Have we created our own virtual "'Big Brother" ?


| 5 Comments

While I was thinking about what I was going to write about for this blog, my roommate started randomly dancing and singing. She was acting silly and funny, so I decided to take a video. I showed my roommate when I was done, and the first thing she said was, "That's funny, put it on Facebook." I agreed instantly without thinking twice. It was as if the video didn't matter or was irrelevant if it was not posted on Facebook, soon to be shared with the virtual world.

I read the book 1984 in high school. Like many others, the idea of someone watching my every move was quite uncomfortable.  I didn't want people knowing everything that I was thinking and feeling all of the time. Who would? Well, apparently the whole world. We are constantly sharing our thoughts (through statuses or tweets) letting people know where we are and what we're doing (through pictures) and monitoring everything others are doing all the while (through our twitter, Facebook and instagram newsfeeds). People are in constant need of approval and attention from others in order to prove their validation for existence.  If people don't know that we went to this party last night by looking at our profile, or that I had a turkey sandwich for lunch because of my last tweet, did it matter, or even happen at all?  Unfortunately, in the eyes of many the answer is no.  

People are no longer finding validation through building relationships in real life, or having experiences just to have them. They are obsessed with creating and enhancing their online persona. According to this article"Social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter are giving rise to a generation of self-obsessed people who want constant reassurance from their piers, an expert has warned. Baroness Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University, has claimed that people constantly exposing themselves to social networking platforms have developed an 'identity crisis' and crave for attention online."

As long as Facebook knows and "likes" who I am, nothing else matters. 

As long as Facebook knows and "Likes" who I am, nothing else matters.

Everyone has become a part of this world. People are judged on how many friends they have or what type or pictures they post. Another article, "Facebook: The Necessary Public Mask" also makes some good points, proving how helpless we really are when it comes to avoiding this new virtual world. The article explains how people are constantly judging you based on the amount of virtual friends or followers you have, regardless of if you actually know those people. It also says, "Although we are able to control what information is published on Facebook and what our friends are updated on, Facebook users are expected to keep their information up to date and interact with their friends regularly." So basically, if you plan to be part of the Facebook world, you have to be all in. It also says, "Social pressures to participate and to stay up-to-date in technology and social activities means that people who may not be interested in the website are members of it regardless."

So not only do we feel pressure to join this world, but once we're in it we have to be constantly updating and keeping up with it all. We have no choice but to accept the fact that being on Facebook and posting our daily life events is a necessity now. It is no longer a scary science-fiction novel, people really do know our every thought and action. The only difference is now it is our choice. We feel a constant need for people to know and accept everything that we do. We need to make sure the things we are thinking and doing are acceptable to everyone else. God forbid no one "likes" my new profile picture or comments on my status - what could be worse? Should I be second-guessing what I just said? Did I not look as pretty as I thought I did in that picture? The answer to these questions should always be irrelevant. I, and many others, need to stop basing our own identity on how we think others are seeing us through the virtual world. Who cares if no one "likes" how I look? I am the way I am; regardless of if I post it for everyone to see.facebook-2012.gif

 

5 Comments

This post raises issues I think about all the time. It is so true that our generation is the social network generation, unlike any ever before. Psychologically this defines nearly all of us- if not you re no one. I think this "identity crisis" your attached article speaks of is a very real thing. Not only does social networking have an effect on our acceptance of ourselves, but how we communicate with others.

I provided a link to an article explaining how 2012's sat reading/verbal scores were the lowest in 40 years. They dont mention social networking as an issue, but I cant help but think it plays a role. Kids are constantly online stalking each others' pictures, facebook chatting, or whatever else. No one seems to actually talk to each other- its all texting or computer slang. This certainly cant help us get any smarter. Not to mention how hard it is to study when facebook is tempting you...

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/09/sat-reading-scores-are-lowest-theyve-been-40-years/57208/

Hey Steph!I am really a ounterexample of the article.I don't use Facebook that often,though I do have an account.Watching friends constantly updating their status is kind of funny to me,because I almost feel it a compulsion to do that everyday,though their motivations remain unclear.Making themselves feel being cared?Genuinely Willing to share thoughts?Or just a pure paranoia?I found it quite alarming that people use Facebook so much,particularly college kids who can't pass a day without it.

I like your "big brother" metaphor (and I was intimidated by 1984 as well) because that's exactly what facebook becomes, when abused. Employers can easily search someone's facebook page, and if there's a picture of them drinking underage or engaging in other illegal behaviors, social networking can definitely ruin that person's career.

What's interesting, is that in a study with 32 college students, when asked why they multitask (listening to music while studying and going on facebook/twitter), they said it makes them feel more productive. Even though studies show that multitasking is not actually more efficient than plowing through a task one at a time, people feel like they're accomplishing more when they watch episodes of Gossip Girl while studying for their science tests. Have we become better multitaskers because of this phenomenon?

Here's the article with the study:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/multitasking-emotional-feel-better-_n_1467945.html

This was a very interesting way to blog on this topic. Personally I too agree with you in the end where you said we need to stop basing our own identity on the way people see us through these different social networking sites, but I do not agree with the fact that people feel compelled to take part in it and update their lives because they feel social pressures. Some people, like me, simply have facebook because for our ECON 102 class to stay involved outside of class you have to have a Facebook to interact. If it was not for this class, I would delete my Facebook because I feel the exact opposite way, I do not want people knowing what I'm doing or where I am at and with who. After reading your blog I wanted to look into this addiction people have and the approval poeple yern for, and I came across an interesting article. Stating, that if you don't have a Facebook account you are "considered to be "suspicious". This article from Forbes.com is worth reading.

This was a very interesting way to blog on this topic. Personally I too agree with you in the end where you said we need to stop basing our own identity on the way people see us through these different social networking sites, but I do not agree with the fact that people feel compelled to take part in it and update their lives because they feel social pressures. Some people, like me, simply have facebook because for our ECON 102 class to stay involved outside of class you have to have a Facebook to interact. If it was not for this class, I would delete my Facebook because I feel the exact opposite way, I do not want people knowing what I'm doing or where I am at and with who. After reading your blog I wanted to look into this addiction people have and the approval poeple yern for, and I came across an interesting article. Stating, that if you don't have a Facebook account you are "considered to be "suspicious". This article from Forbes.com is worth reading.

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