A SLIGHT CHANGE IN MY ABOUT ME.

I don’t know if any of you have heard of the genius that is Sir. Stephen Markley (Yeah, I always refer to him as sir, and I feel like he would thoroughly appreciate that, and also have a good old laugh about it, so I’m gonna continue that notion), but whenever I decide to sit back and read a few chapters of “Publish This Book”, I immediately feel a rush of creative guilt that screams at me, “Annika, why the fuck aren’t you writing hilariously inappropriate anecdotes on your blog for your father to shame you for later!”. Now, I’m not going to do that, because yes, I’m fairly sure I once mentioned this URL to my dad, and while I know he appreciates my prose, I’m far too terrified of broadening his knowledge on the fact that my friends and I are all sexually active (we’re 20, it’s not wildly inappropriate at all, but no one wants their dad, or any other family member for that matter, to read about their friend having sex with a random in Byron Bay).

Anywho, after reading about 50 pages of Markley’s book, consciously constructing my fan mail that borders from a vague infatuation to a strong sexual attraction to, “I’m going to stalk you until you love me and provide me with millions of children that I’m not sure either of us really want”, I opened up the webpage to this very blog. “Annika Tague. 19 year old uni student and book worm”. All of a sudden, I blinked twice and realised that the lyrics to “Teenage Dirtbag” didn’t really apply to me anymore, because as of 8 days ago, I joined the club that is 20. And while I’m not as bothered by this increase in number as I lead on, I just feel vaguely disturbed. At the age of 11, when my eldest brother was at this point in his life, I recall thinking to myself “dang, you is old”. So, now I’m sitting out on my balcony, my feet covered in socks and shoes, yet still numb for some confusing reason in the middle of an Australian October, and I’m questioning which link on wordpress will take me to the “edit your info” page.

While blogging is fun and therapeutic and something that most aspiring journalists/writers, and any other creative souls for that matter, basically are forced to participate in, it also makes me feel like a sad 13 year old girl, writing in her journal about the curly-haired boy who decided to make her best friend his girlfriend, as her tears roll off her chin and onto her stuffed minnie mouse that she grasps tightly to her budding bosom. I’m quite happy to talk about my love for great novels or the hilarity of shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “Bob’s Burgers”. Or my iron strong opinions that I’ve learned to hold back, because sometimes arguing with someone on Facebook, who comes from an extremely privileged family, and merely holds their political views because they overheard Mummy and Daddy agreeing with Abbott’s immigration laws, is not always worth your breath.

Then, there’s the things I can’t talk about, but have a feeling I’m going to anyways, because they’re the sort of hilarious anecdotes people want to hear. They’re the kind of things that, as Markley has showed me, need to be embedded in your writing for, not just comedic value, but to prove that life is real, raw and not as serious as most people in your PHIL106 class like to make it seem. I was one of those anxious morons at the age of 16-18 who took life far too seriously. This was the age when I should have spent more time drinking, less time studying and more time kissing random boys at parties whose calves were still skinnier than my pony tail. I can’t really say I hate myself for not engaging in this type of behaviour, because I’ve made it to university (that was the overall goal of being a super lame dork, right?) and am now kissing random boys who have wider backs than me and manage to kiss and grope at the same time without stopping to look where their hand should go next. Maybe I took my time getting here and maybe I’m slightly hating myself for writing such a quizzical and existential piece of blatant banter, but let’s blame Markley. Markley made me do it.

And as I write that, it becomes my number one fear that he’ll somehow find the link to my blog because, “Hey man, I read some chick’s blog from Australia who really wants you to impregnate her”, and he’ll scoff at my nonsensical writing, tell me that I’m a basic bitch and laugh about it with his buddies, who I secretly all want to be my friends as well. Sick one, Annika. Maybe next time you should write about the boy you’re in love with but too scared to admit anything to, and subscribe to all other female teenage blogs who post about the same trivial bullshit. Oh, but wait, you’re not even a teenager anymore…

I’M FROM LUNDUN.

We didn’t technically go Paris to London, there was actually some weeks in between where we chilled out in Lyon with Claudia’s host family, did some traveling to Provence, Monaco, Chamonix, quick stop in Switzerland- Geneva/Lucerne, making our way back to Lyon before kicking it off to London. Don’t hate me for being the laziest of people right now, but that trip was more of a family affair. We traveled it via car with Claudia’s host family and parents who were also on their own European adventure at the time. It was wonderful and something we wouldn’t have experienced without their help (we saw lots of cute villages and small French landmarks that I had never known existed), but despite all that, it sort of seems rather separate from my journey. We weren’t in the big bad unknown quite yet and doesn’t hold the overall impact of bracing yourself for the unexpected.

