Social Media Addiction: Good and Bad

Thursday, November 29th, 2012|Advice, Elexu Team Posts|by EmilyPoon|No Comments

Today’s post comes from Intern Emily who writes about social media addiction.

Hello fellow internet citizen. Do you have a Facebook account? Twitter? Pinterest? Tumblr? Soundcloud? Linkedin Account? Youtube account? Do you own one of these accounts? A few? Or all.

I doubt the majority of readers will say that they have none of the above; Generation Y, you must have at least one!  Especially in this day and age where exchanging Facebook profiles is as common, if not more common, as exchanging phone numbers between friends. Social media usage is so ordinary now that there is even a psychological diagnosis affiliated with it: “Internet Addiction Disorder” which is readily accepted in China, Taiwan and South Korea, and next year, this disorder will be listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V), aka the American “bible of psychology”.

But are you addicted? Apparently the symptoms include: preoccupation with the internet/internet gaming, withdrawal symptoms when internet is unavailable and loss of other interests. It has been noted that when we receive a notification from our social media profiles, we get a hit of dopamine, which is a chemical in our brain that affects our behavior, sleep, cognition and, more importantly, our mood. With each hit of dopamine, it recharges our addictive compulsion. Thus, technically speaking, it is scientifically possible to be addicted to the Internet.

With this in mind when I evaluate myself, I’m not addicted… am I? When I disappeared to Asia in the summer, I didn’t always have the Internet and I don’t feel like I had withdrawal symptoms, but when I managed to access free Wifi I was ridiculously happy with the fact that I can see what my friends have been doing back home.

I mean, when I don’t have Internet access at home, I complain… that’s not necessarily a symptom right? Its not like I come out in rashes or anything. But when it comes down to it, I probably do spend a LOT of time on social media websites. Especially when I was at university, and when I’m on the train, and when I’m waiting for a friend and before I go to bed and….  Hm.

But can you blame me though? A lot of the time I’m facing a screen. When I want a quick break from a task at hand, I’ll take a cheeky moment to check my Twitter and maybe I do get a little excited when I see someone has tweeted me back, but is addicted a good word to describe me?

The thing with social media now is that is connects people in different ways: socially, professionally, nondescriptly, purposefully etc.… It’s true social media can be a time-wasting activity, but working at Elexu has made me realise that if you do spend a lot of time on social media, you might as well do it with a purpose. At least when you use Elexu, there is a purpose of attempting to become one step closer to your aspiration. Whereas Tumblr is just… looking at what you and other people COULD aspire to… and loads of cats. Social media can be a good addiction if you use it in the right way.

Gamer’s Need to Fight Gaming Journalism

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012|Guest posts|by Sam Watson|No Comments

I am a nerd. Let’s just get that clear. I love computer games, but I also make sure I get my dose on vitamin D from the sun. New technology means that games are increasingly being able to reflect what we can create in our imagination. Coupled with great story lines, the ability to affect the outcome of the game and online options, I am surprised that not everyone plays games.

However, if I have persuaded you to go out and buy your first X-box with that short paragraph, I would not comfortably guide you to any of the mainstream gaming news and review websites to source the info. This is why I believe that most of the gaming  journalists are in the pockets of PR games industry representatives.

Although I have thought this for a long time, no one cares about my opinion and recently an article was written by a well respected games journalist, damning other games journalists for this reason. So, what a lot of veteran gamers believed was confirmed for indefinitely. Now I won’t recap the whole article, but you can find it here. I will just do a sum up for this little post.

Below is the image that started it all. It’s Geoff Keighley: an industry leader and executive producer of a gaming journalism awards show where friends give awards to other friends. PR people and games journos’ vote for their people to win awards for gaming journalism and most of the time the people deciding the awards and those receiving know each other well … but shouldn’t PR people and games journos’ not be friends?

However they are and this creates a distrustful nature between the gamer and people we should be able to trust for our gaming info.

It is up to the gamers themselves to combat the waves of bullsh**t coming off some mainstream gaming news and review sites.

I was invited to write game reviews for a friends website (www.unbored.co.uk) which is being re-launched in the new year. Our mission is to write the truth about gaming, regardless of who developed it.

Sometimes free indie games you can download on the net can be much innovative than a AAA developed games title (cough, cough …Call of Duty).  I write the articles not for money, but because I love games and that’s what I think some of these journalists have lost. They have been caught up in free stuff for tweets and hashtags. Of course, there are still game journalists that have high standards and refuse to play along, but they are told off for doing so by the boss. Some gaming journalists don’t investigate and report like they are meant to. They just regurgitate what the marketing department tells them.

