Thursday, 27 October 2011

Dandelion-ing-Out: A Social Media Rant

I sit, with my classmates around me. They pound their keyboards, similarly to the way my Grandma used to pound dough when she used to make us perogies.

They all feverishly type away at whatever required blog post we have to do this week for our CreComm Public Relations class.

The long list of topics sits in front of me; “We still need to be on TV to be famous?” “Why Twitter will endure,” “We are the media.”

I sit here, wishing I had a coffee because the thought of thinking of how social media has affected life before nine AM is enough to put me back to bed.

Right now, I live for school, and my program largely based off of social media, which I understand the importance of, use multiple times a day, and in truth, love.

However, ever since the first time I logged onto Facebook when I was in grade eleven; somehow my whole world or rather, the whole world has changed.

Riots, flash mobs, shopping, advertising, news stories, dating and even bullying; all has changed because of social media.

And in turn social media became, and is one of the most talked about subjects in every newspaper, internet story or nightly broadcast.

We watch election coverage on TV in Manitoba, and we have to turn to the live Twitter feed to find out what people are talking about (what’s “trending”), during the nightly newscast.

Twitter has nearly become the weather forecast.

Somehow it doesn’t seem healthy when dating someone, to check their, or have them check my Facebook page to find who is posting on it, who I’m tagged with, or what their status updates are. Although, I know a lot of people who constantly check their significant other’s page just to be sure their ex, or other “threatening” people aren’t posting on it.

“He updates his status, but he never returned my call, at least I know he’s still alive.” (Barf. This could be a blog post on its own: People that use social media as a way to dictate how their relationship is going).

I understand that social media is an infinitely altering and amazing thing, and it truly is remarkable to be able to reach out to anyone in the world, to write something that possibly hundreds or thousands of people can read within seconds.  I understand that lives and careers can be altered for the better or for the worse from using it.

 I just don’t think that the world has wrapped their heads around the fact that this is just the way it is, and that we need to stop putting so much weight on social media.

Twitter, Facebook and blogs aren’t going away, however, why do we, as media broadcasters, media consumers and media junkies, need to put so much importance on it?

I understand why I personally need to be involved with social media.  In order to have a successful career in either Public Relations or Journalism, I am going to have to exhaust every social media outlet.

But, since becoming a student, I have gone on Facebook less, tweeted things that are more ‘user friendly,’ and blogged less about the one thing I know most about and love; my city.

I am excited to live in a world that just accepts social media for what it is. For it not to be such a “new” thing, that everyone must talk about within every given opportunity.

But, until then, I should have my coffee before nine AM and continue to try to understand that my blog rant is not going to change how much the world worships social media.

In the words of Marshall McLuhan “The Medium is the Message,” and in the words of Puff Daddy “We ain’t goin’ no where.”

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

WASTER- Winnipeg Metal Band

My hands were freezing by the time I finished my second king-can in the back alley beside Mondragon. My friends were passing around a water bottle full of whiskey and coke.

 We were wearing our most appropriately "metal" outfits, as we waited for the headlining band, WASTER, to start.

Rocking combat boots, black nail polish and cut up t-shirts; we chugged the remainder of booze and entered the basement venue, “The Death Trap”, below the FYXX in the Exchange District.

The guys of WASTER were already set up, they checked the equipment one more time, and walked around the floor anxiously. They were ready to start.

We found a place on the right side of the stage. Only, The Death Trap doesn’t have a stage, only a rug on the floor and large stacked speakers separating the crowd from the band. 

The walls are concrete and are painted black with glow-in-the-dark spray paintings of cats and demon faces painted on them.

The anticipation in the room started to rise as the audience swarmed towards where the band was set up.
The lead singer, Nick Weibe, grabbed the Mic and stepped up onto the small platform. The platform only put him only a head taller than the rest of the crowd.

He screamed out the first couple lyrics to the song, as the rest of the band jumped full gear of the first song.

The crowd was already sweaty, they started to push and shove each other; the mosh pit commenced.

We were in The Thunder Pit.
WASTER, is a five-piece metal groove band from Winnipeg. They were recently signed to Gold Stock Records, and release their first 10 song-album “Thunder Pit.” This past week was the kick show for their 9 gig Western Canada tour.

Michael Fardoe and Nic Herzog’s quick riffs, Tim Halbert ripping bass, Casey Fiorante’s heavy drums, and  Nick Wiebe’s tearing voice come together to make a full bad-ass sound.

If you get the chance to check these guys out, at The Death Trap or elsewhere, I strongly suggest going. Even if you aren’t the biggest metal fan, the energy this band gives off is worth checking out.

Their album is also available for download on iTunes.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Short Story I wrote at Bus Stop about WPG

My poor city; her limestone face stained with the memories of what she used to be. “The Gate Way to the North,” “One Great City,” “The Chicago of the North,” you wouldn’t have believed these were her nicknames before the Panama Canal was built.
 Maybe that’s why this city meant so much to me; she and I could relate so well. We both were exposed; still living out our lives in the day light, but the bare bones of heart aches are apparent for all to see.  At night we were left to stand, cold and tired waiting on eventual winter morning light.
                Her citizens were just as tired as she was, they would pass as quickly as possible from destination to destination, clutching their roll up the rims, hoping to catch a break.  The winter nights would stretch on long into the winter mornings; sometimes it seemed no end to the season was in sight.
                The winter I returned home, I would cower in the bus hut that smelt like wet Big Macs, slightly willing the bus to not be late today. While I waited, I would try to ignore the homeless guy staring at my iPhone, at the same time, trying I would my own guilt of owning one.
                Having a broken heart could be the second worst part of living in the Paris of the prairies during the winter months. The worst is having to step outside your door every morning; to have your breath instantly taken away by the wind, your eyes tear incessantly as your face into the neck of your jacket- I’d take a broken heart any day over having to deal with that shit for the rest of my life.
                Waiting in that bus hut day after day, I would think of him while I would slowly lose feeling in my fingers and toes. I didn’t see the point in pining over him anymore, so instead I would just create scenarios in which our lives may have been different; if I hadn’t fucked that guy after the punk show, maybe I chose not to send that e-mail, sometimes I never get on the plane. The end result was always the same: get home from school, put on my slippers with the grippies on the bottom, eat Chunky soup and talk on the phone for hours to my friends that I never got to see.
Livings to forget a memory is like walking on hallow floor boards; with each step you’re anticipating the possibility of falling through. Some of the memories are so heavy; they cause the hardwood to snap under your feet.  Walking becomes difficult when you’re always afraid of falling.
And so the winter months passed me by, and spring came around at some point without my recognition.  My heart never mending but the resilience to the memories became stronger, instead of my fingers freezing with the thoughts of what could have been, instead, they started to thaw and the sun began to last longer in the sky.
                Planes flew through the sky to destinations I wished I was going. But I am was there, in the bus-hut, but at least I wasn't alone.  My city was and always will be with me.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Downtown Progress Hindered by Air Canada

If you have read my blog before, then you may have noticed my fascination, and sometimes mixed feelings about downtown Winnipeg.

In other posts, I have mentioned how I had a slight stigma with my past memories of downtown Winnipeg. However, I would also like to point out that I have mentioned the positive changes to the downtown area that have caused its reputation to change.

A recent news release from Air Canada demonstrates how long it takes for reputations of a city to change, as well as how sometimes reputations will digress with negative press.

On September 23, Air Canada released a statement claiming that The Radisson hotel in downtown Winnipeg, is too dangerous for the pilots and staff to stay on over night layovers.

"Recent environmental issues have forced approximately 1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba to numerous hotels in the downtown area. Instances of public intoxication, resulting in several downtown locations being susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity, have been observed by local Police" said Captain Jeff Dennis Manager, Flying Operations for Air Canada.

My first question was; who are the police officers that have gathered enough information in order to make reports causing changes on such a large scale?

I also grew concerned for our city's reputation: Someone living in Toronto may have read about Air Canada's decision. They may have made judgments about our downtown area without visiting Winnipeg.

Also, it is possible for people with existing skepticism's about our downtown to have their doubts solidified by Air Canada's decision.

"We will certainly revisit the downtown area once the present situation improves. Authorities anticipate displaced people to be an issue for another 12 months" said Dennis.

This statement reveals a bigger issue with the company's then where the crew sleeps at night. Statements like these cause bigger societal problems.

Displaced people as a whole should not be categorized as a "issue". They are a group of individuals, some may possibly be impoverished, and who are affected by unfortunate circumstance.

By making generalized statements about the displaced people, it causes damage to the reputation to our downtown, to how society feels about these displaced people, as well as damage to the people whom Air Canada is speaking about. 

I was listening to the radio during the drive home the other day, the host on Hot 103 was talking about this very topic. He made a comment that we, as Winnipeggers, can diss downtown Winnipeg because we're from Winnipeg, but a CEO from Toronto disses Winnipeg then that's not cool.

To me, this is much more then a diss. It is a slap in the face for those who are in a time of need, and news releases like the one made by Air Canada, hinders the progress of our downtown reputation on a national level.

Here is a CTV video with more details about the news release: