Tag Archives: opinion

5 Reasons Why I Dislike Instagram

Hello, I haven’t made a post in a little while as my mind has been in other areas, such as learning a lot of new vocabulary for Japanese, preparing for my Human Rights and Sociolinguistics subject this semester, and dealing with some financial issues. Anyway, what I am going to be discussing with you today is an idea which was recommended to me by a friend (Her blog is at http://eternalwayfarer.blogspot.com.au/), and a lot of points I agree with.

The discussion of today, quite obvious from the heading of this article, is going to list 5 main reasons why I don’t like Instagram. In summary:

It is pointless
It feeds narcissism
It stunts in-person interaction
It encourages people to seek validation
The filters make amateurs think they’re photographers

1. It is pointless

So, what exactly does Thommy Dee mean by Instagram being pointless? Well. I have gone back onto Instagram for a week now to see what it is like, and I can pretty much say that you can do everything that you do on Instagram on other forms of social networking. Upload a photo? Facebook. Comment on a photo? Facebook. Like a photo? Facebook. It basically has the same features as Facebook, but less. On Facebook you can also check into places, you can chat to people on a live form of interaction (Facebook chat), you can also choose moods and list what you’re doing when you post a status (WITH a photo!!), and share things. So in terms of function, Facebook is most certainly winning because it ticks all the boxes Instagram does, but more.

“Oh, but Facebook etiquette states that I can’t post too many facebook statuses about my daily life…”
Now now Jimmy, calm down, we aren’t up to reason two just yet.

2. It feeds narcissism

It’s a given that any form of social networking is going to be seething pot of narcissism; these narcissistic black holes which suck everything around it inside, compress it down to a deathly state (or takes it to another universe, who knows?) and then grow larger and destroy even more around it until all you’re left with is an empty universe full of black holes. The hunger for these black holes to get bigger and bigger will also feed into the fourth reason in this discussion. But at the moment, let’s just go over this point.

If social networking is a seething pot of narcissism and a black hole, then Instagram is a pot bubbling out of control, splurting toxic liquid in all directions, and is the size of a supermassive black hole.

Going back into the first point of Instagram being pointless: it­ is basically just people posting up photos, and most of the time these are photos of daily occurrences in people’s lives. You are naked in your bedsheets, oh well, the world needs to know. You are having a 10am coffee at a trendy hipster café, oh the world certainly needs to know. You’re going underwear shopping, OH LORD YES THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW THEN. Nothing gets my gay gears grinding on more than knowing a lady is buying some new frilly undies with a cupcake over their caboose regions.

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I think now you are getting to see the point. But if not, I will take you on a trip back down my memory lane. It was a sunny January day (where I got sunburnt for three days just spending 10 minutes waiting for a train to get into Melbourne), and I met up with one of my also gay male friends to have a Starbucks frappuccino. Anyway, I met up with him, and we both got green tea frappuccinos and decided to sit down in the shade outside. I was about to drink my frappuccino when this guy told me “Oh, I have to take a photo of my frappuccino to put on Instagram.” So, pulling faces like an assortment of farm animals in selfie-mode, picture 1, 2, 3, 4…7…16…18…573
“I didn’t get the starbucks logo on it correctly”
“Uh my eyes look weird”
“The straw covered my face too much”
“You look too pale in the photo”

15 minutes just to take a good photo WHERE HE FINALLY LET ME DRINK THE FRAPPUCCINO I PAID FOR. He then spent 10 more minutes trying to find the perfect filter to put on the photo.

So, basically, there are people who base themselves on the number of followers they get on Instagram, and then think that because they have a number like that, then their life is more important than other peoples, and so they must promote that life and they constantly admire themselves and expect others to kiss their feet.

I can only imagine how many more image obsessed people there are out there like this, and how much time out of their day is used to feed their own narcissism and promote their own life like it is a cat walk.

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3. It stunts in-person interaction

With my story in the last reason still fresh in your mind, let’s go over the next reason. Now, for those who are a part of my generation (or a little bit older, as the addiction to smartphone use has spread up to many middle-aged businessmen I come across on public transport), raise your hand if you have ever felt your in-person interaction has been stunted or ruined because of someone using social media on their smartphones 24/7.

Just as I thought, yes.

I’ve gone across some dates with guys where they have half-interested, half paid attention and then half-arsed the date because in their hand they have been using a form of social media, one of them including Instagram (I certainly don’t go on a second date with people like that). To narrow it down to Instagram even more, I’m grateful I have not come across many Instragram addicts in my life, but the ones I have come across take pictures of every meal they have outside home, of every place that they go to, and then of anything they like in a store. Then they spend extra time getting the perfect filter (please just choose Valencia and get the fuck on with your life). It makes the time with them I’m supposed to be spending socialising then feel like a pageant of their life and I’m just there to feed what’s more important to them; their likes and followers. Sorry, but that’s not social interaction – not in the way I want it.

4. It encourages people to seek validation

Feeding narcissism for those who want others to kiss their ass, Instagram also promotes those who are insecure about the popularity of their life to then post many images of their life. These pictures then, they hope, make them popular and a sensation, and so it then makes that person seek validation on Instagram. There are no limits to how many photos one can take, so then pointless photos and images bombard the app like shrapnel.

Yes, it is nice to take a photo of an event occurring in your life for the sake of the memory, but when you are taking a photo and uploading it just for validation, then that’s where there begins to become a problem.

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And those who do take photos, and those who do get likes/favourites on their photos, and comments, then want to place themselves above those who don’t get many. It’s the way the human ego goes. And so this political society is made within the social network. So then, people are based upon how much attention and validation they receive from other people, and they construct their image on that.

Then people try and live their life like those who do get more likes (If I’m like them I’ll get more likes and followers and get attention), and so it promotes this image-based lifestyle: Tanning on the beach, spending money on expensive things, eating out all the time, going clubbing every weekend. Because Instagram is just posting about your life, and how others see that life.

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I have had people get upset because they don’t get many likes on their pictures, and then I’ve had stories of people basing other people on how many likes/followers they get on Instagram. Then I’ve had people brag about how many followers they have on Instagram. I don’t mean to sound like a bitch, but if you’re that insecure that you base your worth on other people’s validation and your number of followers – then you need a reality check, or perhaps a psychologist.

5. The filters make amateurs think they’re photographers

Okay, don’t get me wrong, I like some of the lighter filters because they help to clear out the imperfections in my skin. I do this when I take pictures to change my profile pictures on facebook, BUT I do know that that does NOT make me a photographer. The part of Instagram which also annoys me, and the last reason in this opinion piece: The filters that blur out the details in the photos, details that some may seem undesirable, make people think they’re amazing at taking photos.

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And then because some of these people think that they’re amazing at taking photos (because the filters make the photos look ‘mellow’), they should take ten thousand. And then upload them all (Notice me senpai). Some of the heavier filters just make the photos look tacky.

If you also want to see a video perfectly depicting something else wrong with my generation (I’m the cut-off of Generation Y and Generation Z), then this video perfectly describes it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdemFfbS5H0

Thank you for reading.

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Lectures: One Size Fits All?

I do apologise for the lack of blog posts on my page lately, but I have been busy with my exams, and then taking a break and sorting things out like getting a much needed haircut and fixing out this ingrown toenail that got deliciously infected (not really actually that delicious).

In that time, I reflected back  on the time which I had spent in my classes, and got into a discussion with one of my friends, which ended up having us talk about university lectures and how useful they really are. The ideas from this discussion and the subsequent ideas which have formed in my head is the issue which I want to discuss in my blog post today.

Are university lectures really an effectively universal form of learning across all departments/faculties?

Drawing back on my previous experiences of classes, I have to say that having lectures for a lot of departments is not an effective mode to have students properly learn the content of a subject. Although I am a student studying a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Linguistics and Asian Studies, I did spend my first year taking Psychology and Biology units, so I have a few different disciplines to draw my experiences from.