I’ll end on this. Make your own mind up about games and if you want to find reviews about a particular game then find the smaller people because they are more likely to be telling the truth.

Intern Feature – Elliot Moore: The Art of Skateboarding

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012|Elexu Team Posts|by ElliotMoore|No Comments

Today’s post comes from Elexu Intern Elliot Moore, who writes about his on-going passion for skateboarding and its relationship with his career.

When I think back to my teen years as to why I started skateboarding in the first place, it’s actually quite amusing. I remember walking outside my front door and seeing a girl who lived near by casually cruising down the road on what I would describe now as an “Old-School Fish Deck”. Now before you start thinking, “Aww so he had a bit of a sweet spot for her and he went and bought a skateboard too…”, it wasn’t like that okay! At least, I don’t think it was. Anyway, I guess it was simply down to the “cool” factor. Everyone had bikes back then and skateboarding just seemed different, more exciting.

As the years went on, I found the more I skated, the more I fell in love with it. But it wasn’t just about learning new tricks and competing with your friends to see who could be the most “Steezy” (Ghetto Translation: Stylish). I was never a massive sports fan at school and was often pushed to the side in PE classes. You know, into the group of kids who were just plain rubbish at football, for example. But with skateboarding, it was the complete opposite.

My friends and I would travel to all these different skateparks and meet all kinds of new people who were so welcoming. I guess it was this sense of feeling apart of a strong community that appealed to me.

I have also grown to realise how much of an impact the sport has had on my personal development. It has truly shaped who I am today. In particular, meeting and interacting with new people on a regular basis helped build both my self-confidence and social skills. I believe skateboarding was also responsible for sparking my flare for the creative industry. The sport by nature is very creative, with designers, photographers and film producers often at the heart of it, capturing and creating some truly inspiring work. It is these types of people who I really admire and would love to work alongside in my future career.

Taking the above into account, it is astonishing how my current internship at Elexu fits with my background and professional goals so well. The very concept of the company is to support and empower the people I love, and as a bonus I get to work on some really exciting projects (e.g. Creative Live 2).

If you’re a skateboarder or are involved in the community in some way, I will share with you one piece of advice: Fully embrace it! It’s true that many people have a negative perception of skateboarding, believing it to be this underground culture associated with anti-social behavior and graffiti… But if my story is anything to go by, it is clearly much, much more! Don’t hide it from employers thinking it could give the wrong impression. It is part of who you are!

-Elliot

 

Creative Live 2!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012|Elexu Live Events|by Sam Watson|No Comments

As you walked down the stairs of the Verve Bar, the sounds of generic club music started to escape your ears and was replaced by the waves of original live music being played on an acoustic guitar or the chaotic flow of a rock band in full swing. All this alongside the undercurrent of jovial conversation of people meeting each other. This was Creative live 2 and it was awesome.

Creative Live 2 happened and like the first one, it was a success after a bit of messing around with the PA system…which cable where? Eventually we will master the PA systems mystical unknown. After about three hours of interns setting up the venue and using a lot of duct tape, the event was ready. At 6:00pm the doors opened to the public and over 75 people crammed into the Verve underground venue.

The Elexu staff set up an Elexu booth where you could find out all about Elexu, a stage where the acts performed, a film room, aspiration throne (see picture below), photographer walls and of course made sure everyone knew that it was half price drinks ’till 8:00pm. All these these things alongside the performers helped make Creative Live 2 a great night full of atmosphere.

The Elexu staff had set up an Elexu booth where you could find out all about Elexu, a stage where the acts performed, a film room, aspiration throne (see picture below), photographer walls and of course there was a bar.

We had a number of unique act ranging from the awesome music of The Stacks, to the soft hum of Eloise Rees or the dark words of Gul Davis. We like to say a massive thank you to the performers, you made the night what it was.

Oliver Young- Folk singer

The Stacks- Band

Colourshop- Band

Will Berman- Film maker

Derrick Kakembo- Photographer

Oliver Bud- Acoustic Singer

Eloise Rees- Acoustic Singer

Eskah LaBelle- Singer

Gul Davis- Spoken Word

Tiffany Phan- Photographer

Mohammed Musa Ayyad- Photographer

Hsienming Ng- Photographer

 

 

Interview with an Architect

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012|Advice, Interviews|by Sam Watson|No Comments

Today’s post is an interview with Lawrence an aspiring Architect conducted by Elexu Intern Elliot Moore. They talk industry, inspiration and tips. 

Questions 1: Tell us a bit about yourself, what made you decide to pursue the area of Architecture?

Well, I’m Lawrence. I’m 22 and have recently graduated from Bournemouth University. For me, drawing has always been a great passion. For as long as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed drawing anything and everything that comes into my imagination.

When thinking about a career path I felt I could apply this interest with drawing to architecture. Funnily enough I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted be an actual architect, but the more and more I studied it I began to fall in love with it.

I learned fairly early on that it’s a subject that encompasses a wide variety of creative areas such as illustration, art, sculpture, typography graphic design etc. All these things really appeal to me.  But more importantly, I realised how significant it is. Through good architecture you can essentially improve the way people live their lives, so from a social level it’s quite interesting.

Questions 2: Are their any artists in particular that you admire? And what is it about their work that you like?

There is no set artist in particular but generally speaking, I like Brutalism as a form of architecture which was inspired by Le Corbusier. I’ll try not to get too technical here but it is basically a style that shares similarities with modernism but embraces the use of raw materials.

A lot of people see Brutalism as overbearing and oppressive with quite a negative reputation. For example, they’d see the buildings as just dirty concrete towers. But I totally disagree.

When you see ancient stone buildings like temples etc., they look really old and worn, but they still retain this really amazing aesthetic to them. A really powerful image. The weathering makes it seem like an ancient relic from another era of time, almost a monument to humanity. Now that is pretty cool if you ask me.

Questions 3: What exciting projects have you had the opportunity to work on? 

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to work on a strictly architectural project as of yet, I have been lucky enough to work as an assistant in the art department at Shepperton Studios. This was working on the new Fast and Furious film, which is coming out in 2013. Here, they basically take the script and produce the required visual elements for the film. This can be anything from open worlds, to environments, to buildings etc.

Although this job was not specifically architectural, it definitely put what I’d learned at university into practice and was an experience I really enjoyed.

Question 4: As you ultimately want to move into the field of Architecture. What do you have to do to get into that industry? Is it difficult?

Well the title of Architect is actually protected by Law. I mean, you cant have someone designing buildings who aren’t qualified enough They could produce a construction that is unsafe, potentially endangering lives. Because of this, there is a pretty strict system in place that you have to follow:

-        Firstly, a BA in Architecture for three years

-        Followed by a “Part 1” work placement (6-months or more)

-        Then a Masters degree in Architecture

-        Followed by a “Part 2’ work placement (1 year)

-        Then lastly, a series of final examinations (including a case study, written exam, oral exam and CV evaluation)

…Then you’re an Architect. So in answer to your question, yes its quite difficult haha.

 Question 5: What advice would you give to individuals interested in getting into the world or Architecture?

Well, as you can tell from my last answer, the subject is notoriously hard. Very work intensive, so you have to be passionate about it. I guess it always helps to think about what particular styles interest you the most, and then go research it on a personal level. Also, if there’s a famous building you like, get up and go and see it. Seeing it on paper is one thing but it’s the human experience, which is what architects also think about. Think about how you feel when you first see it and first walk inside. It can be quite inspiring.

 Thanks for your time Lawrence. Good luck with your future work

 

What a Picture!

Thursday, November 8th, 2012|Elexu Team Posts, Guest posts|by JairoHurtado|No Comments

Before 1990, you needed a proper camera to get a good picture just to develop it, store it into a photo album or  frame and that’s it. Nowadays, photography has got a new dimension with the help of the mobiles, internet and the social media networks that really let photographers mess with what the camera sees.

Every mobile nowadays has a camera. Year by year, cameras are getting better and better on mobile devices because the companies in charge of producing them know the importance that the users are giving to the photos. It’s all about the experience of sharing it instantly, and less about achieving it. That’s the reason why social networks as Pinterest are getting so popular. Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more.

My interest in photography started when I started attending to my university classes. In 2008 I started to attend some art exhibitions at museums at the same time I was taking the classes of art history as part of the Graphic Design Program. Later, around the 5th semester in  2010 I got my fist analog SLR camera as a requirement of the photography class. At the beginning  it was very difficult to learn how to do good snapshots without the camera adjusting it automatically. You had to adjust the speed and the diaphragm, two completely new concepts for me. But once I got it, the results were amazing. With photography, the key is practice and understanding the equipment you are using.

I came to London in the beginning of June, just in time to attend the 2012 Olympic Games. That was a great opportunity to use my photography skills and share it with the world, especially with all the famous and beautiful landmarks like the Big Ben, Tower bridge, The London Eye or Saint Paul’s cathedral. There’s a fact and it’s that England, specially London, developed what is called the Victorian style, which have been preserved over more than a century. Another fact is that many of the landmarks, if not all, has centuries of history behind them, adding more relevance to the image taken. London is a photographers playground.

