Saturday, 8 December 2012

Google interactivism-#thinkkids

This week I had the privilege of being a judge at google campus with NSPCC, coadec and futuregov. Having been involved in the short listing for the past few weeks which included conference calls and web-chats on NSPCCs custom made social network platform named n-spire. It was a fantastic experience to finally choose the winner.

The short listers were as follows:

Twoten- Filtering service that grows with the child, ensuring age appropriate content. @TwoTen_is

Digital disruption- Campaign to teach kids to think critically about their online experience using gaming and educational tools @digidisrupt

2ndfriend- Providing a counselling service to young people who need to talk anything cyberspace. @Second_Friend

The thought process tapped into a lot of experienced mindsets ranging from parents, industry leaders and a leading children's charity to one of the country's leading psychologists.

Judging Panel:

Jon Brown – NSPCC, Head of Strategy and Development

Dominic Campbell-Future Gov

Jeff Lynn - Co-founder and CEO at Seedrs

Dr Linda Papadopoulos – One of the most well-known and respected
psychologists working in the UK today.

Ciarán Weir- NSPCC young ambassador

Hamza Latif- NSPCC young ambassador

Young people from the NSPCCs influential participation unit played an instrumental part in the event. Having worked directly with the home office, foreign office and Microsoft on cyber space issues. They brought their skills, experience and expertise. They grilled the short listers offering their feedback which in true P-Unit style was both constructive and positive.

There were a few continuous themes throughout the event which was held at google campus in London. One being how industry should consider and consult young people when developing software to protect them.

The other which was how crucial it is that we find the balance of protecting children and young people online without infringing on their right to privacy.

Moving forward, I feel like the message was heard loud and clear.

The winner was twoten which was praised for it's respect for young people's privacy and the empowerment for parents to safely filter web activity without directly interfering. They will be awarded a space at google campus to further develop their software, with a space to pick some google minds.

Ciarán Weir

For more info on the event you can follow @SimplCo

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Being 20 in 2012

Can you remember being 20?

When I first started to write this article my title was being 20 in 2012. My usual turn around for an article is one week; this article has taken me a staggering two months. My thoughts constantly changed which lead to a lot of editing. I write for a lot for various different publications and when writing I write about things that make me feel both inspired and passionate.

When I sat down I knew I wanted to give a young person’s perspective on the world. The truth is, I didn’t feel equipped to paint an accurate and representative picture of the world. I knew what it was like to be 20 but I felt like I could have known more about what that means in 2012.
My creative process for this article took me on a rather wild Journey, Something I was not expecting. I wanted to write about being 20 in 2012 but instead I began a journey of  research and self discovery. I delved deeper into myself and the world surrounding me challenging my deepest ingrained beliefs.
I have always had a very real understanding of the world around me. I consider us as a collective entity, as planet not as a country or nation.

The world is a lot of things, and I always knew the world was corrupt. That money makes the world go around and that it’s every man and woman for themselves. I’ve known that the colour of your skin can determine your opportunities in life, that your gender identity can determine how much respect you are shown. Or your sexual orientation can determine if you have the right to life in some extreme cases.
I think at the present moment in time the world is undergoing a shift in consciousness, people are waking up and realising it’s time to change. It’s easy to forget that in every single era of history things were different. We as people have never been so tuned in but so unwilling to do anything about it. Are we missing the bigger picture? The bigger picture is that things can change. In every era in history change had to happen for us to get to now. How is it that we live in a democratic society but our governments’ do what’s in the interest of the few at the peril of the many?

Flowing through every issue either directly or indirectly is money. How would we cope without money?  Why has it become the lifeblood of today’s society? Are we being held at knifepoint by an invisible force that essentially was created by us in the first place? Sadly we have been conditioned into a rat race where everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else regardless of morals. 

Society tells us that we have made it when we have a penthouse apartment and all the material possessions we want at our disposal. What society should tell us is that we have made it if we make history in trying to change the world, that we leave behind a legacy in helping others who are less fortunate that ourselves. Ironically those less fortunate than ourselves probably wouldn’t be if money wasn’t the driver behind the wheel of this crazy train we call life.

Why should I work hard and do something that I don’t care about just so I can be happy. For me happiness is a journey it is not a destination. I want to work with an NGO and naturally I want to help people. I have no bloodthirsty desire to worship the corporate world. I will not Bow to the Dow so to speak.  
What if I told you 3 billion people are living in absolute poverty?  Does it make sense that some people are allowed to have more than others? Could you live on £1 per day? Why should those 3 billion people? At what point do we stop ignoring this? We have been tackling global poverty for years and the gap between the rich and the poor is only widening.

