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#MeToo Stats Highlight the Prevalence of Sexual Assault Today

A simple tweet by actress Alyssa Milano started a consciousness-raising movement that has set social media ablaze with women stepping forward to say, “#MeToo”.

On Sunday, 15 October 2017, the Charmed actress took to Twitter to ask followers to reply “me too” on her tweet if they have been sexually harassed or assaulted. An astounding 64K+ individuals (women and men) replied with the two words, shared their experiences or voiced their support for the movement.

As if the engagement with that post wasn’t enough, the tweet sparked a social media trend that has flooded online channels. Claims against public male figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly that have been exposed in the recent past were popular themes in driving online mentions but experiences with family members, bosses or partners have also surfaced.

#MeToo social media statistics

Me Too content sources

Me Too conversation participants

  • There were over 4 million mentions during October (until the 17th), 26% of which occurred on 16 October.
  • Females made the most considerable contribution to volumes, however, 29% of mentions were by males.
  • Social media was the preferred medium for sharing.
  • The majority of mentions stemmed from Twitter, followed by Tumblr and Instagram.
  • As expected, the most used hashtag was #MeToo with 1,2 million mentions, followed by #NoMore and #WomenWhoRoar with 14K+ and 10K uses respectively.

The volumes and support generated from this trend are staggering with several celebrities and organisations adding to the conversation.

But as Alyssa Rosenberg from The Washington Post points out, “Consciousness-raising moments such as #MeToo, or previous hashtags such as #YesAllWomen or #WhatWereYouWearing; or Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony before Congress about the sexual harassment she said Clarence Thomas subjected her to; or the 1971 “Rape Speak Out” organised by the New York Radical Feminists, are opening salvos in the fights against sexual harassment and sexual violence. But they are entirely insufficient to end these problems on their own.”

Let’s hope this movement brings about real change in law and culture.

References and Additional Reading

‘The Academic’ Schools Bands on How To Use Facebook Live

The Academic, an indie rock band from Ireland, has created a first-of-its-kind video using Facebook Live and it is epic!

It’s common knowledge that Facebook Live videos tend to lag when streaming. Well, The Academic decided to use this to their advantage to create something truly unique. Check it out…

The simplicity of the idea is what I really appreciate about it. The song comes together layer-by-layer as each band member carefully times their sections of the song, creating a loop that eventually builds-up to a complete song. While the concept may sound simple, it’s certainly not easy to execute.

It reminds me of Here It Goes Again by OK Go (remember, the treadmill music video shot in one take). That video launched the band into the spotlight in 2009 and has arguably been the most significant factor in their claim to fame. The novelty of the video lent itself to sharability, which resulted in new audiences discovering the band. OK Go have since continued the trend of creating elaborate music videos all in a single take, which has been a fruitful tactic in staying relevant and getting views.

This Facebook Live performance, however, is not the official music video for the catchy song but rather additional marketing to promote the single. The video has been viewed on YouTube over 700K times in just 24-hours, and an additional 84K times on Facebook. The video has become their most viewed video to date despite already having a significant fanbase. In this age where it’s so difficult to get noticed in a noisy world, I’ve got to say that I’m impressed with what The Academic has achieved.

Bear Claws‘ is available on all of the major music streaming services so be sure to download the single. And don’t forget to share the visual loop music video as well as support the band by following them on social media.

The Academic

@TheAcademic

The Academic

Katy Perry Versus Taylor Swift: Who’s Winning?

Oscar Pistorius Movie Sparks Outrage: Is It Justified?

The Oscar Pistorius trial had the world, particularly South Africans, glued to their screens as details about the murder of Reeva Steenkamp unfolded. In July 2016, Pistorius was sentenced to 6 years in prison for the crime and while most people thought we wouldn’t hear about the story for a while, a trailer for the Oscar Pistorius movie has made the topic relevant again.

Mention of Oscar Pistorius had been minimal following the sentence, with only 4,562 online mentions in 2017. After the trailer surfaced on 2 October, social media has been abuzz about the topic, accounting for 86% of mentions about him for the year.

Oscar Pistorius Online Conversation

  • 77% of mentions stemmed from South Africa, followed by the US (7%) and the UK with 5%. The remaining 11% were by individuals in other regions.
  • Twitter was the most popular platform for opinion sharing and accounted for 93% of total mentions. News sources contributed 3% to volumes and other online platforms made up the remaining 4%.

