Why is digital media awesome

In most of my previous posts I have discussed the negative side of digital and social media, so today I decided to focus on its advantages.

First, we have the obvious: communication. Social media gives the opportunity to connect with people all around the world, live and most importantly free. Also, you can see a part of each person’s life- what he ate for breakfast, where he went during the summer, his new dog etc. It’s great to see if you have common interests with someone and it is possible that a random person inspires you to do something just by looking at his instagram account, for example.

Take a look at this fit couple that travels the world because of the boy’s job of a professional photographer. Of course, he films all of their adventures and then uploads them to his Youtube channel or Instagram. Personally, this couple inspired me to travel and see the world and to hope that someday I will be able to visit all those beautiful places and watch the sunset in Hawaii, for instance.

Second, you can express yourself and show the world who you really are. You can share your favourite music, upload your own photographs, poems, etc.

Third, it can provide you with a career. There are thousands of youtubers who make huge amounts of money just because they film themselves and upload videos online. Also, there are people who get paid to write blogs. Martin Lewis, for example, started his newsletter blog in 2003, shared it with friends and family, and in 2012 sold the resulting website to Moneysupermarket.com for £87million! Another good example is Arianna Huffington who set the blog Huffington Post in 2005. By 2010 the site is believed to have made revenue of 31 million dollars, according to New York Times.

Lastly, digital media can always brighten your day, make you laugh and feel more positive. There are tons of funny websites, videos and pictures that you can find online. If that doesn’t help, you can always find someone to talk to and to relieve the stress. I hope this post will make you appreciate digital media because it really is an awesome place where you can get inspired, meet new people, be creative, share, cry, laugh and enjoy the world and all its colours.



Risks online- cyber bullying and fake identities

Childline explains that cyber bullying (also called ‘online bullying’) is “when a person or a group of people uses the internet, email, online games or any other kind of digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else.” That is one of the many risks online but surely it’s extremely serious. There are a lot of sites where people can read about how to stop cyberbullying and take due precautions. First step it taking safe measures like make your social networking profiles private and not accept people that you don’t know in real life. Next, always remember that the ‘block’ button exists and you can block anyone who annoys or bullies you. No matter if someone talks abusive about you in real life or online it still hurts. It may lead to lower self-esteem and even cases when people wanted to end their lives exist. At the end of the day you may ask yourself “why is this person acting like that?, Why is he bullying me online?”. Truth is, online you can be whoever you want. You can talk nasty about people and think that there will be consequences because it is not face-to-face. Internet empowers people and they feel invincible. What they don’t understand is that their words and actions online may have consequences offline. How to stop it? There are a few things you can do:

  • report bullying and the account of the person will be deleted
  • delete the person and ensure by doing so that he will never be able to get in touch with you
  • try to talk to the person and understand why he does it. Maybe he has serious problems and bullying others online makes him feel better.

I have spoken about Catfish in a previous post but this time I will look at it more deeply.

The TV show has 2.5 million viewers in its return, “winning the day in its sought-after 12-34 demographic.” It has such a big rating among this demographic because when a person is young he is more likely to face the ‘catfish’ phenomenon. By creating fake profiles on social networking sites, these predators trick people into thinking that they are someone else entirely. They choose a random person’s photos, create an imaginary friend list and pick jobs that they wish they had in real life. Some people do it because they are too shy to speak in person or because they don’t like their looks. Others, for more selfish reasons like revenge or to steal someone’s money.

