ON THE INTERNET, YOU ARE NEVER MORE THAN THREE CLICKS AWAY FROM A CAT.
Editor Eleanor Parkyn Head of Design Eleanor Parkyn Contributors Bob Wigin Dan Heard Deirbhile McQuillan Greg Barradale Hugh Doyle Lianne Potts Phoebe Grinter Saman Izadyar Sophie Manners Thomas Edwards Back Cover Cartoon Tom Morris Proofreaders Sadia Pineda Hameed Saman Izadyar Special thanks to Meita Singgih for the funky new Q3 logo, George Caulton for all his help, and Saman’s ponytail for being a constant source of inspiration.
hese days the internet is everything. Since Tim BurnersLee invented the WWW only 26 years ago (what a babe), there are few of us who can function daily without it. We are the generation who have seen the rise of the internet, the first to have lived in the age of the internet and we can tell our grandchildren that we are around the same age as the world’s greatest ever invention (the wheel can go fuck itself). The internet is changing our lives in ways we would never have believed possible only a matter of years ago; we can shop, share photos, and date without even having to leave our beds! And most importantly, of course, see a never ending supply of cat photos. As with any good thing though, it doesn’t escape without its (un)fair share of criticism. The haters (read: old people) think these changes are bad; we’re too antisocial, too distant from reality, and spend far too much time online. But surely doing our shopping online in ten minutes instead of spending a good hour trawling through Tesco allows us for more socialising time with our loved ones—or just another hour of Netflix… For us in the world of journalism, it’s often thought that the rise of the internet will result in its death. However, ‘journalism’ and ‘print media’ are not interchangeable. While, yes, the newspaper/magazine as we know it is probably on its last legs, this certainly doesn’t mean that news will disappear. The internet makes news newer. The internet allows for us to react immediately to anything and everything; be it a major world event or a super important quiz about which type of cheese truly represents your mental state. So the transition from print to online magazines should be embraced; the internet opens us up to so many more opportunities than print media ever can, and if we save a few trees along the way then that’s all the better! And so here’s Q3, Quench magazines first online only popular culture mini mag, I hope you enjoy it! - ELEANOR PARKYN, EDITOR
DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS
WORDS BY: THOMAS EDWARDS The internet has freed us from want. But what is it in particular that we want from our most comprehensive utilisation of information? Mostly pornography - a digital-age-old truism – but truly whatever it is we could want is only limited by what we would want. If you want cats, memes, or ice-buckets, the internet provides. Without sounding too dogmatic, it’s important not to forget that what I want is going to be different from what you want, and the same applies to our neighbours. And our neighbours might be assholes; or they may well be perfectly lovely chaps or chappettes, but as soon as they’re brightened by the light from the laptop screen suddenly their skin fades into a swampish green whilst tusks slowly begin to protrude from the corners of their mouths and their veined eyes bulge as they repeatedly stab the keyboard. They ... become trolls. Trolls are a natural and inevitable phenomenon, and just like nature they abhor a vacuum. This is why the internet is the perfect and only domain for them to (dis)-engage in. They are creatures who want one thing and nothing more: to provoke. They are also an internationally recognised phenomenon. In some cultures they are curiously defined under the guise of fishing: the Japanese call it tsuri; the Koreans call it nak-si; and in English the word ‘trolling’, according to Dictionary.com, can be defined as ‘to fish for or in with a moving line...’. Our predominant usage – the usage of the West derives from the creatures of Scandinavian folklore and fairytales (when recommending Mary Beard’s excellent book ‘SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome’ to a friend of mine I mentioned in-passing how the author was recently in the news after dealing with trolls. My friend then quickly asked, “On the internet?” to which I replied, “No from under the fucking bridge!”). If common-sense is, in fact, as common as we’d hope then it shouldn’t be difficult to understand that all of the aforementioned definitions are basically saying, “Don’t take the bait”,
or - to say the same thing in reverse - “Please do not feed the trolls”. A topic as contentious as trolls is bound to incur many assumptions, some of which have developed a life of their own. For instance, despite their internationally recognised presence trolls are rather difficult to encounter. Their domain is what’s known as the ‘virtual public sphere’. It is an arena comprised of comments sections, public forums and social networking in general. One of the most misleading assumptions about them is that they have hegemony over the ‘virtual public sphere’. That wouldn’t be any fun to them. As aforementioned they ‘want one thing and nothing more: to provoke’ and a provocation is not a provocation without a response: that is their nourishment, which can only be given unless someone wanted to give it to them. Some (certainly not all) of those having been trolled are mature enough to understand this dynamic. And if they are so mature then it seems to me highly evocative of the infamous story when Samuel Johnson, after having been praised by a lady for not admitting “any improper words” – i.e. swear words - into his legendary dictionary, was intrigued and responded how pleasantly surprised he was that “you have been looking for them”. You cannot be trolled merely by creating an account on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other social networking site. Only when you have engaged in the ‘virtual public sphere’ is when trolling becomes probable. You could be commenting on videos, images, or articles for weeks and months and never encounter them. Even for those with a major public profile trolling remains a very negligible
“THEY ARE CREATURES WHO WANT ONE THING AND NOTHING MORE: TO PROVOKE.”
