Monday, March 4, 2024

Why I am planning to vote Yes/No

Ireland will have 2 referendums on next Friday 8th February 2024. Both referendums are related to family status, but they are separate. I am planning to vote Yes in the first and No in the second. My reasons are influenced by this article and this article.

  1. The first referendum concerns a commitment in the current constitution to support "the family based on marriage". The proposal is to replace this with a commitment to support families whether based on marriage or a "durable relationship". I think this is a welcome change reflecting the fact that many modern families do not consist of a married couple and their children e.g. single parents.
    Some people have complained that the new wording will effectively make people who have consciously chosen not to get married still have marriage type responsibilities. My take on this is to have no sympathy to people who have formed a family and are trying to evade the consequent responsibilities.
  2. The second referendum is not quite as straight forward. The existing clause in the constitution says that the state shall value the caring done by women within the family. This clause has rightly been criticised for being sexist (when the constitution was drafted back in .the 1930s, nobody thought about house husbands). As the FLAC article states, it is unfortunate that we don't have the option to simply delete the offending clause. Instead the referendum proposes to replace the clause with a new one which values caring provided within the family. This might seem innocuous, but disability rights campaigners have said this wording will be used to force family members to do all of the caring. I am not as clear in my opinion on this referendum, but if in doubt I will vote no.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Which social media site to use

There are many different social networks in use at the moment. I thought I should write a quick summary of when each of the most popular ones is suitable to use:
  • Main sites
    • Facebook - is the default social network.  It has almost 3 billion active users (out of 8 billion people on earth) so there is a good chance that whoever you want to interact with is using Facebook.
    • Instagram - Has 1.4 billion active users so it is almost as popular as facebook. In particular it is popular with the younger generation. It's main appeal is that it comes with cool photo touch up tools so everyone can look their best. Interestingly younger users like the fact that the older generation don't use Instagram so they can interact with their peers without any interference from their parent's generatiom.
    • LinkedIn - Is a social network for professional use with an impressive 1 billion users. There is no need to feel embarrassed to be seen to be boasting on LinkedIn, because boasting about your achievements is more or less the point of the site. People post here to say things like:
      • I passed an exam
      • I moved to a new company
      • I got promotion
      • etc.
    • Twitter/X - has only 500 million users. It is more of a broadcast site than a social network. Twitter users follow other users,  but this is not comparable to a friendship relationship on FaceBook. Because posts can be seen by anyone, Twitter is not suitable for semi-private updates that you only want your friends to see. Instead Twitter is used by politicians, journalists and other public figures to share thoughts with the world.
      Instead of having a fixed friend list, Twitter users congregate around hash tags. For example, if I was watching an international rugby match I might post my opinion of the referee's poor decision using the #6Nations tag. This post might be seen and responded to by other active users also using the same hash tag, rather than by a fixed friend list.
    • TikTok - has 1 billion users, but only a small proportion of these post videos. The bulk of users mainly watch videos and/or share videos created by others. So it is not really a soocial network site as such.
  • In addition to the major sites above, there are some interesting niche players such as:
    • Strava - Is not a social networking site as such. It is a site for athletes (mainly runners and cyclists) to record their training. However, it has a number of social features where users can:
      • post photos of their training spin.
      • give kudos to each other (similar to a FaceBook like) 
      • leave comments on a training spin
      • Engage in competition with other athletes who are cycling/running the same sections of road even if they don't know each other 
    • BeReal - aims to help you to find out what people are. really doing. People only post on a site like Instagram when they are doing something cool so users browsing their feed get the mistaken impression that everyone else is having fun. BeReal combats this by forcing users to post a status photo at a random time.