Snapchat refuses to be bought

Snapchat was rencently offered three billion dollars in cash from Facebook  and turned it down.

Web pundits since, have been debating how insane this idea actually was.

As John Herman of Buzzfeed observed yesterday, one reason analysts are struggling to understand Snapchat is that we don’t have much data on how the service is actually used.

All we know, as Herman summarizes, is:

  • Snapchat users collectively receive 400 million “Snaps” a day
  • 88% of these ‘snaps’ are sent to just one other person

The question on everyone’s tongues is how will Snapchat monetize itself to justify this offer with many people arguing online that this kind of action may mean we are right back in the “tech bubble”.

In its infancy, a lot of talk about Twitter was around the same argument, and now it is one of the larger success stories of recent years. The same was said of Facebook, and Google and….

One thing is for certain, Snapchat has a reasonable chance of becoming just as successful if it comes out with a clearly laid out plan for making money.

Strong not Skinny

From Irish dancer, to aspiring femaile bodybuilder, 21-year-old Dervla Kilmartin from Sligo has always been a fitness fanatic.

She spent her youth juggling every sport under the sun and took a keen interest in dancing and track and field.

She was so dedicated to her sport she competed in the All-Ireland track and field, just three days before sitting her Leaving Certificate.

Despite a routine jam-packed with activities, the young athlete’s education did not suffer and Kilmartin decided to amalgamate her love of sport and education and went on to study Sport and Exercise Science in University of Limerick.

She enjoyed the Fresher fun of college but soon after, decided she wanted to do something more serious.

“I always wanted to have an athletic physique to match my sporting background, and even more so now having to work with professional athletes and to be taken seriously as a woman in this industry,” explained the keen sportswoman.

dervla began her training over a year ago, training daily and following a clean and healthy lifestyle.
Kilmartin began her training over a year ago, training daily and following a clean and healthy lifestyle.

Kilmartin’s boyfriend, also a bodybuilder, introduced the gym junkie to the world of bodybuilding. While attending one of his shows, her attention was grabbed by the body fitness/figure category of women and the obsession began.

As part of her college course, she obtained a six month placement in NSW Institute of Sport in Sydnesy, Australia. It was here her love for body fitness blossomed. She admits, like any other profession, first impressions are important, especially in the fitness world.

“Let’s be honest,” she says, “image is an important factor. I wanted to feel and look strong to feel more confident in the career I wanted.”

Training began regularly while studying in Sydney. She gained valuable knowledge and training tips from various strengthening coaches and nutritionists around her. It was here Kilmartin met Jaslyn Hewitt and Kat Millar, fellow female bodybuilders, who were always on hand with tips and advice.

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Jaslyn Hewitt is well known in her field.

What others may consider torture, Kilmartin thrived in: “There were days I cried during the training I was pushed so hard. I loved it!”

The women Kilmartin has trained with she would consider real, honest athletes. Recently, bodybuilding has become somewhat of a fad in the media with the emergence of glamour model Jodie Marsh entering into the body fitness world.

For Kilmartin, she sees Marsh as “an insult more than anything to bodybuilding”.

“Jodie gained fame from training for only few weeks compared to the athletes in this industry who train for years and years to improve their physique constantly.”

Now training up six times a week and concentrating vividly on a healthy diet, it is a wonder how a normal lifestyle can be led.

“Obviously there does come sacrifices,” admits Kilmartin. “I would say my social life has suffered a little bit the fact I don’t go out much anymore, but that’s not the life I want to live”.

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Kilmartin posts updates on her Facebook page “Dervla’s Journey – Sacrifice to Achieve” to keep her followers updated and to keep herself motivated as well.

Living an Irish student life and obtaining her level of commitment are certainly two clashing lifestyles. “I have gone out partying with my friends many times sober now over the past year and a bit and I have had great fun. You have to enjoy the process too and live a balanced life.”

While Kilmartin has received nothing but support and encouragement from family and friends, it has not all been friendly feedback for her. “I got a lot of negativity from boys about my pictures. Many insulted me and mocked my pictures or statuses”.

“Women used to think I was going for the “bodybuilder” look and thought it was disgusting and I would be a tank and become huge”.

As Kilmartin’s training has progressed she says now “I do get a lot of positive comments now from both males and females as they can see it’s not a fad and it’s a lifestyle for me and my commitment and dedication shines through.”