London was kind of like going home. Probably more so for Claudia and Me rather than Nay or Olly, since we had been absent from the merry old land of Oz for nearly 4 months at this point. Australia is England’s late child and the readily available cadbury chocolate and wider range of food options was far too comforting. Plus, people spoke English, so that was nice. Overall it just felt widely more western and I think we were in desperate need of that.

I’d heard so many mixed things about London. People complain about all the wet weather, but a girl who we later met in Madrid perfectly described it as “squeaky clean from all the rain” and that’s pretty much been stuck in my head ever since. We were fortunate that it didn’t rain while we were there and was nothing but a frigid, early October breeze.

We managed to get ridiculously lost between Kings Cross Station and our hostel, walking in circles for over an hour and still managing to ask no one for directions, despite the lack of a language barrier. After checking into a clean, chain hostel that was currently undergoing renovations, we got lunch at the falafel place around the corner- which we had walked past three times earlier during our confused state.

We kept the hop-on-hop-off bus tours specifically for the historical and cultural enriched cities; London being one of them. So this activity immediately sucked up two of our days, but it was definitely to our advantage since I have never learnt more about a city, let alone an entire country, just from taking continuous loops on a bus tour. It probably managed to be so educational due to the live tour guides on offer. All individually hilarious and sharing original spins on different pieces of information, forcing us to snicker amongst one another “pfft… well, that’s not what afro guy said earlier today…”

Majority of the interest I held for London had far too much relation to the monarchy. I’m someone who is an absolute sucker for a royal wedding (yes, I wanna look like Kate at my own wedding) and I completely idolise Princess Diana, because well, she’s fabulous.  After going to Buckingham Palace and watching an extremely boring changing of the guards ceremony, plus listening to endless facts about Queen Victoria on the bus tour, I spent much of my spare time in the hostel googling facts about the royal family. Self-education whilst in London, snaps for me.

The highlight of my time in London was actually spent in Watford, because that’s where the greatest Warner Bros. Studio Tour of all time is held- Harry Fucking Potter. Tickets aren’t overly cheap, and neither is the train there, but boy was it worth it. I’d been to the Harry Potter exhibition in Sydney, where they had majority of the artefacts from the film. This, however, was something else. I saw the rooms and sets, filled with every real prop that they used in the movies. Daniel Radcliffe touched that cereal box (most likely) and he DEFINITELY sat in that chair in the Gryffindor common room. I walked up and down Diagon Alley, did some window shopping and the purchased my very own honey dukes chocolate- which lasted the first 5 minutes on the train trip home.

London basically made me just want to walk around in a trench coat, shop for hours, read books in the parks when it wasn’t raining, drink lots and lots of alcohol and be able to say “mate” without sounding like a complete bogan.

Paris. Duh.

Apart from Iceland, I basically consider Paris to be the first stop on my journey. It was my most dreamed of destination– I’d been studying the French language for four years at high school and despite my inability to hold a conversation in the foreign tongue, what 18 year old girl doesn’t dream of wandering the Parisienne streets, her hopes of romance at their peak level as she gazes the rooftops, sipping on a fruity glass of red wine.

Claudia and I arrived at Charles de Gualle airport bright and early, ready to see two of our greatest companions who had been subsequently absent from our lives as we lived in the states for three months. After consuming a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and un café creme, we found one of our missing halves (Miss Tenaya Wright) and spent the next hour or two, with the severe struggle of language barriers, waiting at the gate for Olivia Russell (Ol, Olive, Olly, Livo- as you will). Fairly excited with our success, we packed into a large Taxi van (Take us to Paris!) and pretty much failed at suppressing nervous and excited giggles the whole way there. We’ll arrive, shower and nap and then go exploring– that’s the agenda for today, gals. After a rather heated argument with the taxi driver about where the address of our apartment was located (“C’est impossible! It does not exist, mademoiselle”), we had arrived. An adorable apartment literally directly across from the Sacre Coeur on top of Montmartre– it was the most idyllic scene I could’ve hoped for. Our hostess greeted us with four croissants (haven’t been able to consume one quite as delicious since) and great information about the local area, “to the uh, left?, it is very, you know, hipster (minus the H) with a lot of, coooole barz”.