It’s okay to admit that we may have it wrong. It’s okay for us to try something new. What’s not ok is, to simply sit back and say that scientist will come up with more energy or governments will solve the world economic crisis.

Don’t be a bystander in the revolution, don’t leave it up to politicians. Get up, stand up and speak up.

Ciarán Weir


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I don't Like Black, Asian or Gay People

So I've recently had a conversation, with a friend of a friend. He was such a nice guy until he sprung it upon me the actual fact that he's a rampant racist and is quite comfortable in being so. To some extent I think he was trying to bulk up his personality to come across as cool or opinionated.

Let's set the scene. We're in a bar and the girls are dancing, we're just chilling on the sofas and chatting. He was totally enamoured with my Irish nationality and we got to discussing what we studied at university. He studied sports management; I study Abuse Studies which he screwed up his face at.

He eventually spoke about how he doesn’t really think human rights are relevant and how in the UK our human rights aren’t as good as in other countries. At the time I spent half the conversation trying to source what he meant by Human Rights.

He spoke how he thought immigration in the UK should be banned; there were too many immigrants and the fact that he couldn’t wear his hood up to "hide his identity" but “Asians” can wear “head things” to hide theirs. Why is he hiding his identity in the first place? It gets better... He also said he doesn’t like black people because "they think they own the place". Gay People are another "dislike" of his. He doesn’t mind gay people who don’t let people know they're gay. People shouldn’t wear or flaunt their sexuality. They should accept that they don’t have boobs and move on.

When I challenged him, his response was that he has some Asian, Black and Gay friends and he doesn’t mind them. But for these groups of people he gave me examples of why he doesn’t like them, these being based on experiences he has had. These experiences were based on a very limited sample of people.

He also gave me a scenario where he wanted a job at his dads work and he didn’t get it because an Asian person got it. I suggested that maybe this person got the job because he was more qualified or suitable for the position. He disagreed and simply put him not getting the job down to him being white.

Me being totally sober I let him rant nodded along. I let him have his space to talk openly. Then it was my turn...

I didn’t see how he could brand a whole race of people based on his experiences of just a hand full of people. He took my point on board but it wasn’t staying on board. It became blatantly obvious that this racist streak was deeply indoctrinated. No matter what I said he came back with a rubbish example of why he doesn’t like “them”. What is them? I think this is the very essence of humanity that we could do without. We brutalise each other’s souls because we fear the unknown. People are different. I think as human beings it’s our duty to step outside our comfort zones, explore the unknown and take each person as an individual. Not what they are or who they are.

Does racism come down to the fact that the individual isn’t that bright and thinks that he is culturally superior to everyone else? It’s a problem we’ve had since the dawn of time. In the new age of diversity and globalisation it’s now more than ever a major issue.

Open your mind but don’t lose sight of your values.
Please leave me your thoughts.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Burnt toast...

Writing your own script is something my best friend have been discussing recently. I think it's an incredibly insightful issue. (The script being the life plan) so here it goes:

He feels like he has this script in his life that he wants to write but instead the push and pull factors in his life can sometimes end up overwriting the script for him. Be it family members, educational or financial choices. To be fair I can only admit that some of these are inevitable, but for those that aren't?

How can we steer away from people making or influencing choices for us based on what they want. Essentially some people who have power in relationships use it to get what they want, this isn't always malicious and it can sometimes simply boil down to the fact that these roles of power are assumed. We can sometimes just take these choices for granted and accept them because we 'have to' or to 'keep the peace'. I think it's important to know when to accept these. If it's possible assertively overcome the things that you don't want to do, and compromise.

I think its relatively easy to get lost in trying to please others and forget about yourself. By no means am I promoting being selfish, but I'm not advocating being entirely selfless either. While its important to be nice I do think there is an altruistic element that people can exploit.

Burnt toast! This usually happens with Female Figures of the family. They make toast for breakfast, bring the toast holder over to the table and even though there is lots of other perfectly edible pieces available. They take the burnt toast so they can assure the best experience for the rest of the family at the breakfast table. I'm being careful not to over generalise but i hope you get where I'm going with this.

When is the last time you had BURNT TOAST?
Feel free to comment or email me

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

To new beginings parte deux

I haven't posted anything in over a year. My reason? I've moved from Northern Ireland to England for Uni.

When i started this blog i decided it had to have a clear, consistent theme.
I've decided to scrap that theme. Still sticking with the controversial and things that i cant help wondering about. I've decided to draw a more personal touch to the blog.

Feel free to get intouch...

