Public servants spend hours on dating and shopping sites


Laptop under love heart
Image: iStock

Bureaucrats are spending time looking at dating and shopping sites on the job, @according to Sunday Herald Sun. (‘Public servants spend thousands of work hours online looking for love’, Annika Smetherst, Sunday  Herald Sun, April, 1).

Smetherst reported that the Sunday Telegraph gained access to documents confirming a list of sites visited by Department of Social Services employees during work hours over twelve months. Sites included:

  • RSVP
  • Elite Singles
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • Twitter (Public servants can use Twitter for political debate, providing they don’t criticise other agencies or ministers, according to the Australian Public Service Commission)
  • Taste.com
  • Footy tips
  • Lite’n’easy
  • Kmart
  • Ikea
  • Movie schedules
  • Real estate
  • David Jones

Now, I admit that I have a habit of wasting time online when I should be doing other things. Sometimes, it’s good to take a break from what your work for a while. But the list above is extensive. And the hours over a twelve momth period is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
And how does this affect the running of the services? I know that Centrelink get lots of criticism about customer waiting times when trying to contact someone over the phone. Is this a possible reason? The public rightly expect that services that most of the public pay for is up to scratch. Unfortunately, the truth is, for years now, services like Centrelink, have been less than satisfactory.

This just fuels more public anger against politicians. They are tired of being treated by mugs. It’s more than enough.

Politicians and publis servants need to pick up their game. I’m not saying that public servants have no right to visit dating and shopping sites, but not at the expense of the quality of services that most of the public pay for and other rely on. The public have a right to demand a whole lot more and there needs to be accountability put back into politics and the public service. Waiting hours to talk to someone on the phone at Centrelink, (especially when it’s required for someone to maintain payments or to avoid gettimg a debt in overpayments, which can add up to the tens of thousands), is inexcusable.

But what can we do? We can wait until next year’s election, get Labor in and then… start all over agsin, I guess. The lack of an ethical compass of most politicians and, apparently public servants have, is disgusting, to be frank. But what can we do?! Maybe increased direect pressure might help. Contact MPs either by phone or email (be respectful, of course). Start social media campaigns. If you see a politician face to face, tell them of your disappointment. I’m just going off the top of my head here. Whether it’d do any good is another thing. How can you criticise someone who’s ethical compass and sense of duty is so out of whack and has been for decades now?

 

Anyone got any other suggestions on how we can spurr things on to make our public services better? What have your experienes with public service been? Let me know in the comments below.

Advertisements

How BuzzFeed copy editor made me excited about writing

Book: A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age" by Emmy Favila
“A World Without Whom” by BuzzFeed’s Emmy Favila offers great insight into the English language and offers writers and the general public freedom to express themselves.

 

I have been reading the book A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in our Buzzfeed Age by Buzzfeed’s Copy Editor, Emmy Favilla. While it took me a while to read it (an understatement, to tell you the truth), I loved it. It made me even more excited about getting into the field of professional writing.

The book went through some history of the English language and what linguists had to say. Then it focused on how rapidly language is changing, especially in the age of the internet and social media (I thought about writing ‘Internet’, just then. That was one of the debates Favilla wrote about in the book. I’ll stick with ‘i’, I think).

Basically, there are a few rules, only preferences. Sure it has to make sense and no writer should be making typos right, left or centre if they’re serious and not a maniac (myself included). Consistency is key.

Of course, there are social norms one should consider, like inclusive language. I think Favilla went into overkill with this. Here’s the thing: I believe that if someone requests to be preferred to by a specific pronoun, including “they” or “ze”, by all means refer to the person by that pronoun. I don’t think you necessarily have to ‘eliminate’ gender altogether. If you really don’t know, then, if you can ask. In  a rare case, use gender neutral, but I don’t think you need to go overboard with it.

Another pet peeve I discovered I have while reading the book is drawn out sentences. I  realised this at the start. Hey, that’s fine for Favilla, I’m not knocking that. I just prefer shorter sentences— less than twenty – five words preferably. Definitely no more than thirty.

That aside, it was exciting to read about the evolution of the English language. I loved reading about the emoticons, and how far back they went, (right back to the 1980’s, apparently). Also, there’s debate about whether one of Abraham Lincoln’s written speeches included typos or a deliberate emoticon. In regard to emojis, I nominate the Ancient Egyptians as being the first to use them. 😛

Screenshot of hieroglyphs and emojis
Screenshot: Things have gone full circle over the past 4,000 years.

 

While language, particularly grammar has become a lot more relaxed over the years, Favila emphasised the need for the need for inclusive language and the importance in using appropriate terms for one’ gender or racial identity (particularly indigenous groups around the world). I’ll put my two cents in when it comes to gender: I believe you should refer to someone by the pronouns that a person prefers (including ‘they’ and ‘ze’/ ‘zir’).  Should it be something that a writer or anyone else needs to tie themselves in knots over with everyone they meet? No. I fear that we are making things too complicated. Be courteous. If you are asked to refer to someone using certain pronouns, use them. If not, my guess is what you see is what you get.