phenomenon. According to the British think tank DEMOS, from a study published in 2014 where they analysed 2,006,616 tweets over a two-week period that were sent to a selection of the most prominent and widely-followed public figures on Twitter, they found that of the 977,784 tweets sent to male public figures, 5.19% was considered “abusive” whereas of the 1,028,832 tweets sent to female public figures, 1.37% was considered likewise. Similarly, this is corroborated by two separate studies: a 2014 Canadian study entitled ‘Trolls just want to have fun’ where they asked 418 participants to complete online surveys and found that 23.8% of participants expressed a preference for debating issues, 21.3% preferred chatting, 2.1% said they especially enjoy making friends, 5.6% reported enjoying trolling other users; and finally, from a 2014 report conducted by the PEW Research Centre they found that internet users considered “online ‘neighbourhoods’” to be overwhelmingly “welcoming toward both [men and women]”. That particular finding from PEW (coupled with the finding from DEMOS about the “abusive” tweets sent to male and female public figures) greatly contradicts what I consider one of the laziest assumptions about trolling which is that is strictly a gendered issue – i.e. misogynist. In one sense they seem quite indiscriminate when it comes to whoever they troll. Again, according to the same report conducted by PEW, they found that “Men and women experience different varieties of online harassment” whereby men were more likely than women to have reported being “called offensive names”, “purposefully embarrassed”, “physically harassed”, and “harassed for a sustained period of
time”; whereas women were more likely to have been “stalked” and “sexually harassed”. Nor are we right to assume to that the genders of trolls are as black and white (or blue and pink?) as we’d like to think. Despite the fact that “Three-quarters of the abuse received by prominent men, and over 60% of abuse received by women, was tweeted by men” in the aforementioned 2014 DEMOS report, one of the more fascinating conclusions they made in a 2016 study whereby they “monitored the use of the words ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ by UK Twitter users over a three-week period” was that “50 per cent of the propagators were found to be women”. None of the facts I have appealed to are used in any way to negate some of the most egregious forms of trolling, but they are important to help give some a sense of proportion when it comes to the phenomenon of trolling as a whole. Indeed, it is dually important not to forget that trolls are not beyond reproach despite their anonymity; for instance, from being blocked on Twitter or Facebook. Other websites may offer similar precautions, but if they don’t then it is imperative to not forget what the ‘virtual public sphere’ is and its purpose - it is not for you, me, or trolls, but for everyone. Some may dislike that but the internet would not be the internet if it didn’t allow everyone. And that includes assholes.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT
“AN ENDURING FIGUREHEAD OF MEME CULTURE, THE FROG BECAME THE MOST POSTED MEME ON TUMBLR IN 2015, YET HAD SPREAD BEYOND THE CORNERS OF THE INTERNET, INTO THE MAINSTREAM.” WORDS BY: GREG BARRADALE
Open Facebook and your feed is dominated by memes. Your phone buzzes to tell you your friend has tagged you in one. They’re inescapable. As their reach grows, so does their influence. It was once unthinkable that silly pictures could have a standing beyond internet message boards, but now memes are shaping political battles right up to the highest level. One cartoon frog can show us how. The green visage peers up at you, a thin smirk accenting squinting, knowing eyes. Pepe peers into the deepest recesses of the soul with the grubby pleasure of an infrequent showerer poring over the internet’s more lewd corners. It is arresting and universal, but hasn’t always been there. Pepe’s story starts from humble origins. In 2005 artist Matt Furie gave the anthropomorphic frog to the world as a character in his comic strip Boy’s Club. Not long after, Pepe was adopted by internet citizens. Message board 4chan took him under their wing. From 2008, he began to become increasingly associated with the phrase “Feels good man.” From here, Pepe began to find work as a reaction image. He conveyed not only the slightly grubby happiness of peeing with one’s trousers down, but mirrors the sadness, smugness and angriness of users. Innocently and earnestly, Pepe shone a light onto all facets of the human condition in a way that memes rarely manage. Soon Pepe was catapulted to superstardom. An enduring figurehead of meme culture, the frog became the most posted meme on Tumblr in 2015, yet had spread beyond the corners of the internet, into the mainstream. Katy Perry tweeted a crying Pepe with the caption “Australian jet lag got me like.” It received over ten thousand retweets. Nicki Minaj shared a twerking Pepe on Instagram, captioned “Me on Instagram for the next few weeks trying to get my followers back up.” It received two hundred and eighty two thousand likes. Pepe’s financial value was soon realised. A bear market for ‘rare Pepes’ emerged, as users sought to capitalise on the finite supply of iterations of the frog. In April 2015, over 230 rare Pepe images, watermarked to avoid copying, were listed on eBay. Alongside this was a collection of 1,272 rare Pepes, which reached a price of $99,166 before being removed from the site. This was said to be an attempt to flood the market and devalue Pepe as a commodity. Lurk too long on the internet, and you’ll more than likely encounter some unsavoury views. As Pepe neared his tenth birthday, things took a dark turn. He fell in with the wrong crowd. America’s Alternative Right, or Alt-right, are an online group
