SpunOut.ie is holding a youth proofing hack and editorial brainstorm on December 7th from 11am - 3pm in SpunOut HQ in Templebar, Dublin, and we want you there.
We want your input into what issues you want to see us cover in 2014, aswell as giving us feedback on what we already have on the site. We will also be youth proofing a lot of our content to ensure that it has your seal of approval.
We're asking that you come along with your laptop if you have one (let us know if you wanna come but don't have a laptop). We have lots to do, but it will be done in a real chilled out atmosphere with our favourite tunes playing, lots of free pizza and chocolate.
You must be aged between 16-25 years of age (because that's our target age group) and there will be a €20 stipend for everyone who comes along. Let us know in advance if you want travel costs covered.
Please RSVP as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your phone number so we contact you if there are any lastminute changes.
Don’t believe the hype, we’re more at risk of closed minds than square eyes. Hang your heads in shame! For we’re the generation who don’t know how to make real-life relationships, who gave the world selfies and duck face, and who will end up like Japanese teenagers, locked in our rooms for days on end, with only the glow of a computer screen and coke bottles full of our own pee for company.
Or at least, that’s how the popular panic/hysteria/criticism tends to go. As someone who can remember the golden days of Nokia phones so large they could be used to deliver blunt force trauma, I’m at the in-between stage. Sure, sometimes when distracted (*cough* hungover ) I have been known to attempt to use the ATM like a touchscreen and stand, angrily jabbing at the €20 icon, but I’m not like today’s 3 year old kids, growing up immersed in technology and flicking through iPad apps the way the rest of us used to stack Duplo blocks.
Parents of young teenagers, and even younger children, are rightly worried about what they might access online, and how to get them to look up from a screen and make conversation. But for anyone older than that, the advice they offer seems so woefully out of date it’s enough to make us laugh – if we’re listening at all. Truth is, we’ve been glued to our smartphones, posting on Facebook and tweeting for years now. And while the Maud Flanders brigade (“won’t someone please think of the children!”) might have a point, I think they worry about how ‘technology today’ is damaging us is missing the point.
Technology isn’t without it’s downsides, but it’s not going to destroy our intelligence and social skills any more than rock n’ roll in the 60’s turned all young people into sex crazed Satanists. The true risks of our connectedness are being overlooked while people wring their hands about text messaging destroying grammar and our attention span shrinking to 140 characters. When we access websites, we happily click to accept cookies, when we sign up for something we log in with Facebook and save the hassle of registering. Often, we’re not exactly sure what information we’re granting access to, but we reckon it can’t really matter.
We make these trade offs, because of the opportunities the internet provides us; to get information and entertainment from sources all over the world, to hear the viewpoint of people living in completely different situations to ourselves, to learn how to change a bike tyre with two spoons on YouTube. (Useful information for someone who still hasn’t quite gotten around to sitting a driving test.) The Internet has the potential to open up a whole new perspective on the world.
But is it really helping us do that? The websites we visit collect information about our interests; what we read, what we watch, what we buy online, and use it to tailor search results, suggest links and offer an internet experience based on what we already like. And that might not be such a bad thing, so long as you do want to keep seeing the kind of things you’ve seen before. But for the argument that the Internet can broaden our minds to hold up, we need to work a little bit harder. I was recently surprised to see an acquaintance post an article criticising gay marriage.
We’d met through a mutual friend on a night out, and though I didn’t know her well, I wouldn’t have guessed they were her views. I’ll admit, my first reaction was a little bit surprised, a little disappointed, basically, a little bit judgmental. Curiosity about her stance led me to read the article, which talked about marriage as a recognition of a relationship before God, between a man and woman only. We met at another party soon after and ended up talking about it.
Neither of us ended up changing our minds on the issue, but we respected each other’s opinion and understood each other’s point of view a little better after. A chat at a party, between two people with differing views might not change society, but surely this willingness to listen to the other side, to seek out their arguments and listen to them, is where we must start?
Otherwise, we remain backed into our respective corners, convinced that we are right and they are wrong, and getting nowhere. From whether Miley Cyrus is ridiculous or revolutionary, to the abortion debate, it’s important to hear both sides of an argument, as issues are never black and white. Understanding a topic from someone else’s perspective can help you consider points you may never have thought of before, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Perhaps most importantly, if you want to be able to speak convincingly about issues important to you, you need to understand the opposition’s argument, and why you disagree with it.
