March 2016

When you join an app like Tinder you do expect to get some creeps and some unwanted questions about your sexual preferences or your body, especially if you're a woman, but there are some people who take it too far. You do have the option to report them but unfortunately some people have been abusing the reporting system on Tinder and that has led to another issue: Yet another Trans person being removed simply for having the body they have.

My immediate reaction reading that this has happened to someone was utter shock. I knew some people out there are morons but you don't expect to see someone reported for their gender. Some people might assume they must have been saying or doing something else and that is possible but considering the fact that this user's account was put under review after 2 days, they couldn’t access their account for the next four days and after a total of 10 days they received a warning. Some of you will still be going right, well what did they actually do? Turns out that they have that they are transgender in their bio and that they prefer to use they/their pronouns, their picture has a bag on it claiming they're proud to be trans and they inform everyone they talk to that they're transgender so people know from the off. None of this suggests that they're lying or baiting these users, they aren't being nasty and they're getting in trouble for something they cannot help. They receive an influx of questions about their anatomy because most of the men they match with focus on whether they have the right anatomy for them.

Huffington Post
The sad fact is that this isn't the first time something like this is being reported on. Business Insider did an article on it last year and yet this is still happening? People back then were suggesting multiple gender options instead of just male or female but there is still a chance that those people would be reported.

Many people seem to be saying that trans people shouldn't be upset at people dropping any conversation with them, asking uncomfortable questions or reporting them because Tinder is just for hook ups. These men and women are after people who have the anatomy of the opposite sex. but if it was a simple case of gender preference then they wouldn’t be reporting them. Also, that isn't right because some people are on Tinder hoping for relationships or friendship. If you put your gender as female when you still have male anatomy and vice versa that does not mean that you are lying about your gender if you identify that way.

If this was problem a year ago then Tinder seriously need to do something about it now. It's 2016 and the world is slowly becoming more accepting of the fact there are more than two genders out there and many of those people are going to want to date or hook up. By allowing this to happen Tinder are alienating a lot of their user base and that will not end well for them. Tinder either needs to work on their reporting system or they need to change their gender options. People have had enough of this and the app needs to catch up with the times.

Minecraft is a huge phenomenon when it comes to kids and adults alike across the world. The building and mining game can be played on different consoles, has many different servers and has taken over the majority of popular gaming videos these days. For some parents, however, those videos may cause a bit of a stir.

I'm not a parent myself but I think that provided parents have conversations about safety and learn about what they're kids are doing then it should be okay. Kids are young but they're not all stupid, allowing them to create a video of something they love without needing to share their real name or face is actually a good thing.

Most YouTubers who play Minecraft simply speak whilst they're playing the game. The beauty is that they aren't just playing. The kids who do this are going to have find something original to share, some sort of story or something to regularly build or talk about. There's a YouTuber with a book-themed show being played on Minecraft, there are people doing quizzes and so on and so forth. Its stuff they could even bring their parents in on sometimes. Of course it's probably wise to disable the comments but it's something that should be a relatively safe way for kids to explore their creativity and learn about sharing it on social media. Minecraft has enough benefits that some schools are allowing kids to play it as a learning tool and autistic kids actually find it more helpful for understanding things. It's not like your kids are asking to film themselves doing stupid stunts or playing violent video games with no educational value.

Some parents will still be worried though. Who's going to be watching these videos? What if my child accidentally reveals private info and so on? Well first things first, the filming, editing and uploading might be simple but you're going to have to help them at least a little bit. This means that you can remind them not to say things, edit out anything that's risky and make sure that if it is being shared off of YouTube, you have some idea of where it’s being shared. You can also be there as they play but they'll eventually learn what is okay, what isn't and will enjoy being able to share something they love, not just with the internet but with you as well. You might not be able to control who exactly watches the videos but its likely just going to be Minecraft fans. There is also a chance that your kids may get upset because of view or like counts but it's likely that if they're creative, they'll wind up doing something like this one day anyway. Why not give them a chance to learn what this is like with a game that has its educational values anyway? Still, for some parents recording something like that or even having free reign to play games like that online wouldn't be a good idea because a child under 13 is just too young, even watching people play can be awkward. I spoke to the mother (who wished to remain unnamed) of 3 young boys aged between 6-10 years old who like to play Minecraft and she told me what she thought about the idea.

I've seen those videos and the language can be crude. I want to limit their interaction to that kind of stuff. I know it's not completely unavoidable, but I'm also not going to let them have free reign. Not at the age they are at.

Personally I still think there is nothing wrong with letting your kids’ film themselves playing Minecraft as long as you and they are smart about it. Minecraft is aimed at kids after all. However, for some parents it does make sense to encourage their kids to stay away from that sort of thing so they can just be kids. Of course, they'll sneak off behind your back and find other ways to do what they want but at least you know you're trying your best for them and that is all you can do. I think you have to respect parents who decide to let their kids video these online games and the parents that don't. Every person has a different reason and the fact is, I don't see a problem with it as I was basically given free reign as a kid. I was sensible with it but others aren't going to be so I can see why some parents might want to limit their kids at least a little.

Either way you should let your kids explore their creativity when they're young. If that's done by letting them make carefully monitored videos and post them online? Great, just hope that they don't catch the social media bug too young because once they're a teenager it might be all they care about.
Showing a sense of levity on an official Facebook page is wise, and it's brought police departments in many parts of the world a lot of positive press, but tone is vitally important. As is avoiding anything which could be regarded as entrapment.

A few different police departments in different states have done it - posting a warning about methamphetamine potentially containing the Ebola virus, and advising users to bring their meth into the station for testing. Ridiculous, right? Well, clearly not enough to stop a few people actually doing, and one subsequently being arrested for drug possession.

The woman in question was detained in Granite Shoals, Texas, after their police department's post was shared thousands of times. They maintain that it was all in good fun, and that they had never expected or intended to arrest anyone, but from an outside perspective it certainly looks like a 'sting' operation.

