Assessment: 500 word book review: Share This Too

It takes something special to create an academic, almost textbook-style book that, whilst aimed at professionals in the public relations industry, can engage a 20-year-old student. Perhaps that’s just the nature of the content, social media is a topic that surely interests most people in a media related field, whether it be work or university. But there’s more to it than that – from the outset Share This Too poses no difficulty in allowing the reader to hop right on board the journey that over 35 industry professionals are making.

The book, which is far less “book” and much more of a collection of thoughts, advice and opinions, is a follow up to the CIPR’s 2012 pre-sequel Share This. In most cases, 15 months is a rapidly quick turnaround for a 303 page follow up, but in the ever changing, not to mention ever-growing world of social media, it’s practically dog years.

Top industry names such as the CIPR’s Stephen Waddington, PR & digital agency Rule 5 founding partner Rob Brown – not to mention UWE’s very own Richard Bailey, editor of online PR magazine Behind The Spin – round up the contributors to the practical handbook.

What defines Share This Too is its uncomplicated manner and tone throughout. Well structured chapters with relevant subheads where necessary, are part of the package that makes the book such an accessible, enjoyable, albeit information-packed read.

The book is split into parts, with sections written by individual professionals. There’s information on everything you’d want to know about PR in the world of social media, including gamification, live social events and online crisis management. It’s scattered with case studies, which include the likes of ASDA, the Financial Ombudsman Service and Pepsi. Case studies play an essential part in validating what a person has to say, whether they’re an industry professional or not. They help readers to digest and process the information they are consuming, and are accessible in that they are sectioned off in boxes from the rest of the text. Share This Too is a good choice for the more visual person, as it combines a nice mix of images, graphics and graphs alongside the easy to read writing.

The biography of the author at the end of a chapter is a nice touch. It helps to understand how they gained their expert knowledge in the field. However, it would have been useful to have the author’s biography at the beginning of the chapter to provide a little more context.

I found chapter 7: The Unsocial Web, particularly insightful. Dr. Mark Pack gives his advice on how to stay out of trouble online, and shares his experience of browsing Facebook’s 86+ privacy settings. Privacy on social media is a topic that everybody subconsciously knows is important – for your safety, not to mention your career – but not everybody choses to address this.

Share This Too has hit the nail on the head when it comes to an ‘easy to digest’ professional textbook. It’s unapologetically simple – and it works best that way. I think that industry specialists and students alike will find something useful to take away from reading it.

Assessment: 500 word personal reflection

As only a second year student in my Journalism & Public relations degree, it is inevitable that I am far from a PR professional. I don’t yet hold the knowledge and understandings of which an academic or practitioner with 30 years industry experience may have. But I’m learning. The past year has offered me an insight into the theory behind public relations… what it really is vs. how it is perceived by others, the way it works, the platforms it uses.

I have been lucky enough this year to gain some first hand experience in the working world of PR after being offered a six-week internship in the PR team at international law firm Osborne Clarke. Working closely with the head of comms, I was given various tasks with the end goal to help revamp and refresh their internal newsletter. From this experience I discovered that there is more to Public Relations than promoting consumerism and celebrity culture, and that even charities and law firms use public relations and reputation management. I think learning this has given me a much deeper understanding into how PR works and how necessary its role is in connecting and engaging the public.

For the past three months we have had a guest lecturer, David Phillips, who is a specialist in online public relations. He introduced us to a new way of learning: YouTube lectures. Yes, we can all admit that this way of teaching is by no means newly discovered, but it opened our eyes to the way in which digital communication in the form of teaching is changing, evolving and adapting every single day. It led me to ponder on the transformation of media sharing in education – starting back at the beginning from chalk to blackboard, whiteboards, PowerPoint and now YouTube. If methods of outputting information in the realms of education are changing this swiftly, then how rapidly must digital communication be changing and updating in other areas?

The past semester has helped me realise that there are careers and opportunities out there that I wasn’t already aware of. That I don’t necessarily need to have a definite career focus because I am still learning new things that I may find more interesting than the last. For example, during our creative advertising and processes module I found that I excelled in the creative side such as copyrighting and coming up with slogans and names, whereas I found that the creation of visuals and graphics were not my forte at all. I have discovered that although my passion lies in writing (I’m proud to say that I was published 11 times during my work experience at heat magazine and also by The Huffington Post last year), my skills may be best put to use in a public relations career rather than a journalistic one, due to the nature of the profession – one which I can use and combine my social and people skills as well as my love for writing and newfound passion for advertising and digital communication.