Firstly though, I am going to talk about the Japanese units I took at university. I am taking a break from Japanese for a semester to teach myself the language without the obligations of having assessments for it, but that point aside, the Japanese units have lectures. A. Language. Had. Lectures. And to make it even worse, the lectures were marked as attendance (probably because they knew everyone was asleep during the lectures or on the internet on their laptops not even paying attention, or just dying inside).

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Now I can imagine these lectures are important for presenting house-keeping messages about the department to students. BUT. This is the digital age where a lot of things are done online (including most of my university learning). If something is THAT important to be presented to students, then a post will be made on the university’s online learning area. And if people aren’t directed towards their student enough to check the online learning area to receive a message, then that’s their own fault.

I remember in first year in biology I would sit in my lectures taking notes, but in a scientific setting it was more appropriate for me to attend the practicals and spend a couple of hours hands on, using all of my senses to learn about how this part of the body worked, and the chemical reactions involved.  In the lectures I would just end up staring blankly at a wall for 20 minutes (or playing temple run 2), trying to absorb all these facts that barely even strung together properly. THEN when it came to genetics and the lecturer was trying to explain how to solve genetics question problems by having a projected screen up, and not writing things down whilst going through that example, I just cringed. Lectures are certainly not a good way to learn if you have to solve problems (I can only imagine what it is like for those taking engineering who are learning advanced calculus from a lecture….). Furthermore, if you are remembering a list of facts or a process like the Krebs cycle, it is also not an effective way.

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One of my highly intelligent (and pretty awesomely fabulous) friends who I caught up and spent time with this semester ( Her blog – http://eternalwayfarer.blogspot.com.au/) who is studying medical subjects (e.g. biochemistry, pathology, immunology, anatomy) has mentioned to me that lectures have not been the most effective way for her to learn the content in her subjects. In her anatomy subject she was just bombarded with a lot of information that could not be easily connected and were not ready connected. She purchased a colour-in anatomy book, and that was a much more effective way for her to remember places of structures inside the body. Furthermore, she also stated that in subjects on biochemistry, pathology and immunology, there are a LOT of processes to understand. To best understand these processes and how they work interconnectedly, mind-maps and self learning are a much more effective method than dot-points being presented a lecture.

She also agreed on lectures being useless for languages. She had taken Japanese in first year, and took German this semester (from what I’ve seen she’s pretty well spoken at German), so has had some experience to draw from. As aforementioned, Japanese had lectures, and they were an atrocious way to “learn” a language. Taking German though, it did not have lectures; only tutorials. And in those tutorials the learning was much more interactive with movies and discussions (we never do that in Japanese!!! *hmph*), and she commented, and I’m sure all of us agree, that it was a much more effective way of learning. Lectures have no places in learning a language. (Languages are a skill, you learn a language through constant USE of it, not just sitting there absorbing a bunch of slides in a second language like a sponge)

HOWEVER, a different story can be made from the Arts subjects I have taken this semester (Phonetics, Language and Power in Asian Societies, Chinese Studies: Culture and Empire). In these subjects which are humanities and social science subjects (except for probably Phonetics, which is a linguistics subject), the lectures can be told like a story and stringed together much more effectively. And in subjects like these, the assessment is based on the expression and cohesion of original ideas rather than the memorization of facts. So therefore, in a lecture in these subjects, you have a larger body of students’ ideas to consider and bounce off of and it is much easier to form a debate with someone else if necessary (which I’ve heard happen a lot in philosophy lectures). Plus, the way these lectures are formatted can keep you engaged and interested.

An alternative to this problem for science subjects could be replacing lectures with a 1-2 hour concept building class with 15-25 students. In these classes all that dry factual information can be presented in a way that is free from the constraints of a large theatre and powerpoint slides. A group of people can collaborate together and give to others their way of how they have connected a bunch of facts together, and are forced to engage to remember these ideas, instead of latently sitting in a theatre. Either that, or place more focus on the practicals, or provide appropriate resources for people to self-learn these facts outside of class.

