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Tag - Reality TV

When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

David Bowie died almost two months ago. Soon after, we posted about the tawdry British reality TV show making money from his ex-wife’s reactions. Inevitably, her presence on the show at the time and her response to the news created a social media firestorm.
Focus, of course has moved on to the latest deaths, tragedies, political intrigues and sporting victories / defeats. But it’s worth pondering the enduring impact that not being news has on the people who were previously at the centre of the world’s attention. Or at least, the attention of those on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.
Some crave re-gaining their anonymity. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be related to a global celebrity. There are countless examples of wives, children, parents and siblings of celebrities doing things that reflect negatively – funny isn’t it that it’s always the bad behaviour that grabs the headlines – on their famous relation. Others try to make money from their association

Others, it seems, miss the limelight and do whatever they can to re-capture the attention.
Social media reflects the best and worst of human nature and consequently can destroy as much as it can create. The most popular blog post we’ve ever written by a factor of two discusses ’How social media is helping to beat cyber-bullying‘. There have been far too many examples of social media attention driving people to despair – or worse.
So what’s the take out? Unless you have a clear plan and can stick to that plan, be very wary about exposing yourself too much in these very public forums. While it’s tempting to seek approval and show the world how amazingly fabulous your life is, the other side of the coin can show itself quickly and easily. Someone can post nasty or incriminating content about you and your whole carefully crafted image can come crumbling down. Footballer Mitchell Pearce has recently found that out to his great cost.
We’re quite active on social media but we’re also very selective about what we do and don’t post. In other words, we try to have a foot in both camps: active yet under the radar. When we launched a new business some years ago the media we generated brought several anonymous cowards out of the woodwork posting all manner of nasty comments about the business and me. Or so I was told. I still believe my reaction to our own social media maelstrom was perfect: I didn’t read any of it and never have.
In Greek mythology, Icarus ignored his father’s advice and flew too close to the sun and subsequently fell to earth when his feather and wax wings melted. We see the social media equivalent all the time.
Here’s the key point: you don’t need to be on social media. Or at least you don’t need to be constantly posting photos and videos of every coffee you drink, croughnut you eat or person you kiss. You are entitled to a life where every aspect of it is not pored over by others some of whom may have no good will toward you.
Like sugar, social media can be addictive as it gives you an immediate buzz. But like sugar, the longer-term consequences of living your life on social media can be harmful - or worse.

Hang Gliding

Surreal Reality TV

Few of us over the age of 40 have not been saddened by the death of David Bowie this week. Whether you liked his music or not, he was undoubtedly an original talent who had a profound impact on much of the culture of the 70’s and 80’s.
Contrast the outpouring of love and nostalgia we’re now seeing due to Bowie’s passing with what’s happening on UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. By sheer coincidence, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie is currently a ‘resident’ in the Big Brother house.
There are two key points to put in context what subsequently played out in front of millions of Britons:

The only reason the former Mrs Bowie has any ‘celebrity’ status and as such is qualified to be in the house in the first place was because she was once married to David Bowie
By her own admission she has not even spoken with the rock star for 40 years!

The producers of the reality TV show decided to air Mrs Bowie’s reaction to hearing the news of her former husband’s death.
Confusion, tears, confessions, grief. It was Shakespearean. It was also, apparently, compelling viewing.
Do you, like me feel a little diminished that this sort of bile was lapped up by a vast audience eager to observe a mawkish freak show? While there were 200 complaints made to the Media Watchdog, that was a price Big Brother’s franchise owners were no doubt prepared to pay for the worldwide headlines and ratings it garnered.
I realise that all of this pales into insignificance compared to the atrocities being committed around the world and other genuine issues like poverty, famine and racism.
But it is troubling that such is our collective fascination with cheap and tawdry titillation that the lines of decency and respect for human values are becoming increasingly blurred.
Watch or re-watch Jim Carey’s brilliant 1998 movie ‘The Truman Show’ and see for yourself that sadly, what was fantasy has become our surreal reality.

The Bastardry of The Bachelor

In the past few weeks, Australia has been genuinely shocked by a reality show.
Front page news, TV & radio interviews, modelling contracts; had it not been for all the wrong reasons (depending on your perspective) it would have been a PR’s dream.
When Blake Garvey proposed to Samantha Frost on The Bachelor reality TV show they were supposed to live happily ever after. They sailed off into the sunset on a holiday to South Africa.
We sighed at the romance of it all and turned to another program fully prepared to never think of them again.
But when ‘love rat’ Garvey dumped Frost days after the cameras stopped rolling we were outraged. We agreed when she called him a “jackass” and a “joke”. You could call it the bastardry of The Bachelor.
One of my favourite movies is The Truman Show, where from birth Truman Burbank’s life is entirely concocted for a TV show, complete with product placement. He is the only person unaware of the role that he’s playing. The aftermath of The Bachelor represents the same blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality.
As far as I know, this is not a movie. This is playing with people’s lives for the benefit of ratings, a baying crowd if you will. It’s the Coliseum without the lions and the swords.
Part of our insatiably human demand for stimulation has always been the need for heroes and villains. Clearly, we’re not very discerning as to where and how we find them. Nor is there much concern as to who gets hurt along the way.
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Images Courtesy: www.chicagonow.com &  www.bachelorgossip.com