In the Ideal to Real TODAY/AOL Body Image survey, teenage girls revealed something unexpected: 65 percent said seeing their selfies on social media actually boosts their confidence…
The TODAY/AOL findings findings echo emerging social science on the impact of social media on self-presentation and self-image. Selfies seem inconsequential or goofy, but they can actually be incredibly important to teenagers, because they give teens a way to control the image of themselves that they’re showing to the world, experts say.
'It’s the first time you get to be the photographer and the subject of the photograph,' says Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, who has written extensively about this subject, particularly as it applies to teenagers and/or Millennials. 'Even though that seems very simple, that’s an extraordinary shift, historically. And control makes people believe in themselves.'
Sandy Thompson, Global Planning Director, Young & Rubicam in The Year of Fearlessness: Brand Insights from Y&R’s Sandy Thompson – Think Insights – Google
You see, we’ve come to define ‘social’ in unintentional Orwellian double-speak. ‘Social’ has come to mean the exact opposite of what it’s meant for centuries. Instead of actual interaction and communication, we define ‘social’ as once- or twice-removed ego validation through button-clicking.
'Social' is what happens when someone posts personal information—photos, thoughts, announcements, favorite songs, jokes—on the internet and another person comes along and clicks a thumbs up icon or a star or a heart. If someone’s really 'social,' they’ll even type a comment or reply.
Kids aren’t leaving social networks. They’re redefining the word ‘social.’ Rather, they’re actually using the word with the intent of its original meaning: making contact with other human beings. Communicating. Back-and-forth, fairly immediate dialogue. Most of it digitally. But most of it with the intent of a conversation where two (or more) people are exchanging information and emotion. Not posting it. Exchanging it.
Bailey Lauerman’s Cliff Watson on the evolution of social media—which, following teens’ lead, we increasingly define not as static, interface-based URLs and apps but as straightforward messaging services. Insightful (and funny!) food for thought for anyone who works in the marketing realm!
Anthropology teaches us that in every culture, miniatures possess the power to unlock imaginations. Whether it’s a dollhouse, toy truck, or some other tiny talisman, miniatures look and feel real, but their size gives us the permission to suspend disbelief, daydream, and play.
Remember The Nutcracker? In between pirouettes, a toy nutcracker comes to life, defeats an evil mouse, and whisks the heroine away to a magical kingdom. That, in a nutshell, is the story we implicitly tell ourselves about our miniature computers—one of youth, freedom, and possessing the key to a much larger world.
From the Google study The Meaning of Mobile, which we discussed in a Google meeting at work today
Like the miniature kitchenette or car that unlocks infinite ideas in a child, our pocket-sized mobile phones serve as a portal to possibilities. With our mobile phones in hand, we can experiment with our identities, trying different personas and experiences to find the best fit, and make meaning of the physical world around us, recording and discovering memories that make a place significant.
The best brands will build experience that leverage what mobile truly means to us.