A few months back I was involved in a Twitter chat about Travel. We were discussing the impact that social media had on travel and whether that impact was positive or negative? I have to admit I was torn. Here was the answer I gave:

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It really got me thinking – if technology was able to have such profound impacts on a travelling habit, what is it doing to our relationships? In short, is technology helping or hindering relationships?

My initial thought was immediately a positive one. Living away from home and being in a long distance relationship, technology allows me to maintain relationships with those I wish were closest to me but can’t be. I am able to feel close to them, hear their voices and see their faces. It is the same with friends back home. Even now my friends from University are just a phone call away and I can always count on the group chat for a bit of motivation when I’m feeling down, usually in the form of ‘YASSS QUEEN SLAY’ (It’s kind of like I get to be a drunk girl in a toilet whenever I need it).

Other relationships that immediately came to mind was my relationship with other bloggers and people I have only ever come across through the world of social media. I have come across some wonderful people and genuinely feel as if I have a much wider support network than I would have had without social media. Naturally not every encounter is genuine one but that is surely the same when you meet people face to face. You can never truly know another persons motive and I think that not being face to face definitely makes it even harder, but online interactions have taught me a lot about the impact words can have on another individual and I have become a lot more considerate and empathetic.

However, there are certainly cons to the impact our ever-advancing technology is having upon of social interactions and consequently the relationships that we make. A very interesting (and important) point was raised in the chat by @wanderingpram.

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If we apply this reduced need to be social to relationships we can certainly see how technology has the potential to seriously hinder them. Sure, it is great that answers are now only a few clicks away but that means google becomes the local sat in a bar or the person walking down the street who looks like they know where they’re going. We avoid interaction because it is no longer necessary to the point that when interaction is necessary we recoil in fear. Being told by google that your search was unsuccessful is a lot easier than the feeling of rejection that potentially comes from face to face interactions.

Last year I secured a place on the News UK Summer Internship where we had to opportunity to visit Unruly a marketing and advertising agency based in London. When there we were given a tour of a ‘house of the future’. This house had everything! The mirror could tell you if your outfit matched and what Zara shoes would go best with those black trousers – ‘They’re currently in the sale, would you like me to order them for you?’ The fridge would order your butter for you if you were running low, the bath would run itself if you needed a soak – the house did EVERYTHING, all you had to do was log in. What might surprise you is that this ‘house of the future’ was actually a house of 2020 – 2 YEARS AWAY! Obviously the vast majority could never afford technology like this but it would be there as an option for some. This level of technology meant that you would literally never have to leave the house should you not want to. You would never have to interact with anyone again apart from the person who delivered your groceries that your cupboard ordered for you when you were running short.

Technology and the impact of social media is certainly not black or white. In fact, it’s kind of a messy grey sort of colour. The sheer pace at which technology is developing terrifies me. In the house of 2020 I was simultaneously in awe and horrified. I never want to be in a situation where I don’t have to leave the house. Face to face social interactions and fulfilling and allow us to develop as individuals. However, interactions on social media too have allowed for me to develop patience, empathy and a willingness to be proven wrong. Just as with everything in life, it seems to be a case of small doses. As Sirius Black ever so wisely said (how do I manage to bring everything back to Harry Potter?):

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

The impact technology has on relationships, whether it helps or hinders, is ultimately down to us. What matters IS the part we choose to act on.

Technology can never rival the closeness of face to face interaction, but the reality is that is not always possible and when it isn’t I am grateful for technology being there to give a helping hand.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, let me know in the comments below! 

Jamie x 

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Happy 7th of December guys! Something food related for you today. Something that I have found really interesting is how certain foods have become ‘trendy’. Restaurants have been a hit with Instagrammers and suddenly the once pretty unheard of avocado sits on the #instafamous food throne, surrounded by his good friends, coconut oil, donuts, freak shakes, smoothie bowls and ice cream that looks like cute, little flowers… I could go on, but I won’t. I went to Wagamamas for the first time a few years back, solely because I wanted to ‘instagram’ my food. I kind of wanted to explore this a little bit. How can we explain the rise of the avocado? 

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Follow my Instagram for more cliched pictures of my brunch.

The other day I ordered two tops saying ‘Let’s Avo-cuddle’, I didn’t want to admit it but I had become that person. I wanted tops with avocados on, a phone case with donuts, anything covered it peaches to represent my struggle for the sought after peachy bum. I am a total sucker for it. But why? Why all of a sudden am I stressing my #yokeporn and avo won’t quite look aesthetic enough. Apparently you can even get the infamous Avo-toast in McDonalds.

Now, Avocados have a load of health benefits that I’m sure you don’t need me to go into in great detail (you’ve all seen the ‘good fat’ meme, let’s be honest…). But there are loads of foods out there that are good for you that haven’t had their big break. It partly comes down to taste. Supermarkets have sussed when their avocados are at their best. Like bananas, avocados are better when they’re a little soft, hence the ‘ripe and ready’ packs you can now pick up from your local supermarket. But, let’s be honest, this really isn’t enough to cause the stir it has done. I’m not going to insta my banana because it’s looking pretty darn ripe and ready. In reality, it comes down to a lot of very clever marketing and the neoliberal consumer culture that we live in today. Just like Nandos, which everyone went bloody crazy for, the avocado has faced a marketing overhaul. The rise of the lifestyle blogger and coffee shop/brunch culture has aided it on it’s journey to the top. Journalists when off to South Africa and the Avocado became an ‘all year rounder’. What with this and the massive talk about all the health benefits, it’s really no wonder people started putting it in their trolleys. There has also been a huge change in the way we perceive fat. Fats are no longer the enemy and we are now more aware of the important role it plays in our diet (thanks to clever marketing, of course, but important none the less), and so the avocado has become a whole lot more appealing. Social media has also seen vegans and those who live off plant based diets step into the limelight. Even I have been influenced by this lifestyle and changed my eating habits thanks to it. A lot of these recipes rave about the avocado, it goes in puddings, breakfasts, dinner, tea, desserts. Anything you can think of!

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Seriously, go and follow me. I need to beat this algorithm and I promise it’s not all avocados. 

It’s true, avocados are good for us but balance is key. I love avocados, but chucking an avocado, kale and coconut oil into every smoothie I have is not exactly going to be good for me. It’s like peanut butter. I’m allergic to peanut butter so I don’t have this problem but everyone is drizzling peanut butter over this and spreading it over that. Peanut butter is another food product that has seen some clever marketing strategies. But it’s all about moderation. These things are good for you. I bloody love an avocado (although a lot of this is almost definitely down to what I have been told I should love as a wellness blogger) but you can get too much of a good thing and a calorie surplus is a calorie surplus, however you get it.

The rise of popularity of the avocado means that demand is becoming far greater than the supply and the avocado industry is struggling. This means prices will rise, which might mean the avocado has to avocaGO (I’m sorry, please don’t judge me). But what will come next? Social media is relentless. There are more and more lifestyle bloggers sharing their fantastic posts about their life and inevitably creating new #foodgoals.

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers talking about how they in fact don’t like avocados or pumpkin spiced lattes, or fitness bloggers who don’t drink monster (I’m talking about me with this last one…) so will we soon see another food take the avocados place in some sort of game of throne-esque show down? Who knows? But what I do know is this, whichever food it is, there is a marketing team out there somewhere ready to hit us with health benefits, pamphlets and instagram posts on a clean white backdrop. Let’s just hope it’s not the sprout… 

Jamie x