Social Uncertainty (PDF)

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Social uncertainty: How can fast fashion brands sustain their marketing strategies and address the potential threat of changing consumer attitudes towards social media?

By Emily Elizabeth Williams 17123387

ADM 6005 I Major Project BA (Hons) Fashion Business and Promotion Birmingham City University

December 2020

Abstract This study investigates how fast fashion brands can sustain their social media marketing strategy and address the potential threat of changing consumer attitudes towards social media, therefore explores new marketing tactics to adapt to an age where social media detoxing is gaining popularity and consumer distrust is prevalent. To conduct the study, existing literature was underpinned by primary research, including electronic surveys, semi structured interviews and a focus group. The analysis of the research suggests that while indicating some positive aspects, social media is causing an overall negative effect on the well-being of society as negative impacts such as addiction, mental health issues and unproductivity have been linked by some sources to social media. Furthermore, the research suggests that the use of consumer data to curate personalised advertisements and implement persuasive design into social networking platforms is having a negative impact on consumer attitudes towards social media; these factors have been determined as being the driving forces of a ‘digital detoxing’ trend. Collectively, evidence indicates that this change in consumer behaviour poses a threat to the marketing strategy and content engagement of fast fashion brands who rely on social media marketing to push their brand identity. Additional threats could also stem from the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement that social networking sites are integrating into their products in an attempt to increase the value of the time social media users spend on the platform, resulting in the modification of algorithms which is directly impacting marketing engagement. Therefore, this paper concludes that fast fashion brands should implement meaningful and empowering content into their marketing strategy to humanise the brand and connect with consumers through the art of conversation, resulting in increased engagement on social media platforms and ‘Time Well Spent’ for their audience.

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Table of Contents Abstract………………………………………………………………………2 List of Tables……………………………………………….………………..5 List of Figures……………………………………….….……………………5 Glossary…………………………………………………….………….…….5 Introduction………………………………………………….……………….7 Methodology…………………………………………………………..…….10 Chapter One. The Technology Industry……………..…….……….…….14 1.1. The Rise of the Social Selling Model………………………………….…………...….14 1.2. Social Media in the Fashion Industry……………………………..….………………..15 1.3. The Problem……………………………………………………………….….….………16 1.4. Do We Need A Design Renaissance?………… ……… ………………….….…….. 17

Chapter Two. The Effect on the Consumer………………………….……20 2.1. Social Media Addiction…………………………………………………………………..20 2.2. Detoxing, Dieting, or Neither?……………………… ………………………….….……22 2.3. The Key Drivers…………………………………………………………………………..23 2.4. The Present and the Future…………………………………………………….……….25

Chapter Three. The Effect on the Marketing Industry……...……..……..27 3.1. The Current Climate of Social Media Marketing……………………………..………..27 3.2. Is Social Media Marketing at Risk?……………….….…………………………………28 3.3. Is There a Solution?………………………………………………………………..……..29

Conclusion……………………………………………………………..……..32 Recommendations and Future Studies……………………….………………..…………..35

List of Annotated References………………………………...…………….37 Appendices………………………………………...…………………………50 Appendix I………………………………...…………..……………………………….……….50 Appendix II……………………………………………….……………………………………..55 Appendix III……………………………………………………….……………….……………56 Appendix IV…………………………………………….………………………………………58 Appendix V…………………………………………………………………………………..…59 Appendix VI……………………………………………….……………………………..……..64 Appendix VII…………………………………….……………………….……………………..71


Appendix VIII……………………………….…………………………………………………..90 Appendix IX……………………………………………………..……………….……………..97 Appendix X…………………………………………………...………………………..……….98 Appendix XI………………………………………………………………...……………..……99 Appendix XII……………………………………….………………………………………….101 Appendix XIII………………………………………………………………………………….104


List of Tables Table 1. Participants of the focus group study……………………………………….………….11 Table 2. Primary research interviewees……………………………………………….…………12 Table 3. Example of the qualitative data coding analysis system inspired by Burnard's (2008) study. Results show the common denominators that appeared in respondent’s answers when asked ‘how do you feel about social media?’..…………….….………………………….13 Table 4. Qualitative data analysis coding of the brand representative interviews………….…97 Table 5. Qualitative data analysis coding of the digital wellness representative interviews...98 Table 6. Qualitative data analysis coding of the focus group…………….…………………..…99

List of Figures Figure 1. A model of the Two Step Flow Theory. Source: [Accessed 01/12/2020]………………………………………………………………..…………………………16 Figure 2. Bar chart demonstrating generation Z’s response to the question ‘would you consider yourself to be ‘addicted’ to social media?’ See Appendix IX…………….…………..21 Figure 3. Bar chart demonstrating generation Z’s response to the question ‘what is your daily average screen time on your phone?’ See Appendix IX………………………..……..……….22 Figure 4. Infographic demonstrating the percentage of a brand’s followers who engage with social media content based on the social media platform. Source: [Accessed 04/12/2020]…………............................................................................………….29 Figure 5. Bar chart demonstrating the percentage of consumers who are likely to engage with social media marketing posts based on the content. Source: [Accessed 05/12/2020]……….…..31


Glossary BLM - Black Lives Matter CHT - Center for Humane Technology DWC - Digital Wellness Collective FOMO - Fear of missing out PLT - Pretty Little Thing ROI - Return on investment STLL - Screen Time Lifeline


Introduction Technology has become an integral part into the functioning of our daily lives. However, questions and concerns have begun to arise around whether the obsession with our smartphones has gone too far and remains sustainable for human well-being, particularly the sustainability of social media. Former Google Design Ethicist, Tristan Harris, believes that social media has begun the destruction of modern society, a theory supported by other industry experts in the documentary The Social Dilemma (2020).

Research suggests that the effects of intense social media usage has had a negative effect on consumers (Alcott et al, 2020; Mintel, 2019) while Mintel has reported an increase in ‘social media detoxing’ (2019), indicating a growing awareness among consumers of these effects. Social Bakers have also reported a decrease in user engagement across Instagram and Facebook this year (2020). It is imperative that brands recognise a change in trends and amend their strategy to remain relevant in their industry, therefore, the justification for this study is to highlight the potential threat of changing consumer attitudes towards social media to fast fashion brands who rely on social media marketing. The findings of the study will outline the potential problem that fast fashion brands are facing and demonstrate why these brands should modify their current marketing strategy and explore new marketing methods that aim to better engage consumers with the brand and its marketing content.

The research question; Social uncertainty: How can fast fashion brands sustain their marketing strategies and address the potential threat of changing consumer attitudes towards social media.

The methodology will demonstrate the relevant primary resources used in the study that prompt the research question and both support and challenge the thesis of the study. It shall


also rationalise the appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods selected and clarify how the data has been applied to answer the research objectives.

Chapter one, The Technology Industry, examines the social media business model and brand marketing strategies to investigate whether the current algorithms of these social media platforms influence their user’s behaviour. The exploration into the structure of social media will introduce industry experts, Tristan Harris and Jaron Lanier, ex Silicon Valley representatives who argue against the system in which social media currently operates.

Chapter two, The Effect on the Consumer, will investigate the effect social media has on society and whether the results are driving a ‘social detoxing’ trend. The research will summarise the consumer mindset towards social media, alongside the prediction of future consumer trends.

Chapter three, The Effect on the Marketing Industry, analyses the sustainability of the current social media marketing strategy and explores alternative methods and social media content concepts. The research aims to critically analyse the opinions of social media marketers with opposing secondary research and primary data.

The research aim: To investigate why current fast fashion marketing strategies may not be sustainable and how brands should change tactic in an age where social media detoxing is gaining popularity and consumer uncertainty is prevalent.

The research objectives:

• To evaluate user behaviours in conjunction with social media algorithms: Are we addicted to social media?


• To discuss whether social media’s current stature is destructive to its users and society: Is this due to data collecting technologies?

• To identify whether social media is having an adverse effect on the wellbeing of society and if so, is this driving the ‘digital detox’ trend?

• To determine whether fast fashion marketing strategies are at risk due to a decrease in social media engagement and increase in consumer distrust and advertisement blockers.

• To explore alternative online marketing strategies that may sustain brands’ position in the industry and become practised marketing tactics in the future.


Methodology Quantitative and qualitative primary research methods were used to adopt a mixed method approach. This allows for the existing secondary research that informs the topic to be underpinned with statistical and informed precision to provide critically analysed evidence for a conclusion through corroboration of findings (Johnson, 2004).

To begin the research process, two questionnaires were formulated with the intent to gather quantitative data from social media users. Saunders (2019) states that online, closed question surveys obtain a low contamination rate, particularly for this research question as there is a reduced risk for an uninformed response, and access to a large sample size. Therefore, a link to a SurveyMonkey questionnaire was posted across a range of social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and LinkedIn; each with a different age demographic to scope for a varied response based on user age. Contrary to Saunders’ research which states there is a risk that the intended audience will not be reached through the distribution of a questionnaire online (2019), utilising social media alone to reach respondents provided minor limitations due to the nature of the study which aimed to targeted social media users, therefore, the corresponding platforms were idilic for reaching the intended audience. SurveyMonkey was selected as the questionnaire platform due to its sleek, user friendly design and ease of analysing results from a large sample. Questionnaire one saw 160 responses exploring user’s perceptions of social media and opinion on social media’s effect on society and wellbeing. Questionnaire two saw 86 responses which explored user’s perception of social media marketing and its effectiveness on themselves as individuals. To determine whether the language was reader friendly, resulting in accurate results, a pilot study was conducted with three individuals whose feedback influenced the finalisation of the survey, such as rephrasing a question to be better understood, resulting in more accurate results.


The questionnaires were effective as they created a basis for the rest of the primary research planning. The data suggested that generation Z were most affected by social media, therefore seven, mixed gendered participants aged 18-24 were sourced, and a focus group meeting was arranged for the 19th November 2020 via Zoom. The study took on a semi structured approach. An agenda of set questions was formulated based off the survey results and research objectives, but left room for follow up questions to be asked based on the respondent’s answers, allowing for a conversational approach to further probe relevant topics (Clifford et al, 2016). This section of the research explored a change in attitude towards social media and how users currently use, and intend to use social media in the future, allowing the prediction of future trends.

Table 1. Participants of the focus group study. Respondent




George Oglethorpe



Rachel Jones



Jemma Stanford



Kieran Staffer



Alice Martin



Georgia Tew



Myles Tew


Individual semi structured interviews were arranged with existing connections, social media representatives for fast fashion brands, Pretty Little Thing and Hidden Fashion, and creative communications agency, Gung Ho, all of whom were contacted via Instagram or email correspondence. Each company represents a differing approach to social media marketing. The brand representatives gave insight into the success of their social media strategy and predicted future trends. To further gain insight and strengthen the research that answers the thesis, an interview with a marketing academic was carried out to explore future trends in


social media marketing, alongside investigation into social media user behaviour with two ‘digital wellness’ representatives with differing opinions. To collect interviewee data, each verbal interview and the focus group was recorded and transcribed. Due to the obstacle of work schedules, remaining interviews were conducted over an email conversation. The analysis of qualitative data was inspired by a study by Burnard (2008) which adopts an analytical and thematic approach, resulting in the categorisation and systematic coding of data to identify common denominators amongst the data collected from all interview transcripts. The following chapters further investigate the study’s findings:

Table 2. Primary research interviewees. Appendix



Zoe McCarthy


Lucy Chetwynd Amelia Hobson




Laura Arrowsmith Dr. Sophie Bowles Christina Malecka

Occupation Social Media and Influencer Outreach Manager Social media Assistant Creative and Content Executive Marketing Academic Director in Research Development Mental Health Councillor and Social Media Life Coach




Hidden Fashion


Pretty Little Thing Gung Ho


Birmingham City University Digital Wellness Collective Screen Time Lifeline





Table 3. Example of the qualitative data coding analysis system inspired by Burnard's (2008) study. Results show the common denominators that appeared in respondent’s answers when asked ‘how do you feel about social media?

Final coding framework Negative impacts

Initial coding framework

• • • • • • • • •

Positive impacts

Effect on trust Evaluation of social media

Marketing External influences Drivers of use

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Dependent on use Reduces in person contact Mental health Destructive free speech Addictive Comparison of lives Bullying Negative content Increases unproductivity Creates social pressures Concerns for future Polarisation Use for a cause Entertainment Connecting with friends and family Social support Freedom of expression Informative Evokes conversation Useful Fake news Influencer culture Positive aspects Negative aspects Destructive Impartial Harmful content Unrealistic representation of people’s lives Time waster Lost intent Saturated with advertisements Manipulation tool Social competition Intrusive Audience reach Positive effects on businesses Pandemic influence Fear of missing out Requires control Need for validation Detoxing


Chapter One. The Technology Industry 1.1. The Rise of the Social Selling Model Historically, networked media existed in the form of weblogs, list-servers and email services following on from the invention of the World Wide Web in 1991, however, in the turn of the new millennium, these online services evolved into an interactive, multi-channel social experience, birthing the new global infrastructure of social media (Dijck, 2013). From social media’s original intention to be an information sharing and conversation platform, social media has rapidly become “the twenty-first century’s most dominant marketplace” (Rishi, 2017). This research is significant as it demonstrates the fast-paced growth of the industry and how social media has been recognised as an essential marketing tool. As of October 2020, 4.14 billion people use social media, equating to 53% of the global population (Data Reportal), the most popular platforms being Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat (Mintel, 2020). Rawat states that traditional marketing methods shifted from customer-centric to community-centric content, suggesting the adoption of a ‘participant advertisement’ business model where consumers are given the power to decide what marketing content they wish to interact with through the utilisation of social media platforms; a contrasting strategy to the ‘push’ model of traditional marketing (2018), however, Carmicheal argues that social media can be both a push and pull method of marketing depending on the brand’s social media content (2019). Nevertheless, research suggests that the social media marketing model is ever changing with the rapid growth of the industry. The theory of the participant advertisement model benefits businesses as social media marketing holds minimum expense in comparison to traditional marketing, increases revenues (Panda, 2017), streamlines consumer research and establishes virtual relationships with consumers (Patil, 2016). Social media platform, Facebook, has since implemented the ‘Advertising Model’ into their business strategy, a method which markets network traffic and consumer data collected through surveillance capitalism to businesses who wish to market on their platform through targeted advertisements (Panda, 2017; Blumenthal, 2018). This analysis


further examines the shift between social media becoming a conversation platform, and emerging into a marketing phenomenon, while explaining how brands have easily adapted to a social media marketing strategy through the use of consumer data and marketed ad space on social networking sites.

1.2. Social Media in the Fashion Industry The rapid growth of the social media movement revealed a new era of highly demanding, digitally connected consumers in comparison to the consumer who once adopted trends at a much slower pace; a direct result from increased access to trends through social media platforms (Bendoni, 2017). Bendoni’s research states that fashion brands are utilising network algorithms built through the collection of user data to offer more personalised advertisements to their audience (2017), however, the research could be perceived as biased as it only offers an account of the positive aspects of social media marketing. Furthermore, Social Media Manager for Hidden Fashion, Zoe McCarthy, believes that social media algorithms do not work as an advantage for niche brands and in fact works against them, evidenced by engagement statistics in comparison to larger brands (2020), a theory backed by a TalkRetail report which states that large brands are being rewarded by Instagram for their loyal following and are seeing little to no impact on their engagement (n.d.). Kotras’ study on the utilisation of algorithms for marketing claims that targeted advertisements have been criticised by Big Data and are viewed to be the “manipulation of consumers” (2020). Although this study also forms a bias towards the negative use of data, collectively the research suggests that social media algorithms may only operate in favour of household name brands and the social platforms themselves, whilst disadvantaging smaller brands’ marketing strategies and impacting consumer behaviour. Nevertheless, McCarthy emphasises Hidden Fashion’s dependence on social media marketing due to it being cost effective to collaborate with influencers (2020). Similarly, MarketLine states Boohoo introduced social media influencers into their marketing method which stands as a key factor


to driving growth (2018); the 1948 Two-step Flow theory explains how marketing content is more likely to reach individual consumers through the mediation of opinion leaders (Dahl, 2017). Though a significant analysis of social media marketing’s current climate in the fashion industry, sources reviewed fail to determine the sustainability of the influencer marketing strategy besides McCarthy, who believes that influencing is the future of social media marketing (2020), however Marketing Academic, Laura Arrowsmith, believes the ‘stereotypical influencer will become less influential’ suggesting a future shift in marketing methods.

Figure 1. A model of the Two Step Flow Theory.

1.3. The Problem As discussed, data collection offers a wealth of personalised advertisement opportunities for businesses marketing on social media (Sigrist, 2013), however, for social networking sites to sell the certainty of a successful advertising campaign to businesses, they have to make predictions that require a lot of data (Zuboff, 2020). Computer Scientist, Jaron Lanier claims that consumer attention has become the product of the social media business model (2018) a theory that has been echoed by Firth, who states that data has “signified a change in the relationship between individuals and companies” with consumers adopting a product status


(2013), and Harris, who claims that social networking sites are competing to keep consumers on their app for as long as possible, directly effecting the likes of democracy and human connections (2020). Although each source has a negative opinion on the collecting of data, this research significantly suggests an agreement amongst industry experts that surveillance capitalism has become a destructive societal issue. Dr Sophie Bowles from the Digital Wellness Collective believes the Attention Economy Model, a model that capitalises off the volunteering of consumer’s time, is a driving force in the social media business model (2020; Kane, 2019). Furthermore, Harris explains how apps obtain consumer attention through ‘growth hacking’, a discipline that builds psychological manipulation into technology with the goal to change consumer behaviour, an unbiased theory as Harris himself studied this field (2020). Research by W.I.R.E recognises the problem, however, makes a counter argument against data collection technologies stating that it is a fundamental factor to economic growth, quality of life and innovative thinking (2013), suggesting that data collection is vital for the future of societal growth. Rishi indicates that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the collection of their digital footprint, however, further contradicts that statement by claiming that consumers do not worry about exchanging their personal information in order to reap the benefits of social media (2017). This study may suggest that consumers have a growing awareness of the collection of their data, however, as Greenfield states, are “straightforwardly trading privacy for convenience” (2017). Additionally, key players of the technology industry are continuing to emphasise the destructive effect that the use of data could have on society.

1.4. Do We Need a Design Renaissance? In 2013, W.I.R.E stated that Big Data has powerful capabilities such as predicting the outbreak of a flu epidemic and that data will affect our futures on a minor scale, however Harris, the co-founder of Center for Humane Technology (CHT) argues that the attention economy model is degrading human capacity to solve threats such as the Covid-19 pandemic (CHT, 2020). Harris also claimed in a 2017 TedTalk that the manipulation of our


attention will only get worse because it is profitable. Although both sources have contradicting bias towards the use of data, W.I.R.E believes life beyond objectivity may push humans towards the idea of Enlightenment (2013), an opinion shared by Harris who states the acknowledgement of the issue will form the self-aware Enlightenment era (2017). CHT’s ‘Time Well Spent’ movement focuses on the intentional use of our devices (Newton, 2019), a concept that has since been implemented into the business models of Facebook with the prioritisation of friends’ posts and alteration of advertisement watch time (Constine 2018), Instagram’s “you’re all caught up” checkmark (2018) and Apple’s screen time dashboard and app limit controls (Gartenberg, 2018). Despite these positive implementations, a common theme identified from the focus group conducted for the benefit of this study saw that respondents felt their news feeds were saturated with more marketing content than friend’s content. Respondent one believes app limits do not work as he would ignore the notification, an opinion agreed with by respondent three who found herself clicking the “remind me in 15 minutes” option repeatedly (2020). Furthermore, only 8% of respondents from a Deloitte survey state they use the app limit feature on their phone (2019). Similarly to CHT, the Digital Wellness Collective (DWC) aims to educate users to embody and empower control over their technology, offering tools to businesses who want to implement digital wellness into the lives of their employees due to increased unproductivity (Bowles, 2020) and Screentime Life Line (STLL) who offers tools that help people resist the addictive nature of technology (Malecka, 2020). The motives behind each organisation indicate an increasing awareness of the issue in both professional and personal aspects of people’s lives, prompting Harris to call for the questioning of the advertising business model (2017). Lanier disagrees with the movement, stating that the only solution is the deletion of social media apps to take back control of data (2018), however, Sigrist believes this to be “neither realistic nor judicious”, yet also agrees change must occur as consumer awareness will cause a change in behaviour, therefore producing inaccurate data (2013). Furthermore, Malecka believes social media marketers are not the people to give consumers a better online experience, however, critiques her own opinion due to her leftist view on capitalism (2020).


Although industry experts collectively cannot reach a suitable solution, each agrees that the advertising model cannot be sustained currently in the process of creating a better online experience for society, as Harris claims there needs to be a “design renaissance to orchestrate empowering timelines” (2017).


Chapter Two. The Effect on the Consumer 2.1. Social Media Addiction The gratification theory proposes why humans are attracted to social networking platforms; social media “emphasises the importance of the individual”; people naturally seek discussion and interaction, therefore the importance is gratified through online social connection (Raacke, 2008 cited in Meier, 2013), a theory echoed by Malecka who states that humans have a Palaeolithic underlying need for approval (2020) and Greenfield who explains the psychology of the theory to the reward circuits of our brain “lighting up” when we experience digital connection, resulting in a dopamine surge (2018). Collectively, the research strengthens the psychological manipulation theory previously discussed in this study as ‘growth hacking’. Mental health and behavioural scientist experts are being hired in the technology industry to build persuasive design into their platforms, the discipline that studies how humans can think and act (Lieber, 2018). Toscano explains how ‘positive intermittent reinforcement’ is built into apps in the form of the ‘pull down and refresh’ feature, a method that Harris likens to playing on the slot machines in Las Vegas (2020). Other methods of persuasive design include Facebook scheduling notifications to a time where it predicts the stimulus of one’s attention, Twitter delaying sending notifications whilst a user is on the app to maintain attention for longer (Freed 2018, cited in Lieber, 2018) and Snapchat giving teenagers an incentive to use their app daily in order to maintain a ‘snap streak’ (Bloomberg Technology, 2018), causing psychologists to name excessive social media use as a behavioural addiction (Dreifus, 2017). Facebook, however, released a statement in response to The Social Dilemma claiming that they build their product to create value, not addiction, which has resulted in a decrease of 50 million hours per day of Facebook screen time (Facebook, 2020). This further suggests that social media networking sites have received criticism surrounding persuasive design and have modified their platforms to address the issue, however, Maclecka believes there to be intent behind their strategy for attention (2020). ’Social media addiction’ has become a subjective term among critics. Lanier argues


that addiction is a result of optimised newsfeeds (2018) whilst British MP’s have stated that social media addiction should be considered a disease (Waterson, 2019). Malecka has a differing opinion, claiming that the term ‘addiction’ is disempowering and places the responsibility on the individual over companies and governments, however, recognises it as a compulsion as a result of manipulation (2020). Furthermore, results from a study conducted for this paper states that 61.29% of generation Z respondents personally felt addicted to social media with an average screen time of 3-5 hours. Although experts cannot come to a united conclusion as to whether excessive social media use is an addiction, the evidence can be interpreted to state that consumers themselves personally feel compelled and are starting to show signs of awareness towards their social media usage, indicating a change in attitude towards social media, and that the data collected to enforce positive intermittent reinforcement is having an adverse effect on society.

Figure 2. Bar chart demonstrating generation Z’s response to the question ‘would you consider yourself to be ‘addicted’ to social media?’


Figure 3. Bar chart demonstrating generation Z’s response to the question ‘what is your daily average screen time on your phone?’

