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The Circle: What is it Teaching Us About Social Media?

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Channel 4 launched its new social media-based reality show last night, which sees contestants contacting one another through a constructed social media platform called The Circle.

Naturally, as a Digital Marketing apprentice, I’m always keeping on top of the trends so this programme really caught my eye. After all, it is social media based. So, with the brilliant excuse to sit and watch reality TV, I’m adding The Circle to this month’s ‘Juicy Gossip’.

For the next three weeks, players will get to know each other online. If they become the most popular player, they win £50,000. So far, we have seen the players settle into their individual apartments, which are in the same block, and set up their profiles. The catch? They can pretend to be whoever they want on their online profile.

What are we learning about social media?

Three of the players believe they shouldn’t be any different on social media. They want people to see them for who they are – the girl with a ‘pot noodle belly’, the ‘King of Tinder’ and the man who talks to his pet turtle, who is already the second most popular player.

Lesson to learn: If your brand is true to itself, you’ll get far. Your followers will be able to see themselves using your products, if they know you are an authentic brand.

Three others are playing themselves too, with a twist. Freddie is an openly gay man who is ‘playing it straight’. He is bored of people only seeing him for his sexuality. Sian believes her online presence doesn’t represent her true self, so is stripping that back. Whilst Genelle is living in her apartment with her daughter, she hasn’t told anybody she is a mother.

Lesson to learn: These players are hiding a small aspect of their lives back, in order for people to not judge straight away. As a brand, you need to make sure that your first impression on social media, leaves a good impression with your audience.

The final two players are playing the game as someone else entirely. The oldest player Jennifer is playing it as a young doctor. 26-year-old male Alex is actually playing as his girlfriend ‘Kate’. Ironically, with crafty manipulation he has quickly become the most popular player.

Lesson to learn: Some users aspire to brands that appear luxurious and aspirational and whilst you will want your audience to feel this way towards your brand, make sure you do not get too carried away and create a brand identity that is too far out of reach.

This show is providing us with an insight into just how different social media can be from reality. We’ll be keeping up to date with everything that goes on, on our own social pages. Make sure you’re following us. We really are true to ourselves.

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