The trailer triggered outrage from South Africans who have taken their opinions to social media. The majority of posts were neutral as the majority of people reshared news about the trailer.

Opinions about the Oscar Pistorius Movie

Negativity largely centred around opinions about Oscar himself, however, others have voiced their annoyance at the American production company (Lifetime) for creating the film.

https://twitter.com/sharepart/status/914882173051789312

The most prominent complaint though, is that the film was produced without the consent of either of the families. Numerous individuals voiced their anger at Lifetime for not consulting with the Steenkamp or Pistorius families regarding the portrayal of the characters or even requesting permission to shoot the film. The public has particularly jumped to the defence of the Steenkamp family, with media outlets highlighting this as the most noteworthy news.

“They were never consulted. Nobody asked their input. In fact, they never even knew until now that a movie had been made.” – Tania Koen, the lawyer for Barry and June Steenkamp

But, do filmmakers have a legal obligation to do so? According to legislature, no.  There are no privacy laws preventing filmmakers from depicting real people, so long as the portrayal is not defamatory.

“If a film maker creates a film depicting a real person in a way that would lower the reputation of that person, and the film is released, then the film maker may be liable for defamation.” – Art Law

While the movie is a dramatised retelling of the story, the trailer suggests that Reeva is portrayed in a favourable light. For this reason, it’s unlikely that the Steenkamp family will be able to take legal action.

However, on 3 October, Carl Pistorius (Oscar’s brother) confirmed that he will be suing the producers for misrepresenting his brother by ignoring facts to lend itself to a more compelling movie.

Time will tell if the Pistorius family will win against Lifetime, but my prediction is that Lifetime did its due diligence before even going into pre-production. The ethics around making money off of the tragedy is another conversation, but from a legal perspective, it appears that the narrative has remained fairly true to the original reports of what happened.

The film is scheduled for release in the US in November but there is no indication whether or not the film will be released in South Africa.

What are your thoughts? Tweet me @fantomdan

Resources and Additional Reading

Katy Perry Versus Taylor Swift: Who’s Winning?

You can’t be online and not notice certain trends in social media, blogs and news articles during certain periods. For example, posts about Game of Thrones will rise from the day a new episode is aired, or buzz about movies nominated for Academy Awards will flood our timelines from January until February.

Whether the topic in question is an interest of yours or not, you will undoubtedly see posts about whatever is current in pop culture at that time. The most recent prominent topic in the media is the release of Taylor Swift’s new single, Look What You Made Me Do.

There have been tonnes of posts discussing the song and music videos (yes, music videos) as well as the upcoming release of Taylor’s new album. But one of the most popular topics has centred around the ongoing feud between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, particularly Perry releasing her Swish Swish music video just one day after Swift announced the release date of her new album. The general consensus is that this was done out of spite to claim the spotlight. So, I decided to do an analysis of online conversation about the two pop stars to see exactly who is dominating the internet in 2017.

Post Sources

Katy Perry Taylor Swift Post SourcesThe most popular platform for both artists in 2017 so far has been Twitter, followed by Instagram and then Tumblr. The majority of posts about Katy Perry stem from Twitter, however, the majority of Taylor Swift-related posts are split between Twitter and Instagram. Tumblr is a particularly popular social platform for Taylor Swift, accounting for 14% of volumes.

Sentiment: Good or Bad Publicity

Katy Perry Taylor Swift Publicity

Sentiment speaks to whether or not the mentions are favourable or negative. Taylor Swift received 2% more negative mentions compared to Katy Perry however, Taylor Swift received 13% more positivity than Katy Perry. This is surprising considering the general perception that Taylor Swift is hated by so many. You can thank popular websites and blogs for using click-bait headlines and articles with thin arguments for this dramatisation. Regardless, there is certainly negativity about Taylor and if you’ve heard Look What You Made Me Do, you’ll see she’s using it to her advantage. But, who’s winning the online conversation battle?

Online Volumes

Taylor Swift Katy Perry Social Media 2017

From January to July, Katy Perry dominated online conversation. However, after a drastic increase in online buzz in August, Taylor Swift claimed first place and is dominating online conversation.

Taylor Swift versus Katy Perry 2017

From the beginning of the year until 27 August 2017, Katy Perry was mentioned 25 million times and Taylor Swift received 31 million mentions – 24% more posts than Katy Perry. 70% of posts about Taylor for the year so far took place in August.

