Because not everyone is Elite

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Onwards and upwards!

I have finally buckled and I am now starting a full blog over at lillyringlet.com where I will bring everything under one roof. This means that all my cooking, sewing, gaming, social media and design related posts will all be there from now on.

Since blogging, I have been tossing and turning whether or not to do this but as I get more into writing blogs, I really want to make it easier and have it all in one place.

Thank you for everyone who has followed me here over the last few years and I hope to see you soon at my website!

Lillyringlet xXxXx

What not to do on a digital community

Now this story requires some back story but is important for an important point in tight knit digital communities and why you should never assume students are social media experts.

A few years back I was a member of the Brunel Climbing club, and every year I could I would try to go to Annual Dinner. Every year though that I went there was a major accident. The first year a member went to clip in his rope only to fall, get his arm caught in the rope as he fell and was left hanging from his arm (causing permanent scaring). The second year a student luckily had a helmet on when there was a rock fall and her head was saved, but the helmet was almost split in two.  The final trip involved a friend being dropped by a fresher leading to a shattered wrist. 

The events that lead to that event involved

  1. a committee who decided to go to a seperate site to the freshers and non-committee members they were there to protect, 
  2. a non committee member having to talk to the indoor climbing centre that everyone had completed a basic belay course  and on a leading course
  3. myself and the finally injured other ex-member climbing by ourselves a number of times while all the other climbers were slowly getting ready.
  4. finding one of the freshers on their own and asking if he wanted to climb with us (as everyone else had paired off)
  5. After his first climb (and him claiming he was about to climb 6a-c climbs and a great belayer and showing he understood the basics with the rope) offered to belay my partner so I could rest after a tiring climb.
  6. When my partner had reached the top of the wall he began to lower her only to completely let go of the rope when he panicked when he realised she was descending too fast.
  7. Everyone panicked while we got an ambulance (luckily the fallen victim is a health professional and there was a doctor climbing behind us) and people ran off to inform the non-committee member leading the trip and I called the committee members who had headed to an wall else where. The non-comittee member who had lead the trip to the indoor wall was informed and cried out “Why did no one tell you he’s not safe! He didn’t pass his belaying test!” Other current members also confirmed his inability to belay and that they were holding their breathe when originally the centre was going to make everyone show their belaying abilities before being able to enter as they knew he and another student would fail.
  8. As someone who had an open ticket from where we were (and not a current member) I went with my broken companion to hospital with her s shaped wrist to find it was shattered. 
  9. She asked me there to make a statement of exactly what happened that day in case she needed to take any legal action against the centre. Once i returned I started it right away while everything was fresh and sent it to her to use.

 

A few weeks later she told me her lawyer was taking action against the SU because the fault was actually with them rather than the centre as they not only had all but one committee member been at the other site (and the only committee member present was not trained in anyway to handle the situation or leading the group), technically lying to the centre or their “test” not being to a suitable level or warning non members of capabilities of its members who were also on the trip. There were a number of other issues but based on the statements provided from myself and others. 

When the SU found out that the action was against them statements from current students started to be removed on their request, with some current students coming to me in tears sometimes because of the bullying they had received from the club and the SU about making their time at the University difficult. As you can understand they had to do what was best for them but as the only graduated member and only witness to the whole event the only statement that remained was mine that was written on the day of the event stating what happened with no sway against the SU. Nicki was asked not so politely to leave the club’s Facebook group, talk to members or even return to the ex-bums group which has no association to the SU. The treatment to Nicki while shocking was expected as they were trying to protect themselves.

So that was over a year, so why is this important today and why does it involve digital communities? Earlier today a girl asked if she could join the society even though she will be studying at a separate University but living locally. Based on my experience of that day, having worked as a Clubs and Societies Coordinator at Bournemouth SU and all of the other accidents I was very cautious with my response with “No due to insurance issues, especially after what happened at annual dinner a few years ago”. I was clear to not be specific but was clear enough to give an answer of that there is a reason and a consequence to why it is not possible. I also updated her on how girls often arrange an out of lesson training session so there are no boys about trying to show off or distract.

