Eddie Tofpik shares his thoughts on social media and holds a mirror up to some of its allure, uses, users and the impact on our day-to-day behaviour.

Following on from my last article ‘Automation Nation’, I’ve tried to explore other elements of the New Economy…and recently my journey took a hard turn into social media. There have been gigabytes if not more written about social media, so what could I add? Probably not a lot, but I’d like to express some thoughts and perhaps hold a mirror up to some of its allure, uses, users and impact on our behaviour. I’ll start with a thought to ponder whilst reading…social media may be the largest sociology experiment ever it is worth knowing.

Here’s another thought. Friendship’s a difficult concept to grasp, you know it when you have it and you miss it when you don’t. I’ve heard social media referred to as ‘...friends you don’t have!’. They’re the ones looking down at a screen rather than up at the face. How many of us Google someone new after meeting them…and how disappointed are we when all we find’s a LinkedIn profile? We want to know more... their likes and ‘unlikes’...actually the word is ‘dislikes’ but we have to learn a new language when venturing into a new world.

I recall a time, when running due diligence for a new business partner or customer meant being actively discouraged from looking up anything on the Internet.

It was seen as tainted and manipulated. However, times have changed and now a social media presence is seen as so important that any KYC procedure now MUST include this element...and rightly so!

OK, let’s look at some numbers. There are about 7.5 billion people on planet Earth. Of those, about 3.8 billion have access to the Internet and 2.9 billion are actively using social media right now1

. Of those 2.9

billion, a large percentage (if not all) measure each other by the number of ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’. We all succumb at some point; it shows how our relevancy can be quantifiable. The ‘Follows’ and ‘Likes’ are just another form of online currency and legitimacy. In this world, to have the ‘Follows’ and ‘Likes’ you need to feel validated…you need to have an opinion…you need to keep it short…and to have it right now! You need to engage! You need to stay ahead! Usually…you’d be a celebrity. However, if not, you can achieve celebrity through ‘celebritization’2

if you can target the right

audience. This bit has had some tragedy in how far some have gone for such status.

Facebook is the largest social media platform. It was said its core users were 25+ year old women, though that’s not that apparent now. It nevertheless is a more mature audience3

. Something like 23% of Facebook

users update their status five times or more a day. If you want to be seen there…you have to update constantly.

1 LSE Social Media Platforms & Demographics – June 2017 2 LSE Celebritization of Society & Culture (Olivier Dressens) – May 3 Investopedia

12 | ADMISI - The Ghost In The Machine | July/August 2019

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