This is the first time I have actually taken an in-depth analytical look at my social media presence. However, unlike some of my fellow classmates, I am not surprised with what I have discovered.
According to my Facebook profile I am an extremely clear-cut individual. My posts are rare and have little substance. Any onlooker viewing my Facebook presence would be hard pressed to make any factually correct inclinations about my interests or character other than the sprinkling of interests I display. They would only see six main facets of my life: wrestling, being Jewish, muscle cars, cooking food, medicine and spending time with my family and friends. According to the Internet, those six things are me. That’s it. Just six aspects of my life are showcased as my being in its entirety…and I am ok with that.
Facebook, to me, serves as a “warm up” to a relationship with someone, not an actual relationship with someone. Just because we are friends on Facebook does not mean we are friends in the outside world. You may have to have met me personally to be “friend” but you do not actually have to be a close companion of mine for me to “connect” with you through this form of social media. Personally, I feel that it is impossible to get to know the true nature of someone without getting to know them face-to-face on the human level. I applaud Facebook’s effort for trying to make this process consolidated and more efficient, however, at least for me, they have failed. Where Facebook has not failed for me is in the “friendship priming” process. I believe that the smattering of less than personal information it gives us is an excellent tool for sifting through acquaintances and surveying their potential for being friends in the real world.
That being said, the lack of true depth of the Facebook platform still irks me. I have heard, as well as experienced, many accounts of social media acquaintances overstepping personal and social bounds just because of the status of “friends” they had been given by Facebook. Just because someone accepted your request does not mean they are going to hang out with you all of the time, it doesn’t mean you’re BFFs, and it certainly does not mean that you can chat me asking to do your stoichiometry homework for you. Facebook has corrupted the institution that is friendship. It has done so by negating friendship’s meaning of a deep and lasting bond analogous to that with family, and replaced it with a meaningless online designation that allows you to creep on someone else’s vacation photos.
Sadly Facebook’s reputation and position in our society has already been solidified in its current, impersonal state and will be impossible to change. People like me, people who live with Facebook because of its contemporary importance to a vibrant young adult social life, will have to continue to nurse our profiles on as we have been. A post here, a picture there, even a controversial opinion when I have been particularly neglectful of my online presence. My online self will continue to be superficial and relatively unimportant to my own happiness, and once again, I am ok with that. If you want to really get to know me? Sorry there is no easy way. You can’t sum up my life with a free online portal. However, if you want to try, there is this great invention called the telephone. Also, I’ve heard talking is a good communication medium.