A minute later my comment is removed and replaced with one claiming it was for “clarity” claiming this is a group for the BUMs and not for the wall and the answer giving instead being unclear just stating to go to another group (with no link). As this is a group that is normally very kind and welcoming I responded again commenting on the “clarity” and repeating about girls often grouping together. 

It isn’t long till I get a private message that is full of slander and incorrect information, but also poor community engagement. Tom Mulder, tells me off for even pointing to that accident (and later to any accident occurring ever), especially when I’m apparently suing the Student Union (having not met with a lawyer apart from a networking event) and trying to use it as a play to win over support for my case (which doesn’t exist). 

Annoyed at the slander, rude approach and poor management of the whole affair I make him aware that I in no way was trying to cause problems, not suing anyone, or was happy with the approach that he has taken. I gave advice from managing social media campaigns and profiles for so many organisations on how to manage issues in the future so not to annoy any one else. I even apologuise for being annoyed but stated that I just wanted to set the record straight only to have a backlash of even more slander, rude and horrendous messages which included claims that the incident was both mine and Nicki’s fault, that I had been personally chasing students to make statements that were full of lies in the weeks that followed the incident, my own employment history and expertise questioned and finally impolitely asked to leave the group.

For someone who has over 6 years of social media experience, with so many successful campaigns under my belt, my own profile clearly stating my experience working in Student Unions, even the clear insults to my knowledge and experience in those fields was mocked and tossed a side while claims that could not be at all feasible.

For someone not even holding a rope, up a rope was who was resting her tired muscles at the time while the accident in questioned happened… I am still trying to get round how this accident was my fault? Or how I was able to chase students for fake statements when I have talked to very few people who were there since it happened due to living over 100 miles away and having a lot on my plate at the time. I am struggling even more that he still thought I was taking action against the Student Union and the club when I have never met a lawyer since the accident other than to take their photograph at a fundraising event for work or over a sex tape scandal I had to manage at another job.

So here is a student who, rather than taking critism on how to manage issues and communities, he starts using slander and lies instead, sending three messages, each one filled with more and more vile lies and mockery and this is not a stand a long case. Yes this is the first where I have had emotional ties due to the wonderful years I have spent with the club learning about a wonderful sport and about amazing people but I have seen so many more students and graduates like this at the helm of a social media platform and group.

So why do so many companies still continue to hire graduates just because they have their own Facebook or Twitter account? Even as I was leaving an organisation, I was shocked when I requested that clear social media experience was important for the new candidate for the CEO to come out with “But all students know how to use social media, right?”

A clear answer is no. If you are going to hire a graduate at least look for someone who has done a marketing course or has clear examples of campaigns that they have run for societies and groups. As social media exploded when I started University, there are so many 25-27 year olds that will have a much better idea of how campaigns evolve and grow, but also where to look for the next trends, or even how we found ways to push the rules. 

So I hope that someone reads this and finds one story that will make them really consider who they are hiring to be the first point of contact that your customers face, especially when so many like my self will go to Twitter before calling the complaints line!

Once upon a time – Dark and colourful series

Recently I have found Once Upon a Time, a fairy tale land transported to a modern american town. The first season is a slow build up with no one believing the leading little boy Henry in who they all are. The mix of bright beautiful visuals mixed with darker undertones only occasionally appearing, mainly surrounding Ragina and Mr Gold. Even their dark characters has a glossy appearance with their terrible nature gleaming through all the more.

Come the second season and without spoiling anything thing, it has a very different flow to how the episodes run, yet this only gives the series the ability to evolve and grow stronger. It is able to take normally short and sweet children’s stories in to beautifully intertwined lives both in the “real” world and the fairy tale ones.

When you first watch OUAT you will be able to guess some characters easily, and others will grow and show their true character. Like most great series it does need some investiment but by the end of season one you will be firmly under its spell of wonderful visuals, great story telling and amazingly deep and complex characters. Good and bad lines are torn to sunder (especially in the second season) as you find the truth to what has driven them to their actions. This makes things exciting to watch as you meet new characters you don’t know which way they might ultimately sway.

