social media & todays society

Lets take it back to 1960, when the internet was developed in the United States by the Defense Department. Fifty-six years later, we have seen drastic changes within society – all of which stem back to the internet. Throughout this blog post, I will be discussing the relevance social media plays on PR, Advertising and Marketing. I will also focus on Geotagging and how it can be used as a form of surveillance.


Back to the internet. It wasn’t until 1990’s, when the internet began to impact on our everyday lives (Bhargava, D 2010). Due to its characteristics, speed and efficiency the internet began to increase across business industries ranging from retail, banking to media (Bhargava, D 2010). In 1998, British futurist Peter Cochrane predicted what the world was heading towards. He envisaged that each and every individual must have an online presence. Cochrane stated, “if you are not online, you do not exist.” Personally, I find this to be an extremely powerful quote.

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(Growing Social Media BY Mkhmarketing – CC BY 2.0)


Every individual has the ability to develop their own online identity and can control how they want to be perceived online. When using the internet, your online identify is your character, it shows who you are and what you stand for as well as your interests. Each individual may interact differently with each website they visit. On each website, individuals can choose to portray themselves differently. In today’s world, when looking for a job, many interviewers conduct a social media search and therefore it is extremely important as to how one portrays themselves online.


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(Digital Identity By Pat ParslowCC BY-SA 2.0)

This ties in social media surveillance and how one must present a positive online reputation. A survey conducted by CareerBuilderUK shows that 53% of employers use social networking sites to research potential job applicants (Mandle, C 2012). However, the survey continues to state that 43% of employers have found content on social media which has lead them to reject candidates (Mandle, C 2012). Moreover, we can look deeper into social media surveillance and question, who is watching us? Who is monitoring the websites that we use, who makes those littles ads of your most recent viewed ASOS items pop up on your Facebook? – let me tell you, it’s all about marketing and making money – girls let’s face it, how long can you stare at that cute dress or those new sneakers!


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(Big Brother is watching you By SilvisonCC BY 2.0)


A writer for Forbes magazine, Jessica Bosari,  states that although social media is a relatively recent phenomenon, it has become an increasingly important part of any business marketing and client based development platform. (Bosari, J 2014). A survey ran by HubSpot, show that “92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their blog” (DeMers, J 2014)


This brings me to the topic of Geotagging. – In a nutshell, geotagging is the process of adding one’s geographical information to various media in the form of metadata. This data mostly consists of coordinates such as latitude and longitude. More often than not, geotagging is used on photographs in order to help the viewer get more specific information about the exact location.


Moreover, Geotagging allows for Real-time Surveillance. This is evident in a short clip posted by NBC Chicago reporters Katy Smyser and Stefan Holt enabling us to measure the direct effect of social media surveillance (this clip is encapsulating yet frightening). It reveals just how easy it is to conduct a form of virtual surveillance as well as pinpoint peoples exact locations (Smyser, K & Holt, S 2012). In real time, individuals can troll through Instagram profiles and find out anything from the individual’s name and address. This is all conducted through any social media platform that allows for geotags (Smyser, K & Holt, S 2012). Scary, i know!


Below I will be conducting a short interview about social media surveillance and getting some insight into my friend Marnie’s social media world as well as her views and opinions about surveillance.



Overall, social media surveillance can seem scary, frightening and disconcerting to say the least. Research has come to show that social media in terms of geotagging can be used for good. This was displayed through the above podcast using the example of geotagging during Hurricane Sandy.



Reference List:

Bhargava, D. (2010). The use of Internet in public relations and its impact on the practice: A New Zealand perspective. 1st ed. [ebook]

Bosari, J. (2014). Forbes Welcome.

DeMers, J. (2014). Forbes Welcome

Mandle, C. (2012). Managing your online reputation. The Guardian. [online] Available at:

Music –  GoingHigher,

Smyser, K. and Holt, S. (2012). Geotagging allows for real time surveillance. NBC Chicago. [online]





is the grass REALLY greener on the other side?