Scrubbed up and in an over sized t shirt (keep in mind that pants are one of my least favourite things, just for future reference), I snoozed for a solid two and half hours, awaking to a cry from Tenaya “Annikaaaaaah, wut the hull? Get your elbow outta my back.” After that it became an ongoing “shot not sleeping with Annika” for the rest of the trip- Come on you guys, I’m not that bad.

We went for a walk in the cobbled stone streets that wrapped around our central apartment. Scouring shop signs, that had no resonance to us, looking for something authentic and delicious to munch on. We found both a bakery and well, I’m not really sure what you call a cheese and salami shop- a deli, I suppose? But that’s what we found. Purchasing two warm baguettes, an unnecessarily large amount of brie cheese and a rather tall stack of sliced salami, we headed back for an indoor apartment picnic. Drunk off bottles beyond bottles of 4 euro wine (aren’t you supposed to be classy in Paris and drink the good stuff?), we settled back into our slumber, high hopes for the next big days of travel.

The next few days blur into one, as they tend to after the weeks pass when you’re doing something different each day, but altogether the same notion. We got tickets to a hop-on hop-off bus tour that was unlimited for two days and something I can’t recommend enough. It was a perfect way to get around the city. Paris is great in the fact that it’s metro system is completely straight forward and simple to understand– the only downfall was figuring out which metro station was the closest to the desired tourist attraction. So, for that dilemma, you should choose the bus tour, learning new interesting facts about the city all the while. We made our way via metro to get to the Opéra building and hitch a ride on the first stop of the tour. The fact that we got super lost within our first day of sight seeing just proved how necessary the bus tour was. Having the most knowledge of the french language among the group, I was always pushed into asking for directions. My ultimate problem was trying to figure out which Parisienne looked the most helpful. After settling on a girl in her mid twenties on a cigarette break, I finally got the courage to ask, “Ou est le Opéra?” to which she looked terrifyingly confused… “Um what?… I speak english”. That happened.

Now, to avoid rambling, I’m just gonna list the sort of major events in Paris that struck a chord with me.

Numero Uno (Nah, I’m not gonna speak in French on my post about Paris): The very first moment we saw the Eiffel Tower. We rounded a corner, off the Champs Elysees and past the Arc De Triomphe (also a fairly iconic moment) and there it was; statuous and not nearly as tall as I imagined, but it’s magnificence still as radiant as ever. You picture Paris to be something that it pretty much isn’t- mimes, stripe-shirted men wearing berets, holding baguettes and playing the accordion on a cobble stoned street. It really isn’t any of those things but the site of the Tour de Eiffel makes you think that it could be– you begin to hear that music in your head and the fact that you truly are within one of the world’s most famous cities actually begins to sink in and completely flood every pore of your body.

Numero Dos: The catacombs. I kind of didn’t even really know of their existence until a family friend told me that it was an absolute must-see when in Paris– definitely glad we took her advice on that one. It’s something you have to do fairly early, as to be sure to get entry (they only allow 200 people enter at a time) and not throw off your entire day. When I say that you see human bones and remains down there, I need to clarify that you don’t just witness a number of skeletons; there are millions. Not normally freaked out by that kind of thing– I totally held my cool– I felt rather weary for a while after. Those bones were once a person, who held thoughts, and loved somebody and had somebody love them and they had a life- whether it was lousy or not, it was real and true; those thoughts kinda sat in my stomach for a while.

Numero Tres: The Louvre. Not the inside of it. Sure, that was pretty, however the Mona Lisa is the most underwhelming painting in the world- don’t even bother, you’ve seen a better print of it atop of your take away pizza box back home. The outside of it, however, was utterly gorgeous. The building never seems to end, wrapped around the giant glass pyramid with the expanding fountains. We spent more time outside of the Louvre as opposed to the internal, and I could have stared at the architectural mouldings for days. Buildings really resonate with me when traveling for some reason. Not entirely sure why, maybe it has something to do with watching my brother build that house that we now live in. It’s just an art that requires such talent and focus. New age, modern buildings don’t hold the emotion that the mouldings of European buildings give off. It was an impression that continued to blow me away.

Paris was short, but long lived. I wanna stop talking about it now though because it’s taken me far too long to etch this piece out. Plus, as I’m about to publish this, my former travel buddy and present bestest pal is having her last night’s sleep in her own bed as she heads back to Europe tomorrow morning for the next three and a half months. Safe to say I’m not coping so well with the jealousy and the thought of her absence from my life for an extended period of time.

