May 9, 2012 —
Snack favourite Nestle KitKat will this week launch a new social media campaign, Social Break, that will automatically send updates to subscribers’ social media accounts, minimising the stress that comes from updating multiple social platforms.
Launching in Singapore, the downloadable widget allows a user to have updates sent on their behalf to nominated social media accounts including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, including liking posts you are tagged in and retweets. While the app is a clever marketing gimmick, it also highlights a growing problem – especially among Gen Y – that being social media addiction or stress.
With so many social platforms now part of our daily lives, more and more people are feeling the pressure of maintaining a social presence with just over half of respondents to a recent survey indicating that being in constant contact on social media was interfering with their job, studies and ‘real’ life.
Time to Switch Off?
While the KitKat app is designed to make things a little easier for users by updating their social networks for them so they appear connected, Kangaroo Island’s most recent campaign encouraged users to take the 24 hour switch off challenge, disconnecting from all their social media networks on April 28 for the sake of their own mental health and our society.
A number of bloggers took up this challenge, taking a full day to have time out took advantage of a widget developed by Kangaroo Island to advise users who visited their social media platforms that they were having the day off.
This initiative followed research indicating that heavy users of social networking sites should have at least one ‘offline’ day a week, in order to counteract our 24/7 ‘online’ lifestyles.
But I’m Lonely…
These initiatives to simplify our social lives come just days after a report in the Sydney Morning Herald discussed how almost a quarter of Australians are living alone and are lonely, often turning to social media for friendship, connections and confidants.
We no longer make eye contact with people whilst walking down the street; we sit at restaurant tables glued to our mobiles and we email people sitting three desks away. But online, we never have to be alone.
Online, we never have to be alone.
So which is it? Are we become a society of isolated individuals, chained to updating our social media networks and immersed in others’ lives through a series of status updates and tweets? Or are we lonely and seeking meaningful human interaction which, in the wake of our busier than ever lives, is only possible via social networks?