#Indirects

 

What is it?

Now this is an issue that needs to be addressed head-on (directly, if you will). For those of you who don’t know, indirects are when someone talks about someone else on social media without actually mentioning their name. They usually come in the form of status updates and/or captions on social media. These can be obviously both positive and negative and sometimes ambiguous. The most common form of indirect seems to be in the form of random Drake lyrics (“Where you movin’? I said onto better things”), usually teamed with a blurry photo of someone sitting alone in a club with what looks like a bottle of champagne (but is probably a $10 bargain bucket bottle of bucks fizz from Tesco).

So, why do people do it?

There’s a great possibility that the subject of your matter may not even see the tweet/status/caption that you so devotedly crafted for them, or worse – see it and not even know it was aimed at them. On top of that, you run the risk of someone else wrongly believing it to be about them. All outcomes tend to end up with you looking rather petty and childish.

Let’s make a change.

It’s important these days to kill the tribe of keyboard warriors that seem to be swarming all over the internet. Don’t be someone who hides behind 140 characters and denies any connection to the targeted person when confronted about it. Everyone can read and everyone can contextualize.

Best Practices

Next time you find yourself having an issue in your life, try to take a step away from your phone/laptop and breathe. What good will a passive aggressive tweet do? It won’t solve the problem and has all the potential to make it even worse – especially if you get called out for it online and all of a sudden you find yourself wrapped up in the giant frenzy of a “Twitter War”. It’s not a good look and it won’t make the problem go away. Instead, remind yourself to choose your battles. If it’s something that can be addressed over social media, it probably isn’t worth your time (and phone battery) “dealing” with it.

 

 

 

 

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#DigitalDetox

It’s Time.

Forget juice cleanses, this is the new detox to hit us at full speed – and we need it desperately. Whilst it’s important to look after our bodies, we need to ensure that our minds too, stay free of general nastiness.

False Advertising at it’s Finest

According to DoSomething.org, 70% of girls believe they don’t “measure up” or aren’t “good enough” in some way – this includes physical appearance, school performance and relationships. What’s the source of these standards that girls feel the need to compare themselves to? You guessed it: social media.

What Are We Going To Do About it

So, take a break; turn off your phone, deactivate your Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr (temporarily, of course – you will eventually need contact with the outside world in order to find out exactly what Kylie wore to that red carpet event) and enjoy the world in front of you. Appreciate the un-edited wrinkles in the face of your best friend, laugh at jokes that are said in over 140 characters and see the world through rose-coloured lenses, not a rose-coloured filter.

Start Small

It can be that simple. Try it – and if a full detox scares you, start small. Go for an hour and build your way up. Think it’s not possible? Remind yourself of this: you managed up until around 7 years ago without social media, so you can probably handle 7 days (or minutes, no judgement) without it now. Go for it.

 

 

 

 

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#TheDMs

You Know the Drill.

Direct message, inbox, PM – whatever you call it, that creepy guy found it. You know the guy: the one with no profile picture, a username like @usher23940_1 and collection of retweets in a foreign language filling his timeline – with the odd blurry selfie thrown in for good measure. You don’t want him in your DMs. You don’t know how he found you and what you posted that gave him the signal that you may indeed want him to enter your DMs, but he did it.

Knight in Shining Pixels

In some way, you have to admire the confidence of these guys; they craft a personalised message just for you and bravely press send – their heart on the line – with no assurance that you will even read his greeting/compliment/poem (yes, poem). Surely the sheer bravery of this act should be rewarded? The gallant, unabashed initiation of courting you? No? Didn’t think so.

If They Weren’t There You’d Notice

The majority of direct messages go unanswered, so surely this should correlate with the number of broken hearts per day, right? No! The very nature of social media makes it even easier to talk to several people at once, meaning that the beautifully written poem that you received this morning was possibly sent to 11 other people (sorry). As a generation, we are becoming immune to both compliments as well as rejection. One girl doesn’t answer you? Don’t worry, because the next one is only a scroll away. Equally, how would you feel if you posted a photo and no random guys slid into your DMs with a handful of compliments and heart-eyed emojis? Relieved? Probably. But surely a little, niggling part of your brain would be thinking something along the lines of “Maybe the Amaro filter wasn’t working. I’ll try Crema next time and see what happens”. We can’t help it. We have become accustomed to being complimented day-in and day-out; so whilst we may complain about the creeps in our DMs, if they weren’t there, you’d notice.

 

 

 

So what do you think – does #ItGoDownInTheDMs? Like, comment and subscribe to keep up to date with the blog!

 

 

#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