The Irish YouTuber sat down with TenEighty to discuss the documentary, which is the launch of a new series on her channel.
Premiering at Canada’s Buffer Festival earlier this month, Is Social Media REALLY Making Us Lonely? sees Melanie Murphy exploring society’s use of social media and how it’s changed not only our relationships, but how we see ourselves as individuals. The idea to turn the idea into a documentary came from her wanting to explore other opinions outside of her own.
“I got to the point where I was just so sick of hearing my own voice on my channel, because I have to edit my own videos and it’s always my opinions,” Melanie explains. “My opinions can change quite regularly, so I kind of wanted to take something that was on my mind a lot and just ask other people. […] I was kind of thinking, ‘What’s something I can do that would get a lot of other creators involved, but then just other people as well of different ages and different backgrounds.'”
The documentary features a mixture of online YouTube creators, such as Hannah Witton, Lucy Moon and Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, as well as others involved in the online sphere, including actor Huw Samuel and videographer Mandy Celine. Melanie also wanted to feature young people, but given how difficult it would have been to coordinate, she decided to speak with two primary school teachers instead, who had seen firsthand how social media was affecting their students.
Melanie’s dad was also involved, and his answer to the question surprised her. “He sees it very positively, so I was really fascinated by that,” she says.
A number of days were spent interviewing those featured in the documentary, and what Melanie found most interesting about the experience was the variety of opinions that were shared:
“I was gobsmacked at the scope in the experiences with [social media],” she says. “Because some people absolutely are like, ‘It makes me so much happier. It makes me feel so much more connected to people. I can be way more myself. I’ve found all these communities of people who I have a lot in common with and [who] I feel really comfortable with.’ Then, on the other end of it, it was people feeling like it was all really shallow and it wasn’t really enriching their real life at all.”
NEW VIDEO! Is social media making you lonely?
I made a mini documentary asking a bunch of people about their feelings on this & I’d LOVE to read your opinion in the comments: https://t.co/njJNyxlO44
Please like, share and enjoy! This took ages to make and I’m proud of it 💚 pic.twitter.com/0nZPavUPUN
— Melanie Murphy (@melaniietweets) October 6, 2019
The numerous opinions offered resulted in Melanie rethinking her own stance on social media and how it impacts social relationships, “I actually walked away from the project with a lot more questions, which is why I wanted it to [do]. I wanted to ignite a discussion with people watching it.
“I think beforehand I was a lot more positive,” she continues. “I went into it thinking everyone would be like, ‘No, I’ve made so many friends and it’s made my life so much better,’ because that’s what I’m like as a person. I’m very optimistic and glass half-full, and I’m always trying to see the good in every situation. I don’t focus on the negative things, so I definitely had a different image in my head of what it would be at the end.”
Through the documentary, Melanie hopes more people explore social media and learn to adapt as it and the world change. She understands that it’s no longer just a social thing, but more of a worldwide issue, and it’s inspired her to start a new series on her channel, titled Food For Thought. The series would cover topics within the online sphere, including makeup and photoshop, “I would love if I could get a different brand on board for each video or get a bit of funding to do it.”
Is Social Media REALLY Making Us Lonely? is currently available for viewing on Melanie’s YouTube channel.