Remember the 90s? Some of the things that resonated with me and that will be indelibly printed on my brain are, (in no particular order): Sega MegaDrive, Atari, Tab Clear, Nirvana, Hooch, CDs, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Nike Air Jordans. I’m not sure what that says culturally about my upbringing, but that’s what springs to mind.
One thing that is not on that list is Social Media. I remember when I got my first mobile phone. I was in the lower-sixth form at Dartford Grammar School and I remember it blowing my mind, when my girlfriend’s name appeared on my phone screen.
It now seems like a few hours does not pass before most of us are checking our social media. In a recent survey, the average Briton picks up their phone a staggering 1,500 times a week and starts checking at 7.31 in the AM. I must confess, I fall into this category.
However, until recently I had lost faith almost entirely in Facebook. I took it off my phone and vowed not to check it daily and started to forget it even existed. My life felt fuller, I felt freer as if I had cast off the shackles of social indoctrination and could finally be myself once more. Of course, this is somewhat hyperbolic, but studies prove, consumers of the medium are addicted to the dopamine hit of getting ‘likes.’ That they cannot wait to ’facestalk’ their boyfriend’s ex or the girl they fancy. It has become a nationwide epidemic, a debilitating addiction.
So after growing tired of seeing another Sunday dinner or a collection of cute puppies, I dug my heels in and moved away from the brand, swapping my bad obsession with Facebook for a mild fixation on Snapchat and Instagram.
So what brought me back to using Facebook? Let me tell you, June 8th. I knew in the run up to the General Election there had been murmurings from the Left and indeed my fingers were quick to find that infamous blue and white icon. What I saw was heart-warming and in some cases, joyous.
As we are all too aware, the mainstream media has been extremely quick to vilify and disparage the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The truth is, that Theresa May did not feel she could lose. In the wake of Trump’s shockingly depressing election win and the Brexit vote, she knew, or thought she knew, that she could ride the wave of anger and fear towards a landslide Tory victory. How she was mistaken.
The media were fully behind her. On the days leading up to the election, only two national newspapers were prepared to provide parity in their presentation of Corbyn on their front pages. Some media outlets were far more aggressive in their attempts to derail the Labour campaign, branding him a ‘terrorist sympathiser’ among other quite vile accusations.
The main news channels also, yet rather more covertly, supported May and the Conservatives; it looked like there was no refuge for the socialist, the humanitarian voter. Except for Facebook. The abiding feeling that showed up in my feed, was one of tremendous support for the Labour leader. This was not from a subjective viewpoint, more from a position of reporting what was actually happening. For example, that the gap in the polls were closing, that Corbyn was strong in a number of his interviews and speeches, that his stock was rising.
The share button became my closest ally and the normally puerile world of Facebook became a haven of education for those understandably blinded by the media subjectivity, reporting for their own personal agendas.
Corbyn’s gains were down to the fact that a) people began to see that he is a wholesome and good guy and b) down to social media. Articles were shared, objectivity was allowed and the truth as they say, will out.
This is an interesting realisation, what does it mean? Yes, Theresa May won the election, but her position of power has been more than rocked. As I write, she clings like a desperate rock climber to the side of the edifice, praying that there is not another huge gust of wind to blow her away.
It may also mean that the power of conventional media is also in question. No longer can British people be dictated to, no longer will they be lied to. The election of June 8th, for the first time, saw the rise of people power. The power of social media to spread the truth, objectivity and debate. Not something Theresa May is a fan of!
So, well done to the public who rallied to Facebook and help spread the truth. You may have restored my faith also.