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Our addiction to social networking, Facebook, MySpace is innate

Social networking is less than a mystery to our society. Almost everyone is familiar with Facebook, MySpace, as well as the many other Web sites geared toward communication. It is not unfathomable to assume that people on these sites portray an image of themselves that is a little less than realistic.

In a Los Angeles Times article entitled “Sites seem to show a true face,” this phenomena is discussed.

“A prevailing theory in psychology has been that people use their social-networking pages to protect an idealized version of themselves, not the person they really are. That may not be so,” states the author of the article.

I have two issues with this statement. First, the social networking sites in question were formed to allow people to create connections and relationships — whether they are formal, romantic, or even for occupational purposes. In the case that most people know who their “friends” are: The communicators would already have knowledge about that person and would be able to recognize if one was falsifying aspects of their life. Second, “Facebookers” manipulate their persona here and there, but are they trying to protect an idealized version of themselves or are they simply projecting who they really are?

We live in a world of advancing techology. It is an immediate reaction — even for me — to pull up my Facebook page as soon as my fingers brush across my laptop keyboard. I will admit I am guilty of saying, “Can you take pictures tonight? I need a new Facebook profile picture.” This is slightly upsetting, but it is a facet of living in 2010 — we have no choice but to accept it as part of our world.

However, I do not believe that our higher-order thinking capabilities have anything to do with people becoming obsessed with these Web pages. I am more comfortable with the idea that humans are social beings with an urgent wish to communicate as much as possible. Our attachment to Facebook is innate.

We live in an age where technology allows us to form relationships, and while some believe we are more antisocial than we used to be, technology permits us to be in constant contact with each other.

The idea that people create a Facebook page to project an ideal persona, which goes along wanting to be well liked, is not such a terrible assertion. We all want to make a good impression upon one another, and social networking allows us to form the ultimate version of ourselves.

Obviously, if we move toward the extreme dangers of Facebook and its manipulation possibilities, there are accounts of psychopaths creating an identity to lure their victims. As this is clearly detrimental to our society, this is not the focus of the article or our curiosity.

I do not believe it is a malicious act to edit ones profile in this way. Rather, it is a hunger to be seen as great, hilarious, witty or beautiful.

As obsessed with technology our society is, it is also this innate craving to be liked that drives most of our actions.

Rebecca Eisenberg is a sophomore philosophy major and a contributing writer for the Daily 49er.

 

 

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