Long story short: This woman had 2 failed marriages, but still believed in love so she decided to join a dating website. There she met a “really good looking guy” who said he was a widower. They started talking on the phone and she developed feelings about him. At one point, he asked her to send him money and so she did, because she was in love with him. They’ve actually never met and over a period of time she has sent him over 1,4 million dollars. Now, every reasonable person will think that this is an online scam and this person is not who pretend he is, but this woman truly believes that he is telling the truth and his stories are legit. The UK financial website of the year, www.thisismoney.com  revealed a list of the top 10 online scams. Number 5 is dating scam that “involves the befriending of a victim over social networking or chat rooms and, after a relationship is struck, they use emotive reasons to persuade the victim to send money.” It may sound unbelievable that there are people who fall for this type of scam but if a person finds his “soulmate” or believes he has, he is willing to do everything to make his partner feel him better. Even if that means sending him over a million dollars. In most cases, individuals must look critically at people they meet online and rarely trust them. Moreover, after they have been a victim to cyber crime change their behavior for the better and try to help other people who might be facing the same problem.

How social media affects people’s lives?

This question was asked on the site www.dabate.org and the results were impressive- 92% of people consider that social media has an impact on their lives. They comment that people “use it more instead of socializing with people in front of them” and “online everybody wants to be that estrange model and to be the coolest, most successful person on their newsfeed.” But why exactly do we act differently on social platforms like Facebook? And moreover, how does it how affect our mental health and well-being?

To begin with, all of us play many various roles, and behave differently in different social settings. Of course, that doesn’t mean that one of these roles is “true” while the others are false, instead we see different aspects of the same person in different situations. For example, a man acts a certain way while he is home- he is a loving and caring dad, and probably calm. On the other hand, at the office he is a completely different person- serious, professional and always in a hurry. “Most of the time people are behaving in ways that are natural for them, under the given circumstances.” However, sometimes people are not 100% honest in their Facebook posts. They usually post positive messages and photos where they are smiling and this creates the fake feeling that they are happy all the time. An interesting research from Utah reveals that users who didn’t know their Facebook friends face-to-face believed that “others had better lives” which led to lower self-esteem. In comparison, people who communicate with their relatives or close friends are known to have an elevated self-esteem according to Wilcox and Stephen’s study.

Social media impacts especially on lives of teenagers. “The adoption of the mobile phone by young people has been a global phenomenon in recent years. It is now an integral part of adolescents’ daily lives and is for the majority, the most popular form of electronic communication. In fact, the mobile phone has turned from a technological tool to a social tool.” states Marilyn Campbell in her article The impact of the mobile phone on young people’s social life. The article was published in 2005. Now, 10 years later it is proved that 60% of 13 to 19-year-olds admit to being “highly addicted” to their iPhones. Social media’s main advantage is that it unites people from different backgrounds, schools, countries. Everything could be found on the Internet: useful and not so useful information. As follows: imagine that a 13 year-old kid makes a Facebook account. Yes, it will be awesome because he will be able to communicate with his schoolmates but also, he will be exposed to the entire inappropriate content people share on their ‘walls’. Not only bad language but pornographic content as well. So after spending a few minutes evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of social media, which are more?

And why do we leave all task to our phones and computers. It’s not that it’s hard to do it b ourselves , it’s just that we have become so addicted to our devices that we don’t even consider the option of us doing things alone. Would you say that it is complicated to go to your friend’s house and enjoy a good old-fashioned conversation. Is it complicated to walk 5 minutes to the supermarket and do the shopping or calculate 12×23 by urselves. Of course not. But despite that we prefer our phone or computer to do. Not because it hard, just because it is one click away.

This post will have no conclusion. Instead, I will quote Gary Turk and let you answer the question for yourself:

“Are we a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people?’’


Nice to meet you. Can I add you on Facebook?

Okay, so you are at your friend’s party and you just met this awesome guy. You are having a great time until you go home and check your Facebook account. That’s right, not only he added you as a friend but he has already liked 12 of your photos and commented on half of them. Creepy. Or is it?

According to the Urban Dictionary Facebook stalking means “a covert method of investigation using facebook.com. Good for discovering a wealth of information about people you don’t actually know”.

It seems strange that nowadays it’s normal when you meet someone for the first time to get his Facebook and send him a request. Back in the days, people used to exchange their phone numbers or e-mails. I guess technology has changed it all. Stalking is indeed a problem for a lot of people who are trying to overcome a past relationship or partner. James Hambrick, PhD, a therapist at the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, explains that people facing this problem have the idea of, ‘If I keep thinking about this person from different angles, if I keep taking in information about them, then I don’t get upset that they aren’t in my life anymore. Because in certain sense, they are.” You can get so much information from someone’s Facebook wall- their new possessions, favorite food or music, where they are at the moment and many more. Also, it can be a miserable and misleading experience. A lot of people are actually lying on social media to increase their profile. For instance, they might be chilling in their bed and in the same time tagging themselves in the newest night club. Occasionally, this can make us feel like our friends are more successful than us, which usually is just a delusion. Here is a funny song with reference to that:

In conclusion, for whatever reason you stalk someone, make sure it doesn’t take all of your time and it’s not harmful for you, your mental health and the other person. It would actually be more helpful if you go on a date with you crush and get the information first hand rather than checking his ‘wall’ 20 times a day.

As Ph.D. Susan Weinschenk states in her book 100 Things: Every Designer Needs to Know about People, after all we are by nature social animals. And even though online interactions are considered social interactions, real life communication is always the better option.


Help! My boss wants to be my friend on Facebook

Today I am going to speak about using social media and more specifically Facebook in the workplace. How to job-proof your Facebook page, should you accept your boss’ friendship request and what to post online. Also, I am going to share a few stories about people getting fired because of a Facebook post.

First, all people know that the business networking site is LinkedIn. It’s professional, you add only people from the business field and you are very cautious about information that you share. Unfortunately, same can’t be claimed about Facebook. There people add friends, family and random contacts. They share what they do on a Friday night; they upload pictures of their vacations, meals, selfies etc. But what if you manager or boss sees these kind of posts? Your Facebook page could be an obstacle before you even have a job. Everybody knows that today it is common for employers to check their future employee’s online profiles. If this person sees indecent or inappropriate content they won’t even bother to call you after the interview. To avoid such situations first, you must check your privacy settings; ensure that the audience for all post and photos is set to ‘friends’. Same can be done on Twitter and Instagram. Second, you must try to control tagging because even if you have made your setting private, your friends might not. Third, under no circumstances mention your employer’s name of company. Use common sense, assess each post and picture by asking yourself “Is it possible that this loses me a job interview? or “Can I get fired for this?”.

If your boss wants to be friends with you in social media, you have a few choices:

  • Deny the invitation (and risk distancing a relationship with your boss you could develop)
  • Ignore the invitation
  • Accept the friend request (and let your boss see your private life and the pictures from last Saturday night)
  • Accept the request but create a filter that allows him to see only certain types of information

I estimate that the last option is the most appropriate. By accepting your manager’s request you will not alienate from him, but you will also not let him see all your personal content. Creating a filter is not a hard job but it’s very useful.

Finally, as promised, here are a few Facebook posts that got people fired and the stories behind them.

Starting with my personal favoritexucyccwdpqv8je0iik9f

Date: Nov. 11, 2007

Kevin Colvin was an intern at Anglo Irish Bank. He wrote his supervisor that he needed to miss work because of a “family emergency.” On the next day he posts this picture on Facebook, it occurred that he just wanted to go to a Halloween party. Not surprisingly he was fired and the image was e-mailed to the entire office.

Date: Feb. 27, 2009

Kimberley Swann was fired because of the status she wrote on her first day on  a new job. It said: “first day at work. omg . So dull!!”.  The message found its way to upper management three weeks later and Swann was dismissed.

Date: Decemeber 2009

Ambulance worker Dawnmarie Souza labeled her boss a “dick” and a “scumbag.”  on Facebook.

Could she’ve been any more rude? Being that Souza broke the company’s Internet policy she was excused.

Date:April 27, 2011

Cameron Reilly was a Buckingham Palace Guard didn’t fancy the treatment he received from Kate Middleton heading up to her wedding. So he did what anyone would do, posted on Facebook: “hur and william drove past me on friday n all a got was a shitty wave while she looked the opposite way from me, stupid stuck up cow am a not good enough for them! posh bitch am totally with u on this 1 who reely gives a f*** about hur.” The Royal Couple took matters into their own hands.