Assessment: 2000 word commentary: How is Public Relations adapting to the digital media landscape?

Relationship building & reputation management is the core purpose of Public Relations. The chartered Institute of public relations (CIPR) describes it as “The result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Public Relations is the discipline that looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”.

It’s almost impossible to comprehend a world in which PR Professionals could perform their function without the use of digital media. It feels unnatural in this day and age to not be able to communicate at the touch of a button, to share, to like and to comment. Public Relations has been used for several years in efforts to influence decision-making and change people’s attitudes and actions, so how did PR professionals create strategies and deliver them in such a way that the general public would not miss without the use of today’s digital platforms?

The strategy has not changed, just the delivery mechanism and messaging. Ensure you match the audience with the media they enjoy and then make sure the news story sits nicely in that space, in a way that inspires people to start conversations and act.

For hundreds of years the newspaper was the most prolific way to deliver your communication. The bigger the news story, the nearer the front page and more likely it became the main headline. The more hard-hitting and/or salacious the news, the wider it spread from one media to another.

Max Clifford, a famous PR ‘guru’ responsible for some of the largest and most controversial PR stunts in Britain’s history throughout the 80s and 90s, has represented huge names including OJ Simpson, Simon Cowell, Jade Goody and Freddie Starr. During the peak of his career, Clifford would have been mainly relying on newspapers to spread his (sometimes proven to be fabricated) stories.

A headline for the Sun newspaper ‘Freddie Starr ate my hamster’ (a story Clifford created to promote his then client, Starr) was voted by the BBC in 2006 to be one of the most familiar newspaper headlines of the past century.

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Would this have had the same result if the headline was published in 2014? Absolutely not. According to the Guardian (2014), the Sun’s print copy readership declined by 9.7% in 2013 (just one year alone), providing proof that the attention a print newspaper gets is decreasing . A PR stunt like this would be unlikely to generate the mass hysteria and shock that it did some 20 years ago. A quote from Sarah Hazen’s: Exploring strategic communication in a changed media landscape says: “The decline in printed newspaper circulations began to accelerate in 2003 and has since only declined further and faster. In 2009, figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed that 24 out of the top 25 newspapers in America had declined in circulation while newspaper websites attracted more than 73 million unique visitors on average each month.”Arango (2009)

So many people these days get their news in bites and snippets from Twitter or Facebook that far less people go out of their way to see the front page headline of a print newspaper. In a survey undertaken by myself for a university module, I asked 10 peers how they source their news. An astounding 9/10 said either via online magazines and papers or Twitter.

Graduates coming into the work place today have grown up in the digital age and newspapers are rarely consumed by them as they are by those born before the 60s and 70s. In fact, you could say the printed newspaper is still only in existence for the convenience of the older generation. As Rob Brown states in Share This Too: “print wont disappear in a single generation, but it will be consumed by an ever decreasing demographic.” (Brown, 2012)

However, even stories trending on social media can make their way into the printed press and therefore finally reach the older target. In 2004 there was a social media storm when an Argos customer set to twitter to convey his dissatisfaction that there were no PS4 consoles in stock and the sales assistant was rude. Argos decided to respond in kind, tweeting: ‘Safe badman, we getting sum more PS4 tings in wivin da week y’get me’. Then added: Soz bout da attitude, probz avin a bad day yo’. Both messages went viral with the firms response was re-tweeted 1500 times in a two hours and hundreds of people favourited both messages. The story made its way into the Daily Mail (2014) generating free positive PR for Argos whilst reaching the older generation.

argos tweet storify

Transparency

Before the digital age, PR professionals looking to promote a product or person or event would sometimes use stunts and fabrications to create desired emotions within their target audience, whether that was shock, envy, astonishment or compassion. If the stunt was big enough or interesting enough the results would be picked up by the press, radio and TV and recorded and read in the hope that it was promoted. But the rise in digital platforms like social media has meant that PR professionals have had to become completely transparent in their approach as they have become unable to manipulate thoughts and impressions. The biggest issue people in the industry face in today’s age is their lack of control over a situation. Some 20 years ago it would be much harder to trace a lie, as access to the web and social sharing sites wasn’t as prevalent, therefore your ability to control and manipulate the minds of the masses was almost easy. These days, with the ability to delve deeply into the World Wide Web, almost anyone with the time, interest and patience can uncover a lie, spot a publicity stunt and flip PR on its head.