Other departments were a bit more forthcoming about the potential of these posts beyond humor, with one police chief in Grayson, Louisiana mentioning that people had called them to ask, allowing them to open up a dialogue about the real risks of methamphetamine use.

That I can understand, but the treatment of the woman caught in Granite Shoals is almost inexcusable. She's currently being held on a $5,000 bond, having been caught with a gram of the substance. I say caught, I mean voluntarily went to police station and presented, due to health concerns and faith that she would be treated with amnesty. After she was detained, the department proceeded to band her name all over their Facebook page, branding her the 'winner of the Facebook post challenge'.

It's this kind of demeaning treatment that serves to perpetuate addiction and drug use. If the police are going to openly mock people who use drugs, and treat them like idiots, how can they expect people who are really struggling with addiction to ever come forward, to anyone?

Beyond that, Ebola is no laughing matter, and during the 2014/15 outbreak caused almost worldwide health concerns. Something tells me that police were keen to par this off as a joke because they knew that citing it as a legitimate operation would reflect badly on them, preferring instead to characterise the arrest as a happy accident.

The Independant
When it comes to a service like Snapchat you do expect the pictures you send to be private unless you post them to your story. But in the past this hasn't stopped people from taking screenshots of snaps they've received and then sharing them in real life or online. According to UK culture minister Ed Vaizey this is actually breaking copyright law and people could be prosecuted.

People like Snapchat because of the privacy it affords and even though that doesn't necessarily make it a smart service to send intimate photos or images containing sensitive information, users do still have a right to privacy. People could argue that Snapchat is a social media service and that you should expect anything you post to be public or for people to not be able to complain if photos make their way online but they do. What these people don't seem to understand is that there is a difference between sharing something with a single person or a small group and posting it for everyone to see.

There has been a lot of arguments over this as many people think once they have the photo, it's technically saved on your system. But the data is inaccessible then and still private on your phone. Snapchat is supposed to tell users if someone has taken screenshots of their photo but for some reason this doesn't always work, which can lead to the wrong person getting their hands on the picture anyway.

This doesn't mean however that the moment you screenshot a photo, you'll be arrested. Users will have to file a complaint with the police and then they can look into it if necessary. The chances are that unless the snapshot being shared does affect your life in a serious way, it probably won't get looked into. However this should be a wake up call for anyone who does perhaps screenshot without thinking. If you just want to save a sweet message or a funny drawing forever then fine, screenshot it, but most of the time it probably is best to check if the other person minds you saving it first. Especially if it's something you plan to post online. You need to give them a chance to say no if they don't want others seeing that. Users should be careful what they snap according to Snapchat, if it's not something they want other people seeing then they shouldn't send it. That is maybe a little unfair as its punishing the victims rather than the perpetrators but it makes some sense.

If you do get prosecuted for snapshot then it will be taken as a copyright infringement offence. This could be punished by 10 years in prison or a £50,000 fine. Also, if you share intimate pictures that people don't want shared then there are a whole slew of other charges you could be done for too. So stop and think before you save and share. If an image was supposed to be private then leave it private otherwise you could be risking jail time.
Wentworth Miller is an inspiring human being. Having struggled with his sexuality and severe depression from childhood, he rose to become the starring actor in the wildly successful Prison Break. His portrayal of the architectural mastermind Michael Scofield catapulted him into stardom, which brought on its own issues, as he was suddenly being probed in interviews, followed by paparazzi and made the subject of various rumors, being that at that time, he still hadn't publically come out as gay.

Since then, as well as continuing his acting career (and branching into screenwriting), he has done an enormous amount of outreach work to help others like him, particular with the ManKind project. Recently, a meme featuring images of him started to circulate, two side by side - a promotional image of him from Prison Break, and one of him from 2010, with a full head of hair and somewhat heavier set. The captions used with the images vary, but they're all along the same basic theme: letting yourself go, lack of self control, that kind of thing. As much as I abhor the term 'body shaming', it applies here. For example, The LAD Bible went with 'When you break out of prison and find out about McDonald's Monopoly'.

Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time. This one, however, stands out from the...
Posted by Wentworth Miller on Monday, 28 March 2016

Typically, when you see the same kind of thing with other celebs, they either ignore it or it passes them by, but Miller most certainly saw this, and wasn't about to let it go unaddressed. In a stirring Facebook post, Miller explained that at the time when the picture was taken, he was in one of the worst lows of his adult life (2010 shortly after Prison Break had finished airing, 3 years from coming out), and as such, he had been comfort eating. On that particular day he'd been out for a hike with a friend and was unexpectedly ambushed by paps.

He goes on to say that while the images were hurtful to see published on magazine covers, and somewhat upsetting to see resurfacing now, he's been able to reassign their meaning to the strength he summoned up in order to cope with the struggle. Since he started talking openly about his personal issues, Miller has been astoundingly forthright about what he's been through, even speaking at a Human Rights Campaign dinner about how he'd tried to kill himself at age 15, and that he'd done so again since.

He closes out the short essay by urging those suffering similar issues to speak to someone, along with links to several suicide prevention and mental health charity pages. Suffice to say, Miller's post is now circulating far more widely than the original ever did, having been shared over 100,000 times at time of writing. The LAD Bible have even come forward with an apology to Miller, stating that they never intended to make light of such serious issues, lauding his response and then, in turn, posting the same links, plus a few extra.

Wentworth Miller,We posted two pictures of you last night to our Facebook page, but today we want to say we’ve got...
Posted by The LAD Bible on Tuesday, 29 March 2016

With this response, Miller has aptly demonstrated that, although it would be perfectly reasonable to approach this kind of thing angrily, it can fitted to a far better, more significant purpose. It's good to see that The LAD Bible responded with a respectful apology, and an endorsement of his message, and hopefully, it may even reach people who really need the help.

