If you aren’t keen on the social networking online thing, you are seen as slightly weird. But is social networking actually needed in the modern age?
Facebook has over 750 million users and even has a hit song about it. It is useful for all sorts of things such as keeping up with promoting a band, keeping your eye on the movements of celebrities and keeping you in touch with some old friends but when it comes to keeping that keen eye on the movements of your cousin’s, ex girlfriends, sister’s, best friend’s, brother’s, uncle’s, cat, it raises the question of ‘has social networking just become plain stalking?’
Now I’m a twenty something, journalism student interning at a glossy online magazine and I like to see what is going on the world around me. I like to know what is shaping the world we live in and reporting on it like a trainee messenger of the people (or so I like to think).
But as the end of year is coming and I have assignments and exams coming out of my ears as well as a rather time consuming placement, I find myself annoyed at Facebook. Spending hours a day looking through pointless statuses, seems like a bit of a waste of time considering all the other stuff I have going on.
So what do I do? Delete it. Well deactivate it (I’m not even sure you can permanently delete Facebook). I found that having everybody I have ever met being able to analyse my every move to be quite irritating.
Especially when that stuck up cow from high school, feels she can voice her opinion on my wall posts and statuses, even though we have barely spoken in nearly 6 years. That is when I started to realise, having this girl on Facebook DID give her the right to voice her opinion on my life.
Every movement I make and every rant or post I decide to upload gives people the opportunity to voice their opinions. Now, I’m all up for freedom and speech but sometimes people hide behind a keyboard and post nasty and abusive things that they wouldn’t normally say to somebody in person.
Which is just plain wrong. What is even more annoying is that people who don’t even know me can see what I post on my friends walls and create an opinion of me, based on a few words typed on a webpage.
I found that once I deleted Facebook, I got my life back. I didn’t spend hours on end looking through people’s profile and feeling inadequate because their life seemed so much more interesting and advanced to mine.
I suddenly realised that how people portray themselves online isn’t necessarily what they are ACTUALLY like. For example, I have tried my hand at modelling and worked with a couple of photographers and run for beauty pageants. But modelling was more of a hobby.
However, when I uploaded pictures of shoots or tagged myself into somewhere model sounding on my Facebook, it could be perceived that I thought I was the next Kate Moss, at least to somebody who didn’t know me that well.
This projection of unidentifiable image is just that an ‘unidentifiable image’. Looking through my old Facebook, you see a girl who ‘models’, interns at a glossy magazine, has a range of beautiful and charismatic friends who always look so close and happy, attends university, has loads of interesting nights out and travels.
Looking at that description I would be inclined to feel a bit inadequate and this is the problem. In reality I struggle to keep up with the growing pile of university work, those ‘modelling pictures’ although nice, don’t exactly pay the bills, my very close group of friends although amazing, are as equally flawed to anybody else and we all have our fallings out like any other group, those ‘nights out’ only amount to about 8 all year (as I said my university work load is growing) and finally those ‘travels’ mean living on Asda smart price all year and are actually my summer home, where I work long hours in a bar to keep my head above water.
So yes on face value my life seems colourful and exciting but what I do fail to mention on my profile is that, I have eaten only pasta pesto all year, haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in 12 months and only sleep about 5 hours a night so I can keep up with those dreaded essays and keep my bank balance in the black.
This projection of image can affect the best of us, even as adults but as if high school wasn’t bad enough, with the hormones, insecurities, changing bodies and that dreaded hierarchy of popularity, teenagers can feel even more inadequate with thanks to the exaggerated image portrayed online.
Studies have shown that people that use social networking sites can often develop depression, especially teenage girls and it isn’t hard to understand why.
I constantly find myself telling my younger, teenage sister that Facebook isn’t the real world and although that girl does look like a young Katy Perry in that photo, is wearing a rather expensive looking Pandora bracelet and be updating statuses about spending time with ‘her girls’ followed by ten people being tagged in the post, that my sister too has a rather expensive looking Pandora bracelet, is a very pretty young lady and has also just updated a status about going for lunch with ‘her big sister and her big sister’s model friend’ (I’m the only one older sister and my friend is actually a drama student who had her headshots taken a few weeks ago) and therefore she shouldn’t take Facebook as gospel.
I’m not saying delete Facebook because it is evil. It can be praised for reuniting long lost family members, old best friends, keep you up to date with current events set up by your Facebook friends and can even be famed for reigniting an old flame.
What I am saying though, is yes that girl from school has just tagged herself in at ‘the office of a cool job’ and yes that girl from college is dating that footballer guy and yes that girl you see around campus has just uploaded some modelling photos but take a look at your profile. How much of that is exaggerated truth or well worded comments? Yes... thought as much.
FemaleFirst Emma Chaplin
Tagged in Facebook