Networking and socialising over the internet doesn’t quite have the same depth as speaking face to face. OK, so maybe Skype and face time are brilliant. But when it comes to “liking” and commenting, it requires minimal effort. A contact on the phone to me recently said “you don’t have to remember phone numbers now do you?” just like with people’s birthdays – I have a terrible head for dates but Facebook will let me know when your birthday is…brilliant! But I realised I don’t want to wish everyone a happy birthday, either we have lost touch or interest and so I start to delete people. But then they come back! People often use these social networking site for “stalking” I don’t mean in the sense that they see where you’re checking in on Facebook and “bump into” you there (although that has happened!) But they just want to be able to compare their life to yours. Some people (and hey, I’m sure I’ve done it) have stumbled upon someone’s online profile, cheekily glanced at their occupation and if it’s not as good as yours (mine) have silently rejoiced in the fact you’ve somehow 1 upped someone…because, let’s face it – it’s brutal living in the grown up world and I’ll take all the victories I can.
Before I continue on my rant about this, I will say one thing. I have had some valuable online conversations with people, be that old colleagues who I miss who are all around the world. Or someone I have cheekily emailed asking them to work with the students here. So it does allow for some meaningful engagements – which is good. It’s a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” scenario. Even on here, I am glad to see people commenting, messaging me, emailing me about this blog – it’s all good!
I have however also noticed an increase of people who like and/or share things on Facebook that they wouldn’t really dare to, for example, shout out in a pub. I have seen posts that people make which are slightly racist, nationalist, homophobic, sexist, rude and it shows a complete lack of understanding for the world wide web! They’re not “digitally literate”. In real life it’s the equivalent is going up to someone and shouting for example (re: Boston bombings – no disrespect meant here) “I BET THE PEOPLE WHO PLANTED THOSE BOMBS WERE FROM IRAQ/IRAN/AFGHANISTAN” I mean REALLY?!
Some people follow parody Twitter accounts which at first glance are funny but then some of them cross a line for example a parody of a soap (opera) actor making jokes about rape. That’s not funny. Call me uptight but that is not funny! People use the internet for free comment on things, which is their right, but there are definitely some crazy people out there!
Having said in part 1 of this post that people are very fickle in their online friendships. And saying above that people say things they wouldn’t say in public. They think there will be no consequences for their opinions but they underestimate the fact that unless you delete something, that post will be on Facebook and Twitter. FOREVER. I am surprised by some of the things people click “share” on without really thinking about things. And these are people I know and have spent time with/spent time with a lot. I know if I were to strike up a conversation about the offending content they probably wouldn’t be able to back themselves up. But those who do confront them online are usually told they are being stupid or sensitive. Could I really delete a friend for a poorly explained or unjustifiable post that is based on content someone else has created? I just don’t know. But it could happen soon!
Here are a few things I have observed and would pass on and should maybe consider myself:
1) Not everyone cares about your opinion. As with writing a book, not everyone is going to like it just because it’s something you care about. 1a) Don’t get offended by randoms and trolls – they are online purely to annoy. And if you don’t know them then don’t take offence – they’re out for reaction.
2) Take advantage of social media to make connections with people who are harder to reach. e.g. I recently emailed an author asking about his careers advice book (as mentioned in previous blog) and he asked me to promote it, he sent me a copy so I can make an informed recommendation now. Don’t be pushy but I am a firm beleiver in “if you don’t ask – you don’t get”.
3) It’s really easy to like something that is stupid and/or fake. Using the Boston bombings again there were stories put around on twitter and facebook which were lies and designed to stir up more scare surrounding those awful events. Check your sources! See picture: https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRKQWB9lmLnjRqRpuwXOSTO31Lsjf2_PG37UgCT1De-1GXaFqx3HA
4) By all means make your relationship status public but don’t air your dirty laundry online. Again this can be done through sharing posts, there is a group somewhere called “people who tell the truth get hurt the most” or “girls who put up with the most s**t aren’t weak, they are the ones who love the most” or some such posts… They drive me mad! And be aware of who those posts can be seen by. I know couples who argue over what stuff they put online. It’s ridiculous.
5) PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT USE ASK.FM! I cannot stand that website! It allows people to anonymously ask questions of you out of boredom (both their part and the user) they can be anything from “whats your opinion on…” to more stalkerish topics. If you MUST use it don’t post those things on Twitter. It is the most annoying and mundane thing . This website is solely for cowards to pick fights and attention seekers to get on their high horses. Don’t make yourself an open target.
I don’t think there is much more I can add. Anyway – enough of that! All opinions welcome.