Over the weekend, my social feeds were flooded with the same post. ‘Look up’, the five minute, spoken word video that encourages you to put down your phone, and leave social media alone, has – ironically – gone viral. As of today, the video has received over 20 million views on YouTube since it was posted on 25th April 2014.
‘Look Up’ is a story for an online generation. In world where it is easier to connect with one another than ever before, this video shows us that despite having many social media friends and followers, many of us are actually alone, and missing out on real-world opportunities.
The video, written and directed by Gary Turk, has brought critical acclaim from many circles, with some calling it ‘beautiful and emotional‘, and others calling it ‘overdramatised‘. Turk himself acknowledges the irony of creating an online video that encourages people to detach themselves from social media. He himself states: “I’m guilty too of being part of this machine, this digital world where we are heard but not seen.”
I’ve often discussed with peers and colleagues whether this social media bubble we find ourselves in will ever burst. People around the world are online more often. Reading, watching, consuming, commenting and stalking more than ever before. But there’s a problem.
On Facebook, we can manually hide certain posts and friends we don’t want to receive updates from. On Twitter, we follow people, brands and celebrities that interest us. Work in the same industry as us. Have the same interests as us. We’ve ended up in a personalised social bubble.
Brands are spending more time on social media, in an attempt to either pop these social bubbles, or get inside them. As people spend more time on social media, so do brands. Creating content that represents their brand, and then outreaching to bloggers and social media users in order to generate engagement and awareness. But as more content is created for large audiences, it loses the personal touch, and loses authenticity.
In one of my last posts I covered the four ‘I’s of storytelling. One of those four ‘I’s was ‘Impact’, and Gary Turk has hit nailed it. Well, sort of. He’s encouraged people to take action by viewing and sharing the video, because it strikes a chord with them. As a result, he’s ironically encouraged more people onto social media platforms to watch the video. And as more and more people do that, the more people that will be looking down at their screens, missing the irony of watching his video, and passing people in the street.
Here’s the video in full. Hypocritical? Or stroke of genius that tells an accurate story of our online generation? Let us know.