Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Today I was linked to a website for an upcoming documentary called "InRealLife". It follows some young people in their day to day lives and their use of that terrifying platform "Social Media". The film's short summary says "InRealLife takes us on a journey from the bedrooms of British teenagers to the world of Silicon Valley, to find out what exactly the internet is doing to our children." which, to me, is a fairly odd statement to make. It instantly implies the terror and danger of the internet, suggesting it is deliberately 'doing' something to our children like junk food would. As if it carries some sort of terrible disease. As if ultimately a young person with any reasonable intelligence has absolutely no control over how he uses the Internet. 

The trailer for the film conveys young people using their preferred aspects of the Internet, ie. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and even porn. The only point made that seemed agreeable, or even interesting, was that the exploitation of Internet porn is causing some young boys to mix up their reality with a photoshopped, well lit, well angled fantasy. The rest, it seemed to me, was rather pointless. 

The trailer appeared really over-dramatised, with a build up of tension towards the end like you would expect to see in a horror movie trailer. A quick, punchy montage of "frightening" images of examples of the scary Internet world did seem a little over the top. The fact that one of those images was a clip of a girl claiming a Youtube sensation commenting on her video had made her life, followed by the guy at a Youtube meet up surrounded by screaming fan girls made me believe the documentary is going to completely miss the point. The Youtube sensations and fandom is, in my opinion, currently one of the greatest aspects of 'Social Media' for young people. It's a community of passionate and nerdy fans, artists, vloggers, musicians, comedians, film makers, and video gamers. Will "InRealLife" mention the impact this community has on young people? The group of friends they found through it who understand them in a world that sometimes doesn't? 

And what about blogging and vlogging itself? Is that what the Internet is 'doing' to me? Alas, there's that age-old risk of bumping into a pedophile in this virtual place, right? Better not use this wonderful platform to express myself through my writing, or I might spontaneously give out my address to a complete stranger. 

I haven't seen the film yet of course, and I don't yet know if I will, so its content could contrast to how the trailer initially depicted it. However, if it is anything like how it advertises itself I'm going to be irritated to say the least. Another group of adults telling my generation they're too stupid to think for themselves and discover the Internet's risks and wonders. How boring. Our society has altered slightly due to Social Media, but it isn't the first sign of a coming apocalypse and it isn't the beginning of the break down of physical interaction. I still manage to see daylight and have face to face conversations, it's okay.