Tag Archives: social media

#PrayForParis

On Friday the 13th we saw the horrific massacre in Paris orchestrated by ISIS. In any time of crisis, your last thought would be to think about how social media is used… During the last 48 hours, all social media outlets have come together in unity to support Parisians.

Olive branches were extended throughout Paris when Twitter’s ‘open door’ #porteouverte surfaced. The premise was that if you were in Paris and in need of shelter, you could use this hashtag and locals would invite you into their homes and provide you with a safe place to eat and sleep.

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Facebook introduced a feature on their site in 2014 named “Safety Check” which enables people around any area affected by disaster to check in as ‘safe’ on Facebook so their family and friends could be assured that their loved ones were okay. On Friday, the company turned on a Safety Check for Paris and it has since been used by 4.1 million people. As a result of this, 360 million Facebook users have been notified that their friends and/or family are safe. Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 20.21.29

Facebook has also given its users an option to filter their profile picture with the French flag, allowing them to show support of Parisians in this time of mourning.

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It should be noted that on Friday, social media became the most used platform to break news. Sky was reporting content far slower than Twitter. News was breaking on social media and there was no mention of it on news outlets such as the BBC and Sky up to 30 minutes later. Of course with ‘official’ news outlets, time needs to be given to check facts and confirm source credibility, but Twitter has an advantage over traditional outlets because information is distributed instantly which provides the consumer with immediate consumption.

Along with the humanitarian features we have seen, the trouble with social media taking a dominant role in this humanitarian disaster is that there was also a lot of false information being thrown around. Even though each tweet has a visible date attached to it, we saw an old Donald Trump Tweet from January being mistaken for a new one;

IMG_4832 After the explosions outside Stade de France, many people believed there to be an additional attack on the Louvre museum. It was reported that gunfire was heard at the Louvre museum. These reports were false, any unusual police activity around that area was due to the attacks going on in neighbouring districts. Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 12.35.50

After French President Francois Hollande announced that Paris will have three days of mourning, landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Disneyland will remain closed until the city’s state of mourning is over. 

Although there were several misconceptions created on social media, it has been reassuring to see the world use social media to protect and provide those in need with refuge. This is a prominent example showing that social media is evolving. It’s no longer used just to converse and communicate, and on Friday it was used as a humanitarian tool to provide shelter to hundreds.

Essena O’Niell; Is ALL social media fake?

Celebrity blogger Essena O’Neill has sparked debate this week on the arguably “self-absorbed” ‘dark side’ of social media after re-editing Instagram captions revealing how much she was paid to promote products on her account.

O’Neill has now deleted all her superficially perfect social media accounts and has created her own website ‘letsbegamechangers.com‘ where she’ll be vlogging about social media, veganism concepts and interviewing change makers.

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Essena is arguing that we have become part of a society dominated by social media which turns online popularity into “validation from numbers,” “I want people to think about things… It’s freeing when you don’t let social approval define you”.

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Whether we want to admit it or not, we are always aiming to improve on and shape how others see us. Whether that be in an interview, on a date or on social media we cannot ignore the fact that it exists, and social media is the most efficient tool for this. It’s super easy to add a filter to your picture on Instagram in order to reduce the appearance of a blemish or add 2 or 202 connections on LinkedIn to give the impression that you’re well connected. If those connections or filters allow you to feel empowered then why not use them?

I don’t agree with this ideology that ALL social media is fake as it allows us to explore ideas and conclusions that we perhaps would never have come to on our own accord. If it wasn’t for these different platforms and communities of communications I fear many of us would be a lot less open-minded to alternative opinions.

I do think that there’s an issue particularly with the younger epidemic of serial social media users with editing their lives down to this crisp void of perfection and filtering out the ‘ugly’ aspects of reality that everyone has to go through whether you have 10 followers or 10 million. However I think that the people using social media to show their lives as an edited slice is in the minority. I’d like to think that the majority of us have found a healthy balance between using various platforms to our advantage when it comes to filtering a few selfies and understand that the amount of ‘likes’ that somebody else has doesn’t decrease or increase our own self worth.

Nobody has a perfect life, but there’s certainly no harm in sharing good (or not-so-good) moments of our lives with people who we’re connected to online. In a world where we are more connected by our attachment to technology than our attachments to one another, social media is used as a window which is often misinterpreted as a mirror. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to the rose-tinted glass windows of others, nor should we assume that the glass is rose-tinted. Haha.