Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Internet Imitates Life... But It Is Not The Same

I will start this off by admitting the truth: I do not have 667 friends. That’s an outrageously large number of people with whom to have close relationships. However, if you were to happen upon my Facebook page, you would see 667 friends listed. Originally when social networking pages such as Facebook came out, many people in society thought it would be a great way to keep in touch with friends and reconnect with friends from the past. While these websites are useful for that purpose, they cannot compete with real life. Actually, they sometimes manage to conceal what is really going on in real life.

For example, upon seeing someone’s Facebook page similar to mine broadcasting upwards of 700 friends, nobody would expect the person behind the page to have no friends and spend their nights alone in reality. People can use the Internet to conceal pain and loneliness; anybody can act happy online. Hypothetically, someone in hysterical tears can muster up a Facebook status about how summer is amazing so far and post it for their digital friends to read. Afterwards, it is likely that some people will even click “like” on the aforementioned status. A stranger not knowing the difference who stumbled upon the page might assume that the people who clicked “like” are the page owner’s friends. And in some situations that is true, but in other situations it’s a complete facade. Not many people take the time to notice the difference.

I have witnessed numerous conversations in which one person will say something like “I have no friends” or “I never have anyone to go out with,” only to receive a response like “I’ve seen your Facebook and your Twitter and you clearly have friends.” The Internet imitates life and many people believe most of what they read online, especially on social networking pages.

Some users of social networking pages even acknowledge this problem. Upon doing some research, I came across Facebook groups that were created to bring together people who experience some of the above-mentioned social networking phenomena. For example, the group, “Facebook- a relationship’s worst enemy” was created to express the fact that once people publicly declare that they are “in a relationship” online, copious amounts of drama ensues. Some couples share too much information with their Internet friends, and it is detrimental to their relationship. Conversely, another group is titled “Facebook makes every relationship legit,” meaning that if a couple decides to leave their relationship off of the Internet, people might not even believe that they are actually dating. Some people do not care what their peers think of them, but more people are affected by these opinions and judgments.

Another problem that has arisen with the popularity of social networking pages is the amount of time people spend on these websites. Some people allow the Internet world to take over the real world. Some Facebook groups that encompass this problem are entitled “I just can’t get Facebook out of my head” and “I eat, sleep, & breathe Facebook.” Another group called “I actually know all of my friends on Facebook” was created for the users who have not allowed Facebook to affect on their personal lives.

Additionally, some people post so much information online that it almost makes regular, personal conversations obsolete. People don’t feel the need to ask how somebody’s weekend was if they already saw the answer in a Facebook newsfeed or a tweet on Twitter. For some people, this is convenient, but for others it puts a damper on friendships that used to flourish.

In conclusion, social networking pages can be very helpful in terms of keeping in touch with people and rekindling old friendships. However, these pages can also become too powerful if their users do not exercise caution. If a social networking page is ruining any aspect of your actual life, that’s a red flag that you have given the Internet too much power. Also, adding people as a friend on Facebook or following people on Twitter does not create real life friendships. This may seem like a blatantly obvious statement, but some people have gotten unbelievably caught up in these websites. All of the retweets, “likes” and comments in the world will not improve anyone’s actual social life.


  1. Hi there!

    I happened to stumble across your blog! Actually, there's a link to it from Wikipedia!

    Anyway, a lot of what you say makes sense to me. I gave up on Facebook a long time ago... made me insane, I had anxiety all the time about what other people were doing, and what people might find out about me... I just dont get it! Why do people insist on using Facebook?

    O well... just wanted to say that I completely agree!

    Keep writing!

    //friendly offline stranger

  2. Would like to agree with some of the statements that it can take over life. Was on vacation recently with some friends and two of them spent more time on facebook then anything else. Thought vacation was to get away. But it is getting to be to much these days

  3. facebook making people unethical and also bad habits from bad groups are developing day by day .fake id and sexual links destroying the minds

  4. Many of my past Facebook experiences really destroyed what little self-esteem I had at the time because everyone else appeared to be much happier than I was. Thank God I don't confuse Facebook with real life anymore! Good riddance to that profile!

  5. Very well said. While Facebook is indeed useful for many, I believe that it can have negative consequences, especially when people substitute Facebook for real life. There was a study done that says people on social networks believe everyone else is much happier than they are, as the previous poster pointed out.

  6. You couldn't have said it better. Every statement you make here is very true.

    I love how you stress on the fact that social networking such as facebook doesn't really fulfill our social needs, no matter how many status's we like or re-tweet.

    Very good read. Good job.

  7. Good blog post. I have just deleted my Facebook profile for good. The reasons are:

    -Facebook destroys your privacy. It monitors everything you do there, eg. when you login, what profile you look, what you like, chat conversations, pictures etc.. People also stalk each other over there.

    -I don't think it's normal to see a complete stranger and still know his name because you "know" him for his comments/profile picture on Facebook.

    -Facebook makes static friendships. If you become friends with someone in high school, you are "friends" with him for life. Even after 10 years you haven't seen this person after graduation but still you read every day his status updates and watch pictures of his newborn baby. Disturbing? Some people belong in the past for a good reason.

    Real life friendships are dynamic. They start and sometimes they fade away which is normal.

    -Facebook consumes A LOT of time and gives you stress if you're not there.

    -There is no-one to contact if some goes wrong with the facebook service. No telephone address, email, or anything. At least in this country.

    -You usually only see the happy side of people.

  8. I observe people’s devotion with facebook everytime to and from on my way to work daily, people stare at their mobile phone’s screens. This virtual world is very sexy and attention grabbing. Surely there are great uses of the internet for research and development, reading books, emails and other useful methods of communication which is fine. But does the majority in the most of cases uses for this? At least the figures revealing the increase users show the increased use of this addiction.
    People have less and less time for their homes, parents, neighbours. Real connection is perhaps disappearing. Sad reality is no time for children at home as they have readymade parents serving them in Creches.


  10. I completely agree and it is surprising me that there are still people who use facebook everyday. Facebook might be good for things like to stay in touch with friends and family and receive updates about them but it is not worth all the stress and the time spent on it. It has made me really angry and anxious and Im sure that it made others angry and anxious as well. Thank God I dont use Facebook and anyone that uses it seems ignorant to me. They must realize that its a big waste of time and that it ruins their lives, and I hope that the millions of users on facebook realize that someday. Im glad I have realized it this early.

    It doesnt matter how much you enjoy facebook or want to stay in touch with your friends, the fact that Facebook ruins everyone's lives by making people less social and stressful from all the crap and drama thats going on there should speak loud and clear.