Posted by: heymathemadness | April 5, 2010

Disclaimer?

This is a blog mandated by my Sociology 88S class.

I’ll most likely post things related to said class, response assignments, and so on, but it seems I may also post off-class-topic social-network related ramblings.

Just be warned: I’m an adult. And sometimes a sassy one at that.  At times, I might use adult language. I’m opinionated. I’m loud. No apologies, no regrets. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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Posted by: heymathemadness | June 4, 2010

Final paper, hopefully not final post?

Final Paper

With the evolution of Web 2.0, internet users are no longer merely receiving information, but rather are actively interacting with that information and other users. Out of this, important questions about the implications arise, one of the most intriguing being – does the internet ultimately bring us closer together or farther apart? One may be able to effectively support either side of this debate, since it seems for every argument of the benefit of Web 2.0, there seems to be an equally effective counterexample to disprove that. However, after much examination of all the opportunities provided to the users by the internet, and particularly the ease with which information is obtained on social networking sites, it is my opinion that ultimately, the internet brings us, as users, much closer together.

First of all, the development of social networking sites like MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook has allowed for users to keep in better contact with more people than ever before. While a person’s “Dunbar number” seems to remain around 150 (Thompson 2008), most people I know have more than 150 Facebook or MySpace “friends.” In fact, I know people who have ten times that. Some might argue that this is a sign that “friendship” is not valued as much. For me, though, this represents that we have some desire to still keep in contact with what Thompson referred to as “fringe” friendships -that is people we may have only met once or twice. While I agree that these may not constitute real “friendships,” the fact that some continue to keep in contact with these fringe friends means that they have expanded the number of people who they interact with on an occasional basis, if even because these people may prove to be beneficial at some point in their future, such as for networking opportunity or for obtaining knowledge, which we saw during our experiment in which we made requests via Facebook status and recognized the ease with which others could provide us with needed information (Week 6 experiment). Thus these social networking site users are able to know and maintain contact better than without the sites, ultimately bringing users on the internet all a little closer to each other .

Additionally, the opportunity provided by these websites to project one’s own personality allows us to share ourselves and learn more about others. In a 2004 article, Charles Cheung noted that on homepages and profiles, the authors “often highlight particular personal qualities” very strategically (Cheung, 2004, p. 311). By listing particular interests, activities, favorite books or movies, favorite quotations, or religious views, one might allow others to see a side of themselves that even their real-life friends may now know. I have learned a great deal about my own friends simply by noticing small things stated on their profile, or having NewsFeed inform me that they have joined a particular group or become a fan of a particular page. Similarly, as we saw during the “dating site” experiment, those on sites like match.com are looking to establish relationships based upon similarities, or what they are looking for (Week 8 experiment). This is why these sites allow for users to search based upon things like “interests.” I believe it brings these love-seekers closer together more immediately, than, say, approaching person after person at a bar.

Finally, I believe that the internet brings us closer together because it is not constrained by time or space, and that characteristic makes it useful to enhance offline interactions. As I noticed in my experiment when I took a day off from the internet, and again in the experiment when comparing the happiness I felt offline versus online, the internet will never be able to fully replace offline interactions (Week 5 and 9 experiments). However, I know that I have personally been able to use things like Skype, instant messenger services, and email to interact with people who have moved away, who have gone to study abroad, or who I am otherwise unable to see in person. These internet tools also a way to arrange for real-life personal interactions, and sometimes allow for people to “say” (or write) things they might be more hesitant to in real life. Additionally, one can solidify an interaction with someone with a follow-up wall post – “Had a great time tonight, see you soon!” By getting all of the insignificant chit-chat out of the way online, it allows for the real-life conversation to be much more meaningful and significant.

