#BEDM14: Raindrops On Roses…

I happen to use six different kinds of social media on my phone. They’re a bit like supermarkets in a way. They’re all very similar, they all offer very similar things, but each of them are just slightly different.

I’m going to use this blog to tell you my favourite thing about each of them

 

LinkedIn – The Boring One

I don’t mean to be rude, but let’s face it, by design it’s the corporate side of social media. All a bit serious, all a bit po-faced. Not gonna be many drunken selfies on here, and if there are, you’re probably doing it wrong.

The good thing about it, though, is it gives me the chance to dream. I can see an amazing job across the other side of the world and I have a shared connection with the person who posted the job.

Maybe, just maybe…

 

Grindr – The Slutty One

Ok, so this one doesn’t actually live on my phone. At the moment. I briefly downloaded it again on Saturday night, before deleting it quickly again on Sunday morning.

Grindr’s great for meeting new guys… when you’re in a town or city larger that Swindon.When you’re in Swindon, it’s just full of guys you’ve already dated, or already rejected.

It’s perfect for when you’re on your own in a new town. Doesn’t just have to be about sex, but it can be if that’s what you want.

 

Instagram – The Arty One

Hot guys. Blokes that take nearly naked selfies of themselves. That’s one – amazing – side of Instagram.

The other side to it is it allows me to fool myself into thinking I’m a photographic genius. Real photographic geniuses probably hate it, probably think it’s a watering down of their art, but I love it.

I don’t like photos of me, but I like more of them since I discovered Instagram

 

Snapchat – The Silly One

I don’t like photos of me, and I like them even less since I discovered Snapchat. But they delete themselves after 10 seconds – hurrah!

Snapchat allows us to have a bit of fun with our mates, and its disposable. It doesn’t matter if we don’t look quite right (or if we’ve taken a picture of something we shouldn’t have), it’s just a bit of messing about.

 

Facebook – The One You Wish Wasn’t There

Facebook feels like the one that you keep because you feel you ought to. It’s quite handy to have around, mostly because it helps you keep track of birthdays of people. In short, Facebook keeps in contact with people so you don’t have to.

The added benefit to Facebook is that you can look at people used to know and feel good about yourself because of how fat they got.

 

Twitter – The Popular One

Twitter kind of has the best bits of all pieces of Social Media. Mess around with your mates. Make business connections. Keep in contact with old friends. Meet new people in new places.

Most importantly, look at pictures of hot guys with their tops off.

Twitter stops you from being lonely. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you are. There’s usually somebody, somewhere doing the same thing as you. You can have quick disposable conversations, or you can really make some good friends.

Best of all, there’s a 140 character limit – you don’t have to put up with people wanging on about anything for very long.

 

 

In summary, social media’s great. But actually, the social aspect of all of these have existed for a long time before smart phones were even invented. The media element just makes it more accessible, more efficient.

Sometimes it’s good to put the phone down, grab a glass of wine, and go and sit outside with a friend.

(And look at hot guys with their tops off)

Prompt: Six of your favourite bits of social media

BEDM14: What’s The Problem?

Yesterday I posted a rather flippant post comparing Facebook and Twitter to having kids. The reason for avoiding the prompt ‘Facebook or Twitter?’ was because I feared the resulting blog would end in a diatribe not against Facebook, but more the people that use it.

I’m still not going to go into it, I don’t want to upset anyone just to make an interesting blog. There’s plenty about what people do on Facebook that annoys me, but to be honest it probably says more about me, than it does about them. I could go on and on and on about some of the things that people do and their response would most likely be: What’s the problem?

That’s what this blog is about. It’s my ‘What’s the Problem?’ to something that I recently read in the latest issue of Attitude magazine.

It was an opinion piece by Iain Dale, there isn’t an online version that I can find, so you’ll have to buy a copy of the magazine to read his full article (But why wouldn’t you? There’s a lovely picture of Ben Hardy aka Peter Beale off of EastEnders on the cover).

It is an opinion piece, and I can’t stress that enough, because if it’s his opinion, then that’s fine. He’s entitled to it, but I’m entitled to disagree. It was subtitled Where are the ‘normal’ gay people on TV?

Dale makes a lot of really good points. The article in itself is questioning why sexuality is used as an adjective, as if it’s something that defines a person. He notes that he was described in The Observer as ‘Iain Dale, the gay Conservative candidate’.

