Pros and cons of smartphones and how our generation use them:

Today’s society is hugely influenced by the use of smartphones. This is from everyday life, with how we interact with friends and family on a personal level, to how businesses and politicians send out messages and updates to their customers and followers through social media posts. This is clear today with US President Donal Trumps twitter posts often being a hot topic of conversation amongst many.


There are without doubts many positives through the use of smartphones. These are clear to see as everywhere you look there is always a number of people engulfed in their phones, and it’s not just the younger generation, it is now throughout all age groups, from younger siblings to parents and now even grandparents. I am going to take a look at the pros and cons, in relation to how my age group use smartphones.

First of all, the pros of smartphones, which you could argue is a never ending list of positives:

· The ability to connect with friends from all over the world. Whether it is a cousin in Australia or a friend in America, we can be face to face with them any time through the use of Facetime. We always stay in communication with these people through Facebook and Snapchat, making it a lot easier to keep relationships strong even though we may be thousands of miles apart.

· The use of a smart phone is something a lot of people could not do without. Friendship groups in today’s society resolve around a Whatsapp group. Everyday plans are made in these groups, and it is definitely the easiest way to stay in touch. All football teams or class group projects will often have a whatsapp group to send messages and updates.

· Another pro would be how you can keep all of your friends up to date on what you are doing with your life. Although some of your facebook friends mightn’t care if you climbed Slieve Donard at the weekend, it is still nice to be able to post this.

· The convenience would be a massive pro for me with a smartphone. Emails, online banking, google maps etc are just an example of some of the apps which make our lives a lot more simple. There is no need for sat navs or trips to the bank as all can be done through our smart phones.

There are without doubt many more pros, but I don’t want to turn this in to an essay.

Now for the cons:

I feel there are many cons within our age group from 16-35 of smartphones.

· They are incredibly addictive. Personally I am as bad as anyone. Throughout this post I have constantly been on my phone, on WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook just refreshing pages and reading posts which have no impact on my life. Also, this highlights how much of a distraction they are. Everything you do is interrupted by a notification on your phone. It is very hard to go a few hours without checking your phone.

· You hear people say phones have “ruined the art of conversation”. This amongst friendship groups my age is true. There could be 7 of us in a bar drinking pints, and at all times there are probably 4/5 people on their phones. Everything is put on Snapchat or Facebook and at times it becomes sickening. You could be going through Snapchat stories and see more or less the same thing on 4 different stories of the same 5 people.

· Another con would be that people can portray themselves as something they are not. We all have friends on Facebook or Instagram and they have a totally different way of going on online. So in a sense they’re people who can hide behind a smartphone and be seen as someone they are not. These apps can be seen as a way of convincing people your life is brilliant, and constantly look happy in all your posts and can disguise true emotions very well.

To listen to my list of cons you would swear I don’t do these things mentioned above, although I wouldn’t be as extreme as some people I still do this to an extent. To say I could do without a smart phone would be a lie. I am as reliant on it as the majority. But at times I can’t help but think it would be great if no one had them.CL1


Colum Loughran is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @ColumLoughran

Let it snow.



When I was seventeen, I spent a week in Geneva.

It’s a beautiful city. I met nice people, I tried fondue for the first time and for the first time in my life I saw snow. I’m from Northern Ireland, we are a mild, wet little corner of Europe and some years in the winter we get snow. But Geneva was the first time I saw snow.

I’m talking about snow that comes up past a grown man’s knees the kind that a city does not simply weather for a few days but that they actively plan for, in the sure and certain knowledge that if they don’t, it’ll grind the city to a halt. What surprised me most was how completely unaffected the city was by a heavy snowfall, they were ready.

Geneva came into my head because of Toby Young. As far as I’m aware, Young isn’t Swiss but then I don’t know very much about him. I read how to lose friends and alienate people a couple of years ago (mostly just to see if there was a theoretical basis for what I was already clearly very good at) but I don’t have particularly strong views on him one way or the other.

Toby Young got me thinking about Geneva because he was, at the start of the year, at the centre of a ‘Twitterstorm’.

You’ve seen a Twitterstorm, there’s one almost every day. In fact the only thing that was remarkable about #Younggate was how unremarkable it was. You can google for the details but to summarise;

  • Toby Young was appointed to the Office for Students (OfS) which is a group the government set up to regulate the higher education market
  • Tweets surfaced of Mr Young saying some regrettable things
  • The proverbial hit the fan
  • The government doubled down and supported Young
  • Eventually Young decided to resign his post after the pressure wouldn’t let up

OfS is invested with a range of powers and responsibilities. One of its most eye catching powers is the power to fine universities that ‘no-platform’ certain speakers  a fairly blunt instrument approach to dealing with a problem that some people think exists.

