Anti-Social Media?

In my first semester at Leeds Met, it became increasingly evident that social media was the future of PR (and Advertising, Journalism, Marketing & Networking for that matter). I realized the magnitude of social media when Richard Bailey not only allowed, but encouraged live tweeting throughout his lecture, with the hash tag #prlecsm.

Social media allows PROs to communicate and coverse with their publics instantly from the comfort of their office. It bypasses the traditional journalistic ‘middle men’ and puts power in the hands of of anybody and everybody. Communication has never been easier, with awesome smartphones and super-fast broadband, the power of social media is constantly growing, ushering in a ‘Golden Age’ for the PR industry.

However the revolution in social media, could lead to devolution in the real world. The most popular social media platform is without a doubt Facebook, which is currently valued at $50 billion. Over 500 million people worldwide have a Facebook account (including my nana!). However what can be a vibrant and entertaining platform can be abused and turn into anti-social media.

People seem to be so engrossed with their Facebook account that they neglect their offline lives. I actually overheard two girls the other day bickering over who had more friends on Facebook, as if it’s an accolade to have more friends added than someone else.

Some of my Facebook ‘friends’ post some insulting, childish, pointless and baffling status updates. I have actually starting removing people from my friends, because of their annoying updates on my so-called ‘news feed.’ I noticed that I didn’t even know some of the people on my friend list!

Without ranting too much, seemingly innocent things, such as uploading and tagging photos of people in a drunken mess can have disastrous consequences. Many employers have been deterred from hiring candidates because of embarrassing and unsavoury photos

It’s not just Facebook, Paul Chambers’s tweet in November last year read “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” This tweet may have been a joke, but Chambers was still sentenced to a £3,000 fine!

The Liverpool footballer Ryan Babel was fine £10,000 this week by the Football Association Regulatory Commission because he tweeted a picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Man Utd shirt following their 1-0 defeat. It’s worrying how social media has the power to become anti-social.

Although, social media is predominantly useful and entertaining. It allows friends, family and colleagues to communicate and network instantly across vast distances. Social media can and does empower people.

Just look at Linkedin, which allows people to connect with past and present colleagues as well as advertise themselves to prospective employers in a fair and objective way.Other social sites such as Foursquare allows you to tell your friends where you’ve been, where you’re going and the quality of that experience. Path is the opposite to Facebook, limiting you to 50 friends so you stay connected with the people that really matter in your life.

Moreover, after reading ‘Social media lessons from the year I spent in bed’ by Jennifer Kane, you realize the amount of benefits social media bring.

5 comments on “Anti-Social Media?

  1. Richard Bailey
    January 23, 2011

    There is a body of opinion that argues that all this media is making us less social, not more. See this in today’s Observer newspaper:

    On balance, I remain an optimist rather than a pessimist.

  2. Sean Ball
    January 24, 2011

    Perhaps there is a danger of people becoming so engrossed with sites such as Facebook that they neglect their ‘offline lives,’ Although, I think this is down to the individual.

    I think Turkle’s thesis (quoted in the Guardian) that: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human is counter-intuitive as our intelligence and ability to communicate makes us human, and social media is a product of those characteristics.

    Although just like in real-life scenarios people will be rude and anti-social to one another online.

  3. Bryony Czujko
    January 30, 2011

    I agree with you on this one, I do feel that technology is making us a little less sociable. For instance, 9/10 of my close friends have blackberrys – installed with texting, phone calls, the notorious BBM, facebook, twitter etc…
    When we run out of conversation most girls don’t make the effort to start a conversation, just look on Facebook to get gossip, or start a convo with someone on BBM! People say its rude to have your phone out during a meal, yet everyone on these smart-phones cannnot bare to miss out on their technologic social life.
    Bit sad/embarrassing really when theres a group of 11/12 girls sat having a meal but all on their phones :/

    • Rosey Stones PR
      February 3, 2011

      I know what you mean. I saw my best friends over Christmas and literally all conversation, if any, revolved around facebook statuses, comments etc. they were getting from their smart phones. I’m not sure that it’s “anti-social” but it certainly seems to have restricted the amount of interesting conversation with in a group when people sit around on their phones on facebook and twitter. What happened to face to face communication or even the days when phones were used as phones, before the days of convergence.

  4. Pingback: Social Media’s USP: Its Novelty! « SIB:PR

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2011 by in PR & Media, Social Media and tagged , , , , .

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