I find social sites a little bewildering. I was sick a lot as a child and as a result, I never did get the hang of social networking. It’s difficult to fit in when you’re constantly missing out on things. I am also naturally reticent to display my personal life on-line. I don’t have any faith in the anonymity of the internet and even if I did, personal information is part of who we are and hiding that seems to defeat the point of sharing.
Social sites are all about self-disclosure and self-disclosure is mostly about being understood and liked for who we are. The biggest part of communication takes place non-verbally. We form an opinion about someone before we even begin to interact with them. I’m pretty sure the internet hasn’t really changed that. We simply substitute one non-verbal set of cues for another. Our on-line personae is much more malleable and lends itself very well to spin, but we still form impressions based on it regardless. How we present ourselves on the internet is a conscious endeavour. The pictures we upload, the text we write, the video clips we post are all controllable footage and we do spin them as much as we can to gain the most favourable result. Not that that is any different than wearing expensive clothes, dieting to be as thin as possible, spending small fortunes on anti-aging creams, make-up, haircuts, manicures etc. It’s simply easier to upload an attractive avatar than to polish a real person where air-brushing and good special effects are not a given.
I’ve created a facebook page and twitter account, mostly because everybody is doing it and I’m starting to feel left out. Staying with the times is about keeping up with social and technological development and I don’t want to be left behind. It makes me feel old and uncool. What we get out of anything depends on what we put in. I’m getting very little from my facebook page as I’m not actually contributing much. The use of social sites very much depends on how much you invest in them. I’m not out and about and doubt that I’ll be uploading micro-blogs to twitter,but at least now I feel as if not getting on the band wagon was a conscious decision.
Social networks are important in life. On-line social networks do have the advantage of putting people in touch who otherwise never would have met, but then so does MMORPG’s and message boards/forums. My life is very different from most and although there is the temptation to link up with other people who are going through similar things, it’s not something I choose to pursue. Such a gigantic chunk of my life is taken up by being unwell, the little time I have left I prefer spending on something fun, positive and relaxing. Sorry, facebook, but I’d much rather do my socializing whilst downing Sartharion instead of adding boxes or decorating my wall.