Social Media: An Olympic Sport

Every two years I gear up for my favourite international sports tournament: the Olympics. It’s a chance to become completely invested in sports that I have a) never heard of, b) never cared for before and c) pretend like I am an expert in all things related.

As much as I love the Summer Olympics, the Winter ones can be more exciting for a Canadian to watch. Mostly because as a nation, we just perform better and it’s actually impressive that we place so high up in the standings for such a small country (we are one tenth the size of the US, and a little over a third the size of Germany). That being said: there are still plenty of sports that I, as a Canadian, have never, and will never attempt. One: ski jumping. Two: Skeleton. Three: Luge. Four: Ice Dancing.

The last one is tricky, because it’s a sport that I know the fundamentals of. I know how to skate, but will I ever be able to skate like they do? Absolutely not. The technique and skill is so beyond impressive, which is why I love to watch, and judge, and pretend like I know what I’m talking about. As if I too were some professional figure skater who after 25 years of skating, retired and settled down on the Olympic Committee as a professional judge.

The other cool thing about the Olympics these days is that you can follow your favourite athletes on social media. As if I could get more invested in something I know nothing about, now I can follow Tessa and Scott (our fabulous ice dancing champions) as if they were friends of my own.

But the social media platform isn’t always the best thing for our athletes. Being able to see their progress leading up to the Olympics is inspiring, and catching them doing every-day things like grocery shopping makes them ‘one of us’, but spectators often believe their opinions are better than those of professionals.

Look at Gabrielle Daleman for example. She is one of our figure skating gals, and upon being part of the team event, many took to social media to question her position as our solo female skater over other girls. She said these comments were harsh not only on her skating ability (we won gold in this event by the way), but also on her costume. People were quick to point out that her skirt was see through, and thought it inappropriate for an international stage. Ultimately this led to Daleman shutting off her social media until her competition was complete. This 20 year old had bigger goals than fending off online trolls: The OLYMPICS.

 

Facebook: The Olympic Sport of Juggling Social Media

Twitter: Athletes Learn to Juggle Social Media Accounts #PyeongChang2018

 

Sources:

http://bit.ly/2ESg8B1

https://tgam.ca/2CID7by

Social Media: A First Perspective of Surviving

Twenty eighteen was supposed to be a better year than 2017. And it started out on a good note at least. But good things never last, and this past week the United States experienced the first mass school shooting of the year. When I read and watched the news as it was happening, I had almost little reaction. A story about 17 people (mostly kids) being gunned down in a Florida high school with a legally bought automatic weapon should have brought out anger, rage, passion, etc. I was, of course, livid, but I wasn’t shocked because it happens often. Yes, I’m using the word often.

When the tragedy of Sandy Hook broke out in 2012, it stopped me in my tracks. I remember where I was, who I was with, and what the weather was like that day. I became emotional reading the stories of teachers locking the doors and telling a classroom of 5-year-olds that they were loved because in the event that they all were to die, she wanted that to be the last thing they heard.

And now here we are. Six years later, and I can easily count on both hands a list of mass shootings in the States. Each one fazes us a little less. How has this become the norm?

However, Wednesday’s shooting was aired a little differently. For starters, it happened in a high school: a place where every kid has a smart phone. This means that as the event took place, students were Snapchatting, texting their loved ones, writing goodbye messages on their Facebooks, amongst other farewells. It was a devastatingly way to give viewers their perspective.

The survivors of the shooting have been credited as the ‘new voice’ for gun control. Florida is a state that is quite lenient with carrying legal weapons, and I can imagine many of these students come from families where they were raised to believe this policy. But when thrown in a tragic scenario like on Wednesday, it forces one to view angles differently.

Social media (and the accessibility of it) was brought to the forefront during this terrible tragedy. It was used to show an ignorant audience what horror feels like. The sounds of the automatic weapons in the videos sound like firecrackers. The sobs of students hiding under their desks are haunting. The ‘I love you’ texts to parents are gut wrenching. A current student, David Hobbs, interviewed fellow classmates during the event to share first perspective. How does it feel to hide from a mass shooter?

If we’re going to be a society that obsesses over social media, then we need to use it to make a positive change. I believe the most recent mass shooting has taken a new voice with it. Word was spread quickly, and effectively, because of the generation that was targeted. And they will not rest until there is change.

 

Facebook: How the Power of Social Media Gave First Perspective and Opened a New Conversation

Twitter: Social Media Gives First Perspective #FloridaMassShooting

 

 

Sources: Huffington Post: After Florida Shooting, This Teen Becomes Voice for Gun Control

CNN: 4 Video Moments That Capture the Scene of Shooting

Telegraph.co.uk: Teacher Tell How They Hid With Children

Super Bowl Winner: Social Media

I cannot believe I am writing a blog post about Kylie Je

nner. Well, not Kylie herself, just the online influence she has and how it changed February 4th, 2018.

Let me start by saying I am not really a fan of the Kardashian/Jenner era. I have never watched their show, I don’t follow any of them on social media, and I certainly role my eyes when I see their ‘influence’ splashed around just about everywhere. However they are truly a family that has made their empire through social media. We cannot deny it. Whether you are a fan or not. And I believe it’s something worth looking in to.