united by their strong views of anti-feminism, isoltionism, protectionism and white supremacism. They insult moderate Republicans as “cuckservative”, apparently emasculated by the strong views. “The Daily Shoah”, a popular Alt-right podcast, takes its name from the Hebrew word for the holocaust. Pepe quickly and deliberately became their mascot, as innocent images of the frog were replaced with ones of him with swastikas, dressed as concentration camp guards, and other imagery of anti-semitism and white nationalism. This led the Anti-Defamation League to brand Pepe as a hate symbol, joining the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan robes and the SS bolts. As an outspoken, right wing group, it is perhaps of little surprise that they have attached themselves to one presidential candidate in particular. Although their affiliation with Trump’s campaign began as more of a connotation, natural bedfellows not yet in bed together, it has gained traction. Trump’s campaign CEO Steve Bannon also runs Breitbart, a news outlet Bannon describes as “the platform for the alt-right.” After Hillary Clinton branded many of Trump’s supporters as ‘deplorables’, Donald Trump Jr, Trump’s son and close advisor, tweeted a photoshopped The Expendables poster, with the title changed to The Deplorables, and Pepe’s head as one of them. Trump himself has tweeted pictures of Pepe. Clinton’s campaign website boasts an explainer linking Pepe and Trump’s campaign, warning “That cartoon frog is more sinister than you might imagine.” Whether or not Trump’s campaign and the green frog are officially linked, Pepe now has an inexorable connection to politics. Meme culture has spread to the mainstream. Memes and internet culture were once the preserve of basement dwellers. Now they occupy a massive part of our cultural and political world. Politicians are no longer expected to merely use the internet as a tool. Ed Balls Day dates back to 2011 as a lesson for politicians neglecting this. Now, they must intuitively understand and integrate into a world of memes, selfies and smartphones to mobilise and win over the younger generations. As the battle for the soul of a nation rages, so does one for the soul of the smirking green frog. Fantagraphics, the publishers of the original Boy’s Club comics tell us “the one, true Pepe the frog, as created by the human being and artist Matt Furie, is a peaceful cartoon amphibian who represents love, acceptance, and fun. (And getting stoned.)” Pepe’s legacy need not be of the unsavoury ideas he was snatched by, but of opening the door to a new age of politics.
UR D YO
P’S AND QWERTY ’S
O ONLINE ETIQU UIDE T E T TE G A
WITH 93% OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION BEING NON-VERBAL WE ARE LOSING MOST OF OUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS WHEN TALKING ONLINE. SOPHIE MANNERS TEACHES US THE ONLINE ETIQUETTE WE NEED TO SURVIVE IN AN ONLINE WORLD. Your behaviour online matters. The words you use and the emojis you choose say a lot about who you are. For some, managing a flawless online persona is a walk in the park. For the vast majority, there are some unspoken rules to maneuvering the internet with their reputation intact. FRIENDSHIPS: Group chats with friends are difficult seas to navigate. Striking the balance between spamming the group with memes and remaining that creeper who has ‘seen’ it all can seem impossible; because it is. While they may seem like a great idea at pres, most group chats are either forgotten about in a few weeks time or drain your battery with notifications for the rest of your university life. As if that wasn’t enough, group chats are often named something ridiculous and too often these names also appear on your locked phone screen for all the world to see. There is however, a toggle under your notification settings on the app that allows you to adjust this. The number one rule of group chats is to mute them indefinitely. Crafting the perfect message takes time, especially if said text comes from an ex. In these cases, it can sometimes be advisable to delete the text and move on. Some virtual doors should remain closed for a reason. The strategic placement of an emoji or ‘lol’ can transform your message, after all you wouldn’t want to come across as too unclear or straightforward. Words come across harsher online and so additional punctuation is advisable to ensure that you don’t come across a bit of a… Instead, use exclamation marks to help convey excitement about menial, everyday tasks, such as taking the bins out with flatmates. Littering your communication with smileys online will make you seem approachable. CAREERS: If you’re passionate about not being unemployed after graduation, it’s probably a cool idea not to air your dirty laundry online and post questionable photographs of
yourself on a night out. Find the instagrammable moments in non-alcoholic events like volunteering and hopefully catch the eye of a prospective employer. Depending on your aspiring career, there is a significant possibility that your social media profiles may be screened once you apply for a job. If you’re worried about the photos your friends have tagged you in last Freshers, maybe modify your name online so that you remain a mystery. Google yourself and note what appears on your screen. Is that pesky Bebo account still public but inactive and have you made comments that you kinda, sort of regret (just a little bit) now? If that’s the case, you’re not alone, according to a Euro RSCG Worldwide study called ‘This Digital Life,’ nearly 40% of the 18 to 35 year olds surveyed regret sharing personal information about themselves. LOVE LIFE: Finding love in the online age comes with a completely new set of ground rules. Remember when your parents warned you against talking to or meeting up with strangers? And then came Tinder. Online dating has become so normal that the term ‘catfishing’ has been birthed. So for those of you who haven’t watched the programme on MTV let me fill you in. If you’re using someone else’s photographs to deceive a romantic relation online, Nev, Max and the power of reverse Google image search will catch you out. To avoid an appearance on the show but still score a date, feature a recent photograph of yourself in half decent lighting. Once you’ve met your match for a date, it’s important to stay offline and actually get to know the person across the table. Always tell your friends who you are meeting and where and discuss a codeword upfront, to ensure a quick getaway should the date not be going to plan. But if all goes well, and you and your mystery date hit it off, try to keep some of your relationship private. Some couples share every last detail with their 200 plus Facebook family, and worse still, there’s always the melodramatic individual who moans to the world about their S.O. - just don’t.
