Its hard to find a Moment

Life in any city can be tough when it comes to finding love. No scratch that, life in any city can be tough when it comes to finding anything. Of course I’m not talking about hooking up with a cute guy in a nightclub. I mean finding one of those rom-com moments where two people meet in a bar or on a street and instantly click.

Being a 90s boy, like many of us out there, I base there entire romantic knowledge on the show that taught us it, Sex and the City. The show taught all of us who watched it that even though you can get dragged though a war zone of un-datable guys, horrible one night stands and countless failed relationships, we can eventually find that one Big Love.

The issue nowadays is that like everything else, the dating world has moved into the technological era.

We now live our lives on Facebook and Grindr and it can feel like no one actually goes on a date any more. It’s a sad and depressing thought, but it seems the new millennium brought about new rules and regulations when it comes to relationships.

I like to think about it like this. For the last six months I have lived in my flat, I have enjoyed that very 90s tradition of sitting at a window to enjoy a cigarette. In all that time I have never once seen anyone else in my neighborhood do the same. Instead they go for a walk or stand outside. A huge part of cigarette etiquette has literally been thrown out of the window and onto the street, where there is almost no chance at all of catching the eye of a fellow smoker for long enough to establish an attraction.

This is the same in the dating world. Because we live our lives with our eyes fixed on the screens of our phones, we are missing the multiple opportunities that are walking right past us.

That hot guy you were looking at on Grindr just walked right by you. The guy in Starbucks who you think is oh so your type, he doesn’t recognize you because you look different from your online profile. The opportunity to click with someone has literally removed itself from our daily lives. And it sucks.

I feel like we should all know better. I mean come on, it was hard enough in 2004 to muster the courage to ask a flesh and blood guy on a date, now we completely remove the chance to practice it meaning our confidence is even lower than it was back then! Its madness!

How the hell are we supposed to have those moments when we let the chances fade away? More to the point, why is no one else up in arms about this? Surely I cant be the only one?

Just as I was about to give up all hope that my dating knowledge will ever find me a nice guy, something strange happened. About one week ago I was sitting on my windowsill, enjoying a cigarette, when the unbelievable happened. One of my neighbors was doing the same.

I knew that this was a new practice for her because she had lived across the road from me for as long as I had lived in my building, and never once had I seen her do this. It seemed she had seen me and thought “why not?”

It is a long shot I know to think that it was 100% me who influenced her, but then something more amazing happened. Last night when I was sitting at my window, there he was. The cute guy who lived one block down from the girl (and had a very nice right up on Grindr) was smoking at his window and looking at me.

This was it; this was my first Moment since 2010. Could it be? Surly not?

Just as these thoughts are flying through my mind he smiles at me, looks down and giggles a little before re establishing eye contact. A classic move. I smiled back, oh god I think I’m actually blushing.

As I allow myself to get caught up in the moment, I hardly realize that my cigarette is now only a filter. So I look at him one last time and smile before going back into my room. The rush was better than I remembered. And it got even better.

I opened my Grindr a few moments later to find a message from cute smoker neighbor himself.

“Hey you, I didn’t know you were so close… next time you should let me know when your smoking and we can sit outside mine?”

We have a smokers date tomorrow. It seems 90s influence can still serve you well, as long as your prepared to show it off in real life.

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Social Media Campaigns

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 Social media campaigns are a form of marketing, which promotes, builds interest in or advertises a product/service/ cultural event or movement through the medium of Social networking sites. At the moment, it is becoming popular for politicians and MP’s to use social media to promote and aid their political campaigns, and it really works! Click this link to see how social media may have been the crucial factor which led to Obama winning the 2012 presidential elections – http://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/?p=1627

When it comes to us Gays, the FCKH8 propaganda campaign for marriage equality is probably the most well know and well established social media campaign of out time. It has been extremely popular and effective because it is a movement, which has taken every form of popular social media and used it to its advantage.

