This is the first of a few posts on the relationship between social media and real life.
People are talking about whether the mobile social networking is sacrificing real-life relationships. The ‘mobilize everything’ trend is everywhere. On days I ride the bus to work, I would say 70% of people are buried in their phones and/or have headphones in. I would guess that other 30% don’t have phones to begin with (this is a generalization).
We are disengaged.
Of course, I am as guilty as everyone else riding the chariot. I check news sites, emails and twitter; all with a podcast firing. I personally feel like this type of behavior can be acceptable in public settings if you are riding solo. If this dips into more direct social settings, the slope gets slick.
The extent to which we are foregoing face-to-face interaction for mobile companionship is a huge concern. MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle makes a good argument (in her TEDxTalk) that we are sacrificing real life conversations by using social media. The way we interact online creates unrealistic and distorted perceptions social relationships.
The ease of positive self-portrayal through social media creates the illusion of a fantasy land. Facebook profiles nowadays have hand-picked photo-shopped pictures of lavish parties, exquisite dinner parties or epic adventures.
Constant editing, deleting and proofreading of messages or texts push the illusion further. The majority are afraid to slip-up or show mistakes online. We are shit-scared to present anything less than the ideal self. Our perceptions shape everything.
You can’t make such edits in real life. Can’t take back that snide comment, rumour or gossip. That shit is out there. We are far from perfect. Projecting insecurities allows others to identify with you.
Facebook Untag Rant
The paranoia of untagging photos that don’t meet the social validation standards is pretty annoying. Similarly, what does changing your name on Facebook solve? You may think hiding behind your middle name will help deceive potential employers social site search and that this may somehow help your cause. I tend to think the opposite.
Hiring managers want to see social networking sites for better or for worse. They may go so far as to ask for links to your social network pages. Put the real YOU out there! Drunken photos may not be flattering, but they show you are not a dork and that you are fun. Everyone is human; most of us understand and empathize youthful exuberance.
Can social media complement real life relationships? Are people overly concerned with their presentation on Facebook?