The Irish Independent reports that 150,000 Irish people use the popular dating app Tinder, most of them between the ages of 18 and 24. With this in mind, you can be sure you’ve come across multiple opinions and criticisms of it. In the past 2 years since the app launched, different media outlets have generally sported the criticism that Tinder is a “hook-up” app rather than a dating app and God forbid you should attempt to find your future husband/wife using it!
So we know Tinder is insanely popular and has received less than glowing reviews from many but what if you are still curious and feel like giving it a go? As a reformed Tinder cynic, I say "Go for it, swipe away to your hearts content!"
A vocal member of the Tinder-hating bandwagon, I surprised myself one evening by downloading the app. I was combining a hectic college schedule with work and was beginning to feel isolated from the social scene, so I figured I’d chance it. Horror stories and criticisms aside, I felt that, at worst, it would provide me with some entertainment as I trudged through days of endless study and work.
My Tinder experience was both entertaining and bizarre. I chatted to all sorts of people, good and bad. One guy I was in touch with was travelling Europe and wanted to hook-up because he needed somewhere to sleep! Swipe.
As I continued interacting with people on Tinder I began to realise some things. Tinder was only a tool. How you use this tool defines your experience and despite what others have said, I made it work for me. I went on some pretty amazing dates and really clicked with some matches, and the most surprising part? None of them were “only interested in one thing”, as my friends had suggested. Now call me naïve, but I realised that my approach to using the app deviated from the seemingly normal Tinder “Love Story”. Here are some of my thoughts on how best to use the app to your advantage:
I’ve had friends and family roll their eyes and raise their eyebrows at my use of Tinder. My initial reaction was one of awkward agreement with their opinions. I thought it was as useless for anything other than hooking up but as I began to use the app more, my thinking changed. I realised that no matter what other people’s experiences or opinions, Tinder was merely a tool. The success or failure of my own experiences was down to how I chose to use it and what I expected from it, not anyone else. With that realisation, I was no longer bashful about my use of Tinder.
You can control what you share and who sees it but only to a certain extent. Just because the aim of the app is to entice potential dates, it doesn’t mean you should “bare all” in your profile pictures and descriptions. Everyone who uses the app is privy to those pictures and information. Even when you match with the hottest guy/girl you’ve ever seen, be careful. The nature of smartphone use today means that other people may be in on your “private” message conversations too. Think before you share pictures or sensitive information.
Honesty is the best policy: I know the last thing people want to do when they begin courting is to be completely honest, but believe me it will work for you in more ways than one. Be brave and take the opportunity to really grill your matches. Use the app to help take the awkward and blind element away before a first date. I asked all of the awkward and honest questions under the sun and when people responded with the same kind of honesty, I knew instantly that they were my type of date. Also, if you do want to use Tinder to “hook-up”, it’s probably best to be honest about that too to avoid any crossed wires!
While flirting and getting to know potential matches is thrilling, keep your personal safety in mind. Be careful sharing information like home address, phone numbers, etc. while messaging. If you do decide to go on a date make it happen on your terms. Choose a place you are familiar with and make sure it is in public. It’s good to pick a time that means you won’t get stuck or stranded alone with the date from hell. It is important to let people, family or friends know where you will be on the date, for your peace of mind and theirs.
Look at it as a social experiment if you will. We can do our shopping online, banking online and our study online, so why not try some online romance? If you meet the love of your life, that’s great! If not, so what? At least you’ve improved the dexterity of your thumbs with all that swiping!
It’s a curious thing the head clutcher. I’m sure you’ve seen them before, those stock images that are attached to pieces about mental illness and once you start to notice them, they’re everywhere. These days, an image of a person with their head in their hands, a person alone with their back against a wall seems to be how we envisage mental health.
Though the intention of writing an educational piece or highlighting positive mental health may be there, this can often be overlooked by inappropriate imagery.
Head to Google and type; “mental illness”, “depression”, “anxiety” or “disorder” and you’ll get reams of images of head clutching people – often women – peeping through their fingers or gnawing at their knuckles. Mental health can be a broad thing to try and illustrate but for me, I feel like there’s a more serious side to promoting the head clutching image as the norm.