That’s especially true if you want to be able to win people around to your own way of thinking. So try spending a week getting all your news from Al Jazeera or Fox News, following a politician or celebrity whose views you wouldn’t normally agree with, or reading the arguments of a person who supports fracking or is anti-hunting. What about the retro move of putting together your own playlist, instead of letting Spotify choose your tunes, or something as simple as listening to a new online radio station? Whatever it is, push beyond those things that confirm what you think you already know or like, and see how a new viewpoint can alter your perspective, reveal the motives of others, broaden your mind and overall, make you a better advocate for the things you really do believe in.
When did you discover you were so good at doing impressions?
I have been doing impressions and voices as far back as primary school. I remember the first thing I used to impersonate were actors in ads on television and people used to think they were hilarious so that made me think there might be something to this impressions lark!
Why did you decide to put your videos on YouTube?
Well there are a couple of reasons. Firstly, I always intended to do it but I was NEVER a very extroverted person and am normally quite shy. Over time though I realised I'd be foolish not to because when I did them around friends and family the reaction was always brilliant.
Secondly, I had been following a few 'Youtubers' for a while and was even friends with one of the first Irish YouTubers, Bribry (Brian O' Reilly). I had helped out with a few of his videos and quickly fell in love with YouTube and the community surrounding uploaders and their subscribers. I just couldn't wait to have an even more active role in it.
What has the reaction been like to your videos/impressions?
It's been fantastic. Over the past couple of years I've gained around 35,000 subscribers and almost 2 million views. I get such overwhelmingly positive feedback in the comments section and on social networks. It's a real confidence booster.
Have you any tips for would-be vloggers/impersonators out there?
More importantly than anything else I would just say to go for it. You could be waiting around forever watching everyone else do it. If I hadn't started uploading videos my life would be completely different right now. Most likely less interesting! Also, if you're making a vlog I would say to keep it short and to the point, be honest and try to be original. There are so many vloggers out there doing the same stuff as everyone else, week in and week out. It may be effective for gaining viewers but it's lazy and dreadfully boring.
Have you ever met a celeb in real life that you've impersonated?
I met the Viper from Hardy Bucks and Ryan Tubridy when I worked briefly for 2FM doing radio sketches. Also, Ricky Gervais replied to me on Twitter saying that my impression of him was "Very good indeed". That is one of my personal highlights. I love Ricky Gervais.
Would you like to make a career out of your talent?
I have already pretty much! I dropped out of college to do this full-time and between YouTube, Voice Over and acting gigs; this is what I do now. I also started a viral marketing company called Pixel Itch with one of my friends, Niall Hewson, who is a multi-media genius. He makes me look like a complete Luddite in comparison. We've worked for brands like Club Orange, JustEat.ie and IMC Cinemas already.
How did you get involved in the Sightsavers project?
I studied marketing for a couple of years before I dropped out and a few of my close friends from college are now doing their final year project which involves working for Sight Savers. They got in contact and asked me if I could help out. Once I met with Roisin from Sight Savers who explained to me what the charity does, I was in. Sight Savers are devoted to fighting blindness in developing countries and the thing is, it seems so preventable. There are literally millions of people who are needlessly blind. It seemed like something should be done! So naturally I dressed up like Robert De Niro and made a fool of myself. Take that blindness!
Seán recently made a video for Sightsavers Ireland impersonating Robert De Niro to promote the fact that 80% of global blindness is avoidable and to launch their new “Snap a Sight” photo competition where people are asked to submit an image of the sight they would miss the most if they were blind.
The First Fortnight festival will be back in January 2014 for it's fifth year of promoting positive mental health in Ireland. And this year SpunOut.ie are joining forces to bring you two awesome events to challenge mental health stigma and engage people around Dublin.
On January 4th, keep an eye out for Snapshot Of Us. The SpunOut.ie workshop with young people (aged 16-18) will create temporary art installation pieces, a viral public photography expo and a crowd-sourced music video. But it's not strictly 16-18s as SpunOut.ie will be asking the public to take selfies and share them on social media with the hashtags #spunoutselfie and #firstfortnight. The music video will be screened at the finale event which you can find out more about below.
To get involved: get your selfies going from the 4th of January and tweet/Facebook @SpunOut and www.facebook.com/SpunOut.ie.
You can find out more about SpunOut.ie’s work at www.spunout.ie. If you are interested in supporting and getting involved in the workshop please email email@example.com.
The First Fortnight finale gig, in association with SpunOut.ie, will see female duo, the Heathers, Come On Live Long, and Vann music rocking The Button Factory on Jan 11, 8.30pm. You can book your tickets now. For a full listing of events, check out FirstFortnight.ie.