Taylor Swift Katy Perry Feud Online August 2017

Conversation for Katy Perry spiked on 13 February due to talk of her performance of Chained to the Rhythm at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Volumes for Taylor Swift peaked at a remarkable 1.7 million in August on the day her lyrics music video for Look What You Made Me Do dropped. This is a difference of 190% from Katy’s highest day. In addition, Taylor’s lyric music video has been viewed more times than Swish Swish.

Conclusion

The battle to stay current in today’s times has become increasingly difficult. Public figures often have to resort to publicity stunts to get attention and sometimes that means throwing shade at other artists. While Katy may have generated a lot of hype releasing her video just before Taylor did, Taylor Swift is killing it and is arguably the most relevant pop star at the moment. Let’s see who will claim the overall title by the end of the year.

Additional Reading

Taylor Swift Is More Relevant Than Ever

Taylor Swift is renowned for her PR skills. She’s sparked numerous spikes in online conversation to launch songs, music videos and build hype around new or upcoming singles and albums, and to build towards her overall brand. Social media is frequently dominated by posts about Taylor’s latest news and this week we witnessed the most recent craze.

Since 21 August, Taylor teased fans by sharing cryptic posts on Instagram and Twitter.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Fans took to social media to share their thoughts on what the posts might suggest until volumes peaked on Wednesday after Swift confirmed that the first single off her new album would be out before the end of the week.

Online Conversation about new Taylor Swift single
Online conversation about Taylor Swift ahead of the release of Look What You Made Me Do

The majority of posts stemmed from the USA, followed by Brazil and then the UK.

Taylor Swift Online Conversation

3 days after conversation started climbing, she released her latest single Look What You Made Me Do ahead of her new album, Reputation, set to launch in November 2017.

Taylor Swift Volumes Dan Brocklebank Social Media Analyst
Total mentions of Taylor Swift from 1 January to midday 25 August 2017.

The hype around the new single and album led to a 91% increase in the number of posts about Taylor Swift from July to August. As of 25 August, 22% of the total 28 million posts about the artist in 2017 took place in August.

Over a 24-hour period (from 24 to 25 August) #LookWhatYouMadeMeDo was mentioned over 140 000 times and was the 9th most used hashtag in the USA over the period. The most popular hashtag used in relation to Taylor Swift was #TaylorIsBack, started by fans excited for what is to come.

Taylor Swift Hashtags

Owing to online hype and reactions to the single, 3 of the top hashtags used in relation to Taylor Swift in 2017 have been about the single and upcoming album. This is phenomenal considering the fact that the hashtags have only just surfaced.Taylor Swift online mentions

25% of posts using the hashtag included images and 14% of posts provided links to articles about the album, the music video on YouTube or music providers that have the single.

“Sorry, but the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead”

Taylor Swift is a genius when it comes to sparking conversation and there is no doubt in my mind that this is only the beginning of months of publicity about the album. I think the ‘new Taylor’ is going to be a force to be reckoned with and I’m certain she is going to be more relevant than ever before.

The Mystery of Irma Vep Review

After months of anticipation, I finally got to see The Mystery of Irma Vep on stage at the Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino and I was in hysterics.

 Get in the right mood by listening to this ambient music while reading this.

Opening Night

#IrmaVepSA Play
The kinds of attention to detail that does so much more than set the tone

I was invited to an exclusive gala evening that didn’t disappoint. The foyer was decorated in a spooky Victorian style, including a coffin with a mummy on display. The dimly lit reception was illuminated by candles that were scattered all over the place in true Victorian fashion. Speaking of fashion, the dress code for the evening was ‘Victorian Chic’. I love to dress up so I enjoyed that touch because not many shows worry about the dress code. For me, what you wear is just as much a part of the experience so I was keen to participate. Most people didn’t go all out but some people dressed to the nines wearing top hats and tailcoats or corsets and feathers, which really added to the experience.

Guests were welcomed with a complimentary programme, new Cadbury Roundie and glass of wine. After mingling with the other theatre-enthusiasts we were ushered to our seats in a dimly lit theatre accompanied by creepy music to set the mood.

The Play

The Mystery of Irma Vep is a satire of several theatrical, literary and film genres, including Victorian melodrama, farce, the penny dreadful, Wuthering Heights and the Alfred Hitchcock film, Rebecca.  

#IrmaVepSA Set
The Mystery of Irma Vep set as guests arrive

Set on a remote manor called Mandacrest, the audience soon finds out something is amiss. Between the horrors of a marauding beast terrorising the estate and the looming presence of the recently deceased former mistress Irma Vep, matters become awkward in the extreme for Lord Edgar and his new wife, Lady Enid.

