Social Media: Anything But?

Social Media - Only Social

Having stumbled across Gary Turk’s thought-provoking short film ‘Look Up’, which explores the irrefutable harsh truth of social media (and has amassed nearly 34,900,000 views), it begs the question: to what extent is our social media truly “social”?

For as Turk affirms, ‘when we open our computers, it’s our doors we shut’; we are in effect, going offline in the real world when we go online in the virtual world. Statistics show that 22% of teenagers log onto their preferred social media site more than ten times a day, and more than half of adolescents log onto their preferred social media site more than twice a day. I, for one, am guilty of being engrossed in platforms such Facebook, Instagram and YouTube daily, and realise that I squander time through my regular passive consumption of social media. One thing that Turk declares that particularly strikes me is, ‘we edit and exaggerate, we crave adulation, and we pretend not to notice the social isolation. We put our words into order till our lives are glistening…’ Social media allows us to garner strict control over what information we upload of ourselves. Our carefully selected portions of edited and exaggerated information construct a “glistening” image of our identity; it is an idealised public veil that seeks to disguise our private realities. There are even 57 million #selfies on Instagram – that’s a colossal 57 million edited and exaggerated narcissistic “self-portraits” that seek to portray a “glistening” life.