Facebook has completely redefined what it means to socially interact in the modern world. The ease of which we can now communicate with people means that we are virtually contactable at all times.
Facebook is also a platform that has changed the way we present our identities – allowing people to ‘stalk’ and be ‘be stalked’ without barriers.
While spying in the real world is deemed socially unacceptable, nowadays the process of looking through photos of other people and their lives is quite reasonable. We wouldn’t use of pair of binoculars to spy on a pool party that we weren’t invited to, but we would happily flick through the birthday party album on Facebook.
Despite the marvels of technology and the internet, does the process of flaunting our lives on social networking sites create more drama than it’s worth?
We have reached a point where we have become obsessed with public approval on social media. There is an inherent pressure to create an idealised image of your life as you constantly compare yourself with others. Think of the time spent coming up with funny captions for your photos that you believe others will approve of and appreciate.
The importance of Facebook ‘likes’ has also created a new social phenomena where reaching a certain number results in some kind of social media high. In fact, reaching over one hundred likes is the pinnacle of some people’s Facebook careers. Whereas if a photo or post does not reach the expected number of likes, a feeling of rejection and even gloom can set in.
These strange new social circumstances don’t stop here. People now ask for likes and post at ‘prime-time’ in order to gain more. Yet perhaps the height of these new social circumstances are the services found on the internet which allow you to buy your likes. This has entirely changed the notion of buying your popularity.
Many people will argue that Facebook is the new way to present your identity in the modern day, but what are the consequences?
Has the pressure to show off your perfectly glamorous and exciting life on Facebook resulted in a narcissistic population of people who are too obsessed with their image and own self gratification? Perhaps life would be easier without the constant need to upload the more flattering parts of your life to your profile.
Facebook is also a tool that can be used to gauge people’s identities – for better or for worse. Facebook stores all your information and actions, including all the times you type somebody’s name into your search bar. (And aren’t we all guilty of stalking an old flame or archenemy once or twice?)
Imagine if that information was made public. While highly unlikely, the thought that Facebook saves all this information is somewhat disconcerting. Especially because Facebook uses the information we give it.
Do you ever wonder why someone shows up on your newsfeed more than someone else? Or why the person you secretly fancy is suddenly in your chat bar even though you’ve never actually had an online conversation before?
Without knowing it, we are unwillingly giving Facebook more information than we realise. We may have the option not to disclose where we live or where we went to school, but perhaps we are unintentionally telling Facebook who is in our social circle, or who we wish was in our inner circle…
Even though most of us can admit that life would be easier without the constant presence of Facebook we aren’t willing to give it up. Young adults who don’t use the social media tool are considered to be rather unorthodox. And who wants to feel like an outcast?
Perhaps the saving grace of Facebook is that it gives us a glimpse into peoples’ lives that we would not otherwise have. But maybe our lives would be easier if we weren’t able to stalk people – as we wouldn’t be confronted with all the parties we weren’t invited to, feel miserable about the holidays we didn’t go on or bear the jealousy that results from other’s accomplishments.