No longer can tardy, tatty hotels hire a PR team to generate interest alluding to 5* surroundings and experiences. Opinions will be concluded by reviewing web sites such as Trip Advisor and Holiday Check – the online version of ‘word of mouth’ – and it is this opinion that will override any self-promotion of the brand. People believe people and consumers are able to see though lies and will share their experiences with whoever is willing to listen (read) which is why transparency is not only important in promoting a brand, but imperative if you are not going to destroy it. If you say you’re the best, but 1000 people disagree – you have generated negative PR all by yourself.

Public Relations specialists have had to adapt to the digital media landscape, aware that all they promote can be investigated and uncovered with the results shared by the masses. With people going straight to Facebook and Twitter for news and entertainment, blogs for advice and reviews and over 300 million people visiting Instagram per month (Instagram, 2015) it’s clear that ‘going social’ is the only way.

A once traditional media PR company M&C Saatchi PR quickly adapted to the digital landscape in 2012 when they delivered the EE 4G launch event at Battersea Power Station. Along with traditional Ad spend they also paid Twitter for the hashtag #4GEE and displayed live tweets on Nicole Sherzinger’s dress throughout a spectacular light show. The dress could have displayed negative tweets at any time, which could have been disastrous for the public relations of EE – but due to their see-through strategy and honesty this was clearly not something they felt the need to worry about. This campaign and the use of the ‘Twitter dress’ in particular is a good example of a truly transparent strategy that successfully promoted their product and developed consumer’s belief and trust in the product all in one hit.

Technology

There have been many ground-breaking new discoveries and experiments in the world of digital technology, with 4D projection used by M&C Saatchi above. However, the rise in digital is at its most spectacular height yet. In their January 2015 print edition, Wired magazine released the first ever interactive print advert. The Moto X Motorola phone advert involves three LED lights, a square of Plexiglas, four batteries and various buttons, which allow you to customise and test-drive the 11 different colours of the phone. Amazing, right?

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Digital media is growing in capabilities day by day and PR professionals have got to move as quickly as it grows. Now, not only do they have to promote and protect a brand, they have to be greatly prepared for the fall out if something goes wrong with the digital technology. What would happen if the Moto X print ad sent out 40,000 of it’s 150,000 exclusive copies with faulty batteries? This would be deemed as a PR crisis on the behalf of the Motorola brand, and subsequently their bad reputation would proceed them before anyone even purchases the product. The incorporation of digital in day-to-day life can leave PR professionals on edge. They have to readjust daily to new technology, greater ideas on a grander scale, keeping up to date at all times.

Internal Communications

PR is seen as a useful tool in the workplace. Digital media is essential in communicating to a large expanse of employees. Companies like Osborne Clarke, EDF Energy and Abercrombie & Fitch all use digital internal newsletters and Intranet systems as a platform to share articles, information and achievements. This works effectively for the company’s public relations because employees are essentially brand ambassadors, and keeping them in the loop and proud of their work is a great method of spreading good PR. I recently interned at an international law firm, Osborne Clarke. Working closely with their PR and communications team, I gained a first-hand insight into how they have tried to adapt and embrace digital media. The main thing that showcased this was the fact that they recruited an intern to refresh their internal comms newsletter with a ‘Generation Y’ approach to the content. Though they have a large Twitter presence and are in no way ‘afraid’ of social media, they clearly felt it would benefit them to have some input from a generation who’s second language is digital. Instead of continuing to produce content that they feared may be slightly stuffy or disengaging, they took a risk by giving me control of some internal editorial.

Professional Networking

For any PR professional, an essential tool is a strong network. Social Media has allowed public relations professionals to create and build strong networks and relationships with other professionals that they may not have even met. It allows them to source information, and spread it to a wider audience than just their own. According to Metcalfe’s law: the value of a network grows in proportion to the number of connections (quadratic growth) so, for example, a small network of 5 members has 10 connections, whereas a network with 10 numbers has 45 connections and so on. A large network is a platform to start and join in on conversations, to promote yourself and your clients and to gain industry advice.