5 FAMOUS THEORIES:
OTHER CONSPIRACY THEORIES With 50% of Americans believing in a conspiracy theory, they’re pretty hard to ignore. Conspiracy theories are explanations that suggest that there are malevolent forces at work which contradict the more commonly believed theories for the same event. Some conspiracy theories will always be seen as utterly mental (i.e. Jay Z is a time-travelling vampire), others will transcend the realms of basement dwelling weirdos’ viewpoints and become widely accepted as fact, as in the case of Watergate. The fact that some people in the world consider tragic events like the Sandy Hook school shooting to be no more than a hoax arranged by the government to enforce gun laws might seem crazy, conspiracy theory experts (yes, such a job exists), claim that theories may actually be more understandable than we would expect. On a basic level, conspiracy theories act as a way to find an explanation for the unexplainable. While it may seem paradoxical, they allow people to have a sense of control over things so unexplainably out of their control. It’s far easier to rationalise that the government are being sneaky than it is to accept that another human shot and killed a bunch of kids, or that their fave celeb has gone to live a secret life out of the spotlight, rather than the fact that they died. Conspiracy theories give us someone or something to blame when we can’t face the truth. But while claiming Bush did 9/11 may make you momentarily feel like you have some semblance of control over your life, really it never will and soon you’ll be buried in hundreds of newspaper clippings and blurry photos, all covered in red pen annotations that are all fairly meaningless. Although all of us will have some sort of bizarre idea to explain away something at some point, conspiratorial thinking comes about when you ignore every piece of evidence that contradicts your view. As of yet there are no links between believing in conspiracy theories and factors including gender, intelligence or political views. However those who believe are often found to be suffering from high levels of stress. So next time you have an exam, or an ‘oh-god what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-next-year’ induced existential crisis, watch out for those aliens; THEY’RE OUT THERE!!
- ELEANOR PARKYN
ALIENS IN AREA 51
One widely believed theory is that the super suspicious, highly secured area 51 is actually a government scientists base for researching all the aliens who have crashed down to Earth in their UFOs.
despite massive investigations by the FBI, many people refuse to accept their explanation, instead stating that the CIA were behind it. Or the Mafia. Or the KGB. Or his wife. Or aliens. Or The Illumina…
PRINCESS DI WAS KILLED ON PURPOSE because the Royal
family wanted her out of the way so the public would support Charles and Camilla’s love. The more positive people of the world believe that she’s out there somewhere, having faked her own death.
9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB
This is the most researched conspiracy theory online, and as such has about a million and one theories. The general idea is that either the government knew of what was going to happen, or were themselves responsible as a way to quickly get the American people to justify war.
NASA FAKED THE MOON LANDING because they wanted to
beat Russia to it. A recent poll showed that 20% of Americans don’t believe they ever made it to the moon.
CONSPIRACY THEORIES ONLINE AVRIL LAVIGNE Fans are convinced their beloved Avril, writer of 2002’s “SK8R Boi”, couldn’t possibly be the same Avril who wrote the sickeningly sweet “Hello Kitty” of 2013. Signing at just 17, Avril suffered the pressure of being famous, to the extent that she hired a double to avoid paparazzi. With the pressure of her album Let Go being a success, theories claim that during writing for her second album, she decided to kill herself, with her family and record label keeping quiet. A doppelganger was used to release this new album, where details of Lavigne’s passing are hinted at in the songs “My Happy Ending” and “Nobody’s Home”. Eagle-eyed fans have noticed that the singer, previously 1.58m, is now 1.55m, this being disguised by the wearing of heels. The ‘old’ Avril wouldn’t wear anything but Converse… Are “Girlfriend” and “Hello Kitty” the work of a ‘new’ Avril, or was this theory invented to prove that with the right information, you can make anyone believe anything? - PHOEBE GRINTER
DINOSAURS HELPED BUILD THE PYRAMIDS Rather than becoming extinct, the “Accelerated Christian Academy of Malta” claim that dinosaurs and humans co-existed at one point in history, and so were able to help out with the building of the pyramids. How else would they have constructed such awe-inspiring structures?! The theory, spread by Pastor Vince Fenech, states that Egyptian Gods were powerful enough to tame the dinos and put them under their control. Apparently building pyramids was the most exciting thing these Gods could think of doing with unlimited control over dinosaurs... - ELEANOR PARKYN
