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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Sunday, 3 February 2013

To Facebook or not to Facebook...

A is for Apple   B is for Bear   
C is for Cat      
D is for Dog      E is for Egg      
F is for...

Now did you think Fish or Facebook (FB)? 
How times have changed...but have we?

I know people who avoid social media altogether, and insist that if other people want to interact with them, it will just have to be the 'old fashioned' way of face to face or via the telephone... I respect their decision, yet I on the other hand have obviously chosen differently. 

For me, FB allows interaction with people that otherwise may not have been possible.  This specific platform has allowed me to reconnect with people from my past, which I otherwise would not have found.  It is a wonderful opportunity to socially connect with people.  I have found that in many ways social media really isn't very different to any other social situations.  However, it really still is quite unique, as for me, it's a unique blend of other social situations, rolled together...

The first parallel I've found is that of the school yard.  Of course FB is a real extension of the school yard for teenagers, however I believe it still feels like one for us adults. In social media, (and FB is the focus in this post) I've still found dynamics and pressures that were once felt back in school days.  If you're not getting my drift, don't worry I'll explain further.  Even though Facebook really isn't face to face interaction, I've found that all the social pressures we may have felt during our sensitive adolescent years can be very present! 

For example, do you feel pressured in relation to the 'number' of friends that you have?  Even if you don't there are those who do...and what about when you realise that someone has 'unfriended' you?  I know when this has happened to me that I've felt similar hurt feelings as to when I was an adolescent!  Immature? Maybe...but then again I think it's hard to escape, given the deliberate structure of the site with its un-private social feed (which can be similar to school yard gossip).  And what about your status up-dates and 'shares'?  Do you think twice about what you write or share? Are you concerned with how your friends may perceive you?  Is it really so different to when you were at school?

I don't know about you...maybe you've never been afraid about just being yourself...maybe you've never cared how many people are your friends or how many people like you :)  But there are many who do...just like school days!

Ok, let's take it one step further.  FB I believe is not just entirely like a virtual school yard.  I think there's also a layer of 'nightclub' in the mix.  Nightclub?  Hmmm well yes...I don't know how many of you have actually frequented these places...but well, I once was an expert (pre-Christian days).  You see, because FB isn't really Face to face, I have found that people can try to get away things that are usually socially unacceptable.  Or also just do things that I'm sure they wouldn't do, if they were really face to face with many of the people whom they're friends with.  Sometimes I'm just baffled at some of the stuff I've had to see and yes, it does remind me of the uninhibited, unsociable night clubber :) And on a serious note, we really do have to have all our wits about us, because even in this virtual social world there are real predators!
So to Facebook or not to Facebook, that is the question raised here...

I'm not going to tell you what to know what I've decided.

I'd just rather prompt some though and discussion ;)

And as for me, I'm going to continue fishing in the FB virtual school yard/night club...but unlike my high school days where I wanted to be popular and blend in, I now want to stand out and unashamedly be myself...what about you?


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