Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Social Perception via Facebook

For all my fears about technology and what it is doing to society- is it possible anymore to talk to someone w/o them texting someone else?- I do have some favorites:

I love my GPS. I have always been directionally challenged. I grew up in Rochester, NY and I still don’t know my way around it. I have gotten lost in my car so many times it is impossible to count, and the GPS saves me from all that fear, lost time, and humiliation (b/c everyone knows I can’t find my way out of a paper bag).

I love my laptop. It makes doing schoolwork so much easier.

But I think my favorite technological advance- the one I cannot live without- is Facebook.

I LOVE Facebook. I wish I could live inside my Facebook page.

Recently, someone tried to take my picture, and as I turned away and said “no”, like usual, she cried exasperated, “But you have pictures all over Facebook!”. She thought that it was something personal against her, like it was the fact that she, in particular, wanted to take a picture of me, when in fact it doesn’t have anything to do with her. It’s all about control.

When I post pictures of myself on FB, it is because I want those on there. The picture was taken, I saw it in advance, I decided I don’t look like too much of a creep, and I decided to share it my friends.

And now I understand why so many people are also obsessed with Facebook- it is because on Facebook we can control how the world sees us. We can post the most flattering pictures, we can decide which portions of the personal information to fill out- if you do not want to share something, you simply do not type it in.

The things that we do share influence how other people in FB world view us- I tend to post a lot of movie quotes and funny videos, and poke fun at myself a lot, and my profile picture is either one of me smiling and having fun, or it is some pop culture reference that I think is representative of some part of my personality. The pictures I post are usually of my crreations and projects, or my pets or other people that are near and dear to me. I try not to post too many status updates that are negative or whiney or scary angry because I do not want to be seen as that kind of person. I hope that other citizens of Facebook view me as a quirky, creative, and delightfully ditzy. In the world of Facebook, I want to be a loveable village idiot.

So then I started thinking about other ways in which we try to control how others see us-

-we choose to wear the clothes we do based on how we want people to perceive us. I dress one way for work because I want to be thought of as professional, I dress another way when I go out on the town because I want people to find me easy on the eyes.

-we control what we say. Well, most people can- I sometimes have the Bridget Jones thing happen. But overall, we say what we do for a reason, and more importantly, we can lie, and outright manipulate what people think of us. Just as we choose what to say, we can also choose what NOT to say.

-the cars we drive. Cars, like so many other things, are status symbols, and I have known people that obsess about their cars, and what the cars say about them. I have no idea what other people think about my car- a 2003 silver Cavalier which I named The Silver Tongue, but to be honest I don’t care that much. It gets me from point A to point B safely, and that’s all that matters to me.

How many other ways do we try to control how others see us? It’s an infinite list, and I am sure I am guilty of many ways, but Facebook is by far the most fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment