Last year, I succumbed to the horribly bourgeois, popular phenomenon of the social networking website Facebook. Having avoided it for a few years, partly because of my counter-culture yearnings and partly because of my dearth of close friends my own age, I signed up on a whim during my initiation into collegiate life. I was thoroughly amazed at the crack-cocaine-like addiction to the website that then ensued: I had caught myself once a few months in actually checking for notifications on my dentist's computer as I waited for a teeth cleaning. And, despite any attempts to curb my appetite, I habitually find myself logging on at least three times a day. Why, I couldn't cogently explain, but nevertheless, there is some sense of joy and acceptance that comes from seeing a little numerical red speech bubble poking out from a crude icon of a sign, even if said communication was merely alerting me to the fact that somebody made a smiley face emoticon on my wall. Even now as I pen this post I'm changing my status on the site. But, as I sit back and examine this fad, I cannot help but think: have these new developments in social networking helped us become connected to our fellow man or quite the opposite?
It takes a somewhat critical eye of self-awareness to really determine what exactly we are getting out of transforming ourselves into a profile page. We write not about our own self-images, but the image we want to project for other people. If we were to have one of our friend's write our profile for us, it would probably be exponentially different from the one we write ourself. Think about it: how many negative things are we willing to say about ourselves? Even more so, how many positive, yet inaccurate, things are we willing to say in the sake of promoting a self that may not truly reflect the people we are. Hand choosing the attributes and qualities that define who you are is probably more dangerous than it appears to be. I mean, couldn't it be possible to lose your sense of self if you cultivate this insanely glorified and falsified personality which in no way defines who you are, and maybe not even who you want to be, but who you want other people to see you as? It's all so pathetically submissive.
Unfortunately I have yet to stop the siren's song which is Facebook, but hopefully in a few year I--we--will move on and try to be ourselves for real, rather than virtually.