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Professor Tom Buchanan is academic consultant for BBC iWonder piece on the authenticity of social media

Psychology 12 September 2016

Professor Tom Buchanan

Faculty Research Director and Professor of Psychology, Tom Buchanan, was asked by BBC iWonder to provide his academic expertise for a guide entitled ‘Why does social media seem ‘fake’ to some people?’,presented by writer and broadcaster Konnie Huq.

BBC iWonder initially contacted Professor Buchanan to discuss his ideas about how social media affects people’s behaviour, to which he was able to provide them with relevant research in the area.

Speaking about the impact of social media on society, Professor Buchanan says:

"Social media has had an ever-growing growing impact on society over the last decade. At one point in time, psychologists made a clear distinction between the 'real world' and the online realm of the internet, talking about 'online' and 'offline' behaviour. However, it's now pretty clear that the interface between the physical world, and online spaces where we interact, is blurred and permeable.”

“For many - perhaps most - people, life is now a continuous blend of the physical and the virtual, mediated by devices such as mobile phones. This of course has both advantages and drawbacks. It's important to understand both how people use social media, and how social media can shape aspects of our everyday lives. The BBC iWonder piece helps by publicising some of these ideas."

Professor Tom Buchanan has been working at the interface of psychology and the internet since the mid-1990s, and is particularly interested in how people present themselves in online spaces, such as social media, and how we interact with technology in general.

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