The Politics of Social Media

During my DH6004 class this week, we watched a film called The Internet’s Own Boy, a documentary about one of the founders of Reddit, Aaron Swartz, who sadly died in 2013 aged just 26. Aside from helping to create Reddit, Swartz became a spokesperson for internet users during campaigns to bring in censorship laws like SOPA which ‘is an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s proposed bill that aims to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host or facilitate the trading of pirated content’ (SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012).   He was also one of the founders of demandprogress.org which is a project that aims to ‘seek to protect the democratic character of the internet — and wield it to make government accountable and contest concentrated corporate power’ (About Demand Progress – Demand Progress). The conversation about government interference of the internet has been a long one. In the second year of my degree , I wrote about how Twitter was being used as a campaign tool in modern political campaigns.

In more recent years, the Cambridge Analytica scandal had rocked the social media world, as well as the real world.  It was revealed by one whistle-blower that over 50 million user’s data had been mined in order to compile information on potential voters during the American Presidential Election and the Brexit referendum (Cadwalladr and Graham-Harrison). It just goes to show how social media has evolved over the years and how things need to change in order to get back to how sites like Facebook were previously (Mozur et al.).

References

Aaron Swartz. http://www.aaronsw.com/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

About Demand Progress – Demand Progress. https://demandprogress.org/about/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

admin. ‘Critical Review of Twitter as a Communication Tool.’ Kayleigh Falvey, 26 Oct. 2017, http://kayleighfalvey.com/digital-humanities/write-a-critical-review-of-twitter-as-a-platform-you-may-consider-how-twitter-works-as-a-research-tool-andor-as-a-pedagogical-tool-andor-as-a-communication-tool/.

Cadwalladr, Carole, and Emma Graham-Harrison. ‘Revealed: 50 Million Facebook Profiles Harvested for Cambridge Analytica in Major Data Breach’. The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2018. www.theguardian.com, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election.

Mozur, Paul, et al. ‘Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web’. The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2017. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/technology/facebook-government-regulations.html.

SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012. https://money.cnn.com/2012/01/17/technology/sopa_explained/index.htm#targetText=SOPA%20is%20an%20acronym%20for,the%20trading%20of%20pirated%20content. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

A Study of the Heartbreak of Eliza Schuyler

Eliza Schuyler-Hamilton has become a more well-known individual thanks to her role in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton which is of course based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary of the United States after the War of Independence, he also happened to be married to Eliza. The purpose of this article is to look at one song, in particular, Burn, which depicts Eliza’s anger after she discovers Alexander’s affair with another married woman, which he published called The Reynolds Pamphlet. However, there are two versions of the song, the first which is simply entitled Burn is the official version which is performed on the original soundtrack. The second was released as part of The Hamilton Mixtape a collection of various versions of the songs performed by a host of well-known voices including Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. This version is called First Burn, not only because it was the first draft of the song but it also was written as Eliza’s first reaction to the news of her beloved husband’s affair. 

Hamilton New York

I want to examine these songs, and using Voyant Analysis, look to see if there are any differences lyrics wise between the two versions. Starting with the more well-known version Burn, sung by Phillipa Soo who played Eliza in the original Broadway production. The song itself is sad in its tone, it sounds like she is not angry, but it, in fact, sad over her husband’s affair. Not that you could blame her, of course, Eliza was devoted to her husband so this news shocked her to the very core. So much so she reportedly burned all correspondence between herself and her husband in a bid to ‘erase herself from the narrative’.

What is interesting about the analysis of these lyrics is that the word ‘Burn’ is not the most used word, compared to the earlier version of the lyrics which shows the word front and centre. This could be due to the tone of both songs, First Burn is a much more emotional song than the later version, Eliza is angry and heartbroken in equal stature. Of course, the lyrics have not changed a huge amount between the two versions but its the tone and feeling of the songs that have changed things. Both versions of the analysis have the same words that make up the lyrics, but they were changed in order to fit with the character’s emotional state in the scene.  

Visual Analysis of Burn

Visual Analysis of First Burn

 

For those who would like to listen to the songs and hear the difference: 

 

An ode to my degree

So this is it, one exam coming between me and the end of three years worth of work. Why isn’t it a 9 am exam, at least then it would be over quicker? But no, it’s at 2 pm which is normally an alright time for an exam, but today it might as well be at midnight. By the time it comes around, I have gone through the past papers countless times, gone over lecture notes, messaged friends on Messenger to figure out whether or not we have covered everything we need for this paper. 

And then 90mins later, we are done, we hand up the papers, leave the exam hall, and try and get our bags and coats from the mountain that has grown with every other student’s belongings. Once I was out in the fresh air, it felt anti-climatic, I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, hardly confetti and cheers but a sense of completion, a sense of celebration. Maybe that will come on the graduation when I go collect the precious piece of paper that I have worked 3 years to earn, with my parents watching me; there only daughter getting a Bachelor Degree in Digital Humanities and Information Technology. Maybe that’s when the victory kicks in. For now, there is a sense of something ending which without fail comes with the feeling of burnout and fatigue. Though I didn’t get ill this exam season *touches wood*, it is inevitable that once my body realises, that the stress is over it will without fail,  make me feel the effects of the strain it has been put under over the past few months. And I won’t blame it after all we have both been through a lot.

I think back to the beginning of this whole adventure when I first set foot on the grounds of UCC as a first year. The nerves were intense, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for nor what to expect from a degree of this size and frankly, it excited me. This 23-year-old who had only set foot in UCC a handful of times, one of which I had to call my mother to come collect me because I got lost on the campus and ended up on, where I now know is the Western Road, side of the campus. Mind you I was only 14 at the time and it was for a History revision day for the Junior Cert. Despite living a mere 15mins away from the campus, the college always seemed a world away from me,  a far off place where only a select few of people get to go but now I know, this isn’t the case. Yes, you have to pass exams and go through an application process in order to get there, but if you work hard, you can go to UCC or any university you want. And it took me a while to get my head around it and stop thinking that I didn’t deserve to be there during my first year, that I was an imposter. Thankfully, I put those fears behind me and went ahead of my work and studies, then the years flew by and now I am here, writing this. 

 

How Do You Stop Writer’s Block?

I haven’t written anything purely for my own enjoyment in about four months, what I have written, however, is lots of academic pieces for my degree. These pieces of writing will be of interest to someone I have no doubt but now that I’m on summer break I feel like its time to get back into writing for enjoyment rather than trying to reach a word count and a deadline.

Needless to say, I don’t have an answer for the above question, honestly, I just wanted to find a reason to open up WordPress and tap on the keys hoping against hope that I might find some kind of inspiration along the way. Because as long as I keep writing that’s the main thing.

But what if what I write is rubbish or doesn’t make sense to people? Or worse what if no one reads it? Honestly, I don’t mind if you read this or not, I’m just happy that I actually managed to write stuff down and was happy enough with it to hit ‘Publish’. You see I’m still in what’s known as ‘recovery’ from what has bascially been one of the most stressful years of my life; from both myself and my father having surgeries within two days of each other to discovering that I have a congenital malformed uterus which is why my periods are both painful and heavy to stay on top of deadlines, holding down a part time job, then losing two of my aunts within two months of each other to now where I have just discovered that I have to overall my diet due to a carb intolerance. It is no wonder why I lost interest in writing throughout this whole ordeal.

If I have learned anything from the last few months it is how important it is to talk to people about what you are going through, so that is what I’m going to write about. My experiences both good and bad, and maybe just maybe, this writer’s block might finally shift…..

The Issue with Grief

At the beginning of this week, I lost someone very important to me; an Grandaunt of mine who was one of my closest family members and one of my role models in life. She helped me grieve for my grandmother, her sister, over 10 years ago and she also helped me to grow into the person I am now. She loved fiercely,  lived fearlessly and she taught me how no matter hard life gets, there is always a way to be positive.

Photo by Tobi from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/agriculture-country-countryside-fall-518557/

My first holiday was visiting her and my Uncle when I was 5, we would often visit them during the summer and I would always hate leaving them; mainly because they were like two big kids themselves living alone in a bungalow that my uncle built near the bottom of a mountain in the middle of nowhere outside Roundstone. I challenge anyone to find two people who looked so different but yet so perfect for one another. They met in the U.K. but came home to help support my Uncle’s Mother who was ill. But they made it work and they were as strong as anything; if you wanted #RelationshipGoals then these two was it.

When I heard the news on Saturday of my Aunt’s passing, I was upset and heartbroken, she was one of the few remaining members of my Grandmother’s family left here in Ireland and she, as I mentioned above, was someone that I loved dearly. What hit me was all of the things that I never got to tell her about, the important stuff like I’m starting my internship in September and I’ve finally discovered why THAT time of the month is difficult for me and the fact that but also the smaller stuff like how I’m finally aware of how much I look like my Grandmother or that after years of rebelling against dresses I’ve realised that my body type suits dresses and high-waisted skirts.  In hindsight, this is probably why my Grandaunts wore dresses as we all seem to share that Pear Shape (small waist/wide hips) body type.

I’ve experienced grief before; that the problem with having a large elderly family, and yes, grief effects people in different ways but for me, it helps to remind you how much of an effect these people had on you when they were alive. And this is all the reason why we should take each day as it comes and to remember what they have taught us. But it is always important that we take the time to grieve for those we have lost and figure out what your world will look like now that these people are no longer part of your world.

So, let’s keep going hmm? For those we’ve lost xx