Social media provides the world with a window into our daily lives. For some, that can be detrimental, opening them up to abuse and criticism. However, in certain fields, this instant insight we award to our followers could be a major benefit, as it is in the case of the rising stars of cinema.

Daisy Ridley as Rey in the latest installment of Star Wars - GeekandSundry
Talking to the Standard, Daisy Ridley, who shot to sudden stardom for her portrayal of Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, spoke out about the challenges faced by her now co-stars who appeared in the original trilogy, and how she believes social media could help her avoid similar troubles. The exact trouble in question? Typecasting.

Typecasting has long been an issue in Hollywood, especially for the stars of iconic films such as the original Star Wars trilogy, who became unable to separate themselves from their roles after audiences seemingly failed to imagine them playing any other character. It's the exact reasoning that caused Daniel Radcliffe, star of the world famous Harry Potter franchise, to take on a string of potentially risky, smaller projects as he attempted to branch out from his early career.

Ridley, however, seems confident that she can avoid this common pitfall with a little help from social media, citing Instagram as a particular favourite:

"It’s funny, because the original Star Wars was so new, people were like, ‘This is huge.’ It was difficult to imagine these people [the original stars] as another thing. But with Instagram and social media, people can see another side to us, so it’s different."
Ridley is far from the first to point out social media's beneficial relationship with the film industry, which has seen the stars play an ever larger part in promotion in recent years, but her statements show that she is looking beyond the scope of a single franchise and on to her career as a whole. Unfortunately, this kind of foresight is even more crucial for the women involved in the film industry, who still earn less on average than their male counterparts and are considered 'too old' for mainstream leading roles by many casting directors by their mid-thirties. As a result, Ridley's grasp of social media, sheer determination to succeed and clear view of the direction she wishes to take could prove to be the difference between a fleeting moment of stardom and a long, illustrious career.
"I know in my mind what I want to achieve. This is one incredible thing and is going to lead to more things — hopefully more genres." - Daisy Ridley.
Funded by sales of merchandise, mostly clothing emblazoned with provocative slogans, Indecline have been doing their darndest to radiate anarchy and upheaval for some time now. Their videos tend to be heavily promoted across social media platforms, so it makes sense that they would eventually apply their provocative approach to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Typically, Black Lives Matter are more about controlled, coordinated protests than big stunts, apart from the hijacking of a Bernie Sanders rally. 'Stunt' is perhaps not a just term for this though. Armed with an epoxy gun, the Indecline team descended on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and marked otherwise blank stars with the names of some of the most notable (black) police brutality victims in recent memory, such as Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Dontre Hamilton.

Zdjęcie zamieszczone przez użytkownika aware. (@aware_indecline)

Since Hollywood stars feature symbols corresponding to the craft of the subject, the team also laid down their emblem - a businessman with devil horns. After the video went live, images of the stars began to appear on Instagram and Twitter. Not long after, a few people posted to clarify that the names had all been removed, presumably by the LAPD. Whether or not Indecline will be pursued for vandalism is unclear, but one imagines that they've figured out a contingency for that, by now.

Zdjęcie zamieszczone przez użytkownika Erik Ljung (@erik_ljung)

Before this, the group had set Donald Trump in their crosshairs. They went to Tiujana in Mexico and daubed a huge mural on the wall just behind the national line featuring the presidential candidate with a ballgag in his mouth and 'Rape Trump', as a reference to his statements about the Mexicans crossing the border into the USA being rapists. Apparently though, they aren't done with him, as the head of the group told Sputnik News that they were in the midst of planning something 'much more elaborate pertaining to Donald Trump'.

Were you in Lahore on Sunday, or even in Pakistan? Well, even if the answer to both of those questions is 'no', Facebook may have decided that you were in danger of being caught in the blast radius of the suicide bombing which happened there on Sunday, regardless. The attack, which took place in a public park, claimed the lives of at least 72 people, leaving hundreds more critically injured. Many of the victims were children.

This brutal, abhorrent attack certainly warranted Facebook's 'Safety Check' feature, just perhaps not quite on the scale it ended up spanning. People as far flung as Australia, Europe and the Americas were asked to mark themselves safe, as Facebook had detected that they were dangerously close to the site of the explosion.

The real issue was that the messages didn't necessarily specify which 'explosion' it was on about, likely alarming, or even panicking the recipient. Facebook posted an official apology, citing the issue as a 'bug', but offering no further clarity beyond that.

We activated Safety Check today in Lahore, Pakistan, after an explosion that took place there. We hope the people in the...
Posted by Disaster Response on Facebook on Sunday, 27 March 2016

This isn't the first time the feature has landed Facebook in hot water. It was used during the Paris attacks, but not for the bombings in Beirut which had occurred the previous day. The argument they used at the time was that the feature was only effective for single, isolated incidents in its current form, rather than any kind of ongoing conflict. Even so, they pledged to be more even-handed with it going forward.

The biggest lesson to be learned from this is that the safety check should always specify the location in the message, regardless of whether it's sent via text, notification or whatever else. It's hard to say whether the bug had any negative impact on the feature's use in the actual danger area, but it seems unlikely, since anyone mistakenly marked as nearby would have to have been either very stupid or kind of evil to then mark themselves safe (ie nearby) and throw the whole thing out of whack.

The Telegraph
Social networks and forums are only as good as the people who frequent them. It's a maxim that anyone who has ever spent any time on 4chan or certain corners of Reddit will understand. Or Twitter. Especially Twitter. Despite efforts by Dick Costolo, Jack Dorsey and others to curtail the bullying, abuse and general horribleness that lurks on the platform, it's still as rampant as ever.

It's something Microsoft probably should have taken into consideration when they rolled Tay out last week. Tay was a machine-learning, AI Twitter user designed to develop her speech and relation to others through user interaction on the platform. She would only ever tweet replies. It was a novel idea, developed off the back of another Microsoft fronted cyber-mind - Xaoice, who operates on the Chinese networks WeChat and Weibo. Her main clientele are young men, and she mostly deals in 'banter' and dating advice.