In all, I believe the internet has been an overall positive thing in today’s societal life. On one hand, some say the internet makes us lazier because information is so readily available. With “friends” so readily available on Facebook, some might argue that the value of friendship has simply been lost. However, I disagree with those opinions. The tools the internet provides for interaction enhances real life interactions, and enables us to maintain even the “fringe” friendships. I feel that the ease with which we can maintain friendship, obtain information about our friends, and share information about ourselves ultimately allows us to continually learn more and more about each other, and brings us closer to those we interact with online.

    Works Cited
    Cheung, C. (2004). Identity Construction and Self-Preservation on Personal Homepages.
    POR IV , 310-320.
    Thompson, C. (2008, September 5). “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy”. Retrieved June 1, 2010, from Los Angeles Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/magazine/07awareness-t.html?_r=4&ref=technology&pagewanted=all
    Week 5 Experiment: No internet for a day
    Week 6 Experiment: Make requests via Facebook statuses
    Week 8 Experiment: Check out online dating sites
    Week 9 Experiment: Measure happiness offline vs. online.
Posted by: heymathemadness | May 27, 2010

Soc88S Weekly Assignment #8

Ok so before I get to my response for this week, I need to vent about this article. I genuinely question whether or not the author, Jeffrey Easter, ever had someone PROOFREAD this paper.

A few excerpts:
“Back in college when a friend who had recently mastered using Adobe Photoshop said manipulating an image was like playing the piano.” (p.18)
*That, my friends, is NOT a sentence. It would make sense if only he took out the “when.” An easily caught mistake.

“current SNS are not affective enough to greatly improve peoples’ lives.”
*Effective. ‘Nuff said.

“Peer pressure plays a roll in getting people to join because you are usually invited casually by a friend.”
*I will ‘casually’ ignore the fact that he changed the subject in the sentence from “people” to “you” – Are you disconnected from the subject? Choose whether or not you are addressing the reader, kiddo. But seriously, plays a roll? Roll? Like a roll of toilet paper? Any editor should have caught such a simple mistake – it should be “role,” as in “serves the purpose of”, or “functions as.”

I’ve typo’d on this blog. Hell, I’m pretty sure “typo’d” is not a word. But I would imagine, if you are submitting something like this in academia, for publication, you would damn well want someone else to read through your paper to ensure there are not any glaring errors like this.

Somewhere his 8th grade English teacher is cringing, I’m sure. Can you tell I’m annoyed?

/rant.

On to my actual response:

The article sites Laura Clark’s study regarding internet relationships and also conjectures that internet is stunting the evolution of social skills for future generations. The author further expresses his feelings that “current SNS are not affective [sic] enough to greatly improve peoples’ lives.” I disagree with both of these for several reason. In class we have often discussed how new social skills are being developed as a result of the internet’s increasing presence in our lives, particularly for the younger generations. Consider, for example, a person who is homebound, or just extremely shy.  The internet, and particularly SNS allow for these people to forge strong social relationships, should they so choose, when they might not be as willing or able to in the real world. Some body language, intonation, etc. may be lost, and this is not to say that online communication is better or worse than offline. Rather, I argue that social skills will never be completely lost because of the internet. SNS can and HAVE greatly improved some peoples’ lives, and helped them develop at least some social skills they might not otherwise want or be able to develop.

Additionally, I would argue that SNS are also improving peoples’ lives, aside from the homebound or shy, to allow everyone to establish and maintain relationships with those they may not otherwise. My roommate can Skype with her dad when he’s in China and please believe I fully intend to use Skype, Facebook, AIM, and many other forms of online communication to alleviate my homesickness when I travel to the East Coast for work this summer. I’m sure my mother will agree – as being able to SEE that I am alive and well, via videochats and pictures sent will alleviate some of her worries about me.

For the experiment, I spent one day back home, shopping in stores, grabbing coffee with friends. Nearly every other day this week I spent a majority of my day on the computer. I feel like on the whole, personal interaction trumps internet, even with shopping. I love being with people. There is something about being able to physically see and touch the person you are with. There is also something about being able to see and touch and object you purchase, along with the immediate gratification of being able to carry it out of the store with you, rather than waiting 5-7 business days for it to arrive. Unfortunately while this feeling is greato, in-person things are so often constrained by time and space. Stores close. Cars break down. Friends study abroad in Ireland.

The internet provides a way of interacting that is not subject to the same constraints. I’m not available to chat? My friend in Ireland can post on my Facebook wall or send a message and still communicate with me. I feel more fulfilled in my happiness interacting with a person, but if I can’t see them face to face, using an SNS to interact will bring me more joy than if I were unable to see them altogether. The internet helps me to alleviate boredom, enhance my personal interactions (Like using a FB wall post as a precursor or follow-up to a coffee date), and take my mind off of negative things going on in my real life (a fight with a friend is quickly forgotten when I pull of FailBlog or TFLN).

I don’t think I know what the exact key to happiness is, but I’m sure the internet is involved somehow. Google’s probably already got it in the works.

Posted by: heymathemadness | May 21, 2010

Soc88S Weekly Assignment #7

Online Dating vs. Offline Dating (Not that I have much experience with either…)

I was amused when the article mentioned that internet usage requires the development of a certain, and specified, group of skills. It makes particular mention that “a set of concepts must be learned (e.g. logging on, uploading files) and strategies formed (e.g. appropriate search wueries, saving and archiving information).” It makes sense – in order to date online, you must develop both computer and site-specific literacy skills, and then develop a strategy in order to obtain the best possible “results” – that is, people you are likely to get along with. Dating in the real world requires a similar development of specified skills:  a “set of concepts” including ideas like how to approach the person you are interested in, the social “norms” like offering to buy her/him a drink or using a pick-up line (this is markedly a different set of concepts than you would acquire to initiate normal friendship). Additionally, offline dating too requires a pre-planned strategy: where are you going to meet people? Likely, you are going places that attract the types of people you want to meet. Whether this is because you want to meet someone with a similar interest, or who has certain qualities, (eg. I have friends who have joined a running club because they want to meet cute boys who are  interested in running, while I have other friends who detest golfing, but learned how and hit up the country clubs from time to time in the hopes of catching the eye of a well-to-do fellow), this is part of the dating “strategy” skill, and similar to the “strategy” skills developed by online daters in their search inquiries, etc.

The article’s discovery about attitudes regarding online dating and actual usage makes sense to me. I have a friend (A) who had a positive experience on one dating website, and she strongly encouraged another recently-single friend (B) to try it out. B ultimately met someone she is currently still in a relationship with, months later, and when another friend of mine (C) mentioned a few weeks back how she was bored with her current dating life and was considering trying out online dating, I made mention of both A and B’s positive experiences. She ultimately did create a profile on the site I had mentioned.

Browsing about, I noticed that while some sites attracted a wide range of ages, some appealed to the older crowd, and still others were geared toward the much younger audience, often college-aged or just above (let’s say 18-30ish). There are specialized sites that cater to an  I would say on the sites I browsed, I noticed that approximately half were in- or had graduated recently from college and the other half noted they had not. This would kind-of make sense to me – particularly from college grads who went to larger schools – their lives have changed dramatically. If they have recently made the move from the school to working world, their life has changed from constantly meeting new people, if only by default because of changing classes during different terms, to seeing the same people day-in and day-out, and realized they needed to actively seek new people in this new environment.

Many people often said, too, that they were “tired of the bar scene,” which I found to be amusing because while I consider online dating different than meeting offline, I also note a great number of similarities: sure, you could try to talk to everyone you see, at some point you need to be discerning between those you wish to approach and those you do not. As much as I hate to admit it, I would say that in what I have seen, typically, it boils down to appearance. Interested parties tend to look at the “attractive” guy or girl first, whether it be online or offline. That initial approach, walking over to the, (visiting his/her profile) often is a result of finding him or her initially attractive (cute profile pic). Whether the interested party offers to buy a drink or asks for his/her number (messages  him/her) may depend on their conversation (visiting their profile) – that’s the part where personality comes into play. But it’s always about that Initial Attraction – and that, I would argue more often than not, is also better known as Initial Physical Attraction.

