Social Media Cold Turkey – how ‘fake’ are we on social media? (day 4 – 23/10/14)

So I read this story about a student who fooled her family and all of her Facebook friends into thinking that she was travelling in Asia for 5 weeks, while actually spending the time hiding out in her apartment in Amsterdam.

What Zilla Van Den Born did was really pretty simple – she photo-shopped travel photos and posted them to social media, Skyped with her parents in front of a backdrop that made her apartment look like a hotel, and sent texts in the middle of the night to make out that she was in a different time zone.

The interesting part though (I thought), is why she did it.

The point she was making was about “how common and easy it is to distort reality” over the internet. She has commented that “everybody knows that pictures of models are manipulated. But we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives” (Zilla Van Den Born quoted in an article on the Huffington Post online).

It could of course be argued that this same deception could have been achieved with more traditional postcards and telephone calls, and that social media wasn’t what allowed this experiment to work. BUT I do think it highlights the way that people use social media day-to-day.

There are a lot of great uses for things like Facebook and Twitter – they allow people to stay in touch easily and regularly across long distances; allow consumers to quickly and effectively share feedback which, especially if it’s negative (and if the company concerned has any sense) will be responded to; more generally allows large groups of like-minded people to communicate far more easily.

BUT the main day-to-day use particularly for Facebook is (usually) to showcase the great things that you have achieved, cool things that you’ve done, particularly attractive selfies that you’ve taken. And I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing, just that it in most cases it’s very highly controlled to show ourselves in the best (most attractive, most interesting, most fun) light.

Of course people do post about negative things too (in fact some people don’t seem to post about much else) but for the most part, our newsfeeds are full of all sorts of great things for us to compare our days to. Friendships and relationships are made to look idyllic; our faces are filtered to the point where they sometimes bare little resemblance to how we actually look; sometimes people seem to care more about how their night out/holiday/trip is portrayed in the obligatory Facebook album, rather than actually enjoying it at the time!

So are we finding ourselves in a situation where we’re seeing only the best parts of others’ lives all over social media, and comparing them to our own lives, which are never that perfect? I know I’ve felt like this before. Of course this depends on self-esteem and insecurity but I believe we all have insecurities to some extent, and when I’m not having a particularly good day or am feeling a bit rubbish about myself, I definitely don’t often find that scrolling down my newsfeed cheers me up!

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Write, write, write

Cristian Mihai

write

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”
Isaac Asimov

In my humble opinion, there are two main rules to becoming a writer: read a lot and write a lot. You can’t do one without the other, no matter how much you try. Fiction writing is different than any other kind of writing, and there’s a point in knowing the conventions of the genre before you can break them.

But today’s post is about writing. A lot.

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Social Media Cold Turkey – out of sight, out of mind?

I’ve wanted to start a blog for a while now, mainly because my poor family and friends don’t have enough hours in their days to listen to the amount of things that I have to say! Hopefully I can channel some of my gobbiness into this blog and people can pick and choose what they want to read!

So why now? Well the reason I’m finally doing this now is maybe a bit ironic. I did a bit of an experiment recently where I banned myself from social media for a month, and people were so interested in why I was doing this and whether I would last, that I figured I’d share the experience in my first ever series of blog posts! So here goes…

Last Day before Social Media Cold Turkey (19th October 2014) – out of sight, out of mind?

So I’m preparing for my month logged out of social media and I’m quite looking forward to it! I’ve decided to try this after thinking lately about just how much we rely on social media and how many times a day we use it; I’ve been reading some really interesting (and sort of disturbing) articles about internet and social media addiction.

I don’t think I’m one of the most active people on social media but still, I am a little scared everyone’s going to forget I exist! I know it sounds ridiculous but I’m a bit manic tonight, making sure everyone has my number and knows that I won’t be on social media for the next month and I’m not just ignoring them if they message me!

To be honest I put this back a week because I refused to stop using social media while planning my best friend’s baby shower. The thought of having to contact everyone separately without the use of group messages on Facebook was more than I could bear! Yes I know this is the definition of a first world problem!

But I’m not making any more excuses, so tonight I’m logging out of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and anything else I find on my phone that constitutes a social network. When I’ve told people what I’m doing there’ve been mixed responses. Some people have said “enjoy” and sounded almost jealous. As if they wish they could do it! Others have said there’s no way I’ll do it, usually by betting how long I’ll last (the guesses are invariably under a month).

Either way everyone seems to see it as a pretty big deal! Maybe I’m going to miss it more than I’m expecting!!