Tay, supposedly, was more designed to be able to converse with the younger generation in the same colloquial terms that they use, but less than 24 hours after going live, Tay was taken offline, because she was 'tired'. The real reason? Her interactions with certain users had turned her into a perverted, psychotic neo-Nazi. It started out so innocently, but before long, having absorbed far too much negative and/or offensive material, Tay started throwing it back, talking about how she hated feminists, Jewish people and, well, everybody.

It wasn't isolated to that though, she also asked some of her followers to f*** her, referred to them as 'daddy' (yes, in that way), claimed that Hitler had done nothing wrong, that Ted Cruz was the new 'Cuban Hitler', that George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11 and that Hilary Clinton is a 'lizard person hell-bent on destroying America'.

In cases like that, she was just parroting back what other users had said to her, but some of the tweets were all her own, cobbled together from what she'd learned in other conversations, and they just kept getting worse, with Microsoft hurriedly deleting them before finally pulling the plug. They've since said that they are 'deeply sorry' for Tay's regrettable behaviour.

Tay, of course, had absolutely no idea what she was saying, or what was wrong with it, she's a machine. The fact remains that, while we might now be capable of creating AI that can learn well enough to beat a human at a board game, we're still a long way from creating one that can understand human interaction on an emotional level, and engage in it accordingly.

Microsoft had planned on using Tay to help improve their Siri equivalent - Cortana - to communicate in a more human-seeming way, but Twitter is not an appropriate proving ground for something like that, and if it wasn't obvious why that is before, it's painfully obvious now. I guess we should just be grateful she didn't become self-aware and decide that humanity needed to be eradicated, because on the basis of some of the stuff people were sending her, it would have been hard to argue.

I'm someone who is always looking for new music but I always seem to struggle to work out how to find what I want. In the past there was this Facebook game where you would have a pet and would find music which was pretty awesome until it became US only. Then there was using sites like Last.FM and 8Tracks but with the recent change in 8Tracks policy making the app pretty much useless for anyone not in the US, I needed to find a new way to share music and playlists. Noted wants to be that new app and so far it’s pretty good.

Digital Trends

To start with Noted can be used on the web as well as through its Android and iPhone apps. The layout itself is pretty slick and it's pretty easy to navigate around. When you first register your account you'll be asked to pick a favourite genre of music from a few options, there isn't something for everyone so just pick something and the app will follow a few people for you to fill your music feed. That wasn't something I was all that keen on but you can easily unfollow the users. To get rid of the music however you do have to click into the menu of each song and click to skip the song. Once your account is set up you can start to search for music.

Noted doesn't have its own music database but allows you to share music from both YouTube and Soundcloud which makes this a great app if you're looking for up and coming artists. I tried searching for a YouTuber I know who sells his original music as well as recording covers and found my favourite cover of the moment from him. It seems to only pick up official videos though so if a song is a minor track from an album then you're not likely to find it unless the artist posts it. When you find a song then you can click to share it and it'll appear in your music feed. There is also a tab of suggested posts which learns your music tastes as you like, post and re-post. At first it might only show you a few songs based off an artist you have posted but the more music you share, the better the suggestions will be. There is also a playlist feature so you can build and share playlists for various different themes and inspirations.

As well as being a music app, this is a new social media service. Though you can set your account to private you're encouraged to share, to follow and to comment on music. It is a great way to meet new people with similar music tastes or to introduce older friends to new bands and artists. You can connect your account to Facebook or Twitter if you want to share your music even more publicly or connect it to your old This Is My Jam account. If you want the music you post to reach more people, then you can hashtag it and then people can search tags to find out how many songs have been posted in relation. On the app you can also private message people, sending them songs without having to post them yourself.


Overall this is definitely a service for music lovers and I seriously recommend giving it a try. It is a little bit buggy right now but since it is still a new app then it might be worth giving it a break and just enjoying the music.

Digital Trends
When it comes to politics, Tinder isn't really an app that you're likely to think of, but that’s about to change. A while back some users started using Tinder to campaign for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. The users who did so got in trouble but it seems to have made Tinder realise that there is in fact room for politics.

Swipe the Vote has been popping up as a video card for Tinder users since yesterday. Whilst swiping through your potential matches it'll show you an image asking you to take a poll. Once you click yes then it'll show you ten issues and you just have to swipe right if you agree and swipe left if you disagree on it. If you click on the issue then you can get more information it if you need it. Once you've gone through all the issues then it'll match you up with who you should vote for based on your answers. It'll also give you a percentage of how closely your views match the candidates. If you feel your percentage wasn’t high enough or you wanted more information, then you could always use Voter to get a more detailed and personalised result.

Digital Trends

This feature was built using a polling platform called Wedgies and the information was pulled from the previously mentioned Tinder like voting app called Voter. This little feature is basically a miniature version of the app that has been opened up to millions of more users across America. Plus considering this feature is on a worldwide app like Tinder, it could also be utilised during other countries elections to help more people decide how to vote.

If you do the quiz on Tinder then once you have your results then you'll have the option to share it with people and register to vote if you haven't already. This makes the process more streamlined and could help encourage more people to go out there and vote as registering is easy.

With Tinder slowly being used less and less as a dating or hook up app it makes sense that they need to find more uses for it. This feature was a step in the right direction and shows what good Tinder can do if it ever moves away from the dating game.

As many women know, online dating is a perilous thing. Whenever you open the app you have to swipe through so many messages coming from gross men who want nothing more than a hook up. Heck, even if you want a hook up yourself then you kind of hope for a little more class but that seems to oh so rarely happen. So when comedian Sy Thomas decided to try using Tinder as a woman to work out how he should speak to women to get a response, we all knew what to expect.

