Are YOU for Real?
Facebook is a social phenomena and it seems that almost everybody is on there. It is true, that social media in general, has changed the way we interact with others. And Facebook, as the social media leader of the pack, has changed us also in countless ways. For example who is not guilty of doing a bit of spying, using the web of Facebook?
Facebook has made it possible to have a gander at the current doings of others, who have been part of our lives at some stage. We can scout out our current crush and snoop on ex-lovers. The good thing is, that they will never know (I won't tell if you don't).
What is also astounding, is the type and level of information many people expose, to all the world on Facebook. This can cause us to see people we thought we knew, in a different way. Some people for example, have hundreds of photos, showing themselves partying, travelling, wearing a variety of outfits and posing from every angle. These people, researchers tell us, are more likely to score highly on traits of narcissism. Facebook is perfect, if you need to be the centre of attention, self promote and are so self-absorbed, that you think that the rest of the world should care what you eat for lunch everyday.
There has also been numerous cases of people making fake Facebook accounts, so that they can bully and harass others. It is not just teenage girls engaging in this behaviour; mother's have been known to do this, to revenge or hurt girls in their daughter's peer group.
Some people have even been sent messages to click on a certain profile and when they do, they are met with a picture of themselves, complete with malicious and defamatory information. Twenty years ago such things were written on the school toilet wall, now they are on the internet for all the world to see (Any activity of this kind should of course be reported to Facebook).
The Facebook like button is something that is odd, somehow juvenile and yet often pleasing. Perhaps it is just part of the rampant narcissism, that seems to be part and parcel of social media. When someone likes us, or something that we do, do we get a little zap to the pleasure centre of our brain? And has Facebook just become an extension of the high school popularity contest?
If you consider, how much we can manipulate the images and aspects of our life, that are presented on Facebook, so that we can pump up our own egos, you would have to wonder how real, any popularity, attention or likes really are? I know from experience that the image presented can be false. Recently I ran into someone that I had not seen for a few years, who had hundreds of glamorous photos and thousands of friends on Facebook. Let me just say, that Photoshop was doing her a great service, as in the flesh she was a very different person!
Facebook has become so real in our minds, that we can actually feel diminished by the photos and posts detailing the fun and glamorous lives of others, even if we are aware at some level that what we are seeing is likely manipulated or possibly false. And if we are the ones posting a constant stream of setup and posed razzle-dazzle, have we become so deluded, that we believe our own propaganda?
There are so many positive aspects of Facebook, like how we can keep in contact with friends, past and present and how we can connect with people and groups with whom we feel an affiliation. We should not however, be ignorant of Facebook's dark side and the ease with which we can warp the very essence of who we are.