I look at the world around us and I see the evolution of communication. The Smartphone has opened up wonderful ways of connecting in all kinds of ways. Young and old alike, friends and strangers connect, talk, vlog, meme, share and inform each other. All of that is great for the most part but I have a concern that I believe is worth highlighting.
The thirst for great content that entertains us has opened up opportunities for people to use social media platforms as a tool to push their agendas. This is expected, I mean I promote myself through social media and Neon Social has become a business for that very reason. However, I believe we all have a responsibility to understand that there are forces out there that are attempting to manipulate us through our social media dependency.
The internet has exposed us to a free, unregulated market where we can access everything from porn to university courses. As we start to study how we consume content we learn how to create content that taps into the core of what drives the interest of the masses. So I believe this means that politicians’ don’t have to explain their policies from a podium and give us real information when running for office or telling us how the law should change. They are starting to realise, they just need to win our attention with content that is funny, sensational, stupid or emotional. Then we come to our own conclusions about who they are based on content that does not actually deal with parameters by which we should judge them. We don’t have the time to listen to their actual policies because we move onto the next bit of viral content and that’s that.
Obama has done some social media collaborating with Buzzfeed. In this video Obama is literally being funny and trying to get his message across about healthcare. But what else is he telling us? He is saying, hey, I am down to earth, I’m one of you. If you can connect with me on this level then buy into my healthcare deal. The healthcare deal may be an awesome deal but if you make the decision to trust Obama simply on the basis that you like him and his viral video, then they get what they want but you may not have considered all the facts about what Obamacre is all about and if it is truly in your best interests or not.
As individuals, we need to be aware of the real world around us as well as indulging in the fun and entertainment that the digital world has of offer. This statement may seem very obvious but we vote for content every time we click, view, like and comment. All of these interactions weather positive or negative feed into analytical statistics and generally it does not matter if the content is negative or positive it’s just about gaining the most interactions. A million views, argumentative rants in the comments, likes and shares is another way of saying please give us more of this. Guess what, we want more of people?....Well, sexual content, shocking content, radical content and content that generally only really distracts or titillates has a huge market. Not to say awesome informative content is not out there, but as popular as Neil DeGrasse Tyson is, Kim Kardashian simply generates more attention by taking a naked selfie. I have no problem with Kim, but the message I want to get across is that we have a reasonability to be more conscious of what we consume.
We need to be contentious of the fact that politics is getting involved with social media engagement and the best social media savvy politician may not be the person we need when it’s time to make decisions on wars and things that have an impact on society in a powerful way. For a healthy body I need to consume a balanced diet. I love cakes and sweets just like everybody else but if that was all I consumed, I would end up harming myself in the long run. In the same way, as Content creators, we can play our part by thinking carefully about what we post and the big picture effects of what this powerful phenomenon called social media can do to harm us and help us.