 

While this show is clearly not for kids, it is a great show for those who are a kid at heart with its awe inspiring scenes that make you feel like a kid before finding your self reaching for a tissue with heart breaking scene. This is a great series which I fear is under rated and missed by many due to its fairy tale visuals being often so beautiful and the many Princess or heroine storylines. The female lead can’t help this image but hopefully this show will continue to grow with more and more people finding its wonderful delights.

Why Americans are selfish

I have grown up knowing that the internet is a mine field for any spoilers and to avoid forums because of idiot americans letting them slip. Back when I was making my way through Alias, we were watching season 2 when they were on season 4, often letting slip things that they thought everyone knew.

But as these programmes have come from these countries we have not whined and moaned about it too much and juust dealt with it. Now times are changing with BBC America becoming big in America and more and more Americans are finding the wonders of our British programmes paid for by our TV licences and now every time I am online it is just a wash of moans that we get it first or “Why can’t it be shown at the same time!”

 

Because you idiots it is like us moaning every time there is a new Game of Thrones and moaning why you get it a day before, or having to wait 6 months for other programmes of yours. 

While I can see how the star of Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, feels he is looking out for his US fans, he is just treating his home country with no love or respect as we will not have ownership or exclusivity of our own TV shows first, even if for a day.

While many will disagree it would be like us moaning that we should have the same fuel prices and therefore you having to put your prices up by about 1000% because we are all mopey. 

So for once, avoid the forums and the internet for a bit like we have to and get over yourselves (if you are american) and realise that this is what we have to put up with constantly. Now if it does stream in the UK and US at the same time I will complain because that is our money paying for it to be actually made and by george you should finally have to wait your pretty little socks for once and behave like a decent human being.

Sorry for the rant but the red wedding got spoiled for a lot of us Brits among other things so I have lost my sympathy for US TV watchers and internet surfers.

 

That moment when you realise they broke the law

As you may or not know I was made redundant by my previous job managing communication projects at Exeter University Students’ Guild but now I have found out 4 months on that not only was I replaced a week after I was shown the door, but they broke the law how they did it too.

 
Based on British Law they have to consult with employees first and not shown the door straight away. For me I was called into my new line managers office and told that I was no longer needed but that they also were ending my contract sooner than intended. My things were collected from the office and I had to try and leave the building going through two other offices trying to avoid everyone after breaking into tears with the shock announcement. In some ways I saw it coming after I found a massive mistake made by one of the directors in terms of the departments budget on the Friday, and tried to get this highlighted as soon as possible to the right people to resolve this. This mistake was one made well before I was hired to manage a department after the previous Head of department stepped down and a new director starting above. I knew someone would have to be cut and it would probably be me but not till my contract was finished.

It turns out that all employers have to consult with you before they can make you redundant, rather than just show them the door and tell them to leave.

I was so upset because I never got to say good bye and some lazy arsed dick still has their job when they should have lot it back in December; instead I am shoved out the door after all my hard work and he stays to take the department further into debt.

But I have also found that even though I was made redundant, a role that is no longer needed, I was replaced by someone else as soon as they realised the new director couldn’t manage the department single handly like I had for the last 5 months. 

This temporary position has now it seems become permanent and I have had to move to Brighton after losing my job. 

It turns out that my role was needed, that they didn’t do it properly and now I have a crappy job, high stress and had to move out of my flat across the country to Brighton. Not only that but someone has their job even after doing things which else where would have been fired back in December, my predecessor was fired but given the grace of making it look like he found a job else where, while I suddenly disappeared off the map making it look like I had done something majorly wrong even though it was me that found someone elses mistake to get it corrected!

So what am I going to do? Probably nothing but after making me feel disgraced and upset I no longer am thinking of this place as well as I once did and could easily just blab about some rather damning facts about the “award winning” students’ union if anything else comes to light.

But for you, know your rights and check if you get shown the door and what to do. Know what your employer, prospective employer because if you don’t 4 months down the line you will find like me that you have been illegally screwed over by an organisation that aren’t as squeaky clean as you thought.