The “Snowflake” problem.

The term is bandied about these days, primarily by middle aged white men, to decry the stereotypical student or “young people today” as soft and easily offended, too pampered and protected to ever listen to ideas they don’t like.

‘Snowflake’ is a stupid term for two reasons. One, it’s a bit like Justin Bieber jokes, funny at the start but now just lazy. Ironically, considering how it’s used, it’s actually a phrase designed to shut down debate i.e. “I don’t have to listen to you, because you’re a snowflake”.

Secondly it’s being used wrong. I know, there’s a lot of people who want to paint students and young people generally as unwilling and unable to listen to ideas they don’t like. Much has been made of Universities and student group’s no-platforming certain speakers. Milo Yiannopoulos and Germaine Greer are two very different people but both have been refused platforms by different University groups who consider their views offensive. No-platforming is criticised as being anti free speech and cowardly. The argument is that students should be opened up to ideas they might not like in order to challenge them and that all speakers should therefore be entitled to platforms at all University’s.

Have you been on the internet recently? This isn’t the 19th Century, the great debates of our day aren’t taking place in draughty lecture theatres anymore, they rage day and daily online. There are literally thousands of platforms for people to promote any ideas they have. Hard right news organisations like Breitbart are mainstream now. Even if you buy into the echo chamber idea and believe that everyone online is only listening to people they agree with, late last year actual Nazi’s marched through Charlottesville in the USA chanting “Blood and Soil!”. The actual Nazi’s are back in the mainstream news and the real world.

The “snowflake” generation aren’t avoiding hearing ideas they don’t like, if anything they’re inundated with them. Never in the history of humanity have so many people had so much access to so much information. It’s not that “Snowflakes” are incapable of hearing ideas they don’t like, it’s that they hear them and think “Enough”.

This isn’t a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength.  People are realising that they don’t have to listen to stuff they find offensive silently and that social media provides not only a platform to make their voices heard but also a tool to organise, to amplify those voices.

People might be acting like “Snowflakes”, but only in the sense that they are realising their collective strength. Alone, a snowflake melts easily, but as part of a multitude, they can shut down cities.

So what’s this got to do with a blog that’s supposed to focus on PR and Communications? Well, these “Snowflakes” have the ability to drive news agendas and shape public policy without ever looking up from their phone. The Young example from the start of the year is just one example of how people who were dismissed as “Snowflakes” for finding Toby Young’s old tweets offensive used a social media app to dominate the news cycle and drive a change in the real world.

The genie is out of the bottle now the “Snowflake generation” have seen what happens when they flex their collective muscles and to dismiss them as “weak” or “afraid” is to fundamentally misunderstand them and more dangerously underestimate them. Instead, the lesson for organisations is to be like Geneva. Twitterstorms exist and sometimes they’re going to hit you, the only thing you can do is prepare for them.


Jason Ashford is currently studying an MSc in Public Relations and Communications with political lobbying at the University of Ulster. He can be found on Twitter @jasonashford89

























































In recent years we have seen huge shift in the way we interact with the Public, there are so many things that have been deemed as Racist, Sexist, Ageist etc etc..

With the rise of Social media and the sheer volume of people that can be reached there is now a wider audience of people with different backgrounds, religions, beliefs and races. This presents modern PR professionals with a lot to consider when creating a Campaign, Advert or Press Release. More often than not we have seen this go very wrong for some people/businesses online.

Take Comedian and Actor David Walliams, This Halloween he has dressed up as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

This caused a media storm in which the Actor was widely accused of being Racist, while others leapt to his defence stating “Have a sense of humour”.  It was this widespread debate that unfolded over Twitter was the reason I thought of writing this piece.

I personally found this funny, I found that given that it was Halloween and likeness to the leader of North Korea it wasn’t hurting anyone. I’m sure that if the Leader of North Korea wanted to dress up as the comedian there wouldn’t be as many people saying that is racist. A lot of people have seen this as racist and given that the actor has taped his eyes. I can certainly see how this could be seen as offensive and I am in no way condoning his actions. As ever Twitter became the melting pot for yet another media debacle. Below are a few of the reactions from the users of twitter.

