People can be whoever they want to be behind the computer screen. It's a fun part of the digital revolution, but it also has it downsides. Plainly and simply, you never truly know who you are talking to when you are communicating with someone through the computer. Sure, we've all heard the horror stories about people meeting up with predators and rapists; but when those horrifying matters aren't happening, something else is happening. People have developed 'technology' personalities--personalities that are different from how they actually act in person.
"College students on Facebook and other online social networks often augment what they regard as their best personal qualities. Students’ actual personality descriptions may have included enhancements of their real characteristics, thus inflating the correlation between observers’ ratings and students’ real personalities." - Adriana Manago, a psychology graduate student at UCLA who studies college students' interactions in online social media. (Article Here)
We get it. Everybody wants to look good to potential boyfriends or girlfriends, and some things are easier to say behind a screen than they are in person, but where should we draw the line? When do we stop and ask, "Okay, who exactly are you?" Are these 'technology personalities' going to ultimately change how we interact with one another forever?
"Once upon a time, social interaction was bounded by space; we met only in person. But then communication became mediated by technology. From telegraph to telephone to email to Twitter, each innovation fed the same anxieties, as people worried that traditional forms of community were being destroyed. The telephone was ruining family life; we’re neglecting our real friends for our so-called friends on Facebook." says Jonah Lehrer, a blogger for the Frontal Cortex on Wired.com's science blog. (Is Facebook Ruining Human Relationships?)
My feelings are pessimistic when it comes to this situation. People are more concerned with how they appear online than how they appear in general. And people are perplexed as to why people sometimes say things over texts that they would never say in person. When my friends and I are out and we take photos, some quickly rush to review them afterwards to see if they're 'Facebook worthy' or if it could be their new profile picture. Or when a friend meets somebody new and goes on a date with them, they'll sometimes return with the review of the date saying, "Oh he was much more fun while we were texting, but in person he's nothing special." What is this non-sense? We're so wrapped up in this technology world that it's changing our life concerns and the way we interact with each other as human beings. I personally do not have a Facebook and hate texting for these reasons.
Now. We all know we have many stresses in life (bills, work, school work etc)--we have no time for extraneous stresses such as Facebook and it's a bit outlandish that people are actually letting it cause problems for them in their non-virtual lives. The population on Facebook is letting this network take over their lives by letting it corrupt their days because they can now keep tabs on if they're ex is seeing a new woman or if your best friend really stayed in last night like she said she did. These are irrelevant, ridiculous things that do not need to be worried about and these worries are distracting us from doing the more important things in life. This generation is in trouble if we don't get it together and establish who we really are, who we're really dealing with or what's truly important in our relationships.