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Judging the Social Network

I often wonder, what would happen if the internet were to crash?  The internet… It is something that was virtually unknown of just a few years ago; nevertheless, today is so heavily relied upon.  I dare say to the point of addiction.  It is so significantly utilized by the business world, the economy; yet, in the event of a crash, while I can picture devastation on the faces of the New York Stock Brokers and the Fortune 500 Companies, I see complete panic and depression setting in on college students across the world.  Admit it, you freak out now when the wireless goes out or is just running at dial-up speed!  There is no denying that the internet, specifically the social network runs the lives of women and men, from age pre-teen to thirty. 

The dialog on Criminal Minds one night concerning social networks caught my ear and I was so intrigued by it. 

“Can somebody explain to me the appeal of these sites? Whose life is so important that we’d be interested in this kind of detail?”

“I don’t know, I guess that’s the running joke right? But we’d like to believe there’s actually an audience out there that wants to follow our every move.”

Read that a couple times and its truth is striking.  Is the appeal of these sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube the simple fact that we’d like to believe our lives are important enough to be followed by an audience? 

Maybe the wording is overly dramatic and you are sitting here reading this saying to yourself no; I use facebook to talk to my friends, keep in touch with people, as a distraction from homework.  But why then do we post status’ saying where we are and what we are doing/did; why do people have over a thousand pictures on their profiles and why bio’s, favorite quotes, interest about ourselves for the world to see?

I am no Einstein or great philosophical thinker; but, I have drawn my own conclusions about our current fascination with the social network.  (Yes, I will even own up to the fact that I am a facebook addict)  I think it simply boils down to the fact that we really do want to be noticed.  In such a fast-paced, sometimes cold world where one barely looks up when walking, we crave to feel less invisible.  I believe facebook is a way of proving to ourselves and other’s that we are accepted in society, that we have a purpose, a life and that yes; people care enough about us to read and comment on what we post. 

And I think we stalk and creep on other peoples’ pages because we wonder so much about the lives others live.  We wonder how our lives would be different if we did what they did on the weekend and we judge our own happiness compared to theirs. We judge ourselves’ as individuals and we judge others.  It shows an aspect of humans being curious by nature.

Speaking of judging though, I think it is important to remind ourselves often, especially in light of recent incidents of extreme cyber bullying, to never judge a book by its cover.  In the world now that lacks so much human contact due to the internet phenomena, really get to know someone before you draw conclusions about them.  Also, focus less on comparing yourself to others.  After all, half of the items posted on facebook are closer to fiction then reality!

The internet and social network seem here to say; yet, they are not the end all be all.  Though, it is a fabulous luxury and the perfect excuse not to write a paper.  Keep reality in mind while using it.  Be critical and separate fact from fiction; don’t reveal too much about yourself and don’t be in a hurry to judge others…because remembering someone is probably out there judging you!  At the end of the day we are all seeking the same thing, acceptance, so remember to not only strive for it but give it as well. 

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