To new beginings Parte Deux

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lady GaGa ?

To the globalised world we live in, this is Lady gaga, To her Friends and family She's Steffani Joanne Germanotta. What is it about this Sensational Artist, that makes her a globalised, untouchable superstar?

Pictured above is GaGa herself in her New York yankees Jersey sporting just her underwear and heels at a recent game. Slandered constantly by the media, with "what's she wearing now?" "Ohh GaGa the Supreme Freak" This woman has fast become an international icon for fashion, liberation and individualism...  I think the hook she has is that, people feel she's displaying  and demonstrating their inhibitions. She likes to go out in daringly glamourous emsembles, saying what she thinks, dancing like no one is watching. All while demonstrating her passion for art.

To most people they respond with how she's a freak her videos are salacious. They often spark outrage and shock eventually becoming over editted, commercialisation distorts the artist meaning of her videos.People say she knows how to get attention, "she's just a mentally unstable young lady with alot to learn". To me and she's an artistic and lyrical genius, using art to communicate a story of how fame kills. 
An avid user of symbolism in her music videos, performances and lyrics. GaGa had her self killed on stage while Performing Paparazzi at the MTV VMAs, which is a song about her taunting fame and how she'll "be there biggest fan and follow them until she loves them"  Recently at a concert in England a parent complained when her 12 year old daughter saw GaGa being mauled by her dancers, she said it was too raunchy that she was appalled, and thought she brought being a slut to a new level. Even with attractive, catchy lyrics. She's not all that suitable for children. Art cannot be tammed or capped, Simply Misunderstood as a freakish attention seeking weirdo. My interpretation of her art and symbolism is very much different, to many critics.

Last year in a video interview in norway when the interviewer asked if her videos were over sexualised and distracted people from her music. She bit back,

"You see, if I was a guy, and I was sitting here with a cigarette in my hand, grabbing my crotch and talking about how I make music 'cause I love fast cars and fucking girls, you'd call me a rock star. But when I do it in my music and in my videos, because I'm a female, because I make pop music, you're judgmental, and you say that it is distracting. I'm just a rock star"- Lady gaga

However with a massive fan base that's only getting bigger, the only way is up for this inspirational Woman.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Do we take the right to vote for granted?

In the UK it could be said that we certainly take the right to vote for granted. Some of us don’t vote and aren’t even on the electoral register because we don’t care or simply can’t be bothered. Although in the rest of the world voting for women can sometimes be forbidden, for example in Saudi Arabia women are dependent on their husbands and male counter parts; they can’t vote or stand for election. So without this political representation it’s difficult for women to get things done about serious issues like rape, divorce honour killings and also forced marriages.

Even in some countries where women can vote they can still be faced with intimidation or be harmed for doing so. The Taliban in 2009 threatened to cut off women’s ink stained fingers if they went to the poll in 2009. They faced suicide bombers and being killed in a free fall of terror, if a bomb was suspected. In Zimbabwe women who voted in against the country’s dictator Robert Mugabe in 2008 were beaten and raped by his followers.

It’s so easy to take our voting rights for grated here, even though less than 100 years ago women couldn’t vote in the UK. Many made huge sacrifices and fought for the right to vote at the polls. Things changed in 1903 when Emmeline Pankhurst formed the suffragettes. The suffragettes had the passionate aim of having the right to vote, finally getting what they wanted in 1928, which was long overdue. Throughout their struggle they were imprisoned for wanting to be equal to men. Emily Davison a suffragette activist was even killed when she walked in front of the king’s horse.

Today voting gives us the chance to vote on things that matter. Be it the price of alcohol, human rights or farming policies. The problem I think in the country is that people can’t be bothered. Some people I’ve been speaking to lately think that it’s a bitching match between “two sides”. Another told me she won’t be voting because she thinks it’s a joke. Another young person told me he won’t vote because he doesn’t understand what’s going on. To be honest I don’t follow northern Irish politics, but I know which party stands for what I want. I don’t follow Northern Irish politics as I too think it’s a joke, and echoes the era from which so many have moved on from and are trying to move on from, but are held back by so few.

Some people aren’t voting for change, they’re voting with the sense of collectivism. To show they belong to whichever side. I think if voting is done right you’re party could even change every year depending on what they’re aiming to change. In an ideal world I would like fresh minded liberal people to take over the running of the country, people who are not bias or bigoted. Maybe that way we would get something done and overcome the years of petty politics.

Don’t take your vote for granted may 6th; check out these websites below if you haven’t a clue who you’re voting for. They’re simple and easy to use.

Find out what your local MP/MLA stands for etc: