Monday, 10 June 2013

Anti-social networking.

Hello there.
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.


  1. I've often thought the same thing - I judge people on what they post. I see my Facebook as a scrapbook, a way for me to remember where I have been and what I've done. I don't much care about others opinions of it. However if someone posts far too personally I don't really want to speak to them anymore... isn't that silly!

    I really enjoy your blog. So interesting.

  2. Isn't it strange that the modern world has given us the chance to judge people in this way? I honestly struggle to decide whether it's a positive thing.

    Thank you so much. For reading, for commenting and for saying that. I really appreciate it. And coming from someone as intelligent as yourself.

  3. I think this is a really interesting point. It's hard not to judge someone based on what they post, whether it be what they post or how they post it. I have to admit I'm a bit of a grammar nazi (although I'm not sure whether nazi should have a capital in this context) and weirdly I do find people generally more attractive if they can form a sentence well, although this probably shouldn't matter. I also think it can be a good thing to learn more about the people you meet, even if it is negative. I often think how things would have been much easier for Mark in that episode of Peep Show if he'd known in advance his new friend was actually a racist haha. Chances are anything you learn online about someone you would learn about them eventually anyway if you got close enough. It doesn't change who they are, just our perception. Some might argue that ignorance is bliss, but personally I feel you have to be able to handle the truth whether you like it or not!

    Ultimately I think it's important not to be too judgemental, whether online or otherwise. With advanced communications and our lifestyles these days (alcoholism is rife) we generally learn a lot more about each other than we once would have. But if we think about ourselves we probably have habits or traits others won't like. The most important thing is that we all accept each other for who we are (as long as we aren't really awful people), even if there's something that particularly bugs us!

  4. Well aren't you my favourite reader?! Thank you for expressing an interesting and valid opinion. You make a very good point that we probably do learn more about each other now in a society where people are more open and maybe it is good that people are able to express themselves in a way they once wouldn't have been able to. You've honestly really made me think. Maybe I should be try to be less judgmental and appreciate who a person is, whether their posts are to my liking; but then maybe judgmental is just a part of who I am. Ha ha. Who can say.
    Thank you for reading and commenting. I really appreciate knowing that someone is reading this and thinking about my "issues" and giving me their opinions.

  5. I'm verrrry thankful for Facebook.. Not so much Twitter. But Facebook has saved me a lot of time over the years! As well you know, I'm very judgemental. Facebook makes it easier for me to decide how I feel about someone as people do tend to post their views willy nilly.

    This is also the case when I was single.. Someone who you feel may be a perfectly acceptable "life partner" (lol) when you meet them in a bar, can turn into your worst nightmare when you look at their Facebook page. I'm very glad I haven't had to endure horrendous dates to come to the conclusion about said people.. I just had to take a glance at their "Timeline" :)

  6. This is very interesting, and something I guess lots of single girls must do. It makes me wonder if potential dates have got a harder job now than they would have ten/twenty years ago, when they would only have been judged on a face-to-face basis. It also makes me wonder if there are any long standing couples out there (that met before facebook) that may not have started at all had facebook been a part of their getting to know each other. How strange and interesting a thought. The internet has become such an important part of a person and how they are seen overall.
    Thank you for reading and commenting :) I'm so very pleased that people have gotten involved in this post.

  7. Funny that.. I took a fancy to Jason after seeing a picture of him pop up on my Timeline. Unfortunately, after probing further, it also made me aware he was in a relationship so I didn't pursue him. So it's also helpful in that sense - That girls with some self respect will refrain from chasing boys in relationships.

    Unfortunately for me, it is also how my then boyfriend found out I was also seeing Jason. At least I hadn't chased him til his status was "Single" though haha!