How nice of you to drop by. Especially considering that I haven't dropped by for 4 months and I apparently write this thing.
I'm going to try not to dwell on the disappointment I feel towards myself for having abandoned this for 4 months. I've been going through a bit of a life adjustment, shall we say, and made a slightly impulsive and scary decision to change my life at the cost of my "career", but for the sake of my well-being.
Anyway, we'll get to that at a later date. (Hopefully in a week or so, and not 4 months.)
I'm going to discuss a topic that's been on my mind for, well, several years actually and with the ever growing use of social networking in all of our daily lives, it has become an increasing thought.
I ask you, ironically: Is social networking a positive or a negative way of getting to know our peers?
Okay, take this situation... You meet a new friend, a person who seems nice, funny, someone that you may wish to spend more time with. You inevitably add them as a facebook friend and to your horror they are not the same likable person online as they are in "real life." Whether it be their constant posting, need to share too much, need to use "xx" after every post, bad spelling or controversial opinions, something has slightly (or in some cases totally) put you off the perfectly acceptable person you met. I'm guessing that this has happened to someone other than me?
I've also been in an opposite situation, where a person seems much more funny/interesting online than they actually are in a face-to-face conversation.
Consciously or not, I am judging people by what they post online.
In recent years, where 95% of people I know use facebook and/or twitter, a considerable percentage of my opinion on a person can come from what they post on social networks. I ask myself regularly whether this is a good thing, when the same person 10 years ago wouldn't have been able to be judged in this way, when facebook wasn't the norm.
Are we lucky to have this new way to learn more about our associates, as a warning, or as an added perspective? Or is it detrimental to our ability to make friends properly? Should we take someone's online "persona" into account or is who they are in real life the only important thing?
As I write this, I become more aware of the fact that you may feel what I've been describing about me. Who knows? How do we know if what we say online is an accurate representation of who we actually are? Or is the point actually to do the opposite, and allow ourselves to be something else?
I'm not saying that social networks can only create a negative impression of a person. Just as often, I've gotten to like a person more upon seeing their posts and learning that we have more in common than I thought.
I just find it hard to completely trust in the online persona, after having the experiences I described earlier.
In all honesty, there's a part of me that thinks social networking might actually be pretty unhealthy. I hate myself for wasting time trawling through often mindless posts and for actually caring. I also cringe at those who feel the need to share far too much. However, I still use facebook and twitter every day, probably only because everyone else does.
I can't come up with a definitive answer to my own question. Part of me is glad that I've been able to warn myself off of certain people, upon learning that they have no online boundaries. Part of me hates that I can slightly judge someone that is perfectly nice to talk to, because they can't spell or punctuate to save themselves.*
I would like your opinions on this issue, my online friends, which makes this post all sorts of ironic. Post a wee comment below. Promise I won't judge you for putting "xx" after it.
*This post really puts pressure on me to spell and punctuate properly doesn't it? Gulp.