 

A Colourless City

Here’s a creative writing piece I wrote a few years back for English Extension 1. It’s supposed to be dark and gloomy and representative of modernism during the period between the two world wars.

 

As they travelled the streets, rows and columns of tall, grey buildings interlocked. Scents of smoke and wet filled his head. The atmosphere endlessly circled through his nose, throat and mouth. The tip of his nose burned from a rushed wind, but the redness did not flatter him in any way. Unlike his daughter, the flushed cheeks made him look older rather than charming. The slush from a previous snowfall seeped into his shoes and turned the next twenty minutes into a misery. He sees the soggy newspapers on the ground, full of articles containing no information, articles that are merely groans of questioning existence. Is this what society has become, a wasteland throughout the city?

Weaving through the endless streams of head-soddened people, a worn down building becomes visible on a corner up ahead. With a closer glance towards the caved in steeple, it is clear that this building was once a church. The man’s eyes shift to three peasants, covered in coffee-stained and moth-holed rags. Their heads placed firmly on the building’s steps and arms splayed out before them. The man shakes his head back and forth with an obvious distaste. Tightly gripping his daughter’s sweaty palm, he pulls her forwards.

It was not long until they reached the theatre, a common place for widowers and children. Single file, they trudged along into the blackened room.

The flickering lights across the screen scolded his corneas and his daughter continuously swung her legs to and fro on the edge of the seat, fiddling with the golden chain around her neck. The constant anticipation in the room was unbearable. The contrast of bright illumination from the screen and the darkness from the walls was nauseating.

Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?

He’d taken his daughter to see this film time and time before. Nothing ever changed. The seats they sat upon were still covered in balled-wool, just as the smell of butter remained burnt. Paint on the walls peeled down, revealing an old, dusty pink. Strings of spider webs lingered in the corners, their inhabitants crawling nearby. Everything else was irrelevant to the human eye. The eye was only drawn to things that were pointless and exasperating.

His vision fizzled out, just like it does every day and the life that exists around him dies. The city turns black and white, as it should be, as it is constantly seen by all of its residents. The only colour that remains inside of his empty mind is that of Little Snow White and her seven dwarfed friends. It is obvious that his daughter lives with the hope that no longer lingers in the city. Hope was an old friend for many of the city’s inhabitant, but she was forced to leave. She used to sit in the crooks of peoples’ elbows or watch them from their windowsills. Asking them to stand up, walk over, and open the window.

But then the fragments of hope got caught up with the wind, and blew out of the dusty window. It’s unknown as to whether she landed elsewhere, but it is pretty certain she won’t ever be allowed back here.

Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.

The aspiration that lived inside his daughter, her dream to be as beautiful as snow white, was heart wrenching. He knew that she might possess a pretty face, and her body could possibly be graceful, but no one would look at her with beauty in their eyes. They would always look at her with pure longing, using her for self-pleasure. Peeling her crusty eyes open every morning, looking at her mistake breathing heavily next to her. She would roll off of the wrinkled bed, telling the grungy man to wake up. Not bothering to offer him a cup of stale coffee, but just asking him to leave. It was obvious she would never see this particular man again, but instead she would head to the filthy local bar, guided by the moonlight, to later stumble home with tomorrow’s dreaded awakening.

For a second, he gets a glimpse of the future. His twenty-one year old daughter gazes out of her window. She still fiddles with the golden chain, a habit that will never fade. It lies in the hollow of her neck, the weight of the locket heavy around her throat, strangling and suffocating her. There is a beating heart within the hinges of the locket, one that she has never known but always admired. If you peer into her eyes, close enough, you can see the red, rose lips, the ebony hair and the pale, snow skin. An echo of her mother or what she has always pictured her face to be. But the past must remain in the past even though leftover pieces of Snow White sit inside her. They wish to burst out, although they never will. Not until the city gains its colour once again.

Iceland; You were… cold?

I’m going to start off by discussing Iceland. Only because I feel like it’s one of those places that everyone wants to talk about, but they have nothing to say about it, because honestly, who’s been to Iceland? I have. The most comical thing about going to Iceland was that I purely went for its convenience. I needed to fly from New York City to Paris and I needed to do it cheap- Iceland Air gave me that option in just under $400. Included in this price, was a free stopover for up to 7 days. My friend and I thought, “Iceland? Let’s do this.”