In the case of language subjects; just get rid of the lecture.
New Year's Bang
It is not necessary. If the time in tutorials is used effectively where students practice their language and are engaged, then that’s good enough.

People are going to be asking me now, but what about my other obligations in life if I now have to attend another class?
Well, when you think about it, it is not really that much of a difference. At the worst, having an extra tutorial running a few times will give you some more flexibility with your timetable of being able to choose when to have that one to two hours. Furthermore, most science and biomedicine students who are studying full time have classes that make them have to go into university atleast few days a week anyway. And those running the class could find ways to make the content easier and interactive to memorise.

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I know I haven’t yet considered in this blog post how it is cheaper for the university to just have all the students forced together into one lecture theatre with only one staff educating all the students. But, I can’t imagine the alternatives provided would cost too much more. Especially if it is just a group of postgraduate students taking a few Concept-Building classes each.

I know this blog post is a bit shorter than my other ones, but thank you for reading.
Effective learning is based on how we accommodate our available time just as much as how much time we accommodate.

My Discontents With The Homosexual Community

Before I start this post, I just want to clarify right now I am NOT making a homophobic post – I am a homosexual (I also love unicorns and rainbows) and I am outlining the experiences I have encountered in the past couple of years.

Well, I was studying on Arabic discourse practices for an essay for one of my subjects, and I got to thinking about my past experiences with men, and what has happened since I moved from the countryside to Melbourne. And I could not help but think to write this post for my new blog.

If you haven’t read this article yet, then I strongly suggest you do so, as it perfectly describes the current state in the gay community in a lot of places for me (and friends of mine who are also gay have stated that it appropriately fits their situation, too).

http://stopracismandhomophobiaongrindr.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/the-igays-are-way-too-sick-turn-off-the-life-support/

You will probably notice that this article mentions apps like Grindr. If you do not know already, Grindr is an app that a lot of gay males use to hook up with other gay guys (because as you know, it isn’t exactly acceptable at this point for a male to go up to another male in public and ask them if they are gay or straight because they thought said male looked good). Basically, if you log onto this app you will find a LOT of men alike to that described in the article I put above.

So basically, I like NEVER use Grindr or those kinds of apps anymore. Only if a decent seeming guy messages me and I hold an intellectual conversation will I consider meeting up for a very casual date.

If you read this article, you will find that the romanticised ideal of the gay man is the masc, gym fit, sane and sorted white male. And from my experience it is very much true. SO, if you don’t fit any of those categories, you’re this:
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Or this:
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Basically, also from my experience, the gay males from around where I live are oversexualised, objectifying and a lot of the time, disrespectful men (ESPECIALLY THE 50+ YEAR OLD MEN WHO MESSAGE ME PICTURES OF THEIR PENIS STRAIGHT OFF). I will proceed to go on here with a story from my past:

Early 2013. It was around when I turned 18. It was the first time I had been in an inner-city area for a while. Before then I lived in the countryside, a few hours east of Melbourne (in an area called East Gippsland). Being the Australian countryside, you can already get the idea that it is very hard to openly act gay – as you face prejudice from a lot of people who exist outside of metropolitan areas.  So therefore, I was not nearly as comfortable in my sexuality as I am now, and also I had very little self esteem in my appearance. Also, I was quite ignorant to what the community was like. I often make the mistake of thinking that people have the same level of respect for other’s feelings that I sometimes do.
So yeah, I came across Grindr, I got it, and I found a ~30 year old male and I thought he looked pretty nice. So after a bit of chatting, and him immediately giving me pictures of his penis (which I still find to be a bit tacky – I will go into that soon), I then decided to meet up with him to experiment and do some stuff. First time I would have properly touched another guy. So I ended up going to his place when we organised it, and immediately, he started coming onto me, and trying to take off my clothes, and then forcing me to rim his ass and suck his dick and swallow his sperm/semen. Not only being inexperienced, I am a big introvert, I was thinking “Oh lord, what the hell is going on here?”