Now I have a Samsung NX10, which has allowed me to capture some epic photo’s during the summer around the Thames. I don’t like doing photography in the winter because I am Colombian and English warm is Colombian cold.

During the autumn there’s not much chance of getting any sun, so I’ll wait for that rare sunny winter day when I can be out capturing London with my camera lens.

Intern Feature – George: The Effect of a Street Artist

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012|Elexu Team Posts|by Sam Watson|No Comments

Todays post comes from Elexu Intern George who writes our one of his great experiences in London.

“I’m leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it’s not raining” –

Groucho Marx

I moved to London about four weeks ago, right after my graduation from University of Bath. One perk of living in London is that you don’t have to worry about wasting too much time on doing outdoor activities as the bad weather will always spoil the last bit of your pleasures. Like anyone else who moves from a small city to a big city, my first few weeks in London have quickly been booked out for various museum tours, shopping centers and those gorgeous Georgian Victorian architectures.

However, it didn’t take long before I get bored of the place. Loneliness quickly overwhelmed the initial excitement and I started to feel lost in the city especially on those rainy nights. London becomes cold and hopeless when it’s raining. Compared with those spend their entire lives in London, my feeling about this city is just too shallow. The hopeless feeling and perpetual rain was once everything I knew about London.

However, my impression about London was totally changed after I met a street artist on Cornhill Street. He didn’t really grab my attention initially as his artwork was nothing special, just some portrait paintings. Since I was running late for a meeting, I had no time to pay attention to his paintings. On the way back the weather turned really bad, as you can imagine, and I met the artist again as he was still sitting there with his art.

There was one moment I thought he could be a homeless guy and was ready to reduce some weight of my wallet. Then, I saw probably one of the most amazing pictures I ever saw in my life. If you can imagine the picture, the oil paint mixed with rain drops and started to melt just alongside the face of the person in the paint as if the person was crying and you could actually see the tears. Unlike any artwork I ever saw before, his paintings had life. You could feel their heartbeats and emotions. Those paintings even reminded me of  a phoenix.

Only those who are courageous enough to set them on fire could get another chance to blossom. At that moment, rain was no longer the symbol of hopelessness. The other way round, rain generates hope for people and offers inspirations for those who want to blossom. Thanks to the rain, London becomes the soil that fosters so many excellent artists, writers, painters, designers and musicians etc. Thanks to the rain, the museums and galleries in London could remain busy all over the year… taking shelter in London opens up many doors.

I wrote this blog because those memories about rain and the artist all came back to me when I went to the Rain Room last week. It was a unique fusion of art organised by Random International where you can experience the real rain drops without getting wet, which I think could be a perfect opportunity for artist, designers and musicians to obtain new inspirations.

Creative Live 2 (Plus 1/2 Price Drinks)!

Thursday, November 1st, 2012|Elexu Live Events, Event|by Sam Watson|1 Comment

Someone in my family is trying to make it in the music industry as a singer/songwriter. She has gone to all the proper schools and has had the training. Also, she is talented (just thought I would mention that). Once, we were having a family reunion and we ended up having a karaoke night. Of course, she went first and no one wanted to follow what she belted out. It would be like going from steak to a mad cow disease burger if I sang.

Anyway, she is now singing in London trying to get her songs out there to an audience, but it is extremely hard competing with the other thousands of hopefuls trying to make it. So Elexu thought “we want to be a part of connecting artists to their audience, but not just the musicians – everyone in the creative world.” So we created Elexu Creative Live which is an event for any type of performer, so that we can help people on their journey. Plus, we also get to have a good time in a bar.

Creative Live 2 is happening and we need your help to make it a success for everyone. If you have some free time on your hands on the 15th of November, then pop down to the Verve Bar in Covent Garden from 6:00 till late for a night of live music, art, and films. You will be helping to support the performers of the night by being there and seeing what they have to offer Also, there is a bar, so a few drinks with your friends isn’t a bad idea.

It’s free if you RSVP to www.elexu.com/invite (code CRE8LIV2). Come down for a fantastic night of entertainment and meet some like-minded individuals. Also ½ price drinks and food up to 8:00pm so a cheap night out in London for all you students and other interns.

Make sure you RSVP or else its £2 entry, please include when you RSVP:

-Name

-Email Address

-VIP access code CRE8LIVE2

-Biggest aspiration

Check out the blog from the first Creative Live Event Here.