Dervla is a motivated young woman who is trying to achieve a body image that promotes healthy and clean living.
Kilmartin is a motivated young woman who is trying to achieve a body image that promotes healthy and clean living.

“From skinny/fat to strong is a healthy approach with many benefits and I would choose this look any day. Plus I get to eat extra food to feed my muscles and the feeling after a good workout is extremely satisfying and you learn so much about yourself psychologically and physically.”

Kilmartin ends on a positive note, something we could all live by: “You are only young once, so make the most of it by living a healthy active life.”

Fairytale in New York

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With the recent trend of emigration and the resulting need for young people to feel connected to home, GAA can provide a vital and much needed foothold in a new country. Last month, Damien O’Connor was part of the Kerry team that won an unlikely New York championship, and the Laois footballer gives a unique insight into Gaelic Games overseas.

Damien O'Connor in action for Laois against Mayo in this years Allianz National League
Damien O’Connor in action for Laois against Mayo in this years Allianz National League

“It’s a surreal experience going training. We’re living in a kind of Irish street, McClean Avenue it’s called, and around six or half-six in the evening, the street would be full of Irish just standing around with football boots, everyone waiting for a lift to go training.”

“Where we were training was about 15 minutes away. There could be about 10 of us in the back of the car, and if the traffic was really bad you could be sitting on the highway for an hour or two hours without moving before you got to training.”

O’Connor was joined at the Kerry New York club by Down senior footballer Keith Quinn, the only other inter-county player on the team. “We had no really big names, but a lot of good, strong footballers; a lot of Kerry boys who played under-age with Kerry and had been on Kerry senior panels before moving to New York but hadn’t made the breakthrough.”

Down's Keith Quinn shakes hands with the referee before the match
Down’s Keith Quinn shakes hands with the referee before the match [credit: Peter Marney]
“We had one Irish-American lad on the team as well, James Huvane at cornerback. He wasn’t bad at all.”

“The facilities wouldn’t be as good as at home; we trained on an astro-turf field looking into Manhattan, there were 10 or 12 big pitches but all we had was soccer goals which you can’t really play proper football in. Some of the coaching styles would be completely different to what you’d see over here as well.”

Unfancied Kerry managed to advance to the final where they played Leitrim, who were on course to win their fourth title in a row. “It was like a proper county final day” says O’Connor, “we had a parade and the national anthem, a good crowd; it was a good experience. The game itself was great, it was tough, there were three or four lads sent off in it.”

Kerry's Paul O'Donoghue, who scored 0-7 in the final
Kerry’s Paul O’Donoghue, who scored 0-7 in the final [credit: Peter Marney]
“It wouldn’t compare to winning anything with Timahoe [O’Connor’s home club] or Laois, but at the time it was a great feeling because going into the game, no-one really gave us a chance. Leitrim had about ten inter-county lads, boys on inter-county transfers who had played with their counties this year, everybody just overlooked Kerry.”

O'Connor competes with Laois team-mate and Leitrim sanction Kevin Meaney.
O’Connor competes with Laois team-mate and Leitrim sanction Kevin Meaney. [credit: Peter Marney]
O’Connor, who featured for Laois against Louth in the Leinster Championship earlier this year before moving to New York, is also quick to praise the quality of football on show in the city; “There’s a good standard of players. You don’t see too many lads standing out; the heat is the real killer. During the summer you could be playing in 35/36 degrees, and on an astro-turf pitch where it’s a couple of degrees warmer.”

“Coming down to the latter stages of the Championship the standard is very high; there are a lot of good footballers. You’d want to be at the top of your game to play well out there.”

Monaghan forward Rory Woods (Leitrim).
Monaghan forward Rory Woods (Leitrim). [credit: Peter Marney]
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it just felt like the right time to do it,” says O’Connor on leaving home and going to America. When asked what advice he’d give to anyone thinking of making the same decision, the 21-year-old has no hesitation; “Make the most of the experience, have the craic and do as much as you can while you can. It really is something to remember and something you can always say you did”.

Full credit and thanks to Peter Marney for all images.

Review: Blue is the Warmest Color

First impressions? Wow, there’s a lot of close ups! Give me Adele’s face smeared in Bolognese oil one more time and… well, just don’t. Ok?

