Posts Tagged ‘hsowy’

Social Media: For Good or Ill

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 | Events, Humanism, Tech, Thoughts

This month at the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire, Simon Duncan presented a talk on social media – what it is and whether it is a good thing or not. Of course, the answer is yes.

Social media brings us huge benefits, at relatively little cost – and indeed almost no monetary cost, as sites like Facebook are all free. Unfortunately, it tends to take a bad wrap because of people not really thinking their arguments through. You can blame the media a little for this, but I don’t think they shoulder that much responsibility.

Take cyber bullying for example. It’s ace. Kids are going to bully other kids anyway, that is just part of society, at least at the moment. But with cyber bullying – you have a full paper trail of everything that has gone on! If social media has made the bullying situation worse for anyone, it’s the bullies! You can now just take your text messages straight to the school, or even the police. None of this complicated business of having to prove what they said with witnesses.

According to Simon, studies have also shown that using social media actually increases real world interaction. That’s certainly true of me – the main reason I use Facebook is to organise real world events with my friends. As well as plenty of other uses of course, such as keeping in touch with friends I otherwise couldn’t keep in touch with affectively because they’re in a different timezone in a different part of the world.

Other fears include issues like privacy and targetted advertising. Perhaps this has been a problem in the past, but with increased awareness of the situation, companies are now putting in place the tools to effectively manage your privacy and you can quickly and instantly lock down your profile, most of which is restricted to approved friends only anyway. This is arguably far more secure than the records the government has for example, which will probably end up on a USB stick left on a public train.

Targeting advertising is actually a massive benefit to us – because more effective advertising means less advertising. If companies can reach their target audience more effectively, they need to reach less people, so they spend less on blanket advertising. This is evident from the reduction of advertising – remember all the big flashing banners and pop-ups that plagued the internet – most of those have now given way to these small text links on Google and Facebook, and the web is much the better for it.


Sunday, October 16th, 2011 | Humanism

Last Thursday, Brian Quinn gave a talk to the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire on superstition. It turned out to be a brilliant talk, both entertaining and informative with Brian pointing out that superstition is actually wider spread than religion even though it’s even more nonsensical.

The Adelphi

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 | Humanism, Life

Earlier this month, myself and George headed down to the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire social at The Adelphi for a few drinks.

James had a voucher for two meals and a bottle of wine – so we ended up having a rather romantic evening. Surprisingly as well, I found myself around the median age range – shocking for HSoWY! 😛

Having had to eat and drink at quite some speed in order to make it to Alea on time to register for the poker tournament, I was somewhat intoxicated by the time I left and ended up doing quite well – adding further evidence to the idea that I play better poker when I’m drunk.

HSoWY Summer Social

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 | Humanism

I hadn’t been able to make the last Humanist Society summer social because I was meeting the parent, but August provided a good opportunity to take in a few drinks at The Adelphi over some good conversation.

It turned out to be a really good night – almost half the people who turned up were new members, or at least hadn’t been in so long that I didn’t know them – one guy said he had first joined in 1984 – two years before I was born! It’s great to belong to a group which has such a long and rich history.

The food was quite nice if a little overpriced, but the drinks weren’t too bad – at least once the barman realised he had meant to say £7.10 rather than £17.10!

HSoWY summer social

Monday, August 1st, 2011 | Events, Humanism

Having had to make a last minute cancellation of my trip down to London to attend the BHA AGM, I decided to head down to Leeds City Museum to attend the HSoWY summer social. Given how many people are away over summer, especially for HSoWY, it was quite a respectable turn out, and the city museum is always worth a visit.

HSoWY talks Creationism

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 | Events, Humanism

At last Thursday’s Humanist Society of West Yorkshire meeting, Brian Layfield and Mark Edon presented a talk on Creationism.

Brian is a long time member of HSoWY but also father of Steven Layfield, a well known creationist who is now head of Science at Emmanuel College. Mark is secretary of the British Centre for Science Education (BCSE for short) and has previously spoken at both Skeptics and A-Soc.

Humanist Chaplains: For and Against

Saturday, March 19th, 2011 | Humanism

The Thursday event of Reason Week was hosted by the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire and featured a debate on Humanist Chaplains between HSoWY chair Dr Paul Dean (or Moz as he is generally known) and Gijsbert.

The event went well and while there were was no overall winner it did at least help people make up their minds – the undecided where exactly split down the middle when we took the second vote at the end.

A new face for HSoWY

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 | Humanism, News

Humanist Society of West Yorkshire

The Humanist Society of West Yorkshire is a society with considerable history, having been around for over forty years now. One thing it hasn’t had, at least in the past decade anyway however, was a logo. Which has proved somewhat annoying when launching the group onto social media platforms.

Wanting to rectify this, I asked Emma Bryce, currently serving as the president of Durham University Humanist and Secularist Society and press secretary of the AHS, to use her graphic design skills to come up with something for us. We’re pretty impressed with the result!

You can check out some more of her amazing work here.

I need a snappy and witty title to cover this week

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 | Events, Humanism, Life

On Monday, we headed down to Sheffield Skeptics to see a talk by Richard Wiseman. Despite struggling to see the screen, which is a little annoying in a talk mostly about optical illusions lol, it was a really enjoyable evening and managing to get a quick chat with Richard I can see it was well worth going down for.

On Tuesday, Atheist Society began it’s regular Tuesday night meetings (See You Next Tuesday 😉 ) with a screening of the Chris Morris film, Four Lions. It’s an awesome film and well worth a watch. Though it did take us ages to get the film working despite bringing it on four different formats! So you can’t say we didn’t have a backup plan lol.

On Wednesday, I headed up to York for a York Brights meeting. It has been a while since I last saw them and could be a while again with Perspective Citywide starting so it was good to see everyone, and interesting conversation was provided aplenty as always.

Finally, on Thursday I was at a Humanist Society of West Yorkshire committee meeting which was great because the meeting was both efficient and productive – which tends to make a change from most committee meetings I’m in lol.

The H-Soc

Saturday, November 14th, 2009 | Events, Friends, Humanism

I went down to the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire on Thursday to listen to Norm’s talk on student atheism. It was a good talk although oddly punctuated by an altogether not all their Christian who had randomly turned up and occasionally started talking about Jesus. Crazy times.

Norman Ralph Norman Ralph Humanist Society of West Yorkshire