Another issue is that of Sexism, in what is a female led Public Relations Industry where 64% of the employees are female, I may be in the minority with my thinking that it is much easier for women to express themselves than men in today’s society. Although, It is a scandalous that in fact that there is such a huge pay gap between men and women as a study conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) of salaries across 432 organisations reveals that men in senior management positions are likely earning on average £11,606 more than their female peers, putting the pay gap at 26.8 per cent when taking into account bonuses, and perks like car allowances and commission.  (

However can you imagine what the media reaction to a male host revealing a female model in the way that Ellen DeGeneres has done in the picture below. Or how a writer for the tab went around the Holylands in Belfast looking for the best looking Boys in O’Niell’s gear. I can imagine that there would be many a claim of sexism and sexually objectifying woman! I feel that this points towards the idea of double standards. However, I am not saying this is a bad thing as we all know that Sex does sell as it always has, however what has changed in how we portray that message to different genres.

Which brings me to my final point, has the world gone crazy with Political Correctness? Or does PR as an industry be more careful with what we do and say.

This is a debate that I feel will not go away overnight. However, I feel that in the direction we are going, we are going to be limiting ourselves in what we do and say. As Abraham Lincoln put it “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. And with that I would like to add that doesn’t mean we abandon all Human Decency and become racist and sexist. Taste your words before you speak them. (SOMEONE PLEASE TELL DONALD TRUMP). With Stereotypes or Demographics playing such a huge role in how business and organisations target their audiences I feel it is only natural that they will play a part in Advertisements, Campaigns and almost all of our work, the balance has to be found where people of all genders and races are treated equally and portrayed as such in these campaigns.

Here is an interesting link to an debate on Sunday morning live from July 2017.

Also here are a few examples that have caused a stir over the past few years.


Curtis Cregan is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be contacted on Twitter: @CurtisCregan17, and Instagram: @CurtisCregan7.

PR- Out with the Old, In with the New?


Grunig and Hunt developed the idea that PR creates two-way communication between an organisation and its publics… and guess what social media does? The exact same thing!

Why is it so powerful?

Out with the old, in with the new. If you have been faithfully relying on traditional PR tactics, it’s time to change. Maybe not all of your tactics but definitely some of them. It is important that you take a more social approach allowing you to communicate key messages instantly with your stakeholders. The shift from traditional PR to digital PR is continuously and rapidly evolving. It is important that you adapt your PR tactics to meet the demands of this new way of communication. Digital PR tactics enable you as a PR practitioner to communicate and connect with the media and bloggers in a space where they are proactively searching for news and resources. This is a better way of targeting instead of spamming them with chunks of information (like traditional press releases) that they simply do not want or cannot share immediately.

The Changing Landscape of Digital PR

Adapting to the complex world of digital can be daunting. With the rise of social media platforms as key tools for communication, the mediating role played by traditional media between companies and publics has increasingly diminished. Due to the rise in use of social media, it is now the company’s role to monitor individuals feedback and comments 24/7 regarding its products and services online. The company also has primary responsibility to monitor, manage and deal with a crisis in a timely manner in order to protect and save the public image and reputation.

Due to the continuous growth of social media platforms, it is important that you understand what tools to use, how to use them appropriately, and how to measure their effectiveness. The structure of social media presents greater opportunities to reach out to segmented audiences that have been previously ignored or neglected.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations suggest the importance of understanding the social network landscape. They suggest that the main focus must always be on the communities within their social media platforms whether they are connected through specific interest groups, trusted friendships, similar interests or driven by passions. In this case, it is a prime opportunity for you to connect with and get involved in conversations that are of relevance to your key publics. This then allows you to build relationships, influence further communications and ultimately lead to the end goal of advocacy and trust.

