Why is it that sometimes life can be so much more enjoyable when lived online? Why can you talk to various ‘friends’ on Facebook chat for hours on end, and yet, when you see them in person, it’s hard to muster a sentence? And, even more frustratingly, how can some people look so misleadingly gorgeous online, when you know from first hand evidence that’s not quite the case…
I’m sure I’m not the first (or last) person who has made their judgements of people via their social network profiles. I recently met the most god damn boring person imaginable (a harsh statement, but if experienced my awkward social encounter, you would agree), who posts witty and controversial tweets online. Despite my initial hostility, somehow, they have managed to completely manipulate my perception of them by their digital presence. Obviously this can work both in your favour or to your disadvantage, but the power of the internet personality prevails.
I have questioned whether this person – we shall call him Mr X – is shy. For many, the internet gives the opportunity to be the person who you really want to be. We may not all be brave enough to try out that joke at the party due to the risk of the deadly silence that could follow, or, maybe some of us are true comedians at heart, it just takes us a while to organize our thoughts. Either way, shielded behind a screen we unarguably all feel a little more valiant, which I guess is one of the main reasons why so many of us love it!
And then, there is the visual aspects of social networking. I’m sure once or twice we’ve all met someone on a night out and fb’d them to see whether or not you had your beer goggles on. What you may find could go either way, but what my point is that the internet has completely changed the social dynamics in society. Whereas we would once, a long time ago, actually make our own judgments on people, first impressions are no longer that important. Instead, the impression given by our online presence is what counts. I mean, after all, it’s probably on Facebook you’re going to show your friends the boy you last went on a date with.
I wish it wasn’t like this. I am not sure Facebook always works in my favour, and even worse, I am fed up of nights that revolve around a camera for Facebooks sake.
I think we’d all agree social networks for many of today’s teens moves away from just a hobby, but where does that leave us? Are social networks a blessing or a curse? An addiction or an obligation?
What do you think?