Another thing I found fascinating was the differences in British/ Australian and American English. Of course, there’s colour/ color, favour/ favor and Imperial vs Metric measurements (miles vs kilometres, etc). However, I didn’t know that the US has slightly different use of swear words and their offense levels than the UK and Australia. Who knew? (P.S. I’m not giving any examples here. Google them for yourself if you want to know).

A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age was a great read and offered great insights in the English language. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in language or it’s evolution.

Have you read A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age? What did you think? Leave your thoughts below.

 

Social media: is it a platform for honesty?

 

Facebook logo
Image: Canva

 

 

 

On Tuesday, Channel Ten’s The Project Mitch Wallis, who said that he had a breakdown when taking a trip in Kentucky.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheProjectTV%2Fvideos%2F10154638796028441%2F&show_text=0&width=560

The breakdown spurred Wallis on to start a campaign “Heart on My Sleeve” on both Twitter and Facebook, encouraging people to be honest about their experiences and feelings on social media.

 

I think it’s a good, and frankly, brave idea (I’ll explain why in a sec).

When on social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, most people only upload photos and write posts that reflect the best aspects of their lives. The happy holiday snaps, the cute kids when they aren’t fighting and (usually) not crying, the happy couple pics, you get the idea.

So, I scrolled through the Heart on My Sleeve Facebook Page recently, and it’s quite brutally honest. If you read the pinned post I embedded above, you’d know what I mean. That’s good.

Here’s the thing, will this campaign take off and change the way people view and use social media? That’s what I’m a bit skeptical about.

I said that this campaign was “brave” because people who are too honest on social media, they often get a backlash, either online or in their personal lives. This is especially true when it comes to conflicts with others. And I get that, to be honest. Unless it’s something to do with the law or something terrible has happened, it’s probably best to work out conflicts among you and the person you have issues with.

So, that’s obvious. But what about talking about things like depression, mental breakdowns, grief? What about photos that don’t look the best? Now, I’ve got to say that my Facebook friends are quite honest in how they’re doing. But for some people, especially younger people, this can be intimidating, especially when a backlash is likely.

Thing is, some – if not most people – only want to hear and read certain things and are, unfortunately, critical of people when they aren’t. So, how do we change this mindset? How do we get rid of the fear of backlash because we may have posted something someone may not like? Also, in terms of mental health, when should someone just seek professional help, rather than airing it online? Is there a potential risk that airing certain things will only exacerbate the problems?

Maybe this campaign can extend to honesty in everyday life, not just on social media. Are you OK? if not, talk to someone, a friend, partner, family member or a professional. We all need someone who we can be honest with. Will it work with three hundred “friends” (I think the average number of friends someone has on Facebook)? Not sure.

I think something could be said about this, for both online and the real world (probably the latter more so). And that’s we need to let people be who they are and express how they feel and let ourselves do the same thing. For some people, social media or a blog may be an ideal platform – at least to an extent. But, for others, it may be better to do things more privately; one on one or in a small group. At least then, you may get more sympathy and/ or understanding. Whatever works, I guess. Anything that prevents someone bottling up too much must be a good thing.

What do you think of the Heart on My Sleeve campaign and honesty on social media? Do you think it’ll ever become a regular thing? Leave your thoughts below. 

Abuse can’t be accepted by Christians

Church building
Image: Canva

 

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

Content warning: homophobia and Church abuse.

Christian singer, Vicky Beeching has revealed that she’s temporarily leaving social media after she received a torrent of homophobic abuse.

 

As you can tell from the embedded link, from Christianity Today, most of the abuse was by Christians.

I fumed when I first read this on Monday.

The debate over the LGBTQ+ community and the church still goes on. It looks like it may go on for a while. Some people still have a staunch traditional view when it comes to sexuality. Regardless, this can’t be accepted.

 

When will we learn? The church seems to have a dark history of abuse. Even if you take the Catholic Church sexual abuse to one side, the toxic culture of spiritual and emotional abuse is horrifying. Domestic violence is another scourge just coming to light.

 

Some people use the “not true Scotsman” argument. “Well, they (the bullies and abusers), aren’t real Christians”. 

I think this is a convenient excuse, to be honest. The problem is, these issues aren’t just caused by a few “bad eggs”. If it was, it would be dealt with years ago. But like with the Catholic Church abuse scandal and others, the issue goes much deeper. As you’ll see if you click the link, unfortunately the Church’s attitudes towards sexuality and gender has exacerbated the rates of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

Going back to the Vicky Beeching story, this issue is an issue that must be addressed. I firmly believe that it’s stems from certain members of the Church dehumanising the LGBTQ+ community. They are equated with “what they do”, rather than a child of God. Harmful stereotypes and misinformation are what fuelled the incredibly harmful “ex gay” therapy. Some attitudes, seems like haven’t changed.