REPTOIDS In 2013, when asked whether ‘shape-shifting reptilian people control our world’, around 12 million Americans responded that they did indeed. The threat of the Reptilian Elite was popularised in the late 1990s by former Hereford City goalkeeper and TV sports journalist, David Icke after he published his first book, The Biggest Secret, which exposed many of the the political establishments as in fact being anthropomorphic lizard people. Icke claims that the illuminati, are descended from shape shifting lizards who engage in ritual child sacrifice and drink blood. The lizard men stand around twelve feet tall and are able to hold on to world power through obsessive inter-breeding and therefore keeping their reptilian genes within one family. Thanks to Icke, when people want to fight the establishment, they now have a better idea of what they’re up against. - BOB WIGIN
DENVER AIRPORT Denver Airport is filled with conspiracy. Finished $2 Billion over budget and 16 months delayed, the first conspiracy originated from the questions raised from such a costly and lengthy project. Rumours, added to by a former airport worker, went around that five multi story buildings had been built underneath the airport explaining the massive cost. Which begs the question, why do these buildings exist? Well the theory blames the ‘New World Order’. Many believe that these multi-story buildings are actually underground bunkers for the apocalypse which will be used as a base for taking over the world after the apocalypse. The ‘Order’ is involved because the “New World Airport Commission” was thanked on a dedication stone and for many this name seemed too close to “New World Order” for their liking. This isn’t the only apocalyptic conspiracy regarding the airport, as if you go to the Jeppensen Terminal you will find a series of murals, which some say depict the ‘New World Order’ taking over (seeing a recurring theme?). This would make sense as apparently they’ll be doing so from the previously mentioned bunkers. What makes these murals creepier is a quote from a child who died at Auschwitz. Which leads me to the second stand of conspiracies; the Nazi ones. It has been said that in addition to the quote, if you look at the runway formation from above it forms a swastika and that in fact it may not be the ‘Order’ responsible, but in fact Nazis. But If these theories seem all too much, bear in mind a sculpture of a blue horse outside the airport entitled: ‘Mustang’ killed its’ sculptor before completion when a leg fell off the horse. Oh and the horse’s eyes glow red and may represent “Death” from the Four Horsemen.
- HUGH DOYLE
The Illuminati remains one of the most well-known yet illusive secret societies of the modern world, what do we actually know? In fact, all Illuminati info has been deliberately leaked so we only know what they want us to know. The Illuminati have infiltrated every facet of society, in every boardroom, bank and government across the world as puppet masters controlling events to their benefit. Purportedly they were responsible for 9/11 and aim to gain control of the world by increasing each country’s debt to the international banks (which they control). The conspiracy itself is hidden by historical accidentalism, where tragic events and bad rulers are “accidental”. Ultimately, the end goal is the establishment of a New World Order by a ‘global elite’. ‘Illuminati’ means ‘enlightened ones’ as the ones who will rule this new order and the symbol of the Illuminati, the All-Seeing Eye is used to mark their identity… - DEIRBHILE MCQUILLAN
DIY CONSPIRACY: a how to guide
Q3 IS HERE TO TEACH YOU THE WAYS OF THE CONSPIRACY THEORY. THINK UP A CONSPIRACY AND FOLLOW OUR HANDY GUIDE TO TURN IT FROM THE NONSENSICAL RAMBLINGS OF A MAD MAN INTO THE UNQUESTIONABLE TRUTH.
Is it a historical event?
yes Get out your red pen and circle it! Draw a massive arrow to point it out
What piece of evidence doesn’t match the official statement? yes
So what is it that the governement doesn’t want us to know?
Is there any photographic evidence?
no Literally just make anything up: take details out of context and make use of coincidence
Evidence against your claim?- IT’S WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK!!
Make it more high-profile; start up a website showing off all the ‘evidence’ you’ve gathered and make a youtube video highlighting all of the ‘unanswered’ questions about your conspiracy: no matter how well-answered they actually are!
Pick something everyone knows about: a thing, an aspect of life, an event etc
Blame something no one likes or doesn’t understand: It’s the government isnt it?!
It’s the aliens! It couldn’t have happened naturally
Is there any evidence to support your claim? no
Be suspiscious of a lack of evidence
Any minor occurence should be blown out of all proportion and should now form the basis of your claim
Are there scientists and sceptics trying to debunk your claim? no
yes Denounce them! They’re obviously in on the conspiracy!
