Social Media and the Self

A lot of people use social media to connect with others. They post a self-approved picture of themselves, list their hobbies and interests, and add others who they may know or even those who just have similar interests that they do. Social media can be a great place to make connections with everyone. You can post a cute cat video on Facebook and you will see that your aunt from back home “liked it” and your new friend from math class also “liked it.” You just made connections with two people. They know you like cute cat videos and you assume they do too. Social media can be a great way to get to know people. Social media has become a very important part of people’s lives. Almost to the point of where it is almost abnormal if you don’t have some kind of social media account.

“Although social networking sites are in their infancy, we are seeing their impact culturally: in language (where to friend is now a verb), in politics (where it is de rigueur for presidential aspirants to catalogue their virtues on MySpace), and on college campuses (where not using Facebook can be a social handicap).” – Christine Rosen

While reading Christine Rosen’s post, “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism” I thought about how social media connects people. Friendster was part of the new generation of social networking sites created in 2002 by Jonathon Abrahams. It was pretty much created for people who wanted to meet new people. Abrahams said he mainly created it so he could meet women online but it was used for people to meet all kinds (not just potential partners).

Social media is a great way to create an image of yourself that you want the world to see. I suppose this can be a good and bad thing.  The good thing is that you can photoshop that new pimple out of a nice selfie. The bad thing is if someone can take a photo from the internet of some random person and put it as their profile picture. They can lie about their identity to the whole web.

“But we are only beginning to come to grips with the consequences of our use of these sites: for friendship, and for our notions of privacy, authenticity, community, and identity. As with any new technological advance, we must consider what type of behavior online social networking encourages.” – Christine Rosen

Unless you know the person and have seen them face to face it’s hard to know if the people you meet online are real. People lie on their profiles all of the time. Nobody wants to put a bad selfie as their profile picture. No one wants to admit that they didn’t have an awesome trip to Bora Bora in one of their captions. The majority post only what they want people to see. I’m sure most people are guilty of it. I know I have posted a filtered photo before. How about you? Don’t lie to me.

It is okay to share the good parts of your life on social media because that is what your proud of and that is what you are comfortable sharing. In all honesty, the people that really matter are the ones that want to see you face to face, not just online. But that doesn’t mean I’m telling you to go meet that random guy whose been messaging you “hey” on Facebook since 2009. Feel free to be who you want to be online, just be cautious of how you present yourself and who you want to connect with online. Not everyone is who they say they are.

Is social media a part of your every day life? Do you use social media to connect with new people? Or would you say you just use it to maintain relationships with people you already know?

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One thought on “Social Media and the Self

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  1. Abbie – Great post! I didn’t read Rosen’s article for class, but it sounds like I should. These are the very questions/issues that have made me hesitant to jump in to social media and very protective over when/how and where my kids can interact online. When I finally caved and got Facebook, I was going to only use it for my close connections and people or organizations I needed to be connected to. I found those boundaries impossible to maintain. One family member told me I had way too many FB friends when I had less than 100, and I was told I post too much (when I thought I was being quite conservative). The whole experience was weird. I’m not used to having a platform where other people get to have an opinion about my life. That part of social media is very foreign to me. How do you deal with other people weighing in on your life? Does that happen to everyone as a result of social media?

    Liked by 1 person

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