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Panel shares thoughts on social media

District Staff

By Kat Weiss and Jen Paolini

HONG KONG — Design professionals shared their views on social media during an April 18 panel entitled, “Styling the Future: Social Media and Design.”

The panel, one of two SCAD Style events hosted at the Hong Kong campus, featured moderator Collin Thompson, the founder and CEO of sneaker brand Cipher.

Thompson, along with notable guest speakers J.J. Acuna, Arne Eggers and Danielle Huthart, discussed the pros and cons of social media and the significance it bears to society.

The panel considered how social media has democratized communication and culture and its advantages and disadvantages.

Eggers, a fashion editor at Hong Kong Tatler and self-proclaimed traditionalist, stated that the “Internet is unstoppable.” His opinion is that it’s best to recognize and welcome the new kind of social media that cannot be monitored.

He added that the ongoing issue of sharing resulted in a loss of accreditation. Therefore, it is important to not only give credit where it is due, but to also be aware of what you post on the Internet.

Mogg, a British art director, advised caution in online file sharing. In his own industry of film, he said the sharing of certain information could end in a lawsuit “from here to Christmas.”

On the other hand, Acuna, an architect and blogger, pointed out that people are still provided with free blogging services and social platforms for any kind of self-expression. In his view, society has the luxury to spread its interests on an extra level, without the professionalism that accompanies artists and designers.

One new avenue in the social networking realm exists through mobile platforms. Upon being asked how web and mobile platforms differ, Huthart explained that different audiences require different channels and platforms tailored to their specific needs. These audiences, depending on what targeted platform they choose to use, “change the landscape of conversation.”

Acuna referred particularly to Pinterest and how their design of virtual bulletin boards allows people to communicate via visual collage. Eggers disagreed, saying that society is undergoing a social media addiction, and that “people abuse platforms a lot for nonsense.” But Acuna stressed that without these social platforms, he would have missed a great number of opportunities to reach out to professionals worldwide and partake in collaborations with other artists.

Ultimately, how do designers see the future for social media? It may become even quicker, with more instant modes of communication. Mogg cited an article he read recently about a design company that exclusively corresponds via Twitter, suggesting the rapidly changing nature of more straightforward and effective virtual communication, especially between large groups of people.

Innovation, for Huthart and Acuna, meant moving toward an age where storytelling becomes visual, with platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest offering an alternative kind of personal narrative. The panel pointed out the ability to create different personas on the Internet for those who want a clear divide between their professional and personal lives.

Still, the panel stressed sharing only what you want to share. Mogg, especially, urged precaution on privacy policies, pointing out society’s tendency to automatically click “I agree” to unread terms.

But Mogg, like the rest of the panel, sees social media as constantly moving ahead and reimagining methods of communication. And the most important thing to remember about social media is, in Mogg’s words, “to use it, not let it use you.”