Hints and Tips on the Best Way to use Social Media for PRAR1

  1. Network with journalists; This is a great way to get your company name and products out there and directly cut through the noise, however selection when choosing who exactly to network with should be carefully thought through. Be specific– ensure that the journalists you pick to network with are professionals whose interests are somewhat aligned with your company’s interests. Taking time to establish a strong relationship with key journalists and sharing their articles through your own outlets, creates a solid two-way rapport which benefits both parties long term.
  2. Publish on LinkedIn; LinkedIn is a great way to highlight your client’s experiences, disseminate content, find influences, gain industry insights and connect with new clients. It is a great platform to also discover key media opportunities, identify business opportunities and increase and maximise clients’ media coverage. LinkedIn now offers a publishing platform that you can now share content directly and know that you are targeting the right audience. Why not post content on LinkedIn that you have created for a newspaper article or for an industry publication? LinkedIn is a faster way of reaching your key publics than waiting for traditional media to publish your contribution.
  3. Use social media in your press releases; A great way to extend your reach of your press release with positive news is by sharing it across social media. Press releases posted on your company website should be accompanied with ‘share’ buttons for each social media platform available to make it easy for readers to pass your news on. A great way to maximise your press release coverage is by writing blogs that then link to them. This can be done by using concise messages which can be tweeted with an accompanied image to meet the needs of each preferred social media platform. Imagery and the use of infographics increase a posts appeal for sharing, so be sure to include some of these in your posts too.
  4. Seek bloggers coverage; Blogosphere is the ideal link between social media and PR. Bloggers are actively on social media and many of them are closely monitored by journalists. An easy way to seek blogger coverage is through having your service or product reviewed by them. Whether you’re pro-actively seeking coverage or not, your product or service will most likely be reviewed by followers of the blogger anyway again maximising media coverage and exposure. Free platforms such as Tomoson are available to help you get your product featured on niche blogs. This further increases your chances to be noticed by journalists.
  5. Prepare a Crisis Management Plan in advance; Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. PR disasters can happen at any time and it is disastrous to be caught completely unprepared if and when it does happen. With no plan B, your company could potentially take years to re-establish public trust and brand appreciation again. Having a plan B can help to at least control or manage the situation better. Having a standard press release designed and social media posts planned can minimise stress and impact of the crisis. The best approach to crisis management is a genuine apology signed by a MD or SEO of your company, accompanied by a plan of action to what you are going to do to fix the problem. Whatever the plan, make sure it is accurate, current and seeks approval from management beforehand so that if a crisis does occur your reaction can be quick and save your company’s good reputation to the best of your ability.

Finally, the use of social media can be extremely powerful for getting your key messages out there for product launches to promoting company branding to managing public relations campaigns. Social media efforts can be tracked and analysed through viewing their analytics which can then be tweaked and changed to be even more effective next time. Ensure that social media is incorporated into your PR campaign from the start to maximise the effectiveness of raising awareness of key messages to your key publics.

Through using the hints and tips above, your company’s PR effectiveness will instantly improve. Out with the old and in with the new.


Aimee Rourke is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn: 


The Ghost of Snapchat Past?


Kylie Jenner – is there anything she can’t do?  She boasts the title of being the boss of a multi-milion dollar cosmetics company, a yummy twenty-something mummy, and even an expert in predicting stock market trends.  Amazing!

If you’re a little lost here, let me fill you in.  After Kylie sent out a tweet explaining that she was feeling a little less than impressed with recent changes to the Snapchat app, their stocks plummeted $1.3 billion in value.


By the tone of the tweet, I feel like Kylie probably wasn’t even thinking very much about it at the time of writing.  It was probably just a normal Wednesday for her, chilling out in her mansion, sipping an iced tea, smashing billions in value off the stock market with a single comment.  Average midweek stuff.

While some have marvelled in horror at these events and pondered what kind of world we live in when the Kardashians have sole control over who lives or dies on Wall Street, others have pointed to Snapchat having experienced a general downward trend over the past year – with Kylie’s comment simply kicking them while they’re down.

Last March, Snapchat went public, and despite warning investors that the app may never turn a profit, share prices spiked immediately after hitting the market.  However, the year since has been turbulent.  The company saw a disappointing 17% drop in their shares in mid 2017, with not a Kardashian in sight – the culprit behind this dip was social media giant, Facebook – owners of Instagram.


I can actually remember my first reaction when Instagram began rolling out their suspiciously Snapchat-like updates.


Funnily enough, Instagram’s market value went completely unaffected by my tweet.

But despite Instagram blatantly plagiarising the most popular aspects of a rival app and integrating them into it’s own features, Instagram Stories flourished.  They introduced new and different features that Snapchat lacked, such as different fonts, filters and gifs, and of course, the endlessly popular boomerang feature, which allows us to watch other people clink glasses not just once, but several times in a loop!

Their tactics worked, though, and Instagram Stories alone now boasts more users than Snapchat.  And in keeping with the latest trends, Kylie Jenner gave fans the first peak at her new baby Stormi earlier this year, not via Snapchat, but on Instagram, in a post that became the app’s new most liked picture ever.  It seems that everything Kylie touches turns to gold, and so this gesture probably indicates that we should all invest all of our money in Instagram as quickly as we possibly can.

