Guest blogger Isabel Rushmer (@is4bel_may) is completing a week’s work experience at Redwood. She shares her thoughts on how today’s young people consume news through social media.
There is no doubt that technology has taken over our day-to-day lives. With the average person spending 8 hours a day using technology – (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28677674), it is no wonder that many of us experience FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) without a smartphone constantly in our hands. But does FOMO actually mean we miss out more?
Many of us today are obsessed with telling the world about the minutiae of our day-to-day lives. This often means we spend more time telling people what we’re doing, and less time actually doing it. Whether watching an entire concert through our phone screens as we record it or texting photos of our meal rather than enjoying the actual food – we are slowly becoming detached from our real lives and this is affecting our work, relationships and even health, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post:. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/17/technology-changing-relationships_n_5884042.html
WATCH: Does this look familiar to you? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OINa46HeWg8 – embedded video
In such a digital culture where sharing even the most mundane tasks is normal (if not, encouraged), are we now getting to a stage where we fear our own company? The aspect of being cut off from all social connections can be frightening to many people, in particular those who invest a significant amount of time being ‘accessible’ across all social media platforms.
Recently, the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/07/16/forget-fomo-this-is-why-you-should-actually-want-to-miss-out-on-social-media/ suggested that there could be a better balance, if we all felt a bit more JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out. This doesn’t mean becoming ‘uninformed’, but it is about being more selective.
As a social media user myself, I can entirely understand why FOMO is so significant for us in this day and age. After downloading ‘Moment’ (an app which tracks the use of your mobile phone) I discovered that I was spending up to five hours a day using my iPhone without actually doing anything productive at all. Just mindlessly scrolling through the same four social media apps again and again. Yet it is within these platforms where I am exposed to copious amounts of information through articles, videos and posts, and because of this attraction that young people like myself have to social media, it is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to grasp.
However, it is arguably this overabundance of information available to us that is causing people to become more discerning in their consumption of material. This overwhelming amount of content results in users disengaging, favouring selectivity over immersion. So, what sources do we as young people trust the most, and why?
Typically personal and unbiased accounts, particularly on accessible platforms such as Youtube and Twitter tend to be more trusted by younger people as the impersonal approach tends to draw people in, presumably as they allow viewers and followers to view them as peers and equals rather than customers or ‘below’ them. As this approach is proving to be more successful, should this change the way that businesses try to approach and talk to young people on social media? Or should such approaches only apply to content creators and entertainers? Such a paradigm shift as a result of developing technology could entirely change the way that businesses market themselves in the future.