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It would appear that people avoid the Green Party like its hosted by the fat kid at school in the local McDonalds. But why? Probably because their website (www.greenparty.org.uk) doesn’t do them much justice at all, and, if we’ve learned anything from the Obama campaign, digital mastery is the way forward in politics.

Their first problem is the presentation of their page. Personally it makes me feel like I’m buying compost from Homebase (which wouldn’t be a surprising policy knowing their attitude). The page is way too plain and there is a so much white it burns your eyes. The obvious choice of green is tedious, bland and characteristically predictable. When compared with other political websites, it can be seen that, even though their primary party colour is dominant, they use lots of other colours in order to make the page more attractive.

As well as this, the text on the page is in very long segments and has no obvious, eye catching headings. In other words, reading the website is like marking an essay which, surprisingly, is not the most attractive feature of web design. the text should be broken up, even bullet pointed, to make it more snappy and less monotonous. As well as this headings should be larger and not just bolded text as again it looks very essay like.

Another problem with the page is the image tabs on the right hand the side of the page. Initially, I believed they were advertisements for because they look very simple and like they aren’t included in the rest of the page. However the fact that they are big is a bonus as it makes them easy to see.

In terms of navigation the Green Parties site is quite organised. Although the tabs are not really arranged in any specific way, and possibly should be set out in order of most important to the user. However it is quite easy to et were you want (just not to read what is written on those pages).

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That time of year is upon us once again where students test their creative skills harder than they have for any assignment in an attempt to be the best. That’s right it’s the lead up to the Summer Ball. But does the idea of constructing an original and funny costume really appeal to students, or would they rather end the year in style and get dressed up in their dinner jackets and ball gowns for a classic formal event?

The classic black tie scene is generally favoured for an end of year shindig, however the residents of Bournemouth University celebrate the end of the academic year (or the beginning of the summer) with student fancy dress festival. This, of course, promotes the idea of extreme creativity through which prestige is earned which makes it, at the end of the day, an amazing finishing the year. This is probably the reason why the event is so popular every year and sells out as quickly as it does.

As this annual function is organised by student for students, it would be believed that all the voices would be heard. Though, it appears some do not feel this way. Pelin Kayalar, a twenty-two year old leisure and hospitality student, is one example of the side that believes an end of year ball should be an opportunity to don ones best bib and tucker and drink champagne all night. Pelin said, ‘I don’t disagree with the fancy dress and the field, I just feel like the end of school or uni is that time of year where you’re allowed to get dressed up. There aren’t many other occasions when you can.’ Surprisingly, this idea that dressing fancy (rather than fancy dressing) is the way to celebrate the end of a hard year of working, is shared by both men and women. When Jonny Becker, who is twenty and studies architecture, was asked if the Summer Ball should be replaced with a formal do, he said, ‘Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer ball, but it’s not really a ball is it? It’s more of a party or a mini festival. A formal is just a nice end to the year.’

This idea came as quite a shock. The general consensus with students is that cheap and funny overpowers anything remotely classy. The idea of covering yourself in toilet roll tubes and painted card from your most recent crate of Stella ‘wife beater’ Artois sounds fun alone. Though when combined with going to a field, where there is no noise limit, to celebrate with alcohol fuelled stupidity, it sounds like the perfect afterlife of the student church. Although the morning after would feel like the death before. At least, it would be believed to be better than spending your loan on a slightly oversized tux from Moss Bros and spending the whole night avoiding any sort of stain that could empty your shallow pockets even further. Perhaps it’s the idea of living out immature fantasies, imposed by somewhat unrealistic gender associations. Namely, girls want to be Disney princesses who get to step down onto the dance floor with their prince and guys want to be James Bond and wear their bow tie down at the end of the night.

This said, the general opinion is still in favour of fancy dress. It appears that the cheap fun that comes with it does appeal to students. Bethany Ayres, a twenty-one year old paramedic student said, ‘It’s amazing! Running around looking at all the really creative and original costumes people have made if the best.’ Bethany’s believes that the Bournemouth University summer ball is a lot more exciting than having a formal event on the basis that the people who go do not look or feel uptight. They can make as much or as little effort as they want depending on how much money they are willing to spend. Let’s face it, not many students have suits or gowns in their wardrobe for three simple reasons: They are expensive, they have to be kept clean and they are not suited for a night on the town. Suits, unless you do business studies, do not fit into a student’s lifestyle. When asked why she feels the summer ball would be better or worse if it were a formal, nineteen year old Media student Tasha Cleary said, ’fancy dress it makes it a lot more fun. It encourages people to get involved more, it creates a festival feel and a relaxed environment for everyone to enjoy themselves. The competition to have the best costume is high. It brings out a friendly competitive atmosphere, gets students being creative and makes the build up to the whole day really big. It builds a huge hype around it all.’ Showcasing another supporter of the creative and dazzling summer ball. Her argument against the introduction of formal attire is that ‘formals to standard. They have the fresher’s ball at the start of the year, and that’s formal. I think it’s a good change to have it fancy dress. I don’t think people would make such a big fuss out of it if it was formal dress. Students want to have fun, and don’t have the money to pay out for tuxes and posh dresses.’

With the summer ball being a massive success every year and selling out months before the actual event, there would not be any need in taking a risk and changing it. The build up so far has everyone on campus talking about it, the head topic being ‘what can we go as?!’ Most would struggle to see that level of hype for an event that would undoubtedly drain the last of everyone’s student loans and would have a tedious look of March of the penguins about it. As well as this, the venue could cause troubles. It is common knowledge that people who aren’t students hate student, and that a large percentage of the public would like nothing more than to herd all the students into a field and let them entertain themselves away from the rest of living Bournemouth. Others would probably wish spiteful showers on them. But even last year the spirit of celebrating not seeing lecturers for four months could not be broken by the sudden downpour of rain. If fact, the change in weather made the fun loving atmosphere even stronger as it showed how fellow students were eager to show their commitment (or maintain their pride) by remaining for the duration of the night. Although this is arguable as most of the students interviewed at some point threw in their longing for good weather this year.

It seems that the high-spirited attitude towards the Summer Ball, whatever the weather, seems to be largely impacted by the theme of fancy dress. However incredible or disastrous the costumes are the wearers cannot wait to show them off, and whether they are getting laughs or admiration for their efforts, their fun seems to be amplified by the responses. It is understandable that the introduction of formal attire would generate a different atmosphere that would create a good night, however where students are concerned, it would not create as good a night.

The modern idea of WAGs genuinely confuses me. I thought we were past the age were women viewed marriage as a carreer and gained status from their spouse. Could these women really have undone generations of feminist action in only a few years?

It would appear so. I don’t think I could name a woman married to a footballer who doesn’t have some kind of cheap fragrance out on the shelves in Boots. Or that hasn’t had a feature written about their weight or fashion in Hello magazine. In fact, in most these gossip magazines now each page is filled with pictures of tacky orange women walking their tiny dogs in dresses or shoes that cost the equivalent of real peoples annual salary. They were in effect creating a stereotype for the media to abuse. In fact it was quite refreshing, to me at least, when i learned that Theo Walcott’s girlfriend Melanie Slade, refused to drive her £140,000 Ferrari to university out of fear of looking stupid and not fitting in and shunned the WAG lifestyle completely to focus on her studies. This got me thinking. Is the possibility that the WAG stereotype doesn’t apply to them all?