“Public relations is the management of mutually influential relationships within a web of constituency relationships.” Coombs & Holladay (2010)

Whilst Twitter is good for building relationships and conversations, LinkedIn is renowned for allowing professionals to connect with people in the same field of work allowing you to approach people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, in a professional manner.

Without the use of networking tools like social media, public relations people will have had to befriend journalists and sources and will have had to maintain a personal relationship with them. They would have had to arrange to meet up regularly to share their information in the hope that they’d see them in time for their news to be still ‘new’. Nowadays, PR people have adapted and can reach their network by email, text and social media. This is a great benefit as they can get their stories and facts out as soon as they come in, meaning most PR is now up to the minute news.

All photos taken from Google images.

References:

Arango, Anon. (2009) p.g 10. PR: Exploring strategic communication in a changed media landscape. Available from: http://www.simonwakeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/PR-Exploring-Strategic-Communication-in-a-Changed-Media-Landscape-1.pdf [Accessed 12 January 2015].

Brown, R. (2012) Share this too. London: Wiley.

Chartered Institute of Public Relations. (2014) www.cipr.co.uk. Available from: http://www.cipr.co.uk/content/careers-cpd/careers-advice-and-case-studies/what-pr [Accessed 11 January 2015].

Coombs, W & Holladay, S. (2010). The handbook of crisis communication. London: Wiley.

Hills, S (2014). The Daily Mail. Available from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2577610/Safe-gettin-sum-PS4-tings-Argos-customer-care-team-respond-Twitter-user-named-Badman-little-street-slang-own.html [Acessed 2 January 2015].

Instagram (2015) Instagram. Available from: http://instagram.com/press/ [Accessed 11 January 2015].

Plunkett, J. (2014) The Guardian. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/may/09/one-direction-coverage-boosts-sun-on-sunday-sales [Accessed 12 January 2015].

Girl Behind Bars

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Small dark rooms, sweaty bodies, the place where the small outside space provides a welcome escape, a blissful oasis away from the dingy inside. The place where as soon as the lights go down rowdy groups of boys don’t play by the rules…

Guys don’t panic, I’m not about to tell you that I feel most in my element chilling in an orange jumpsuit, handcuffed and hanging out with small time criminals. Trust me, that is definitely not my style.

Credit to Huffington Post

Credit to Huffington Post

I’m talking about bars. One bar. My bar. The busiest student pub in the city, the place where you can’t walk a metre without bumping into someone you know. The place where drinks flow like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river and shots get knocked back quicker than boys with bad hair.

Here are three reasons why working behind a bar is the best type of job you will ever have in your teens and early twenties:

1. You become part of a sisterhood of bar girls around the city. Those £6 G&T’s? Pah! I don’t think so.
2. You’re always at a party. You might not have been invited, but hell you basically own this place…
3. Where else do you get paid to eat chips, get drunk and dance with your best girl friends?

Unlike 99% of the rest of the world, I absolutely relish the thought of going to work. That sounds weird, I know. It’s kind of like going for a night out with your friends, but the club GIVES you money instead of taking it. And if, when work’s over, you still feel the need to hit the town, it’s ok– you’ve essentially been pre-drinking for over 7 hours.

There is never a dull moment working behind a busy bar. Whether it’s serving, glass collecting, doing a shot on the sly or even simply changing the music, for us there’s just no stopping.

We feel powerful behind the bar, knowing that everyone is relying on us to deliver the goods. There’s such a thrill in utterly disregarding that scary looking bald man brandishing a tenner in your face, or slightly under pouring vodka measures for that girl who’s screaming “OI EXCUSE ME?? HELLO? BABE are you listening?” Yes, I can hear you, babe, thanks. Oh whoops, sorry, did that go on your jeans?

I think I can safely say that, aside from the obvious (sleeping, eating, stalking peoples Instagrams), I am totally, completely in my element when I’m at work behind the bar. I love my job, to the point where I have actually willingly offered to work New Years Eve.

Yes, there are nights when the freezing cold walk home at 2am makes you despair. There are times that you start to question whether drinking on an opening shift 4 days a week is even legal. But that doesn’t override the fact that these days are some that I will never take for granted – making wonderful friends and ultimately, having fun.