We arrived in Reykjavík at about 6:30 am and stepped into an airport that felt like Ikea on steroids. There were a lot of jumbled letters written on glossy advertisements that made absolutely no sense to me and it took me a moment to realise that these letter configurations were actual words within another language. I’d definitely heard of Icelandic before, but my father had assured me that hardly anyone would speak it and English would certainly be the most used language. My dad was incorrect. People spoke English, but not all that often and when they did, it made them sound very aggressive. Which was quite tragic, because the people of Iceland are more than just friendly. One would think that the 6-degree summers and the salmon-scented air would turn people bitter, but it doesn’t. They all seem overly content with their lifestyle- however, still maintaining the desire to travel- much like us Australians. I suppose being in a country that is quite isolated from many areas of the world enforces a will to learn about new people and places.

When we arrived in the actual city of Reykjavik, our shuttle bus driver gave us a tour of the town en route to our hostel. Not only did he inform us that Iceland has no military and the only thing close to it was the Salvation Army, but he also casually pointed to an average sized house on the corner of the street and said, “That’s where our Prime Minister lives”. We were shocked by how low key everything in this entire country was, particularly the city. I’m going to put it out there; the city of Reykjavik is more of a large village. I come from a small rural town and this felt strangely close to it.

Our accommodation was booked at Reykjavik backpackers, located on one of the main strips, and this was our first hostel experience. Luckily it was a good one. The rooms were extraordinarily clean and the lobby and bar area had an unbeatable atmosphere. There was a restaurant located below the bar, which is where I dined for my first travel meal and consumed the most delicious grilled chicken and corn salad I have ever eaten in my entire life—to this day I still daydream about that meal.

So here’s where the disappointment comes, more so for you than me, because unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of geographical experience to share here—Iceland is very expensive. As our first stop on what was to be a 3-month journey across Europe and the UK, we didn’t have the funds to splurge. The hostel’s lobby tantalized us with brochures of the geothermic pools, located not so nearby, at the minimum cost of 150 euros. With a low budget and no other means of transportation (apart from the extremely overpriced tour) we were forced to stick to the streets of Reykjavík.

With sheer force, we were hit with a stroke of luck; our time there was mostly full of sunshine, as we had come to the end of an “extremely warm summer” (not quite, it was close to freezing). Apart from walking along the lakes edge, peering at the randomly assorted buildings with their stark colours plastered against a dull sky, we made some time and ventured to the National Museum of Iceland. This was, by far, one of the most beautiful and strategically displayed museums I have ever been to. Antique silverware hung by fishing wire in an array of heights from the ceiling portraying a cloud of carved, dull silver. Aside from the attractive display windows, there was a lot of information and readings about the Vikings, the first settlers and general life in Iceland over the years—the museum was set out in chronological order from the very beginning up until how people today survive and spend their time there. Two cups of coffee and a gluten free brownie later and it was a lovely three-hour wander through the museum.

Quentin Tarantino once described his trip to Iceland in an interview with Conan O’Brian as “Supermodels working at McDonald’s”. I’m going to say that I agree with this statement completely—95% of the women that I focused on were outrageously gorgeous. Majority fair skinned (as I’m sure you imagined) with sleek, Scandinavian features and runway-like clothing. In relation to the people of whom I met in Iceland, they all possessed similar qualities; overly friendly, beautiful, and they all gave me the same warm, but frazzled smile, as if to say, “why on earth have you come to Iceland?!”. In fact, one girl actually did say that to me in real words, not just a mere quizzical facial expression—however, she wasn’t so cavalier about her wording.

What was supposed to be a casual and convenient stopover to one of the world’s most desirable travel destinations, turned out to be quite an interesting experience. Learning about new people and cultures is what traveling is all about, right? So while yes, Iceland is extremely expensive (take a look at it’s location, absolutely everything is imported, so there shouldn’t be much of a surprise there), it’s grand beauty and kind-hearted population make up for majority of its downfalls. With a well-planned and funded schedule, I don’t see how you could experience an unhappy trip to Iceland.

 

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It’s about time I did some time-traveling

A journalism student at university and I feel like a complete idiot for never writing down my experiences and posting them on the big bad web for people to read. It’s not that what I have to say is overly important and that I’m in need of avid readers, but I’ve done a fair share of traveling and why not share that with y’all? It will at least force me to raid my brain for the good and bad points of roaming the world, and hopefully I’ll take note next time I decide to jet off into the unknown.