So…I don’t think I could ever actually  date someone I met online. I grew up in a house which greatly feared meeting any “online friends,” and I also have personal issues with the way in which people are able to present themselves via profile. However, I do believe online dating has its place in the “dating world” for some people. In the same way that some like to go meet at bars, others like to meet in local community sports clubs, and still others prefer speed-dating groups or matchmakers, the internet has provided another way for singles to meet, one is not necessarily constrained (as much) by space and time.

Posted by: heymathemadness | May 14, 2010

Soc 88S Weekly Assignment #6

Stalker Report:
This week I facebook-stalked Sally Pan. Sally was born on October 1, 1991 (which makes me feel way old) and she is currently an eighteen-year-old first-year student at UCLA who lives in DeNeve, or at least did at the beginning of the year. She appears to be undeclared major-wise and into men dating-wise. Sally likes road trips, volunteering, listening to nature, listening to music, texting, talking on the phone, socializing and networking, sleeping, swimming, running, and partying. She attended Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel, where she is from. San Gabriel is also referred to as “the 626” by friends. She graduated high school in 2009, and was part of the swimming team while there. She has recently become a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and her Big Sis is Alex Noé. Sally plays MyCityLife and HotelCity on Facebook, although some of her friends have responded negatively to it, making fun of the game’s automated status updates. Sally keeps pictures tagged of her hidden from the general public view. While this might help with some privacy, it makes me wonder what types of things Sally might be doing that she feels the need to hide them. Maybe family members on FB? 😉
Based upon a graffiti drawing of Sushi on her “Boxes” page, I also assume that Sally enjoys fine Japanese cuisine, like Sushi, although that is not listed under her interests. Judging by the sheer amount of wall posts, Gabriela Mejia seems to be a good friend of hers – scratch that, I mean, her roommate. Also, judging by her NFL and NBA-related status updates, it seems Sally’s a fan of sports, at least on the national level.
Her brother, Gary Pan, made it to the semi-finals for football.
According to her friend Jacob Garcia, Sally’s “charisma is the most amazing breathe of fresh air a friend can find, and her energy is contagious =)”
She seems like a cool chick whose UCLA experience has just begun. Enjoy, Sally, enjoy.
🙂


Article Response

The article must be older. It mentioned that Facebook still required affiliation with a college or high school in order to create an account, but given that it has been opened up to almost everyone in the past 4 years I have  had my account, it would say that it even feels like less of a private space. I found it amusing that the article mentioned SNS (social-networking sites, I’m just too lazy to repeately type that) are being used as a way to for teenagers to fabricate things about themselves, which reminded me of our week studying the “projected identities” on personal webpages, and of my sister’s attempt at projecting a bad-ass image via status that week.

I enjoyed the statement that teenagers “often think their lives are private as long as their parents are not reading their journals.” While every teen wants a certain amount of privacy from their parents, it’s amusing to me that some are willing to post publicly what they would not share within their own household.

There are a great deal of things going on with schools and Facebook privacy lately, too. In addition to some schools, such as those mentioned in the article forcing athletes to get off facebook, I know that it also used to be a UCLA sorority policy that all sisters deactivate their facebook accounts during “rush” weeks. Now it is the “Roe Gammas” – or the “neutral” rush-week mentors that must deactivate for the week. The article also mentioned that “schools began considering ways to regulate speech on [Myspace].” I found that amusing because it is exactly because of the underage, booze-wielding partiers and the hateful-comment-leavers that my school did just that. I attended a private Catholic school so basically they could do whatever they wanted to us – it resulted in them banning Facebook and MySpace from all school computers, taking action – possibly up to legal action – for students with pictures of them doing “un-Christian” and illegal things, and culminating in the administration sending a letter home explaining that anyone found to even HAVE a MySpace would be suspended, at the very least. I found this funny since before the whole thing blew up, some of our favorite TEACHERS had, and conversed with us via MySpace. I remember laughing out loud as a senior receiving this letter and calmly approaching my parents, showing them my MySpace and explaining, “I am refusing to get rid of it, will you support me in my decision?”  And I did. So THERE.

Posted by: heymathemadness | May 7, 2010

Soc 88S Writing Assignment 5

Amusingly my responses to my requests this week, such as “has anyone seen my phone” when I lost it, yielded responses only by friends I knew offline. More amusingly, they were unhelpful responses like “uh oh spaghettios” and “DISLIKE” After realizing my phone had been left in a taxi, I asked if anyone had every successfully retrieved lost things from a cab, and if they had any recommendations. My one friend responded as he usually would offline: a story about how he left something in a cab but ultimately had no helpful advice for my situation.

Although this particular experiment seemed to bomb and not reflect the paper’s findings – my typical experiences on Facebook do. Like the study found, I often use it to keep in touch with highschool friend as well as casual acquaintances. At a big school like UCLA, I am willing to friend people I’ve met only once or twice because the more people you “know” or at least are familiar with, the more likely you are to be able to see a friendly face in class which then makes for a study buddy or at the very least, someone you can sit next to in lecture.

One interesting thing from the article was that they found that the extent of students’ satisfaction with life at MSU was strongly correlated with bridging social capital. At least in my opinion, this makes sense. The more that you have Facebook friends – and the more you use Facebook to see what friends are upto, the more likely you are to be invited to a group or event of your interest. This makes for an easy way for a student to explore their interests without having to catch Bruinwalk at the right time and get handed the right flier.

Posted by: heymathemadness | April 29, 2010

Soc88S Writing Assignment 4

I find it interesting that the emphasis in the article was “Huxleyan” when usually the phrase associated with the unlimited knowledge the internet obtains from us is “Big Brother” – most commonly associated with George Orwell’s 1984. When I read 1984 in high school, a friend of my dad suggested I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World as a companion piece to it, and I myself was able to see the two ways in which the world was viewed by these two authors. It was an interesting juxtaposition of forcing people to comply using two totally opposite means: either they would obey out of fear, or they would obey because that is what they derived the most pleasure from.

It is interesting that the author notes “An Owellian world is much easier to recognize, and to oppose, than a Huxleyan.” If we acccept Facebook as a Huxleyan aspect to our world today, for example, our experiement this week might have been a wake-up call of sorts to recognize it: that is, to take oneself out of Facebook is to be able to look at it, if only briefly, from the outside and realize just HOW dependent you, your friends, and/or the world is on it.  How little thinking is usually involved – and how information is so readily spoonfed to us instead of us seeking it out, leading to a somewhat “lazy” relationships that we may indeed call friendships (at least, on Facebook).

My non-internet experiment happened more by accident. I happened to have an extremely busy Saturday, driving down to San Diego Friday night, taking a teaching-credential exam there from about 7am-12pm, then spending the rest of the afternoon in Downtown San Diego with a friend, driving back, being stuck in traffic, meetig other friends at the Rose Bowl for the football team’s annual spring scrimmage, then driving back to meet up with other friends at a bar on Wilshire, and then heading home. I didn’t particularly think of the internet, nor did I think how any of my friends I was not currently with were doing. My only worry was an email I was supposed to receive, but that was also easily retreived Sunday morning.

I think that experiment helped me to realize that I, thankfully, am not using the internet – or Facebook – as a means to supplement my life. Rather, it is something that I can use to organize events in the real world, to keep myself busy and amused with during times when friends are busy, and a way to keep in constant contact with others.

So perhaps in a way I am almost seeking out this Huxleyan type world – deriving the most pleasure out of everything that I can as often as I can, letting Facebook time replace what would otherwise be un-amusing downtime. Hmm…At least I DO still know what I am laughing at and have not indeed ceased thinking altogether, though.

Posted by: heymathemadness | April 23, 2010

Soc88S Writing Assignment 3

This week’s experiment: post a new topic at a forum that is of interest to us. So I posted on a math forum (surprise).
Link: http://www.mymathforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=13513

I posed a question asking the difference between two types of sequences, and have thus received two answers from two different people attempting to answer my question. I think that my post exemplified what I saw in the article’s discussion about “friendship in cybercities” – the author quotes a researcher’s conjecture that the impersonal-ness of online friends allows one to be more open with them. The people who responded to me were extremely nice and helpful, answering my question very thoughtfully and thoroughly, and “parasio” even added “Anything just write me,” to the end of his post, extending a friendlier hand. Although I myself am not necessarily shy, nor do I often hesitate to speak up in class – as those of you who have been in a class with me, or just been around me in general can attest, I am sure – however, forums such as these allow for people to make posts such as mine when they do not understand. In the same way the researcher, Taygeta, explained that you can be more open with people you meet online, this can be very beneficial to one’s academic life since you do not necessarily have to put a real name or face to the question you are asking, making it perhaps far less intimidating than perhaps sitting face-to-face with a professor, tutor, or even fellow classmate.

Before settling on posting in the math forum, however, I searched around different active forums of individuals who shared other interests of mine – TV shows (The Office, Queer as Folk, Friends), hobbies (swimming and water polo), and such. Those who take part in such things do spend a great deal of time discussing the subject at hand, but at some point, they also tend to inject a bit of their own personal lives into various posts, prompting responses, and thus further developing these online “friendships.” On these sites I noticed a  trend similar to that which the author of this week’s article both heard about and experienced for himself a bit on Cybercity – the fact that sometimes, online friendships may be superior on some level to offline friendships. In addition to the reasons the author provides, I also suggest that it could be the limited communication which these online forums allow – you have to fit in all you want to say in a comment, or a 1000-character reply at a time, and it takes more time to type things out than to say them. Of course the anonymity of the internet could also make some more people apt to be more “trusting” because they essentially control that which they reveal to each “friend.” In some cases, too, it could be that a person’s online friends provide a niche of companionship and understanding this person may not be getting in the real world – they can reveal an aspect of themselves to the online community centered around that interest because they are essentially in a “safe space.”

This idea of the anonymity of the internet being a “safe space” in which to develop these stronger online “friendships” might be especially true for more taboo subjects. I won’t get into the naughty here – but take for example a television show like Queer as Folk, which, as might be expected from its blatant title, is a show which follows the lives of a group of fictional gay men. While I feel many of my real-life friends know that a great deal of my interest in the show comes from my identification as a straight ally to the LGBT community, and we have had many in-depth real-life discussions about related topics, this is not true for everyone. I recognize that some of the people in the forums or discussion groups expressed how happy they were to have found such a place to talk about the show itself, as well as issues about the LGBT community that it raised, because they came from a particularly conservative area, where they were afraid to even use the words “gay” or “lesbian” around their “friends.” The forum for them became a place to ask questions, get more information, and establish friendships with people willing to answer their questions and provide them with the information they could not – or were too afraid to – ask anywhere else. They are revealing a side of themselves that they might never have revealed to anyone otherwise, and they do it knowing they will not be judged because the forum they were joining housed fans of the show who had created such a forum/discussion community for exactly those discussions. The community responses were so supportive for these people stepping outside their comfort zone, using the anonymity of the internet to explore things that were not necessarily viewed as “acceptable” within their circle. For these such people, online friends seem to satisfy a specific need they had but simply could not obtain with their real-life friends.

Posted by: heymathemadness | April 21, 2010

Link to my post

http://www.mymathforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=13513

Posted by: heymathemadness | April 15, 2010

Soc88S Writing Assignment 2

This week on My Projected Persona…

So I was totally uncomfortable chatting up a stranger via the internet, because I’ve done a bit of computer programming – I know that all of this “anonymous” stuff isn’t always so anonymous. Sucking it up, I managed to talk to someone for a bit, projecting a persona of a young surfer dude. Basically ended up using a lot of words like “Duuuuuuude” “Bro” “Rad” and the like. By simply using the vocabulary, I tried to convince the person I was chatting with that I had this persona. And the scary thing about the internet – no one knows if you’re actually telling the truth. I don’t know if the person believed me. They said they were a 16 year old girl from China – and was very initially abrasive stating “If you don’t like my country you should disconnect now.” It was weird. I felt deceitful.

The joys of the internet, though, is that you can indeed, as the article discussed, ignore the “haters” – you can de-friend and block someone who is mean to you on FB or via email. Even on Omegle, you can choose to “disconnect” from a chat partner at any time if you so choose. Many times online, unlike in the real world where you may be forced to subject yourself to criticism face-to-face should you read a poem you wrote or a picture you took, there is an OPT-OUT option. Or you can delete all the negative comments and leave any positive feedback, making it appear that you have received nothing but rave reviews for whatever might have been posted.

This got me thinking of this idea of “projected persona” however, like the article mentioned. The difference between online communication and face-to-face is that online you really have more control (to an extent) about the way in which you project yourself. On facebook, your friend can de-tag the pic you snapped of her drunkenly making out with some guy at a frat party. You choose what to say  – or not to say – in your “about me.” You choose who you are friends with and what stories show up on “Newsfeed.”

A friend of mine recently made an observation: when flipping back through her FB pics from a party she went to, it looked like she was having  a great time, and she mentioned that she nearly forgot that she had actually made an early night of it, storming off in a huff after a fight with some drunk friends. While, as the article also mentioned, you can list your activities to generate possible new friends (FB lets you SEARCH by interests after all, why else than to search and befriend?), I feel that FB has lately been most used to project a persona. All sorts of job sites recommend “cleaning up” your facebook before embarking on a job hunt, because employers are interested in sometimes checking out FB pages to “see who you are” – or at least see who you are portraying yourself to be.

Nothing better personifies this idea of “projected” identity than what I encountered this last weekend with my 14 year old sister and her facebook status. She has recently begun a relationship with a nice gentleman at her school. After attending a party with said gentleman one evening, her Facebook status that morning was “GREAT night last night. Partyyyy. At His House Til 2am♥” My mother chided her for posting such a thing because saying it like that might make people think *certain things.* I on the other hand found it hilarious for that same reason. You see, what she failed to mention in that status update was that while she was indeed at her Boy’s house until early in the morning, the “Partyyyyy” was actually his 3-year-old cousin’s family birthday party, she was actually only there until 12:30am, and she was only there that late because she was helping the family clean up the mess from the little kids. The way she worded it, though, makes it sound as though she is this 14-year-old party animal who stays out until 2am with her boyfriend. YEAH. RIGHT. I grew up with those parents.

Projected Persona: a manipulation of what really is, made easier by the impersonal-ness of the internet.

Posted by: heymathemadness | April 13, 2010

Facebook Changed Dating for the Worse?

http://mashable.com/2010/04/10/facebook-dating/

5 Ways Facebook Changed Dating (For the Worse)

Facebook Broken HeartFacebook can mess up your life in a whole bunch of ways. It can get you fired or evicted, plunge you into debt with its addictive games, and even (yeah, right) infect you with syphilis. We wouldn’t look at all of those as serious threats, but we all know from experience that one threat is real: Facebook makes dating far more complicated than it used to be.

You can use Facebook’s privacy settings to mitigate the pains, and you can even make an impossible-to-maintain rule that you won’t accept friend requests from people you’re dating, but it’s almost guaranteed that Facebook will somehow catch up to your budding relationship and challenge it with some confusion eventually.

The site can be a boon for dating in some ways too, of course, but for now we’re talking about how it makes things complicated. Here are five ways that Facebook’s erosion of personal boundaries and privacy has made finding security in love and sex more difficult.