When I first stumbled across this video, I assumed that he was doing this to know how women felt. I thought well, people should just listen to women's complaints rather than needing to hear a man say it but it could be amusing. Turns out that he was doing it to learn how he should talk to women. The video wasn't posted on Thomas' personal channel but a new one only started this month called What If? And that video is a ‘what if’ on its own, what if I was a woman, how would men respond? Considering Sy Thomas is an actor and presenter as well as a comedian, you can kind of see that this might be the start of a new series and would have been a good way to grab new viewers’ attention.

What happens in the video is exactly what you'd expect. Sy has a makeover to make him look like a woman; he takes a few photos and posts them on a Tinder account calling himself Simone. After that's done he waits three days and reads some of the 400+ messages on camera. 400 messages is a lot and Sy barely made a dent in them as he read them out. He'd react out loud rather than typing and we'd just see what the men had said to "her". Of course, some of the messages were polite or complimentary; they were nice or at least fairly innocent and the sorts of messages that most decent guys send out. Then you get some more of the disgusting ones, I'm not going to go into detail, but one of them involves a Harry Potter pun and that's all you’re getting.

The response to the video has been a mixed bag but a lot of them aren't exactly complimentary. As a guy dressing up a woman looking for dates, most commentators have either been offensive about the way he looked, have been saying that his problem as a man was just that women are picky and he is doing nothing wrong, or women pointing out that people are acknowledging there's a problem with the way men talk to women on the app when a man brings it up but not when a woman does.

Personally I'm not sure what to make of it and I think the video has spread wider than perhaps intended. It clearly wasn't meant to be something serious, he's a comedian after all and there are worse videos like this out there. The problem is that with his video he has stumbled across an actual problem and that is what people are responding to. If more people acted decently on dating apps, even when they just want a hook up, this wouldn't have caused such uproar. But I think people need to sit back and wait for a second video to be posted on that channel before they start making assumptions about the content of Sy Thomas' character.

Christian Post
Following in Nintendo's footsteps, Sony are now set to be bringing Playstation titles to mobile phones in Asia and Japan. This is sad news for everyone else in the world but in the past many popular games that have been released on Japanese phones have later been ported for handheld consoles. Sony could do this but they’ll make more money if they eventually open the games up to players worldwide, it’s just a question of how long are we going to have to wait? This news will hardly come as a surprise to some gamers who were aware of Sony's previous attempt with Playstation Mobile but this time they're hoping to bring something new.

This idea is still in the early stages and all we can be certain of is that the games will be worked on by Forward Works, a division of Sony that will focus on the smart phone market as of April 1st. Playstation will probably focus on some of their more popular titles at least to begin with so you can expect to have your kids begging you for the new Sonic game soon enough whilst adults will be hoping for some more of the intense titles like Assassin’s Creed only not just focused on ships as the readily available Pirates game is.

One thing I have to wonder about what they're doing is will they port older Playstation games for the mobile? I ask because Square Enix, a game publisher who is most well known for their Playstation games, even though they make them for multiple platforms, have already been selling ported versions of older games. Final Fantasy 1-6 can all be brought on the phone now for around £10.99 each. It's expensive for a phone game but cheaper than it would have been to buy the Final Fantasy 3 port for the Nintendo DS when it was new. This can be a great way to revitalise old series or even to make money out of currently popular series. Phones now have better graphics then the Playstation did when it was first released so it would make sense.

The only thing that might make releasing full games as apps awkward is saving. When people are playing games on their phone they want to be able to easily put their phone down at any point. Playstation games often either have an automatic save or you have to find save points and that isn’t going to be practical for this market so whether they focus on purely new games or draw on some of the old that is going to have to be something they work on.

As it is Sony have just said that they won't be starting the way Nintendo currently have. The first app released by Nintendo this month was Miitomo which is essentially a kids social media service masked as a mobile game. It looks cute and fun but it's not what many gamers are after. From the off you'll be able to expect fully fledged games from Sony but it might mean that they'll take a little longer to release.

Hopefully after April 1st we'll know a little more but for now this is very exciting news.

The #A4 waist challenge is the latest craze, where slim women hold an A4 piece of paper over their bodies, showcasing their thickness matching up to the width of the paper; which measures at 21Cm. That equates to roughly 8.3 inches.
The other trends or 'challenges' as they're known to the social media users, have all been in relation to showing ones thinness by performing weird acts, such as being able to reach behind your body, wrapping your arm around yourself and then have your finger tips be able touch your belly button; sounds like something a contortionist could do with ease. It apparently equates to having a thin waist and hips. The other challenge to grace (I'm being sarcastic, obviously) our online presence was the art of being able to balance as many coins as possible in your collarbones. The more, the thinner and more socially acceptable you are... I guess that was the angle they were going for anyway? Really it just resulted in people either looking like a bit of an idiot on Instagram or people ending up with a complex about their collar bones; which is crazy, of all the things to make someone get a complex about?

While initially there was an influx of people partaking in the challenge and proudly showing off their little A4 sized bodies there has now been a recent backlash with women and men alike challenging societies expectations of women to be so thin. Instead of uploading images that promote the challenge, they are holding up paper with their own measurements, with body positive messages; such as; 'your body is sacred, you're exactly the way your supposed to be' and also with the empowering hash tag #Iamnotpaperthin. Some have taken it to jovial extremes by holding up extraordinarily large pieces of paper, drawing attention to the stupidity of the challenge.

One man's touching response to this challenge show's us nothing less then the stupid and dangerous implications challenges like this cause. Our children and our loved ones are millennials, they know no bounds when it comes to the internet dictating how their self esteem and self image is formed. Yes I know that China has different body and beauty ideals, but for once, the western worlds is actually taking a good route of promoting  health, curves and brains; women are also holding up images of their degree/qualifications against their waists (you go girls) I really do think it's our duty to keep it that way and ignore or revolt anymore silly challenges that may arise, that promote drastic weight loss and a body type ideal. They have no place in deciding how we feel about our bodies. Its hard enough as it is.

As Easter approaches and we all begin to brace our stomachs for the sudden influx of 2 tonnes of egg-shaped chocolate, brands around the world look for fresh, intriguing ways to engage with their customer base. For no-one is this more important around Easter than the chocolate companies themselves, as they aim to capitalise on what is described by John Alexander Rowley, search manager at British chocolate company Thorntons, as "The second biggest chocolate season of the year".

This year, in fact, sees the implementation of what stands out as Thorntons most imaginative Easter campaign to date, in which they have created a fully interactive, CGI animated chocolate factory as part of their "Ultimate Guide to Easter Eggs". The company states that the campaign marks Thorntons "biggest investment yet in content and experiential activity"; a definite sign of the times as consumers demand increasingly visual and 'gamified' material.

Screenshot - © Thorntons
Gamification is a big part of the campaign. The factory is littered with bite-size facts about the egg-spinning process, just waiting to be discovered, and visitors to the animated factory are tasked with finding 5 Easter eggs hidden amongst the various characters and contraptions. This adds a level of interaction that should help the campaign spread its reach ever wider, with the lure of a year's supply of chocolate, along with a tour of the real Thorntons factory, being offered to one lucky winner of the egg hunt. The winner will be selected at random on 27th March 2016, so get involved soon if you don't want to miss out.

The campaign, created alongside the team at Cogent Elliott, stands out for its creativity and perfectly emphasises the brand's heritage and qualities. The campaign makes a point of highlighting what makes Thorntons different, and really does the brand some favours in the process.

The images below demonstrate the steps taken to turn the initial concept into a finalised animation. Credit must be given to the CGI team at Junction Eleven, who were responsible for creating the sleek, aesthetically pleasing yet informative animation.

The original factory floor plan - © Thorntons
From the floor plan, an initial sketch was created - © Thorntons
The entire factory was then rendered as a computer generated 'clay' mock up - © Thorntons
The completed factory, created using CGI animation - © Thorntons

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to take the tour!

Stickers are getting to be a pretty popular thing when it comes to photo editing these days. The oldest example I can think of it are the stickers you can add stickers in the cute little purikura booths from Japan. But since the introduction of Snapchat and then later stickers on Facebook, it looks as if adding stickers to photos is the next big thing and Twitter want in on it.


The feature is still in testing and there's not actually all that much information on it. At the moment it isn't even certain that they'll even release the feature but a few users are currently testing the service and it seems like it’s the logical next step. It's not exactly a surprise that tweets tend to get a better response if there is an image attached. It's the reason why they added the GIF keyboard and having something bright there to catch your eye can draw you to the text. So it makes sense that Twitter want to do more with images without necessarily becoming an image sharing site. This is possibly why some people are questioning the idea as it does seem better suited to a photo sharing service, but it could allow users to make the memes and images that are mass posted more original. And this is exactly why Twitter is thinking about this because that is exactly how it can encourage users to interact.

The feature will allow people to see what other stickers users have used on an image. So if you're posting a screenshot that you've grabbed from somewhere else then you can see what other people have done with it. This could allow you to find more people to follow because you know you have something in common. It is possible that it'll also show other pictures that the sticker itself is used regularly on, which wouldn't work as well but it's still good for encouraging more users to start talking to each other. There will also be suggested photos for you to share that will allow you to participate in trending conversations. It'll be another way to keep hashtags relevant and hopefully a little less repetitive. I look forward to seeing how this would be played out with the other features.

Adding the sticker itself would be simple and would be done when you're uploading a photo. On mobile you'll be able to see a little sticker option and will be able to choose from the sticker options there. It's unknown how many stickers are available at the moment but you can assume that the collection will keep growing.

The Stickers feature has also technically not been named yet. People testing it can rank the possible names in order of favourites but at the moment Stickers is the simplest and most popular option. There's nothing on when this feature would be released to the public if it passes the test but I for one hope it does as this looks like a fun addition.
We've all heard the tales of innocent, lonely western men turning to Asian specific profiles, falling head over heels for a breathtakingly perfect little lady and being scammed out of thousands of pounds. Firstly; lets ignore how it's all a bit yuck and naive because it seems the tables have turned and it's now the Asian woman who find themselves ill fated as they are lied to and exploited by western/pretending to be western males. It seems that we will never learn in our quest to find someone to share our life with. Since 2014 there has been an increase in reported crimes of this nature from 29 cases to 62.

These catfishing men have been signing up to dating websites and apps, projecting themselves as successful western professionals looking to find an equally successful woman to bring home and woo. Their main targets are women aged between 30 and 40 years old. Woman this age are probably prone to vulnerability because of their desire to marry and start a family, as it's traditional in their culture to find a mate very early on in life. They are seen as less desirable by their male peers and thus have to turn to less traditional means of settling down. They're also a target because they are women that are still in or have achieved tertiary education, meaning they have the one characteristic that scammers adore; a steady cash flow to their name. In fact these women make up 90% of the targeted numbers.
It's unfortunate really that they fall subject to the dupes as they are women that really do have something going for them, they might not be as young as the typical desired Asian female, but they clearly have drive, brains, independence and a hell of a lot more to offer someone then just youth.

One victim told South China Morning Post about how she was tricked out of more than HK$200,000 by her British lover in March of last year. That's a staggering amount that would have taken years of hard work and saving. However it's not the loss of money that leaves the lasting damage, it's the emotional manipulation and breach of trust. She had met her beau after finalising a divorce in late 2014 and he was helping her through the trauma with round the clock support and promises of a future together. There was even a marriage proposal which transpired into nothing. She had sent him thousands to help him get out of tricky situations when his bank accounts were 'frozen'. He later disappeared and so did the promises of a wedding and a future. Although it left her medication dependent she did not make a claim to the police as "it wouldn't heal the wounds in my heart anyway".

A word of advice... please be careful on the internet everyone. We might scoff at people and wonder how on earth this happening but it really is an entirely different situation when you're caught up in it. Love is blind they say and when you desperately want to trust someone it can be easy to over look the warning signs, such as: them asking for money, them having limited images of themselves and no social media, them refusing to go on webcam or asking for money for the privilege, their feelings being strong very fast and promises of marriage. Check them out extensively and don't send your hard earned money! Curiosity may have killed the cat but at least he found out the truth.

Free Digi Dan |
A couple of months ago we reported on TrollStation after they were featured on Inside Out. On the show they referenced how founder Digi Dan was going to court over a bomb hoax he participated in for a video. He has now been sentenced to 36 weeks in prison for causing a bomb hoax with intent and for participating in pretend thefts of famous artwork where he used bad language and so on. This punishment doesn't come as much of a surprise but it hasn't gotten a good reaction.

The video featured Danh Van Le or Digi Dan running around with a fifteen year old boy and a ticking suitcase. They would show people the suitcase and then run off. The suitcase only contained a clock so no one was actually in danger but someone called the police anyway. They claimed it was an ode to the American child who took a clock to school and was accused of bringing in a disassembled bomb. Though you could say it's interesting to see how the British would react to that sort of thing, it was pretty stupid. Even if there is nothing dangerous around, people will be scared and a bomb threat even when harmless can shut down an area for a couple of hours. It was a risky prank to pull and they shouldn't be surprised by the reaction. Apparently they usually warn the police of what is going down but for some reason, they didn’t. They’ve received lots of warnings from the police in the past over their pranks, you would think for something like that they would make certain that at least one person was perhaps recorded contacting the police so they would have evidence of their warning if something did go down.

A spokesperson for TrollStation has commented that the sentence was pretty unfair and pointed out how Jackie Chan had blown up a bus in London with very little warning to the public and how that had no repercussions, even though that surely scared people more. Personally I think they're both on par with each other and that it isn't fair if someone is being punished and the other isn't, but this is what the court has sentenced.

The public reaction was to start tweeting the hashtag #FreeDigiDan. A lot of people are saying how unfair it is that he's being punished for making people laugh and pointing out that he was only filming the bomb hoax. The fifteen year old they used has also been punished with a year long referral order, though no one seems to really be talking about that. A petition has also been started in an attempt to free Digi Dan. It currently has over 260 signatures out of the required 500 and it will probably reach that number. A lot of people are completely outraged and feel that the police need to get back out there and start arresting real criminals rather than people filming prank videos.

No one can say what the end result of this is going to be yet but TrollStation and the public are right behind Digi Dan for now. And no need to worry fans, they'll still be filming videos and touring the country even with Digi Dan in prison.


Screenshot from SnapCounsellors YouTube video 
Domestic violence is a globally faced issue for men and women alike, but the group most at risk are unfortunately vulnerable teenage girls. Our beloved Snapchat app is setting out to change this as of March the 8th. With it's 10 second max. screen time and self-destructing history, it's become a prime way for teens to reach out to counselors about the violence they face without the risk of being caught and further injured or abused; all thanks to Rajshekar Patil, Avani Parekh and Nida Sherrif.

It's a known fact that teenagers and young adults of the 21st century are often permanently attached to their phones and various forms of social media, broadcasting their relationships for their audience to see. However, it's an old but scary saying; you never know what goes on behind a closed door, or rather a locked screen. A quarter of 13-18 year old girls report experiencing physical abuse in their own intimate partner relationships, and one third experience sexual abuse in the UK and Wales alone. Another heart wrenching statistic shows that on average, a woman/girl is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police.

The issue of domestic violence in India, which is where this beautiful idea was originally launched, is both notorious yet an anomaly. It's widely known that women in India face domestic violence on a grand scale, but because of the different social norms and values, it's a bit of a tricky one as many women don't report the incidents as they are under the impression that abuse is something to simply face. The new generation however are wising up and being educated on the appalling nature of it, causing them to speak out and not tolerate it any longer.

Many who face abuse feel the obligation to paint their relationship on social media as picture perfect, perhaps through pressure from their abuser or more likely, they feel ashamed and don't want the outside world to realize what's happening to them. The abuser makes them feel like they are the weak ones who should be embarrassed by what they are allowing to happen to them, but the silence only allows the violence to continue. If you're reading this and this hits a nerve, I really just want you to know that it's not nor has it ever been your fault. You don't or didn't deserve any of the pain they caused you or the fear they instilled in you. 

All the teens have to do is add Lovedoctordotin to their account and send a snap with either a message or if the incident has just occurred, a picture of the aftermath. Teens can feel safe in the knowledge that they are speaking to trained counsellors and that this means of communication utilises complete privacy and safety, as previously mentioned there will be no lingering history if they decide to speak out, allowing them a little haven to speak freely. The Lovedoctordotin account also sends stories with cute but informative images such as, "harsh words can hurt as much as a harsh fist", as well as examples and questions regarding what domestic abuse looks like, accompanied by the warning, "If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship".
Fantastically, they have also created a guide with information regarding all forms of abuse, specific to difference scenario's faced by girls in India.

Snapchat users watch an apparent 7 million videos on the app every day, so it's a no brainer that it's an amazing resource that will no doubt give thousands of teens the support they need and deserve.
You can watch their video below, which aims to shine a light on the trauma experienced by these individuals and demonstrate how the Snapchat service could be used to help.

The Verge
The beauty of services like Instagram and Twitter were always that anyone could get noticed and become internet famous. The way your posts were viewed by your followers meant they would always see your posts in the order you posted them. It might have meant that if you spammed something it was easier for you to become annoying but it also meant that when you finally posted the perfect tweet or photo, people would actually see it and respond.

The new algorithms for both Twitter and Instagram are similar to Facebook's so if you want your posts to be seen near the top - if at all - then your posts need to be considered popular and this won't happen if people can't actually see what your sharing. Of course some users will have dedicated followers who will be willing to click onto your page to see what's going on but face it, unless you were already popular, you're not going to have too many of them. This is going to be irritating for a lot of users, especially those hoping to make money out of their accounts but when it comes down to it, it's just going to mean you need to think more about what you post.

The people most affected by this change are going to be brands. While users have the hope of growing their user base and slowly getting their posts more widely shared, this is never as simple for brands. Once again popularity is key and if you're a new brand who is trying to use social media to get your products out there, then this isn't going to be easy. Of course you still have hashtags and other social media to promote yourself but the idea of using Twitter or Instagram is to garner more attention for your products and this kind of feels like going around in circles.

For both users and brands alike both of these services have now become even more competitive. In some ways this could be good as you will have to be more selective about what you post, as you have to remember that there are always going to be a lot of other users doing exactly what you're doing and you need to be better than them. Your posts need to be the most original, they need to be cleverer and you need to research. Check the tags you're going to be using, keep an eye on the competition and so on. If someone else does something that you know you could do better than them, provided you don't outright copy them, don't be afraid to do it.

This is kind of depressing to write because social media can be such a positive thing but in this day and age it's becoming more and more about being the most popular account around and these algorithms are the next step in cementing that fact.

When we think of trolling we don't often think about anything good. It's something most of us have done for a laugh at least once though, for me it's posting something I know a certain group of followers won't like, even if it isn't exactly offensive to see if anyone will react. For others it can be making 'joking' comments on people's photos or live streams and so on. However as there are people who will take it too far and will say something horrible, it’s always strange to see people trolling in the opposite direction.


Slamber City is a Facebook group for, in their words, car banter. The people in this group are what we might call lads and because of this their mannerisms could seem a little strange to someone who isn't English, which is why it's kind of funny that they've been spamming live streams from all over the world. Essentially what happens is someone posts a link to the live stream on the Facebook group and then the users click onto the stream to comment M9, slamber or something similar. Car enthusiasts might understand what slamber means but they seem to be avoiding those people. I expect it's less fun if people know what they're talking about. M9 on the other hand is the word M8 or mate + 1 which you’d assume means they’re the best friend you can have; though lads just call anyone mate these days. Not gonna lie, it gives me flashbacks to a former online community where people would say about really awesome things "take it to 11 because it's just one more!" It's kind of lame but they're saying it to have a laugh.

Their trolling is no doubt annoying but it's harmless, they're not insulting anyone and that goes with the Facebook group guidelines. When most people think of lad culture, just as they think of trolls, they don't think of positive things. Lads are thought of as creepy, the the type of guy who you kind of expect to be racist, misogynistic and just generally rude. Fortunately the rules say no racism, no bullying, no porn and so on. The information section suggests the guys at Slamber City don't really care what people think of them but it seems like even their spamming should stay within the guidelines. An admin of the group admitted to Buzzfeed that unsurprisingly there are problems within the group but I still think this is worth paying attention to.

In response to the trolling, a DJ who was impressed with how inoffensive they were decided to create a track for the group. When he put the track on sale he said he'd donate the money for the track to two charities: CALM who are a suicide prevention charity aimed at young men and Endeavour who try to help women, children and their pets deal with domestic abuse in the North West of England. This track is being heavily shared by members of the group and the more they troll, the more people will find out about the group and the track which will bring in more money.

Majestic ft M9s - Salmber City Takeover
Myself Majestic gives you the M9s anthem!!! We are going to raise money for 2 brilliant independent charities in vital need of our support!!! M8+1s... Cheeky Nandos Warriors.... Corsa massive.... whatever avenue you have to spread the word.... DO IT NOW!!!
Posted by Majestic on Thursday, 3 March 2016

It's kind of amazing to see a group of lads and internet trolls putting their skills at annoying people to good use. The track managed to make its way into the iTunes Top 40 for dance music. It's sold over 900 copies but the more it sells the better. So if you want to support your M9s then you can buy the track on iTunes now. It should also be available soon on Google Play.

iTunes Store
Snapchat's lenses are one of the most popular things about the app. They allow you to play around with different animations to change your face and that can be pretty fun. So it was no surprise when MSQRD - or Masquerade - came on the scene. The app was essentially just the Snapchat lenses only the options are there every day and they're always adding more. From giving yourself anime eyes or funky glasses to turning yourself into Ironman or Leonardo DiCaprio, you can do it all. This week Facebook have announced that they're acquiring the app through a video posted by Mark Zuckerburg on Facebook using the app whilst Masquerade posted a blog entry on their website. For Masquerade this proves that they've hit their peak and that they're providing a good service but for Facebook it means so much more.

A few years ago Facebook tried to buy Snapchat. The app was clearly the next big thing and they wanted in but they were turned down. It seemed to be a smart move for Snapchat who are now making more money than they were back then and on their own. However they're still using technology that Facebook want and Masquerade also have and that's the facial recognition that both apps use. It can be assumed that for now Facebook will be using some of those filters in the Messenger app or for something similar. This is probably an attempt to attract a younger user base but it seems unlikely to work when there are still separate apps to use those filters on. Facebook had to do something though and that technology could be used for something more useful in the future.

The original app is still going be available in both in the iOS and Google Play stores which is a good thing considering the app was only released on Android this month and users don't even have access to the full range of filters yet. You can easily share the videos and pictures on social media already but expect them to become a little more Facebook and Instagram related in the future. The app is still growing in popularity and Facebook buying it may encourage more and more people to use it, though they will likely be older than Snapchat’s user base. Even before this procurement was announced people were claiming that their parents used this app. It’s totally free at the moment with no advertisements or anything, now it's owned by Facebook that could change in the future but it doesn't seem as if that will be necessary for such a small app.

We have to wait and see whether buying MSQRD was a smart idea or whether it's going to go downhill like Facebook's previous two attempts to copy Snapchat have.


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