This year, I got to attend Social Media Week, a worldwide conference that highlights how social media and technology are changing how people interact in business, culture, and society.
Social Media Week, or SMW, is in its seventh year in New York and was held February 23-27. The theme is “Upwardly Mobile,” representing the increasing number of people who are connected through social media and asking what this signifies for the future.
“Behind the Profile: Hacking Our Identity Perception Through VR to Build Empathy” was hosted by BeAnotherLab. It led the discussion of how individuals perceive themselves through the perception of others. If one can identify with how another person feels, would it create a sense of empathy?
BeAnotherLab created a VR machine called “The Machine to Be Another” to conduct research to encourage seeing through another’s point of view.
“The Machine to Be Another” is an interactive performance-installation with 2 identical spaces. One for the user, and the other for the performer. The user is able to see through the perspective of the performer by wearing immersive goggles. The user is free to move and interact with objects inside the space, while the performer mimics the user’s movements. The user is also listening to the performer’s thoughts through headphones, creating the perception of being inside someone else’s mind.
In studies created by BeAnotherLab, the interactive embodied system has shown to help individuals with neurological disabilities and eating disorders to overcome their illnesses. It aided them mentally in thinking of the “other” in a positive light- that they are AN other, and not the person whom they are with the disease.
“Activism in the Social Age: Resources, Mainstream Media, and Using These Tools for Good” highlighted the role social media played in social activism. As opposed to rallies and protests where all individuals are supporting their cause in an active fashion, not all activists take to social media in the same manner.
It is important to inform people of a cause with information relevant to the issues through content. If the content speaks to your audience and you have an authentic brand voice, people will like and follow your content. It’s more important to have informed followers instead of blind followers. Have a purpose and a stance, and stand behind it. Social media is a platform used to take social activism to another level.
The next Social Media Week’s are being held June 8th to June 12th in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Rome.