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Does Social Media Make Us Less Social? #LETSEXPLORE

Tuesday 14 October 2014
Words Spindle

Do you spend more time checking Facebook than checking out the books your friend recommended? Do you know the latest picture Cara Delevingne uploaded onto Instagram above how many grams of sugar goes into your Grannies famous cupcakes? When you hear the word Tweet is your first thought ‘must be funny in 140 characters or less’? If you answered yes to one or more of these then I welcome you to Generation Online, population: you.

The more sociable, interactive and genuinely important online technology is becoming means that real life interactions and their significance are few and far between. Because if you go to Starbucks and not Instagram it, did it really happen?

How a person portrays themselves on social media platforms has become a regular pressure, and that could be a result of people judging popularity by how many ‘likes’ your Instagram photos receive. Take a look at that terrible-but-secretly-enjoy-it ‘#selfie’ song… “I only got 10 likes in the last five minutes, should I take it down?” We’ve all been there, don’t try and deny it. But why is it such a big issue? Do likes really equal popularity?

There are many types of online personalities out there, and the like-beggar is just one of them. You know the person, one who seems to get a higher number of likes on a post than of people they actually know in real life. You’ll spot them from a mile off, because they will most usually post generically relatable items, regularly like other people’s uploads who they barely know and most importantly they will probably have, on average, a million hashtags on their own posts. All techniques that create awareness, after all that is rule number one for maximising potential likes. But why do these people need the reassurance in the form of likes from strangers? Do people become so caught up in creating a ‘popular’ online personality that they forget about reality? Maybe some find it more fulfilling. But I for one never thought I’d see the day where someone became known for being famous for being great at hashtagging.

I guess the influence of our online personality has on our everyday persona has more clout behind it than one may have originally thought. A clout that opens up a world of wonders into how we portray ourselves and perceive others in this other realm of reality.

Words: Eliza Frost
Illustration: Patrick Savile