My motto? Work hard. Play harder.

WHY UNI SUCKS (sometimes)

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When you think of university, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Yes, I know… Alcohol. Halls. 24 hour partying. More alcohol. Noodles and beans, accompanied by alcohol. Most people imagine some sort of insane freedom where you pour a pint on your Frosties for breakfast and rock up to a lecture in last night’s clothes, emanating a smell that is definitely not legal.

After five months at uni I can safely say that only a percentage of students go through this fantasy experience during their first year.

Here’s four things that I now know about uni:

  1. It’s ACTUALLY hard. Seriously
  2. You don’t make a million friends in the first week and go out drinking with them every night
  3. It can be the loneliest experience of your life at times
  4. Half of Starbucks’ gross income is made from students

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that going to university isn’t one of the greatest experiences of all time. It’s new, it’s life changing, and it’s stomach butterfly exciting.  It’s just that… sometimes it’s really not.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I sat in my room during my first semester watching Prison Break on my own whilst tapping in my debit card number in to trainline.com. One way ticket home, please?

I know you’re probably now thinking I’m a socially inept loser and saying to yourself: “OF COURSE everyone makes tons of friends at uni and drinks vodka for dinner every night.” Yes, I made friends, and fortunately I found people that I actually really love, but often we are all so bogged down with work and assignments that we can only see each other for a quick cuppa during the day. To those who told me first year is a breeze, I’m holding a grudge.

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It’s just a game of luck really, I suppose. After securing your place and spending HOURS of your summer on the phone to student finance, (who, can I just say, have got to be the most incapable company on the planet) you arrive at your new home to find your flat mates locked away in their bedrooms with absolutely no desire to chat, or in my case, even say hello.

It’s not like I WANTED to stay hidden in my room, emerging only to shove some toast in the toaster and switch on the kettle only to realise there’s no milk. But at the time it seemed that everyone either lacked the ability to speak or had grouped up in cliques not so dissimilar to school (which, just no.)

The expectation of coming to uni is, in my opinion, hyped up to an almost unrealistic level. People that recommend it without hesitation have in actual fact just blocked out all the bad memories, leaving them only with reminiscent thoughts of unsupervised debauchery.

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Many people would argue that having only six hours worth of lectures a week is a blessing, but sit back and ask yourself: is paying roughly £34 per hour to watch a five page Powerpoint slide REALLY worth it? “I’m so glad I spent 9 grand to come here and sit in my £6,500 halls…” is a phrase that I hear only too often.

 And then there’s the age old debate about whether having a degree is a must in todays society. Do employers really care? Can’t they just employ you on wit, charm and tea making skills? It’s a bit of a catch 22 really – you MUST get a degree if you want to earn a good salary, but as soon as you start actually earning a good salary, you have to pay back £40,000 worth of debt. Not to mention the countless strikes that lecturers do throughout the term. Sorry, but can I have that £34 back? Thanks.

 So I’m still unsure of exactly how I feel about being here. Things are definitely looking up, with only three months left until I can finally move out of halls and in to a flat share (the novelty of first year accommodation wore off within about a week.) I now have some great friends who I cant imagine my life without, and I’m starting to really enjoy my course. But for me, and I’m sure many others, starting university was NOT what I expected. Things go wrong, and it can be lonely, and it’s a decision that’s definitely not to be made on a whim. Although I am starting to appreciate it more and more every day, I do sometimes wonder if I should have just become a famous YouTuber instead.

THERE’S NO NEED TO BREAK THE #BANK

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Students from Bristol and beyond flocked to Cabot Circus shopping centre on Monday night for the third annual student lock in. Hordes of twenty somethings queued in anticipation of free beer, goodie bags and various appealing discounts.

At the heart of the lock in was BANK, the fashion forward high street retailer that stocks the hottest brands such as Lipsy, Superdry and g-star, not to mention their own lines which include: Ribbon, BLONDE + BLONDE and Nanny State.

From the moment you stepped inside, BANK provided the ultimate store experience. Pumping music streamed through speakers hidden around the store, promotional staff greeted you on the door, handing out discount and competition lanyards. A professional photographer stood ready to snap a shot of you and your friends as you entered, which you can now tag at facebook.com/BANKOFFICIAL.

