THE ADNEWS NGEN BLOG: Social media ... enjoy responsibly

12 November 2012

It’s in our genetic make up to respect, respond, grow, form relationships, and learn from those around us. We adapt to the changes in our surroundings and live in a fast paced world where technology controls the way we connect. I consider myself pretty lucky, being at the cusp of a generation that finished school without social media ruling the playground. Teachers thought they had it tough when the tamagotchi came to life, the first virtual pet that offered somewhat two-way communication, requiring feeding and constant care. The havoc this obsession caused, in hindsight was nothing compared to social media taking over the handball court, providing a complex platform for bullying. 
Social Media... It keeps us together, but tears us apart. Students, adults, and kids. We all use it, and Australians spend an average of 7hrs+ per month.

As a personal broadcast medium, Facebook was awesome in allowing me to follow a colleague in his journey back to health, encouraging friends to say yes to organ donation, and sending messages of support. I feel like I am always catching up with my friends even when I haven’t, through photos, check-ins and status updates. Gone are the days of personal invitations and postcards, but hey it becomes more exciting when you do get one.

For most, social media serves as a platform not only to connect on, but for entertainment value. There are some horrific pages and groups out there that seriously challenge social media etiquette. “Embarrassing Nightclub Photos of the Week”, is a group that allows users to upload disgusting photos of people they don’t know, unfit for sharing, but freely shared with 600,000+ followers.

The girl who disgraced herself at The Melbourne Cup last week, has since become an international viral sensation with close to 1 million views in just 5 days. This is a perfect example of how humour at the expense of others has become socially acceptable. We should be responsible for our own behaviour, but should we really be sharing this?

As an X Factor fan I was horrified by the tweets and comments being posted about certain contestants. In fact it was so bad, judges had to tell Australia “enough was enough” during a live show, as a contestant was reduced to tears, with hundreds of unsupportive and derogatory messages.

Reality TV has taken off this year with the introduction of Tweets appearing on the screen. The “filtering” used to select tweets that get on TV is questionable and encourages this behaviour. “This guy looks like Tony Abbott’s love child” appeared during the X Factor auditions. It was a great audition and Channel Seven could have put up one of 500 supportive tweets but didn’t.

I certainly grew up being taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, and in a world dictated by sharing and instantaneous communication, it seems that these morals are being lost.

Our companies enforce us to use social media responsibility, but ultimately we need to think before we post. Are you going to look back on your 140 characters today with remorse tomorrow? We take the care to ensure our client’s brands remain untarnished, let’s take the same care for our own and others around us.

Working in an industry fuelled by alcohol we are highly susceptible to slipping up. With Christmas parties around the corner, remember... If it can be shared, it just might be.

Bridget Cooper
Trader / Implementation Planner

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