Social Media: Do you want it?

How does social media make you feel? Threatened? Empowered? Connected? Or is it just something you feel like you should get to grips with, for the sake of your business?

To Erika M Anderson, better known to her fans as EMA, it's a worry - not because of how she has been treated on social networks, but because of the experiences of others.

Her upcoming album, The Future's Void, is set for release on April 7th 2014, and its centrepiece is 3Jane, a track about losing your soul to the internet.



"No one was really ever that mean to me on the internet. I never had that 'thing' that happens when you wake up one morning and somehow your life is ruined because a mortifying picture goes viral or a 'funny' tweet becomes horribly misread. Sure, there were bitchy things in the comments of videos, but organized trolls never unleashed a wave of death threats on me, and only a few people suggested that I kill myself.

"So the internet never actually did that to me. But it did that to somebody. And now we all have this stupid crippling fear that someday it will happen to us. And the likelihood increases as you move from relative obscurity to becoming more broadly visible on the internet. There are more cameras on you, more chances to be quoted saying something stupid, and more people out there who relish seeing successful people disgraced and dethroned.

"Do you have that fear yet? Do you want it?"

- EMA, The Future's Void

EMA's words are a protest and a warning - both to herself, and to others - not to let online experiences get out of hand.

In EMA's case, she adds that she has found herself trying too hard to conform to expectations in the past, leading to over-sexualised, pouty photoshoots she barely recognises as herself.

Are we subjecting ourselves to peer pressure and paranoia that is actually self-inflicted? Or are there genuine expectations out there among our fans and in our customer base?

When you're staring down a lens - whether it is being wielded by a photographer, or attached to the front of a webcam - it can be hard to know for sure.

Is it any wonder that businesses (including performers and, yes, even writers like me) sometimes go wrong?

I've stumbled in the past due to misjudged tweets and misquoted articles in the press - and I've expressed a fair few opinions that other people might disagree with (often quite vehemently).

But I think my soul is intact, so far.

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