2.2. Detoxing, Dieting, or Neither? Whether or not intensive use of social media should be classed as an addiction, a 2017 Deloitte report stated that there was a growing awareness among younger consumers regarding their usage behaviour towards technology, who in turn began demonstrating efforts to control their digital interaction (cited in Miksch, 2018), however, in 2019 they retracted their statement revealing that the control of smartphone usage had decreased as consumers had accepted the consequences of over-use. A 2019 Mintel report contradicted Deloitte’s findings claiming that around half of social media users had cut down their usage in the past year, however, the result was higher for millennial users (59%) over generation Z (48%). Research shows that social media use has increased this year as a direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown (Mintel, 2020), however, in 2018, 56% of US 18-23 year olds stated they were making an effort to cut down their social media usage (Cope), and a Global Web Index study saw 1 in 5 people digital detoxing and 7 in 10 people digital dieting (limiting their usage) (Paisley, 2018). The analysis of the research indicates that there was a growing trend in digital detoxing or dieting pre Covid-19, however the contradicting sources cause difficulty in determining long term effects and results of the detox trend. The pandemic


appears to have influenced consumer behaviour as people relied on social media to connect with friends and family (Mintel, 2020) which may be responsible for the usage increase in 2020. The research also suggests that there is a significant increase in awareness among consumers of the effects of excessive digital or social media use, therefore allowing consumers to modify their behaviour and demonstrate efforts towards controlling their usage, although Greenfield sates it will be difficult to exert control as smartphones “dominate social space wherever we gather” and act as an “extension of our bodies as a prothesis” (2018). Furthermore, a survey carried out for this paper saw that 38.13% of respondents had undergone a social media detox previously, and 67.30% of respondents claimed they would consider carrying out a social media detox in the future, demonstrating a growing interest in the trend, however, respondent seven from the focus group believes social media detoxing to just be “another social media trend”, indicating a reluctance to acknowledging the issue among consumers. Lanier claims social media account deletion is the appropriate method to take control of digital usage (2018), however Malecka believes that the term ‘social media detoxing’ is disempowering and projects shame onto the individual (2020). Evidence suggests that industry experts have differing solutions to excessive social media use as DWC and CHT believes in proving tools and education to aid consumers in any method of control they choose whether it be detoxing, intentional use or specific app deletion (Bowles, 2020; CHT, 2020).

2.3. The Key Drivers Earlier literature reveals that Kraut et al’s ‘longitudinal internet study’ concluded that a former version of the internet led to loneliness and depression among users (1998, cited in Hamburger, Wainapel & Fox, 2002). More recent research echoes this theory, claiming that social media has created a disconnected world that “suffers from a heightened sense of isolation” (Lanier, 2018) whilst other researchers have speculated a correlation between social media and mental health (Alcott et al, 2020) suggesting that technological advancements have long been a concern of psychologists. Malecka, however, states that


social media has not been a present factor in society long enough for there to have been sufficient studies of the link between social media and mental health (2020), yet a metaanalysis review saw results that state the relationship between social media and mental health has a minimal effect, and that there is a more prominent link between social media and social support (Bowles, 2020), although the study could be criticised due to a lack of data, resulting in a weak argument. Furthermore, survey results show 91.19% of respondents across all generational age groups believe social media has a negative effect on their well-being. A Mintel report supports this statement claiming 80% of social media users state it negatively affects them (2019). Contrasting research claims that social media aids identity development and the development and maintenance of friendships (Uhls et al, 2017), yet Harris debates this claim stating that social media is having adverse effect on human connections (2017). A study by Hall saw participants completing 19 activities during a period of time where they both used and abstained from using social media. The results saw no change to the participants socialising habits when abstaining, and instead were seen working, cleaning and completing more chores (2019, cited in Allen, 2019). Although there was no significant change to social interaction, Hall failed to recognise positive change from the study, such as increased productivity, a common theme discussed in the focus group where participant four claimed social media was affecting his productivity at work. Relevant research suggests that ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) is a driving factor of unproductivity as the need for digital connection led to increased interruption (Rozgonjuk et al, 2020; Hamutoglu et al, 2020), whilst participant one also believed FOMO to be the main cause of his excessive social media use. Furthermore, primary research shows that excessive social media marketing was affecting participants attitude towards social media, 41.83% claiming advertisements to be ‘annoying’ while influencer culture is untrustworthy. Collated, the research suggests that the lack of data has led to psychologists being unable to determine a concrete correlation between the effects of social media and wellbeing, however consumers are directly stating that they are able to place feelings of sadness, loneliness and unproductivity into their use of social media, while many are experiencing changing attitudes


towards social media due to marketing saturated newsfeeds. Therefore, this research suggests the factors discussed may be key drivers of the social media detoxing trend.

2.4. The Present and the Future Bowles believes that there has not been a ‘change’ in consumer behaviour towards social media, but that a negative perception of social media has intensified in the last decade due to aspects such as the speculated link with mental health, concerns over data privacy and distrust as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal (2020), a scandal that misused the data of tens of millions of Facebook profiles to aid American political campaigns (Confessore, 2018). Supporting research confirms that 70% of UK consumers do not trust what they see on social media, including brand content, and only 14% trust advertisers (Stewart, 2020). Furthermore, Malecka is of the opinion that social media users are beginning to think that the use of social networking sites is not improving their livelihoods but feel powerless to control this issue, resulting in them seeking help from STLL (2020). Literature is indicating that consumer attitudes are beginning to percept social media negatively as their attitude towards marketing changes and they begin to prioritise mental health, a theory that could be explained by Sally Denton’s ‘Future Matters’ trend talk where society are beginning to value their health more amid the pandemic (2020). A DMA report states concerns over data use has fallen from 84% in 2012, to 75% in 2017 and will continue to fall (2018), yet a more recent LS:N report contradicts these statistics as research states that consumer trust regrading data is low, which could hinder innovation as consumers refuse to share data with brands (Stott et al, 2020). LS:N do however debate their findings by claiming that there is a growing awareness among consumers in the role data sharing plays in the improvement of society (Stott et al, 2020), agreed by DMA who state consumers see the exchange of personal information as ‘essential’ (2018). Nevertheless, DMA recognises a growing interest in the use of advertisement blockers due to a lack of transparency towards the use of consumer data (2018) which could affect Facebook’s video advertisements (Joll, n.d.). Primary research for this study supports these findings as


51.81% of respondents would consider installing an advertisement blocker onto their phone or desktop, with 22.35% already having one installed. Arrowsmith also expresses the importance of transparency and believe brands will need to alter their marketing strategy to meet the new consumer demand (2020) while Sigrist expresses that transparency will bring us closer to ‘Enlightenment’ (2013). The evidence suggests that intensified negative consumer attitudes towards social media and data collection could potentially affect social media marketing strategies and social media use as a lack of trust and self-prioritisation ensues, however, contradicts separate findings around the problems surrounding extensive data collection depicted in The Social Dilemma (2020) as some consumers see data as an important factor to modern growth, but would prefer more transparency.


Chapter Three. The Effect on the Marketing Industry 3.1. The Current Climate of Social Media Marketing Determining whether the factors discussed have had a large impact on social media marketing has been made challenging due to contradicting sources and the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. A Social Bakers report revealed that the UK saw a 10.5% decrease in Instagram engagement at the beginning of the lockdown in March, with Facebook engagement declining also (2020), however, McCarthy claims that Hidden Fashion saw Instagram engagement peak in March but were not meeting engagement targets in the following months (2020). Lucy Chetwynd from Pretty Little Thing (PLT) claimed that the pandemic had a positive effect on the brand’s social media engagement due to increased ‘spare time’ and PLT’s position in the industry as a household name brand (2020). Furthermore, despite negative themes such as ‘time wasting’, ‘manipulation tool’ and ‘destructive’ from the primary research, 43.75% of respondents claim they are using social media more than they were 6 months ago. This research suggests that social media use may have increased amid the lockdown due to factors such as boredom, addictive tendencies, increased free time and connectivity, although this does not necessarily mean that consumers were directly engaging with more social media content. Mintel also suggests that generation Z increased their social media usage due to new emerging social media platforms such as TikTok, however, claim some consumers are making conscious efforts to decrease their social media use across all generations (2020). McCarthy explains how TikTok is not an attractive platform for smaller brands due to marketing imposing higher costs (2020). Siu reports that social media has began to have a negative impact on marketing, claiming that 48% of brands are struggling to gain ROI on their social media content, perhaps due to Facebook implementing ‘Time Well Spent’ into their platform and Instagram switching to a non-chronological ordered algorithm which is having a detrimental effect on small businesses (2020). This echoes a statement from McCarthy who said Hidden Fashion’s content is suffering as a result of the algorithm due to them being a “niche brand”


(2020). As both social networking sites changed their newsfeeds pre Covid, one may say that the effect of Covid-19 has been minimal, and brands were beginning to experience decreased engagement due to a change in network algorithms. The effect however appears to be having a larger effect on smaller online brands as opposed to more well-known brands such as PLT as they rely on social media marketing to push the brand name.

3.2. Is Social Media Marketing at Risk? Critics believe that the implementation of the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has become yet another ‘marketing strategy’ for social networking sites to capitalise off as they are credited for “putting a bandaid on the symptom without addressing the disease” (Stollzoff, 2018). Gilliland recognises this to be a driving force for the altering of newsfeeds, however, also claims it may be an honest attempt to address the negative effects of social media use as Facebook states engagement will decline, but the long-term effects will see valuable content for its users (2018). ‘Time Well Spent’ may be an incentive to repair users’ perceptions of social media platforms amid changing consumer attitudes discussed in this paper, although efforts could be perceived as social networking sites prioritising the wellbeing of their users before advertisers, portraying a risk to brand’s marketing strategies. Supporting evidence shows that marketers will have to adjust their strategies to work with the algorithm by improving the quality of their content (Riley, 2020; Gilliland, 2018), especially as the percentage of followers who interact with brand’s posts is less than 5% across all social networking platforms (Siu, 2019). Furthermore, smaller fashion brands rely on influencer marketing due to the strategy being cost effective (McCarthy, 2020), however, Arrowsmith questions the future of influencer marketing as she believes the stereotypical influencer will become less influential and consumers will begin looking towards inspiring people who will demonstrate positive change (2020). Forbes claim that influencer marketing will combat the effects of advertisement blockers (2018), however, the focus group also discovered that consumers are beginning to question influencer authenticity. This may pose a threat to any fashion brand who utilises


influencer marketing as they may have to invest more money into advertisement space on social media as organic reach becomes unreliable (Riley, 2020). This method may not however act as the solution to algorithmic changes as studies show 74% of millennial and generation Z consumers are ‘annoyed’ by targeted advertising which resulted in 56% reducing their social media usage due to this (Siu, 2019). Again, the evidence suggests that changes to the social media climate may have a significant negative effect on smaller brands with less expenditure as social networking sites prioritise their users over their paying clients.

Figure 4. Infographic demonstrating the percentage of a brand’s followers who engage with social media content based on the social media platform.

3.3. Is There a Solution? The minority have criticised Harris, claiming that his advocation for a ‘Time Well Spent’ experience on social media does not produce a concrete solution that social networking sites and brands should adapt to (Newton, 2019; Bowles, 2020) indicating that the phenomena is too new to determine the answer to the issues surrounding social media, however, Harris does propose that we start questioning the advertising business model (2017). As research suggests that social media marketing is changing due to the implementation of the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement, fashion brands may have to revaluate


their social media marketing strategy to sustain their position in the industry. LS:N predict that honest and realistic brands will succeed in the upcoming decade by using data to improve and engage with human needs as branding becomes less about aesthetics and more about meaningful interactions with consumers (Stott et al, 2020) while Arrowsmith claims that brands need to start adopting a cause marketing strategy (2020). Facebook, like other platforms, is prioritising ‘meaningful interactions’, therefore brands need to adopt the same approach in their marketing strategy which in turn will be favoured by the algorithm and reach intended audiences (Riley, 2019), while a Mintel report states that 53% of consumers prefer to associate with a brand that aligns with their values, a statistic that is predicted to increase as consumers question why brands were able to create content surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, but not other important issues (2020). Supporting research also suggests that brands should begin selling stories through their marketing content and not product, therefore humanising the brand (Siu, 2019). The Positive Marketing theory could be applied to this practise as it contributes value to the brand, customer and general society, however, has been criticised due to it being classed as ‘textbook marketing’ that does not reflect the reality of marketing (Tadajewski, 2016). The Anthropomorphic theory may be more suitable as it focuses on the humanisation of a brand and moves away from product related marketing in order to create an equal relationship between brand and consumer to create a connection (Dahl, 2015). Chetwynd and McCarthy both claim that their ‘self-care advice’ content was some of their most successful content of the year, while Hobson claims that consumers look to brands to offer more than product and believe brands have an obligation to educate on social issues such as BLM and the LGBTQ+ community (2020). Furthermore, survey results show that 54.65% of respondents would be more likely to engage with social media marketing if the content was ‘mindful’ and made an impact on their day, with 100% of generation Z saying this is something they would be interested in (2020). The general consensus of the research suggests that brands will need to humanise and offer meaningful content to consumers in order to remain key players of the fashion industry. A change in content will give brands a better chance in the competition for


algorithm recognition while displaying content that allows consumers time to be ‘well spent’ through education and inspiration. This new method of marketing does however pose some potential obstacles as the focus group respondents claim they sometimes approach cause marketing with caution speculating ‘performative activism’, while other consumers want simplicity from brand marketing (Stott et al, 2020) and wish to consume social media and marketing content without being reminded of ‘world issues’ (2020).

Figure 5. Bar chart demonstrating the percentage of consumers who are likely to engage with social media marketing posts based on the content.


Conclusion This study aimed to investigate how fast fashion brands can sustain their social media marketing strategy and address the potential threat of changing consumer attitudes towards social media, therefore explored new marketing tactics to adapt to an age where social media detoxing is gaining popularity and consumer distrust is prevalent.

The relevance of the research concluded to be significant as evidence suggests that consumers are experiencing a growing awareness of their excessive social media use and have demonstrated efforts to reduce their screen time, posing an impending threat to fast fashion brand’s content engagement. The result of excessive social media use may be due to the collection of consumer data, which has in turn been used in implementing 'persuasive design' into social media products, speculating the cause of social media addiction. Furthermore, the study revealed that the ‘social media detoxing’ trend, or control of social media use may largely be driven by factors such as mental health implications and unproductivity in both a professional and personal environment, however, recognises that further research must be conducted in order to determine a concrete link between social media use and these factors as a lack of data exists. Nevertheless, consumers are directly stating that their motivation to control their social media use has been strongly driven by the latter, indicating that social media does in fact have a negative effect on the well-being of society. An additional motivation may be that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the use of their data for the development of ‘persuasive design’ and personalised advertisements, however, contradicting research suggests that despite these concerns, consumers have reached an understanding that the use of data is essential for societal growth, yet would prefer more transparency as to how their data is being used. This does not however change consumer’s stance on personalised advertisements as the research suggests they perceive them to be ‘annoying’.


One of the more significant findings from the research concludes that the effects social media has on society has placed pressure on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to implement the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement into their product, resulting in the modification of newsfeed algorithms to prioritise meaningful content and friend’s posts. One may say that the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement has posed a threat to fast fashion brand’s marketing content as they compete for algorithm recognition, therefore, the change in consumer behaviour has affected social media marketing in more than one form as this fuelled the motivation for the implementation of the movement initially. As social networking sites prioritise valuable newsfeed content for their users, this has created new challenges for fast fashion brands, particularly niche companies with less brand exposure, as they rely on social media marketing to push the brand name.

The assessment of the brand representatives evidenced that they aim to combat the challenge of the aforementioned algorithm changes through the utilisation of influencers, however, future trends predicted by the marketing academic state that the use of influencers is unsustainable due to a growing lack of trust among consumers, and that brands need to start collaborating with inspirational figures who demonstrate positive change. Furthermore, the focus group respondents emphasised their dislike of marketing saturated newsfeeds and believe influencers to be inauthentic, an opinion largely backed by relevant secondary research. The ‘digital wellness’ representatives also conclude that consumers will continue to experience a growing awareness of the effects of social media in the future. Collectively, this further suggests that brands will have to adopt a new strategy to sustain their position in the industry as consumer behaviours continue to evolve.

Overall, the study confirmed that changing consumer behaviour poses a threat to social media marketing, prompting a change in marketing strategy for fast fashion brands. The research collected embraces the idea that marketers should curate more meaningful content, resulting in the engagement of consumers through conversation and increased


chances in being favoured in updated algorithms designed to stop excessive consumption of social media. The implementation of this impactful content that educates and empowers will allow consumer’s time to be ‘well spent’, aligning with Tristan Harris’ movement. This in turn creates a unification between brands and social media platforms to prioritise consumer wellbeing whilst actively operating a successful business model that benefits all parties.


Recommendations and Future Studies Future research. The contradicting sources and lack of data exploring the effects of social media on consumers suggests that further research needs to be conducted to determine solid links between consumer behaviour and the effects of persuasive design technology. The results of these studies will inform the research needed to reach a concrete solution that benefits consumer wellbeing, social media marketing strategies and social media platforms.

This research does not focus on one particular generation as the social media effects apply to all age groups, however, it would benefit brands with a specific demographic if the study tailored to a particular age group in order to better understand the needs and wants of that consumer.

The use of Survey Monkey provided limitations to the research as the platform only allowed a maximum of 10 questions to be asked per survey, therefore two separate surveys were created to answer the objectives of the research. This resulted in survey two receiving half the number of responses than survey one, causing the results to be imbalanced and potentially inaccurate.

Social media marketers. The research indicates that brands will need to focus on better engaging consumers with their content through humanising the brand and creating mindful, empowering content. Therefore, marketers should focus on content that evokes conversation that consumers can interact with and makes the consumer’s engagement with that content ‘time well spent’. This may result in the algorithm prioritising the new meaningful content that may reach a new audience.


Brands should use their platform to educate their audience on societal issues, a conversation that will be well received by generation Z.

Although they should implement meaningful content into their strategy, brands should focus on the content being authentic, allowing consumers to trust the message of the brand and avoid the content being labelled as ‘performative activism’. The brand must truly embrace what they are endorsing.

Brands should continue to utilise social media influencers; however, they should not rely on influencing as their single marketing strategy and should pay attention to consumer trends and be ready to adapt their strategy at any time.

Brands should also scope to engage with inspiring social media figures that will demonstrate positive change.

Social network designers. Primary research revealed that consumers may not utilise app features that control social media usage, therefore designers should implement new features that better control the amount of time a user is spending on their device to prevent intensive social media use.


List of Annotated References Alcott, H., Braghieri, L., Eichmeyer, S and Gentzkow, M (2020) The Welfare Effects Of Social Media. Available at: [Accessed 03/12/2020] The research findings of this report were used as supporting literature in the argument that there is in fact a link between social media and negative mental health impacts as the researchers of the report believe there to be a correlation between mental health and excessive social media use, concluded from a multitude of studies conducted by the researchers. Allen, S (2019) Social Media’s Growing Impact On Our Lives. American Psychological Association. 20 September. Available at: [Accessed 03/12/2020] This psychological news article outlined the condensed study by Hall (2018) which examines the behaviour of participants using and abstaining from social media. The study’s findings argue that social media has little effect on social interaction, debating Harris’ claims (2017), however I reanalysed the study to determine a positive effect on productivity to provide context to the focus group findings which saw social media having an adverse effect on productivity. Arrowsmith, L (2020) Interviewed by Emily Williams via email. 23 November This interview of a marketing academic provided insight into future consumer trends towards social media marketing, aided in the debate on whether the use of influencers was sustainable, and helped conclude that cause marketing would be a beneficial marketing strategy for fast fashion brands, directing my research towards positive marketing. Bendoni, W (2017) Social media for fashion marketing: storytelling in a digital world. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts. This book was useful in providing context to the adoption of social media in the fashion industry, however, provided a biased account which was outlined and criticised in the main body of text. It did however help me to understand why social media has been such a successful tool in the fashion industry has been and how brands used to work with the algorithm before ‘Time Well Spent’ was integrated into social media platforms. Bloomberg Technology (2018) Tristan Harris Says Tech Companies Have Opened Pandora's Box. [video] Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] This interview of Tristan Harris added context to some of the other resources of Harris’ that I used and provided a description of persuasive design through Snapchat’s ‘Snapstreak’ feature to give an example to the reader to better understand how social networking platforms have used manipulation in their product. Blumenthal, P (2018) Facebook And Google’s Surveillance Capitalism Model, Is In Trouble. The Huffington Post. 29 January. Available at: [Accessed: 30/11/2020]


This archived news article gave context into the social media business model and how it uses surveillance capitalism to build their products and market advertisement space to clients. It also supported Panda’s (2017) account of the Advertising Model that Facebook operates. This helped me to understand the monetisation of social media platforms, however also provided limitations to data collection, such as the EU GDPR policy. Bowles, S (2020) Interview by Emily Williams via Zoom. 24 November This interview provided an unbiased evaluation of the positive and negative aspects of social media and allowed me to understand the driving forces of intentional technology use and how it would benefit people. Furthermore, Bowles provided insight to a meta-analysis review which provided a debate for the positive effects of social media. Additionally, she also contextualised the attention economy model and provided an informed opinion on brand’s responsibly for positive social change. Burnard, P., Gill, P., Stewart, K. et al. (2008) Analysing and presenting qualitative data. Br Dent J 204, 429–432. Available at: [Accessed 23/11/2020]. This study inspired the qualitative data analysis method through the coding of data to inform the research of common denominators among respondent answers. The paper provided an educational breakdown on how to efficiently conduct the analysis which I in turn applied to my own work. Carmicheal, K (2019) Push vs. Pull Marketing: How They Differ and Work Together. Hubspot. 12 September. Available at: [Accessed 06/12/2020] This resource only provided a small sample of research to my work, however, gave an understanding to how social media can be considered both a push and pull method of marketing depending on the content, allowing me to group the research with another source to form a debate. Center For Humane Technology (2020) Who We Are. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] This website acted as an integral resource as it implemented the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement into my work which aided in forming the conclusion. Additionally, it provided examples of social networking site’s integration of TWS into their business model, allowing me to form an opinion of how this could negatively affect social media marketing. Chetwynd, L (2020) Interviewed by Emily Williams via email. 23 November This interview provided a small sample of research to my work, however, was useful in understanding how bigger fast fashion brands have remained relatively unaffected as the result of the modification of newsfeed algorithms and provided contradictory information to secondary research which reported a decrease in social media engagement amid the Covid19 pandemic.