 

There is good news for LGBTQ+ Christians though.  A group, Equal Voices offered a national apology to the LGBTQ+ community on any mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the Church late last month.

Last time I checked the letter, over 500 people signed. Most of them identified as being a member of a Christian denomination. Others said they were ‘ex’ members and others identified as either agnostic or atheist. I do believe that this is a sign that there are Christians who want to move in the right direction and treat LGBTQ+ community with dignity and compassion. That doesn’t mean that what has happened to Vicky Beeching shouldn’t be addressed.

Here’s the thing. If you are a Christian and you see abusive comments on social media by other Christians, call it out. Block or report the person. If you hear it in real life, if you can, confront it head on. It’s about time all Christians start being real and calling out abuse when it occurs. Whether it’s against an LGBTQ+ person, someone suffering domestic violence or any other types of abuse, it needs to be called out and condemned.

 

There is another thing. Calling out abuse is only a tip of the iceberg as well. Christians need to develop a culture where abuse cannot fester. Everything needs to be examined, including theology and whether it’s used as an instrument of harm rather than healing. Correcting someone when they are wrong is one thing. But abuse cannot be tolerated. If you need to, look deeply into Scripture. Look at the historical context and the original Greek and Hebrew/ Aramaic to get a fuller understanding on what the authors meant. If you can’t get an exact answer, I believe that we need to go back to the number one rule: Love God and love our neighbour as ourselves fulfils the law and the Prophets. I believe that means that anything that causes harm – whether intended or not – cannot be accepted and cannot remain a part of Christian culture.

 

This goes to the those who abused Vicky Beeching as well. You’re conduct does NOT in any way fulfil what I said above about loving God and others. If you are against same – sex relationships, I’m not going to attack that. But the abuse needs to stop. Treat LGBTQ+ people like people FIRST!

 

If this post has brought up any issues, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you’re from another country, feel free to leave numbers of any counselling services in the comments below. 

YouTube in hot water after alleged censoring and demonetising channels

IMG_0453

Freelance journalist and Herald Sun contributor, Alice Clarke accused YouTube of restricting videos from LGBTQ+ YoutTubers, while not censoring straight users even though their content can be explicit. Ironically, conservative YouTubers, such as Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson has condemned YouTube for demonetising conservative bloggers and drowning independent users out as they can’t compete with organisations such as CNN and The Young Turks.

 

I have a Google account and comment on videos, but I’m not a YouTuber myself. I’m quite happy doing my blog at the moment, so I’m not 100% sure what’s been going on or exactly their policies, etc. I will say this though; if YouTube are restricting videos by LGBTQ+ YouTubers in a way that they don’t censor or restrict straight YouTubers talking about a similar thing, then that’s not OK. Likewise, if they are trying to make it harder, if not impossible for independent YouTubers to make a living from their content, regardless of their socio – political persuasions, then that’s not OK…. unless all users know from the get – go that the platform is a conservative/ liberal – free zone. I mean, they can do that. They are a privately owned company.

 

What annoys me is how social media platforms, and, by the looks of it, YouTube as well. Due to children accessing platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, it makes sense that some content would be off limits altogether or, as in YouTube’s case, placed in restricted mode.Things like graphic violence, (Slayer’s clip to their song “Pride in Prejudice – trust me that’s gory), sexually explicit content and other content that’s not suitable for those under the age of eighteen should be restricted. Videos that promote or legitimise illegal activity should be banned, period. Unless a social media or video sharing platform is advertised and known  to only accept content from people of a certain religious or political persuasion, the platform should allow (legal/ non – graphic) content from all users, not just some.

And, be consistent! In the past, Facebook have been accused of unfair censorship when they took down pictures of women breastfeeding, while allowing graphic violent and explicit images and videos to be published on the platform. In response to some violent content (I think it may have been  ISIS related), they tried to argue that it was allowed because it stirred up debate. However,  after a public backlash, Facebook eventually took the offending content down. That’s not the only time that their “algorithms” have been scrutinised. I personally have reported memes that I thought promoted anti – LGBTQ+ violence, only to be told that the memes/ comments didn’t breach their standards. (Before anyone accuses me of censorship or being a “snowflake”, these memes I’m talking about actually advocated that men should use physical violence if trans – women use the female bathroom… only they had gross caricatures of them, rather than real ones, but you get my drift).

 

As debate over 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 has raged, I’ve become more and more in favour of as little restriction as possible. We should be able to debate ideas and laws shouldn’t be implemented to destroy people’s livelihoods unjustly. I’m starting to think that censorship maybe the thing that stops people from supporting groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other ethnic – minority communities. Unless specified, social media, blogging and video – sharing platforms should be places where there is as little restriction as possible and also everyone should be treated the same and be placed under the same restrictions.

 

It is now easier than ever for people to have their say… or at least theoretically it is. If social media platforms start having consistent policies, it can continue in the future.

Have you had any issues in regard to how a social media platform or YouTube censor or ignore certain content? Let me know your experiences.