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY: THE RISE OF THE YOUTUBE STAR
n recent years, a new kind of “celebrity” has emerged: the YouTuber. Whilst they are famous figures, there’s a definite difference between these people and those who are well known in the worlds of music, film, or television. What makes the YouTuber stand out is the unique and personal connection they share with their audiences. Viewers are invited to become a part of both the glamorous and the mundane aspects of their favourite creators’ everyday lives. Being able to get to know a YouTuber on such a personal level means that viewers see themselves as more like friends than fans. The relative newness of this concept of the YouTuber, coupled with the close connection they share with their audiences, means that both creators and viewers are still in the process of figuring out what a YouTuber ought to be. How should this platform be used, and what boundaries need to be in place in order to make the YouTuber/viewer relationship work? This relationship certainly has the potential to go wrong, and sadly has done in the past. The worst case scenario undoubtedly occurred a couple of years ago, when serious allegations of sexual assault and manipulation were made against a number of prominent YouTubers. These allegations sent shockwaves through the YouTube community for both creators and viewers alike, and served to illustrate how it is possible for some YouTubers to use their position of power and influence for incredibly malicious
purposes. YouTubers themselves have also expressed their frustration at fans who have discovered their private addresses, and turned up at their homes in the hopes of meeting them in a clear violation of privacy. Although these individuals are in the minority, it still goes to show that there are still steps to be taken in navigating how interactions between YouTubers and their viewers should be carried out. Many YouTubers have also been met with distaste, as a number of them have begun to produce different kinds of content which, unlike their usual videos, are monetised. Several prominent creators are now releasing books, tours, and paid-for content on YouTube as well as other platforms. Some of these ventures have been met with large amounts of scepticism, with accusations made that these YouTubers are “selling out” by making money in these ways. Zoe Sugg, for example, upon the release of her debut novel ‘Girl Online’ was criticised for her use of a ghostwriter, leading to Sugg being criticised for cashing in on her YouTube fame. That’s not to say that there isn’t an overwhelmingly positive side to the ways in which YouTubers are now branching out into other forms of media. Many creators’
LIANNE POTTS DISCUSSES THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF YOUTUBE prominence online has allowed them to undertake projects they may never have been able to otherwise. Books such as Carrie Hope Fletcher’s ‘All I Know Now’ are far from attempts to “cash in” on their fame, with Fletcher using her book to pass down the wisdom she has gained over the years in the hopes of helping her younger viewers through difficult times. Filmmakers such as PJ Liguori have also been given the chance to bring their visions to life on a far grander scale than they would have had the resources to had they been working alone. Liguori was able to take his short film ‘Oscar’s Hotel’ and work in partnership with professionals, most notably those from the Jim Henson Company, to transform it into an incredible six-part series, shot on location in Los Angeles. On top of that, YouTube is also incredibly important as a platform for creating open discussions and raising awareness for issues that are often overlooked elsewhere in the media or in everyday life in general. Charlie McDonnell, Dodie Clark, and Beckie Jane Brown, to name but a few, have used their channels to share their experiences with mental health issues, whilst others such as Ingrid Nilsen, Troye Sivan and Connor Franta have openly discussed their coming out experiences. Similarly, YouTube can be used as
a tool for education on an enormous variety of topics. Channels such as Crash Course are devoted to educational content on topics ranging from world history to physics, plus YouTuber Hannah Witton, for example, often creates videos discussing sexual health. YouTube, as a platform which allows for such a personal connection between creators and viewers, is perfectly suited to these kinds of discussions. It places both parties on a level playing field, and allows conversations to be conducted in a non-patronising, nonjudgemental manner not often found in everyday life. As with most forms of media, there’s a good and a bad side to YouTube. However, as time goes on, we’re steadily making progress towards determining what a YouTuber should be, how they ought to behave when placed in a position of importance and influence, and how the relationship between YouTubers and their audiences ought to function. As mainstream media continues to become more aware of the YouTube community, the future holds exciting opportunities for YouTubers to bring their projects to life and create bigger and better things for their audiences, as well as giving them more chances to use their voices to continue making a positive impact, particularly upon the young people who look up to them.
A VIEW TO A $ELL AS A NUMBER OF YOUTUBERS RESPOND TO CRITICISM FROM THEIR SUBSCRIBERS OVER THINGS LIKE PRODUCT PLACEMENT AND ‘CLICK-BAITING’, DAN HEARD LOOKS AT WHAT THE SITE AND ITS STARS HAVE BECOME SINCE ITS LAUNCH, AND IF THESE PERSONALITIES FAMOUS FOR SELLING TO US, ARE SELLING OUT?
ouTube star. Bit of an oxymoron if you ask me. I mean, if you’re on YouTube, does that make you a star? Hell, I’m on YouTube, in videos for CUTV Sport, where I’m sat in my best suit bullshitting about how many tries the Cardiff rugby captain scored the previous BUCS campaign. Does that make me a star? Nope. But someone like Zoella, making cupcakes or showing off her latest Primark haul, is? So is KSI apparently, sat screaming at his computer as he rage quits yet another game of FIFA. Then, of course, there’s Joe Weller (#WEEZUS). “So Guys!” as he begins every video. “Got a neck update for yous!” This is fame then? Yet every one of these now-household names are stars from YouTube. Weller was sixteen when he posted his first video, others were even younger. They’re now celebrities in their own right. And it’s scary how quickly they’ve cashed in on it. Weezus himself has a line of clothing with exactly that printed on it. KSI recently appeared in his first feature film, “Laid in America”, co-starring another YouTuber, Caspar Lee. How in the hell does a guy who plays FIFA, then uploads it to YouTube, land a Hollywood film? Admittedly, he does have, as of August 2016, fourteen MILLION subscribers and 3 BILLION video views. But is it all a bit more, shall we say, corporate, than that? Well, as it turns out, there are many rich companies that can afford rich video production and the best creative minds in the industry. They can afford to throw a great deal of money at videos in an effort to make them go viral and brand them. There is no exact formula for viral videos, and it does not take the best production quality to make YouTubers watch and make it viral. Funny cat videos are a perfect example of this. But amazingly, there are techniques that even tiny businesses can do video marketing using YouTube, and engage YouTubers.
