& what you need to be aware of…
In The Past
I used to have three phones; one for work, one for personal and one because I just couldn’t wait for the previous to come around to its upgrade date. Talk about excess. These days I’ve just one. One that’s used for personal and blogging. It’s at the point where I don’t have notifications switched on (bar WhatsApp) because it gets a bit overwhelming with constant alerts filling up my screen.
Ladies I know you’re with me…
When it comes to social media, I’m all over Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They’re mostly geared around my blog and not so much my personal life. Though I guess are the two really that dissimilar? I did have Snapchat but found it so unrewarding I’ve kind of given up. Unrewarding? A funny word, hey. Why should social media be ‘rewarding’? And how exactly does it evoke such emotion? Sure we try not to put hungover selfies up where our hair looks like a birds nest and eyes have seen better days (excuse the pun) but what exactly are we getting back from our images? From our captions and heartfelt confessions?
We’re getting feedback.
I once read an interesting article explaining that for human beings, there’s nothing more interesting than how attractive they are. True. We have multi million pound beauty companies exploiting our insecurities. Magazines telling us how we can ‘change our lives’ by having an image overhaul. Million pound ad campaigns on how to lose weight and shape up for summer. Even before/after surgery Google searches are one of the most popular online. As a nation, we’re obsessed with the way we look – but even more fascinated by how attractive people think we are. “Oh wow, you look like you’ve lost weight”… did that comment make your day?
Early digital adopters may remember the pre-Facebook days. The rise (and eventual fall) of the number one most popular ‘social media’ (well what was then social media anyway) sites, ‘HOT OR NOT’ and ‘FaceParty’. Back then these were the sites that essentially coaxed people online to come and rate other people – purely on their photographs. Kind of like how people engage with Tinder but on desktop. These sites did really well until they were eventually sold or devalued because of competition from the launch of Facebook etc.
The reason early social media sites did so well was down to the nature of the instant feedback.
People could find out if other people thought they were attractive. Wow! Research shows that as humans, people would rather see negative feedback about themselves than no feedback at all. So these sites play in to that. The reason I love Instagram is not so much explicitly that I want to be found attractive though, it’s more to do with engagement. I enjoy reading comments, I like replying and connecting with new people. In addition, I like the way it’s treated as a brand extension, helping to promote my blog posts and drive awareness of SassyInTheCity.com.
You Don’t Even Press Like On My Photo’s!
It got me thinking about social media generally. I’ve overheard people arguing saying ” You didn’t even like my photos on Facebook from last night…”. I’ve heard arguments with partners over one ‘liking’ bikini pics of a girl (I’m guilty to have been like that in the past too). Isn’t it funny that this digital life – so separate to what really goes on in the world – can have so much of an impact?
Queuing to use the changing rooms in Topshop I looked down the line. Everyone under 35, each head down on their phone. Even the ladies that had come shopping together, they weren’t chatting to one another but instead scrolling through their phones. It got me thinking. Have you ever tried Googling “Is social media killing…”? The suggested searches that automatically come up are:
“… personal relationships”
“… our theories”
I could go on…
Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Children Use iPads
It seems people do think that social media is having a negative impact on our lives. So much so that people are agreeing it’s destroying the art of conversation and it’s ruining our creativity. Communication and creativity are essential life skills to any human so what’s the future for us? When I think of myself with my daughter in years to come, I wonder what she’ll be like at 14. Will she be hanging out in town like I did, wondering if there was anything in New Look to fit her £10 pocket money budget? Phones a thing for adults and something we’d never bother to want? Or will she follow in my footsteps, take an interest in online sociology and become a blogger? One thing’s for sure, she certainly won’t be allowed online for hours and hours.
It seems so many young people are joining Instagram these days. It always reminds me of something Adam Alter (Associate Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business) once said. He said that tech people in silicone valley ban their children from any source of digital media. They live a simple home life often back to basics, back to nature. Even Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his children use an iPad or Macbook. So if the creme de la creme, the geniuses of the tech world aren’t allowing their children to engage online, what’s the reason? They must know something we don’t?
Social Media & Brands
In marketing, it’s common knowledge that in any new life decade (when you hit your 20’s 30’s etc), we analyse big ‘life decisions’. We choose where we’re going to get our mortgage from, whether we’re going to invest £000’s in that new bag or if we’re going to buy a new car. Social media marketing analyses your demographic and targets you with a series of specific ads. Even looking at those cookies that are placed on your computer if you’re browsing engagement rings. Is that necessarily a good thing? Or are brands dismantling the old fashioned way of retail and becoming so scientific that you’re almost being controlled?
Even when the economy is doing good or bad, digital marketers can conclude the overall happiness of people by analysing their digital behaviour. Side note, did you know that when the economy is doing well darker books sell better but when the economy is doing bad, the fluffier, lighter novel style books sell better?
Do you need a break?
Desire for approval
Going back to the human desire for instant feedback, instant acceptance and approval, the likes of Instagram are becoming more and more centred around digital experiment. Did you know that if you pay to promote an Instagram pic, the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ don’t get added to the original picture? You’re just paying for awareness of the image and the ability to add a ‘learn more’ link where users can click through to a URL. Seems odd doesn’t it, surely businesses would rather want to pay for those ‘likes’ to show off on their feed? There’s a reason Instagram operates this way.
These native social networks (including Facebook and Twitter) are built in to the process of uncertainty, of approval. Creators know that humans are complex, that feedback is interesting to them. So in order to become moreish and addictive, they purposely design an algorithm so that humans find it irresistible – sometimes even if hurtful. As soon as you upload that image, are you always checking how many likes and comments you get? As I said, humans think it’s worst to be ignored than have someone be mean.
The World Won’t End
Aside from FOMO (a real thing coined for ‘fear of missing out’ which incidentally was also around the time social media was taking off) what would you miss by not being on social media? The roses will still smell the same, we’ll still get weather, babies will still be born. What’s the worst that could happen? Who knows but I can tell you the best things that’ll happen.
You’ll get a detox, your anxiety may calm down, you might stop caring about how much engagement someone else is getting over you. You might stop getting annoyed at that person on Facebook who keeps uploading pictures of their (seemingly) perfect life and seeing all the latest purchases from that person who shares their entire salary spend. You’ll also start living in the real world and recognise when someone’s online life theme is simply “look how much much money
we my parents have”.
Imagine how many hours you waste in a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Or how about those who are also using Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest… You’ll see you can get a lot more ‘real stuff’ done when you’re not scrolling up and down your phone.
Your future self and yourself tomorrow will be grateful for the break. Even yourself after two hours will be glad of the break. Appreciating the life we have around us, nature, the sun… It all helps towards a better mindset and improved mental health.
Shop The Post
Celine Silver Snakeskin Shoes – Emy Mack
Yellow Dress – Last Season, Other Here
Have you considered giving yourself a break from social media? Xx