Pictures can be just as damaging as words and these images perpetuate the view that this is the kind of anguish you need to be going through before you’re deemed mentally unwell and deserving of help. All of us will probably experience a mental health issue in our lives and the reality is that you could be smiling every day and still feel down.
You can be posting on social media about how great your life is or how grateful you are, whereas in truth you could be actually sending out desperate pleas for help. It’s not all about the head though, called “mental health”, it often takes a grab hold of your physical self too. When I’m feeling down often my body feels heavy, my energy is sapped and I feel like I’m carrying weight. In my darkest hours I could seem “normal”.
I don’t think I’ve ever clasped my head with my hands and I really do think that there is a problem with the standard approach we use to photograph mental health issues. I know that some photo editors struggle with alternatives but consider this idea: If interviewing someone who’s sharing their experience, consider asking them how they’d like to be portrayed. Their answer may surprise you.
I’d also imagine that it would be pretty extraordinary to find written in a journalist’s notes, “xxx clutched their head during interview”.
Can we change the images we use to portray people with mental health issues? Because this is what a person who’s dealing with the ups and downs of life really looks like:
Until 1993, it was illegal to be gay in Ireland. In 2015, only 22 years later, the Irish people will be given the chance to legalise same sex marriage. It is incredible that our small country has modernised so quickly and adapted to the 21st century's way of thinking.
As a young person, growing up in an Ireland no longer controlled by the Catholic Church, no longer dominated by the unequal restrictions of Ireland’s past, I have friends that are gay. I have family that are in a civil union. I go to school with people that like both men and women and all of this is normal to me. And so it should be. The fact that it is not normal to some people worries me. And those campaigning against the referendum on marriage equality in the first half of this year have a tough battle on their hands.
In a changing modern world where every man and woman has the right to vote, the right to work and the right to love, there is no place for the negative and dated attitudes of those opposed to equality, no matter what form it comes in. The Irish Association of Bishops plan to release a leaflet on why they are against same sex marriage, no doubt filled with ridiculous statements about it being "morally wrong."
Outside the Catholic Church, arguments have been made regarding the welfare of adopted children. A yes vote in the marriage equality referendum will give the children of same sex couples equal rights to the children of heterosexual couples. Many people feel that a child would not receive the same upbringing with two same sex parents as they would with heterosexual parents. Does that matter? Really? Is that seriously a valid argument to make? A child's upbringing depends on how much care, attention, nurturing and love the child receives, not on the sex of the parents! Of course it's not a normal upbringing in comparison to what we're used to, but who's to say it wouldn't be the same? Or different for all the right reasons?
Or is it that that these people are "worried" that this upbringing would impact a child's sexual development? Nonsense again. The story of a gay bull, who sniffs around his male companions instead of the udders of others caught the attention recently of television producer Sam Simon, most associated for his work with 'The Simpsons.' Simon is suffering from a terminal disease and is searching the globe for worthy causes to give away his fortune to. After hearing the story of the gay bull, Simon stepped in to save the bull from slaughter. Does this story of a gay animal not prove that homosexuality, despite what some may think, isn't something people develop? It's not an illness or a problem, it is nature. A child shouldn't have to hide his or her feelings until they're in their 20s, to eventually "come out" as being gay. They should be able to grow up as any human being and feel and express whatever their heart tells them.
But there is one thing that will defeat all arguments made in opposition to same sex marriage, something the Church teaches, something people feel every day, something even people who are renowned for hatred will feel at least once in their lives - love. The Catholic Church teach you to "love your neighbour as you love yourself" despite being in opposition to people loving people of the same sex. Heterosexual people build relationships based on love with family members, friends, but especially with the person they choose to spend the rest of their life with. Why should somebody not be allowed that exact same experience, just because the person they love is of the same gender?
I am writing this as a heterosexual, 16 year old man. I'm not gay. However, I feel so passionate about this because I believe that we live in a modern world with changing attitudes and that love shouldn't be dictated by your sexual orientation. If I can have the right to love, to make a commitment to a woman, to love her eternally, why can't a man make that commitment to another man? Or a woman to another woman? I am hoping that every young person in this country eligible to vote in the marriage equality referendum recognises this too.
Love is supposed to be unconditional. Eternal love should be no different.
