Have you ever had an associate type friend that you rarely see for months on end and you don’t even have each others phone number’s. But when you do bump into each other, conversations flow like it’s running out a tap? I happened to run into one of them named Alex at my friend’s do in Bouji in west London not too long ago. After a 30 minute conversation and a few JD and cokes later, I decided to leave due to an early start the following day. On my way out, Alex asked the question that was put to me at least six times through out the night – and no, it wasn’t ‘where did I get my sexy shoes from’, but ‘have you got Facebook?’. ‘No, I don’t,’ I responded and he looked at me like I was crazy. So what is it with social networking these days?
I’m not signed up to any social networking sites whatsoever, and yes I do have unlimited access to the net from the comfort of my bedroom. I’m not famous and don’t intend to be, and I really can’t understand the logic behind advertising my life, conversations and pictures on the frontline for the rest of the world to view. I have a phone that anyone I want can get hold of me on at all times. And no, I don’t welcome random strangers, just so I can add an extra contact to my phone book which when compared, could rate me as being statistically popular. Oh yea, guess what? I can receive multimedia pictures on my phone too.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fully understandable that social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace can play a significant role in regards to a business networking as well as help personalities in the media spotlight. It can all be part of a strategic marketing plan which successfully secures people coverage they seek, which I’m all in support of. What I don’t understand is the colossal volume of people who sign up to all of these sites, tweet about their every movement (“I just ate a strawberry pie”…) and have no affiliations or relevance behind the show they put up for the world to see. I have a number of people around me who are all caught up in the same world, and what I’ve come to realise is a majority of them even adopt fake personalities when advertising themselves.
Whether it be acting badder than they really are, or pushing out their chest in pictures to make them look like something they’re not, I’d rather have my full name attached to a product or company and rake in the mills behind closed doors without anyone one even knowing the colour of my hair. I believe as it stands now in 2009, we have a ridiculous amount of people craving stardom and claiming celebrity status via social networking sites. And it’s getting deep as it’s actually taking over peoples lives; forget being disciplined and using these sites in moderation, with the mobile applications on i-phones and Blackberrys – social networking sites are more accessible.
I suppose it can be fun for some, but I feel a massive smokescreen is being held up. On social networks, every movement of users can be tracked and viewed. Real life celebrities have the paps on their backs to intervene in their personal lives, so why are people knowingly exposing their business for everyone to see?
Social media consultant and former MySpace employee Andrew Davis agreed with some of my sentiments. “Social networking is taking over peoples lives, and will increase in the amount of users over the years,” he said. “The amount of careers available via social networking will double. Social media won’t be going no where. They are all here to stay and will be around for a very long time. People think they can become famous due to the many examples that have made it off the back of the likes of MySpace such as Lily Allen, Artic Monkeys, etc. Increasing visibility on a global network enables users to reach out to places and people that would have been near enough impossible before.”
So what’s next folks, a newly elected MP with 8000 hits off www.checkmyunderwear.com ?
This article was written by Sheena Ramkisoon a student on Dv8’s Multimedia and Journalism course. If you live in London and are interested in applying for this course click here. DV8 are based in Walthamstow and also run courses such as the Complete Music Industry Project and Music Production and Business.