Companies have their own channel and followers, but YouTube is as much a social network as Facebook is. And there are many advantages for companies to collaborate with YouTubers. As long as it doesn’t look like the YouTuber isn’t blatantly plugging the product/service/ company, things should run smoothly. The more natural the promotion, as though the star in question genuinely loves what is subversively being sold rather than pretending to for a big bag of cash, the more that product will sell, and the more subscribers that person might get. The collaboration also has to be mutually beneficial and fit both audiences, the businesses’ and the creator’s. So, when you see KSI opening his brand new copy of FIFA 17 to “review” it, maybe question why he hasn’t already played it first. It works both ways. Companies and products can use the creator’s usually huge social network by having them promote the video to their social network, and thereby extending their video branding even beyond YouTube, and video branding is best when it comes as a recommendation from a third party who does not appear to benefit from the endorsement. “Wait, Zoella uses that brand of shampoo? Huh, maybe I should too!” It’ll no doubt cost a bomb to get your products reviewed by the top tier video creators, but there are actually hundreds of thousands of smaller creators that can brand your product. Is there a correlation between the rise of newer YouTubers and product placement? That’s a different question for another story. If your product is ridiculously popular though, video creators naturally review and talk about you in a positive manner because your brand itself them viewers and subscribers, and they’ll do it for free! (For now). What happened to guys uploading videos of them doing sick lightsabre moves? Or singing about Chocolate Rain? Or slicing stuff in half with samurai swords? Maybe Hasbro or Oreos hired them to work in their marketing departments. It appears as though the age of the YouTuber being an innocent sixteen year old posting about his workout in the gym, or her trip to town for new school supplies, are over. Not unless they turn to the camera, like a teenage version of Laura Linney’s character from The Truman Show, and say why they use PureFitness protein powder for help with that extra bicep definition, or how they think Sharpie make the best permanent markers. Videos, content and even people and their personas can be geared towards selling products to viewers, and every click on that subscribe button is effectively another t-shirt or DVD sold for them and the companies they’re not so subtly promoting. I was going to send this piece in as is, a pretty dismissive view of what I feel the culture of YouTube has become. But then I uploaded the site on my phone the other day, and there, in my recommendations, was a new video from Mr Weller. Now, I’ve watched quite a bit of his content in the past, from his, shall we say, “interesting” attempts at music videos to, more recently, his shaky-camera adventures in an abandoned mental asylum. But this one looked different. Titled “I’M DONE WITH THIS!!!” it began with him, as per, directly addressing the camera, but this time, his tone was different. “I’m gonna stop sugarcoating everything” he insisted, quoting his friend and frequent collaborator KSI, who had posted complaining about people pirating his new film. “It just happens, that, a lot of the time, on the internet, you get these loser, weirdo, boring pricks. Get in the bin, get something to do!”
“Basically” he continues. “It’s these people who say ‘you’ve changed. Bring back the old you’. Honestly, just shut up! Because you’re saying to a YouTuber who started making videos when he was sixteen to go back to making videos they used to make. You haven’t even thought about anything if you can expect us to do that”. His point, in his meandering six minute-long rant, is that we all need to move on and progress and try new things, and he’s doing that in his uploads and content. And he certainly has moved on, and up. Gone are the gym videos. Instead, Weller now collaborates with star rappers, played football against a team of legends of the game at Wembley, and even flew to the World Cup in Brazil two years ago for a music video. But maybe that’s not what those giving him grief are unhappy about. Maybe they prefer the “old Weller”, as he calls himself, who didn’t sell out so quickly. I’m not blaming him for wanting to make money and a career out of what he does, good luck to him, and other YouTubers, but you can’t claim to still being the same YouTuber, or persona, when you’re paid to endorse products in your videos or start a business off the back of one of your catchphrases. It’s quite ironic that at the end of the video, after “getting a weight off his shoulders” as he puts it, that he’s off to watch Justin Bieber, and will be conveniently vlogging it for his other channel. As the video finishes, the next one up is from his channel, and features him and his sister doing “The Buxton Challenge” Really? Why couldn’t it just be “The Water Challenge”? Too generic I guess. Come on mate. You’ve got nearly three million subscribers, don’t suddenly get up on your soapbox and lament some of them who critique you when you’ve gladly agreed to plug anything and everything, even bottles of water. As I say, good luck to them all. How long their fans stick around is anyone’s guess though.
AN INTRO TO: VIDEO GAMES WORDS BY: SAMAN IZADYAR
Unlike other forms of entertainment, video games can be ridiculously difficult to get into. They are kind of like martial arts in a way. You may see a black belt run up a wall, do a backflip and snap someone’s neck with their pinkie fingers (I assume this is what happens in martial arts classes); but when you try to replicate the move you’ve witnessed, you end up running into the wall and tearing a hole in your pants in front of the entire dojo. This is the equivalent of picking up a popular first-person shooter game like Battlefield and jumping headfirst into an online match against other people. You will most likely get your arse handed to you. Unfortunately, this could put you off gaming altogether if you lack the persistence because no one likes to lose. However, if you take note of the sacred teachings that ensue, you too can metaphorically perform backflips with your pants intact. Much like going to an all-you-caneat buffet, pacing is crucial. You need to get accustomed to the physical requirements that video game playing will bring. Thus, 2D games become your best friend. The third dimension can make games very difficult to play, but it isn’t entirely a necessary component of a great game. There are copious 2D games that you may have already played, from classics like Pac-Man and Space Invaders to mobile games like Snake or Candy Crush. These games are arguably not the best that gaming can offer. So here are a few modern 2D games that can give you a glimpse of how great gaming can be, whilst simultaneously giving you the experience to tackle harder, more complex games.