I’m sure being a celebrity has its ups and downs. But personally, I could think of nothing worse. A common perception is that celebrities have it all, they can do what they want, they get what they want and lets not even mention special treatment.

However, is the grass really greener on the other side?

Celebrities can’t do the things we “normal people” can, they can’t run down to the shops, they certainly cannot go to the local park on a nice summers day or hit up the local pub for some pre-weekend drinks. As they’re at major risk of being spotted.


Being a celebrity sets one up for constant judgement and scrutiny. I’m sure we all remember Britney’s break down circa 2007 – tabloids, magazines, newspapers and blogs were constantly judging and scrutinising. However, its not only Britney being judged, all celebrities are being examined on their where about, their actions, fashion and bodies – whether they’ve gain or lost a few pounds – ridiculous! Imagine how hard this would be, picking up a magazine and reading about how fat you are, or that lately you’ve been looking skeletal.


Taking it back to Brittney – a solid 9 years later (2016) people are still referencing her breakdown. Yet, we only know about this because she’s a celebrity. It has all been documented. A Time line of Brittney’s Break Down has been published allowing readers to keep track of her misfortune. Loosely speaking, we as consumers all experienced this. The example with Britney, we are detached and miles away from the situation, yet instantly, able to keep up.



Surveillance, specifically celebrity surveillance is incredibly similar to the constant surveillance we are subject to each and every day – however, they are celebrities and we are not, instantly making us irrelevant and uninteresting. Surveillance can be displayed in many different ways. Berkeley University “created a map where ones movement over a 30 day period can be tracker by the metadata encoded in their Tweets and Instagram posts” (NewsComAu, 2013).  “On August 23 (2013) at 4:21pm, Katy Perry was in rural northeast Colorado, at the intersection of Highways 46 and 55. And on August 5 (2013) at 3:56pm, Oprah Winfrey was cruising down the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago. How do we know this? It’s not hard to check out stars Twitter and Instagram feeds, yet more often than not, stars also do not give away their location, however an app called “ready or not” developed by Berkeley University enabled us to track celebrities, easily and effortlessly. Moreover, as we know celebrities endur plenty of scrutiny and hence a campaign titled “Stop Watching Us” has been introduced. This entails, “major Hollywood celebrities appearing in a video in order to express their objections to the widespread surveillance program”  (Hirsen, J 2013) lead and administered by the National Security Agency.


Khloe Kardashian, Kylie and Kendal Jenner have documented themselves taking extreme measure to “feel normal” for a day, to go unnoticed. They explain how one paparazzi can turn into 50 and have the ability to ruins ones day. Khloe, Kylie and Kendall chose to put on prosthetic makeup and hit the town incognito. This worked, until paparazzi tracked them down through the use of Snapchat.


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 files_wordpress_kardashian_family_w By Derek McGill

(CC BY 2.0)

Continuing on the topic of the “Kartrashians” is some surveillance good surveillance? The recent case of Lamar Odom’s overdose in a Las Vegas Brothel, was all captured through CCTV surveillance. Yes, he was captured popping pills and yes there happened to be nude women all around him – however, if not for this CCTV camera surveillance, Odom would not have been found unconscious and may not be alive today.

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Lines on Cocaine By, Acid Pix

(CC BY 2.0)


Have you heard of the saying “all publicity is good publicity”? well… i have defiantly provided some examples where this is certainly a negative. However some celebrities choose to take this opportunity and turn it into something good. John Legend – chose to promote ‘The Show Me’ campaign aiming to break the poverty cycle. Dwayne Johnson promoting the Rock Foundation, a campaign designed to enrich and empower at risk youths and children hospitalised for disability or illness. Alicia Keys – ‘keep a child alive’  aiming to get life saving medical treatment to children living with HIV in Africa. Therefore, i my opinion, not all publicity is good publicity – its up to the individual and how they choose to use it.



Hirsen, J 2013, Celebs Tell Govt to ‘Stop Watching Us’. Newsman

NewsComAu. (2013). You’re under surveillance almost every minute of the day.