Are Social Media Platforms Driving Us Mad?

Social media has become something we are always using and interacting with wherever we go and has become a large part of our daily routines. We are always being bombarded with tweets, Facebook notifications and Instagram posts every minute and every hour. Most of us probably can’t live a week without updating people on our lives through social media but is social media driving us all loopy and into madness?

In 2015, research carried out by Statista highlighted that there were 1.5 billion active users of Facebook users and 400 million users of Instagram alone. Then in 2016, they found that there were approximately 320 million users of Twitter; this is set to rise in upcoming years with more and more people joining social media sites.

According to Social Media Today, the average person spends nearly two hours on social media each day which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months over a life time.
The site estimates that the number of worldwide users of social media is expected to reach 2.95 billion by 2020 and 650 million of these users are expected to be from China alone.

Blogger and Politics Student Charlotte says that she is guilty of “being on her phone a bit too much” and spends her evenings roaming and reading through content posted on social media. However, though she is constantly updating herself with news and blogger content, she never spends too long on it at a time. Charlotte thinks that social media can impact someone’s way of viewing themselves and has admitted feeling the same.

“I look at a lot of successful bloggers than myself who are travelling and working with every brand under the sun and sometimes I do feel a little insecure, however, I understand that it does take time and it makes me super happy to see so many people be a success and do what they love.” she said.

Also according to Statista in 2017 the number of users of social media worldwide is estimated to be around 2.46 which is estimated to increase every year following up  to. 2020 with it being 2.9 billion users then.

“Social media is great sometimes, especially for bloggers and journalists. It’s changed our world view and it’s keeping us updated constantly with all the celebrity gossip but also important things such as hard core news” a Student Journalist from Sheffield said.

Student Lizzy from London says that she deleted her social media accounts when she was studying for her A Levels but started to use them again as it is a great way to talk to friends and see other people going through the same struggles she was going through.

In May, The Royal Society for Public Health found that Instagram was the worst social media platform on the impact it has on young people’s mental health. The report also identified that about 90% of young people use social media (more than any other age group) making them more vulnerable to its effects, though there is no evidence for this.

“A blogger or journalist is no longer confined to only posting their content on a blog or newspaper, but they are able to post their work on social media sites such as Instagram and even Snapchat”. a student from Manchester described.

When asked if social media ever makes them loopy (to a point where they feel they over use platforms) seven out of the ten people asked said that they sometimes do need to take short term breaks. Some said that they felt that the pressures especially from Instagram posts sometimes do make them think they need to be a particular way. However, they all said that they never let it affect them too much and feel that they can control their use of social media platforms.

I carried out my own twitter poll to see how many hours people spent on social media platforms a day and here are the results:

References –
Social Media Today: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic
Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/

Blogger/Student Charlotte’s blog & details:
Blog – http://www.simplylottie.co.uk
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/simplylottie
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/simplylottie

An Interview with Ben Power, Director of ‘Spring Reign’ play.

Spring Reign – A story from the Syrian Conflict:

Spring Reign” follows Aisha and Salah, two Syrians who have given refuge to two unexpected Westerners during the war. The play connects photographers, journalists and ordinary people to the Syrian crisis and aims to provide a platform to promote discussion and understanding. It has successfully used real life personal stories to educate those who don’t entirely know what is currently happening in Syria or wish to learn more about it.

When talking to Ben Power, I asked him a few questions starting with how the tour was. The play has been performed on ten different stages beginning at The Lowry in Salford and finishing at a festival theatre in Hyde. Though it only went on for a month, according to the director, the team were highly successful in achieving their aims and goals to begin with. Ben Power said:

“We’ve been able to hear people really appreciate and hear other sides of the Syrian stories. We’ve also been to bigger cities, with more diverse audiences, people with all sorts of different backgrounds coming to watch this play. Again, we’ve had a really fantastic response with these audiences”.

The play has taken a few years to become exactly what the team have wanted it to become. In 2012, the production of the play came into place and a little bit of work was done at Imperial War Museum in Salford in 2013. By 2015, Spring Reign had been taken into the Lowry and a theatre mill in Bradford. It then took a further two years, now 2017, for the play to have travelled around the U.K and for the tour to have taken place.

When asked why the play was called ‘Spring Reign’ Power said:

“While the ‘Arab Spring’ presented hope and positivity through the Middle East, the conflict in Syria has become a humanitarian crisis like no other. In Syria, it was quashed by the oppressive government and his Assad’s reign of terror”.

Director Ben described the play as doing exactly what it aimed to do. With the main stream media showing us the horror and consequences of the Syrian conflict, the play has allowed viewers to see how life has changed for ordinary people such as Salah and Aisha. It has brought communities to come together to understand the extent of the conflict and to find out about organisations who are helping these civilians in Syria.

When I asked him how he’s found the tour, Spring Reign director said: “Very rewarding. My team and I were accepted by the Syrian community and they’ve really supported us with the play. They have had a positive attitude toward it and in some way allowed us to advocate for their cause and it makes me proud that we’ve been able to do this.”

Following on from this, he said that the feedback for the play has also been really good with press releases and audiences showing really good feedback. People have said they were moved and humbled by the performance; that many did not realise the impact the war had on the volume of ordinary people and this play has really shown that. The play has covered topic such as hope and resilience and audiences have really been able to engage with that.

Spring Reign has and is working two charities, Syria Relief and Rethink and Rebuild. Syria Relief are a Manchester based charity which take aid to Syria and work with medics. They also train people on the grounds in Syria and aid them with the basics, such as food and water. Syria Relief have been able to remain the livelihood of the people of Syria and have been able to keep people busy and active.

I then asked him what he thought the solution of the current conflict was. He said that there isn’t a single thing which would be the solution to the crisis. “Nothing can change until civilians are protected. Once people are given safe places and they are allowed to live their lives again without fear. The people who aren’t a part of the opposition groups or the different fraction who oppose to fighting against the government, they need protecting. Once this has happened, there will be space for dialogue”.

The director said that the idea of Spring Reign came by chance, with little background as a political theatre maker, he did not know whether he would enjoy it. He hopes that the work he creates has an impact on the people who watch it, that it encourages them to ask questions but also educate themselves on important topics which affect mass amounts of people.

To find out more about the director Benedict Power and more of his work go to:
http://benedictpower.co.uk