In today’s technological age, it is very hard to distinguish between the real world and social media. The reason for this is that social media is so intrusive to our personal lives because we post everything that we are doing, thinking, wearing, eating etc. This is no human fault but rather relies on the easiness, readiness and accessibility of social media (hellobeautiful.com, 2017). This essay will explore the relationship between the real world and the digital space and will discuss the balance between the social and professional persona with regards to the film, The Circle.
Social media has allowed us to detach from the real, physical world and has allowed us to believe that the online world is the real world. We post what we are doing on a regular basis to keep our friends up-to-date with what we are doing so we can receive validation either from how many friends view our lives or how many interactions we receive. This is the exact thrill of social media that is so addictive to the millions of users across the world. Not only is this the detrimental to the formation of real life relationships, it also affects the image people have of us once we avail all of our personal information online (hellobeautiful.com, 2017).
According to Barons and Branscombe, (2009) people go through self-gratification meaning they want to be accepted by their peers and be liked. Social media plays into this need not only because it indulges our egos but because communication is also vital for human interaction. The need for communication also feeds into the relationship between the online world and the digital world but what social media does it allow us to question the way in which we choose to communicate.
I believe that social media and the real world are not interlinked. What we portray on social media is merely a portion of our lives and we tend to display the best part of this life. For example, if you flirt with someone electronically and see them in person, it could tend to get awkward as you’ve presented a version of yourself that is not necessarily true.
In terms of social media and the professional space, I do believe that there should be a distinction between the two. Penny Sparrow is a perfect example of this. One cannot say what they want on social media without repercussions and if you are a professional and working employee, you need to be extra careful to ensure that what you say is not taken out of context. You need to ensure that you do not post hate speech or information that could be detrimental to your image and that of your brand.
In terms of the film, The Circle, Emma Watson’s character decided to post her whole life for all of her viewers. There was no distinction between her personal life and professional life and the thrill she received from this was addictive. In the end, she ended up losing out on real life relationships and not having the trust of her personal, real life connections. This speaks true to how social media impacts both your personal, social and online lives.
In conclusion, I do believe that we need to be more conscious of what we post online to ensure that we are still able to forge real life relationships. We need to be aware of what we post so that anything we say is not misconstrued and we can ensure that we are viewed as well-rounded individuals and not just online public figures.