In order to spread awareness, gain support and basically show the world that we are prepared to fight for equality, the LGBT community has made videos, info graphs, Facebook channels and twitter pages to makes sure everyone knows about the marriage equality movement. What’s even more amazing is the most powerful man in the world- Barack Obama backs the campaign!

This is just another example of the power of social media.

But don’t just take my word for it, check out the following links to see for yourself!

*** WARNING some of the language used in the videos is, emm colourful…***

Website – http://www.fckh8.com/

YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/FCKH8

Facebook search – “FCKH8”

Twitter – @FCKH8 

The 8 Step Social media Strategy

Mark Smiciklas’ Inofgraphic on the social media strategy 

Love your Cookies?

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I’m sure we all know about the Internet cookie trail. Just like Hansel and Gretel, everywhere we go in the World Wide Web, we leave a trail, which weaves its way trough shopping sites, Google searches and even any explicit content you might be watching. Everywhere you go you leave a digital footprint, and tracing your footprints are thousands of Internet based businesses.

On Facebook, there are a variety of Advertisements. These advertisements may refer to products that you have seen before, perhaps it’s a T-shirt by a designer you kind of like or a dating website you might have used. Either way, these adverts seem to be chosen especially for you based on your search history. They are.

This is no coincidence. Facebook, like many other social networking sites is now being used by online businesses. And how do they know what you want, well as you were making your way through images of Davey Wavey in Aussie Bum boxers (I know you have), Aussie Bum were tracking your interest in their products, which is why you now can’t log onto your Facebook in university for fear of half naked Australian men appearing all over your home page.

This may be frustrating, as we are already bombarded with advertisements, but can you really blame businesses?

Across the globe Facebook gets a collective time of 2.6 million minutes of human attention. No wonder so many businesses are taking full advantage of it!

So I think we can all agree, when it comes to us gays, companies who utilize social networking sites for business are doing it not only to enhance knowledge of their brand, but also to make life easier for us. We no longer have to scroll through the web to find an outfit for next Saturday, its already been suggested for you and is a mere click away.

Also, what’s not to like about a cookie that doesn’t make you gain weight? 😉

Bibliography
Beal, V, 2008, what are cookies and what do they do? [Online] available from; http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Internet/2007/all_about_cookies.asp [accessed 22nd April 2013]

Is Grindr our way of Crowdsourcing? Info-graphic

Is Grindr our way of Crowdsourcing? Info-graphic

Us gays and the News

 For as long as we can remember there have been various techniques utilized by man to ensure news travels from the scene of the event, to the mass audience. For a long time this was done by word of mouth. When we became a little bit more sophisticated we took to carving things on walls and large stone slabs until the invention of the printing press created a new form of news delivery – the newspaper was born.

In the Newspapers lifetime it has had various “threats” to its survival. Firstly, economic crashes such as the great depression of the 1930’s in which more people were burning them for warmth or using them for insulation than reading the content or the television, which gave us another platform on which to provide people with news.

As history will tell you the newspaper survived these threats, the economy got better and Television news focused on the main stories you could find in a newspaper. These two platforms seemed to work in unison. But then came the 1990’s.

It was at this time that the News industry (in particular Newspapers) faced a threat like no other before it – The Internet.

Thanks to Mr. World Wide Web, the content of newspapers and televised news was made readily available online 24 hours a day.

At this point I hear you ask, “is this a history lesson, how does this affect us?”

And the answer is simple, when it comes to us gays; the Internet was our liberation.

For too long minorities like the LGBT community were repeatedly under represented in traditional news. Until this point, the news was in the hands of large corporations. At the time much of what newspapers had to say about us gays circulated close to what the government had to say, so you can imagine what type of things were being said. But then came the Internet, the news was thrust into the hands of the people. We set up online communities, LGBT news websites, politically acknowledged campaign websites… the list goes on.

