The Blackberry is a wonder to hectic lifestyles, this powerful technology provides individuals with the convenience of being able to have constant access to emails, the Internet and have the use of a ‘hellophone’ anywhere in the world.
Slowly but surely people are getting sucked into a world of their own and creating their very own bubble. Have you ever noticed groups of people in restaurants, bars and other social venues with their heads down tapping away? Or walking down the street and miraculously missing lamp posts, people and bins…quite literally an art! Have you been lucky enough to experience that not so rude but more ‘acceptable’ interruption mid conversation so one can ‘ping’ or reply to a facebook thread?
The above leads onto the ‘boombuzz’ of social media it’s everywhere and there’s no escaping it. PR practitioners and journalists are amongst many who now make use of the Internet and web based technologies allowing broadcast media monologues to be transformed into social media dialogues. New social media does have its advantages:
- Information can be delivered at a fast rate.
- Widespread coverage.
- Allows for breaking news to be delivered sooner than standard media outlets.
- Improve brand recognition and brand awareness.
- Search Engine Optimisation can call for an increase in website traffic.
- Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube are free.
A common advantage found across the internet has been:
- Community, Sharing and Connecting.
Designer Kevin McCloud has been experiencing and sharing what community really means in a channel 4 documentary called Slumming it: Kevin McCloud. Shockingly the city is built upon rubbish with streams of toxins and sewage but its normal there and part of the everyday living, they live in what could be seen as ‘living hell’ even houses blend in with the rubbish. Dharavi does have something that the Western world is losing and it’s: Community, sharing and connecting. All that can be gathered from this documentary is that people seem happy! There is family life, everyone shares, people come together and people of all ages will sit with each other and communicate. One can only imagine that word spreads quickly across such a close knit community of people. By the way an important note ‘85% of residents have jobs and crime rate is low’ Damian Thompson. (2010).
For organisations social media is a great tool especially if budgets are tight, it can be free and generate much business not just on a local scale but on global one… ‘Glocal scale’?! The buzz about new media is immense and travelling at a torpedo rate.
So now we must question whether society has gone too far? Does it ever end? Nope not social media, it’s endless and consuming in more ways than one. For the not so new to Public Relations and Journalism it has been noted that work loads have increased without a pay rise and longer hours, it’s as though social media has purposely crept in hoping not to be busted on its high maintenance.
According to statistics found on the National Union of Journalists site 25% of journalists found that with new media their working shift patterns had changed, 37% of respondents said journalists covering all media now worked longer hours and 32% said their hours were longer than agreed in their contract. A whopping 75% of respondents to the survey carried out felt that the integration of social media had increased the workload for some if not all of staff. In some cases it is believed that people have voluntarily taken up on the extra work however in most other cases it is thought that it has just happened.
It’s hard not to think journalists are being exploited for their good will and eagerness to further themselves especially in times of economic downturn. Social media is the perfect way for companies to get as much as they can out of employees no matter what it is doing to people’s health, that’s where it is leading by the way… to STRESS. Social media is time consuming and needs to be deployed as a job for one person:
- Resilience to boredom
- The ability to write
- The ability to fight temptation when being led astray by irrelevant materials online
This is a full time position and may need something called creativity. Oh and excellent tea making skills.
Anyway the fact is that the social media go hand in hand with Blackberries and other replications. There are certain pressures that come with social tools and one of the key ones is that people can’t live without them or people feel they need to have their social tool with them at all times and for business people this could mean no peace, literally.
It’s now possible to use your hellophones on aeroplanes if you’re in business class, must be a matter of life or death then if one can’t even have a journey free of calls, emails and texts! Once again social media is making allowances; it’s a government of its own. People are even at it on holiday, shocking and anti social. It seems there is no separation between work and home life, technologies such as the Blackberry have become people’s lives, and they rely heavily upon them and the supporting programmes and networks.
Stuart Gold, a marketing director who receives up to 1,000 e-mails a day on his BlackBerry, said: “I cannot believe this happened again. I’m on the road 300 days a year.
“My entire life is in my BlackBerry – my family life, my professional life, my emotional life, everything. They’re not allowed to do this to me.” DailyMail Online. (2008).
This was in response to the Blackberry blackout of 2008 that upset many people, Blackberry’s are like the heroin of social media and it’s sad that people have become so absorbed and taken over by something that has possibly, dare it be said?… been forced into their lives.
Amazingly people are at it for no real reason other than fuelling their bizarre addiction to technologies such as the ‘crackberry’. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are wonders in that the statistics they can provide look impressive but so what? You’ve got 800 friends or 900 followers, yes your name may have been known for a split moment before being put the back of the mind forever but who are you really? What do these people mean? It’s fair to say in most cases friends and followers are merely numbers and that’s as far as they go.
So are we losing the art communication? It’s all very well communicating with our trendy Blackberrys and being connected to the world 24/7 but when does it stop? And are we creating our own little bubbles as in people are glued to their iphones, Blackberrys etc. People are out socially and they all have their heads down as they are tapping away or ‘pinging’, now that’s not social at all, social media is almost a cause to anti social behaviour. The knock on effects of social/new media could be the instigator of an acceptable ignorance within society.
Daily Mail Online. (2008). Blackberry blackout hits millions. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-513849/BlackBerry-blackout-hits-millions-users-email-service-breaks-AGAIN.html . Last Accessed January 2009
Damian Thompson. (2010). Slummin it: Kevin McCloud review. Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/6990314/Kevin-McCloud-Slumming-It-Channel-4-review.html. Last accessed 2010.