Check out Forget Me Nots by Heathers below:
To Read When:
You are feeling a little inferior: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Whether it’s someone at work, a close friend or family member, we’ve all been in a position where we just don’t seem to measure up. Spare a thought then, for the narrator of Du Maurier’s story (who we aren’t even given the name of) who goes to live in her formidable husband’s estate only to be reminded at every turn of his late wife – the aforementioned Rebecca. This is first and foremost a suspense novel, and manages to beautifully build the tension over the course of the story.
You want/need to get motivated: The Now Habit by Neil Fiore
Procrastination: unless you have superhuman willpower, you will have fallen victim to it at some point or another. Well – fear not! This book is on hand to help. I am not normally a huge self-help book enthusiast, but for The Now Habit, I will make an exception. Importantly, not only does Fiore talk about the benefits of making and sticking to a work schedule, he also highlights the importance of balance – taking a well-earned break is key in ensuring top-notch productivity.
You’re in the mood for romance: One Day by David Nicholls
As with the self-help books, romantic novels aren’t top of my ‘to-read’ list, Nicholls tale however, is something a little bit different. It tracks two people – university friends who had a bit of a fling – over twenty years, catching up with them on one day in July to see how their lives are progressing. It’s a highly original idea for a story and will have you laughing out loud and crying buckets in equal measure.
Nothing beats a bit of fantasy: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
OK, so not one book, but seven. Nonetheless, if you haven’t already experienced the magic that is these books, I urge you to do so. Now. Whilst they can be enjoyed at any age, I will always be indebted to J.K Rowling for introducing countless children to reading. The books are not only gripping, moving and incredibly well-written; they also provide a comforting sense of nostalgia for those of us to whom the annual midnight bookshop opening is a much cherished memory.
A bit of literary cluedo is called for: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Christie is another author for whom I have a bit of a nostalgic fondness. Although I am not such an avid reader now, I highly recommend the majority of her books to anyone in search of an easy read. This particular one has the added benefits of an exotic location and the world’s best detective – Hercule Poirot himself!
You want something real: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
Although fictional, Filer’s experience as a mental health nurse in the UK is clear from his understanding of mental ill health. An engaging and emotional story, with well-rounded, vulnerable characters, this makes for a gripping, informative and highly emotional read.
You aren’t afraid to cry: Me before you by Jojo Moyes
What was that I said about not liking romantic novels?! Well, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, I suppose. This is another tear-jerker centring on a man who has been left paralysed in an accident, and the woman who goes to care for him. A story about love, friendship and forgiveness, this is not as light and fluffy as the title page may suggest. Never was the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its’ cover’ so accurate…
You want to be empowered: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Whether or not you are in fact a woman, I would strongly urge you to read this book. Told in a semi-autobiographical fashion, Moran gives us her feminist take on the trials and tribulations of life as a lady. As ever with Moran, it’s sharp, witty and gives you pause to think.
You want to let your imagination run wild: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
It’s been a while since I’ve read this intricate thriller, but I love it as much as ever. Telling the mysterious story of a young boy who picks up the last remaining copy of an old book, and spends years trying to unravel the mystery and intrigue associated with its’ author. Anyone who appreciates the joy of reading will fall in love with this compelling tale.
You have time to spare: (because you will NOT be able to put this one down): The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Boasting possibly the best opening paragraph of anything I’ve read to date, this book has too much going for it for it to be left unread. A former colleague recommended it to me, assuring me that I would soon be hooked – she wasn’t lying! A smart, stylish thriller/coming-of-age tale, the book tells the story of a group of college friends who – in search of enlightenment and eccentric genius –end up making a terrible mistake. I won’t say much more, except that I hope you take my advice and pick it up pronto. You won’t regret it.
What books would make your list?
“All I want for Christmas is…is…everything!” How can that be managed?
If you haven’t noticed already, the Christmas shopping season is approaching! Although it hasn’t officially kicked off (it starts off on 8th December!), but we all know it’s smart to start early. Before the day arrives, lets boil down to the nitty-gritty of financial management specifically for the festive season. Here are a few tried-and-true tactics that you should put at the back of your head when you’re planning for this up-coming celebration.
Money saving 101: Budget
Like all money saving related articles that you have read so far, the first item must be set a budget. It goes without saying that a budget shows you the frame and extent of your shopping, and help you eliminate or choose where, what and how to shop.
The art of making a shopping list
After setting a limit for yourself (that’s what the budget is for!), it’s time to map out a shopping list. This is for an apparent reason: to keep your shopping spree in check. We all know how tempting it is to over do your shopping; if I do not make purchases according to my list, most of the time I end up with half a trolley of things that are unnecessary. Big tip is to be practical and critical when you compose a Christmas shopping list, and go for things that you need instead of what you might want.