Six months I was away from home, but for three of those months I reverted back to twelve-year old Annika, living in Fairfield, CT with her cousins and watching all the people she grew up with morph into these adults with their own agendas, attending prestigious universities, joining sororities and living the life I may have been majorly apart of, had my family not decided to uproot and move down under. I really did love being back home, summer in America has a completely different feeling; it’s full of country clubs, traveling to summer towns and consuming cookie-dough ice cream at least twice a day. During that US summer of 2013, I sent myself into NYC as much as possible. It was like a test for me– I remembered the city well, but I had to be sure that it was still living up to my dreams and expectations that shows like Sex and the City and Friends set for me. I wasn’t the nine year old, walking around the blue crisp city at Christmas to see the Radio City Rockettes anymore. I had my own plan, my writing goals that loomed far into future careers that only publications like Vanity Fair or The New Yorker seemed capable of holding.

Lost in the radiating concrete-dense heat, down in Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park and past the NYU buildings, I felt nothing but nostalgia for the life I never got to live and imagining every possible way that I could broadcast myself into the version of the person I wanted so badly to be. I’d get home, start and finish my four-year double degree, saving as much money as possible– enough to to pay a year of graduate school studying at NYU and chasing down mean editors in the hopes of a pathetic freelance writing position.

These three months moved like the heat- slow. It wasn’t something that bothered me, it was something that was sort of required and I wasn’t even fully aware of it at the time. The god damn beauty of hindsight. I visited my parents in Boulder, Colorado and my mother was quick to remind me on a daily basis that I was nothing short of the yank I always had been, and to not be offended when all my Australian friends might not be able to afford an overseas wedding– Thanks for the reminder, Gillian.

I shouldn’t really be overly surprised that it wasn’t the familiarity that made me see clarity, it was the unknown. I’d done America, I’d lived and visited many times, so why I thought it was the answer to my future and all my problems really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (I’m not really full of problems, but we all kind of act like we are, don’t we?).

The places I hadn’t seen, and didn’t even belong to, were calling my name. I traveled Europe for an abrupt three months (due to a lack of funding– whoops-a-fucking-daisies), and it wasn’t even until my plane landed back in Sydney that I understood the notion of the “travel bug”. While it was all happening– the rush to make flights, the extended bus trips, the constant expenses, they seemed like nothing but a downer on what was supposed to be a fulfilling experience. Hindsight, you motherfucker, I had the best three months of my life and only the last few weeks and the depressing arrival home allowed me to see this.

This is me, just over a year from now– leaving for everything I just told you about.

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10 kgs lighter and terrified of saying goodbye to my Ma and Pa. So by looking at travel pamphlets, brochures from the Gucci museum and reading my extremely rushed and mediocre travel diary, I’m gonna reverse back the clock and write down anything and everything worth sharing– a pretty good excuse to relive it all, dontcha think?

IT’S NOW EMBEDDED WITHIN US

Looking back over the past few weeks, my investigation within the media as a whole has broadened my understanding of many new concepts and ideologies I had never thought about before. The things people blame the media for, the connotations received from images in the media, how ownership of the media effects our opinions, and the ideology of a mediated public sphere and how this allows us to voice our opinions and exchange ideas, have all been investigated by myself as a blogger.

My opinion on “social media” has not so much changed, but is now much more informed. Every form of social media has a list of pros and cons and it merely takes the researching of case studies to see how the usage of these can easily be abused. The fear of a “moral panic” outbreak as a result of this abuse of power within the mediated public sphere is what brings people to hold such negative connotations with the ideology behind social media. It has clearly, over time, become a large generational aspect that will continue to grow in disparity. Parents constantly condemn their children for using their phone too much, or spending too much time and energy on Facebook. For them, they see the negative aspects that are blown out of proportion (sometimes) on the news. For us as users, we are able to have constant contact with our friends, no matter where they are in the world. If we see something funny that we know a fellow friend will also enjoy a chuckle over—we share that image or clip with them. The “moral panic” of today, is that social media is separating us from the joys that are real and true in our actual lives. But what do we say to this, when social media has become something so heavily prevalent in our lives, that we’re not necessarily avoiding the beauty of life or it’s real issues, we’re just partaking in a whole other aspect of it?

That’s the main question I’ve learned to ask myself over these past few weeks of blogging. A lot of people these days put so much energy into hating the media, but social media has allowed us a whole new entry into the public sphere and I don’t think we should overlook it’s many positive aspects. Embrace the beauty of communication.