Studies at: Emory University (Past: Newton South High School)
From: Newton, Massachusetts
Aside from the picture of me with a statue of Wally the Green Monster, or maybe the one with my friends at prom, these are the things that you will notice first if you look at my Facebook profile. Sure, you can guess that I am a Boston Red Sox fan, and that I do, indeed, have friends, but how much can you actually know about me just from looking at this one page?
I like to think that my profile depicts me fairly accurately. It says where I go to school, where I’m from, and when my birthday is. It shows pictures of me with friends and family. If you dig a little deeper, you can probably figure out what my hobbies are and what else I do in my spare time. I want my profile to depict me well, and I believe it does – to an extent. In an age when first impressions mean a lot, and the internet is one of the first places people look, it’s important to me that others’ first impressions of me match what I believe they should be. On the other hand, I don’t want people to look at one website and know everything there is to know about Hannah Shields. Yes, everything on there is accurate. But there is a lot more to me than my Facebook Timeline, and if there wasn’t, well, that would be concerning.
I think that Facebook should be used as a tool to connect with people, so that’s what I aim to do. When I first used the site in 2009, not so much. I followed the social norm and posted statuses about my friends, homework, and parents. I uploaded embarrassing pictures. I friended waayyyy too many people. All of this is to be expected, considering it took place when I was thirteen. Nowadays, I still post some embarrassing pictures and maybe friend people prematurely, but I do this in an effort to relate to the people that I care about. I don’t upload pictures just to see how many likes I get, nor do I try to put my whole life on the internet. For me, actually living the moments is so much more important than documenting them just so others can see. I don’t care if someone knows my favorite television show or not because that’s not what I value most. In an age so heavily dependant on media and technological communication, it is important to develop relationships with people rather than with their cell phones or computers. For that reason, I try to limit my time on social media and instead let myself stay in the real social world.
Looking at my Facebook page gives my friends a peek at who I am, but by no means is it everything there is to know about me. So my answer to the question about how much someone can learn from looking at my profile is this: just enough.