This arty French flick is the latest hit to come out of the Cannes Film Festival, and boy it doesn’t disappoint.

We’re introduced to our young protagonist, Adèle, as she runs to school, making it just in time for her French literature lessons. She loves to read, and this is how we meet her boyfriend – a peer pressured school crush she discusses her books with.

Soon after she finds the sex a snore, she latches eyes on ‘the mysterious girl with the blue hair’, who she fantasises about. Often. And we get to see it all.

Anyway, long (long!) story short, they end up getting together and bam, cue sumptuous close-up sex scenes. With lots of smacking and a bit of tribadism. One comment from the crowd behind me, “It’s art!” Another, “No, it’s sex!”

This sexy time show happens a few times, peppered with more shots of Adèle’s biscuit filled open gob or pasta guzzling. She’s a messy eater…

A lot of the fellow viewers complained about this predicament, but I thought it a clever technique. Show us this girl in her most vulgar state, and equally Emma’s (blue haired girl) sultry smile, and remind us how love can see through all the ugly.

Another complaint was in all of the ‘unnecessary’ scenes. We see a lot of Adèle in her play school workplace, which admittedly doesn’t do much to advance the story, but does give a realism to the movie. The film could’ve been half the length without these scenes, but then without them we wouldn’t see the complete picture of Adèle’s life.

As her career advances, giving her a role in a primary school, her love life with Emma sinks. The ‘warm’ haired girl is growing bored of Adèle’s lack of creative energy and is growing ever fonder of her fellow artist friend. The shots widen and the blue hair fades with each passing scene.

Adèle’s not stupid, and sees this love budding with her numerous late nights at the studio. In pursuit of her own pleasure, she hooks up with one of her male colleagues, and when Emma finds out, she’s not a happy bunny.

A short domestic ensues, and the once sweetheart is thrown out onto the streets. It’s a cold move from Blue, and hypocritical to say the least.

These scenes, still in close-view, are very difficult to watch. The director makes great use of sound in his shots, and the film often goes from loud scenes to silence in an instant.

The sex scenes, for instance, are very noisy, and when they abruptly end we’re left self-conscious, and open mouthed.

When the pair fight, though, this after-silence is even more uncomfortable, and incredibly intense.

Unsurprisingly, Emma ends up U-Hauling with the artist ‘friend’ and her child, and all is cosy. If only she had that passionate sex with her though. Sigh.

The two meet up for the inevitable awkward first-ex-coffee-date, and end up almost jumping each other on the bar table. Still, no saviour for Adèle as cold, cold Blue walks out and leaves her alone with her wine.

Funnily enough, there’s a lot of wine in this movie. It seems to be a metaphor for family, being pulled out at every familial occasion – ‘meet the parents’, ‘meet the parents two’, and ‘meet all my artsy friends’… it’s pretty fitting then, I guess, that Adèle should be left fermenting at the bar with a glass.

It’s not until Blue’s big fancy pants art exhibition that we see the vino again. This super awkward visit marks the formal double french kiss with the new girlfriend (i.e. the devil), and much neck snogging, at which Adèle departs, sullen, depressed, and in a blue dress, no less.

The camera allows us a long shot of her walking away in the ‘warmest colour’, as we contemplate just how ‘chaud’ Emma ever really was.

Credits roll and the lights flicker on… the crowd arise for libation.

Blue is the Warmest Color is on show all this week in the IFI. Bookings can be made on 01 679 3477.

5 People you meet on the Luas

I, like countless other people living, working, and studying in the capital, use the Luas fairly regularly. Cheap, reliable, and convenient, the light rail service is invaluable for many commuters. However, use the Luas for any length of time and you can’t help but notice certain recurring stereotypes in your fellow passengers; some disruptive, most a mere nuisance, and a few that can even be entertaining.

Here are some of the culprits:

The Fare-dodger

[Credit: Phil Guest}
[Credit: Phil Guest}
Invariably young and male, the Fare-dodger is usually a college fresher, (newly relocated from the country and released into the big smoke) attempting to travel to his destination without the advantage of a ticket. Instantly recognisable by his rucksack and head-on-a-swivel body language, the Fare-dodger’s natural enemy is the ticket-inspector. While definitely not the only passenger without a valid ticket, he will be by far the most obvious offender.

