By Grace Pritchard
Television based on social media interaction is changing perceptions of the online landscape for all generations, an industry expert has said.
Nick Crossland, managing director of creative digital agency Joi Polloi, touched on how important social media presentation is for millennials, while speaking at Leeds Trinity University’s annual Journalism and Media Week.
Nick appeared at the annual event to talk about the company’s creation of the interactive platform at the heart of Channel 4 reality show The Circle.
The Circle is a game-based series which revolves around social media.
Throughout the show contestants live in the same building but are never allowed to meet, only interacting through the digital platform created by Joi Polloi.
Nick discussed how The Circle is unique in its exploration of identity, adding: “It’s all about how people in the modern world choose to present themselves.
“At the same time The Circle gives an insight into a person’s consciousness.
“While watching the show you experience a persons’ inner thought process before they make a decision on how to interact with someone.”
The Circle has a mix of contestants varying in age, gender and background, and in some cases there are contestants have never used social media.
Tim Wilson, 58, was a contestant on Series Two of The Circle who had no experience of using social media. He finished the series as the winner of the “viewers champion” vote.
Nick said: “Watching Tim learn to use the platform was really interesting.
“He’s of an older generation but he was actually one of the best at deciphering between who was and wasn’t showing their real identity.”
The Circle is based on the concept that contestants don’t have to interact with each other under their real identity.
But Nick said despite general perceptions that social media users lack a moral compass, audience response to The Circle demonstrated the opposite.
Nick says: “People think that morals get lost on social media.
“But when James was behaving badly people didn’t like to see that.
“The really big question is knowing what audiences want to see.”
The Circle has brought a new style of television to audiences that has been a success with young viewers, viewing figures show, with nearly a quarter of 16-34-year-olds watched the show on the first night of the second series.