Does it ever end

I have now not worked for 4 months. Today is a very glum day for me because it is just a reminder of how long it has been and how rubbish I feel in still not finding a job. I know there are people out there who have not had a job in years with a friend of mine struggling to find anything for 3 years but as it goes on, the harder it gets to try and keep a smile or the idea of hope. 

Today there are so many young people trying to just get on the ladder that the bottom rungs of the ladder has too much competition while the top roles are pretty empty. 

What is worse is how my degree seems to mean nothing as my boyfriend gets up every morning to go to his high paid job having no qualifications what so ever! He doesn’t have any GCSEs, Alevels or a degree but earns more money than most people his age. In fact I only know of two people and they both got hand picked at uni for very high stressed jobs in fiance. 

So here I am getting over another rejection after an interview from a job I know I would have been incredible at and being reminded of how long I have been out of a job. 

What have I achieved in 4 months then? Well 6 interviews and over 150 applications or e-mails to companies and no job. I have managed to redesign my website, and lost all of my work for the last 2 years after my computer managed to corrupt my hard drive making updating my portfolio even harder.

I haven’t managed to achieve anything outside of my job hunt either as my life has just become the same week over and over again with the occasional family event or interview. I haven’t managed to do any paintings, make any jewellery or learn any new songs, but in fact lost some of my range due to lack of practice.

In fact the only successes I have had is turning 26 and moving to Brighton and they both don’t really have much to do with me.

So here I am at this moment having lost all of my drive and hope in this seemingly never ending search just to have a role in this world and ability to pay my own way through it.

I am even trying to just get together enough to go down stairs to check the post, go eat breakfast (though now it would be lunch) or leave this sofa but I have to some how. 

I know I am lucky to so many people out there that have been doing this for years, those that having nothing, those that are stressing with oppression, abuse, poverty, pain or the lose of a loved one yet it is so hard finding drive any more.

Life hasn’t been easy though as you could easily use me and my family as the basis for Eastenders for the next 10 years. 

So what now? No idea but I guess the first thing is to check if my amazon packages have arrived (and I hope something has as that would be a good way to cheer me up) and then start cleaning the flat. 

 

What not to give – finding the perfect gift

So you are looking for the perfect gift for someone? Don’t know what to get? I think the more important question should be what not to get first!

As someone who has had her fair share of rubbish gifts I hopefully can give you a few ideas of what to avoid when finding a lovely girl a present!

  1. Don’t give just give money
    So you don’t know what to give and you need something really quick and easy! Whatever you do don’t give money as it shows no thought or feeling behind your present.Even when they have requested just money (say for a wedding, holiday, car or house), it is always nice to get something heartfelt too! It doesn’t have to cot much but it will make a difference! You could get some little accessory, cute stationary, or even just a little jar of hand picked pick and mix from the local sweet shop, but the added little thought will go the extra mile.
  2. Don’t ignore their wishlist
    This one seems really simple but people really do this! I have given a list of ideas, some being very cheap (I’m talking £2.50 in some cases) but these have often been ignored for stuff that I already have or don’t like because they thought they knew best.You can search for people’s wishlists these days on Amazon, Esty and Steam so there is no excuse to do a little hunting around! I am taking part in a gift exchange with Reddit once again but in the last one I was on sent me two things from my wishlist by my secret Santa which was amazing! If they can track down a stranger, it shouldn’t be too hard to look for someone you know.
  3. Don’t ignore an avoid or don’t want list
    This one may sound weird but my self and other people I know have written these in the past. These are written usually after people have had terrible experiences in the past and usually appears at the bottom of a wishlist.After having received 10 different milk chocolate (of which I have hated since I was 5) presents and sprays (of which I am highly allergic to) from the same person (my dad I should mention) didn’t go down well… nor did it the following years even with the “DON’T BUY ME” lists. In fact the response was “but Helen likes it”.