Conservative candidate should be a suitable enough label for him – unless the article in itself (Dale doesn’t mention what the article was about) was specifically around gay issues, in which case the label of gay would add context to the article.

There are two sections of his piece that I object to.

Even EastEnders, the show which broke new ground in the late 1980s by screening the first fay kiss fell for the gay stereotype ‘Muscle Mary’ character, Christian

And then later:

One of the few places on TV where you find completely ordinary gay people is in the news. I say ordinary – they are generally extraordinary people, but the thing they have in common is that most people wouldn’t even know they are gay

There are many kinds of homophobia in this world, and the one we all object to is heterosexuals discriminating against homosexuals simply for the fact that they are homosexual.

What troubles me is when homosexuals discriminate against other homosexuals.

If I was a young gay boy reading a copy of Attitude Magazine for the first time, I would be troubled by Dale’s opinion piece. His unconsidered us of the word ‘normal’ is troubling.

What he is linking normal to is people not being able to tell that they are gay. What he is linking normal, whether he intends to or not, is being able to pass as straight.

What he’s actually saying is that these people – and he lists several examples – are not camp.

The people he lists, among them are Clare Balding, Evan Davis and Paddy O’Connell are people that don’t make you ‘automatically think ‘gay’’ but then he goes onto qualify that in O’Connell’s case he would ‘make an exception but only when he’s presenting the Eurovision semis’

Dale wants less camp people on TV. And that’s ok. But it’s not ok to infer that these people are not normal, or that they don’t exist.

Christian Clarke from EastEnders may well be a Muscle Mary stereotype. But these people exist. They deserve a place on our television screens.

I’m not exactly butch – I have a slight wiggle when I walk, and I know my way around a well-timed eyebrow raise – so Iain Dale’s article hits home slightly.

I recently was speaking to a chap on Grindr. Lovely guy, liked him quite a lot, but he told me he didn’t like camp guys. This led to a discussion in my office among a couple of them, where we agreed that on the scale, I’m probably a six – that means I’m not whole row of tents, but I’m more than just a one person pop-up.

I worried over meeting him, I thought he would immediately take offence if I spoke with a slightly higher voice than he, or if I ordered vodka tonic instead of a beer.

I probably shouldn’t have been worried, he was camper than me, not by much, but if I’m a six, then he was a seven – that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that I did get worried about it. I worried about changing who I am.

It’s 2014. We shouldn’t have to worry about hiding ourselves away and trying to be ‘ordinary’ so that people don’t know we’re gay.

It’s fine to campaign for a wider representation of gay men and women in our media, but we need to stop using the word normal when we mean non-camp.

Prompt: What’s the Problem

Pass the Gin

I mentioned in a previous post – at least I think I mentioned it, if I didn’t, then I’m mentioning it now – that a friend/colleague/flatmate of mine once said that I was too social to be a writer.

His view was that a writer is one of those people who sits inside, burrows themselves away and stays alone for months at a time, pouring their heart into their work – and likely, pouring gin into their mouths.  Simon romanticizes the process – and, there is likely nothing more romantic to him than being able to drink from morning to night.

But I disagree (not about the gin part). I like going out, of course I do, but there are some weekends where I get home from work at 6pm on a Friday night and don’t leave again until Monday morning. Even on these weekends, I often get little to no writing done.

It’s not because I’m too social, it’s because I get too easily distracted. Twitter. Facebook. The Simpsons: Tapped Out. The complete box set of Lost. Ironing. Painting the hallway. The flatmate (it’s a small flat, and he has a big mouth).

I recently deleted twitter from my phone. Not because of any misguided notion that without it I would become a 10,000 word a day writer, but because I just felt like I needed a break.

I did think that coming off twitter would give me a little extra time. But I’ve just found other distractions (Game of Trones, Grindr, this blog).

The trick to it is having a routine – and having one that you can stick to. I’m slowly trying to find one that works for me, but it’s difficult. Even if I do get all the little irrelevant distractions – life just gets in the way.

I will go back to twitter at some point – maybe soon – maybe I already have by the time I’ve posted this, because quitting it is not the secret to writing a bestseller.

I’ll try to give up some of the distractions and settle into a proper writing routine, but in the meantime, I need more friends on The Simpsons Tapped Out – I’m bertypop – add me!