You can follow Tadhg on Twitter at @Tadhg_Williams
Whether you're voting Yes or No, we'd love to hear from you. Remember to keep all contributions respectful in tone and considerate of LGBT young people in approach. Send us your opinion pieces to email@example.com
When I first turned vegan my decision was split between moral and health reasons. I loved meat. I loved cheese. I especially loved when the two were combined together – so mighty meaty pizza was definitely a firm favourite of mine. But I didn’t love the affect that eating these kinds of foods had on my body, nor did I like the way the animals were treated by the larger food industries all over the world. So, with all this in mind, I decided to do a little bit of an experiment. Veganism. Initially it was only meant to be a three week thing, but fast-forward six months and I’m still sticking to it. The thing is, I’ve never felt better. My skin is clearer, I’m sleeping better, I lost weight, I saved money and my conscience is guilt-free.
That said, I know all too well how difficult life can be for a beginner vegan. Shopping can take twice as long because you’ve to check every packet you throw into the trolley to make sure it doesn’t contain dairy. Chocolate from the health food shops just doesn’t taste the same. You feel really awkward landing to friends’ houses and producing your own miniature soya milk carton for tea. But the thing is, it gets easier. There’s just a few little vegan hacks that you need to learn, and suddenly the lifestyle becomes almost effortless. So I’ve put together some tips on surviving veganism. It’s not an easy lifestyle to swap into, but as a converted carnivore, I know that it’s definitely something worth trying out.
A lot of us tend to spend a little bit too much time on social media. This can affect your life in a number of ways. You might find that it’s taking up too much of your time and affecting your work or studying, or you might be spending less face-to-face time with mates, because you’re too busy chatting to them online. Well, there’s a new campaign who thinks it’s time we take a step back from social media, and re-think our relationship with Facebook.
The FacebookFreeFebruary campaign challenges you to leave Facebook for the whole month of February. They reckon that by abstaining from Facebook for a period of time, we’ll be in a better position to see how it really affects our lives, and be able to make better decisions around how we engage with it.
There are so many things you could get up to while off Facebook, such as spend more time with you friends, take up a hobby, read more, and spend more time outside. You might be surprised by the amount of time you’ll free up by deactivating your Facebook.
You don’t have to do it for the whole month - maybe even just a week. The campaign urges you to try it out and see how you feel. The people behind the campaign believe plugging out of social media is a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself. You can encourage mates to do it with you, and maybe put a wager down amongst yourselves.
How do you describe yourself to potential employers? It seems like Irish people have the tendency to over use words when it comes to selling themselves! LinkedIn has published information about their Irish users, highlighting the most over used words contained on their cvs.
And here are the offenders...
We all know how frustrating job hunting can be, scouring the web for suitable vacancies, receiving daily rejection emails and shopping for interview worthy attire can be very exhausting, but having an impressive CV is vital. Check out our tips on how to make sure your CV is in tip top shape, and scan through it to see how many of LinkedIn's over used words pop up. You may well find yourself in search of a thesauraus!
What do you think about Europe? Do you have something to say about the European Union (EU) that you’ve been dying to get off your chest?
The EU is now the largest economy in the world, and as an EU member state, decisions made in Europe directly impact the lives of young people in Ireland. The EU is expanding pretty quickly, with many countries looking set to newly join it in the coming years.
The European Commission want to know your thoughts on these issues and they’re running a writing competition to find out. The main questions they’re asking are:
If you’ve something to say about this in 1,000 words or less, then this is the competition for you! You must be aged 18-25 to enter, and submit your entry by February 27th at midnight. You can submit your entry in any official EU language.
The winners will be awarded a three-day visit to Brussels at the end of May 2015, and their article will be published on the European Commission's website as well as here on SpunOut.ie.
For rules and information on how to enter visit their website here.
Back when I was sitting the Leaving, if someone had handed me an article detailing a frank and honest report on what it takes to make it in radio in Ireland I probably would have chanced my arm at nabbing a scholarship at NASA instead. That would’ve seemed a more tangible feat! But I got the ‘calling’ from the media industry and set off delirious in my ambition; in a state of blissful naivety to pursue my beloved vocation.
And that is what the media industry is - a vocation, make no mistake about it. Passion is the main ingredient in conjuring your success story coupled with the ability to endure and learn quickly. If you want to go after a career in radio you must first become a media junkie and devour every morsel of knowledge about how the industry operates. After that, natural talent and personality will be your key in the door. (See www.radiotoday.ie to keep up to date with the latest radio action in Ireland.)