    If you ignore these lists and get something from these, even if it is a joke it can really make you look like a heartless idiot who doesn’t have a clue which leads on to…

  4. Don’t buy really hurtful or stupid joke presents
    This might work with your guy friends but girls generally want more loving gifts than jokey presents, especially if this is someone you love.I think the last time my dad brought my chocolate for Christmas it was intended as a joke after what he thought was over the top requests of no chocolate because I couldn’t enjoy it. He brought chocolate coins and quipped with “Maybe you can pay with them to get some thing nice” only to get a “Yes trade them for a thoughtful gift” and then a daughter not talking to him for the rest of the day. (Please note there was a history here and other aspects that made it worse).

    Girls don’t like being called fat, ugly or having their bad points pointed out as we are often striving for perfection…

  5. Don’t get the same thing every time
    So she likes a certain chocolate, flower or other thing… doesn’t mean she will want the same gift over and over again as that takes out all of the surprise. I know many people who get sick of chocolate as everyone buys them the same thing and end up with 10 Chocolate oranges sometimes to get through!Every year my mum gets my and my sister a random assortment of sweets and silly little gifts but they are never the same so while it is in the same vain, it is always exciting to see what random stuff she has found this time.
  6. Get something you want or someone else likes
    One of the biggest mistakes out there is this one, you should be thinking about your giftee and no one else. As previously mentioned I received presents I couldn’t eat and sprays I was allergic to because someone else they were gifting loved these. I even got orange shower gel (which I hate the smell of) because they were gifting the two of us together but only really buying for my cousin/step sister Helen.Many boyfriends have also made the big mistake of buying something that they want under the guise of giving it to their girlfriend. Your girlfriend will see through and you will just get in trouble! Not only that but because you gave it as a present, if things far apart she will get it not you!

    Many guys I know are always asking me what to get their girlfriends too, and while this seems like an incredible plan, it is not! While we all might seem to be into the same things, we all have our own tastes and interests and I am a prime example of this! I climb, video game and have an extensive Terry Pratchett collection compared to my sister who goes out clubbing, watches Sex in the City and reads 50 shades of Grey! There is only two exceptions, if they really are very similar in interests and taste or if they are very close friends with your giftee… then they may have discussed present ideas or might be able to find out secretly for you.

  7. Don’t just get the obvious
    Yes it is great to receive the item you really wanted but like with money it is nice to get a little thoughtful surprise with it too! It doesn’t even have to cost you much as one of the best presents I have had is a bunch of hand made paper roses!
  8. Don’t forget to wrap it
    Again one of the simple yet still forgotten rules, don’t forget to wrap it (or in most cases to buy the wrapping paper…)Some presents might be too big to wrap but there are always bows, blind folds and treasure hunts that can make it really feel fully thought through then “Close your eyes and put your hands out” can ever give.
  9. Don’t forget all the extras (aka batteries and accessories)
    Some presents might need batteries or other extras to make it fully functioning on the day you give it as there is nothing more annoying then getting a new gadget that you can’t use because something simple was forgotten! Don’t assume they will already have batteries! You can also make the gifting fun by giving the batteries first making them have to guess what they are for! And this leads nicely to our last point…
  10. Remember to have fun!
    Buying and giving presents should be fun and exciting! Years ago I brought my sister a lovely water feature during her Chi phase which needed batteries. knowing my sister she loves to open presents as soon as she can and always asks to open a present before lunch on Christmas, so I let her open one of her presents… the batteries! She couldn’t open anything else till the end of Lunch and ended up making the whole day memorable for everyone!I have also recently done a treasure hunt around a house with a pirate theme! It was a morning of silly sword fighting around the house and silly voices that we both got to enjoy!

    By having fun with themes, you can even give money in a fun way! My sister received about £100 once but it was remembered because the £20 notes were hidden and even wrapped around (with no selotape) little purple presents in a little purple box. When she figured out there was one and that it had all been purple to match the notes, you could see the glee and excitement in her face as she dove into find more notes.

As you can see, sometimes it is easier thinking about what not to do to get ideas and inspiration than trying to hunt for an idea out of the ethos.

I hope that helps and gives you a couple of great ideas!

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