I caught up with some of BANK’s most faithful shoppers, and chatted with them as they browsed through the rails. Izzy Cross, 16, from Bristol told me that her go-to outfit is disco pants with a colourful vest top and converse. She described BANK as stylish, fashionable and trendy, and her favourite item in store would have to be the disco pants by Glamorous.

I have to say, I was surprised that there was an equal ratio of boys to girls through the door. With top brands like Fenchurch and Adidas on offer, the boy’s section was as crowded as the beer stand at a World Cup final.

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Philip Gichigi, a 20 year old student from Bristol, who was shopping with friends and sipping a complimentary beer, told me: “The atmosphere here is great, I’m gutted that I missed the lock in last year.” He was carrying a BANK goodie bag, which included several freebies, a fizzy drink and 20% discount cards. “The music in store is great, the staff service has been excellent and I have entered both competitions!”

Everyone that came in to the store got the chance to win £150 to spend on their own BANK outfit, and £500 to spend on throwing their very own party, courtesy of the brand. I asked 20 year old University of the West of England student Georgie Isola how she would #BANKTheLook if she won £150.

“My staple item is a leather jacket, so I would have to say that,” she confesses, holding up a leather jacket by ONLY. “It’s perfect because it can dress up an outfit or keep it casual. I would probably pair this with the BLONDE + BLONDE Blur Floral Cropped Sweatshirt and a pair of disco pants or black jeans.”

The night was an overall success, and everyone that visited BANK left satisfied, holding new purchases and goodie bags galore. The night was great fun and I, as well as many others, will be visiting BANK again to make the most of the 10% student discount they offer all year round! Note to self – student discount does NOT justify frivolous shopping!!!

Blood Sweat and Prada in SW3

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E4’s biggest non-scripted series (well, we’ll use that term loosely shall we?) came back with a bang for season 5 of Made in Chelsea. The new cast members bought with them their own fresh dose of drama, debauchery and relationship related issues, not to mention an entire new closest of crystal ball couture.

Viewers were on the edge of the sofa as the first episode revealed the aftermath of Millie Mackintosh’s fist to cheek encounter with Spencer Mathews during the season 4 finale. Hair was flicked, Bloody Mary’s were drunk and eyebrows were raised as the over privileged population of SW3 gathered in cliques to update each other on who’s dating who, who vacationed in St. Barths over Christmas, who got a new job… (No, I’m just kidding).

The return of the gang, Louise Thomson, Jamie Laing, Oliver Proudlock, Spencer and Millie and the rest resulted in the programme becoming the most tweeted-about of the night, with over 304,000 MIC related tweets being posted on Twitter, at one point reaching just over 10,000 a minute. A record figure of 808,000 viewers were brought to E4 when the first episode began, in spite of it being the 5th series of the show, with reality shows usually declining rather than increasing in viewers over time.

The most recent series has already included a Ski-trip to Verbier, where self-confessed commitment-phobe Jamie took his chances with newcomer Phoebe, and also managed to kiss Lucy in the hot tub. Oh, did I forget to mention? Jamie has a girlfriend. Tara, the unsuspecting 18 year old college student knows nothing of her so called boyfriend’s depraved antics in the Alps.

So, as you can imagine all hell breaks loose back on Chelsea soil. And what’s reality TV without a little love triangle? Or love octagon, whatever you wish to call it. Louise is brooding after her breakup with Spencer, which let’s face it, was never going to be pretty and the girls make their best efforts to cheer her up. Which let’s face it, is never going to go down well. Poor Binky (Alexandra Felstead) is stuck in the middle as she attempts to mediate between Louise and Lucy, who is making a not so subtle play for Spencer.

And it appears it worked! Lucy’s not so subtle flirting resulted in a not so subtle date offer from Spenny, wait for it…To his favourite restaurant. In Paris. Oh to be rich, eh? Louise is no doubt drowning herself in her own tears (zzzzz not again Weeze).

All’s fair in love and war? Not for these heirs, heiresses and fashion gurus. No doubt there’ll be some ‘spilt’ drinks and right hooks flying about in the next couple of weeks and we just can’t wait to watch it unravel.

The art of Twitter Bashing

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After spending an entire day refreshing my twitter newsfeed to keep up with the girl on girl keyboard war, I have come to the conclusion that social networking is #RuiningLives. Gone are the days of Trojan battles and spearing… Now all you have to do is brainstorm a couple of bitchy quotes and click enter. Young people are hiding themselves behind their computer screens and unleashing their devil within in a desperate bid for retweets, likes and favourites. People are jumping over hurdles and kicking each other’s shins in the social networking version of the Olympic Games where the top prize is no less than No.1 Twat.

Nowadays, your place in society and ranking on the social ladder entirely depends on your amount of ‘cool’ followers and whether you reach above seven on the evil scale. The art of throwing a quick witted comeback has been lost in twitter translation and replaced by ‘indirect’ comments, and the ability to subtly/humorously enforce your point is ruined by capitalisation. LIKE, THIS GIRL IS A HO. And who wins these wars? The chick with the evilest backers who are just waiting to mercilessly pounce on anything (or anyone) they’re fed through Facebook and Twitter. Cue the involvement of hormonal teenage boys… Well, they’re just all like “take your top off!” Yes, I just quoted Mean Girls.

So anyway, I’m scrolling through my newsfeed pausing for a second on the BBC Breaking News update and then Ooh-ing at the latest Heatworld post when I see this: “@anonymous1: Red lipstick with THAT dress? WHAT WAS SHE THINKING!!” vs “@anonymous2: You gotta love indirect tweets. GIRL YOU’RE ALL UP IN MY GRILL” *virtual hair flick*. Sooo Lucy MiC style and frankly, rather naff. And after a 40 minute showdown involving the flinging around of vitriol soaked insults, 15 unfollows and 27 retweets, the end result is pretty much indifferent to the start. Spectators go back to their prior duties (such as being normal, kind and hardworking human beings) and the ringleaders are left feeling deflated, defeated and PROBABLY REALLY STUPID.

Extremely Childish and Bullying Behaviour Between Two Or More People Over The World Of Cyberspace or ‘twitter beef’ as it is more frequently referred to is however, not just restricted to the playground. Celebrities and people in the public eye are being twitter bashed every day for the things they may have said, done or in Kim Kardashian’s case, worn…

Let’s take Kim K as an example, shall we? Every human being, dog, cat and fish in the world will have heard or read something about Kimmy’s offending maternity wardrobe over the past 8 months. She has been splashed across the front page of every newspaper and magazine in the country, and the sun recently published a photo of her in a black and white dress that made her look: “fresh from SeaWorld on a lunch date” which was then spammed all over twitter and became famous as the ‘Shamu vs. Kim – who wore it better’ pic. No really, you can Google it. Needless to say, a teeny bit harsh. Of course, as the self-respecting business woman, couture via Dorothy Perkins designer and creative home movie maker, our girl Kim publically bashed back saying: “Nothing looks good on pregnant women! I’m just wearing what fits.” You tell ‘em Kimmy!

It can’t be denied that everyone active on social media sometimes feels the need to vent through twitter. Hell, sometimes there’s even a rush out of crushing someone down to size in 140 precious characters. But, there is a Great Wall of China between a “my boss needs a shot of tequila and a kick up the arse” tweet and a hate fuelled blast designed to belittle, embarrass or humiliate someone just for an increase in your page stats. Like, can you say #hashslag?

So, what, may you ask is the point of all this computer hatin’? Well, the question remains unanswered and would be just too easy to put down to the buzz of a 30 minute power trip. What’s the real deal with this desperation for acceptance and status over the World Wide Web, and just how far can it go? The world of internet bashing is growing by the minute; what’s next? Will world war 3 be declared over Twitter with regular explosion updates from Instagram? Stranger things have happened… #RantOver.

Damn guys, i’ve totally got writers blog…

Image by Peaceful Living

Image by Peaceful Living

So, I’m like, totally new to this. Usually i spend my time mentally congratulating myself on my incredible wit, class grammar queen status and ability to blast a sarcastic comeback on demand, but it seems that today i’m stuck. I am an 18 year old journalism student from London via Brighton. Everyday i write about politics, law and other particularly REM sleep inducing topics and i’m just so B-O-R-E-D of it. I figured that having a blog might (besides making me famous PLEASE GOD) allow me to share with you my thoughts, ideas and writing, which i am otherwise unable to express.
Now as i am still slightly (are you kidding i have no frickin’ idea) unsure of how this works, i will just sign out with a whole lotta love. And peace.