If we have a Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo or Google plus accounts, are we instantly deemed criminals?

Following a report from the Guardian.co.uk this could now be the case….
The report was recently carried out by the Government’s chief scientist and highlighted that those of the general public, who are expressing their daily lives online in many different platforms, could be deemed as suspicious individuals who could potentially be stirring up rises such as the London riots.
The report also stated that online communities are isolating and alienating the elderly societies of our country. Does this mean that we have become so involved in our online communities that the reality of real life beyond the computer and the social networks have merged to become one? It seems like the Government have deemed this to be the case. It has suggested that over the next decade our personal identities will undergo, “increasingly dynamic and volatile changes.” The revolution of social media has truly began a dictation of our lives, it seems that Governments have taken notice to the control it posses over us as individuals, more than just a marketing technique, social media has become a part of our everyday lives.
I can’t personally argue with this statement either, I can call myself a little bit of an online addict working with the Prohibition PR team. The first thing I do in the morning….. check the tweets, update a status (if I have anything interesting to say), send an email, pin something on a board on Pinterest and check the latest headlines, all from my iPhone and all with a social element.
The report even suggested that those who don’t have much of a social presence in ‘reality’ can for the first time create their individual personality and express it through social media by connecting with not just the people they actually know, but people all around the globe. It is being deemed the rise of “hyper-connectivity” in which we are all becoming more socially connected online via our Smartphones. So why are those with many different online profiles being deemed suspicious?
The report suggested that, “the idea that there is only a single identity is a fallacy now,” with so many different online social platforms, we have the opportunity to be as many different personas as we choose in order to adapt to the people we are ‘talking’ to. With this comes the opportunity to create more social uprisings in reality such as the London Riots of summer 2011. Social media has given individuals a voice to speak to millions of people on a global scale and send messages that can potentially ruin brands, ideas and people. It has also created a generation divide between the old and the young. Those brought up and into the digital age are using the online world as their key source of communication, and those of the older generation who simply don’t have a clue are being left behind.
However, in my opinion that is just how the world evolves, and this time round we are evolving with social media, it will inevitably create divides between generations. It has also become a choice that everyone has made to sign up to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and following these choices we become responsible for the information we choose to put out to the world, it is simply the way we choose to communicate with our fellow peers. The days of letter writing have died and even newspapers are disappearing as we can find all our sources online, but who says the older generation can’t use this method of communication too?
In order to prevent distancing themselves further from the ever changing world they may have to take the leap into the online revolution and adapt as we always must, because simply at the end of the day, the future won’t slow down for people to catch up. What we can’t fail to ignore is that social media has given people the opportunity to explore their identities more fully, the shy and the recluse have found a form of expression and a way to communicate with others, to me, there is something quite remarkable about that. Social media is the future, it won’t stop growing and we must embrace it, not fear it.

About Natalie Richmond

Account Executive at Prohibition PR.