Arment: Social networking shows insecurities

Social Networking has become ingrained in our culture. People add content, such as pictures and information about themselves, to a pre-built profile layouts in an effort to accurately represent themselves on the internet. Or do they?

As I surf Facebook and Myspace I see plenty of pictures of people drinking, partying and looking-cool in general. What I don’t see are people being boring, sitting around or failing at anything. Those things are just part of life, and separating them from the representation of ourselves that we put online automatically makes that representation less than truthful.

How much of our sadness, guilt, shame and failure can we really put forward on social networking though?

With parents, bosses and co-workers friending you, it gets harder and harder to say what you want on your profiles. I remember when I first joined Facebook in late 2005. Statuses about smoking blunts, fighting or getting blackout drunk were nothing to bat an eye at.

This was way before the suburbanized Facebook of today, where most people won’t even post the F-bomb in their status’s — a far cry from the behavior of the college crowd that made up Facebook when I joined.

What exactly is the etiquette for social networking? Can one change their choice of religion on Facebook and expect to be left alone, or have the intrusive questions of others become something that is standard to the world of social networking.

On the flip side, how much information is too much information? Where the line falls when it comes to privacy that you should expect, and what constitutes putting forward altogether too much information is something that is still hashing itself out in the realms of the internet.

No matter what you do, represent yourself. Don’t misrepresent yourself to be the representation that you wish you were.

All too often I see people blatantly trying to be cool, chasing trends and promoting those choices on their social networking profiles. Maybe the ADD-esque nature of our culture’s attention span makes it easier to change like chameleons without everyone noticing.

It tells a great deal about society when people are so insecure with themselves that they take the time to go online and further an idea of themselves that is not accurate to real life. The need to please others certainly isn’t one invented by social networking, but maybe it has been magnified and made visible due to the public nature of most people’s profiles.

I take painful efforts to secure my privacy online. I’ve made it so you can’t search for my Facebook on Google, or on Facebook itself — I recommend you do the same. I do my best not to try and make myself look cooler than I am. I mean, how cool can a working class white dude from Grimes Iowa actually be?

Maybe I’m selling myself short though. If I had more photos of my tattoos, guns or of me doing awesome stuff, would people like me more? Would I have a better job? Would I have more friends?

Probably not. If I ever turn trendy, hopefully I have friends that care enough about me to call me out on it; rather then letting me live in my own little world, where I can paint reality however I feel like it at the time.