Another area of gaming that is great for beginners is the strategy genre. The genre is split into two: real-time (RTS) and turn-based (TBS) which play exactly as you would expect. In the latter you take turns to make your move, meaning that you can (usually) take as long as you want to act. This makes TBS perfect for any newbie gamer, because it removes the stress of forgetting controls in the middle of an important moment. XCOM: Enemy Within is a good starting place, since it’s on most platforms like Limbo. In XCOM, the human race is in a state of utter peril after aliens start invading Earth. You must subsequently take charge of an international military organization and thwart the aliens. A word of warning, XCOM is extremely hard and most players will lose the first time they play it (including me!). Don’t let it stop you though, although you won’t last very long the first time, it gets better with experience. They should have called it SEXCOM. If the thought of a slow-paced chesslike TBS game doesn’t tickle your fancy, then maybe a faster real-time strategy game is your cup of tea. Look no further than Toy Soldiers, a unique blend of RTS and tower defence set during the First World War. I find normal tower defence games tedious, since you mostly sit idle whilst your towers do all the work. However, the difference here is that you can take control of any tower you build. It’s a small alteration but it makes a huge difference. Oh and if it wasn’t clear enough from the title, all the soldiers are made from plastic and the battlefield is a huge toy box. Quirky.
“ONCE YOU’VE CONQUERED EARTH, WON A WORLD WAR, KILLED A MASSIVE SPIDER AND SAVED ALL OF THE PRINCESSES, YOU’LL BE READY FOR THE TRUE 3D MASTERPIECES.”
Once you’ve conquered Earth, won a world war, killed a massive spider and saved all of the princesses, you’ll be ready for the true 3D masterpieces. Learning how to control both the camera and movement can be tricky, so again, it’s good to start with something basic. Journey represents just how enchanting the digital art form can be. Flying over the shimmering sand dunes of Journey is the definition of majestic. And that’s the extent of gameplay you will face. There’s no dialogue, but a vague story can be deduced from murals and monuments. The focus is on awesome music and an indescribable relaxing atmosphere instead. It’s a pretty short experience but a memorable one nonetheless. After hours of prep, you will be ready to play something from the cream of the crop tier. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is considered by many to be the pinnacle of gaming and thankfully, due to four distinct difficulty levels, it can be enjoyed by everyone. Wild Hunt has everything, from a thrilling story to thorough character development, a bombastic soundtrack to gripping combat. No other game will make you feel like you’re actually there than The Witcher 3. And is that not the goal to any form of story-telling? A word of caution though, playing this game may ruin any other game that you play after it. You may find yourself uttering “Witcher 3 had [insert missing feature]” followed by a huge sigh. Thus, if you never want to play a video game ever again, play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. In all seriousness, the stigma of gaming has been slowly deteriorating after years of being targeted by the media. We all have a few games downloaded on our phone, but the best experiences will inevitably be on console/PC for the time being. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy gaming in moderation. - SAMAN IZADYAR
HOW TO BE LIKE: SHIA LABEOUF
Since his early fame in Even Stevens, LaBeouf has made a few changes along his career path. After the horrors of Transformers 3, LaBeouf went a little off the rails and his bizarre antics self-described as ‘performance art’ catapulted him into internet fame (and our hearts), with a new meme or viral video sending us into a frenzy every time he did something peculiar again. So for this internet themed issue of Q3 it seems fitting to give you a rundown on Mr LaBeouf ’s wackiest behaviour: DECEMBER 2013: LaBeouf himself states that his weirdness truly kicks off at this time, when he plagiarised author David Clowes work and then proceeded to apologise on Twitter using plagiarised quotes. On New Year’s Eve he hires a skywriter to write “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” over LA JANUARY 2014: Shia tweets the words ‘I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE’ not once, not twice, but twenty-two times. He then wears a paper bag with the words written on it to the Nymphomaniac film premiere.
FEBRUARY 2014: Wearing the same paper bag, LaBeouf sat in an art space and allowed visitors to interact with him one-by-one in a project he called #IAMSORRY
OCTOBER 2014: LaBeouf features in Rob Cantor’s viral video for ‘Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf- Live’
MARCH 2015: Shia sets up a livestream of his own heartbeat with his #FOLLOWMYHEART project
MAY 2015: ‘DO IT! JUST DO IT! DON’T LET YOUR DREAMS BE DREAMS!’- while you’ll have all seen this section, the original video is actually 30 minutes long NOVEMBER 2015: Shia invites fans to join him at a Manhattan cinema to watch all of his films in reverse chronological order for three days straight, while a livestream of his face as he watches along plays out to viewers online. DECEMBER 2015: LaBeouf sets up a call center in Liverpool allowing anyone to call him for a chat, while it was all livestreamed FEBRUARY 2016: He spends 24 hours going up-and-down in the same elevator as another performance art piecenaturally this was also livestreamed. MAY 2016: Shia began a month-long journey which entailed tweeting his geographic co-ordinates that day and allowing fans to come find him and take him anywhere they want
Quench Magazine presents the first issue of Q3, themed around 'Internet Culture'.