Redesign – or Re-disaster?

Never mind the threat from Instagram, though – Snapchat may have actually shot themselves in the foot with new updates that nobody asked for.  The company began rolling out a redesign of the app in late 2017, and their shares actually picked up by 25% in response as investors anticipated the effects of these new changes with optimism.  That fell a bit flat however when the changes rolled out…and just about everybody Hated them.  With a capital H.

As the full extent of the redesign was rolled out to user’s phones, the reaction was not good.  In fact, it was sort of dire.  Kylie was not the only one not feeling the apps new layout, with users complaining that the app was now ugly, confusing and difficult to use.  Some users despised the changes so much that a petition aimed at Snapchat asking them to revert the app back to it’s old look gained over a million signatures.



Personally, while I wouldn’t say I despise the changes, having to scroll for what feels like years to find someone I messaged yesterday while the names of random people I barely know and would never wish to speak to personally in a million years appear at the top of my feed is just a tiny bit annoying.  Or, you know, massively infuriating, depending on what mood I’m in.

Snapchat commented on the whole debacle by arguing that the update aimed to make the app ‘more personal’ and that users simply needed to get used to it, while promising more changes soon to be rolled out which would make the app experience more ‘customisable’.  While I’m not a tech expert by any means, am I crazy for thinking that if your customers don’t like changes, it’s unlikely you’re going to fix their negative attitudes with more changes?  Or maybe I’m just crazy, who knows…

So is this the death of Snapchat?

As a company that isn’t currently all that profitable, Snapchat’s future lies in the value of its shares.  They need investors to believe that Snapchat is growing and that it’s here for the long run, and not just a social media fad that will disappear into irrelevance as easily as one of its 24 hour stories.  This kind of volatility in its market value could spell disaster for a company that’s still only really in its early years.

Overall, I think there are a few lessons to be learned from the Snapchat redesign disaster, one of which being that the customer is always right.  A little more pilot testing and research into what the audience wants could have saved Snapchat a whole lot of stress and headaches over the past few months.  However, it’s yet to be seen whether or not this whole series of unfortunate events will see a decline in Snapchat’s actual user base, as it still attracts 187 million users a day – it hasn’t quite died and joined MySpace and Bebo in social media heaven just yet.

And personally, until the day I lose all of my 200+day long streaks, Snapchat will still be my go to.


Una McHugh is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Linkedin at and Twitter @unamickq


Awareness or Activism?

In today’s world, we are all (well most) social media savvy, right?

Social media alike everything has critiques however we must appreciate this platform as a means of positive influence over peoples lives. Many of us are on social media for different reasons, including friends and family, professionally or just for fun!

I know my mum doesn’t even understand the concept that you may be ‘friends’ with people on Facebook even though you maybe just know them briefly OR that if you try to zoom on Instagram you might actually end up liking that persons post. Mums for you. But other than my mum not being so savvy, the rest of us are!

Fun Fact: At the beginning of 2017, the total number of social media users in the UK had reached over 39 million users, with estimates going up to 42 million users. (Statista, 2017)

This astonishing fact has ought to mean something; at least that social media is doing something right, or even the users, us?

Social media has been widely adapted by celebrities, bloggers and people in the spotlight. They tend to try and create a sense of community for their followers to ensure this keeps up, although many are willing to share experiences that will empower others around them.

Recently on This Morning (favourite morning show ever) a star from Coronation Street, Sacha Parkinson, spoke out about her battle with ‘Endometriosis”. This was such an inspiring conversation she had reinforcing all girls to listen to their bodies.

Click here to watch this short clip.

Not only did she voice this on national television, she followed up with several social media posts and stories.

This to me has extremely positive effects on some lives encouraging girls they are not alone. Along with this it probes real discussion about issues that should be addressed and not hidden. Social media can help us to teach each other in a way that could never have been possible before now.

Lets appreciate that!

There were many movements on social media in 2017 that have actually caused some social change, or should I say were successful lobbying tactics!

One that stood out in my mind was #WomensMarch. The main mission of this campaign to dismantle systems of oppression has left echoes for everyone to hear. Teresa Shook set up a Facebook page that essentially went viral overnight when 10,000 people responded the next morning. Wow!

From this campaign social media circulated knowledge through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. Facebook became the hub of activity where everyone could contribute to this discussion and amazing cause. Real life activists got involved and turned this into a real life event.