The radio industry in Ireland is like a family. It’s a small and deeply established community who only welcome those whom are experienced, dedicated and have something innovative to offer. The best way to make yourself visible to prospective employers is to take advantage of the vast and diverse opportunities in smaller stations such as community radio and niche stations. So before you embark on your professional radio career, there is a whole other realm of radio to be discovered and experimented with, and this will help you to find your thing and what you are able to bring to the table.
Though your time in community and internet radio may well be unpaid or internships, your experience in these stations will be your most valuable asset when seeking employment as you’ll be actively shaping yourself into an employable, competent journalist, presenter, producer or researcher who will be fully confident in their roll once they’ve landed a paying position in the mainstream radio world - if that’s what you still desire. This is an opportunity for you to learn from mistakes, take chances and create impressionable demos to send to bigger stations you may be ultimately aiming to be apart of. Stations such as Babylon, a Dublin based community station who promote and celebrate multiculturalism in Dublin are always seeking new and eager students to produce, present and research for them. They are a shining example of how expansive, modern and diverse the wider radio industry is and how there is a station out there to fit every taste and demand. Other stations that are always seeking innovative new personalities are FRQ, a sister DAB station to Spin1038, Dublin City FM, NRG, Liffey Sound, and many more.
When deciding the route to go towards training, it’s worth mentioning that you don’t actually have to go to college and get a degree to be successful in radio. Many people start out small, and befriend people in community stations and work tirelessly until they make it. Personally I cannot urge you enough to get some formal education in the media industry in general when aiming to work in radio. The mainstream national stations are such a small and close bunch that you need to literally shine and have a ‘media tool kit’ fully equipped and updated to facilitate the modern demands of Irish radio. You can only achieve a competitive edge if you’re coming from a well-rounded background of experience and education.
Every University in Ireland runs degree and masters courses in media or a media related field, bar Trinity College, which only teaches film. The degrees are usually broad and focused on ‘new media’, which focuses on social, digital and online media, marketing, web administration as well as law and a language. These courses are suitable to a student unsure of where in the media they see themselves and will provide them with a strong foundation to stand on. For those who have radio in their hearts and are 100% sure of what they want, there are more concentrated courses in Further Education colleges like Ballyfermot College of Further Education and Cork Institute of Technology. They offer Higher National Diplomas and Certificates in Radio Broadcasting and will be more efficient at preparing dedicated future broadcasters for their careers.
Successful alumni students who attended the radio course at BCFE include Rick O’Shea, a presenter with 2fm, Trina Mara, producer and presenter with 98fm, Stephen Mannion, radio producer with Spin1038 and Aisling Bastible of RTE News.
My advice to all aspiring journalists, producers and presenters is to get yourself into a community station and try your hand at everything. Apply for researcher positions in RTE and no matter how challenging a climate you may find it, never lose sight of your dreams. The media industry and radio has ample opportunities that are always changing and evolving to adapt to modern culture and in turn you will too throughout your career. The radio industry will open your eyes and expose you to something new every single day and that’s why I chose it and why I will continue to work to be here regardless of the sweat and energy it takes. It is an industry that will keep you sharp and current and one which you’ll earn your place in, but the lifestyle you achieve in return may well leave you feeling like you haven’t worked a ‘job’ since your crumby retail days.
I sat down with diva extrodinaire Paddy Cullivan, RTE radio and TV personality who I had the pleasure of being a researcher for and asked him about his views on the industry today:
What's the difference between public service and commercial radio and where is the station you work at positioned within that sector?
There is very little difference between public service and Commercial Radio in Ireland because they both feature ads! Public radio has higher wages and guaranteed benefits, and also has a social remit to broadcast stuff to educate as well as entertain. I see very little difference.
Could you explain the following roles? - Journalist; Researcher; Presenter; Producer and programme director.
Journalist - records and reports events - shouldn't have an opinion but does
Researcher - builds the programme and the flow of interviews, finds out stuff so the host doesn't have to
Presenter - personality, improvisor, firewall, understands the flow of a radio show. Not all of them are any good.
Programme Director - Liases between the presenter and researcher - is kind of surplus to requirements but can have the odd good idea.
