the show does try to properly portray mental issues like PTSD and Fitz’s brain damage a bit.
  87. The original characters are so good and so loved that a few of them even made their way to the animated/comic world a few times.
    Fitz and Simmons in a Spider-Man show
  88. I read that the showrunners said they have an idea for how they want the show to end and if the season five finale is the very end, then it’ll be implemented, meaning it will likely be satisfying for fans, and I’m so glad because that’s literally all I want from TV shows.
  89. That being said, if the showrunners and the network wanted to, the show could, in theory, stay on for several more seasons because it’s been built up so well and there is a lot more material to work with. Five season is a lot, but the show is so good that it could handle more and still be good quality.
  90. I like how we’ve learned a lot of the backstories of the main characters, but over time so it feels more natural (May and her husband/past SHIELD work, Coulson with that cellist, Fitzsimmons at sci-ops…).
  91. The show is rarely confusing. Everything is explained and clear and you don’t feel like an idiot (with the exception of that time travel episode in season five. It took four people explaining it to me before I kind of understood what happened).
  92. Having Daisy do the “we’ll return in a moment” instead after Coulson was abducted for the framework was brilliant. There are so many little things like that that the show does so well.
  93. Even some of the more antagonistic characters like Cal and Raina and Talbot have/had endearing qualities.
  94. The show also has a fun handful of background characters like Agent Piper and Agent Davis, proving that S.H.I.E.L.D. is more than just the main six or seven. These background characters known to some as The B Team can be a pleasure to see (though after last episode, 5×11, a certain someone is on thin ice).
  95. The Agents Of Hydra arc in season four was just brilliant. Not only did it parallel real life a little, but it paralleled S.H.I.E.L.D. in season one, it gave the cast a chance to play different characters, it brought back old favourites, it had all the stakes and drama we need, and it fit in so well with the season and the show. It was agonizing to watch, but it was so good.
  96. There have been some cool guest stars like Patton Oswalt, Lucy, Lawless, Constance Zimmer, Dove Cameron, and Bill Paxton (to name a few).
  97. Once in a while we get behind the scenes videos or pictures, which I love.
  98. The show made us care deeply about the characters very quickly. In episode 1×06 ‘F.Z.Z.T.’ when Simmons got the disease and fell out of the plane, I knew right then that I cared very much for the team. Usually TV shows don’t grab me that fast, but I was about to cry then and there.
  99. The fight scenes are always SO GOOD. Especially ones with May involved. They’re always choreographed so well and are always just the right length.

    May fighting her look-alike in season 2
    May vs May. Good stuff.
  100. It’s a remarkably unique show that manages to combine several genres and tropes but still be original and exciting. It’s one of a kind. I love it.

And there we go! 100 reasons to celebrate 100 episodes. And I know 100 episodes is a lot, but if you’re thinking about starting the show, don’t let this deter you! It’s an amazing show and it deserves so much love. If you like Marvel and sci-fi action spy shows then please give Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. a whirl!

And to the cast, crew, showrunners, and fandom, thank you for giving me this show and making so many aspects of it so enjoyable. If season 5 is the end, then just know that I enjoyed every minute of it!

Do you have other reasons for loving Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Leave a comment and let me know!

That’s all for now!

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Monthly Look Ahead: March 2018

It’s March, and as I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, my March will be a busy one, full of assignments and projects and papers. Since I can’t avoid any of it, the least I can do is be super hyped about the fun things that’ll be going on this month. And they are as follows:

monthly look ahead logo

  • Jessica Jones season 2 is coming out on the 8th. Season 1 was pretty good, so I’m excited. Does anyone know why it’s coming out on a Thursday, though? Isn’t that weird for Netflix?
  • A friend is having a party and we’re going to an escape room, which I’ve never done before.
  • The Oscars! I’ve seen almost all the movies from the bunch I want to see, and I don’t mind award shows.
  • And since we’re here, I might as well mention the other award show this month (on the 25th): The Junos, which is Canada’s music night, and for the most part, I appreciate the pure, authentic Canadian-ness of it.
  • Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s 100th episode is airing on the 9th and from what I’m hearing, it’ll be a big one. Fingers crossed for a Fitzsimmons wedding.
  • The Quidditch team is having our last movie night and we’ll be watching A Very Potter Musical and I can’t wait to have some teammates experience this masterpiece for the first time. I also haven’t seen it in a while so I’m excited to watch it again myself.
    Related image
  • No one wanted an American Idol reboot, but we’re getting one this month, and since I spent years watching the original show, there’s a good chance I’ll tune in.
  • Similarly, no one asked for a Superman prequel set on Krypton, but we’re getting one called Krypton, airing on the 21st, and I’ll probably tune in to that too.
  • I’ll be finished the typesetting and designing of my book by the middle of the month, and then ordering a proof, and I am so excited to be able to hold my novel soon! I know I’ve been pretty tight-lipped about this all, but I will explain more as time goes on.
  • NBC has a new show called Rise coming out on the 13th and I’m pretty excited for it because it’s looking like a new version of Glee and I was a huge Glee fan, so I’ll definitely be checking this show out.
  • I have Rachel Hartman’s new book on hold at the library, and I’m in position two, so I’ll likely be getting that this month, which is great because I adored her first two books , and this new one, Tess Of The Road, is set in the same world.

Okay, so like five of these are TV shows, but what can I say? I like what I like. Will you be watching any of these shows? Or do you have other things to look forward to this March? Let me know in your own MLA post!

That’s all for now!

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Why The Sport Of Curling Is One You Need To Be Watching

It has come to my attention that the sport of curling is extremely underappreciated. The Winter Olympics are in full swing and since its start this year I have talked to multiple people who all expressed something along the lines of Curling? Lame. No, you know what’s lame? Sleeping on this amazing sport.

Dos Equos meme curling version

I played curling for many years growing up. My dad’s side of the family is really into curling, so I started in grade three and played until grade seven or eight. In the neighboring city, there’s a trophy with my name on it, the highlight of my career. I stopped playing for two reasons. One, I wasn’t in love with the sport, and two, I got too old for the fun and organized kids program and the next level program was kind of a mess. But I still liked the sport, and when a team formed in my senior year of high school, I jumped at the chance to join. Anyway, if you couldn’t tell, I’m Canadian. But the sport isn’t unique to Canada; we’re just good at it. It actually originated in Scotland.

Though you don’t need to have a history or location like mine to enjoy the sport too. Sure, it helps a little (my roommate from Saudi Arabia was very surprised to learn that they don’t play on skates), but curling is one of the few Olympic sports that’s very easy to understand just from watching.

First of all, the concept is simple: get as many of your team’s rocks as close to the center of the target as possible by throwing them down the ice. That’s it. Unlike figure skating or skiing, there’s no need for judges or complicated scoring systems because what you see is what you get. The sweeping reduces friction to help the rock move and the iconic yelling to the sweepers of “HARD! HARD! YUP! WOAH! OFF! YUP! YUP” is for dramatics, really. The sport is called curling because the rocks spin and curl along the ice as they travel, and controlling that is the key to making good shots. There are four players per team and they all shoot two rocks, taking turns. Of course, there are several other little rules and terms, but you don’t need them to enjoy watching, and if you’re ever curious, Google is there for you.

the good stuff gif

The great thing about watching curling is that it allows for thinking. You’re not mindless watching, you’re thinking and critiquing and evaluating. When watching luge or skeleton, all you’re doing is watching them slide. You as a viewer can’t really discern skill or tactics. And in sports like hockey or slalom skiing, the sport usually goes too fast to really think about what could have or should have happened. And in sports like figure skating, often it can be hard to tell what’s good from what’s great. So many times I’ll say “oh, that routine was great, they got top three for sure” to then have the skater get in sixth or something. But curling? Curling is slow enough for you to look at the moves and the players’ skills and decide what’s a good call and what’s a doable shot as the players decide too. And though it’s slow enough to do this, the game does move quickly and rarely drags on, making it a perfect mix of excitement. This is why it’s one of the best sports to watch.

Plus, it’s cool! (And that is not an ice joke!). Seeing these players with incredible accuracy make these incredible shots is so amazing. They make it look so easy and effortless and majestic, but let me tell you as someone who’s played, the players in the Olympics, like in any sport, are ridiculously talented. Sometimes the house (the target) will be so cluttered and congested, and then in comes one rock to perfectly clean out one colour with the most jaw-dropping of angles.

good curling shot
I mean LOOK AT THIS! AMAZING.

If you haven’t watched a curling match this Olympics, be sure to catch one before it ends because it really is a unique and interesting sport, and it definitely needs more love.

And if you can, consider trying the sport for real! There are curling clubs all over, so look one up if you’re looking for a new hobby. Here are a few reasons why curling is a great sport to play:

  • It’s great for all ages. As I said, I started at age seven or eight and my grandparents played it well into their eighties.
  • It’s not too hard at all. Throwing and sliding takes a bit of practice, but it’s fairly easy to pick up.
  • It’s fun!
  • You can play even in a wheelchair or without bending down by using a tool to push the rock, similar to shuffleboard.
  • You don’t need to be in peak physical condition. Sure, the professionals do some gym training, but it’s not necessary for casual play.
  • The sound of the rocks hitting each other is really nice. I don’t know why I love it so much.
  • It’s really fun to do the yelling.

I hope I’ve managed to convince all you haters that curling rocks (pun intended) and to give it a try, at least on TV, and I hope that if you didn’t know anything about the sport, you now know a little. The sport is now an Olympic staple, and the addition of Mixed Doubles in these 2018 Games prove that this sport is adapting and gaining popularity for sure. Get with it.

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