Differences between real life and social media

I came across this article on thought catalog about 16 Reasons You Should Spend Less Time on Facebook.  Almost everything listed here is true or at least it is true for me.  We all spend countless hours engaging in the mindless activity of scrolling through the news feed and virtually following the moves of others for no apparent benefit.  This distracts us from committing and focusing on the tasks and people that are in our real lives.  In classrooms everywhere students pay attention to the unimportant updates that are constantly popping up on their screen instead of attending to their work or listening to their professor.  People will post statuses and post on other people’s walls not because they want to genuinely share something, but so that everyone else knows about it or someone else sees it.  It may be to boost their ego, make someone jealous or to let the rest of world know how amazing their life is.  It is the new form of bragging and showing off.  But, I believe that most of these people are trying to overcompensate for something that is missing in their lives.  There are maybe one or two people that actually post anything worthy of sharing on Facebook.  I applaud these people, but their scarcity makes me feel that Facebook is still pretty useless.

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The last reason that is written in the list of 16 reasons for spending less time on Facebook is that Facebook is not real life.  They should change this reason to Facebook will become real life because that is exactly what happens when you spend too much time on the site.  You begin to make decisions based on what other people will think, and specifically based on what other people who don’t really care about you will think.  It becomes about impressing others who you should not even be wasting your time worrying about.  SImilar to the issue of body image in western countries. Women and in particular young girls attempt to look like photoshopped models that have been professionally dressed and are wearing makeup and fake hair extensions, nails, and even eyelashes.  There is no way for the average normal person to measure up to these models. Regardless, the average girl will try, and she will fail to live up to those standards.  Her self esteem and body image in turn suffers.  What Facebook does essentially is turn ordinary people into models.  Like the lives of models, the lives of other people begin to be judged based on the their pictures.  The pictures, statuses, and information that someone puts on Facebook are a biased view of who they are.  There is much more to people than meets the eye, and an online profile is just the tip of the iceberg.  But if you believe that Facebook is a real representation of another person, then you become entrenched in the illusion that Facebook creates.  And then, it does become real life.

Another article that is a funny but true account of what Facebook is like is called 10 things that Facebook Does That Are Not In Its Tagline.  I agree with the new tagline that Facebook should adopt: “Proposed new Facebook tagline: Helping a lot of people you don’t care about connect with you in exchange for the meager benefit of having the ability to harvest low-quality information to fill your attention span, having an official point-of-contact with certain people for networking benefits, and providing a picture of the internet personas of those whom you are romantically interested in.”  It accurately mentions the a picture of the internet personas are revealed since that is all that they are because at the end of the day an internet persona is not what a person is like in real life.  An internet persona might not tell us about a person’s flaws or it might make us believe that all another person has are flaws.  It is in real life situations that a person’s true character is revealed, and this is the character that a person should be judged on.


One thought on “Differences between real life and social media

  1. I totally agree. What people post on Facebook are just creations of their lives, or just the positive assets they have. Similar to the example you provided of models. It reminded me of this video that you might find interesting about a model telling her story about the benefits she receives: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KM4Xe6Dlp0Y

    But Facebook is something we have to realize to take in moderation and understand that what people present to everyone is not their life. It’s just a collage of the cool events they’re going to, pretty pictures, and thought-of sentences and thoughts. Facebook does not present people’s vulnerability that’s only shown in person.

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