The cast of two, Jonathan Roxmouth (The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, West Side Story) and Weslee Swain Lauder (Sweeney Todd, Call Me Lee, Starlight Express) play the 8 distinct characters in the story. Not only are these two actors extremely gifted performers but the swapping of characters and costumes was remarkable. Their comedic timing and overall performances had the crowd in stitches from beginning to end. The story is intriguing and hilarious at the same time, which makes for quite a unique experience.

The staging and blocking of each actor was coordinated impeccably as they seamlessly transitioned between luny characters. The intricate wardrobe design by Pierre du Plessis, scenic design by Nadine and Louis Minnaar and lighting design by Oliver Hauser played key roles in immersing the audience in the story.

The show came together flawlessly and was a real crowd pleaser. If you like to laugh, then you’ve got to see The Mystery of Irma Vep. The production will be on at Pieter Toerien’s Theatre at Montecasino from 5 to 30 July and at Theatre On The Bay in Cape Town from 2 to 19 August 2017. Make your booking at Computicket and like the production’s Facebook page while you’re at it. Be sure to use the play’s hashtag on social media – #IrmaVepSA.

#IrmaVepSA 2017

Have you seen the show? What were your thoughts?

Follow me on Instagram to experience my adventures with me.

Snapchat’s New Feature Is Freaking People Out

Snapchat has been fighting tooth and nail to stay relevant while social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and even Whatsapp replicate features that once made it unique. Snapchat’s latest feature has certainly got people talking, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

Snap Maps, allows your followers to find you by your location. According to Snapchat, the addition is meant to help users see what’s happening, find their friends, and get inspired to go on adventures.

The concept could be particularly useful to explore locations or tourist destinations, for example. Imagine being able to see unedited videos from people in London while you’re in South Africa. You could also experience events as they happen, like a Nicki Minaj concert or see real-time content from users at an event on the news.

Since the announcement on 21 June 2017, the internet has been peppered with articles about the new feature. Some media sources have hyped up the addition and commented on the possibilities, especially for marketers. Although there are certainly pros to the feature, articles have largely been negative and focused on concerns about compromised privacy.

While the idea is cool in theory, the reality is that your followers can see where you are at all times – even when not using Snapchat. This is pretty creepy for anyone, but parents are particularly concerned about the safety of their children, and rightly so.

In a recent video, YouTuber Joey Salads did a social experiment where he added a young girl he’d never met to Snapchat. See what happened for yourself:

Location settings on Snapchat
Upon activating Snap Maps, users can decide who can see their location.
Although you can select whether or not to share your location and with whom, the reality is that children and teenagers are not as social media savvy as they think they are. Anyone is at risk though – a stranger could quite easily learn your routine by tracking your movements and target you when you least expect it.

After being live for less than two weeks, Snapchat has removed the promotional video from YouTube, which suggests they’ve second guessed the update. This is, of course, just speculation but the addition could potentially lead to more trouble than it’s worth at what is an incredibly critical time for Snap Inc.

In my opinion, we can’t keep shifting the blame to someone else. At some stage, we need to step up and take responsibility. Parents need to continueously educate their children about the dangers of social media, and we need to be more discerning with who we allow to see our information as well as be more aware and protective of the information we share on the internet. Technology and social media are constantly evolving and the onus is on us to keep up.

Question: What are your thoughts? Should Snapchat remove this feature or is the onus on the user to be selective with who they share their information with?

Resources and Additional Reading

Facebook Copies Snapchat Again

Find Wi-Fi Hotspots With Facebook’s Latest Feature

Facebook has recently launched its latest feature that allows you to find venues that provide public and free Wi-Fi. Introducing ‘Find Wi-Fi‘. 

How Does It Work?

If a business has shared that they provide Wi-Fi on their Facebook Page, the business will be added to the Find Wi-Fi map, where users can find out more about the business and navigate to the venue.

Find WiFi Menu
‘Find Wi-Fi’ can be accessed on your iPhone or Android device under the Menu tab on the Facebook app

Who Can Use ‘Find Wi-Fi’?

The feature was tested in some countries in 2016, but as of 30 June 2017, Find Wi-Fi is now available globally. The feature is available to all iPhone and Android users.

How Do You Find Wi-Fi Hotspots?

