What does it mean to be a young man (aka bloke, lad, fella, geezer) on social media? And do you even care?

December 3, 2019

Whether it be legday, armday, nights out with the fellas or sharing latest footy news with mates, for many young guys, social media is an important space to represent who they are and to connect with others. This blog marks the launch of our new website ‘lads on social media’, which aims to publicise our research projectand engage young adults in the UK who want to take part in our focus groups and talk about what it means to be a young man (aka bloke, lad, fella, geezer) on social media today.

Young men’s identities have become popular topics of discussion in the UK and elsewhere, with many media outlets now focusing on what it means to be a young man today. GQ, an international magazine that focuses on exploring men’s cultures, styles and fashion, recently devoted an issue to exploring what ‘masculinity’ means today. LADbible, the web-based media company has rebranded itself in recent years to explore what it means to be a ‘lad’ today through content that focuses on a broad range of interests, such as having a laugh, socialising, gaming, sports, being politically aware and socially conscious. Dazed, the British style magazine, is currently running a campaign called ‘Behind the Masc: Rethinking Masculinity’, which explores what masculinity means in 2019. In its latest issue, it focuses on the metrosexual Essex lad and the pressure that young men often feel to look pumped and to display Instagram selfies of their well-toned bodies in an effort to get 100-plus likes from their mates and others.  Earlier this year Gillette changed their long running campaign slogan – ‘the best a man can get’ – to ‘the best a man can be’ as part of a campaign designed to get people thinking about the expectations we place on men.  The film that launched this campaign ‘We Believe: the best a man can be’ divided opinion on social media, with many young people questioning the need to challenge our ideas of what it is to be a man, while others argued it was a chance to start talking about what it means to grow up as a man.

While masculinity and lad identities are now popular topics of discussion in online and offline spaces, little attention has been given to what British young people themselves think about these practices, including young men.

Our research project, which has been developed by our team of researchers at the University of Liverpool, wants to involve British young people in these discussions so that they have an opportunity to voice their views on these issues. We want to know what you think it means to be a young man, lad or a bloke on social media? What content do young men post or share online with their mates? What do you think about this content? What role do you feel it plays in forming friendships and social connections? We’re interested in knowing what you think. You can let us know in a number of ways. You can share your stories about young men on social media here. You can also get involved in our focus groups and interviews. Over the next few months, we’ll be travelling across the UK to meet with young people (aged 18-25 yrs) who want to discuss what it means to be a young man on social media. You can find out more information about these focus groups and interviews and sign up to them here. By speaking to young British people about what it means to be a young man on social media we hope to better understand how we can support community groups who work with young people who want to know more about their experiences of masculinity online.