Recently I’ve taken a step back from the tabloid stoning and thought about the handful that are genuinely in love with these men. I mean generally they are fit, rich as a sultan and attractive (unfortunately, the likes of Tevez and Crouch can’t be accounted for in this summary), but none the less, the ‘perfect package’. Being a guy i know that, when a good looking girl enters a room, every other guy is aware of her presence (whether they let on or not, they know she’s there). Its like a spider sense. With this knowledge, alongside my lack of experience in the female mind set, i have to assume the same rules apply. This makes me wonder. How hard would it be to maintain a relationship with these men who would generally get a lot of female attention wereever they go.

This is especially relevant in the recent weeks where its been discovered, through the likes of Terry and Cole, that the label ‘WAG’ generally comes down to the point that footballers have both wives and girlfriends. Was Cheryl Cole/Tweedy voted FHMs hottest woman last year beacuse she is naturally beautiful, or because she feels she has to be for her man to stay interested? And at the end of the day everyone who reads the Sun saw how that plan went.

Obviously it can’t be ignored that being a WAG is an optimum career choice for some women, and that many market their own endorsements through this status. And it is understandable that these guys are the full package (on the outside anyway) but surely they can’t all be as shallow as this recent tabloid tag makes them out to be, I mean, just look at Abbey Clancy.

Zara's mug shot for Facebook addiction...

Whilst struggling to maintain eye contact with Zara in our interview, as they flicker across the screen and her facial expression changes for each and every notification (11 to be precise), it struck me that she could be one of those people we all loathe, but purely because we are in denial, a Facebook addict…

Me: So Zara… Zara… Hello?

Zara: (Turning slowly towards me, with her eyes still glued to the screen) Yeah?

Me: Tell me. Do you seriously think you could live without Facebook?

Zara: (laughs) Well, it’s kind of a love hate relationship really.

Me: What do you mean?

Zara: Well, its like, everyones business is posted up. Which is great. But then, at the same time, people nose at your business and it just creates issues and drama in real life. Bit too much to deal with sometimes really.

Me: Well surely anything you don’t want broadcasted in the public eye should be kept to yourself? You Don’t have to broadcast everything do you?

Zara: Yea, but it’s not just that. It’s like, people write on your wall, and then everyone can see it. I just don’t like it. but I don’t know why. Obviously i would keep anything really personal to myself.

Me: So you dislike other people writing on your wall and it being available for everyone to see?

Zara: Basically. It’s like  someone going through your texts, but instead of one person, its everyone! Its way too public sometimes.

Me: But what about the private messaging part? That’s only between you and anyone else in that thread.

Zara: Yeah, there is that. But you can’t predict how other people will contact you, and what they’re going to say. A bit too unpredictable for my liking. And if you delete their comment from your wall, it’s like an insult to them, even if what they said is stupid and should have been in a private message.

Me: Ok. But if this is the case, why do you use it at all?

Zara: Addiction (laughs) no, I’m a hypocrite really because I’m just as nosey as the next person. I love knowing whats going on in everyone elses life (laughs) but yeah, Facebook is good really, it helps you organise everything like nights out and stuff. Like i said, love hate relationship.

Me: So, you didn’t answer my first question… could you live without Facebook, yes or no?

Zara: Yes…

Visit Zara’s Blog and an interview with yours truly at sleep84.wordpress.com

The Guardian’s new Zeitgeist website is a new approach to being fed the daily news by the world wide web. And I for one think it is brilliant. Zeitgeist, meaning spirit of the times, shows the most popular news stories from the Guardian and advertises them using wonderful colourful boxes with titles, because everyone has a childish attraction to colours.

The appeal of this idea comes from knowing and trusting that what Guardian readers believe has newsworthiness is generally right. As well as this, if you disagree with what areas of the news they deem as important, then you can easily just look  at the pretty little colour key and find where on the grid your interests lie.

This is a pretty special advantage the guardian has over its competing websites as it gives them an opportunity to see what their users are interested in and, to a certain extent, make the news how they want. As well as this, it takes a cyber stab at the tedious print-esque layout most newspapers assign to their websites.