Does social media bring families together or tear them apart?

Because when families disconnect from the internet, they connect.

As it can be observed in this video Dolmio has invented a Pepper Hacker- a tool that shuts down Wi-Fi signal and TV to help bring families together. Now stop for a second and think- how addicted to technology have we become if we can’t spare an hour to have dinner with our family? And is browsing the Internet more important than spending time with the people you love? Probably not.

I will repeat something that I’ve written previously in the blog- Internet has conquered our daily life. The first thing we do when we wake up is not to brush our teeth but to check our cell phone, we do it when we eat our breakfast or lunch, as well as while we are having dinner. We have forgotten how to enjoy family time and this time I’m not only talking about teenagers, but parents too. “Children complain that they don’t have their parents full attention” comments Sherry Turkle. Adults are always busy with writing e-mails or reading the news that sometimes they end up ignoring their own children. I believe this video illustrates my point flawlessly.

On the other hand, social media can be useful for parent because it allows them to follow their kids and know exactly what they are doing. Of course, there are privacy settings that can authorize only certain people to see posts or photos but not all teenagers are aware of that. There are hundreds of stories for parties that have been shut down before they have even begun, just because a parent saw his child’s updated status saying: “my parents are on a vacation. party 2night at my place”. Facebook is a powerful controlling tool, indeed. Not only mom and dad can reveal their kid’s location but also they can understand who is accompanying him, what is the plan for the night and other information that they may not need to receive. Of course, social media and apps like Skype and Viber don’t have only disadvantages. They are a great way for parents to interface with children who study in a different city or country. Children can keep them informed all the time, send them videos , pictures and make their parents miss them less.

To summarise, technology is something amazing that is developing each day. It gives us thousands of opportunities to share and communicate and it is up to us to use it wisely. Will social media unite a family or draw it apart depends on its members. Young people need to remember to call their parents often when they are away, but to put down the phone and enjoy the time they spend together. The same goes for adults, those texts and e-mails can wait.

Connected, but alone?

In 2011 Sherry Turkle, who has done research on psychoanalysis and human-technology interaction published the book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.  In it she suggests that “we’re getting used to a new way of being alone together. We are designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” How technologies and social media have changed the way we interact with friends? How do we tend to find friends? And are all of the 500 people we have on our Facebook friend list really our friends?

Yes, technology’s main purpose is to unite humans but turns out that in fact it makes us feel lonelier. Years ago people used to find friends in school, university, their workplace or simply on the street. Today, apps like JoinU, Skout and Meetup exist. These new technologies help people to connect with random people located nearby. Of course, the most common way of finding new companions is Facebook. Almost everyone has an account and it is extremely easy to approach someone. All you have to do is send a friend request or a message. Like every other communication, after a while people become close to each other even if they’ve never met in real life and consider each other friends. One by one people pile up hundreds of new contacts and in the end they don’t really make a difference between a real and an online friend. Interacting in social media can cause problems for adolescent who need to develop face-to-face relationships, for instance. We live in times when children aged 6 possess an iPhone, tablet and/or a computer. They find it hard to communicate with other kids in real life because they prefer to spend their time on the phone or chatting online. Another way in which technology puts obstacles in conversing with mates is when they have finally met and everybody is on their phones non-stop. Seems like teenagers are scared to talk face-to-face because there is no edit button; they cannot delete what they’ve said. While online they can present the self that they want to be- pretty, intelligent, generally better than what they really are. There is a huge amount of videos talking about the overuse of phones. I decided to showcase this one, it is called “Look up” and has over 50 million views on Youtube. In my opinion the video presents life very accurately and will make every person stop for a minute and think. My favorite part is when he says:

“When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss. So don’t get into life where you follow the hype, give people your love, don’t give them your like. Look up from your phone, shut down those displays, live life the real way.”

Video links: