As the social media has largely changed the way that people communicate, it has also changed how people establish relationships and the content of relationships at the same time. The word “intimate publics” is one of the special feature that produced by the rapid development of social network sites (SNSs). Hinton and Hjorth (2013) explained that “intimacy can be something that exists between strangers because of the common bond they can share by virtue of them belonging to the same cultural group.” Although there exists so many voices that against the over prosperity of social media, because opponents think it will enlarge people’s attitude of indifferent, and to flinch people from talking to each other in the real life. The emergence of SNSs breaks down the invisible wall made of the embarrassment when people talk to someone that he or she don’t know at all. According to the definition, common bond is the key point to make up an intimacy relationship. The intimacy bond in the field of social media have no connections with the chemistry between lovers, or blood ties between families, it has more concerns about the aspects of social and culture (Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). Same virtual and cultural background can provide people a sense of belonging, and can make them feel confidence and comfortable. Social networks shorten the times and those complicated progresses, and directly help people to find like-minded friends on line. For instance, if one people agree with animal testing, and he can just find one or two friends in real life who also agree with it, and can hardly speak out his opinion when most of his friend talk about this topic because of afraid to be criticized. However, if he goes on social networks and input “ agree animal testing”, he can find thousands of people who hold the same point of view with him, the sense of belonging will make him as a part of that intimacy relationship with other supporters.
Apart from social media platforms, social media game plays an important role in the development of intimacy relationship in social media. Social media games have two basic functions: entertainment in spare time, and keep connection with families and friends. According to Hinton and Hjorth (2013), different from traditional computer games, social media games have far more population basis, with young and old, and encouraged to play games by various of reasons. Since casual game is a wonderful combination of entertainment and social communication, it enable players to become close friends on game platform. Take clash of clans for example, no matter what reason motivate player download the game and play it, once player like it, this person will have common bond with other players, because they all interested in a same game. To win the war, players have to organize their armies as soon as communicate with other players in a same legion. It is common that one legion’s players are from all over the world. Thanks to social media and same interests, they will become friends in real life. The success of clash of clans largely because of the contribution of intimacy relationship, it is very easy to find home pages includes tactic, feeling sharing forum in different languages. The game has brought people with same interests together and made a great miracle of social media (Jain, 2010).
For iScreen ( social media project), my aim is to make it as an online film communication platform, so the establishment of intimacy relationship is very important for the project, the two main groups are:
- iScreen and audience
- audience and audience
To make a closer relationship between the parties, my strategy is to put more focus on establish and encourage engagements with target audience. So I choose Facebook and Instagram to be my main platforms to communicate messages, because :
- Facebook: large population basis of close friends provide first intimacy relationship that can support my project, and help me to spread it to other people.
- Instagram: a hashtag-oriented platform enable people find their interests on iScreen page easily.
The management of iScreen home page based on two principles: beautiful visual, and arouse sympathy. When I post actor’s interviews or designed posters, I choose to express my feeling first, and ask my audience, what do you feel? Who do you think is the best? Why? The questions encourage audience to engage with iScreen and communicate with other people in comment area, once someone find a like-minded friend, they can further become friend in real life. I found the tactic attracted more audience to engage with the page and it is also a strategy use of intimacy relationship.
The intimacy will have effects on offline communication. For example, strangers in a same event or activity can become friends on Weichat, and take this opportunity to start a conversation. For most of times, these people may probably never contact with each other anymore, but the updates can still show on friend circle. If they want, they can also directly contact with each other. In other words, Social networks give people opportunities to be intimate with the other people.
Although SNSs make short-term interpersonal intimacy relationship accessible, the sense of close will sometimes be a kind of kidnap. With the increasing number of different social media platforms, more and more people regard social media as a spiritual dependence, to fulfill the psychological shortcomings in real life. People adapt to acquire the sense of belonging, identity, and achievement from online intimacy relationship. However, once the intimacy degree can not reach the expectation, many people will feel disappointed, isolated, and even depressed. In contrast, all the symptoms can only be cured by real life social engagement and activities. We can say that online intimacy relationship is sometimes an illusion, we can take it as an objective to further research the impact by common bond connect with people from the same social and cultural background, but the illusion real exists and bring various of negative effects on offline interpersonal relationship (Redmon, 2015). For instance, someone finds a friend online and they have free, happy conversations very frequently on social media platform, they share daily life, share ideas, and talk about interests, seems like they can have endless conversation online. In many circumstances, if they meet in the real life, conversely, the two people may have nothing totally about. The situation is both common and hilarious because of the contribution of social media communication. Everyone can abandon their status, labels in real life, and all named as “netizen”, or even fake as a new people (Dreyfus, 2013). For this reason, people feel relax and free to talk about anything without any worries which maybe exist in real life communication. Now, some people rather just be someone’s friend online than further expand the relationship offline.
In conclusion, social networks enable people share messages and maintaining relationships with each other, which make modern life such convenient and colorful. The inner intimacy relationship is the fuel to encourage people to find friends with same cultural background and interest. At the same time, people must have an awareness of the online sense of belonging, and do not let it interrupt the real life social communication.
Dreyfus, E. (2013). Social Networking and Intimacy. Retrieved 05/21/2013 from: http://www.edwarddreyfusbooks.com/psychologically-speaking/social-networking-and-intimacy/
Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Jain, R. (2010). 4 Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Relationship. Retrieved 16/08/2012 from: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-ways-social-media-is-changing-your-relationships/
Redmond, M. (2015). Social Media and the Illusion of Intimacy. Retrieved 04/02/2015 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-redmon/social-media-and-the-illusion-of-intimacy_b_6584974.html