SHARJAH – “Social media is only there to enhance your real life. That’s what I use it for. My blog enabled me to go travelling, have real-life adventures, and get a book deal. My twitter feed helps me to meet people in real life. For me, knowing what you are using social media for is very important. Life is short, and I don’t know if I want to spend my whole life on the phone,” Emma Gannon elucidated.
Emma Gannon spent her morning at the 37th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF18) discussing the internet and social media with young school boys in a session titled, “Growing up online – the impact of digital revolution on young people.” She is a Sunday Times bestselling business author, podcaster, and broadcaster based in London. She is also the author of two non-fiction books: Ctrl Alt Delete and The Multi-Hyphen Method.
At the beginning of the session, the young boys were asked if they all had mobile phones. Eager hands shot up in the air, but when they were asked if they ever shut their phones, only three hands were raised amidst a crowd of over fifty students.
“The thing with phones is that it’s always in your pocket. It’s never-ending. With my book, I want to give people the tools to know that they can switch off their devices. I feel very lucky that I grew up in a time where I didn’t have my phone. I can see it for what it is because I know what it’s like without it. I think you need to be very careful with what you are using your phone for, if your eyes are glazing over and you are just scrolling – you are not really doing anything,” she explained.
Stressing on the importance of awareness, she elaborated that she doesn’t want you to feel bad about it but instead acknowledge it as a sign that you aren’t getting much from it. Her book ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’, is based on the fact that in 1989, the world wide web was created, which isn’t really that long ago.
Even though we are immersed in technology and social media, we feel like it has always been there. “I was born in 1989, I think it’s interesting that someone of my age is the same age as the internet. What does that mean for my generation? We had a childhood that was drip feeding us technology, we didn’t get thrown into this world. I am so fascinated by generations and how you are affected by your environment and how generations interact with each other,” she elaborated.
“I think there is a barrier and we don’t understand, why young people are the way they are. I wanted to write about that,” she added.
Emma’s next venture will be in the category of non-fiction where she will explore the theme of motherhood. The Sharjah International Book Fair will be open until Saturday, 10th November.