The invention of Facebook and other networking sites are a marvelous thing. I think about why people are drawn to such places to begin with. Is it the ambiguous nature about them? We can, if we choose, hide behind fake names and locations. At first I thought that must be it, the ability to hide from the real world who we are and change to what we want the world to believe we are. Fantasy and smoke screens. The more I observed what was going on with social media and looked at who was using it, it seems that staying anonymous is not why we flock to them.
More and more people are being true to their identities on these sites. Posting real pictures and real parts of their life for all to see. There is a shift from hiding to openness, but controlling who sees the inside of our lives. If someone hurts our feelings we simply delete them from our friend list. If someone is nice to us we add them. We share what we want them to know and keep our secrets to ourselves. I have 300 plus friends on Facebook and know about that many more. I feel emotionally connected to about 1/4 of them and the other 3/4 of them I feel happy to know. I use a real picture of me, but screen what I share very carefully. If we can still make up things and control what we share, but the big question is why? Why do we find it easy to post who we are, what we really think and feel on a screen?
For me as a Christian and a writer, I love the concept of captive audience. I can share my words and maybe reach someone who I couldn’t actually speak to in real life. That is one reasons I keep a Facebook account. The other reason is the connection to family out-of-town. It’s good for that too.
Let’s not forget that Facebook is public. What we post on there is just as if we said it in a crowded room. If you won’t say it out loud in a room full of 300 people don’t post it…..really, think about it. It is easy to think that somehow the screen shields us when in reality your friends are more apt to read what you post than to listen to what you say. So remember, if you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face don’t write it on a wall in cyber space where the world can read it.
Believe in connection.