Friday, 15 February 2013

Um... Do I Know You?

Media mediates our everyday lives. I believe we can all agree to that. That, however, is not entirely the topic of concern for me today. The topic I will be delving into revolves around the vastly different impressions people often make in live interactions versus interactions over some form of mediating technology (be it  FacebookTwitter , texting, email, etc.).

Does a simple screen give a person that much courage?
Who is the real self behind the screen?

     The majority of the time it appears that people have a serious personality (& confidence) boost when communicating through their technology. Not only are they more talkative, but they are also often funny and much more likely to request a get together in person. Is this why dating sites are so successful? - Because people feel they can show their 'best' selves (minus the nerves and stress of having to wonder if the other person accept or reject an invitation to get together) this way? But and here's the big but--- IS that their true self? Maybe it is their wittiest self because they have time to construct the perfect responses thanks to the backspace button, but, again, is that their true self? I have encountered MANY instances in which people via text or Facebook chat were seemingly extremely charismatic and not shy in the least, but upon getting together with them in person they become someone COMPLETELY different. A person I have never met before. Sometimes I wonder if they realize that? I say this because a day after getting together with them their technologically mediated conversations continue to be the exact same, as if they didn't just reveal their true colours in person.

     So my big question resulting from this is- are media helping or hindering social relationships? They seemingly have the potential to help them. For example, I understand for the boys it is especially hard to ask a girl out in person and the blow is much less powerful when it is felt through a screen. Realistically, though, who wants to expect to meet the person they've been talking to online or via text and then end up getting together with a familiar stranger? This is an instance where the miscommunication does not lay within the wording, but rather in their social skills, in their ability to hold up a conversation in person. Look at Facebook friends for an easy example of people behaving as though their relationships with certain friends are much more intimate than they truly are. Truth be told, we all have friends we view purely as our 'Facebook Friends;' those people we really only interact with through that platform. The typical reason for this being because in real life things just don't click as nicely. Are Facebook friends real friends though? Do they fulfill the needs of a live friendship or are you essentially just talking to your computer?

Would love to hear some opinions on this :) 
Thanks for reading!

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