Thursday, September 2, 2010

Far Too Complicated

Social networking sites such as Facebook seem to be dissolving into something useful,
but altogether shallow. A Facebook user was once able to write a finite amount of prose
in regards to his or her likes and interests. Now, Facebook utilizes a different profile
design that forces users to limit themselves to the confines of "pages" that they can
"like." These strict and simple lists now compose the Likes and Interests Section,
where there was once a greater degree of personal expression.

When this profile change was made, Facebook automatically tried to strain and filter
my personal prose of expression into such a strict and simple list. This was not easy
for Facebook to do. When I realized this was about to happen, I copied my entire Likes
and Interests Section because, as a writer, I take everything I have created quite
seriously and consider it all to be a collection of linguistic works of art, whether
real writing, journal entries, blogs, school notes, or Facebook-related items.

These new Facebook confines are common across the vast sea of social networking sites
and I believe they are far too confining. They are far too confining and they will
end with negative consequences. Perhaps most likely latent (maybe!), but negative.

Anyway. I guess this mostly has to do with an idea that is common within areas of the
Social Sciences. I apologize that I do not recall the precise term for this, but I
had Gen Psych and Intro to Socio during the Fall semester of my Senior year. I feel
like that was a long time ago. Today, I shared my fear of not remembering the basics
of my concentrations with Dr. Hayes and she reassured me that it will not be a problem.
Anyway. There's a Social Science idea (due to my taking Gen Psych and Intro to Socio
at the same time, such ideas blend together and cross department lines) that suggests
people become what they are expected to be. I believe this is mostly Labeling Theory
and is a Sociological idea, but Psychologists probably have some similar idea.

Anyway. Social Networking profiles do not allow a person to express how deep he or
she truly is and, applying Labeling Theory, if a person is treated as shallow, simple,
and uncomplicated, that is what that person is likely to become.

As I began to realize this, I began to become disgusted with the idea of a strict and
simple list within my Likes and Interests section. In order to defend against this, I
deleted the entire section. My About Me section remains as in-depth as the word limit
will allow, but I added an opening sentence of: "I am much more complicated than this."
In all honesty, I would much rather boycott the whole philosophy of the social
networking system and delete my profile altogether, but I cannot emotional bring
myself to do so, due to my severe social interest in so many other people and desire
to be easily connected to their life events, even if those life events are watered
down by the limits of such a social networking site.

I have also been considering complexity in regards to my personality as I consider
the idea of a potential romantic relationship, so that I will be somewhat prepared
when such an opportunity presents itself. Lately, I have been feeling more and more
complex and I fear there may be no one to complement my kind of complexity or at
least understand it to the point of my satisfaction. I do realize that this sounds so
wholeheartedly arrogant, but necessity and preference is important to consider, as
long as one does not create an image of the ideal. Generally, considering personal
complexity has been quite disheartening. Perhaps I will conclude such a complementing
complexity is unlikely to exist; unlikely enough that it ceases to be a necessity.

I'm not going to go into this deeply at all, but what if the changes to social
networking sites in regards to the watering down and simplifying of profiles is NOT
latent and the negative consequences are actually completely intended? What if the
minds behind social networking sites want us to feel simple and shallow so that we
become as such?

That's all for now.

Upcoming Topic: Personal Responsibility/Independence (tied to Non-Complaining!)

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