Could you briefly discuss what you think the future holds for radio in Ireland?
I would like to be hopeful - there is plenty of talent out there but only a few are allowed to slip through, many of whom are very conservative. The recent Ray D'Arcy decision was tough on a lot of younger people who need a break, because it seemed like RTE were going backwards rather than forwards - it did however create a gap in Today FM - so hopefully they do something decent and innovative with that. Radio either takes itself far too seriously (current affairs etc) or is really dumbed-down - young people aren't morons but you would think they are from some of the youth-oriented programmes out there. It is also too politically in favour of the establishment. Some recent BAI decisions were strange regarding debate and balance - but hopefully things improve. More new voices - that's what's important.
Could you briefly discuss what you think about podcasting?
It's the way of the future, and a way to circumvent the gatekeepers who decide what gets on air. The recent 'Serial' was a worldwide hit - that's the way of the future. Radio needs to tell stories well again and that's happening with podcasts. My friend Jarleth Regan started one in London - 'Ama Irishman Abroad' - and it's opened huge doors for him.
Could you briefly discuss how you got into radio; How you got your first job in radio; What advice you would give to the 'wannabe radio head'.
I was promoting a Camembert Quartet album in 2002 and Newstalk had me on - they found me funny so asked me back every week to discuss issues of the day. Joe Duffy poached me from there to do Funny Friday and Ryan Tubridy had me on because of the album. Have a product to start with - something that uniquely yours - that's the secret to a consistent on-air presence - until the product is yourself and others want it!
How to survive the Leaving Cert? I can't say I speak from experience because I'm a sixth year student! But I believe that there are many steps that can be taken to help ease the pain of what can be a torturous year.
Often these articles are written by past students and none of us want to hear that "we should have started in first year" or "it'll be over in no time". Really what we want is someone to listen. Someone to listen to us moan, complain and worry. We don't want the advice of someone who knows it all. We want to hear from someone who actually understands what we're going through as we are going through it.
It's January, the Leaving Cert is no longer "next year" and everything has just gotten a little more real. We're are at that confusing stage after Christmas, before mocks when we are expected to simultaneously finish courses, revise for mocks, prepare for oral exams and study for the Leaving Certificate.
It all feels very overwhelming. It feels as though it will never end. And often we spend so long worrying, stressing and fretting that we waste more time then we can afford to. But we must not loose sight of the bigger picture. We only have twenty weeks left. That's plenty of time to get loads of work done, without it dragging on forever. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, it's normal to be stressed. But that mustn't be all you do.
The key to avoiding undue stress is being organised. Always study with a plan. Balance is of the utmost importance. Your life from now to June must be a plan. The Leaving Cert is an investment and the more you put in, the more you'll get in return. Break everything down into small stages, half-terms, months or even weeks and focus on each stage as it comes.
The CAO becomes an obsession at this time of year, as thousands of confused students struggle to fill it out. But don't panic. We have until July to decide. Well we have the rest of our lives really. We all fall into the trap of thinking that whatever it is we decide to do after school will determine the rest of our lives. But it won't (hopefully!). It will merely fill the next four or five year gap in our lives. Just go into any workplace and you will be astonished at the range of university degrees held by the employees.
Do something you like. I know it sounds a lot easier than it is and I used to hate hearing it. But the way I think of it now is, if you were told you could only continue with 2 subjects for the rest of the year what would you choose? That usually reflects where your interest lies. But if that doesn't work don't fret, you are in no rush to decide. So for now just continue to plough along with your work, don't get bogged down by mocks or homework or anything else. Stress when you need to stress, cry when you need to cry and just do what you need to do!
A New Year means a new you, right? Every January smokers around the world try to say goodbye to cigarettes for a number of reasons.
So, want to give it a go? Or are you just trying to decide whether you actually want to quit or not?
Either way, give SpunOut’s Quit Smoking Quiz a go and see how much you really know about smoking.
It can be very difficult to stop or reduce self-harm, so well done on making the decision to do so.
Self-harm is a coping mechanism, so it is important that you replace it with more positive coping mechanisms that won’t hurt you or make you feel bad.
Many people who self-harm find that writing down a list of distractions can help, so that when they feel the urge they have a prepared plan of action. The more you practice these distractions the more likely you are to use them when they’re needed.
Check out these distraction techniques: