Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Social Networking Sites Still Make Me Anxious

Why am I still weary of MySpace and other social networking sites? Well, this article certainly doesn’t help matters. The takeaway:

The new figures Cooper announced Tuesday include only those offenders who created MySpace profiles using their real names, according to a document given to state lawmakers. But officials believe there could be more offenders using the site, possibly under fake names.

This article doesn’t help my confidence in having a face book profile either.

Ben Casnocha stated the ease of use in keeping tabs via face book thusly:

I'm fascinated to see what happens as my age demographic moves into college and then the workforce. Facebook reached the masses when we were in high school. We went to college with at least 200 existing weak ties from high school classmates, and in college we'll accumulate probably twice as many. By the time I graduate in 2011, I expect my average college friend will have at least 500 connections on a service like Facebook that are legitimate (i.e., genuine weak ties that resulted from some shared experience or interaction).

500 connections to people you went to school with. 500 people for whom you remember their name and interests with a little help from a social network. 500 people for whom you have updated contact information, location, and career status. At age 22. Society, in other words, is going to be flooded with the most networked generation ever.

Obviously, there are tremendous benefits to social networking. I mean, really, it is just so easy. Then again, the more people there are in the network, the more targets there are for identity theft. That is, unless you take out your birthday, you make your profile private, and you are selective of whom your online friends are. And if they really are your friends, then they should know most of the important stuff anyway.

I will admit that I am not the most thick-skinned individual, and with that in mind, to receive an invitation from someone you have cut ties with is one item I dread to come upon. But it has happened to my own friends (the real ones whom I speak to, not the online ones). My friends have relayed stories with me in which someone from their past puts in a “friend request” as they ponder to themselves, “They don’t remember what they did to me?”

But clicking a button is another easy thing about online social networking and online dating. The sheer ease and minute marginal cost to click a button in order to make a request for friendship or a date is most likely impossible to resist. Unless, you’re like me, and you abhor rejection no matter what the medium. One of my favorite lines in this regard is from the movie, You’ve Got Mail, in which case Scott Zahn’s character states, “As far as I'm concerned, the Internet is just another way to be rejected by a woman.”

While my good “masters degree in communications” friend Kevin would most likely explain that people might differ in how they participate online as opposed to the terrestrial reality I like to interact in, I still think that if you’re timid in the real world, a lot of that timidity would transfer to your “online persona”, unless you are lying, of course, to yourself and to others.

Post a Comment