Under 25? The Future Looks Bleak.

Something has been baffling me: why won’t – under the government’s budget proposals – those under the age of 25 be entitled to the much-hyped National Living Wage? This puzzlement has spurred me to understand why the government has excluded young people, who are at the start of their adult lives, from their plans to implement a compulsory National Living Wage from April 2016.

As far as I’m aware, those of us under the age of 25: do not have the luxury of cheaper rents, do not find our appetite increases dramatically the moment we reach 25, and we generally don’t receive discounts on our daily living expenses. I mean, I certainly don’t and my friends and peers would concur.

So i’m sat here thinking, what could possibly be the reason to exclude around 2 million people from a decent standard of living?

It just doesn't feel like it, Dave.
It just doesn’t feel like it, Dave.
The Treasury has argued that “the priority is to secure work and gain experience” for those under 25. But that doesn’t really answer, if at all, the question as to what these people are supposed to live off. Experience is all well and good, but people still need to pay rent and bills, buy food and generally live their lives. Is the Treasury inferring that if you’re under 25, you need to prove your worth before you can afford a standard of living which won’t tip you below the line and into poverty?

Unfortunately, it’s not just paying a decent wage to under 25s the government appears to have a problem with. The budget has also detailed plans to scrap the maintenance grant from students attending University and to scrap housing benefit if you’re 18-21 years old.

The three of these (abolishment of maintenance grant, no NLW wage and scrapping housing benefit for under 21s) combined is a brutal blow against young people in England today. They’re a barrier that is immediately constructed the very second you’re about to try and start your life as an adult. And it’s an assault to those who find themselves from backgrounds with little or no money.

I’m going to keep researching this. I find the government’s reasoning bizarre and illogical. And in all honesty, it’s worrying as we’re only now at  the start of a five year Conservative government.


The Sharing Element Of Social.

Why do ReTweet on Twitter, Share things on Facebook and Repin things on Pinterest? Why is it when we watch a YouTube video we feel the need to post it to our friends on our social networks? Why do we tag each other in posts we feel the other person may be interested in?

This idea of sharing isn’t unique to social media. It’s a deep routed human behaviour. Sharing helps us maintain relationships, and provide to those who need it. The sharing of information can help us educate and inform those around us. It’s only natural that this behaviour transfers and is one the key aspects within the worlds of digital and social.

I think it’s significant to point out that our relationships play a huge part on what we share and where we share it. What someone shares on one social platform may by different to the content they share on another. For example, my friends on Facebook are different to the ones I have on Twitter, which in itself is no surprise. Facebook is better for ‘older connections’ like school/uni friends, and family. Whereas Twitter lends more to specific interests and networking within similar circles. So the content I post on Twitter is, generally speaking, more suited to my social media/political/newsy followers, rather than my friends on Facebook who aren’t particularly interested in that sort of stuff.

Our relationships on social media can be thought of as ‘ties’. Mark Granovetter’s 1973 paper titled ‘The strength of Weak Ties‘ argues that the more weak ties we have – and by this he means friends of friends, acquaintances ect. – the more open we are to differing points of views and opinions. The closer the ties – family, friends and close work colleges – the less exposed we are to different types of information. Although Granovetter wrote this in 1973, his theory resonates and reflects our social and digital lives today. We have a tendency to surround ourselves with people who share the same points of view as ourselves and so we are less likely to be exposed to differing opinions or unfamiliar pieces of information.

Weak ties can allow us to find new information, and perhaps opportunities we would not have otherwise been exposed to. But our closer ties are more likely to share similar interests and therefore, any content that is shared is likely to be happily received. We are more likely to share with these people. From the perspective of brands or political parties, it’s sometimes necessary to reach all different sorts of people, for example, people that wouldn’t usually vote for you or perhaps consider buying your product. In this instance, weak ties are more valuable than close ties.

The next point is the actual content we’re sharing; the stuff we post. It’s been established we like to share – we’re a sharing bunch. But what are we actually sharing?

List creating, GIF-making site BuzzFeed has continued to grow in size at an astounding rate. BuzzFeed creates content which has a tendency to evoke an emotional response. Cats for example, are cute and generally speaking, who doesn’t like a video of a cat hugging another cat? This is because it causes us to elicit an emotion; it’s cute, it makes us feel happy and fuzzy inside. And being the caring, sharing people that we are, we want to pass this feeling on to our nearest and dearest.

It’s not just cats that cause us to experience that sharing feeling though. Emotions in general make people want to Share, Repost and ReTweet. Nostalgia, humour and agreement with a cause, can all be reasons to share content. As can anger, or sadness. Negative emotions such as disagreement tend to have to be stronger than positive emotions for someone to act and share that particular content. People are also more likely to share content which says something about themselves as a person. Perhaps a news article about the polar icecaps melting confirms you’re a caring, environment loving, intellectual and you would quite like your friends and acquaintances to also view you in this way. We don’t consciously think this, but our sharing of such information helps build our online persona. We share because it helps us to feel connected with the world around us, and it’s one of the reason I’m so passionate and interested about the continuing developments within social media.

And here’s a pleasing infographic for your enjoyment


Credit: CoSchedule Blog

Digital and Social with #mydigitalcareer

#MyDigitalCareer was an event created and hosted by Cloud Nine Recruitment for graduates and recent graduates. CJ977JFUEAAibaD

I graduated over a year ago, and I’m ashamed to say my passion for all things political and social has waned a little over the last 12 months. I felt shut out from a world of which I was once part of, and missed being ‘in the know’. This is mostly because during University I spent a lot of my time researching, writing and tweeting my way through my degree. The lack of this purposeful learning had led to a feeling of lessened confidence and a doubting in my ability to succeed.

I’m not someone who gives up easily; I will fight for what I want. It’s just a year of persistent rejection for copious job applications had taken their toll. I was tired and disillusioned.

Then along came a blog post written on LinkedIn by Steve at Cloud Nine Recruitment. The mention of #MyDigitalCareer, flicked a switch in my brain, I was excited at the thought of learning and meeting people within an industry I was desperate to explore and get into.

Around a month later, the first day of #MyDigitalCareer arrived. The first session was based at Cloud Nine’s office in Soho. I sat at the back, nervous at not knowing what to expect. As it turns out I had nothing to worry about. The other attendees were super friendly, and the talks from Tiffany St James (Director, Transmute), Krishna De (Digital Consultant and Personal Branding Consultant) and Danny Whatmough (Head of Social Media EMEA, Weber Shandwick) , were the perfect start to the week. Tiffany’s career in particular was fascinating with her background in the digital side of politics (Tiffany is the ex Head of Digital for the UK Government), something which I myself am passionate about. I had a bit of a fan girl moment when I met Tiffany, and by that I mean I jumped around a bit when she spoke about Parliament.

Fast forward a day and Wednesday was host to the graduate case studies. Rachel Kneen (Social Media Manager, O2), Ben Fox (Social Media Strategist, 33) and Charlie Southwell, Director of the brilliant Transmute, told us about their journeys into digital. As with all the speakers, a focus on persistence, networking and reading seemed to be amongst the top tips. I should say now; after each talk we had a chance to mingle whilst sipping on wine/beer and nibbling on a variety of snacks. Talking about digital, having a social drink and nibbling away – what a perfect combination!

Thursday was the day of corporate and the day of the ladies. The event was held at Ernest and Young over at More London in London Bridge. We heard from three incredible women who worked inhouse doing Digital for different sectors: Charlie Duff  (EY, Global Media Relations), Laura Oliver (Senior Social Community Manager, The Guardian) and Keri Hudson (Social Media Manager, Cancer Research UK). The talks were fascinating insights into the workings of Social within three totally different settings. After the talks we were treated to Prosecco and canapés curtsey of EY. 

And last but not least, Friday: the evening of the gentlemen. Matt Buckalnd (Lyst), Jeremy Waite (Salesforce) and Steve Ward (Cloud Nine Recruitment). A great way to finish a fantastically informative week. We had inspirational quotes from Steve (mostly his own, but made perfect sense!), a look through the eyes of the recruiter from Matt, and a powerful talk about applying for jobs within the digital world from Jeremy. It was the perfect end to a fantastic week.

The biggest tip of the week? Never stop learning. Read. Keep reading, keep researching  and never give up.

Without sounding too cheesy, this week has been inspirational. It’s given me a new energy – a more positive outlook – when it comes to job hunting and my future career.

A huge thank you to the whole team at Cloud Nine Recruitment.