Social creative: Skype aims to save humanity from evil clutches of social media
Social networking has oft been accused of devaluing personal relationships. A quick ‘happy birthday’ on someone’s wall once a year is enough to satisfy both parties that a friendship continues to exist, and a blanket ‘Merry Christmas’ tweeted into the ether now takes the place of an afternoon spent laboriously writing Christmas cards. Human interaction ain’t what it used to be, but is social networking degrading humanity? Ooof, that’s a bit strong, isn’t it?
Skype doesn’t think so, and has rolled out a $12 million campaign in the UK to say exactly that, claiming that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter encourage alienation and lack the real warmth of personal relationships. But not to worry, mankind, for Skype is “Your one-way ticket back to humanity”, thanks presumably to its ability to facilitate eye contact.
Skype has slapped its philosophy on posters across a number of transport hubs around London, pointing the finger of damnation squarely at Facebook and Twitter with not-at-all subtle messages such as: “When did LOL replace the sound of laughter?” “140 characters doesn’t equal staying in touch,” and “Upgrade from a wall post to a first class conversation.”
This holier-than-thou dissing makes for a strong campaign and certainly one that has the internet abuzz with debate. But alas, the entire thing is hugely undermined by accompanying hashtag, #TimeForSkype and an announcement that plans to roll out the campaign in America will include – wait for it – a special Facebook app. Also, y’know, the fact that Skype, like social networking, is also a virtual platform.
The idea that we as a society spend too much time plugged-in and logged-on is a valid one, no doubt about it. But surely having it preached by a kettle calling the pot black is almost too ironic for even the internet to bear?