NIVEA are marking their 100th birthday this year by celebrating “closeness” in modern Britain. They’ve got Professor Geoff Beattie, a psychologist, on board with the project to carry out research that will act as a barometer showing closeness in Britain today.
The campaign is called "A Million Moments of Closeness" and is being run through both the NIVEA Facebook page and road shows the company is putting on across the UK. The idea is that to help with the celebration of closeness in the 21st century, you upload a picture of yourself sharing a moment of closeness with your friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, parents, siblings, whoever really! If you’re at one of the road shows there will be special photo booths you can take your pictures in and have them uploaded straight away. Each day the submitted photos will be viewed by Professor Geoff Beattie and he will select one person to win one of 100 prizes of £100! Now there’s an incentive to take part!
One of the main ideas behind the campaign is to do some research into how the internet and social networking affects closeness in our modern lives. A lot is made of how the internet can have an alienation effect, causing a loss of interpersonal skills and isolating users. NIVEA are saying that perhaps this is not the case however, and that instead the internet has a positive effect on our relationships. The net can be a brilliant communication tool, not as a way to supplant every day interaction, but to create links where there previously were none. Having just spent a year abroad, I can personally attest to how vital Skype and email were for keeping in touch with my family. Without the internet I could have only communicated with people from home via letters (there was no way I could afford to phone home all the time!) Another thing NIVEA is suggesting is perhaps the perceived “safety” of being behind a computer screen can help people open up to each other. You may be able to tell someone something “virtually” that you wouldn’t have the courage to say to them face to face. I feel that this in particular is an interesting theory, especially from a blogging point of view. To us bloggers, the “anonymity” of the internet generally only leads to one thing, hateful anonymous comments, so it will be interesting to see if it can also be used in a positive way.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue of "closeness" via the internet, and you can also join the discussion in the Feel Closer debate facebook.com/nivea.