AND HE KNEW I HAD DONE NOTHING WITH A GUY BEFORE, and yes he was still like this. RUDE!
And it is not an only occurrence, I shake my fist as I type this, as I have also come across a lot of men who have messaged me “I like to take virginity from young tight boys. It’s nice to be their first time.”
SORRY TO SAY IT, BUT TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T HAD THEIR FIRST TIME, YOU SOUND LIKE A CREEPY PERV PREDATOR WITH A WHITE PEDO VAN.

The point of this story that I just wrote is that a lot of gay meet-ups (well, a lot I have experienced) are like EFTPOS transactions. Not kidding. You go in, you both get what you want sexually, you pay the other person by giving them what they want (like a quid pro quo situation as one male I came across said), and then KA-CHING, done, “Thank you come again!”, thrown out the front of the door with messy hair everywhere and your mouth tasting like cock if you didn’t bring breath mints with you.

I’ve had men literally force my mouth so deep into their dick I struggle to breathe.
I’ve had men not allow me to kiss them when they almost force me to give them oral, then after they make a mess, they’re out of my place in 5 seconds flat. The video there of a Simpsons scene describes it quite well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeFuk9ATpRY

Furthermore, the expectations that the gay community generally has on males is quite repulsive to me. Basically, as I mentioned previously, the other article accurately mentions the prefect ‘Adonis’ of the gay community. So basically, if you’re white, you love going to the gym, you get wasted at gay clubs all the time, you have a rancid stench of testosterone that can fill a stadium, and you live for instagram; you’re perfection. I’ve had a lot of decent gay males of non-caucasian heritage tell me that they feel inferior in the gay community because they’re not white.
*Breathes to calm down*
WHAT THE FUCKING HELL. ARRRRGGGG!
But also, these expectations fit the idea that acting feminine in any way is horrible. Forget the piña colada loving gay man in tight shorts that filled 1990s media. Many gay men these days cringe at the very mention of it, and hiss like a vampire who has seen a glint of sunlight.

I am a male and I wear foundation and concealer, okay. I do it because I like how it makes my skin look. My straight male friends don’t seem to have a problem with it. But as soon as a typical gay male who I could see as a dating candidate gets on the scene, they have a problem with me wearing cosmetics, applying fragrance, and dressing in clothes that aren’t chinos and a Ralph Lauren polo, and have resorted to measures of making me feel like crap to try and make me be the way THEY want me to be.
Like this Japanese guy I dated last month. He made me believe for a couple of weeks that it was going to work out between us. He told me he liked me, and did some little romantic things such as make me breakfast, put his arms around my waist from behind, and he even helped me with some of my Japanese homework. But then he said he couldn’t be with someone like me because of the clothes I wear (I wore a jeans and a shirt and a couple of necklaces when I was around him – for fucks sake). This is not an isolated incident though. I got the same crap a few months before that from a Thai guy I was almost going to enter a relationship with. It came down to how I dress. I have come to loathe the comment
“You would look so gorgeous if you did this.” “You would look so gorgeous if you didn’t do that.”
TRANSLATION:
“You could be attractive if you dropped your individuality and complied to my standards and became my puppet.”

I may only be 19, but I know that if you like someone, you like them for who they are. You don’t try and mold someone into a set checklist so you can then ‘tolerate’ them. And whilst I respect people have different taste, I am not attacking people for that, what I’m trying to say is that I prefer it if people would not try and enforce their checklist onto me. I’m me, love it or fuck off.

I have also had a lot of experiences of gay men calling me ‘weird’ for spending a Friday night in watching a TV series or reading a book. Gee, sorry for wanting to spend time alone. There are people in this world called INTROVERTS who sometimes prefer to just be alone in their own little world.
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Gosh, I swear sometimes it feels like this:
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Come on! We’re supposed to be the accepting community. LGBT people face enough crap, but yet we’re foisting a shitheap of manure upon one another much stronger than heterosexual people do, and creating this distinct feudal system filled with labels and standards at a high-school level of maturity.

I am sorry for such a long post, but yes. Had to get this off my chest. Thank you for reading.
From your resident Ursula.