So, why should we care?

Social media is not a bad thing, nor is it good. We share, create and express information and personal details on specific social media platforms for, basically, the whole world to see. It is convenient and desirable, however, a lot of issues can manifest.

As a millennial I have witnessed this online revolution- from religiously playing snake on the Nokia 3310 to managing more than 4 social media accounts and following hundreds of politically charged sites and meme pages. And I’m definitely not the only one. Millions of people share, like, tweet, double tap and snap everyday. It all seems quite extraordinary doesn’t it? What’s extraordinary, though, is that we didn’t even notice it happened. This is because it’s part of who we are now.

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The online world we live in today is very much part of our lives. But how do we navigate ourselves and maintain our sanity? (Photo: Megan Kelly / Model: Georgina Graaff)

How many ‘friends’ do you have on Facebook? Are they really your friends? How do you portray yourself on these platforms? Why? Have ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ and ‘double-taps’ become more valuable than a face-to-face compliment?

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Certain social media symbols and codes have become a valuable social currency and we use it to define ourselves and others (Photo: Megan Kelly / Model: Marcella Lupini)

These are some of the questions I want to consider. Social media extends the number of people we interact with, but it also results in technologically mediated interaction. Have you ever noticed that you know exactly when to grab your phone and start scrolling through your newsfeed when things get awkward or when your friend quickly goes to the bathroom? Or perhaps you analyse that ‘blue-tick’ too much and start getting anxious and paranoid because he/she doesn’t reply.

Or perhaps you spend 30 minutes sifting through photographs of yourself, trying to find the perfect one that everyone will like.

Or maybe you’ve even perfected your Boomerang move.

We are so connected and so preoccupied with everyone’s lives that, sometimes, we need to take a step back and acknowledge what is going on. Indeed, we are easily connected to a larger community and have far more opportunities, but we must not confuse the meaningful with amnesic routine.

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Computer-mediated interaction has become a routine in many people’s lives and it is how most of us communicate and understand one another (Photo: Megan Kelly/ Model: Georgina Graaff)

Every week, I will be posting an article or documentary that focuses on different issues concerned with social media and its effects on social actors.

Next week’s blog will focus on how we portray ourselves on social media and the issues we face when gratifying this representation.

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