The Facebook Identity
The internet is the 8th wonder of the world. Its product however, can be the leading cause of human degradation. I was never aware with how powerful social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, etc.) have on our lives, until I got sucked into. But with this phenomenon occurring in my life, I shall always proceed with great precaution.
Social networking sites are remarkably a genius invention. For once, people can self-promote themselves by confidently displaying their personal and unique characteristics. People can even go further than simply listing their likes and dislikes, these social networking sites facilitate people with the medium to showcase personal talents; whether that is art, pictures, and even music. There are of course, not to disregard, individuals who are self-aware of their physical beauty (this is indeed a form of self-selling) and are finding these social sites to be a comfortable niche.
I do realize that aside from having the privilege to express, these social sites are quite fun. Facebook has these little widgets and games that you and your friends can embark on. For example, I can be a vampire and bite my friend and suck all his blood to get points. Or you can also become a romantic and a caregiver to all your lady friends (say I sent my girlfriend sun flowers for her birthday or a chocolate moose cake for our anniversary). Many have also claimed that one of the advantages of these sites is having the ability to “stay connected” with long time friends. There are just endless possibilities with what you can do with these sites.
But I wonder, with the booming trend of social networking sites, has it actually served us well? Has it boycott the means of direct human interaction and communication? And what is it that made us so hooked?
The creation of these social sites have made it easy for people to recreate their images. People no longer have prove what they claim to be, you can simply list all of the things that you ‘think’ you are. Socializing in the internet is different than when you speak to person directly, eye-to-eye. Socializing is harder in reality because you can detect who they really are. With Facebook, people know you by what you want others to believe; it is not the true image of yourself.
Humans are social beings. In a traditional, and I am inclined to say more ‘natural’ case, humans go out to meet people. There is that element of meeting others in persons, parties, social gatherings, you name it. However, now, social sites like Facebook are able to create social groups that exist only virtually. People become members and share interest in the internet. Social groups in the internet are massive. That is because it is in much ease to get someone involve, there isn’t much effort to put into, all you have to do is click!
I could not agree more with those who believe that despite its ease in mobilizing people, Facebook had made us internationally more aware. We can connect with others from the other side of the world and show our solidarity. I noticed however, that these groups are nothing more than a buzz, in fact only an optical illusion. Its existence is only temporary. Yes, people become more informed with the outside world, but I believe that an effective form of change and mobilization starts through grass-root movements (e.g. Free Tibet). Changes are more apparent in a local setting than it is in a larger (vague) scale.
The other disadvantage of having an account in one of these social networking sites is the amount of time you put into. These sites (personal experience and by observing others) are quite addictive. You begin with setting up your profile, adding friends, and the message postings make you tuned to the site for at least 4 hours a day. Imagine, those time that you could have spent doing other things. The time that you could have used to go out and enjoy the gift of nature, the time that you could have spent learning something interesting, and just everything else that is possible in the real world. You can even save the world for once by conserving energy and putting your computers to rest.
Nowadays, people live in fear. People are afraid of people. The act of socializing or just simply talking to someone is no longer a ‘normal’ thing to do. I remember when I was younger, when taking the public bus to school, speaking to the person next to me was not a peculiar thing to do. But now, when I take the subway to the city, everyone in the train is as tense as a rock and with no lively facial expression. Have we shift our attention to Facebook for a safe social interaction? What have we turned into? Or are we on the verge of creating a new form of society?
I refuse to be enslaved by the internet. And I sympathized with how shallow we have become. However, I do not see why such websites should ceased to exist. There are positive factors that one can reap, especially in a much personal basis, like keeping in touch with long time friends. Perhaps, it is true that we are gearing towards a ‘progressive’ individuals, but that is because we choose to be. Our generation embraced it as an identity. I, on the other hand, can only accept so much … because I am a real society.