Social Media: The Good, The Bad & The Future, Riposte Event

Last night I went to Riposte’s event on social media. They host regular events with a panel of industry experts on a topic, and as I have been meaning to go and never have, I bought my ticket and put it in my calendar.

Apart from the title being a tad misleading (‘The Future’ felt more like an afterthought than anything else as time pretty much ran out), the discussion covered a lot of ground and has had me thinking about it almost constantly since.

Danielle Pender, Editor of Risposte, hosted Clemmie Telford, blogger & creative director, Charlotte Philby, journalist & writer, Ellen Atlanta, Communications Manager at WAH Nails and Helena Quartey, strategist from Havas London. A varied panel which included two who use social every day for work — Ellen and Helena, Clemmie who fell into it trying to express herself as a human and mother, and Charlotte who has a turbulent relationship with social, having given it up until June 2018.

A few themes arose for the bad: anxiety & mental health, boundaries and privacy. Ellen spoke about having a community of young people following the brand who love WAH, some of whom are very open about their struggles with mental health. Like any self aware brand or human, she knows they may not be doing enough, but is committed to doing more. Their ‘self love’ campaign around valentines day came to mind, as an avid follower of WAH’s social myself, this was something I really loved. It encouraged and challenged followers to daily acts of self love. Eg. Unfollow everyone who makes you feel like crap.

Charlotte has given up in order to recalibrate, consider why and what she shares with the world and step away from addictive behaviours. It’s a challenge to us all. Why do we share what we share? Who are we giving this information to, and why? Is it making us happy, or is it making us anxious? Constantly scrolling, waiting for something to happen…

Clemmie, whether you’re into mummy bloggers or not, is straight up hilarious and deserves a follow for her very honest portrayal of life. She’s been called out by the daily mail for being a bad mother, so she must be doing something good, right? Freelancing with Instagram and Facebook as well, she was quick to defend what they are trying to do, not simply sell our information to third parties, but tailor our experience on the platforms. Pointing out that social is a choice we make and how much time we spend on it, is really up to us.

It is addictive and it can lead to mental health problems, and although platforms have an obligation to protect users and create a safe space, it is a choice we make for ourselves. If we identify with negative behaviour within ourselves on social we should do something about this.

“When I’m in the room with my kids, I’m in the room with my kids.” — Clemmie, on living in the moment while having a life on social.

Having said all that, there is loads of good that can come of social too. There is huge potential, a point all panelists agreed upon. Ellen mentioned having a basic rule in place for WAH’s social — only 50% of content can be images of nails. The rest has to be inspiring quotes, art, women and fashion. She also mentioned having a checklist of things you reference before posting — is this inspiring? Is is positive? Having a social presence should be taken seriously, and if you have 4 followers or 40K you have a responsibly to your followers to post content you’re proud of.

For WAH this means things like a campaign around women in politics around the time of the general election. Aware that women are the most likely to be registered but not turn up to vote. For Clemmie this means being authentic, posting the weird stuff, being honest with her followers and not thinking of herself as a brand, but as a human.

As for the Future? As mentioned it felt like a bit of an afterthought and apart from “more AI/AR” and the “shift towards video” comment, which I think we are mostly all aware of by now, an increase in personalised content and the sharing of data for insight from Helena was an interesting point. She pointed toward fitbit and wearable tech in which people are happy to upload their own personal data in order to get something in return: insights, information, health tracking.

In terms of taking away from the event, I have turned off notifications from my social platforms to try and stop the endless scrolling, checking and obsessing over likes. No double screening, if I’m watching TV I’m watching TV or if I’m with friends I should be just that: being with my friends. No worrying if every single moment is captured on insta stories. If it’s making me happy then good, which generally it is, but if people are making me feel less than, then they are coming off my feed.

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