On the Facebook app, click the ‘More’ icon and scroll down to ‘Find Wi-Fi’. If the option isn’t there, select ‘See More…’ and the option should appear. Once in the ‘Find Wi-Fi’ tab, enable the service and you will now be able to explore available hotspots on a map and learn more about businesses hosting them.

Who Benefits from the Feature?

Find Wi-Fi is a wonderful feature that is helpful to practically all Facebook users:

  • Particularly in South Africa where costly mobile data is a constant struggle, being able to find free Wi-Fi would significantly help people who have limited access to the internet. Students and entrepreneurs and students, in particular, could really benefit from this feature.
  • Businesses can enhance the chance of discoverability by firstly providing (preferably free) Wi-Fi, and making sure to add this detail to their Facebook Page. This can be a persuasive offering when considering a business meeting spot or study group location.

Facebook is an absolute innovation machine that is constantly releasing features to improve the user experience. With features like this, it’s no wonder Facebook is the largest social media platform with 2 billion monthly active users.

Additional Reading

5 Powerful Realisations About Goal-Setting

When it comes to long-term goals, I’ve found I typically don’t accomplish what I set out to do because over time I lose momentum, focus and direction. I’m sure you can relate.

That’s why this year I’ve adopted a new approach of working in 90-day cycles to set action items with deadlines and scheduled regular check-ins to measure my progress.

I recently did my quarter 2 review and found it quite insightful. While defining my focus areas for the next little while, I looked at what I set out to achieve at the beginning of the year. Although I may not be where I want to be, I have undoubtedly made progress, which has made me realise 5 things about setting and achieving goals.

  1. Having a clear vision and focus works: If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you expect to ever get there? Being intentional is the only way you’ll see real results. While reminding myself of my goals, I have realised that I’ve made more progress than I thought. That never would’ve been possible without knowing what I’m working towards and having actionable tasks with set deadlines.
  2. Reflection is critical: As difficult as it is to set time aside to review your progress, looking at where you are, where you want to be and assessing whether you’re on track or not is so important. I have absolutely seen the benefit of making regular reviews a habit and urge you to at least give it a try.
  3. Any progress is progress: I may not be as far as I would like to be, but I’ve certainly made progress and for that I am proud. None of us can achieve our goals overnight, so incremental progression should be acknowledged and celebrated.
  4. Holding yourself accountable is key: I am responsible for my progress. My vision of where I want to be is only attainable if I put in the time and effort. At the end of the day, I am the only one who has the power to get me closer to my goal, and if I don’t then I live with the consequences. We all know how easy it is to make excuses, but making excuses gets us nowhere and we pay the price.
  5. You can’t do everything at once: As much as we’d like to have it all, it’s impossible to expect to be flourishing in every area of your life. Of course, this is the end goal, but being realistic about what is possible given your current circumstances is crucial. Choose key areas to focus on and have secondary goals to work towards, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t making as much progress as you’d like. Physical and mental energy are important considerations. Idle time is necessary to recharge.

We all have aspirations of what we want our lives to be and areas we’d like to improve to get closer to that ideal. Having a vision is important, but having a clear plan, tracking your progress and adjusting where necessary is the only effective way of actually achieving what you set out to do.

We’re halfway through the year – are you on track?

Additional Reading

Vlogger Accidentally Kills Boyfriend in YouTube Stunt

19-year-old YouTuber Monalisa Perez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after a YouTube stunt went horribly wrong.

Monalisa Perez Fatal Tweet

Monalisa Perez and boyfriend Pedro Ruiz started their channel in March 2017 and have grown their subscriber base very quickly earning over 2,000 subscribers in just a few months. The focus of their vlogs was to show “real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents.” Their videos were your typical internet couple kind of videos raking in thousands of views. But on Monday 26 June 2017, one video ended tragically after Perez shot Ruiz dead.

According to reports, Perez was urged to shoot a hardcover book Ruiz held in front of his chest, which was meant to stop the bullet. Unfortunately, the bullet penetrated the book as well as 22-year-old Ruiz. Perez claims she was initially reluctant, but Ruiz was insistent. After being convinced to do it for the views on YouTube, she succumbed to the pressure.

Although the incident was an accident and regardless of her reluctance, Monalisa Perez, who is seven months pregnant, now faces up to 10 years in prison and or a fine of $20 000.

This is an incredibly tragic story and is a result of society’s unhealthy obsession with likes, followers/subscribers and views. No matter how badly you might want to be famous on the internet, there are some things that are simply not worth the risk.

Resources and Additional Reading