The five sisters have a combined 431 million followers on Instagram. Let that sink in a minute. Sure, some of those numbers are the same person following multiple accounts, or the same person

blog 2

with multiple accounts following more than one, but regardless how you look at it: that number is huge. It’s so big in fact, that they can get paid up to half a million dollars per post. Do you need to sit down?

The girls have built up their image so they are major influencers in all things: make up, fitness, perfume, watches, accessories, clothes, shoes, cars, etc. You name it, the ladies of the Kardashian/Jenner household have targeted that market. And it goes for any age too. Considering the sisters range from 20-37 years, they have audiences of all ages tuning in.

And because of their vast social media following, they are saving major bucks on marketing as well when it comes to their own products. In lieu of Valentine’s Day, Kim Kardashian released a new line of fragrances. They were packaged with trending saying like “Ride or Die”, “BAE”, and “BFF”. Ugh. But who am I to judge? It’s her own line, and she modeled the fragrances herself on her instagram page. They sold out in four days. At $35/perfume. Kim’s paycheque? A cool $10 million. Not bad for a handful of Instagram posts and three sleeps, eh?

That brings us to Super Bowl Sunday. For those who don’t care and are not in the know, there has been a sneaking rumour that the youngest one, Kylie Jenner, was pregnant. Kylie is the second most popular on social media of the five sisters. Her Instagram has 103 million followers and over 5000 posts. Needless to say, this girl lives on her phone (not unlike many other 20 year olds). So it was odd when she suddenly disappeared in the fall. Only the occasional post here and there promoting her beauty line Kylie Cosmetics; which is on track to make one billion dollars by 2022 according to Forbes.com. Kylie Jenner chose to release the info that not only was she pregnant, but she had already given birth, and followed up by releasing a 12 minute short video documenting the past 9 months of her life for her fans. Still don’t think she runs the internet? She had more social engagements than Justin Timberlake (Super Bowl Halftime performer), the New England Patriots (one of the teams playing in the damnSuper Bowl), and just about every company with ads and commercials in between the game. And at $5 million per 30 second commercial, I’d say her ‘free’ Instagram post probably weighed heavy to everything (and everyone) else.

There you have it. I understand people are sick and tired of talking about this family, but numbers don’t lie. They have taken over the online social media market. And who can we blame for creating such an empire? Us.

Facebook: So Who Really Won the Super Bowl? Two words: Social Media. [link]

Twitter: How Social Media Won the Super Bowl  [link]

References: Fast Company, Feb. 5th, 2018 article: The Eagles, T-Mobile, and Kylie Jenner’s Baby Won the SuperBowl

Glamour.com, Feb. 6th 2018 article: Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji Perfumes Made $10 Million in Four Days

 

Lady Bird: A Refreshing take on Mother/Daughter Relationships

This week was a first for me: I went to the movies by myself. I’d never done that before, and always thought the event would seem totally lonely. And to my delighted surprise, it was not. I caught a Tuesday matinee of the new-ish film ‘Lady Bird’. A few days before, Greta Gerwig, the writer and director of the flick, became only the 5th woman in history to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards. I’ve seen so many ‘coming of age’ movies about young girls and their mothers. And they were all directed by men. I was eager to see something that was about girls, for girls and written by a: girl.

Ms. Gerwig has gone on the record saying this film is pretty autobiographical. And it feels that way. It has such a strong protagonists voice, and we’re loving our Lady Bird character right away. She’s sassy, sour, has the classic attitude of a 17-year-old in beginning of her senior year of high school. We’re transferred to California the early 2000’s, and it’s quite the nostalgia! Discmans were still a thing. Cellphones didn’t have cameras built into them, and there was only one game to play when you were bored and waiting at the bus stop: Snake. Anyone remember that? We were addicted to such simple things back then.

The true storyline here is the mother/daughter relationship. Soarse Ronan plays the lead role of ‘Lady Bird’, and it’s no surprise that she’s absolutely dynamite in it. Any scene with her and her mother Marion (played by Laurie Metcalf) are so vulnerable and true they hit you right in the feels. The words they use are biting and hurtful. Each word is used meticulously and said so deliberately it leaves you aching for both of them. You can feel the headache Lady Bird brings to her mother: wanting to go to university on the otherLady_Bird_poster side of the country when there really is no budget to do so. And then you’re in the shoes of Lady Bird and remember being seventeen and not understand why. What if you worked harder? Got a part time job? Improved your grades? Why is the answer always No. Wenot discussing this further.

There is this one great scene where Lady Bird asks why her mother doesn’t like her. Her mother is quick to reply ‘Of course I love you’. And Lady Bird steps out of the change room to stand face to face and iterates that she knows she is loved, but ‘Why don’t you like me?’ It’s heartbreaking to watch. She can read it all over her mother’s face that she is a disappointment to her. That she is not the girl who mother thought she had raised her to be. And it’s these adolescent pressures that I know most of us can relate to. Did we live up to our potential? Should I have studied harder in Grade 11 calculus? Would my life be better if I had taken that one extra credit course?  

If you have the chance, go see this movie. Last decade we had Juno, with the fantastically memorable Ellen Page. Now we have something that is even more authentic, because it is written and directed from the source itself. It’s an exciting film to come out of this women’s movement that has taken over Hollywood. I look forward to other strong female-voiced works that come out in the future!