The Talker

Luas photoshopped

While there is nothing wrong with engaging other passengers in conversation, The Talker has no interest in conversing and only wishes to inflict their opinion on as many of their fellow travellers as humanly possible. Aggressively-mannered and seemingly oblivious to personal space, The Talker may pick one individual to educate, or (just as likely) decide to inflict their views on the whole tram.

The Busy Man

[credit: louiseisawesome.wordpress.com]
[credit: louiseisawesome.wordpress.com]
Obviously in a great hurry to get somewhere very important, and do equally important things when he gets there, The Busy Man can be distinguished from other well-dressed commuters by how he enters and exits the Luas. Strategically positioning himself to be directly in front of the door when the tram stops, he clears disembarking passengers in the same manner as Paul O’Connell clearing rucks. Arriving at his destination bouncing on the balls of his feet, Usain Bolt would be jealous of this man’s take-offs as he slips through the smallest possible opening of the doors and disappears into the hustle and bustle of his busy life.

The Nightmare

[credit: politics.ie]
[credit: politics.ie]
The whole mood on the Luas changes when these individuals enter. Always intoxicated and usually nursing a can of Druids, these pillars of their communities seem unaware that they are actually on public transport. Domestic disputes, personal histories, and *ahem* pharmaceutical discussions are all fair game, while the rest of the passengers are left awkwardly trying not to make eye contact. Universally clad in worn tracksuits (blood and/or vomit optional), if you don’t see them coming don’t worry, it won’t take too long for them to announce themselves (loudly).

The “Room for a Small One”

We’ve all been there, rush-hour in the city centre, packed carriages becoming more and more claustrophobic with every stop, until eventually there is simply no room left. That’s when this particular pest will surface, just to make everyone’s journey even more enjoyable. While most people will see the lack of available space and decide to wait for another Luas, Room-for-a-Small-One has no time for that nonsense and is adamant on embarking, regardless of what passengers already on board think. If The Busy Man is reminiscent of Paul O’Connell, this commuter is more in the Cian Healy-mould, putting the head down and driving forward, scattering fellow travellers and making sardines of those ahead of them.

Cian Healy entering the Luas [credit: stuckinthescrum.wordpress.com]
Cian Healy entering the Luas [credit: stuckinthescrum.wordpress.com]

Twitter, Facebook, IrishTimes, the Journal.ie, where do Irish people get their news?

Smartphone apps are fast becoming the easiest way to source news.
Smartphone apps are fast becoming the easiest way to source news.

Twitter is fast becoming an important figure in the world of journalism. The social media website is at the heart of breaking news thanks to its quick and easy

Speaking to Twitter.com, Andrew Miller, CEO of the Guardian Media group said “Twitter is the fastest way to break news now.10% of our traffic now comes from social media, and Twitter is central to its efforts”.

There are an estimated 21 million active twitter users throughout the world. According to a survey carried out by Pew Research Centre, one in 10 American adults gets their news from twitter.

However, the social media site still lies in the shadow of Facebook particularly here in Ireland where 49% of the population over 15 are on Facebook compared with just 11% of the population who are on twitter.

We here at the city decided to do a survey of 100 people between the ages of 15-60, to find out if the people of Dublin use twitter on their smartphones to source news, and if not what news apps do they use.

Of the 100 participants 25% claimed to have a twitter account which they used to get their news. 35% said that they got news from social network site Facebook, while the Journal.ie proved to be the most popular news app between the groups as 44% said they got their news from the Journals news app.

Of those surveyed twitter was most popular for those aged 25-40 with 58% of that age group claiming to use twitter for news. Other popular news apps for this age group included the Daily Mail, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports and the Independent.

18% of those aged between 15-25 used twitter to get news, with most claiming Facebook was their main source. Reddit, Sky Sports news and the Daily Mail proved popular amongst this age group also with 15% admitting to getting their news from Reddit while 35% used Sky Sports news and 28% using the Daily Mail.

Twitter was least popular within the 40-60 age groups with only 2% sourcing their news from the social media site. Popular news apps among these individuals included the Irish Times, Irish Independent, RTE and the Journal.ie.

The city.ie also took to the streets to find how the general public gather their news.

Credits

Reporter: Stephanie Quilligan

Surveyors: Sara Dalton, Niamh Casey, Keelin Riley, Stephanie Quilligan

Camera: Craig Farrell

Production: Graham Barry