This experimental way of advertising the news works well to make the news seem more attractive (and not just by adding colour), it puts all the important stuff in one place and cuts out the smaller issues. Thus making it quick and to the point which, in media terms, means sexy.

However the best attribute for me is reading the comments. Some people just love being opinionated and most of these people loves forcing their opinions down peoples throats. So were better to do it than on a news website! Reading through the arguments people have over the likes of David Cameron and Alister Darling or celebrities ruling the world is very satisfying. It also made me realise that people can get nasty and demeaning behind the safety of their computer screen and online alias.

However, this experimental media product gets a good old fashioned two thumbs up from me…

Since the world has come a long way from the prejudice carried towards people with tattoos when people associated having a tattoo with being a ‘Hell’s Angel’ or a ‘Gypsy’ (and not the hoop earing wearing crystal ball type), I decided that it was about time I went under the pen.

Now as soon as people hear your planning on ‘getting inked’ they decide the best thing to do is tell you about their friends… ‘she cried’ ‘he was sick’ ‘I could hear bone being scraped!’ this is not fun to hear, especially when you go to book the appointment and hear a girl crying in a room I couldn’t see into. Though on the day I kept face in front of the tattooist even though I had no idea what to expect.

For anyone who is looking to get a tattoo, I would like to say it doesn’t hurt in the slightest, well not where I got it anyway. For me it was more like the cross between being written on with a biro and having someone blow raspberries into my arm… I was practically holding back the laughter. Though my tattooer warned me off the side of the hand, and, when a tattooist thinks it hurt you know it hurts, they’re covered! Also it is a very satisfying experience, it opens up the imagination of what else can be permanently graffitied on my body? Especially when your ideology is, ‘well my arms already ruined’

However the whole ordeal was great, and it’s true what they say, tattoos are addictive, I’m already planning my second…

Social Networking has gotten us all in a metaphorical e-headlock. But how did it turn from the scrawny guy from the Mr Muscle ads to the Kimbo Slice who has us in this Chokehold? Maybe a short look at the history and buildup of this contemporary phenomenon…

1997: Six Degrees: The mother of all social networking. Unfortunately this mother aged and couldn’t keep up with the times like my mother trying to text or my granddad trying to do anything… tho it was quite useful, it did set the way afterall, well i assume it did, it was kinda before my time.

2003: Myspace: Myspace was launched in 2003 and blew the mind of every school kid and unheard musician. We can be individual! with our skins and favorite songs! Not great for the technophobe like myself… everyone elses were better than mine. Mine was yellow.

2004: Piczo: The best thing since freewebs.com for teenagers to make a website. for free! Everyone at school had one if I remember, though I stuck with freewebs, piczo was murky water for my knowledge.

2005: Bebo: Blog Early, Blog Often… even though this site is generally a paedophiles paradise with its 14-year-old population taking exciting new photos of their adolecent development and displaying them online, it kinda makes sense when you think about it, if your going to start blogging, you may as well start early, tho, i didn’t think chavs were interested in blogging really, they have a career of mugging to focus on.

2005: Facebook: Inspiration for anyone who wants to become an accidental multi billionaire! (Let alone the worlds youngest). Integrated so heavily into the lives of most students (and some adults) some people would rather die than give theirs up. These people are in clear need of medical help. I think i am one of them… however, i can prise my fingertips away from the keyboard long enough to met real people in real situations! that’s right… though i did find out about them via Facebook.

2006: Twitter: An internet face for celebrities who fear their ego can only be secured by counting the number of fans following them. My only use would be to get one step closer to the mind of Stephen Fry, who is a renowned ‘Tweeter’, although, i kinda fear the stalky element.

2010: Google Buzz: Sergey Brin of Google said that by “offering social communications, Buzz would help bridge the gap between work and leisure” or… Google are coming ever so much closer to their goal of conquering the world, starting with the internet. Facebook’s making loads! We don’t wanna be left out of this! Saying this, it’s probably incredible, everything Google seems to do is…