#AttentionSpan

Less Than a Goldfish.

Let’s keep this article short. Maybe not 140 characters short, but you can do this.

Studies have shown that our attention span as a generation is falling to 8 seconds – which is less than that of a goldfish (9 seconds). We opt for screen-based activities, rather than conventional reading. You only need to look as far as your phone for proof of this. Viral videos began on YouTube – averaging at 4 minutes and 12 seconds. Then Vine was born, reducing it down to 6 second clips and nowadays with the rise of GIFs, we’re just about managing 1-2 seconds of attention per media.

Still Reading?

Take a minute (if you can manage that) to look at your own behaviour. Did you drift off whilst reading this article? Pick up your phone to check your notifications? If so, try and practice concentrating on one task at once. In a world where multi-tasking is expected of us, it’s hard to simply focus on the task at hand, so start small. BUT, if you made it through this post in one sitting, then congratulations, you can successfully read 936 characters (that’s nearly seven tweets)!

 

 

Let me know if you made it through the post and what you thought!

 

If you want to test your attention span, try this: http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=3361

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#SocialNarcissism

You start getting ready for a night out, leaving an extra twenty minutes to spare, set aside for the most important part of your night out: taking selfies. It all begins with primer (you don’t know what it does but everyone on YouTube uses it) and reconstruct your face from the bottom-up. Foundation (flawless skin = less editing required), eyebrows (“Maybe if they’re bushy enough, people will ask if I’m related to Cara Delevingne!”), liquid eyeliner (so you can use the hashtag, #WingOnFleek), lipstick (“No this is my natural lip colour”) with a heavy dosage of lip liner (not conforming to the rule, ‘Don’t Colour Outside The Lines’) and 700 pairs of false eyelashes (from h&m, but you tag @HudaBeauty).

Next step? Hair. Centre parting, straight and tucked away neatly behind your ears so you can begin your chest contour. After enlisting the help of both your sisters (and your neighbour), you manage to get your bodycon dress on, only smudging one of your boobs (#success).

Finally, the time has come. The golden twenty minutes you’ve been preparing yourself for over the last five hours. You scour the whole house for the best lighting, running like a one-legged donkey down the stairs in your strappy, open-toe, death contraptions. At last! You’ve found the perfect place. That cute little nook just under your kitchen sink, where you can point the lamp you brought down from your bedroom directly at your face to get the full-on effect of all your gloriousness. Brushing a sponge out of the background of your shot, you begin your process. You know your angles and you know your poses.

14 minutes later you emerge, your phone nearly dead and with no extra storage space. But it was worth it. You present your accomplishments to your sister, ready to start whittling down your top ten to send to your friends to determine the best, most Instagrammable photo. But instead, your sister takes a step away from you, wrinkling her nose, “You smell like bleach, go and have a shower”

 

 

So what is it that has made this trend spiral so quickly out of control? Selfies used to be the source of ridicule for its proprietors, but now even the most anti-selfie person will have at least one hidden away in the depths of their Facebook photo albums (most likely, a grainy webcam quality type, with an Apple salesman passing by in the background). When did it become cool to openly admit to the participating in the epitomic act of narcissism? The notion that one applies makeup in such a way to alter their facial structure and will happily journey around their house in search of the best lighting is alien to older generations, but to millennials; simply a way of life.

So what do you think? Should we embrace this form of social narcissism, or try and change our ways before it becomes too late?

 

Share your opinions below!

#Followers

Because who needs friends when you have followers, right?

We as a generation are obsessed with that little number underneath our name every time we log into the likes of Twitter and Instagram. Do we see it as a measure of our popularity? Because surely if that was the case, we’d be avidly watching our friend count on Facebook, sending out random invitations and liking the cover photos of people we don’t know. But we don’t. So what does that say about us? Essentially we have come to value the appraisal of people who only know us over the internet, more than people who actually know us the old-school, face to face type of way.

Followers ≠ Friends

It’s hard not to be a victim (or perpetrator, depending on how you look at it) of this issue. Social media has found a way to quantify how much people like “you” and have made this information public to the world. Be honest, imagine the last time you met someone and found out afterwards that they had a huge online following, did you find yourself comparing their follower count to yours? Those extra few pixels on a screen can damage self-esteem within a matter of seconds – not only that, but they can change your perception of people. Would you see someone with 1 million followers the same way you’d treat someone with 57? Probably not, because social media is giving you the message that they are inherently more liked than you, therefore superior – as proven by those damned little pixels.

Sad, right? Now let’s get back to boosting our followers.

 

 

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#Goals

Netflix and Chill

Open up Instagram and scroll down the Timeline for about 30 seconds. Did you find it? You know what I’m talking about; the inevitable #Goals post where someone’s legs are intertwined with their significant other, the glow of the Netflix homepage casting a red tinge onto their matching white Yeezys. In reality though, the owner of this photo probably had to request her boyfriend to put on his shoes (despite lying in bed), rearrange his seating position (it just wasn’t Instagrammable enough) and turn the lights on for maximum exposure (mid-movie). Those aren’t goals. Those are weird urges that people get to try and validate themselves and/or their relationship via online support in the form of the *hugging monkey* emoji, followed by “OMG you two are such #RelationshipGoals”. They’re not. As soon as she got the shot, he turned off the lights and as she delved into her photo editing apps, he turned back to the action film he was watching before she came over.

Set Your Own Goals

Let’s re-evaluate what we see as goals. What may be one person’s goal, may not be yours – perhaps owning over 54 different bronzers isn’t what you’re totally into. Maybe you’re more of a watch-every-episode-of-Friends-before-I-die type of person – who cares? Next time you feel deflated after scrolling through the maze of Instagram, remember that it is you who sets your own goals, not some hot, personal trainer couple from Australia who live practically one second away from the beach (and remind you of it daily).

 

 

 

 

 

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#Emoji

Do You Speak Emoji?

Let’s talk about Emojis for a second (a word constructed from Japanese: e-, picture, mo– writing, ji– character). When was the last time you sent a text message without one? IF that’s even possible, because how else would they understand your joke without the crying/laughing emoji stamped three times on the end of your text?

Emojis have suddenly become a part of our daily written communication. They enrich and draw out meanings from sentences you never thought were there; for instance if you read, “I like her *peach emoji*” as some sort of culinary compliment, you can basically consider yourself as illiterate in the world of social media. Does this mean our grasp of language become so infantile that we require pictures alongside our words to aid their understanding? Or maybe we just like the way they make our texts look pretty and colourful.

Proceed With Caution

Some suggest that Emoji is the first global language, similar to body language – a smile in one country is a smile in the other, so surely a smiley emoji mimics these rules too. People all around the world can comment on each other’s latest Instagram photos with a simple winking emoji and it is globally understood to be a sign of flirtation. Is that not amazing? You can flirt with someone who doesn’t even speak a word of your language? However there are some issues – as with all universal norms, behaviour is interpreted within its social context, so as long as you don’t let them permeate your professional communication, there can be no harm. BUT proceed with caution. When using emojis, make sure you know their pragmatic meaning before you use them. You never know when inserting an aubergine emoji into a caption of your dinner is descriptive, or just plain rude.

 

 

 

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#FollowUnfollow

What’s Your Ratio?

A trend as old as social media itself; the strategy of following an account in the hope of them following you back, (or at least liking a few of your photos) and then unfollowing them to keep your “ratio” (number of followers to followings) sweet. People are pretty divided on this issue; either you are someone abhorrently against it, or you pretend to be – whilst secretly tapping the follow button under the table.

We Get it

To be honest, it’s understandable. It really is. We’re living in a world where your popularity is measured by the number of people who follow you online – not the number of friends you actually see in a week or those who text you, rather than tweet you. So of course people will go to such time-consuming lengths to increase their number of followers.

False Inflation of Followers

Essentially, this whole practice degrades the point of social media and growing your online community. Real connections aren’t made on genuine interest for one’s posts – instead, connections are arbitrarily made based on who appears to be nice enough to follow you back as a gesture of goodwill for following them first. It’s true, the foundations of this strategy are sound – people are psychologically more inclined to help someone who has helped them. This inevitably results in false inflation of followers. As one chronic ‘Follow-unfollower’ grows their follower base, the people around them start to feel like they need to keep up. Sometimes it’s not so easy to gain a large amount of followers in a short amount of time (unless you have access to good lighting, a small bikini and lucky genes), so people resort to the cheap strategy of following an unfollowing to inflate their followers. The cycle goes on.

With the increase in apps which let you know when someone has unfollowed you, the social media community has become obsessed with this notion of reciprocal following and/or unfollowing. It’s a tit for tat game which no one can win.

So Let’s Start a Revolution

(Yeah, I said revolution). From now on when you get a new follower, check out their profile and only follow them back if you are genuinely interested in what they have to say/show. Also, if you find yourself looking at your follower number with the face you have whilst watching YouTube FAIL Compilations, remind yourself of why you started using social media in the first place. Was it to have a large number next to your name? Or was it to share your thoughts (and occasional cat selfie) with people following you, for you.

 

 

 

 

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#IRL

Is NOT socialising the new form of popularity?

Picture the scene. You’re at lunch with your semi-friend, phones are out on the table next to your knife and fork. Wasn’t it your mother who told you no phones at the table? That rule clearly doesn’t apply these days. Your friend’s phone bleeps in the middle of your story about the bagel guy who hit on you last week. Without hesitation, she grabs her phone and giggles to herself, shifting the phone to a better texting position in her hands. You haltingly continue with your story, knowing that your words are now evaporating into the wall of Wi-Fi surrounding your friend. She nods encouragingly, muttering a sorry and you continue. She murmurs the occasional non-committal “yeah” and “really?” during the relevant pauses in your story, but you know you’ve long lost her to the likes of yik yak, or some other mind-numbing app. You stop talking and she looks up expectantly, almost offended that you don’t continue to entertain her as tirelessly as her phone does. You pick up your phone. I have friends of my own I can talk to, you know written all over your face. The next few minutes pass by in a silence only broken by the sound of four thumbs rhythmically tapping.

When the food arrives, you drop your phone and she pulls herself away from hers, still texting as she’s lowering the phone to the table, a smile and apology stretched on her lips, “So sorry about that, my phones been going crazy all morning.” The food is placed on the table and she is ready, snapchat opened, focused and ready to document (Lunch with my girllllllll #bondingtime).

You eat, you pay, you hug and she tweets, “OMG so good seeing my bae @SpellsYourNameWrong, we should do this more often!”

 

 

 

 

 

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#Welcome

Hello and welcome to #TheRealityOfSocialMedia!

 

This blog has been created to shed some light on the trends and tribulations of Social Media. From dissecting what the “No Make-Up Selfie” really means, to observations on how Social Media is affecting our day to day lives – it’s all here in one lovely blog!

So have a read, have a giggle but most of all, have a think (ideally about something other than what to caption your latest Instagram photo).

 

Happy reading!

 

Image credit: quotesgram.com