Monday, January 26, 2009

It's Complicated...

Facebook, Inc.Image via WikipediaI'm compelled to write a post on why social networking relationships are really not worth the aggravation. My current situation feels embarrassing as the Facebook platform has become just that - a stage for our friends audience to observe as our relationship comes apart at the seams. This morning browsing through my Google Reader feeds I came across an entry by Alexander van Elsas - It is naive to think our online lives are not connected to real-life - which raises many of my concerns:
There seems to be a strange disconnect between our online and offline lives. Different rules, norms and values seem to apply. It is as if our online personality is not connected to our real life. We act differently and feel a sense of freedom online that seems to compensate for the restrains we might feel in real life.
The divide is affecting our judgement as the freedom we are granted begs the question where we draw the line in what's considered acceptable? I wouldn't feel comfortable having a disagreement in public but online we don't consider the consequences.
We are all actors in this massive online play and it allows us to do things we wouldn’t consider doing in real life.
Any person that changes their relationship status to 'It's complicated...' seriously has issues. Why announce that to the World? If you value your relationship then disconnect. Walk away from your online identity and address what's important in your life! I'm sure that your 'friends' will understand and respect you more for being responsible and doing what's right.

I met my recent partner of two years through MySpace with our introduction in the form of a Sneezing Panda. Drawn together as we both had children and were compelled to support each other through the difficulties we had to confront as single parents. The bond was strong and honestly if I was a wealthy person I would have walked her down the aisle. So where did it all go wrong?

Personally I feel that Facebook has been a factor in our problems. MySpace is reminiscent of a high school with all the different social cliques,
music industry culture and - back when I contributed anyway - you are protected to an extent by your alias but on Facebook you are represented by your name. Facebook has positioned itself as the essential form of interaction for our generation. Everyone you know is on Facebook and if you aren't available on the site then who are you?
As real-life and online behavior become more and more connected, entangled, you will find that it is less easy to separate them. Online and offline become the same life. While we see our online behavior as play now I doubt it will still be play in a few years.
There are many issues I would like to raise about my concerns with our online and offline identities but I will address those in due course. I admit to being despondent at the moment and feel that it's too soon to write my true feelings.

I recommend subscribing to Alexander van Elsas as he provokes thought and accurately discusses the effects of new media and technology on human behaviour.

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