Written by The Mac Twins

Lifestyle

This digital life: embrace it

DJs and presenters The Mac Twins have forged their career in the digital world. Alana thinks that’s smashing; Lisa, not so much. Tomorrow, Lisa Macfarlane shares her concerns, but today, Alana Macfarlane explains why she loves it so.

circuit boardWe could disguise this as a debate, but it’s better to be forthright and call it an argument. Me and Alana/Lisa and I will bicker about anything, with the following exceptions: If you carve the chicken you may have the majority of the skin; you may watch Khloe and Kourtney Take the Hamptons if there is nothing else suitable on; and you may borrow my toothbrush if you present me with an entire banoffee pie and do not ask for any – AND do not stare at it while the entire thing is inhaled.

So when we started talking about privacy and forging careers on this here internet (and how digitisation means we have to swerve our career in different directions every few months), Alana sang its praises and Lisa had concerns for our safety and data.

It’s an important topic, and it looks like we’ll all continue to blur the lines of our virtual world and the one in which we sleep and eat and all that stuff. By the way, what do you call that now? Real world? Actual life? The bits where you actually have to move and say things? Something to ponder, but for now let’s stay in cyberspace (until we need a cuppa). *floaty hands and cartoon UFOs*

Alana says:

We’re only just at the start of our careers, but a lot of people ask us advice on how to break into this industry. We always say work on whatever level you can: make music; make content; interview your granny on the war and post it on YouTube – it doesn’t matter, just make content. We live in an era where you can make yourself a star with just a camera and an internet connection. It really is awfie exciting.

“No one would open doors for us at first as they ‘didn’t know where to place us’, so we made our own content and built our own doors to open.”

The main thing is we no longer have to wait for privileged people behind desks deciding whether we’re good enough or whether we’ll connect with audiences and make them money. Our generation can build our own audience and make our own cash.

That’s exactly what happened with us: no one would open doors for us at first as they “didn’t know where to place us”, so we made our own content and built our own doors to open.

When we first started out we found it really hard to sit and wait on other people making decisions about our life. Thanks to online platforms we can make ourselves busy uploading content; it’s somewhere to direct all the nervous energy and gain a bit of control while hacking through the dark woods of this industry.

Being working-class lassies from Edinburgh, we had no contacts with these hidden top-notch execs behind big desks in the big smoke. Yet thanks to Jack Dorsey and co., no meeting or contact is out of reach anymore. Everyone is available: follow each other on Twitter, arrange a latte and you’re shaking hands quicker than you can say “interview” – no need for swanky networking events or loitering outside offices offering to make coffees (oh yes, we’ve all been there). Granted it’s difficult being judged solely on a collection of images and text, so you have to make sure your online persona is well-rounded and represents you as well as possible.

The main thing for us is that WE are in control of how we’re perceived. We personally update our website and social media and, as women online, it means we’re more than just the sum of our visual parts: we can express our outrage, opinions and show we are more than the images section of Google.

A prime example of us being able to bite back and use the internet to our advantage was when a reviewer made the following comments about our chat show:

“Two plastic presenters… Been cast from a mould… Wrapped in cellophane… Sold as Barbie dolls.”

Because we have the online platforms we do, we could write him an open letter.

“There are two issues here: the way we are objectified by other people; and how the media forces us to objectify ourselves. We get dizzy from thinking around it, because we realise they are actually the same thing – one feeds the other. Please don’t call us dolls: if you weren’t judging us by our hair colour, you’d know Lisa lectures at the top UK drama school, has judged the Total Theatre awards, and has been in a physical theatre company at the National Studio.

“The main thing for us is that WE are in control of how we’re perceived. We personally update our website and social media and, as women online, it means we’re more than just the sum of our visual parts.”

“Whether you’d like to admit to it or not, you are contributing to the silencing of women. If you really must call us dolls, we shall be Baby Annabells and cry and wail about it until our batteries run out.”

To conclude: we have made this monster, this digital beast, so yes it has negatives, but let’s see its advantages, look it in the eye and dance with the so-called devil.

Read Lisas side of the argument in tomorrows Standard Issue.

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Written by The Mac Twins

Mother Mac: "They shared a womb, but that’s all they've bloody shared since. I don't know why they work together and I don't know why they've not got proper jobs. I despair.”