Before you finalise your shopping list and start action, take one extra step to save more! Look for discount offers around town to maximize the output of your budget. First thing to do is to pay closer attention to offers and vouchers in shops. To go further, start searching for online sources such as Amazon.com, eBay and online stores of brands. Many of them offer special discounts for the Christmas season; why not take advantage of this?
Good things come in small packages
The value of a gift lies on the meaning and love, the fancy, humongous and wasteful packaging means very little. It is perfect if the shop can gift-wrap your purchases for you, but if not, a simple paper wrap or a ribbon bow is always good enough; there’s no need to pack your gift in layers of papers, then place them in box after box. To be frank, sparing the fee for buying all those packaging materials helps make your budget more manageable!
What’s more exciting than creating some unique and one of a kind decorations and cards yourself? I remember during early December when I was young, my teachers in pre-school would bring my classmates and I out to the park to collect some pine fruits for making home-made baubles for the Christmas trees in my school. We would then apply glue to the surface of the pine fruit then dust it with colorful glitters for extra drama. Trust me, no one will notice that such a cool scene is made from scratch and almost cost nothing!
Another way to show your love and originality while saving some bucks is to draw your own cards. No, I’m not joking, and it is absolutely feasible. There’s no better way to overawe your friends and family with hand-drawn Christmas cards. Your cards don’t have to be perfectly sculpted or avant-gardes. After all, art is objective; just look at Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian’s art works, you would feel that you could be the artist too!
Tis' the season to be glowly...so why not spend a festive night out in Dublin for a good cause. On the 15th of December, in Fibber Magees (directions here) on Parnell Street SpunOutter Anna Kerslake is hosting a uv glow party for SpunOut.ie. Anna attended the SpunOut.ie Women's Academy earlier this year and has been involed with SpunOut ever since.
Why is Anna holding the event? She says: "SpunOut.ie is an online resource by young people for young people, between the ages of 16-25. It has articles on different topics relating to all aspects of life. Young people can get involved with the organisation by contributing their own work to be published on the site. SpunOut.ie works to give young people in Ireland a voice. It has helped and continues to help young people with issues that are important to them."
Tickets are available either by contacting Anna (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by donating on JustGiving.com
Here's one of our favourite dance tunes to get you in the mood. Don't forget to join the Facebook Event page too
We all know people who were an absolute disaster at doing exams - and now are running hugely successful businesses and are as wealthy as you wish. And the opposite: people who were brilliant at sitting exams, but whom it didn't work out so well for when it got onto the real things of life.
But as things stand, exams are part of the game of life. They're just that: a game. And like any other game, they have their rules and ways that you can learn to do well at them.
In training for any game, the most important thing is practice. Practice, practice, practice. You can know every page of the book, but if you can't get it down on paper within the required time you might as well not have bothered. And as anyone who has ever marked exams will tell you, the most important thing is that you answer the question: the question that is in front of you, not some other one you maybe wish had been there. This also comes with practice.
So, in these final few weeks the most important thing is to do masses and masses of practice papers. That's even more important than endlessly studying up new batches of facts. Exams are about exam technique, about getting very skilful at manipulating the rules of the game. That comes back to practice. Just like any other sport.
It is important that you take study breaks also and don't spend hours studying without a break.
The brain also has its own electricity. How well your brain operates depends on the efficiency with which the neurons communicate with each other: three trillion communications a second. Each one of these brain messages needs three specific B vitamins to happen: B6, B12 and folic acid. That's why the B vitamins are known as the stress vitamins. Because handling stress and good brain function are one and the same thing: stress breeds success.
B vitamins are found in whole grains (brown bread, brown rice) and especially in lightly cooked dark green vegetables.
So it's worth thinking about taking a good strong dose of B vitamin complex, both to handle stress and to up your brain activity. Good luck with the training...Go for it.
Physical activity can be a great stress reliever when you are studying hard. It releases endorphins in the brain and helps you to relax. Even a few minutes of daily activity will help when you are spending all day chained to the books.
Relaxation techniques can be very useful in the lead up to, and during, exams. They can help when you take a break from studying and also help you get to sleep. Relaxation could include taking a walk, listening to music or doing yoga or Pilates.
Plagiarism is a big problem in college and is taken very seriously. In this Internet age, students are often tempted to take essays off the 'net, but colleges have complex software to spot copied work. Remember, the lecturer who is reading your essay is an expert on the subject and can often spot stolen work a mile away. There is no problem about including the arguments of others, as long as you credit them in the essay and in your bibliography at the end.
We all need and crave different foods at different times of the year. You probably won’t feel like a big bowl of steaming stew in August, but it might just be the ticket for you in December.
So, here are some ideas for delicious seasonal grub.