Again, this reiterates the power of social media and its enormous impact globally.


Social media can effectively portray an emotional appeal and reach out to many people with the click of a button. The emergence of digital media does have its downsides, but its positives are really too good to ignore.

Is social media activity becoming a substitute for actual activism?

This question is left unanswered. BUT, it certainly is becoming a main influence to people in power. With little propaganda attached it seems a more realistic approach and most definitely raises awareness.

Some argue a hashtag is not a movement, whilst some suggest social activism WILL spark change if done right!

“Sharing is the essence of social media!”


Katy McGuigan is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, Jordanstown. You can reach her on LinkedIn at and on Twitter @KatyMcGuigan2.

A 14 Year Old and a GoPro Walk into a Field…

My cousin Katie came home from her first day of secondary school gushing to tell me all about her classes and the people she met. She was decorating her diary, filling in her timetable and telling me all about the day’s events. I flipped through the pages of her diary and was horrified to find a page called ‘Snapchats’ with everything from EllieXoX to Hollie123 (I could tell you about the day she lost her phone and gone were the hard-earned 237 day streaks, but that’s another story in itself.)

What ever happened to the good ol’ days of giving out home phone numbers? Gone now are the glory days of your mum shouting at you to get off the house phone because Nanny’s probably been trying to get through for the past 3 hours. To this day I’m still annoyed I couldn’t three-way call like Lizzie, Miranda and Gordo.


I’m not claiming that I don’t use Snapchat or any other forms of social media to keep in touch with my friends, I love aimlessly flicking through Facebook looking at memes and cat videos as much as the next person, I’m just sad to see so many young teenagers glued to their smart phones.

However, every once in a while we meet someone, an absolute anomaly, who isn’t obsessed with uploading their next Instagram post at prime time or with the latest iPhone that’s going to smash sooner than the last one (and I’m not talking about your dad that still has a Nokia 3310). Enter Katie’s older brother, James. His interest: farming and absolutely nothing else; whilst most teenagers would come home and go on Facebook, James got straight into his overalls and headed to our Granda’s farm, when other teens were getting play stations and footballs for Christmas, James was getting tractor simulators and new work coats for the farm. But alas, nothing lasts forever.

As James got older he became glued to his dad’s iPad watching YouTube videos by farmers called the Grassmen, a group of men who decided to experiment with cameras in their tractors and fields and soon developed a mass following with some videos gaining almost 5 million views. James watched all their videos and couldn’t wait to tell me when he met Donkey at The Balmarol Show. Naturally I assumed he meant the character from Shrek; I soon learned that Donkey was one of these Grassmen and a major influence on James.


My interest was piqued when James’ parents asked if they could buy GoPro accessories for James from my Amazon account for Christmas. James? A GoPro? He’s not travelling to Thailand this summer to find himself, why does he have a GoPro? When I thought about it I didn’t know many people who owned a GoPro, never mind any 14 year olds. I was on placement in London at the time and soon forgot about it until one day my mum sent me a YouTube link with the message: “Watch this”, and five minutes later: “Did you watch it yet?” James had uploaded his first video – my reaction: instant fan-girl.

Being from the country I’ve seen plenty of tractors driving around and, as many of you probably know, it’s really not that exciting. With a variety of editing and the addition of music James managed to make something that people would generally find quite boring really fun to watch. The video currently has 364 views (of which I think 64 are mine). I remember showing my co-workers the next morning with pride written all over my face, their expressions were mere confusion as many of them most likely hadn’t seen a tractor in central London nor knew anyone that drove them. I’ll let you decide for yourselves but I’m sure you’ll agree the results are amazing, especially for a 14 year old that wouldn’t have touched an iPhone just a few years ago.

It turns out James wasn’t just producing short videos but was also uploading images to an Instagram account of the tractors and the fields. We still joke about him lying down in the grass to get the perfect shot, but the truth is the pictures are amazing:


Some people are paid thousands to make content for social media and here was my cousin spending his time doing it for free all because he loved farming. So, as much as we want to roll our eyes and moan about “kids these days” with all their gadgets, at the end of the day they’re allowing teenagers to be creative in ways we never would have dreamed of just a couple of years ago. It also goes to show that social media isn’t just for the travel and beauty bloggers, farmers are even starting to get a piece of the action!

Roisin Watters is a final year BSc Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted at:, and on Twitter @Roisin_Watters