Social Networking and the Individual of the 21st Century

asasalarageThis is the 21st century – the age of social media, an age where we collect friends like stamps. However, despite the fact that man is a social creature, it is not possible for him to be friends with a very large amount of people. Research reveals that most humans are incapable of closely knowing more than around 150 people. This causes one’s social life to get demanding, as soon as new connections are built around the workplace or elsewhere. Thus, enters technology into the scene.

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With the emergence of new social networking apps, people have found more opportunities to represent themselves on a public platform.

We belong to a generation addicted to technology, and hence, it has controlled our social circle interaction to a great extent. We engage in online conversations, exchange videos and photos with friends, check-in to places to make people aware of how we live. Even while sitting home, we can be aware of what is going on in other people’s lives, where they are hanging around and how is their lifestyle. As difficult as it may be for one to admit, we all use social networking to represent ourselves to the world the way WE want to.

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Daily sharing of pictures related to people’s lifestyles has become a common frenzy on social networking apps like Instagram.

With the emerging concept of individualism in people, they have diverted themselves to a sudden feeling of self-actualization in which they explicitly reveal themselves through their personal achievements which may include one’s professional career, the amount of wealth one owns, a self-image, and of course, consumerism. Taking Instagram for example, we can vividly observe how people daily upload pictures of what they eat, how they look, what they wear, what they buy and where they go. It gives an opportunity to showcase one’s own lifestyle. This makes us realize how badly we’re engaged in endless personal promotion either on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or Snapchat. We build up profiles, upload the photos only in which we look good, and share about the mainstream trending topics and point of view for the general public to absorb from our image – the way we want them to perceive us as.

One would reach to the thought about why interacting in real time has become so difficult nowadays. To answer that, in real-time conversation, you cannot control what you say. However, in conversing through a technological medium, we get the time-frame to think about how we create a message, or respond to one, think about the consequences of speaking something before we actually say it, have the ability to modify what we have written and no one can read our corresponding facial expressions to what we say. This gives our personal image another edge; however, deep down in our inner-self we know what we are trying to show. We use technology to define ourselves and this may lead to the extent of faking experiences just to have something to share. This sharing of continuous information about ourselves is itself a way in which we feel active and alive to the world of social networking and hence embed into the mainstream culture.

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