Clifford, N., Cope, M., Gillespie, T and French, S (2016) Key Methods in Geography. [ebook]. 3rd edn. United Kingdom: Sage. Available at: emi+structured+focus+groups&ots=TDKQsp3WaB&sig=BkORSaUTeSIfPiqc9tZVZFwy2FY# v=onepage&q=semi%20structured%20focus%20groups&f=false [Accessed 06/12/2020] This book was useful in informing me of the benefits of using a semi-structured interview guide for the planning of my interview questions. This allowed me to formulate questions that left scope for a varied answer where I could ask the interviewee additional questions based off their answer. Confessore, N (2018) Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: The Scandal and the Fallout So Far. The New York Times. 4 April. Available at: [Accessed 04/12/2020] This article provided a description of the Cambridge Analytica scandal to add context to my research and inform the reader of what the scandal entailed. This supported other research that outlined a lack of trust towards Facebook. Constine, J (2018) Facebook feed change sacrifices time spent and news outlets for ‘wellbeing’. Tech Crunch. 12 January. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] This article provides a brief selection of information to inform the reader of how Facebook implemented the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement into their algorithm, allowing me to form the conclusion that Facebook are prioritising valuable timelines, therefore posing a threat to fast fashion brand’s marketing strategies. Cope, R (2019) You Heard It Here First: Digital Detox. Available at: [Accessed: 24/10/2020] This Mintel article was discovered in the initial stages of my research where I first learnt that there had been an increase in social media detoxing in 2018. This research allowed me to apply social media detoxing to my own question, directing my research to investigate where this would have a negative impact on social media engagement and marketing. Dahl, S (2015) Social Media Marketing” Theories and Applications. 1st edn. Los Angeles: Sage This book was highly useful in allowing me to apply theories to the research that I had found, therefore providing a psychological insight and additional supporting evidence into why certain marketing methods may or may not work. Data Reportal (2020) Global Social Media Overview. Available at: [Accessed: 26/11/2020]


This resource provided statistical evidence to give context to the popularity of the current social media climate and gave insight to the fast track growth of social media platforms, helping me to understand why it is such a relevant marketing tool. Deloitte (2019) Global Mobile Consumer Survey: UK cut. Plateauing at the peak. The state of the smartphone. Available at: [Accessed 03/12/2020] This report allowed me to contradict the findings of a previous Deloitte report, outlining the growing concern consumers have for their data. This was useful as it provided insight into the changing consumer perceptions of social media data collection, allowing me to conclude that consumers are too integrated into the use of social media to form a solid opinion on their data being used for the benefit of marketing. Denton, S (2020) Future Matters. Industry talk. Microsoft Teams. 10 November. Attending this trend talk highlighted evolving consumer trends as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although much of the talk’s insight could not provide much information to my topic, I did learn that consumers would prioritise their health post Covid-19 which could potentially be applied to mental health prioritisation, allowing me to conclude that this could be an important factor in changing consumer attitudes towards social media. Dijck, Jose (2013) The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. New York: Oxford University Press. This book was highly useful in providing a historical context to the evolvement of social media platforms and allowed me to form an understanding of the rapid growth of social media, resulting in it emerging into a social media marketing tool. DMA (2018) Data privacy: What the consumer really thinks. February 2018. Available at: [Accessed 04/12/2020] This DMA report contradicts other existing evidence that perceives consumers to have a negative attitude towards data collection. Grouped with other resources, I was able to make the suggestion that the consumer stance on data collection varies, however, this source evidences that data may not be a driving factor for the digital detoxing trend. Dreifus, C (2017) Why We Can’t Look Away from Our Screens. The New York Times. 6 March. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] This article highlights that some psychologists have classed intensive social media use as an ‘addiction’ allowing me to group the source with other relevant research to conclude that a lack of data exists to form an informed opinion.


Facebook (2020) What ‘The Social Dilemma’ Gets Wrong. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] This statement by Facebook provides a structured debate to contradict The Social Dilemma documentary. The sample of information used in my work was useful as I was able to form an opinion that Facebook implemented the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement into their product as a result of criticism, but are prioritising their users overpaying clients for advertising space. Firth, P., Sigrist, S and W.I.R.E. (2013) White Noise: Why A Data-Driven Society Needs More Common Sense. Zurich: W.I.R.E This book was useful in my research as it provided an unbiased argument for the positive and negative aspects of data. Furthermore, due to the year it was written, it also provided some historical debate when compared to other research. The book also formed my opinion that retracting from a digital society is unrealistic, directing my research towards digital wellness and intentional technological use. Forbes (2018) 14 Effective Strategies to Overcome Ad Blocking. Forbes. 22 June. Available at: [Accessed 06/12/2020] This Forbes article provided information as to how brands can overcome the increasing number of advertisement blocker installations through the use of influencer utilisation, allowing me to pin contradictory research to form a conclusion that the future of influencing is not sustainable, further enriching my theory that social media marketing was at risk. Gartenberg, C (2018) How do Apple’s Screen Time and Google Digital Wellbeing stack up? The Verge. 5 June. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] A small sample of information was extracted from this article to provide an example of Apple’s app time limit feature. This provided a basis for the argument that the focus group conducted for this paper believe that the app limit feature does not work. Greenfield, A (2017) Radical Technologies. United Kingdom: Verso This book provided a biased account of the negative effects smartphones have had on society, allowing me to group sources together to form a debate. The book also allowed me to gain an understanding of the psychological effect smartphones have on our brains, directing my research down the avenues of addiction and the use of data. Gilliland, N (2018) Why is Facebook focusing on ‘time well spent’? Econsultancy. 16 August. Available at: [Accessed 05/12/2020] Gilliland provided an unbiased account of Facebook’s motive to implementing ‘Time Well Spent’ into their product, considering ulterior motivations. The article also helped in allowing me to form the opinion that Facebook modified the algorithm for the benefit of their users, implying that the former algorithm structure was having an adverse effect on people.


Hamburger, Y., Wainapel, G. And Fox, S (2002) ‘On the Internet No One Knows I’m An Introvert’: Extraversion, Neuroticism and Internet Interaction. Research Gate. 5(02). pp. 125 To provide historical context to the study, I compared a 1998 study that was written about in Hamburger et al’s report to compare the negative impacts of the early stages of the internet to the negative impacts of social media to form the opinion that intensive social media use has long been a concern of psychologists, strengthening the justification for this study that negative social media use is a relevant topic. Hamutoglu. N, Topal. M and Gezgin. D (2020) Investigating Direct and Indirect Effects of Social Media Addiction, Social Media Usage and Personality Traits on FOMO. International Journal Of Progressive Education. 16(02). Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] Grouped with other relevant research, Hamutoglu et al’s report provides a strong suggestion that FOMO is a contributing factor to excessive social media use. I was able to underpin this with data from the focus group to form an opinion that this was a contributing factor to the negative effects of social media use. Harris, T (2017) How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day. [video] Available at: s_of_minds_every_day [Accessed 02/12/2020] Harris’ 2017 Ted Talk was a vital source of information to discuss the effect of a ‘Time Well Spent’ newsfeed and how society should be questioning the business model of advertising in order to formulate a solution for the overuse of social media. The talk was often used to support existing relevant evidence and form debates against critics of his advocation for a reformation of social media. Hobson, A (2020) Interviewed by Emily Williams via email. 13 November Due to Hobson representing a non-fast fashion company, I was careful to not include a large sample of data from our interview as it may form a biased argument, however, Hobson’s stance that we should look toward brands to educate on social justice issues was used to support the argument that brands have an obligation to provide meaningful content for consumers. Instagram (2018) Introducing “You’re All Caught Up” in Feed. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] Instagram’s article announcing the “You’re All Caught Up” check mark was used to provide context to the reader of what efforts social networking sites have demonstrated to implement the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement into their product. Johnson, R.B. and Onwuegbuzie, A.J. (2004) Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose Time Has Come. Educational Researcher. 33(7). Available at:

42 [Accessed 23/11/2020]. This journal article was used to develop an understanding of why a mixed methods approach to primary research was beneficial to the study and allowed me to provide context to my methodology. Joll, K (n.d.) Are Ad Blockers Killing Paid Content Promotion? Audience Ops. Available at: [Accessed 06/12/2020] A small sample of this article was used to explain how ad blockers could and can affect social media marketing as the research suggests that Facebook advertisements are at risk from an increase in advertisement blocker installation. I was then able to direct my research to finding a solution that would combat advertisement blockers. Kane, L (2019) The Attention Economy. Available at: [Accessed 01/12/2020] This article allowed me to further explore the workings of the attention economy model to further enrich the research obtained from a primary interview source. This allowed me to provide context to the reader as to what the aim of the attention economy model is and how it operates. Kotras, B (2020) Mass personalization: Predictive marketing algorithms and the reshaping of consumer knowledge. Available at: [Accessed 01/12/2020] Kotras’ study regarded another perspective towards to the utilisation of consumer data to curate personalised advertisements. I was then able to use the study which stated that Big Data regard the use of data as a form of manipulation to provide an argument towards the positive effects of data use in the marketing industry and directed my research down the avenue of persuasive design. Lanier, J (2018) Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. United Kingdom: Vintage This book was prominently used in the research due to Lanier’s differing but heavily biased stance towards the control of user data and provided an argument for each negative factor as a result of social media. Therefore, I was able to use much of Lanier’s research when evaluating the opinion of industry leaders to form a solution to the social media problem. Lieber, C (2018) Tech companies use “persuasive design” to get us hooked. Psychologists say it’s unethical. Vox. 8 August. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] This article provided useful context and examples of how social media platforms integrate persuasive design into their products, allowing the reader to gain an understanding of the


methods whilst also providing examples of persuasive design to provide context to the argument. Malecka, C (2020) Interviewed by Emily Williams via Zoom. 27 November This interview provided a wealth of information to support several arguments made in the text, such as the lack of data to conclude the link between social media and mental health and how ‘social media detoxing’ is not a realistic method of social media control. Furthermore, the research provided me with an understanding of the benefits of intentional smartphone use and the underlying psychological explanations as to why humans are drawn to social media. MarketLine (2018) Boohoo: How a market stall became an international empire. Available at: [Accessed 01/12/2020] This report allowed me to provide supporting information as to why influencer marketing has been an essential marketing method for fast fashion brands such as Boohoo, therefore allowing me to apply the two-step flow theory to the workings of the influencer business model. This then directed my research into further discovering the significance of the utilisation of influencers in the fast fashion marketing strategy. McCarthy, Z (2020) Interview by Emily Williams via Zoom, 16 November. This interview remains highly significant to the research as McCarthy reveals the negative impact that the social media algorithm has on smaller fashion brands, therefore allowing me to conclude that niche brands face the biggest challenges amid changing consumer behaviours towards social media. The research also suggests a reliance on the future of influencer marketing that I was then able to debate with other relevant sources contradicting the findings. Meier, M (2013) Social Media Addiction Today. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] This report introduced the gratification theory to support evidence that consumers are attracted to social media through the means of heightened self-importance. This theory further enriches the idea that consumers are addicted to social media. Combined with other sources, it allowed me to conclude where speculated addiction is a driving force for the controlling of social media use. Miksch, L and Schulz, C (2018) Disconnect to Reconnect: The Phenomenon of Digital Detox as a Reaction to Technology Overload. Available at: [Accessed 03/12/2020] This report summarises a second Deloitte report that states that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned over the use of their data that I was then able to contradict with a more recent report. Comparing both reports allowed me to conclude that the attitude towards data collection is ever changing.


Mintel (2019) Social & Media Networks - UK - May 2019. Available at: %2520addiction [Accessed 03/12/2020] This Mintel report highlighted that consumers were making a conscious effort to cut down on their social media usage, therefore strengthening the theory that consumers were experiencing changing consumer attitudes social media. The report also allowed me to contradict the findings of another report to form a debate. Mintel (2020) Media Trend Autumn. Inc Impact of Covid-19 - UK - October 2020. Available at: a [Accessed 04/12/2020] This Mintel report depicts a more update account of consumers cutting back their social media use, however, also states that social media usage has increased amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This therefore allows me to reach the conclusion that the pandemic has had a significant influence on social media usage when compared to earlier reports of deceased social media use. Mintel (2020) Social Media: Inc Impact of COVID-19 - UK - July 2020. Available at: [Accessed: 26/11/2020] This report informs the research that the short-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will see a surge in social media use, further strengthening the theory that the pandemic has had a significant effect on social media usage. Mintel (2020) Technology Habits of Generation Z: Inc Impact of Covid-19 - UK - September 2020. Available at: a%2520addiction [Accessed 03/12/2020] This report provides statistical evidence that generation Z are concerned over the mental health implications of social media. This research allowed me to conclude whether or not mental health concerns are a driving factor for the digital detoxing trend. Newton, C (2019) The leader of the Time Well Spent movement has a new crusade. The Verge. 24 April. Available at: [Accessed 02/01/2020] This report states a criticism towards Tristan Harris’ advocation for the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement, while also providing the study context as to what CHT’s aim is as an organisation. The unbiased article allowed me to group sources together to provide a debate of contradicting sources to reach an informed conclusion.


Paisley, E (2018) 1 in 5 Consumers are Taking a Digital Detox. Global Web Index. 5 September. Available at: [Accessed 03/12/2020] This Global Web Index article provided statistical evidence to back up my argument that consumers are participating in the social media detoxing/dieting trend. This research aided in answering one of the objectives and provided justification to why the research topic is relevant. Panda. R, Mehta. B and Karani, A (2017) Business Models on Social Media. ResearchGate. 5(2). Available at: [Accessed: 25/11/2020] This report outlined the structure of the advertising business model that social media platforms, including Facebook, have implemented to monetise their product towards marketers. This source aided me in contextualising the marketing of consumer data to curate personalised advertisements and helped me to understand the structure of the social media business model. Patil. Megha (2016) Social Media and Customer Relationship Management. IOSR Journal of Business and Management. 1(5). pp. 27-32. This report offers context and helps the reader understand why social media websites are an attractive platform for online marketing, therefore explaining the rapid growth of social media as a global marketing tool. Rawat. S, Jindal. S, Shankar Moorti. R, Mangal. Yash and Saxena. Neelam (2018) Change in IT world with the evolution of social media using Big Data. IEEE Xplore. Unknown. Available at: [Accessed: 25/11/2020] Rawat’s research suggests the shift between marketing models from traditional media to social media, therefore providing and understanding for the consumer’s need to be an active participant in a brand’s social media marketing strategy. RetailTalk (unknown) How the Instagram algorithm is affecting businesses. Available at: [Accessed 01/12/2020] This article suggests that the Instagram algorithm is favouring content from larger brands, therefore causing challenges for smaller brands who rely on social media marketing to push the brand name. This research further supports McCarthy’s (2020) statement that smaller brands are seeing decreased engagement due to the effects of social media algorithms. Riley, B (2020) Social media changes in 2020: How to stay prepared. Sprout Social. 6 February. Available at: [Accessed 05/12/2020] This Sprout Social report suggests that brands need to focus on improving the quality of their social media content to improve their chances of reaching their intended audience as


organ reach becomes unreliable, indicating that the modification of the algorithm has become a problem for several brands who are in turn seeking advice on how to improve their social media engagement. Rishi. B and Bandyopadhyay. S (2017) Contemporary Issues in Social Media Marketing. 1st edn. Unknown: Taylor & Francis Group. Rishi’s study investigates the effect that data collection through surveillance capitalism has on the attitudes of consumers. The source provided a contradicting account of attitudes, however, helped me to understand the positive and negative aspects that consumers consider when forming an opinion towards data collecting technologies. Rozgonjuk, D., Sindermann, C., Elhai, J and Montag, C (2020) Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) and social media’s impact on daily-life and productivity at work: Do WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat Use Disorders mediate that association? Available at: [Accessed 03/12/2020] This report helped provide further insight into the factors contributing to social media addiction and unproductivity. The research allowed me to underpin the focus group results with secondary research to further prove my argument that consumers personally feel addicted to social media. Saunders, M., Thornhill, A. and Lewis P. (2019) Research Methods for Business Students. 8th edn. Harlow: Pearson, Pearson Education Limited, Pearson Education. This book aided me in successfully formulating a set of survey questions and allowed me to understand and limitations I may face in the conducting of my surveys. The research concluded to be useful as I received a positive response to my survey questionnaires. Siu, E (2019) The changing position of social media in 2020: What does it mean for marketers? Impact. 25 November. Available at: [Accessed 04/12/2020] This article outlines the negative impacts that the social media algorithm is having on social media marketing and provides statistical evidence to declare the effects this is having on ROI. The research also prompts brands to sell stories through their content, not product, contributing to the theory that the result of low engagement is largely due to low quality social media content. Social Bakers (2020) State of Social Media Report: The Impact of Covid-19. Available at: [Accessed: 19/10/2020] This Social Bakers was discovered during the initial stages of my investigation and acted as a key driver to research engagement statistics in relation to social media marketing content. I found this research interesting as the report was dated during the Covid-19 pandemic where one may expect social media engagement to increase due to increased spare time to use social media.


Staffer, K., Oglethorpe, G., Martin, A., Jones, R., Tew, G., Tew, M and Stanford, J (2020) Interviewed by Emily Williams via Zoom. 19 November This focus group was conducted with the motivation to further probe consumer attitudes towards social media. The focus group followed a semi-structured interview guide and was formulated based off the survey results from my primary research. Here I discovered a change in attitude towards social media as I made links with mental health and a dissatisfaction with social media marketing content. Stewart, R (2020) Advertising and social media face fresh trust issues amid global crisis. The Drum. 15 May. Available at: [Accessed 04/12/2020] This article provided statistical evidence to support claims that consumers were demonstrating a lack of trust towards social media content, including that of marketing content. This suggested to me that social media marketers may need to adapt their social media content to the new wants and needs of the consumer. Stollzoff, S (2018) Technology’s “Time Well Spent” movement has lost its meaning. Quartz. 4 August. Available at: [Accessed 05/12/2020] This article criticises social networking platforms for capitalising off the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement, implying that user well-being is not a prioritisation. I was able to group this research with an opposing study to formulate an opinion as to whether or not social networking sites are regarding their user’s best interests. Stott, R., Bishop, K and Coleman, R (2020) Post Purpose Brands. LS:N Global. 25 March. Available at: [Accessed 04/12/2020] This LS:N report provided a wealth of research for the study, such as indicating a negative consumer attitude towards data, although consumers recognise data as essential for societal growth and suggesting brands should adopt a human approach to marketing if they wish to remain successful players in the industry. This further strengthened my argument that consumers want to see impactful, educational content. Tadajewski, M (2016) Relevance, Responsibility, Critical Performativity, Testimony and Positive Marketing: Contributing to marketing theory, thought and practice. Journal of Marketing Management. 32(17-18). Available at: [Accessed 05/12/2020] This journal article was useful as it attempted to apply the positive marketing theory to research that prompts brands to integrate meaningful content into their strategy. Although the theory did not apply, it allowed me to compare with a separate theory and identify the relevancy of the theory to better understand the research. Zuboff, S., Harris, T and Toscano J (2020) The Social Dilemma [documentary] Directed by Jeff Orlowski, Netflix, USA. 94 mins.


This documentary proved to be the most significant wealth of research as it provided the basis to the entire study. The film provided the initial information and helped me to understand the psychology behind persuasive design in social networking products, therefore directing my research to the effects social media has on its users. Uhls, Y., Ellison, N and Subramanyam, K (2017) Benefits and Costs Of Social Media. Pediatrics. 140{02). Available at: [Accessed 03/12/2020] This article provides a contradicting argument to other research as it provides the positive effects of social media on human relationships, therefore allowing me to present a wellrounded, unbiased argument in my research. Waterson, J (2019) Social media addiction should be seen as a disease, MPs say. The Guardian. 18 March. Available at: [Accessed 02/12/2020] A small sample of information was extracted from this article; however, it strengthened my argument to investigate whether consumers are addicted to social media as it depicts that the British government maintain concerns over the excessive use of social media.


Appendices Appendix I Interview transcript

Initial coding framework

Emily: Does social media have a big part to play in the marketing of Hidden Fashion, and then if so, how? Zoe: Yeah so really it’s our only marketing method, um we do everything through social media so even like the campaigns and like the banners that go on the website, usually they will be from social media pictures, so they will be like from big influencers so I think at the minute if you go on it (Hidden Fashion’s website) it will be Grace Jackson. We used her for socials, and then she did a photoshoot, but obviously the photoshoots are for social media but then they get used across all social media platforms so TikTok ads, Snapchat ads, Facebook ads, everything, we don’t really do any other marketing. Emily: Do you find that TikTok’s been slightly more successful than other social media platforms then, because it’s quite new? Zoe: Yeah, we had a TikTok thing where everyone was like unboxing Hidden Fashion, because it was like this new trend, so like during the first lockdown, it was a trend to like buy off us and like post the clothes, and we saw a massive boom in engagement, but recently not really as much because TikTok is really expensive for one, I don’t know why, I think it’s because the amount of people that make videos, and because we don’t have a huge presence on TikTok, it’s hard to make content when you can’t go into the office, and to do photoshoots because of the whole pandemic. Emily: Yeah I suppose it’s quite different to the kind of content you put on like Instagram and stuff as well isn’t it? Zoe: Yeah and like it’s trusting someone sending them nine items to do all the jumping round on TikTok, where as on Instagram you send them one item, and it’s like ok, one post. So you know how many posts you need, where as TikTok’s not like that, so it is a bit harder to sort of source. Emily: So would you say that Instagram’s like your main social media platform? Zoe: 100%.

Social media as single marketing strategy Use of influencers Multi network use Photoshoot campaigns

Increased engagement Linear engagement Adaption to trends Marketing expense Social media presence Negative pandemic effects

Social platform reliability Marketing expense

Social platform reliability

Emily: Yeah. Zoe: Yeah, also we do, yeah, Twitter not as much. I would say Snapchat ads do great. Um TikTok ads do do quite well, but Instagram is just like the main one that flies. Emily: Do you think the recent update with Instagram is going to have an effect on it though, because everyone seems to be complaining about it haven’t they? Zoe: I think just like, detoxing completely because I know from my personal account and Hidden’s, obviously it tells you who unfollows you if you have the app, so many people unfollowing me so then I just click on them, but they’re actually just deactivated accounts, so everyone is deactivating their accounts , so I’m taking it to heart, like why are people unfollowing me, but they’ve actually deactivated. And like on the stats on Hidden, some days it will be like 40 people have unfollowed them, like a big amount. Emily: Yeah my followers have been going down quickly too recently.


Evaluation of social media engagement Social platform reliability Social platform preference

Account deactivation Decreased followers Growing awareness of social media effects Detoxing

Zoe: Yeah we post like three times a day, we post at 10, we post at 2 and we post at 8 ish, depending. Um, and loads of people unfollowed us, but obviously it could be external factors, but I do think that it is the pandemic, like people are deactivating, and then we will get a random day where we get loads of followers so its like people are reactivating their accounts on a Sunday. Emily: Yeah okay that’s good. Um so then I found some research that suggests that there has been a growing trend in social media detoxing like you said, so that’s following on from like a change in consumer attitudes towards social media, so do you think this poses any threat to the future of marketing on social media for you? Zoe: Umm, not really just because our target audience is like a millennial girl, who loves fast fashion and is text savvy so our girl is somebody that will go on social media, like that’s our target audience so obviously if we were branching out to older people maybe like even 30. 40, then it’s like, ok, maybe we need to either change up our Facebook or think of different marketing. But social media is the most efficient, like sustainable way, like we don’t waste any paper with flyers, or anything like that, and we’re guaranteed reach and we can see stats, so I don’t think it will ever change with social media. Emily: Yeah, maybe if someone had a different demographic they might be in trouble but I think obviously with young girls… Zoe: It probably will always stay, like influencers are so big like we’ve seen a massive, well I’ve seen a massive increase in agencies that contact us, because literally there are agencies popping up everywhere, like from like really macro to micro agencies with like four influencers to five hundred influencers, and they’re just popping up from everywhere because everyone wants to manage influencers because they’re so big right now, but then because there are so many agencies, I can’t see it dying down because there is such a buzz around like agencies, influencers and stuff like that. Emily: So do you think it’s moving more away from sponsored posts and more towards just influencers with Instagram? Zoe: Yeah, we don’t really do many sponsored posts because like I’m sure you’ll agree but when I see a sponsored post I know they’ve been paid loads of money for it, where as when I see a girl in like Boohoo or Hidden Fashion, they’re just posing in it, it’s more like well they’ve chosen the item, they want to style it, and not that they’ve been paid two grand for a post. Emily: Ah ok, and that’s quite a lot cheaper as well isn’t it? Zoe: Oh it’s so much, well, if, most of Hidden’s is gifted, but obviously we do pay as well. Emily: Yeah. So say hypothetically the recent trends in social detoxing did effect Hidden Fashion, how would you adjust your social media marketing content to sustain your position? Zoe: We’d have to adjust I think and start paying more macro influencers because they’re not going anywhere like, Emily Shak, Jess Hunt, they aren’t going anywhere, Molly Mae. So you’d have to, I think, put loads of money into it because if the micro’s are detoxing, the macro’s won’t detox because if they detox then that is it really, like they lose the buzz and they’ll be on so much money a post, so then they’ll lose it and obviously once they lose it then people will overtake them. So you’d just have to start paying more money.


Pandemic influence Account deactivation Account reactivation Increased followers Marketing strategy Negative pandemic effects

Evaluation of social media engagement No threat Social media sustainability Social platform reliability Consumer as driving force Social media marketing effects

Social media durability Increase in influencers

Marketing strategy Use of influencers Consumer trust

Marketing expense

Use of influencers Marketing expense

Emily: Yeah, because there’s also if like those influencers started moving away from Instagram, if they (Instagram) keep updating the app the way they are, I feel like they could be in trouble in 5 years time. Because they keep changing their business model and it’s affecting creators. Zoe: Yeah 100%, but then loads of micro influencers are popping up everyday as well, like so many people message us saying, ‘I’ve only got blah blah blah followers but I really want to work for you’ so then you could switch it and be like look, maybe we give them discounted clothes instead of free clothes and maybe do it that way. Emily: Ok, um has the pandemic had an effect on your social media engagement? Zoe: Um, yeah it rocketed in the first, it sort of middled out now, it really rocketed in the first, that’s when I first started working there, so we were doing things about the NHS workers and stuff and obviously it was like an eight week lockdown and everyone was so bored, but there was dry spells 100% near then end where I would be expecting about 1.2k likes on a post and there wouldn’t be, but then people are detoxing, people did a lot of that in the first one (lockdown).

Increase in influencers Marketing strategy Marketing expense Social media presence

Evaluation of social media engagement Insightful content effect Increased engagement Decreased engagement Growing awareness of social media effects Detoxing Social media marketing effects Positive pandemic effects Negative pandemic effects

Emily: Yeah definitely. Zoe: It’s picking up now, we can do more photoshoots and stuff now, so it is picking up, like we have bigger names coming in, we started selling branded clothes which do really well, but I think its quietened down from the first one. Emily: Yeah, ok. So I think you’ve already touched on this next question but, what do you think the future of social media marketing looks like for just fast fashion brands in general? Zoe: Um, influencing only. I think brands will, well I can imagine PLT, Missguided will remain banners on taxis and stuff, but I personally don’t think we would spend money on that marketing. If Kieran said, ‘Zoe, you have six grand left for this month’ I’d be looking at working with like Maura Higgins, or someone that’s like a big influencer. I wouldn’t then think, oh we could print out so many flyers or we could buy a billboard in Birmingham, like I would never think that, like I don’t drive past billboards and look at it and even remember what is says. Emily: Yeah definitely. What do you think about experiential marketing then, like sort of taking it outside of social media but not doing the bog standard banners and stuff? Zoe: Yeah well, sample sales work really well. Like stuff like that works really well so like at uni, when we go to BCU and stuff, it works really well. And it gets people hyped because its like dead cheap clothes and gets loads of students hyped. We were going to experiment with like freshers and that this year, like I was sort of going to venture out to what we could do, but at the minute it’s just so bad like you can’t do anything. I think we’re just going to stick to social media because it does work, its just trial and error with social media. Some girls’ posts you’d think would do amazing and then I’ll refresh the feed and it has done awful. And the like a little micro influencer suddenly has like five hundred comments. Well obviously do you like know what Instagram groups are?


Evaluation of social media engagement Linear engagement Photoshoot campaigns Marketing strategy

Use of influencers Social media as single marketing strategy Marketing expense Marketing strategy Evaluation of competitors

Event marketing Consumer as driving force Negative pandemic effects Marketing strategy Social platform reliability Decreased engagement Use of influencers Social media marketing effects

Emily: No. Zoe: Well there are these things called engagement groups now, basically they are girls that want followers on Instagram go into an engagement group, and like it will have six hundred girls in, and they all put links to their photos and you have to go and like and comment on their photo, but its dead obvious because somebody will upload a photo of their coffee cup and there will be six hundred girls saying ‘you look stunning’ it’s dead obvious, but then on the other side they have loads of engagement so like I do think over time that it has become fake, like when I see that I know that their followers aren’t real, they’re not organic followers. But at the same time for a brand, girls are still looking and clicking. Emily: Yeah, do you think that the algorithm, especially on Instagram has a massive part to play in like how some of your posts do really, really well and others don’t? Because I think that’s a massive issue with the algorithm on Instagram at the moment. Zoe: Yeah well we sort of play on the algorithm because apparently if you save a photo, it gets your algorithm up so if people are saving your photo, you’re more likely to see it, like everyone. So I’m sure that if you go on Oh Polly you’ll see it, they always put on their comps, like and save the post, but if you were to go there eight months ago, they did not used to say that, it would just be, like the post. But we’ve recently done it, we did like and save but it didn’t really make a difference, so I really don’t know. I really don’t get it, like we thought it would be a really big comp but it didn’t, and then we did the £150 one and we didn’t do the like and save, and we did really well. Emily: Yeah the algorithm does seem a little bit all over the place, and I think this is an issue with even like, Facebook, I don’t think you use Facebook for your marketing though do you because its not the right demographic? Zoe: No, every Instagram post goes to Facebook but that’s about it. Emily: Ok, what about Twitter and that?

Lack of transparency Increased engagement Increase in influencers Evaluation of social media engagement

Zoe: Twitter I’m really trying, like I post like 6 times a day, but I think that because nobody posted on it for so long, it’s really hard to get Twitter up unless your post goes viral. So Twitter I’m trying but my main focus every day is Instagram because so much more has to go into it than you think. Emily: Does your content differ between Twitter and Instagram? Zoe: Yeah so Twitter is just like memes because I feel like the girl that did my job before me did posts like product pictures, and people don’t want that on Twitter, you go on Instagram for that. You don’t go on Twitter to see a shop; you go on Twitter for funny memes. I’m trying to change it but it’s taking a while. But I do think that touching on the algorithm, its’ really hard for a brand like Hidden because we’re such a niche brand, and we really rely on marketing, so like PLT and Boohoo, they’re so big anyway, it doesn’t really make a difference but for a small brand its really effecting us like our stuff doesn’t go as well. Emily: Yeah I understand that.

Social platform reliability Decreased engagement Social platform preference Marketing strategy

Zoe: And we spend money, and it’s like if you want to spend any money you want to see results, so it’s really stressful.

Marketing expense


Effects of algorithm Evaluation of social media engagement Social platform reliability Decreased engagement Increased engagement Social media marketing effects

Social platform preference

Adaption to trends Consumer as driving force Effects of social media marketing Social media presence Evaluation of social media engagement Marketing strategy Effects of algorithm Reliance on social media marketing Evaluation of competitors

Emily: Ok, so 55% of my respondents from the survey I posted said they would be more likely to engage with insightful social media content and so, kind of something that has an impact on them, so you said earlier about the NHS stuff you did at the beginning of lockdown so do you think that had an impact? Zoe: Yeah, insightful, yeah our best, I’ll tell you now, I’m pretty sure our most liked post of last month was something to do with empowerment and it does so well, let me just have a look. Yeah so our top ones ever, two videos of empowerment, a photo of stomach rolls, honestly they do so much better, the Black Lives Matter post is up there. They do so much better because people want to see it, like I usually try every week to at least post glitter stretch marks, like tummy rolls, like different skin tones, different races, something different and people absolutely love it. We see our engagement just fly up. Emily: Yeah, so do you think that’s a relevant step brands are going to have to take in the future to maybe sustain their social media engagement? Zoe: Yeah, so Missy Empire, I don’t think they posted anything for Black Lives Matter, but they don’t post anything for like on days as well, like important days, they never posted anything. They will just post influencers, all the time, and like, when you look at that, and look at when a brands got meaningful content, like we did self care tips on LinkedIn and stuff like that, it always gets really good engagement. Emily: Oh ok, um so would Hidden Fashion, I think I may have asked you this actually, would Hidden Fashion consider looking beyond social media in the future in terms of advertising to maintain consumers attention? Zoe: Yeah, no we wouldn’t.

Insightful content effect Increased engagement Evaluation of social media engagement Marketing strategy Brand transparency

Insightful content effect Evaluation of competitors Use of influencers Increased engagement Marketing strategy Multi network use Consumer as driving force Brand transparency

Social media as single marketing strategy Marketing strategy

Emily: So you’re definitely going to stick to social? Zoe: Yeah, well from what I’m aware, hopefully because that’s my job. Emily: Haha, and have there been any campaigns Hidden Fashion have created outside of social media that have been successful? Zoe: Not from when I have been there, I’ve only been there 9 months now, um obviously photoshoot campaigns are massive so like we’ve really been going to like Manchester recently, um they’ve done big campaigns in the past, that’s about it, we’re literally social media based. I wouldn’t fully know whether they’ve done anything in the past on billboards. Obviously they do sample sales and stuff, but it is mainly just social media Emily: I think the sample sales are a good example though. Zoe: And we get rid of stuff we don’t need, it’s sustainable. Emily: Oh so you can get rid of old stock through sample sales? Zoe: Yeah so it’s like, sample’s what we get sent, that we might not sell. Emily: Ok

Social media as single marketing strategy

Zoe: So I bet we’ve got a lot of it waiting. But it will probably be stuff as well that we’ve ordered in and then not liked, or ordered too much of it and stuff. Emily: Yeah, I suppose you might have had quite a few during the pandemic as well?

Marketing strategy


Photoshoot campaigns Event marketing Social media as single marketing strategy

Social media sustainability Event marketing

Marketing strategy

Zoe: The first lockdown, people bought so much stuff, we saw such a rise. I think that’s why the Instagram saw a rise though as well because everyone was shopping but obviously Black Friday is coming up so we have a big campaign coming so we’re expecting it to rocket, we’re hoping on Black Friday that it will just fly. We also have a few events coming up with brands and stuff so, we are venturing out with events, that’s going to come. First one is in three weeks and then in the New Year, but then again its still like blogger based, it’s an event but its blogger based so technically its still all about Instagram and getting the bloggers and photographers there. Emily: I think that’s smart though because it’s still linking to social media with them, but I think the events will be quite successful. Zoe: Yeah, we hope so. It’s at a bar in Birmingham, but it’s just stressful with like the pandemic and I’m trying to arrange it with like the tiers, the different tiers, like will people from Manchester be able to come here, will they not? What if on the day they can’t? It’s so stressful. Emily: Yeah that’s understandable. Well thank you for taking the time out of your day to speak to me and voice your opinions. You’ve been a massive help.

Increased revenue Increased engagement Annual campaign Event marketing Use of influencers Social media preference Marketing strategy

Negative pandemic effects

Appendix II Interview transcript

Initial coding framework

Emily: Does social media have a big part to play in the marketing of Pretty Little Thing? If so, how? Lucy: Yes 100%. PLT relies hugely on social media marketing and has done ever since it was first founded, everything is done online. Emily: Research suggests there has been a growing trend in social media detoxing following from changes in consumer attitudes towards social media, does this pose any threats to the future of marketing on social media for you? Lucy: If anything I would say people are online more due to lockdown and this has benefited us as a company, we’ve gone from strength to strength and have seen increased activity during this period. I think because we have such a huge presence anyway that even if consumers did have a social detox it wouldn’t pose a threat because we are a household brand name and a brand consumers can always rely on. We’re always ready to adapt to the platform behaviours and react well across all our channels to suit. Emily: How would you adjust your social media marketing content to sustain your position in the industry should these recent trends effect your brands marketing strategy? Lucy: The main thing I love about working at PLT is that we are always evolving and growing, any hurdles we come across we are always so reactive and see a positive response. We have such a close and amazing team that support each other and each others ideas, so if we were to ever be affected by a recent trend we would work together to think of the best outcome and response. Key for the business is to listen on social and really dial in to what the consumer needs that’s how we are able to be so agile Emily: Has the pandemic had an effect on your social media engagement?


Reliance on social media marketing Social media as single marketing strategy

Increased engagement Social media presence No threat Adaption to consumer behaviours Positive pandemic effects Evaluation of consumer behaviours Consumer trust Reliance on brand name

Adaption to consumer behaviours Adaption to trends Consumer as driving force

Lucy: We have definitely seen an increase in engagement during this time because more people actually have the spare time to be on socials. To begin with I think everyone was so unsure of what was going on and at PLT we wanted to reassure our consumers that everything is going to be okay so we dedicated our feed and stories to self-care tips and other useful materials Emily: What do you think the future of social media marketing looks like for fast fashion brands? Lucy: I think its hard to say because trends are always changing, we always aim to be the first brand on top of everything new! For example Twitter Fleets became the newest way to interact with consumers and within a couple of minutes we were on top form and uploaded our first fleet! It just about keeping up to date and being reactive fast. Emily: 55% of respondents from my survey said they would be more likely to engage with ‘insightful’ social media content. Do you think this is a relevant step brands should take to sustain their social media engagement for the future? Lucy: As well as promoting products through our socials it’s important that we build and maintain a relationship with our consumers. This is why we switch up our content and always make it relatable and engaging for example; we created a lockdown self-care checklist for the most current lockdown because we knew after the first one how hard it was and we want to act like a support network for our consumers. I 100% think brands should post insightful content. Emily: Would Pretty Little Thing consider looking beyond social media in the future in terms of advertising to maintain consumers attention? Lucy: I think because social media marketing is so successful for us we will always use this specific marketing technique. Social platforms are always upgrading and new platforms are constantly being produced, so for us advertising opportunities are endless and we love to be challenged and produce new content to engage our consumer. Emily: Have there been any campaigns Pretty Little Thing curated outside of social media that have been successful? Lucy: All of our campaigns have focused around social media and that is a huge pillar in our marketing strategy, we communicate and listen to our consumer to make sure each campaign resonates as much as possible.

Increase in engagement Positive pandemic effects Insightful content effects Consumer as driving force Marketing strategy Brand/consumer relationship

Adaption to technologies Multi network use

Consumer as driving force Marketing strategy Insightful content effect Adaption to consumer behaviours Brand/consumer relationship

Social media as single marketing strategy Social platform reliability Social media marketing effects Adaption to technologies Marketing strategy Social media durability

Social media as single marketing strategy Consumer as driving force Consumer/brand relationship

Appendix III Interview transcript

Initial coding framework

Emily: Does social media have a big part to play in the marketing/PR of brands at Gung Ho? If so, how? Amelia: Yes it does. However we only work on the social accounts of a few clients in the agency. We help develop all things content, copy, reporting, scheduling etc – all of the key ingredients to a successful social media. Emily: Research suggests there has been a growing trend in social media detoxing following from changes in consumer attitudes towards social media, does this pose


Multi-marketing strategy Marketing strategy

any threats to the future of marketing on social media for you?

Amelia: I think the recent pandemic did dramatically effect the usage of social media. However it is us as an agency that have to put a positive spin on this and utilise social media for good. We definitely have to be agile in our working and take note on updates social media habits Emily: How would you adjust your social media marketing content to sustain your position in the industry should these recent trends effect your brands marketing strategy? Amelia: It is just super important to stay with the times and remain relevant and relatable when on social. Consumers now look to brands to offer more than just product on their platforms, so we look at engaging trends like live work outs etc. Also we have to constantly be on top of new social platforms, i.e the recent development of TikTok, and how many users and consumers there are native on that app. Emily: Has the pandemic had an effect on your social media engagement? Amelia: In a positive way yes. It has allowed us to relate to our audience/ consumers and provide social entertainment so to speak – rather than standard content. Emily: What do you think the future of social media marketing looks like for fast fashion brands? Amelia: I cant imagine working for a fast fashion brand on their social team haha. I can imagine trends switch up 24/7 and they have to have large teams monitoring those updates, trends and changes. I think as well now, consumers are as savvy as ever and are aware of the implications of fast fashion in the world, this will definitely pose threats to their social medias. Emily: 55% of respondents from my survey said they would be more likely to engage with ‘insightful’ social media content. Do you think this is a relevant step brands should take to sustain their social media engagement for the future? Amelia: I totally agree, I think brands have an obligation to use their platform to educate and offer insight to their audience. i.e BLM or pride Emily: Would Gung Ho consider looking beyond social media in the future in terms of advertising to maintain consumers attention? Amelia: We always look at other ways to market our brands, we have an always on attitude and social media is never the be all or end all. We do a lot of activations, events and out of home advertising to maintain maximum impact. Emily: Have there been any campaigns Gung Ho curated outside of social media that have been successful? Amelia: SO MANY. All our activations/ events/ press trips. If you need any examples let me know and I can send any images.


Pandemic influence Adaption to consumer behaviours Adaption of social media use

Adaption to trends Adaption to technologies Adaption to consumer behaviours Adaption of social media use Event marketing Multi network use Consumer as driving force

Positive pandemic effects Brand/consumer relationship Adaption of social media use

Growing awareness of brand operations Potential threat Adaption to trends Adaption to consumer behaviours

Evaluation of insightful content Brand obligation to provide positive social experience

Multi marketing strategy Event marketing Marketing strategy

Multi marketing strategy

Appendix IV Interview transcript

Initial coding framework

Emily: 55% of respondents from my survey said they would be more likely to engage with ‘insightful’ social media content. Do you think this is a relevant step fast fashion brands should take to sustain their social media engagement for the future? Laura: Absolutely! We are constantly learning and want to know more and more about a brand, how ethical they are, the quality and their brand moto

Emily: Do you think changing consumer attitudes towards social media poses a threat to social media marketing? Laura: I think in order for brands to stay successful and relevant to the ever changing consumer wants and needs brands need to adapt, we are seeing a shift in consumers craving transparency so I believe brands will need to change their marketing strategy to cater to this new customer demand. I don’t think it poses a threat to social media I believe brands will need to simply use it in different ways, I believe the stereotypical ‘influencer’ will become less influential and it will steer towards more inspirational people who have a voice that are prepared to demonstrate positive change. Emily: Do you think fast fashion brands are going to have to be more innovative with their social media content to sustain their position in the industry? If so, how do you suggest they adjust their social media content to maintain consumer attention and engagement? Laura: Absolutely, second hand shopping is expected to over take fast fashion in the next 10 years therefore it is paramount fast fashion brands understand this and look at consumer shifts. In order to maintain consumer attention I believe they would need to consider some form of gesture to give back that promotes a strong contribution to the environment, this could be more sustainable fabrics, a recycling initiative or simply collaborating with a charity, this would produce great PR and online content. Emily: Do you think brands will have to look beyond social media in the future in terms of advertising to maintain consumers attention? Laura: Online marketing is constantly growing therefore I believe it will still play a huge part of any brands marketing strategy and with the global pandemic brands are realising the value of online marketing more than ever. We have realised that consumers love personalisation therefore I believe there will be a stronger steer towards this to provide a connection with the brand. Emily: What do you think the future of social media marketing looks like for fast fashion brands? Laura: As above I feel like it's touching on the cause marketing aspect, what can they do to give back. Fast fashion has such an environmental impact that its tarnished with negativity, therefore I believe fast fashion brands need to find a way to make a change, do something positive and implement this into their marketing strategy.


Brand transparency Evaluation of insightful content Adaption to consumer behaviours

Adaption to consumer behaviours Brand transparency No threat Adaption of marketing strategy Adaption of social media use Influencer durability Cause marketing

Adaption to trends Adaption to consumer behaviours Brand transparency Social media demonstrating positive change Insightful content effects Cause marketing

Social media marketing effects Pandemic influence Adaption to consumer behaviours Consumer as driving force Brand/consumer relationship Social media durability

Cause marketing Adaption of marketing strategy Brand obligation to provide positive social media experience

Appendix V Interview transcript

Initial coding framework

Emily: So I’m trying to figure out whether there’s been a shift in attitude towards social media and whether this is going to effect social media marketing, because of course most brands at the moment use social media as their main tool, um so I’m just trying to figure out really, what your company does, whether there has been a shift in attitude and hear your opinion on some of the other research I’ve done. Sophie: Hm, a shift in attitude towards social media and marketing? Emily: Yeah Sophie: So using social media for marketing. I mean I think based on the attention economy model and everything you’ve heard in The Social Dilemma, there is, in our company definitely, an awareness of, we don’t want to flip people all these posts just to get attention, and really live up to our standards of practising digital wellness which then includes just being aware of that aspect of the attention economy and not flooding people with tonnes of posts, on the other hand, so there is definitely that awareness, also when it comes to newsletters , we’re trying to be very aware of peoples attention, I think that’s a driving force, the attention economy model for a lot of things. On the other hand of course we are also building a business, so there is also the general way of, ok whatever also we kind of have to do what we will have to do. Emily: I kind of understand that your sort of philosophy isn’t really social detoxing, because a lot of the information I have found on the internet is that people are doing these social detoxes, um but I take it you’re more interested in having a better relationship with your devices, is that right? Sophie: Yeah, digital detoxing is just one way to go about it, but yeah we definitely, the Collective includes a bunch of people or professionals that have a variety of products or educational tools that all are in the realm of digital wellness and so some of them include I think the aspect of digital detoxing but others also include more, intentional use and when to use it and what content to consume and also education, so yeah not only detoxing, you’re right. Emily: Yeah, so what is kind of the mission behind the work that Digital Wellness Collective does? Sophie: Our mission is to educate, empower and embody the science of digital wellness, which we do with the Collective as our association to create and build community and really build a movement around people working in their space, having a platform to share and connect, and then with the Digital Wellness Institute, to bring that to others and really make digital wellness a new standard, normalised aspect of the digital world we live in now. And so it includes education and really also, embodiment for practising those things by themselves and being role models, and therefore empower others. Emily: Brilliant, so why is it you think its important we need to start having a healthier relationship with our technology, phones, social media?


Growing awareness of social media effects Awareness of attention economy model Social media post quantity Practising of digital wellness Marketing strategy Social media as essential marketing Social media as marketing tool

Detoxing Practising digital wellness Education of technological use Intentional social media use

Digital wellness as a movement Digital wellness as a standard Education of technological use Practising digital wellness

Sophie: Yeah, well technology has evolved so quickly, that it is hacking, obviously into the very um old parts of our brains there are *inaudible* developing so quickly, that we need almost like a handbook to deal with those advancements, so those technologies don’t come with a ‘how to use’ handbook, so we are trying to basically to provide those manuals for how to deal with technology *inaudible* and give those tools to use those technologies in more positive ways. Emily: Ok brilliant. So would you say that you have seen a growing interest in people wanting a healthier relationship with their technology, because I think you provide a service don’t you, through the website? Sophie; yeah, we are now starting our third cohort of the Digital Wellness certification that people can take, even if you just, yeah we know that the search word for ‘how to stay focussed’ has increased during the pandemic so we have 100% seen the amount of mobile devices connected has doubled, so there is obviously a big increase, specifically now during the pandemic, in terms of people being plugged in, but also a lot of companies wanting tools for their employees for how to manage their technologies in better ways, that then obviously serves the company, that’s just more of a productivity aspect, but then on the personal side, it goes into a personal side with literally prevention of health issues, based on how the technology is used, maybe eye strain, or sitting or being overwhelmed, burn out and all these types of things, there is definitely a growing interest in that from the organisational sector, but also from the private sector, a big one is also parents who have a big ask of ‘how do I teach this to my kids’ and ‘what are the rules’ and ‘what’s good and what’s bad’, so that’s a big sector too, and yeah everyday people that are working from home and have trouble disconnecting. Emily: Yeah that’s my biggest downfall at the moment, like I’ve moved back home because my university stopped lectures and England has gone into another lockdown, so I’m trying to write my dissertation at home and I’m so used to being in a library environment and I’m really struggling at the moment from coming off my phone. So do you think in terms of just social media, and not smart phones, just social media, do you think there has been a shift in attitude towards it in comparison to the last couple of months, couple of years? Sophie: I don’t know if it was a shift, I think maybe the attitude of, like a negative attitude that it is a really harmful thing has just intensified, due to also documentaries like The Social Dilemma that obviously highlight the problematic nature of the business structure of those companies and everything without providing any solutions and, there is I mean lots of other documentaries and obviously we read it in the news media a lot that mental health impacts, I mean there’s Twenge who wrote the book of iJen who really talks about how we see all these detriments within our younger generation due to the smartphone and makes the cause of claim, and then there’s the other part of the researchers that say no, that we can’t really make a cause of claim when we really can when we look at the literature in detail, but that’s not really what the news media is covering because that’s not so juicy, so based on that, I think the attitude is becoming more extreme and I don’t think it has shifted in that sense because obviously, you would really have to go back to 2004 when Facebook first came about and um and I don’t know if that would be *inaudible* small group of people


Psychological effects Education of technological use Perception of positive use

Increase in unproductivity Increase in technological use Influence of pandemic Education on technological use Health concerns Negative effects of technological use Growing awareness of technological effects

Change in user attitude Negative effects of technological use Intrusion on privacy Growing awareness of social media effects

would be using it, so I think the more negative attitude towards it started already early on before Facebook became big and all the privacy issues started to come out and um Cambridge Analytica and all these different things.

Emily: Yeah, would you agree that is why we have seen such an increase in social detoxing as well? Because I have seen multiple reports state that it has sky rocketed, especially this year which I found quite surprising because of the pandemic because I thought people probably would have been more interested in their smartphones as a way to combat boredom? But um, it is on the rise. Sophie: Yeah, probably Emily: So do you think social media had a positive or negative effect on society? Sophie; Yeah, I mean based on the research I have done and there’s a really cool meta review of meta analysis that I am happy to send you that *inaudible*, its from a colleague in Germany and he basically analysed all meta analysis that are out there that investigated the effects of social networking sites on… Sophie: I got a call and then the internet went, sorry! Emily: Haha, it’s fine. Sophie: Okay, you asked about the positive and negative effects right? And the debate on that. Right so I don’t know what you got from what I was saying but I was sharing that there is, that the research that I’ve, I mean the literature research that I’ve done, there is one person who wrote a really cool meta review, a systematic meta review of meta analysis. Emily: Okay. Sophie: You’re a PhD student, you know what I’m talking about right? Emily: Kind of Sophie: Meta analysis, you know what that is right? Emily: I don’t sorry, I’m not a PhD student, I’m a business student. Sophie: Okay, a business student, so you’re doing your undergrad or what degrees are you doing? Emily: I’m undergrad, so I’m doing business, um I’m going down the marketing route at the moment so I’m doing Fashion Business and Promotion. Sophie: And you’re doing an undergraduate degree? A Bachelors degree? Or a Masters degree? Emily: Undergrad.



Sophie: Got you, never mind then ok, so basically what this study is, its like a really awesome *inaudible* study and they showed actually that the relationship between social networking sites and mental health is kind of a small effect, like there is an effect there but it is small, but the effect of social networking sites, and that’s for young adults, and the effect for social networking sites for social support are actually larger, the effect size so the effect itself, right? Is actually larger. There’s also however then another really *inaudible* on body image disturbance, that’s always a negative and so it very much depends on how these mental health issues are measured to see you know, what the overall positive and negative effects are because we can’t really make that argument without looking at how people are using social media, or their social networking sites. And so, whereas some, specifically females, do a lot of social comparison in a negative way and that impacts their body image negatively, then yes, in total for all those people there is more of a negative effect, but then there’s also the other groups of people that get a lot of social support from that and actually upward social compare and feel inspired to become better, to start working out, to start a new hobby, whatever it might be, and then the overall effect is actually quite positive, so the answer to that question is always more nuance than just averaging all out and being like ‘well in total there’s more of a negative or more of a positive effect, if that makes sense? Emily: Yeah, from some of the primary research I’ve done, people have more of an issue with, one, the body positivity that you were talking about, two, the amount of time they tend to spend on their phone because it makes them feel really lethargic, and really unproductive, and people feel like they’re addicted to their phones, so yeah its more to do around the productivity and the actual content that they’re consuming is making them feel bad about themselves. Sophie: Yeah definitely. Emily: Which leads me on to one of my other questions, so say more people start to adopt this approach to having a healthier relationship with their phone, I’m not sure how much you know about marketing, but do you think this could have a significant effect on the marketing sector on social media, because of course they rely on engagement to sort of determine whether their marketing is successful, but of course if people start spending less time on their phones, do you think this you’d have a negative effect on marketing? Sophie: Right well I think that one of the things is that right now with social media marketing, a lot goes obviously on quantity, so the more often a consumer sees a product or a brand advertising the more impressions they get and I mean yeah, the whole system obviously is based on that, and so it would require to shift the marketing system into more of a quality aspect to then get impressions based on really high quality content that is however less in quantity and however then that of course only works if it again it becomes kind of a communal or all embracing, like everybody needs to do it in that sense but in one sense also, one can start and yes start a movement almost towards that direction, so I can see how that digital wellness movement can then impact the way that marketing could be done and people respond to marketing.


Positive effects of social media Negative effects of social media Perception of social media effects Mental health Social support Inspiring social media

Negative effects of technological use

Social media post quantity Adaption to quality content Digital wellness movement Adaption of marketing strategy Awareness of attention economy model Evaluation of marketing strategies Adaption to consumer behaviours Requirements of mass movement

Emily: I spoke to a couple of brand representatives for some fashion brands in the UK and lot of them were saying that their more insightful, and more mindful content got the most engagement, so I know that site a few of them have been doing self care tips throughout lockdown, they made a post about Black Lives Matter, body positivity, and they saw a higher amount of engagement from these kinds of posts, so do you think that more mindful or insightful content from brands would improve the wellbeing of people on the internet if they are consuming better content, that they would have a better relationship with social media? Sophie: Yeah I mean its already going in the direction with social responsibility that of course now the younger generation specifically is really putting an emphasis on and so in sense basically marketed on the outside, brands actually have some form of social responsibility and yeah post content that is along those lines then yeah, definitely think that would have a positive effect Emily: Yeah because I’m researching whether they started changing their content a little bit to make it a bit more impactful, because some of the research I’ve done as well is people are more likely to engage with social media in a more positive way, I think this goes off of something that Tristan Harris said in a Ted Talk that they feel they have gained something from their experience on social media, because at the moment a lot of people are coming off it and finding they they didn’t get anything out of the time they spent on their phones, and saw it as more of a time waster, and they want to spend their time in a better way, so yeah you’d say you agree that if brands make this shift into posting better content, then they will better sustain their position in the industry? Sophie: Yeah!

Emily: Yeah, um I think that’s everything really! I just wanted to find out is there anything you could add to the whole marketing side of things? Sophie: Is there anything else about the marketing side, is that what you’re asking? Emily: Yeah, what do you believe brands could do to better sustain their position based on their social media content? Sophie: I mean I think it can be really used for good, if the messages are more positive and the brand actually cares about the consumer and yeah it goes beyond just selling the product but really having some form of atrophic background which I know not a lot, not a lot of companies have, but that can be one avenue and I mean its’ already there, and for younger generations that’s really important. Yeah well I think we will be seeing a shift at some point!


Brand obligation for social responsibility Evaluation of insightful content Change in user attitude Adaption to consumer behaviours

Evaluation of insightful content Adaption of marketing strategy

Positive effects of technological use Change in user attitude Adaption to consumer behaviour

Appendix VI Interview transcript

Initial coding framework

Emily: So what is the mission behind the work you do at Screen Time Lifeline? Christina: I mean ultimately its to help people reclaim their lives from overuse of digital technology and specifically social media because I feel like social media is actually like, a colonising presence of our lives, I feel like it colonised our relationships, um our identities, you know basically its a force, you know, a marketing force. Its not a social connection force. All of its created to sell shit, so, so what I do is I help people with kind of a like, its not just for me its not just like digital detoxing because I don’t actually like that term very much, its really about giving people some tools to be able to like, kind of resist the addictive nature, because addiction is built into these platforms, so kind of like nervous system and mindfulness tools, so that then that feeling of wanting to grab your phone is so strong and its built into the platforms, exploration of meaning for understanding that you’d rather be doing with your life rather than spending four hours a day on social media, and connection. Human connection like bringing people together to have real conversations and have real connection, so I do that through events that are tech free, but my goal is not to encourage people to like get off their technology or even social media in particular , but to have critical thinking around what social media is, um you know, what the intention of social media is, and to spring clean their lives from that, so you know its called Screen Time Lifeline because its sort of like, were drowning and I’m throwing you the lifeline! And also you know, for a lot of people, social media is a lifeline, like we have lost a lot, and I’m a generation X person so I remember what its like before hand, and while I wouldn’t, I mean there’s some benefits of social media especially or like people who are maybe isolated, you know like say that’s there’s a queer kid, and in like a really rural town and they just aren’t getting any support, so that kid could find their people on social media so like, you know its a way for people who might be extreme introverts or neurodiverse or have a disability to be connected, so its not, like that’s not the intention of it, just because those are benefits, that wasn’t, that’s like saying Amazon is a great company because it allows disabled people to get products, like there will be another way for that to happen. Yeah that’s kind of, I want people to be kept critical thinking around social media and to use it at their own means, um rather than just being swept along. Emily: Yeah, have you ever, have you seen the documentary on Netflix called ‘The Social Dilemma’? Christina: I have. Emily: Yeah that’s where my whole projects actually stemmed from, I thought id just watch it for fun and I ended out generating an idea, and that was where I found out that they use kind of psychology to tap into peoples brains to make the addicted, and Iowa just interesting seeing all of these big names from Silicon Valley who worked for Twitter and Facebook and how they didn’t see this happening, the business model has completely shifted from being just a social media platform and its become this big marketing tool now, and they didn’t even expect it to happen. Um, so why do you believe that’s its important that we start having healthier


Negative effects of social media Social media as a marketing tool Psychological manipulation Human connection Positive effects of social media Detoxing Addiction Intentional social media Social support Education on social media use

relationships with our phone? I think you’ve already touched on this a little bit.

Christina: Yeah I just think its really important that we remember how to have embodied experiences. That we experience our lives, our phone can like really keeps us in this visual realm and were not having, were not using all of our senses, it creates, sorry I just woke up, its morning here. Emily: Haha don’t worry.

Negative effects of social media In person experiences

Christina: It basically creates, we think its connecting us, but its actually disconnecting us, because it cheapens relationships, you know its so much easier, I mean, to hit a like button rather than be like ‘oh my God that’s so great!’ And call somebody and say ‘that’s awesome!’ Or send them a card, its like, it makes it really easy to have very shallow relationships, and digital technology in general creates this environment where its much easier to avoid people, like its much easier to be like ‘oh I got this text, I dot want to deal with this person’. I have this saying that avoidance is not a boundary, that a lot of people will be like ‘I just blocked her, on Instagram, and I set a boundary’ like that’s not a boundary, that’s avoidance. A boundary is ‘I don’t want to see you’, its communicating, rather than just this passive aggressive thing, so, um I also just think that there you know, a lot of health issues with our phones, like the blue light is a really big issue when falling asleep, just the ways in which it keeps us from fully embracing our lives, yeah that’s why I think its important for people to have healthy relationships with their phone, because, you know, would before Covid, and hopefully after Covid, I would do retreats where I would take people phones away, and its sad to me that its so hard for people to get off their phone for a weekend. Emily: Yeah definitely.

Negative effects of social media Effects on relationships Health concerns Human connection

Christina: Sad that, I don’t blame people for that, I blame corporations for that. Emily: Oh yeah, I think its a personal issue that I’ve got as well, I say this to my boyfriend all the time, I’d love to come off social media, but each app does something different for my life, and especially with the industry that I’m going into, I feel like I’m just chained to it and I don’t want to be Christina, Right! right yeah

Brand obligation for social responsibility

Emily: Especially because me and my boyfriend are doing a long-distance relationship at the moment with the pandemic, that my phone is always there because I text him, because its there, I feel gravitated towards it, and I can’t really explain why.


Christina: Well yeah, I think there’s all sorts of reasons why, I mean there is um, the intermittent positive reinforcement, right, where sometimes you go to your phone, and whatever app you’re using, your email or social media or whatever, you go and there’s like nothing interesting, then one time you’ll go and there’s a big pay off, and its like a dopamine hit, and like that’s an intentional model, like Tristan Harris talks about, like a slot machine in your pocket, so it keeps you there and we also just believe that, there’s also this underlying like need for social approval that is wired into, its like Palaeolithic, right its like wired into the lizard brain, wired into our amygdala, when humans lived and hunted in gathering groups, if you didn’t get along with the people in your group, you’d have died. You know what I mean? Like, social connection was like a survival issue, and it is today too because without social community and connection, we’d have shorter life spans, our lives are less happy and so that’s why the red notification symbol, is like a, it basically like triggers that part of our brain, like ‘oh my God, somebody wants to reach me, if I don’t communicate with them, they’re not going to love me anymore’. Like really on an animal brain kind of way Emily: I believe that you’re a psychologist aren’t you, or have I got that wrong? Christina: I’m a masters level, I’m not a psychologist, I’m a licensed mental health councillor Emily: Oh ok, I was just going to say that the whole red button thing, like there is psychology that goes behind every single step that goes into it. Christina: Yeah, I know that Facebooks used to be blue, and then they changed it to red, and then their engagement sky rocketed. Emily: Oh that’s insane. So have you seen a growing interest with people wanting a healthier relationship with their technology? Christina: I do, I think that its, I compare it to smoking, right? I compare to at least in the US and I can’t remember what year but it was the 1960s the surgeon general came out and said that smoking is deadly, smoking will kill you. And I think that people, I think there was an awareness that it was unhealthy, I think there was concern about it and people started to quit, but it really took like 3 years for smoking to become a behaviour that no longer was really socially acceptable. Um and to decrease the rates of smoking, so right now, I think there are some people who are interested, but I actually think that right now, the cure feels more painful that the problem when it comes to social media, like you know, I like, I find the people who are interested in that but its not like people are banging my door down, its an effort to find the people who want to have a different experience. Theres awareness, I think people feel a lot of shame, I think people feel powerless, I think were moving to a pace where you know, people are going to think about this much more like a health issue like any other kind of health issue, um so I think theres a growing awareness, but I don’t think we have reached the tipping point. Emily: So with comparing it to smoking would you say that you see social media as an addiction?


Psychological manipulation Negative effects of social media Addiction Self-validation Human connection Perception of social media effects Psychological effects

Psychological manipulation

Addiction Growing awareness of social media effects Change in user attitude Psychological effects Perception of social media effects Negative effects of social media Solution suggestion Health concerns

Christina: Um, yeah I think I do. I mean I’m unsure about that because as a mental health professional, social media addiction would be a process addiction. Um also it just hasn’t been around long enough for there to even be like any kind of studies on our relationships with technologies and how it impacts us and our mental health, actually its all correlative right, there’s no connection with cause, it looks like there has an impact but I’m always so careful because its such a new phenomena, that we just don’t have *inaudible* studies to understand that, so I avoided using the word addiction for a really long time, um, but the more that I talk to people the more it feels like, for some people its an addiction, but I think its disempowering to say that everyone has an addiction, because an addiction kind of places the, not blame, but kind of places the illness on the individual an I’m much more interested in having the conversation about, you know, how this is really the responsibility of companies and governments, than the individual people, so I’m a little torn on the term addiction, and you know I also have to be really careful because its not in the DS&M which is our categorisation of mental disorders which I don’t love that book but I think that sometimes calling it an addiction can be hyperbolic, I just need to see more data, I definitely think it is a compulsion, I definitely think that we are in a trance, I definitely think we are being manipulated, but the level of manipulation like the level of intentional manipulation, other addictions don’t necessarily, I mean I guess the tobacco industry um i’d say that, I mean that’s where I would say theres some connection with the tobacco industry, um but the heroin industry isn’t like manipulating people and using neuropsychology to get people hooked on heroin, you know what I mean? I’m torn on that. Emily: Yeah definitely, there are similarities but, its too new isn’t it? Christina: Its too new, yeah. Emily: So I think you’ve again touched on this a little bit but do you think there has been a kind of change in attitude towards social media, in general? Christina: I think, you know I live, I mean I, my world is one where there is a change in attitude. I feel I would say actually I think there has, but I’m a psychotherapist, so my full time job is a councillor, and so I was a therapist before social media existed, and yeah I do hear a lot from my clients and from other people like, that they’re frustrated, they want to spend less time on it, they know the it ultimately doesn’t make them feel good and it feels like a waste of time. I think there is a growing awareness, but its very new. Emily: Thats the general response I got from my focus group, like I knew some of these people and they don’t appear to be not enjoying the time they spend on social media, they’re posting multiple times a day on Twitter, and posting Instagram pictures and when I actually asked them they were like ‘no I don’t enjoy it at all’ so its quite interesting really. Um so why do you think there has been a significant increase in the social detoxing trend?


Addiction Negative effects of social media Psychological manipulation Brand obligation for social responsibility Lack of data Mental health

Change in user attitude Growing awareness of social media effects Negative effects of social media Psychological manipulation

Christina: I think because of all these things we’ve been talking about, its that people do have an understanding, that this is really not super improving their life, like the net gain, there’s not, um you know I don’t use the terms digital detox, because to me the term detox is really disempowering, because its this idea that like, good, bad, and I don’t want to shame people, like I think we have to live with this, and so when I take people on retreats, I take away their phones but its not like really about detoxing, but its like, attention, I’m much more interested in helping people be mindful about their relationship with technology so like I’m not a big detox fan, I like the idea of digital mindfulness, or digital wellness, or digital balance. But I also think that with anything like the diet industrial complex and how we get told that like detoxing is good for you, when actually if you look at actual medical research, our bodies detox themselves. I think that one of the reasons that there is this increase in social detoxing is because people know its a problem, they feel powerless, they don’t know what to do and I will say that if you give people some time away from their devices, they do get to experience something different. But I would be much more interested in seeing a movement that’s about balance and critical thinking, rather than just like, you take time off your phone and then come back to the same old habits that you had before. Emily: I suppose its more realistic as well.

Growing awareness of social media effects Detoxing Digital wellness movement Psychological manipulation In person experiences Perception of social media effects Solution suggestion Psychological effects

Christina: If we don’t look at why we’re doing this, like what are the emotional needs that we are trying to get met, with social media, we’re just going to take a detox them come back, right back and do the same things that we did before. Emily: Yeah, I suppose again like, I know you don’t really know if its an addiction, but people who try to go cold turkey on giving up smoking, it never works. Christina: Right!

Detoxing Psychological effects

Emily: So its kind of similar, yeah. Christina: Yeah, you know I think its great to take space from it, but the idea of, you detox, the you’re back on it, then you detox, then you’re back on it, I mean when I take peoples phones away, its to give them a different experience and help them to develop some tools so that they can go back and feel, in more of a sense of critical thinking and balance Emily: So do you think social media has had a positive or negative effect on society? There is quite a debate about this one Christina: I think it has had a negative effect on society. Overall yeah. I think there are some benefits of it, but I think that it has made people more narcissistic, less able to have in person human connections, yeah I think that’s there, there’s, yeah I mean like if you look at the big picture, I don’t think its had a positive effect on society, if you look at the ways in which it polarises people politically, allows us to be in these silos, how it allows communication, you know people communicate with each other on social media in ways we would never do in person, because you know your mirror neurons, like the parts of your brain and nervous system, you know fire up difficult empathy or connection with people, it doesn’t happen over social media. So I think its not great for society.


Detoxing Education on technological use In person experiences

Negative effects of social media Perception of social media effects Effects on relationships Human connection Psychological effects

Emily: No I do have to agree to be honest, but I do think the only positive aspect is that you can communicate, like me for instance with my long distance relationship, I’ve got family in Switzerland, so that’s great. But other than that, the initial intent for social media has been lost, so I don’t really see any other positives; other than, I have seen some examples such as people have been managing to find organ donors online, but I think its such a rare case really in comparison to the bigger picture. Christina: Yeah, I would love to see other ways to make those connections online, besides on a marketing model. Emily: So say that more people adopt this approach to having a healthier relationship with their phone, do you think this will have a significant effect on the social media marketing sector? Because obviously they, brands use engagement statistics to determine whether their marketing has been successful. Christina: Probably, I don’t really know anything about marketing, but if more people are critical of, or have a sense of the ways in which social media is a marketing tool, they may be less susceptible to it. I don’t think that social media is going away, and I really don’t know, I think that if it did have an impact then it would be minuscule from what I know, I mean, just Instagram’s recent thing where they have replaced the area that used to be the place where you see where you got likes, we’ve been primed for dopamine hits from that spot on our screen, and they change it to a shopping button. That is manipulation, like that makes me so angry. That is not a mistake. If more people were sort of aware of that, probably social media marketing would be less effective, but I don’t really know. Emily: I mean, I don’t really think its going away either, people are becoming aware, but I just don’t see how far it could go, it leads me on to the next question really. You talked about taking peoples phones away to give them more mindful experiences, some of the research I’ve done of people, I think it was 55% of people from my personal survey said they’d be more likely to engage with marketing content that had an insightful or mindful impact, so something that they saw it and they can take something away from it. It kind of touches on what Tristan Harris said about ‘time well spent’, and being on your phone where you actually gained something from it, so I know you don’t know much about marketing but do you think this is a relevant step that brands should take in order to, you know, sustain their position or… Christina: It’s still capitalism, it’s still marketing. It is still manipulation. You know you, um, you know I do the same thing, I mean I have to be on social media to promote my business, you know its very different than trying to sell a product. I think its great I you can provide some value, but ultimately its still just about selling people stuff. Emily: yeah, you know there’s a bit of an issue as well where it could be seen as performative activism, brands aren’t caring but they’re doing it for the engagement, so that could be seen as an issue too.


Social media as a marketing tool

Social media durability Psychological manipulation Solution suggestion Evaluation of marketing strategies Social media as a marketing tool

Evaluation of marketing strategies Social media as essential marketing Evaluation of insightful content Perception of capitalism

Christina: Exactly. I mean its always great to have a better online experience but I don’t think that’s going to come from social media marketers. I don’t think that those are the people to give us a better online experience. I think its ethical, creators of digital platforms who actually are, that actually do increase the quality or value of our life. But as long as it is about selling people stuff, I just don’t see how, I don’t see that coming from a marketing perspective. You know I think that in the realm of this digital wellness community, I’m pretty far left, like you know I have a pretty, you know, my analysis is not very mainstream, because I have an analysis that has critique of capitalism itself, and like, yeah, I mean just in like my own, you know I recently hired somebody who is really awesome, see actually become a really good friends, she’s helping me with my social media marketing, and she works with social justice causes, like we’re not trying to be manipulative with what were doing, we’re really just trying to put out content that is of value to people, but I hate it. It honestly just seems like so much of a waste of time, there’s such a drum beat around ‘you have to be online’, ‘you have to be on social media marketing’, and for a tiny little endeavour like mine, I think that’s bullshit, and I think there is the social media marketing industry that you know, I just don’t know if the return on investment is worth it. If you don’t have a tonne of money to work with the algorithm, I don’t know, Im just really sceptical of *inaudible*, because when I see a brand putting out something that feels like its valuable to me, at the back of my mind I’m always like ‘this is probably really manipulative’. Emily: So you don’t think it would matter either way?

Brand obligation for social responsibility Evaluation of marketing strategies Evaluation of insightful content Positive social media use Perception of capitalism Cause marketing Awareness of attention economy model Social media as essential marketing Algorithm manipulation Psychological manpipulation

Christina: Not to me but probably to other people. Emily: So from a consumer’s perspective, do you think instead of having product pushed at them, instead they saw something that they learnt from, do you think that would make a slight impact? Christina: I mean I think that could be really helpful, depending on what the product is. If the product is a harmful product. Emily: I’m doing mine on fast fashion brands, I’m actually a fashion student, so form that, I’m not really sure, I suppose sometimes with fashion brands is the issue of like, models and people prefer to see plus sized models or women who have more realistic bodies. Christina: Right. I think that there is definitely value in that, and I think really, I’m really glad to see that, you know I’d like to see more diversity in age too. I think that that shows a trend toward, well I don’t know, you know all those movements are started by regular people, and then marketers catch on to them. I mean yes, I think that that’s better than just showing like, you know, painfully thin white women all the time, but you know you’re still selling a product basically.


Evaluation of insightful marketing Positive social media use

Evaluation of insightful marketing Requirement of mass movement Perception of capitalism

Appendix VII Focus group transcript

Initial coding framework

Emily: So 48 percent of respondents in one of my surveys said that they personally feel addicted to social media. What do you think it is about social media that you feel is addicting to these people? Rachel? Rachel: I feel really the pressure, but for me, it's just something I do when I'm bored. It’s something that fills the time, I'm very nosy. Emily: Yeah, is there anything about the apps that keeps drawing you back or do you think it's just, do you think it’s a force of habit? Rachel: I feel like you sort of it's force of habit and you sort of got yourself into a hole. So once you start scrolling and you start going on one person's thing, you're onto another or another. Emily: Yeah, Jem? Jemma: I think that social media provides, like, an alternate source of reality for people that the life they live on Instagram is their real life that they would like to live free from all of the negative stuff that actually happens in real life. So they prefer to go on social media than to live the actual life…. that was quite deep. Rachel: And I'm just like. I’m bored.

Entertainment Time waster

Force of habit

Unrealistic life Escape from negativity

Emily: Kieran? Kieran: Can I go after? Emily: Yeah, George? George: I feel like I just I do every day, like it's for me, it's like brushing my teeth. If I don't go on Twitter in the morning, I feel lost and like I realise how addicted to I am when like say I’ll be oh, I’m not gonna go on Instagram today and then I’m like *inaudible* and then you just realise how addicted you are. And I don't even know what it is because I don't even enjoy it really. It's just because it’s there, it’s definitely the fear of missing out and I do get serious FOMO. Emily: Yeah, I agree with that. Georgia and Myles?

Implemented in routine Feeling of addiction Negative feelings Lack of enjoyment Fear of missing out

Georgia: I’d agree with George, it’s like literally the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is go on my phone. It's like part of my routine now. But I just think if I hadn't been on it for a few hours, it's like I've missed out. But you go on it when you haven't missed out on that much. But yeah, I just think also, like in terms of especially Instagram, I feel like I'm addicted because I want to see like this sounds very sad, but like what people are wearing, like what their trends are all the time. So I'm like kind of addicted to like looking more at that than like my friends stuff like I'd rather look at like influencers stuff on Instagram than just random things really. George: I watch my story more than I watch anyone else's story, [everyone laughing] I re-watch my own story, I’m like “oh god yeah”. Emily: Myles?

Implemented in routine Fear of missing out App navigation for trends Feeling of addiction Influencer culture

Myles: I'd say for me it's about like staying connected with my friends because obviously they’ve all gone to uni and I haven’t. And I'd also agree with like, like just keeping up with the latest trends and also seeing what other people are up to and what you're missing out on in a way. Emily: Would all of you say you personally felt addicted to social media?

Connecting to friends and family App navigation for trends Fear of missing out



Rachel: Yeah

Feeling of addiction

Myles: I answered no, in your survey

Feeling of control

George: I said yes.

Feeling of addiction

Rachel: I went to say no, but then I realised I really am. Can’t hide

Feeling of addiction Awareness of social media effects

Emily: So do you enjoy the time you spend on social media or do you think it's more time wasted? George: Wasted its time down the shitter.

Time waster

Rachel: Yeah, I agree. Kieran – Dan in work said he just uses social media because he's like you said, in his own words, he's a nosy fucker. So he just wants to know other people's business is, just not his. But like, it doesn't matter if it's like Doris down the lane type thing. He just wants to know what the business is. Rachel - That's what Im like. Emily - So os there ever a time you’ve been on it, do you feel like you got something out of it or is it just purely procrastination purposes? Jemma - I use social media sometimes to, like, just not think about anything, just mindlessly scroll and like use it to just chill a little bit. So it's sort of like an after work, relaxation activity, which is really sad. I should really get a new one. But there is potential to use social media in a positive way because obviously there's loads of good resources for good things. But I don't use that. George: I'm conflicted because I feel like at the same time as it makes me feel bad and it makes me feel toxic, like you're scrolling on Twitter and you see all this sad news and all this stuff, at the same time, when I get like ten likes on a tweet, the serotonin release is amazing. So like so as well as it making me sad, I think it could also just make you really happy. Emily: Yeah. George - Like, when you see all the likes coming through on Instagram ah, it’s amazing Jemma - that is so true and sometimes I don't know if I'm the only person that does it, if I'm feeling particularly hideous, like right now, I'll post a banging instagram pic and have the likes rolling in and be like yeah, that is what I needed. Kieran – What’s Everybody think about that like Instagram thing that, you know, when they were like in some countries they banned seeing the likes. Would you like do that if you couldn't get your serotonin release from like getting loads of likes and stuff and feeling bangers, would you feel like… George – I think I’d be happier. I do, because I’d stop comparing to other people Rachel - Less pressure.



Form of relaxation Time waster Recognition of social media potential

Negative feelings Validation Effects of algorithm Positive feelings

Positive feelings Validation Validation

Perception of app updates Effect of app updates

Recognition of social media potential Effect of app updates

Emily - Canada, I don’t think you can see likes in Canada, it just says people have liked it. But doesn’t give you an actual number. George - It's like, you know, in the U.K., it's like Emily Perception of app updates Williams and 60 other people have liked your picture. In Recognition of social some countries, I think they’re trialling it in Spain as well. media potential It's just like Emily Williams and others have liked (this picture). And I just think you'd care less, wouldn't you? Emily - So how do you think that social media is affecting society in general? Rach? Rachel - I don't like that I'm the first person.


Emily - Do you want me to pick you last? Rachel - Yes, please. Because I feel like I'm the least deep person here. Emily – Jemma? Jemma - I think it is helping things go viral, whether that's good news or bad news and sort of creating like a media stir on loads of things like Black Lives Matter, veganism, like literally everything. And I've forgotten the question, and that's all I can say, Emily - how do you think social media is affecting society? Jemma - Oh, yeah, so that and also I think just this massive sense that everyone compares themselves to social media and to what everyone else is doing. Emily – Yeah, George?

Source for information Social issues platform News reach

George - I think similar to Jemma’s Point, I think it's biggest, pro, it's kind of like positive and negative is about truth. So you get a lot of things that like, you know, that aren't always on the news that are exposed on social media before they're even broadcast on the news. Like things like even recently we found out via Twitter that we were going into a second lockdown in England before Boris Johnson, it just spread on Twitter. But then at the same time, you've got people like Trump with, you know, a massive amount of following, being able to spread stuff that isn't true without any real repercussion, like it took years for Katie Hopkins to be kicked off Twitter. So I think I think that's the dangerous side of it, but also great. Emily – Yeah

News reach Fake news platform Negative effects of social media Effects of negative speech

Comparison of lives

Kieran - what were you saying then, I missed out? Emily - how do you think social media is affecting society? Kieran - I don't think it's like good in a lot of ways, I think personally, like for me, like I was getting addicted to, like just scrolling on Facebook and stuff, and I could just see loads of shit that I didn't need to see like loads of adverts. And I think that's what, like, stopped me. I deleted the app off my phone and stuff, so I just wouldn't spend as much time. So I think that's that's what was affecting society a lot, is, and a lot of this influenced culture. There's a lot of like just targeted advertising all the time. I think that's that's what's influencing society, is not the social media apps themselves it’s like what the content is. So like, say theres people follow like a certain person and they're going to see a lot more of that thing. So that's that's how I think it's like affecting society is like you're going to just see more. And it's I think obviously George is talking about like Trump and Katie Hopkins and they can, like, influence certain people into a certain direction. You know, it can make whoever you want to think a certain way, I think is what I'm trying to say. Emily - I'll go I'll get to you in a minute Georgia and Myles and Rach. just going off that. Do you think the way that the algorithms currently working so targeting certain content to different people, do you think that's more damaging or do you think it's better for keeping people on the app.


Feeling of addiction Marketing saturated newsfeed App deletion Control of screen time Influencer culture Negative content effect Effects of negative speech Negative effects of social media Responsibility of apps

Kieran - It's better keeping people on the app, but it's obviously damaging and like you've got to sort of men versus women type culture, you've got black vs white you've got a left versus right. You've got what people think is right. And then everything that they are, everything they think is right is going to be posted to their social media where it's everything they think is wrong that's not going to be posted or it's going to be posted in a way that they're not going to see it. So it's sort of like I could say, my car is green and I can see it. You could say, oh, my car is grey but it just might be the light shining on it type thing, that’s such a shit example. But, you know what I mean Emily - anyone else got anything to add, that's like the algorithm side of things. Jemma - Yeah, ohhh I just waved, that was really cringe, I think that, like Kieran said, everyone likes it to be confirmed that what you say and what you think is true. So like everything to do with social issues, it will sway you towards what you already thought. And when it comes to like marketing and stuff like, for instance, last year I was like, oh, I think high smile is really good. And then for the next six months I saw high smile on all of my adverts. So it's just sort of bounces you back into that capitalist way of life that’s like we mentioned it once and now here's 50 percent off. That's just for you. But it's not because here it is. Emily - So, Georgia, how do you think social media is affecting society? Georgia - I think, again, obviously there is positives and negatives because like everyone else has mentioned. Like you see news, that necessarily the media wouldn't select to share. Twitter, you know, you seeing what is happening in the world, which necessarily wouldn't have been wanted to be shared with everybody previously. But I think it creates quite an image obsessed society as well. Like I think everybody's very conscious of how they look in a photo there’s people, you know, that use like Photoshop and things like that. So it creates like an unrealistic view. But everybody as well is image obsessed and I feel like it it also creates like in some ways everybody looks the same because everybody's seen like the same trend on Instagram or Facebook or whatever. So everybody wears that. Like literally you can guarantee to everybody who's an influencer on Instagram has a Louis Vuitton bag. It's just like a copy of everybody else. Emily - Yeah, Myles?

Negative effects of social media Polarisation Effects of algorithm Negative content effect

Polarisation Social issues platform Effects of capitalism Perception of targeted ads

News reach Vanity Unrealistic life App navigation for trends Influencer culture Materialistic Social competing

Myles - Yeah, I'd agree with that. I think everyone's much Unrealistic life more materialistic, like I wouldn't post a photo of myself Materialistic unless I was wearing a brand. Do you know what I Social competing mean? because all my friends post with branded clothes and they all go on like holidays, and post their holidays. In a way, it's sort of like everyone tries to one up each other. Emily - Yeah Myles - I think it's it's a good thing in a way, because say, for example, when you do an exam and it went terrible for you, you can also find somebody else on Twitter who felt exactly the same way as you did. So it's sort of like a comforting side to it as well, like community elements.


Positive effects of social media Entertainment Evokes sense of community Positive feelings Social support

Georgia - Yeah, that's so true. It makes you laugh because somebody has always put something funny about it. And then, yeah, it makes you feel

Myles - like it makes you feel like you're not the only person out there going through something. Emily - And then last but not least Rach

Entertainment Positive effects of social media Positive feelings Social support Social support

Rachel - I honestly feel like I have nothing to contribute after that. Emily – is there anything that you agree with? Rachel - I agree with all the points to be honest. I think obviously what Kieran said. I agree with like, if you sort of view something as right, and that's all we look at, that's all you're going to see on social media. Your views are never going to be challenged. Emily - Yeah, definitely.


Rachel - but then I think places like Twitter, for example, don't know if anyone else thinks this but like, I feel like that's a good platform for people's views being challenged, because I think Twitter is quite controversial and you do get like a lot of different points, but, I don’t know. Emily - I’d say my whole news feed is people having debates on Twitter Rachel - on Twitter 100 percent. Which is quite good, because even to just read the comments, you see so many different points of view that you've maybe never even thought of before. Emily - Yeah.

Evokes discussion

Rachel - So I suppose it depends what social media platforms you've got and who you've got on your social media and I suppose there’s a lot of factors that go into it. Emily - do you think possibly we could use social media in a better way if we took control of it more in terms of ‘following’ than that, because I don’t think a lot of people do that? Rachel - Yeah, definitely, because I think people, I don't know how to describe it but people, obviously follow and interact with people that are similar to them. Rather than sort of broadening and expanding… Emily - yeah, definitely

User responsibility for content

Rachel - the people that they follow. And so I think it could be used in a better way, but we are all sort of all set in our own ways aren’t we. And we like what we like. And we're not bothered what other people think or like. Emily - I'll ask another question as we wait for Alice, why do you think there is an increase in social detoxing lately? A lot of secondary research has shown that it's kind of spiked and it's not going down. Kieran? Kieran - I think people are just getting to the point where they’re just like realising it. So, like for myself, I just it was like just sat there in work constantly like I'm being unproductive when I this is my productive time. So it's just like. For me personally, it was just productivity, whereas for other people, it might be they just see they're wasting their time or they’re just seeing stuff they don't want to see and they want to interact with. But for me, my first person analysis of it would be that It’s literally just productivity. Emily - Yeah, George?

Recognition for social media potential


Evokes discussion

User responsibility for content

Awareness of social media effects Increases unproductivity Time waster Effects of algorithm Unwanted newsfeed content

George - I think several little things, to be honest, I think one like looking at my brother's age, obviously he's only 16 and I think that kind of age group, are, less likely to spend so much time on social media because they realise how they've grown up with it and realised it’s kind of bullshit. The second thing I think I've seen a lot, especially over the lockdown, is people have been like realising that spending so much time on the phone makes them miserable. So they've been trying to, like, take up better hobbies, like people have been making things and creating things as opposed to just spending all day not doing anything. And I think the third and most important one is that, main social media, so like mainly Instagram, has just become so oversaturated with businesses trying to sell you stuff, it's constantly it's just targeted ads. They've now in this new update, it's just shopping that I don't think consumers we don't care. We want to see like our friends and family posting pictures. We don't want to see brands trying to sell us crap that we don't want. Emily - So going back to the roots of social media, because I do feel like the business model they're just trying to make money whereas social media back when we were growing up with it was completely different. George - Yeah, 100 percent. It was more about they wanted to gain as many people as possible and it was more about like sharing ideas and interacting with each other. Now it's just how can they make as much money as possible

Kieran – do you think it’s not like a plan though. There is some, like, nerdy shit I was reading this week, and it was all about like how companies will get you in with, like, free stuff. So basically what Google do with Google Photos is you used to have like all this free cloud storage, and now that basically they bought all the competition out or they made it so redundant because their offer was so good. So they might have made a loss on the money side of things. But now everybody's got Google photos, who's got an android. They have to either pay or they're going to have to go to a completely different service. But none of the services that are available are any good because they've just destroyed the competition. So do you think that could be applied to like social media, that they basically got everybody enticed into social media like different companies like like Facebook, for example? And then they bought all the competition. They bought WhatsApp, they bought Instagram. So now they've got you. And because they've got you, they can do whatever they like with you and, to further what they can do, what they want with your data, but for the purposes of this, they can obviously just like, you know, try and sell you stuff constantly. Emily - Yeah. What about you, Jem? What do you think? Do you want me to repeat the question


Control of screen time Awareness of social media effects Negative feelings Negative effects of social media Pandemic influence Increases unproductivity Marketing saturated newsfeed Perception of targeted ads Effect of app updates Connecting to friends and family Effects of algorithm

Effect of app updates Connecting to friends and family Evaluation of social media use Social media as a marketing tool Manipulation Social media as a marketing tool Evaluation of social media use Effects of capitalism Use of user data

Jemma - it's OK. I think that a bit like George said, if you're looking for advice as to how to make yourself feel physically better, how to improve your mental health, everything that you read both online and offline will tell you to get off social media. It would tell you to go for walks, physical exercise, those sort of things. And like I said before, you could probably like if you're looking at physical exercise, there’s loads of good resources online and on social media. But if you start searching those sort of things, you'll also start finding pictures of girls who look incredible. You start getting targeted ads for like Gym Shark. So as soon as you try and use it for it in a positive way, you'll be bombarded with stuff that you then be comparing yourself to. So I think people are detoxing from it to try and get away from that. Emily - Yeah, Georgia?

Mental health Detoxing Comparison of lives Perception of targeted ads Negative effects of social media Effect of algorithm

Georgia - I think one of the main things is probably over lockdown, it just gave people a different perspective because obviously nobody had anything exciting to post. So it was kind of made people feel like what actually is the point in this? Like, why do we spend so much time on it? And yeah, like Jemma said, you know, everyone now, if they're saying about mental health, it's always get off your phone. That's always the advice. I think people are actually realising that it's true. Emily - Yeah, Myles?

Time waster Mental health Awareness of social media effects Evaluation of social media use Change in attitude

Myles - I think that it's just another social media trend. Detoxing So, like Zoella, she did a massive collaboration with Lush Copying and this other guy, I don't know his name, but they did App navigation for trends like a digital detox day. And I, everyone like, posted off on their Instagram to, like, show everyone they're off social media. So, again, that's just another trend that everyone's jumping on. so really, is it detoxing or is it just being like everybody else? Emily - Yeah, Rach? Rachel - from other people and I've seen other people doing digital detoxes is like sort of what everyone else is saying, I think people just realising that is making them sad. So I've seen a lot of people doing it, like after a break-up, like they'll come off social media because all you want to do is go on their Instagram, do you know what I mean, you just want to see what they're doing. So I think a lot of the time when I've seen people doing it, it’s because they need to get away from obsessing over what's so and so’s doing and again, like comparing themselves to other people and saying, oh, that's the new girl that he's talking to. What she did and what she looked like. So I think it is a massive Iike it's making people unhappy. But I think the main thing is just the comparison. We're constantly comparing ourselves to the next person and just just, there’s no need. Emily - Yeah. So, Alice the question was, why do you think that is a social detox and trend at the moment?


Detoxing Awareness of social media effects Negative feelings Negative effects of social media Comparison of lives

Alice - I don't know, I think for me, I did like not like a social media detox, but I deleted my account and made a private account and just let my friends follow it and made it more like casual rather than having like I don't know that everyone cares so much about what the feed looks like and what like, and how many likes they get and stuff. And I think it was just like I found it really negative for me. And also with the whole shopping thing, I all I got was like all I felt was influencers and like different clothing companies and it would make me buy more. So I think now, since I've got rid of that, I definitely got better with my online shopping like I don’t. Because you don't see it as much advertised… you don't …you're looking for it. You're not buying it. And also I prefer it, like because then I actually see what my friends have posted rather than just have your feed clogged up with, like, all these influencers just because they get the majority of likes. Emily - Yeah. So would you say, you know, in PR and marketing they were talking about you get more targeting your sponsored posts depending on how much time you spent on Instagram, would you see less targeted ads on your feed now? Alice - Yeah, definitely. Like I don't get bec… also like when I made my Instagram like that, I have gone on it so much less because it isn't as interesting when you only follow certain people. Like who are your close friends. They don't post that much. So yeah I don’t get as many ads and stuff now either. Emily - OK, so I know Myles, you said, you think it's a trend, but does anybody else think that social detoxing is here to stay or do you think it'll sort of die out in the future? Alice - I don't think, I don’t know, I do see what you're saying. I think it has become a trend that brands can then capitalise on, which is kind of the opposite of what it actually is. But then I think also that like people are getting sick of it, like with the new Instagram update, like all you see on Twitter is people complaining about it. But I think before, when there's been an update, people complain about it but they still use still use it. But I think people are starting to think like, actually, maybe I don't want to use it as much. Emily - OK. Anyone else?

Negative effects of social media Influencer culture Marketing saturated newsfeed Recognising social media potential User responsibility for content Perception of targeted ads Connecting to friends and family Positive feelings Evaluation of social media use

Jemma - I think as well, we’ve all, like social media has been such a massive part of all of our lives, but we're probably all sick of it and we’d probably drop it if there was an alternative. But I think obviously it will take time. And I don't know what the alternative will be for obviously the next generation to be obsessed with something else. So I think eventually social media, and especially as we know it, is sort of like Facebook that they all sort of have their day. So I would say, like Instagram is the main one at the moment, and Facebook used to be, but that's sort of dying out. And eventually they will either change with the times or just people will stop using them, like Bebo, MySpace, those sorts of things. Alice – I was just going to go about Facebook, like Jemma said. Now, it's only really our parents that use Facebook. So probably get to a stage where our generation are the ones using Instagram, but the younger generation are onto the next thing. Everyone - Yeah, yeah.

Awareness of social media effects App shelf life Change in attitude


Control of screen time Evaluation of social media use

Effects of capitalism Awareness of social media effects Social media as a marketing tool Effect of app updates Change in attitude

App shelf life Change in attitude

George I was going to say, on Jemma’s point, that when I recently did my social media training, we looked at how which I didn't know. But when social media sites become so oversaturated, you they just you're less likely to reach an audience. So it was looking at brands and how likely they are to reach an audience. And on Instagram, you only have 10 percent of a chance of reaching your audience, whereas on TikTok you have an 80 percent chance of reaching an audience. And that's because TikTok is still so less oversaturated, so eventually people will just become bored with Instagram like they have with Facebook, like they have with Bebo, MySpace, MSN, people move on and trends change. So it's just about like, what are we moving towards? Georgia - It's also about, you know, as we grow up, maybe we don't find it interesting anymore as well, like when you're in uni, I know, like if I was going on a night out I definitely wanted a picture. now I work full time, I don't really see that much exciting in the week. So I'm not that obsessed with it anymore. Like, I was probably more obsessed, with it in uni. Emily - Yeah. I don't bother trying to take pictures anymore because I know it won’t go anywhere. I won’t post it. Georgia - Yeah, because when I was going out in uni, and it was like a fancy dress on a Wednesday or whatever, I was like, oh my God, I need a picture. Whereas now, like, you grow up don’t you, you get a job, like you going to have your own family’s, will You have time to go on social media? Myles - like with emerging technologies, though, like Apple bring out a new phone every year like they’re probably like the best known for it, what's the point in buying an Apple phone if you're not going to like social media? I mean, like, what else do you use the phone for? Georgia: It’s a phone. Emily - So from my survey, 91 percent of respondents said that social media affects their well-being in some way, taking the content you see on social media out of the equation, do you think some of that could be down to how long they're actually staring at their screen for? So if you take the actual content that people are consuming out of the equation, do you think the amount of time they're actually spending on their phone is a contributing factor to that statistic? Kieran - Yeah, because I think it's to do with, like, how, you know, your eyes seeing light you're not looking at natural light are you, you’re looking at artificial light. You're looking at at it late night. So I think it's all to do that's partly to do with it. Alice – also if you're looking at it late at night, like your sleeping's affected, like if you're in bed on your phone or instead of going out in the day, obviously that's going to affect your mental health. George – I fully agree with Alice like I found and I don't do it, but I've found that if I don't go on my phone before I go to sleep and I don't go straight on my phone when I wake up, I feel so much better. But the second I wake up, even when my eyes, are still straining looking at my phone and, you know, it still hurts like acid in your eyes and I still do it every day because I'm addicted to it


Effect of algorithm Effect of capitalism App shelf life Marketing saturated newsfeed

Change in attitude Vanity

Change in attitude Vanity

Investing in technological trends

Health concerns

Health concerns Mental health Negative feelings Feeling of addiction Negative feelings

Jemma - and I think we all know that as well. But I think social media platforms use that against us, and then, they’re like, we know it hurts your eyes, but don't worry, because we've got blue light glasses. He's 50 percent off. George -Or they're like, oh, look, we do dark mode now. and I'm like great. My eyes still hurt. Jemma - Yeah. Or, they’re like buy the new iPhone twelve because when you tilt your phone slightly, it moves with it so, you know, less hurt. Emily - Has anybody else got anything to add to that?

Social media as a marketing tool Manipulation Perception of personalised ads Effect of app updates

Myles - I think, well, well-being is like, we did this in Feeling of control welsh bacc, um, like the state of how happy and comfortable you are with your lives, if you like, do other things in your day that make you feel happy and comfortable within yourself. Then social media is just one element of your life. Emily - Do you think it is something that can be controlled? Because a lot of people feel they don't have control over how much time they spend on it because they think it's addicting. Myles - Yeah, I think it's something that can be Feeling of control controlled. You think about it like twenty four hours in a day and twenty four hours, you're not living every day on your phone. Georgia - You can be addicted to cigarettes, but, you know, you’re not smoking 24 hours a day are you? You can still be addicted but not do it twenty four hours a day. Emily - Some people answered my survey saying they spend up to six to eight hours on their phone a day. Myles – That’s a joke Emily – That’s probably an average for a lot of people. But when you think about it, that's a long time. George - Mine was 10 during the peak of lockdown

Excessive screen time

Emily - mine was 12 the other day because of Among Us. Alice - Well, I remember when I went back to work full Excessive screen time time, I spent eight hours at work in the day and I had a Lack of control half an hour lunch break, but still spent eight hours on TikTok. How is that even possible? How did I fit that in? I honestly don't understand. Myles - Like, I've just checked mine. I spent three hours on my phone today and I've been at work. So, like, that's a small proportion of my day, has been on my phone and the rest has been just something else [work]. Emily - how long was your shift? Myles – 8-4, so eight hours. George - OK, three hours, that's quite a long time Everyone – yeah Alice - it's quite a long time. George - That's like the length of Titanic you spend the length of Titanic. Myles – I don’t know how to come back from that [inaudible] George - Because I'm sick of my phone shouting at me. I don't know anymore and I don't want to know. Emily - Good right. Next question. Have you ever utilised app time limits, and if so, do you think they work? Jemma – absolutely not Emily – George?


Effect of app time limits

George - So I tried to put it on Twitter and Instagram an hour max a day. I was like, that's plenty of time. That's way too much time. And then all of a sudden out of nowhere, it just kicks you out. And I thought, oh, I'm not having this. Every single time it gave it to me, it just made me angry and I just chose to ignore it. And then I realised that it was just actually making me feel worse because it makes you realise how long you're spending on it. So I just instead of facing the problem head on, I just ignored it and I just turned it off. And now I have no screen time at all Emily - has anybody else used them before?

Effect of app time limits Negative effect of social media Negative feelings Lack of control

Jemma - Yeah, I put an hour one on Tiktok because I have a problem, and when you go to click off it, you can say remind me in two minutes, remind me in 15 minutes or don't talk to me until tomorrow. And I always click, don't talk to me until tomorrow because it pops up right in the middle of a tiktok. And I'm like, oh, I need to see the end. So instead of thinking two minutes, because then I know it will pop up in the middle of the next one, I just don't talk to me until tomorrow. Emily – so you believe they don't work.

Effect of app time limits Lack of control Negative effect of social media

Perception of app time limits George – if it forcibly kicked you out. And like, I don't Perception of app time know, you had to like call Apple care then, you know how limits Jemma - Yeah, they definitely don't work

like people put savings into a bank account that they basically have to go into the bank to get the money out of. It's like that is if you like Alice – like go into Instagram headquarters to unlock yourself. Everyone - Yeah. Yeah. Jemma - Or if it like showed you a hideous picture of yourself and was like, this is what you will look like if you spend another hour on tiktok Emily – I put a 15 minute one on mine. And I don't know who I think I'm kidding in, like 15 minutes on tiktok is nothing Alice - I spent three hours and twenty three minutes on Tick-Tock alone today. Emily - Oh my God. That's Myles’ entire screen time for the day. Alice - Yeah, exactly. And that's just on tick tock. I've been on my phone for 11 hours and fifty three minutes today. I don't even think I’ve been awake that long. George - don't you wake up at like ten? Alice - I think it combines like my laptop and my phone. I'm hoping George – and it’s Since 12 Alice, we we’re face timing Emily – fair, Facetime takes load of time [on screentime]. George - I don't think that's fair. I don't think talking to my friend counts as screen time. Alice - Yeah, and like messages, I think it should just be social media. Emily - yeah, you know, it's like the productive apps and I’m like yeah I’m being productive, leave me alone Alice – yeah, thirty seven minutes of that was pages. George – yeah, mine used to be two minutes Duolingo, that's me opening the app to get rid of the notification then closing again.


Lack of control Negative effect of social media

Lack of control

Emily - I think a lot of you have touched on this one already, but do app updates affect your usage aka Instagram. Like the new Instagram update, do you feel like it will affect how you use in the future, or are you more inclined to use it if they add features? What do you think? Myles: What's the update on Instagram? Emily - So they added like they've moved the button, notifications and to post a picture. Georgia - Oh yeah, that makes me sick. I hate it.

Perception of app updates

George – so there's now, like a shopping. Oh, sorry. There's a lot of boobs, there's now like instead of the like button being that it's shopping. Myles - Yeah. I hate that

Perception of app updates

George - It's all like that's all they care about.

perception of app updates

Alice - I don’t even use that new feature. Like there's nothing on there that I want. George - Well, mine's like Chanel bags. I'm like, well I can't actually afford them. Emily - Do you think like updates like that would affect your usage in the future or do you think you carry on using it the same way you are? Alice – I don’t know every time Instagram does an update, everyone complains on Twitter that Instagram is rubbish now, blah, blah, blah, then no one stops using it. Everyone's still using it like they've never done anything, which has actually stopped people from using it.

Perception of app updates

George - I think my issue, which hopefully a lot of people agree with, is that I just get FOMO. Like, if I don't if I don't have it. The thought of not having it makes me feel left out like for ages. I hate Snapchat. I don't even use it. But I didn't want to delete it because I hated the thought of missing out. And, you know, if everyone's on it and everyone's talking about and they’re like, oh, did you see that on Instagram? And you say no, you look like weirdo. Emily – I’ve found that ever since they changed the algorithm on Instagram I end up just seeing like sponsored stuff, and I don't I don't see my friends and family anymore, I haven't posted on it since. I’ve not posted on Instagram since the 1st of January. George - I spend less time and I still spend a lot of time on it, but I definitely spend less time on it. Alice - Same

Perception of app updates Effect of app updates Lack of control Evaluation of social media use Fear of missing out Evaluation of social media use Negative effect of social media

Change in behaviour Change in behaviour

Emily – Anybody else? Kieran, Rach? Kieran -Nah, pretty much pretty much the same. If it updates to something shit you're not going to want to use it or something you don't like, you're not going to want to use it, but if it updates good, then you might use it more. But that's hardly ever the case because people don't really like change when it comes to, like, how something specifically works. So, yeah, that's just my input, pretty much the same as everyone else. Emily - anyone else got anything to add?

Perception of app updates Change in behaviour Awareness of social media effects

Alice - It's just like, I'm sorry. I was just going to say that, like, for example, obviously I've been on my phone a lot today, but only twenty one minutes was spent on Instagram compared to the fact that I spent three hours and twenty three minutes on tick tock. It's like crazy. Like I do think people are using it less since like updates like that. Emily - Do you think just Instagram or do you think people are using social media less in general?

Change in behaviour Evaluation of social media use Effect of app updates


Alice - No, because I think, like, Tick-Tock is massive now, everyone's obsessed with it, and it is so addictive because the videos are so short, like it's so easy, you can use lose so much time that you're going it you like. I've got two hours to do that thing and I'm like, oh, just going to tick tock quickly and then it's time to do the thing. Like the two hours have just flown by. Emily - Time goes so quickly on tiktok

Evaluation of social media use Time waster Increased unproductivity Feeling of addiction

Alice - So I don't know if it's people using less social media or they're just moving on to different types of social media

Relocating apps Evaluation of social media use Change in behaviour

Emily - it's going back to the whole the apps are dying like MySpace and Bebo and they think that that's happening with Facebook and Instagram. Which at the moment, are the two biggest platforms for marketing but I have seen people slowly move on to tiktok as well. Speaking to Zoe McCarthy the other day and she was saying how expensive it is to Market On tiktok compared to Instagram. Alice – Really? Emily - So she was saying that on a tiktok, they have to send an influencer, a whole range of clothing to do a full video. Whereas on Instagram, you've just got one item of clothing you need to market. So the costs, like stacks compared to like Instagram George - with that sponsored post cost a lot less on tiktok because there's not the users, because obviously people might be gaining popularity, but there are still more people on Instagram. Emily - Right. So. Fifty five percent of people from my survey said they'd be more likely to engage with more insightful content on social media. So that's content where you sort of get something from it. So, for example, like Empowerment, Black Lives Matter or things that you can just say that you've come away from social media and you fell like that has made an impact on your day. Would you be more likely to engage with posts like that over the current marketing content that you see online? Jemma - I think sometimes, although I'm like, oh, it would be so good to use social media in a positive way, like I said, I use it to just chill out some time. So when there's some heavy stuff on there, like societal issues sometimes or like, here’s some mindfulness stuff, sometimes I'm just like bore off, just give me a break. I don't want to think about systemic racism at the moment. I don't want to think about sexism. I don't want to think about so many things. I just want to watch tiktok. So although it would be a positive, I think I'd probably use it less and end up doing something really sad, like an interactive puzzle or something. Farmville, get it back going. Alice - I think for me, like sometimes I'll be scrolling through Instagram and I’ll like a picture, and I haven't even read what it's about, I'll just like the picture. And then I actually read it. And it's about like something really interesting. Like, I don’t know, some massive campaign that is actually a bit more meaningful. But I haven't even read it before I've liked it. I’ve just like it Then scroll down to the next and then thought oh actually. And then go back to read it. Read it. So sometimes I don't even read what I'm liking. Emily - Yeah. Would people like to see more of that in marketing or are they like here nor there about it?


Social media as a marketing tool

Form of relaxation Perception of insightful content Escape from negativity Evaluation of social media use

Evaluation of social media use Perception of insightful content Positive feelings Evaluation of social media content

George - I think I'm conflicted because I think now it can be so, you know, when brands try too hard that, it's just kind of embarrassing that they're trying so hard to be cool and edgy and like so hard to stand out that it just becomes a bit like you were trying way too hard, you’re actually putting me off your brand. Whereas, you know, sometimes, like, the best form of advertising can just be a simple ad that looks nice. I agree with Alice. You scroll down Instagram. You see so many posts that have so much writing underneath. I'm not going to read all of those. Sometimes I think just a simple campaign with a little bit of writing doesn't need too much detail. Actually works better than some than I'm trying to be too meaningful. Emily - Anyone else?

Perception of insightful content Performative activism Evaluation of social media content

Kieran - Can you repeat the question, please? Emily – fifty five percent of people from my survey said they'd be more likely to engage in more insightful content. So content that has more of an impact on your day, not your standard marketing content. How do you feel? Kieran - This is where I think I answered no, or I don't know, because I try to just like not focus on it anyway, so the stuff I. I'm just addicted to memes when I go on social media, so so like when it comes to marketing and stuff, I rarely like register it unless it's like in my subconscious. But yeah, I rarely register it. And yeah, as I say, unless I’m Googling one day, and I'm like, oh yeah, I'll check that out because it just popped into my head. But most of the time I have an idea about what I want. And I think a lot of the marketing stuff is all to do with, like, clothes. I mean, whereas. With all like computers and stuff, people kind of know what they want. If you know what I mean like, oh, like Xbox and PlayStation, you get like really like you get you get like Xbox fanboys or PlayStation five fanboys. So, like, everybody knows what they want from the start, from the get go. So the marketing doesn't really work there. Whereas you’re like, you're interested in your clothing and your fashion stuff that's like different. And I just don't I just don't pay attention to it. Alice - Playstation just did a campaign where they turned all the tube stations circles to like… Geroge – that was quite cool. Kieran – that’s what I mean. I'm into like games and stuff like that. I'm literally playing a game as we speak, you're all into sort of marketing side and you've picked up on that, whereas I'm like, I didn't even know they did that. I just I don't want a PlayStation. I want an Xbox. So I just won't register it. If you know what I mean. Emily - This might be a slightly more difficult question to answer. what kind of content have you seen previously from brands that's drawn to that brand of products, or what kind of content would you like to see people post That's interesting to you. Kieran - This to me?

Entertainment Marketing saturated newsfeed Effects of capitalism Unwanted newsfeed content Social media as a marketing tool Effects of algorithm

Unwanted newsfeed content

Emily - to anybody Kieran - I was going to say. If anything has interested me in the past it is literally just being a part of the environment. So it would be like if it if it benefits the environment. That's one thing that does prick my ears Emily – to me, that means insightful marketing


Perception of insightful content

Kieran - So, yes, maybe to answer your previous Perception of insightful question, that is my answer, then, like if people were content More aware about the environment, but that’s the only thing that I would pick up on because, like, is something I really care about. So. Emily – George? George - I'd say for me, this is so pretentious, but I'm not bothered about a brand being like, oh, we support gay rights, I because I don't care that poor little rainbow in their fucking Sainsbury's symbol. What I care about seems like genuinely like creatively different and cool and like stand outsih like brands like Mac, for example, they always have really cool campaigns and collaborators and sometimes they barely even advertise it. But just to me, I think that makes it so much more chic. Like and, you know, brands like. I don't know, because at the same time, like when h&m did, h&m launched a campaign for there it was, their autumn/wiinter 2016 campaign, and they had, there were two women kissing at the end of it. And that's obviously in a lot of countries, that’s a big deal. And they broadcast that worldwide. And I think something like that stays with you because you think that's actually quite a risk. So I think if a brand takes risk and it might have some backlash from it, I'm more likely to support that brand. like Ben and Jerry's. So I'm talking so much, but you know with Ben and Jerry's. They do all of these Black Lives Matter support things. And and because you feel like they actually genuinely mean it and it's genuinely authentic Alice - I feel like that's the problem with the authenticity, because Ben and Jerry’s you know, they stand up for their workers, like they employ people straight out of prison. They pay way more than the minimum wage and all kinds of stuff. But then you get brands that like, say, for example, Topshop, they do a mental health campaign, but they don't really care about mental health. They're just doing it to capitalise because they think that's what us as consumers want to see. Emily - So do you think you're quite good at spotting performative activism? Alice - Oh, I think so. And I think you can tell when someone's like because I think when a brand. Actually, I'm more interested in the brand when they fully explain their story. I'm almost like they really care about their workers and the product and they really involve the customer with their business. But when it's a brand like topshop, like you're not connected to that business at all. And then when they try and shove a campaign like that down your throat, you're like, well, obviously this isn’t authentic. Emily - Yeah, definitely. Has anyone else go any kind of like previous campaigns or content they are drawn to? It can be on social media or offline or whatever it could be in the streets, anything.


Perception of insightful content Evaluation of social media content Brand transparency

Performative activism Brand transparency Effects of capitalism

Brand transparency

Myles – I’d like to bring Iceland Foods into the mix. The orang-utan like advert, but it got banned because it’s a green peace like, um, they like what they actually do preach they practise, they removed Palm oil from their own brand labels. And that's like a major, major thing in head office as well. And it's all like very eco friendly. So like it was a huge statement to make. And they're the first supermarket to sort of step out from the crowd to be like. It's actually not OK what we're doing so we can make a change with palm oil, and we're going to reduce pal oil and obviously reduce plastic packaging. And then everyone else seems to have followed suit, so I feel like that campaign was very meaningful. It created the first big change in like supermarkets. Emily - OK. Anyone else?

Perception of insightful content Brand transparency Evaluation of content Positive effect of social media

Jemma - I would like to say that I am drawn to Perception of insightful meaningful things like change the environment and content things like that, but in reality, if they use a good meme Entertainment and they've got a discount, then I'm on board. like offline there with this billboard just down the road. And it was for a Mexican food company and they just had a massive picture of Donald Trump and said, I love Mexican. And I just thought that was joke's because [laughing] and it drew my attention. So maybe they should do more of that? Emily - I've got three more questions. Don't worry. They’re easy to answer. So would you say that your attitude has generally changed toward social media? Alice - Well, since when? Well, in recent times? Emily - in recent times, like, do you feel like you appreciated social media at another point in your life and you now you have a different opinion on it? Alice - I think growing up, when you when we were all younger, it was such a big deal, like when it used to be like said, people's names until it got to 11 likes. And you're like, I have to get up to 11. Like, I need it to be a number, if that's just me. Like, I feel like it was so much more of a bigger deal then. I feel like it is as you get older, I think. Don't seem to care. I guess you care less what other people think of you and social media is all about what people think of you. Portraying yourself to look a certain way. So I guess it does get less interesting, maybe. Jemma - Yeah. And I think as you get older, you. It's sort of become like a trend as well, to be like original and like step away from social media and not use social media. So I don't know whether like the people that don't use social media think it's like a maturity thing. I don't really know. But it's like. It's something different to not use it, so, yeah, what I was trying to say by that, but there you go Emily - What’s everyone’s general opinion on social media now? Kieran – Bit shit innit?

Change in behaviour Social competing Change in attitude

Change in attitude Change in behaviour

Negative feelings Negative effect of social media George - I think mine's negative, I think I've just felt like Negative feelings it's not real life. And I wish I could just wean myself off it. Unrealistic life I wish I could just, like, say no and never go back on it Positive effect of social again, because it definitely does more harm for me than media it does good. But then again, we wouldn't be able to have Connecting to friends and this conversation if it wasn’t for social media. You know, family it does do good things. And I love interaction with my friends, so.


Alice - Yeah, but that's the thing I love about social media. Now, I love like the close friends story stories like like they make howl what people put on there, which I guess is more like kind of like what Snapchat used to be. George - Yeah. I like what social media started as.

Connecting to friends and family Positive effect of social media Effect of app updates

Alice - Yeah. George - Like Alice like you, you know, when you had like less than one hundred followers on Instagram when it first started and you'd be like I've got I've got to get to 11 likes Alice – yeah George – and I’d put anything on my story. And then it was, it was like when I went to uni when it started getting really popular and I was just like oh my god, I can’t post that. It’s ugly and I’m like why do I care? Emily – I was like this. I feel like when I was like your age Myles in college, I used to post like maybe two photos today on Instagram and they’d be so random like a window in college. And, I didn't care. And now I'm like, oh my God, I get such anxiety when it comes to posting a picture that I just won't do it. Georgia - To be honest, I slag it off, but I can't deny that I love it, like I am obsessed with it at the same time. Like, I know it's bad for me. I know it has all these negative effects. But will I change? Who knows? Emily – Rachel?

Change of behaviour Change in attitude Vanity

Rachel -I feel like we all want it to be how it was when we were younger and for it to just be keeping up with our friends and stuff, but we've sort of warped ourselves into this influencer life and we're all just settling for it. So we're all saying, oh, we love it because we get to keep in touch with people. But then really what we're obsessed over is people we don't even know on it. Big brands that really don't mean anything. Emily - Yeah, do you think that's reversible, though? Do you think this is the new reality of social media and it's how it's going to stay? Or do you think we have any chance of going back to it being social media where it's purely for friends and family? Rachel - I don't think it'll go back to being social. I feel like the way that it's going now, like, especially as you're say with the Instagram updates, with the shopping section, I feel like it is just going to be a marketing platform. I think at the minute, even calling it social media, it's sort of like a stretch. Alice - I disagree. I think it's going slightly more back to normal because I think everyone that was a stage where everyone was obsessed with influencer culture, like everyone was like, I want to be an influencer. Everyone made their Instagram feed looked like they were influencers. And now everyone's starting to realise a bit like their life doesn't even look like that. And I do think people are posting more organically now. So I do think in terms of that, like it's becoming more organic, but then the apps pushing it more on us by, like making the shop feature and stuff Emily – so do you say users are trying to go backwards, but then social media platforms and the owners going in the opposite direction? Alice – yeah, because they just want the money now.

Effect of app updates Influencer culture Awareness of social media effects Connecting with friends and family

Rachel - Yeah, yeah, I agree with that.


Positive feelings Feeling of addiction

Effect of app updates Change in attitude Social media as a marketing tool Influencer culture Unrealistic life Awareness of social media effects Change in behaviour Perception of targeted ads Effect of app updates Social media as a marketing tool

Effects of capitalism

George - I don't know about any of you, but I don't. If an influence posts somethings that doesn't make me want to buy anything. like influencer marketing doesn't work for me. It just it just doesn't I don't look at someone rich and famous and think, oh, they were in the asos jumper, I want one that asos jumper. Rachel - I feel like if anything, it puts me off buying it

Influencer culture Evaluation of social media content Evaluation of social media use Influencer culture

George; Yeah, same Rachel: When they're like, oh my God, this is my Evaluation of social media favourite product. I'm like, no, it's not. You just you got 20 content grand to post it. So of course, I'm not going to buy it Georgia – I will literally buy anything that Molly-Mae puts Influencer culture on though Rachel – You’re very influenced though Georgia – she put on an Elemis toner And it was like Influencer transparency apricot. And then I bought it because I was like, oh my God, Molly mae has this toner. And then it came and it literally smells like Granny and I was like this, she definitely doesn’t use this toner. Like, can you imagine Tommy Fury walking around with Molly Mae smelling like a grandma? Jemma – I love it as well when they’re like I would never Evaluation of content put a product on my social media that I don't genuinely Influencer transparency believe in. Like, you know. Alice – Genuine genuine Kieran - Did you see the ones that got caught out by the BBC. George - Yes. I love that documentary. Kieran - Yeah. And they got caught out didn’t they George – No need to use it, I’ll post it Kieran - and wasn't like one that rat poison or something? George - like it was like a medicine thing that made you skinnier. And they were like it was like people from Geordie shore. They were like we don’t care. And it had rat poison. Emily – Wasn’t Chloe Ferry promoting Charcoal toothpaste when she has veneers? Alice – Yeah Kieran - On the opposite side of that there is some like. Influences who like post stuff, you know, obviously girl's body images and then they're like, obviously they’re like these fitness models, or whatever, and then they sit down and they've got rolls. So, like, there's the opposite side of it. Alice - Yeah. But then there's the people who are like body positive influences that shame those girls for doing that because they say that they've got skinny privilege and that you shouldn't have to contort your body to make yourself have roles. And some people just have roles. So every single thing someone does, there's another argument against hit. Everyone - Yeah, yeah.

Influencer transparency Positive effects of social media Influencer culture Polarisation Negative effect of social media Influencer transparency Influencer culture

Emily - I saw someone argue saying that they were forcing the roles on the girl like she was sitting in a particular way to make it look like she had rolls. Rachel - I wish I could force my roles Emily – Last one, Is there any apps you would consider deleting or would delete in the future? Kieran - I deleted Facebook off my phone but I haven’t deleted the actual whole thing yet.


App deletion Change in attitude

Jemma - Yeah, I deleted Facebook, and it was a bit when I finally deleted my actual profile, it was a bit sad because obviously I had like all my carnage tagged photos from when I was in year 10, you know, when you'd like put your fingers in and it would all make a star with your friends? As much as I didn't want to get rid of all those memories I just thought, I don't need it. And then I recreated another one, delete that one and recreate another one. And I've literally only got my family on that just because I don't know why I don't even like them. Alice- that’s the only reason I wouldn't delete. I know I'm not that close to them, but the reason I wouldn’t delete Facebook is because the family like not close family that I've got on there. Emily - So would you say that you have social obviously social media platforms cater for different things, but we use Facebook for different use, social media platforms for different groups of people as well? Everyone - Yeah, yeah. Emily - What about other people? What apps would you consider deleting or something you delete? George - Like, I think it's really weird because to me the things that's only two I really use, which is Instagram and Twitter and. Instagram, I try to use like as professionally as possible, like I try to keep it clean because I've got people's mums on there. Twitter, I'll just post a nude on there. Like, I mean, I mainly follow a random gays and I just I don't know. I feel like it's such a different target audience Alice – I feel like one day I would like to delete an Instagram fully. George - If everybody did it, I’d have it deleted right now, but the thought of missing out, Kieran – Start a trend, start a social media trend George - no, because then if I started, no one follows me. I’d be like Jemma – I think if the trend started and everyone's like, right, that's it. We’re all going to delete Instagram, everyone would then just be like, well, now what. We need to tell someone that we deleted their Instagram so where I'm going to put [post] it as. Alice – That’s what people do. They delete Instagaram and like they go Twitter and Facebook, be like. Right I'm not on Instagram anymore. Just to let you know, I’m like what was the point? George - Attention seeking. Emily - I think that's it. Is there anything anyone wants to add at all? George - Is there anything extra you want to ask? Emily – I don’t think so, I’ve gone through my notes.


App deletion Change in attitude Change in behaviour

Connecting with friends and family

Change in behaviour Vanity Evaluation of social media use

App deletion App deletion Fear of missing out

App deletion

Appendix VIII Survey two - Respondents answers when asked ‘how do you feel about social media? Open ended question – How do you feel about social media? I think it has been great during lockdown allowing friends to connect Social media can be entertaining and inspiring but also dangerous and destructive Well depends on how or what you use it for It’s good for some things example missing people, it’s bad when people put nasty comments. It’s causing damage to our brains it can be good, but its a highlight reel and we forget that

Enjoyable being able to keep uptodate with friends and news but need to be cautious and aware about negative aspects I think it’s great for keeping in touch with people, and staying connected. But it can if you let it also have an effect on how much time we actually spend talking to /spending time with your family at home. It can also effect mental health if your constantly seeing “the perfect “ family or situation etc on social media when your not feeling so great. I personally don’t suffer with mental health but I can understand how it may effect someone that does. Can be beneficial but it's positivity is massively reliant on user motives. It's very easy to focus on the negative posts if you're in a negative space mentally, but I have also found personally that some pages (instagram) have helped me out of dark moods. Social media should come with far more restrictions to avoid triggering posts and news. Freedom of speech is exercised to a dangerous degree. It allows people to hide their true mental health problems behind an array of social media posts Can be addictive and can have an affect on mental health positively and negatively Can be toxic at times Great keeps you in touch with people Beneficial for lots of positive things, support groups etc. Great for keeping in touch in the current climate. However can become addictive.

Toxic Most is untruths and some just for fun

It has it`s place - but only in moderation. I don`t like it when it takes up vast amounts of people`s time at the expense of real person to person interaction.


Initial coding framework Connecting to friends and family Entertainment Positive aspects Destructive Dependent on individual use Use for a cause Destructive free speech Destructive Positive aspects Unrealistic representation of life Connecting to friends and family Negative aspects Connecting to friends and family Reduces in person contact Effects on mental health Unrealistic representation of life

Dependent on individual use Effects on mental health Positive aspects Destructive free speech

Effects on mental health Unrealistic representation of life Addictive Effects on mental health Destructive Connecting with family and friends Social support Connecting with family and friends Addictive Positive aspects Destructive Entertainment Unrealistic representation of life Fake news Dependent on individual use Time waster Reduces in person contact

For myself at the moment the constant updates and news re covid 19 is causing me great anxiety especially people’s opinions etc I tend to scroll past quickly. I also think life has become a competition and it can sometimes make me compare myself to others, which again causes anxiety and upset at times. I’m more concerned when my children grow up (I’m 30 and just missed the boat of social media in school days) I dread the competition and bulling they may have to experience. Beneficial for some purposes eg businesses. Keeping in touch with old friends. but for other reasons it can be disadvantageous and cause uses for those with mental health issues - it can be a trigger

It keeps me in touch with people i dont get to see at the moment I believe most of social media is a reflection of only the good parts of peoples lives. This means people are, whether they know it or not, comparing themselves to other people. Social media was supposed to bring people together but generally, I believe it’s done the opposite. All in all I’d say social media toxicity is rife. Good and bad

Effects on mental health Destructive free speech Comparison of lives Bullying Pandemic influence

Positive aspects Connecting with friends and family Positive effects on businesses Effects on mental health Connecting with friends and family Unrealistic representation of lives Comparison of lives Destructive Lost intent

Dependent on individual use It can be positive for promoting business etc.. but can be Positive effect on really disheartening with all the negativity that gets businesses shared. Negative content It’s great to stay connected and express creativity but it Connecting with friends and can be harmful for mental health and family issues with body positivity etc Effects on mental health Freedom of expression I think it can be great at connecting people, but it can Connecting with friends and also damage people’s ability to be more present in family person Reduces I person contact Better connection with friends, during lockdown has been Connecting with friends and important, family Far too much swearing allowed. No respect for people. Destructive free speech Too much misinformation!

Fake news

Connecting to family and friends

Connecting to friends and family Destructive Connecting to family and friends Impartial

It can be a dangerous but social platform

Interesting Addictive & destructive Too many adverts, Very rarely see friends posts.. I only stay on it as I make & sell crafts via my page.. I’m addicted. Living on my own it’s contact with other people. Especially in these hard times it helps me get through. I feel social media is a good way of staying connected to those you can’t see on a daily basis however it gives a false image of how people should act/look It can be both advantageous and detrimental depending on the personal usage. Over the last year id expect it was a great release for those unable to visit friends and relatives.


Destructive Addictive Saturated with marketing Positive effect on businesses Addictive Connecting with friends and family Pandemic influence Connecting with friends and family Unrealistic representation of lives Dependent on individual use Connecting with friends and family Pandemic influence

They started as a great thing to connect with friends and have fun then they turned into some kind of nightmare.. bully, haters.. people showing just the best of their life making more vulnerable people feel miserable or not as good as others Can be a positive thing if used carefully. Great for small businesses People need to look at who controls socia media and understand how it can be manipulated to create false images, news and messages Entertaining, sociable, informative, inspiring

Ok to keep up with family and friends but could take over your life Good to keep in touch with friends who you don’t see but can be bad seeing some not so nice things It can be beneficial to provide useful info on attractions/activities I otherwise wouldn't of engaged with and keep in touch with friends from my past and offers an opportunity to open up vent your own opinions however I feel it has a negative side- often reducing the need to meet up with friends in person and can often provide a false view of the perfect life! I can easily see how people can get addicted to it and its difficult to know whats real or not . I think you need to be aware that not all you read is true and that can be very destructive . I think it's very addictive and damaging for people It’s toxic and shows the perfect side of people but also brings out the worst in people. To have grown men and women horrific to others via social media is why I feel disgusted by humanity. Having shaming pages and adults trolling people and being down right rude for the sake of being rude. Horrid place to be social media!! We are living in a hyper reality and are losing touch with what’s right with the world. It’s all about the likes! Think it's incredibly damaging to people's mental health and wellbeing. But people will stay on it to stay in contact with other people or to get the dopamine from notifications and likes Can be very helpful / a useful tool to stay connected with others and up to date, especially in the current climate. However some aspects can massively reduce self confidence due to the ease of comparing oneself against another and because of FOMO. Good if used properly I think it great to stay in contact with people, especially in lockdowns Can be a good form of communication / information sharing. Can also be damaging when unrealistic posts are shared


Connecting with friends and family Entertainment Bullying Unrealistic representation of lives Positive aspects Positive effect on businesses Fake news Manipulation tool Entertainment Connecting with friends and family Positive aspects informative Connecting with friends and family Addictive Connecting with friends and family Negative content Informative Connecting with friends and family Reduces in person contact Evokes conversation Unrealistic representation of lives Addictive Fake news Destructive Addictive Destructive Destructive Unrealistic representation of lives Destructive free speech Bullying Validation

Effects on mental health Connecting with friends and family Addictive Connecting with friends and family Pandemic influence Comparison of lives Fear of missing out Dependent on individual use Connecting with friends and family Pandemic influence Connecting with friends and family Informative Unrealistic representation of lives Fake news

It is very useful in many contexts; such as keeping in touch with family from across the globe. However it can cause anxiety and ‘one-up-manship’. It has it's good points but is mainly a destructive force in society Good for some, awful for others. I feel it can be a really useful resource when used correctly. It has many negative sides to it though. I wish i didn’t depend on social media as much as i do. It is too easy to pick up your phone and scroll for hours and hours. Can help the lonely Good for business, people tend to have their life on display on most platforms... can find a lot of info out about one person Good for keeping in touch as long as you know not everything you see is real!!

It has lots of positives - family and friends keeping in touch Mainly puts social pressures onto people to fit into a group or category that they may not want to be in, encourages procrastination and time wasting and is a largely manipulative form of media t is so addictive especially Instagram! I think social media is an incredibly powerful tool for marketing and connecting people. However, there is also a very negative outlook and it contributes towards bad mental health because everything is seen to be ‘perfect”.

Positive for marketing but bad for mental health

Can take it or leave it Can be good to keep in touch thereby cheering friends up But there are down sides when abused

Great for helping people connect/stay in touch/meet new people. Can negatively impact mh and wellbeing. Its easy to compare yourself to other I think if used safely it can be a great thing but it can also be very damaging to people’s mental health. It takes the user to have the control over themselves to know when it is damaging them to be able to remove themselves from it for a period of time. Works well if used correctly but can cause harm and destruction

It can be useful to stay in touch with family and friends but can also have a negative impact. You can become down if your posts don't get enough likes or jealous of what others are doing. I like it to keep up to date but feel people do put their life and issues on there which should be kept private at times


Connecting with friends and family Social competing Effects on mental health Positive aspects Destructive Dependent on individual use Useful Time waster

Connecting with friends and family Positive effect on businesses Intrusive Connecting with friends and family Unrealistic representation of lives Connecting with friends and family Increases unproductivity Creates social pressures Time waster Manipulation tool Addictive Connecting friends and family Positive effect on businesses Effects on mental health Unrealistic representation of lives Positive effect on businesses Effects on mental health Impartial Connecting with friends and family Dependent on individual use Connecting with friends and family Effects on mental health Comparison of lives Dependent on individual use Effects on mental health Requires control Dependent on individual use Positive aspects Destructive Connecting with friends and family Validation Comparison of lives Destructive freedom of speech

I think social media can bring people together, however I think it has gone too far and can be toxic for your mental health when comparing your life with the perfect version of other’s lives It has positives and negatives. Issues such as bullying is an issue on social media and it is most definitely addictive and is stopping us from talking and being social with each other. When used correctly it can be positiveputting us in touch with old friends that we have lost contact with is obviously a positive It can be damaging to he younger generation but I also feel it’s such a good thing too I’m always torn! It can be good, but sometimes i think it can affect your mental health, especially in younger girls Indifferent; mostly look when bored.

Connecting friends and family Effects on mental health Comparison of lives Bullying Addictive Reduces in person contact Connecting with friends and family Pandemic influence Positive aspects Negative aspects Effects on mental health

Love it

Positive aspects

I believe social media has both good and bad points. I hate that it cn be used as a platform for bullying for some, it can be dangerous. Then social media has been a godsend during this pandemic as its been the only means of keeping in touch with loved ones

Positive aspects Negative aspects Bullying Destructive Pandemic influence Connecting friends and family Negative aspects

Hate it lots and everyone is a dick 50/50 opinion on the positive and negative effects It’s ok within minimal use but I think it takes over some people’s lives More advertising on social media is not helping the younger generation Mixed of both beneficial for business gain but can easily lose time just scrolling through I enjoy Facebook It's just a tool. And as with any tool it has it's uses but it can be used incorrectly. If your not prepared to share your news/ views to a stranger, don't put it on social media. End of. Can be very positive tool eg crowd finding, speedy news but equally very destructive, eg not enough likes...etc depends on how it’s used. Addictive, can be a waste of time, makes you feel unproductive sometimes it can be depressing I use it to communicate with parents as I run a football club, I also try to share positive posts that make me smile so hopefully others too. Finally if animals are lost or found share to help their owners False sense of reality but good for memes


Positive aspects Negative aspects Addictive Saturated with marketing Positive effect on businesses Time waster Positive aspects Dependent on individual use

Positive aspects Destructive Validation Addictive Time waster Increased unproductivity Effects on mental health

Can be dangerous

Connecting with friends and family Positive aspects Use for a cause Entertainment Unrealistic representation of lives Destructive

More adverts than friends content

Saturated with marketing




Unrealistic representation of lives Connecting with friends and family Entertainment Bullying Negative content

I think it’s good in a lot of ways as it helps you keep connected with people you wouldn’t really see also like the funny stuff people put up. But I don’t like the bullying side of it and some of the videos are shocking.


I think it is what you make of it, it can be a wonderfully productive place to share ideas and connect with people but if you come in with the wrong attitude it can be damaging It can make people feel very insecure.

Dependent on individual use

I think social media has its place for keeping in touch with loved ones etc., but I think it’s incredibly damaging to mental health. Especially those who are teenagers and I say this as a teacher and a concerned auntie. I think In someways it’s good as it informs you of lots of stuff the media doesn’t however it is also damaging to mental health due to unrealistic portrayals of people’s lives/ bodies If used properly I think it a good

Connecting with friends and family Effects on mental health

I feel we are all using social media far more these days compared to before COVID. Especially with lockdowns and with my profession unable to work from home or go to work it seems going on our phones and social media is what we all tend to be doing. I think it’s great for connecting people together but it’s can also be a very toxic platform and can cause many problems regarding friendships and relations. It’s become toxic and obsessive but only if you let it. Instagram itself is not toxic, it’s what and who you follow that can have detrimental effects on your mental health. Blocking is not petty, it’s okay. Likes aren’t everything. Have a break for a week or so every so often, it really helps. Easy way to connect long distance family

Pandemic influence Connecting with friends and family Destructive

Boredom relief I don’t use it bc that much as I’d rather speak to people face to face. Social media has its uses but can also be destructive Too many ads, post I don't want to see/upsetting, unable to switch off from it Can be helpful but can cause issues for lots of people. It keeps you in touch with what's going on... good or bad...with family, friends and the world.. Social media is addictive: I can see why a lot of people are turning to it through lockdown but it’s not a portrayal of real life and it’s not good for people’s mental health. My worry is for my daughters generation. She is 9 and we’ve had to limit the amount of time she spends on the likes of tik tok as she would be on it all day if we let her. I’d like to think other guardians do the same because it can lead to lazy parenting. I’d like to think the government could give incentives through schools to aid kids not becoming addicted but with Covid and brexit it will be a long time before it is addressed. But will by then it be too late ? Can be useful, but has its dangers

Effects on mental health

Informative Effects on mental health Unrealistic representation of lives Positive aspects

Destructive Dependent on individual use Effects on mental health Detoxing Connecting with friends and family Entertainment Useful Destructive Saturated with ads Negative content Useful Negative aspects Connecting with friends an family Informative Addictive Pandemic influence Unrealistic representation of lives Effects on mental health Concerns for future of social media use

Useful Destructive It has advantages and disadvantages Positive aspects Negative aspects I think there's good and bad aspects to social media. For Use for a cause instance it's good to raise awareness on important issues Comparison of lives by using social media. On the other hand it can make Positive aspects your life seem unfulfilled and dull by comparison when Negative aspects comparing it to others via social media. People no longer communicate in person and only via Reduced in person contact social media and this means they are losing their ability to communicate in real life.


I use it to keep in touch with friends around the world.

It can be damaging to mental health

Connecting with friends an family Pandemic influence Connecting with friends and family Effects of mental health

People us it to distribute fake news.

Fake news

A good way to communicate with friends and family, however can become destructive if your social media is full of influencers who provide a fake sense of real life and real living

Connecting with friends and family Destructive Unrealistic representation of lives Influencer culture Reduced in person contact Effects on mental health Social pressures Bullying Positive effect on businesses Useful Effects on mental health

good in the pandemic for social reasons but overall bad

as ruined the art of conversation and family time. Has a huge effect on people’s mental health and pressures the younger generation into having to look perfect. Also no respite from bullying anymore , it’s 24/7. On a positive note it’s good for promoting small businesses. Can be a really useful tool but also can have super negative effects on mental health, it’s important to set boundaries Toxic and so much pressure but it’s so addictive It’s quite fake It's a good thing in terms of staying connected with friends, but as I've gotten older I'm less inclined to care about other people outside my circles. Although social media encourages further connectivity Very much controlling It is great for sharing problems in around the world that wouldn’t be recognised otherwise. I love to use it to look at new fashions from influencers etc. However I feel that it can make you feel more conscious of the way that you look so I feel like you need to make sure you remember what you seen online isn’t always a reality. It’s great to communicate with friends / family and see what people are doing. But it has negative impacts such as the addiction to it. The need to be essentially an influencer on platforms which is ridiculous, some of the issues needs to be highlighted It’s depends on what you are doing, I have a personal and business insta page. The business one I can see how people can be cruel. Facebook I use just to stay in touch with family and friends and Twitter is more informational based

Social media can be very positive in terms of bringing people together and raising awareness of certain topics, however it can be damaging to people’s self esteem through trolling and comparing to others. Good when used well and moderately. Can be manipulated. Dont believe everything you read. The world would be better off without it. It causes arguments and people have now formed an unhealthy reliance on it. If used in the right way social media is extremely enjoyable, however it does also come with its negatives like everything, for some people the negatives outweigh the positives and that’s when it can become harmful. Can be destructive to people's mental health. Far too many negatives on social and mainstream media


Addictive Unrealistic representation of lives Connecting with friends and family

Manipulation tool Use for a cause Influencer culture Comparison of lives Unrealistic representation of lives Connecting with friends and family Addictive Influencer culture Dependent on individual use Positive effect on businesses Connecting with friends and family Informative Bullying Use for a cause Effects on mental health Bullying Comparison of lives Manipulation tool Fake news Positive aspects Addictive polarisation Negative aspects Positive aspects

Effects on mental health

That it can be a positive thing however currently isn’t Causes anxiety and unproductiveness. I feel as if I check my phone on autopilot and become unaware of how much time I spend on it

Positive aspects Negative aspects Increased unproductivity Addictive Effects on mental health Time waster

Appendix IX Table 4. Qualitative data analysis coding of the brand representative interviews. Final coding framework

Initial coding framework


Increased engagement Linear engagement Decreased engagement Account deactivation Account reactivation Increased followers Decreased followers

Change in behaviour

Growing awareness of social media effects Detoxing Adaption to consumer behaviour Positive social media use Growing awareness of brand operations Adaption of social media use Single marketing strategy Adaption to trends Adaption of marketing strategy Marketing expense Social platform preference Evaluation of social media engagement Evaluation of competitors Evaluation of consumer behaviours Adaption in technologies Evaluation of insightful content Social media durability Social media marketing effects Marketing strategy


Marketing strategy

External influences Motivations

Photoshoot campaigns Influencers Multi-network use Multi-marketing strategy Annual campaign Social platform reliability Negative pandemic effects Pandemic influence Consumer as a driving force Consumer trust Reliance on marketing Brand consumer relationship Social media presence


Future predictions

No threat Potential threat Social media sustainability Influencer durability Brand obligation Brand transparency Cause marketing Increase in influenvers

Brand successes

Event marketing Increased revenue Insightful content effect Lack of brand transparency Algorithm Reliance on brand name


Appendix X. Table 5. Qualitative data analysis coding of the digital wellness representative interviews. Final coding framework

Initial coding framework

Consumer behaviour

Awareness of attention economy model Practising of digital wellness Growing awareness of social media effects Detoxing Education on technology Intentional social media use Increase in technological use Growing awareness of technology effects Change in user attitude

External influences

Influence of pandemic

Negative effects

Psychological effects Psychological manipulation Increase in unproductivity Health concerns Mental health Human connections Addiction Social support Inspiring Intrusion of privacy Self validation Social media post quantity Marketing strategy Social media as essential marketing Negative effects of technology use Positive effects of technology use Positive effects of social media Negative effects of social media Evaluation of marketing strategies Evaluation of insightful content Social media as a marketing tool Positive social media use Problem solving

Positive effects Consumer stance Evaluation



Digital wellness as a standard Digital wellness movement Perception of positive use Lack of data Perception of social media effects Adaption to quality content Adaption of marketing strategy Adaption to consumer behaviour Brand obligation for social responsibility Education on social media use Requirement of a mass movement Social media durability Perception of capitalism Cause marketing


In person experiences Effect on relationships Algorithm manipulation

Appendix XI Table 6. Qualitative data analysis coding of the focus group. Final coding framework

Initial coding framework

Positive impacts

Entertainment Escape from negativity Connecting to friends and family Positive feelings Source for information Social issues platform News reach Evokes sense of community Social support Evokes discussion

Negative impacts

Feeling of addiction Lack of enjoyment Manipulation Comparison of lives Excessive screen time Health concerns Mental health Increase in productivity Unwanted newsfeed content Polarisation Negative speech


Influencer culture Fake news platform Use of user data Influencer transparency



Time waster Unrealistic representation of lives Recognition of social media potential Perception of app updates App shelf life Copying Responsibility of apps Materialistic Effect of app time limits User responsibility for content Social competing


Lack of enjoyment Feeling of control Evaluation of social media use Evaluation of content Effects of algorithm Brand transparency Effect of app updates Negative effects of social media Social media as a marketing tool Negative content effect Effects of capitalism Positive feelings Negative feelings Positive effects of social media

Driving factors

Force of habit Implemented in routine Fear of missing out Vanity Nosiness Form of relaxation Validation App navigation for trends Awareness of social media effects Change in behaviour Change in attitude Detoxing App deletion Pandemic influence


External factors Perception of marketing

Performative activism Marketing saturated newsfeed Perception of targeted advertisements


Appendix XII




Appendix XIII