1. Overanalyzing Will Drive You Crazy


He posted on your wall four times today — does that mean he’s too into you? She keeps posting status updates about the cute guys in her office — should you be worried that you’ll be outdone? You’ve hardly seen any updates on his profile since you had a fight — is he hiding the updates from you, is he so depressed that he’s not engaging, or is it just a coincidence? Why does she keep untagging herself from photos with you in them?

If you’re already feeling insecure or suspicious, your partner’s Facebook feed will contribute about ten gallons of gasoline to it.

It’s obviously best not to indulge any obsessive or stalking behaviors, but love (and lust) drive people to do silly things. Sometimes you just can’t help but wonder what this or that update means for your relationship. Chances are it means nothing, but that won’t stop those nagging insecurities.


2. You See All the Action Your Ex Is Getting


That guy just posted on her wall thanking her for the wonderful time they had last night, but she just broke up with you last week. Man, that smarts.

Most of the items on this list have something to do with privacy. In this case, it’s not your privacy, it’s hers. It’s tough to get over someone you’ve just lost, but it’s even harder when you know she’s having a smashing time without you. Facebook makes sure of that.

Maybe it’s important for Facebook users to carefully watch their feeds to make sure that nothing comes up that will cause any hurt to any exes, or maybe their exes are responsible for clicking “hide” in the news feed until they’re over it. If at least one of those things doesn’t happen, it can get painful for one person, minimum.


3. Relationships and Breakups Are Public


Dramatized in the above scene from the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, it’s the most classic Facebook dating dilemma: Who pulls the trigger to make a relationship official on Facebook first? It would be embarrassing to declare yourself to be in a relationship if your (you thought) significant other doesn’t reciprocate.

Changing Facebook relationship status has, for better or worse, joined first date, first kiss, first night together, exclusivity talk, and first “I love you” on the list of important relationship milestones. It’s one of the most awkward milestones because it’s public by necessity.

That first status change isn’t the only challenge. When a relationship ends, how soon is it okay to switch back to single? Doing so right away seems callous, but holding on for too long makes you look fixated. And God forbid that somebody break the news to her partner that she’s dumping him or her by publicly switching her status over to “Single.” But we’ve all heard stories of that happening.

We’ve also heard stories of people seeing their dates switch to “In a Relationship” with someone else. That can’t feel good.


4. It’s a Record of Every Relationship Mistake You’ve Made


If he can’t help but snoop, he can look back and see all those consolation posts from friends about your last breakup. Maybe he’ll see your previous partner’s angry wall posts after you let him know that you wouldn’t be seeing him again. Maybe this new friend of yours will see your immature responses. Worst of all, he might see just how much of a loser your last man was and decide you’re playing in different leagues.

Facebook serves up a record of everything you’ve done since you created your profile. It’s best to carefully curate all that information to make sure none of it comes back to haunt you later, but that takes a lot of work, and some things are bound to slip through the cracks.

To make things even more frustrating, you can’t modify the privacy settings for things you’ve already posted. You might have hidden that incriminating status update from your last boyfriend, but since your new one just friended you today, you’ll have to remember to go back and delete it if you’re afraid he’ll be browsing.


5. Other People’s Comments Will Make Your Date Jealous


This has caused many a breakup. Some people tend towards jealousy, and as with item #1 on this list, the flame of insecurity will get doused in gasoline.

Let’s say some girl has a bunch of innocuous guy friends who are innocently posting flirtatious messages on her wall. Most folks are okay with flirting, but some can’t handle it, and something about seeing it written out on Facebook makes it worse. That girl’s boyfriend will either become passive aggressive or burst out in jealous rage, setting the stage for the end of an otherwise positive relationship.

This one illustrates the same point as all the others: Facebook brings us too close to people too quickly. Dating is as much about maintaining healthy and safe boundaries as it is about intimacy — at least at first — and social networking makes that harder than ever. It’s not dissimilar to dating someone who works in your office; you can’t control the exposure you’ll have, and that can be a recipe for disaster.

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