Insight article

Social media

Flicking through Sky one day, I found a documentary about social media titled Catfish. After reading the synopsis I was still unclear as to what Catfish was about, so, as most of us do in this technology-rich day and age I got on the reliable iPhone to search for it. Having watched the programme, it was interesting to see how social media can be used to create a whole new virtual life, how, without human interaction you can still be taken on an emotional journey. How characters can fall in love with their virtual beings only to disappointed when they meet face to face.

I started thinking about social media: Facebook, BBM, MSN messenger, LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype, Wikipedia (just to name a few). How easily we have access to information, new ways to communicate, shop, be engaged, connected and inspired. I wondered though, whether social media means we now have less human interaction or whether it gives us a much-needed escape into a virtual world where we can each become the person we would like to be, free of constraints.

So, social media, what exactly is it? Online technology where people can share, find, do almost anything, something for everyone, from entertainment, to education to employment. A meeting place where friendships, communities and neighbours, have become a global phenomenon. Or a shopping mall where industry can 'connect' with potential customers using social media, which is everyone’s new best friend.

We now live in a culture where social media is a part of all our daily lives, taking us on a virtual journey. The question is ‘has social media become so central to our lives – how we communicate, who we meet, what we do and how we do it – that we are addicts? Does it enhance or reduce our lives? What do you think…virtually speaking?’

Nailia Tasseel