For the first time in history our news was being broadcast and it was available for many to see (now we just have to get rid of those access barriers…)

My point is simply that taking the power off of the governments and oligopolies, which once controlled the news, and giving it to freelance bloggers and journalists was possibly a large contributing factor in the fight for gay rights. Since the invention of the Internet, more countries than ever have legalized gay marriage, outlawed hate crimes and given us the right to have children or adopt. I believe having the ability to represent ourselves in online news has been a big part of helping us achieve these milestones.

When it comes to the news world, the invention of the Internet has caused many problems, but when it comes to us gays, it has been amazing.

How and Where are we using Social Media Info-graphic

How and Where are we using Social Media Info-graphic

Are we Sluts? Why are We using the Internet?

In one of my lectures we discussed why people are using the Internet. When it comes to us Gays I couldn’t help but wonder, why do we as a community use the Internet?

Aside from the obvious reasons to use the Internet – research, news, social networking – it occurred to me that we gay guys tend to use the Internet, a lot, for sexual related activities. I myself can admit I have used the Internet (like 99% of guys my age) to access pornography. This isn’t really a gay specific acknowledgment, but I then realised that we gays have a hell of a lot of “Hook up” apps and websites, which are all very popular and circulate around the objective of sex. 

When researching this post, I discovered the following You Tube videos, which send two very different messages about us gays and our use of the Internet.

The first video is a light-hearted video which a lours to the idea that we use the Internet for Facebook, porn and gay chat rooms.

The second however is from the board of health, and talks about a link between the spread of HIV and Aids and gays who use the Internet for sex. The videos both made me see just how dangerous using the Internet like this can be, especially with the increasing number of gays men affected by HIV (1 in 20 in the UK)

So people I give you this advice, Next time your on Grindr, ask yourself, “Is he hot?….” if yes, ask this “Is he hot enough to risk catching HIV?”

Video one – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUKtHQ4IHZM

Video two – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcGkcbPYVaw&playnext=1&list=PLD36ADC5DC3115469&feature=results_main

Privacy Online

Nowadays it is almost impossible to find someone who isn’t on Facebook. Take me for example, I have every member of my family including my 65 year old grandmother on it, I also have many of my friends parents and a few of my old high school teachers. This may have seemed strange 8 years ago when Facebook was only just finding its feet and was vastly only used by students, this is no longer the case.

Everyone is now discovering the freedom the Internet gives them. Freedom some of us seem to be forgetting can be seen by billions of people around the world.

When it comes to us gays, at an age where one is still in the closet, it can be hard to hide your identity when there are so many outlets for experimentation. When I was 15 I had my first boyfriend. He was the same age as me and also in the closet, which made it difficult for both of us. We both wanted to be in a relationship but neither of us was ready to come out, this led to a number of sneaky forms of communication, we only talked about our romantic entanglement over Facebook chat, our pictures on Facebook were never of just the two of us, and we arranged to see each other in places we knew we couldn’t get caught. We thought we had been so smart, until, for him it all fell apart. People at his school had seen us checking on Facebook together, they had seen all our pictures and one afternoon, we uploaded a picture of us in his room and the cat almost came out of the bag.

Because we attended different high schools, my friends never really clocked on to the possibility that I was gay. He on the other hand, was well and truly outed. His peers forced him out of the closet because we had forgotten how accessible our relationship was to view over Facebook. Because we were so young at the time, he was subjected to bullying from some of his peers, and our relationship fell apart because of it. This is the danger of Facebook, everybody is told everything about you.

It can seem like we are the only people in the world who can see what we post on our blogs and social networking sites, but in actual fact, if privacy settings are not correctly utilized, anybody can see it.

In todays society we are told to protect our identity by locking away our passports, keeping our drivers licenses safe and covering our pin numbers at cash machines, yet we practically upload our entire identity onto our Facebook. Perhaps it is time for us, as a society to think about what we want other people to see and how we want our Facebook to represent us, because sometimes it can cause a problem.

The Davey Wavey Video

Im ny First post I mentioned a video on YouTube which helped me understand and come to tearms with my sexuality, here it is! He looks a lot younger but hes just as fabulous, thank you Davey Wavey