Thursday, September 10, 2009

Virtual world or reality? Which one is real?

The subject above may seem redundant, and functionally, it is. Of course "reality" is real, and virtual is, well, virtual. But, take a closer look, and things are not always what they seem.

I was on Facebook the other day (for the tenth time at least) and found myself deeply involved in the posts of others. When I checked my phone the eleventh time to see if someone's "status" had changed, it hit me. WHO CARES!!! A year ago I was minding my own business in the non-social-networking world.

Let me first say I love Facebook. This social networking source is a great way to stay in touch with the goings-on of those you enjoy without having to go for a visit, perhaps pick up the phone for a lengthy conversation, or having to comment. It's like peeking into someone's brain to see what is going on in there. I love being able to see information from my family members, as it make me feel closer to them - more involved. I have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends - those you've always wondered what happened with their lives. I was very resistant to it at first. It's like if you're not on it, it seems wasteful and silly - very egocentric. If you are on it, you feel like you are much more "in the know" and albeit popular.

Speaking of your "friend" list, take a closer look at it. Do you secretly take pride in how many "friends" are on your page? How many of those are on there are:
  • people you see often
  • people you knew from your past that you enjoy
  • family members
  • people you haven't spoken to in years and don't really have anything in common with
  • people from work that you feel obligated to friend

Ahhhh...that is the crux of it, is it not? Obligation is the key word. Why do we feel obligated to "friend" in a virtual word those we would not "friend" in the real world? Maybe I am the only one who feels obligated, but I think that is highly unlikely. Are we really nicer online?!

Sometimes I wonder if Facebook is the ultimate social experiment. It's like a bad high school reality show in the virtual world. People gossip, write tacky things on their status, share drunken (and God knows what else) pictures of themselves, and generally uses it as a source for communication. This reminds me of pre-historic note passing for the millennium.

So why do I often feel obligated to be involved in a virtual world with people who don't enhance my life? The example above about checking someone's status what crazy. There I was, checking up one someone who I "friended" to see what they had said about me - good, bad or ugly. We also check on their friend lists too - don't we ("I can't believe they friended Suzy Q")? Does that really matter? Are you going to "de-friend" them because they "friended" someone who won't friend you?! I know - it's a cycle if insanity at times.

(note, I will leave the concept of "de-friending" for another time!)

Because I felt a sense of obligation when I "friended" this person, now I have a sense of insecurity because I actually can get into this person's thoughts a little more. Is that why we do this? I don't think it's the intention, but often it's what happens. I think my reasoning was keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Often these "friends" give us insight into other things - especially work related - that one does need to be on top of. It's like a hidden camera at work or a nanny-cam at home: you may not think something is happening, but if it is, you want to know about it.

On the flip side, I've really gotten to know and share with people I truly care about. I am able to stay in closer contact with friends and family. I am able to share things about work to those who want the information. It's been highly valuable! I love being able to see people's pictures and have fun little chats online. It's cool that technology can bring us together in so many ways.

I would be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this. And yes, you most likely know about this blog because of Facebook. Hallelujah!!

One final note. I almost posted "I love Kashi Crunch" on my Facebook page this morning. Why I felt disposed to share that with anyone, or that it matters if others feel the same way, I don't know. Funny what comes out of us, don't you think?!

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read the "de-friend" blog!!! LOL! Rach, you are soooo freakin' right! I love reading your blogs (all 3 of them) They always make me think!!!!