Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's a Facebook Life

Just idly browsing round Facebook while I had a mo and a thought occurred to me... the vast majority of people who've posted a picture on their profile have put online a smiley one.  If you walk round the streets of most large towns and cities, you won't see those same smiley faces.  Why is it that the image we want to project is the smiley one... but the image we really project is far more complex and smiley is only a small part of it.  If you were to believe in the Facebook person, you'd think everyone was laughing, chatting, happy and contented, wouldn't you?  Almost everyone wants to present their best self, rather than their real self. 

Your Facebook identity is a strange old mix, really.  Are you a different person when speaking to your colleagues?  Do you project a work image?  A social life image?  A family image?  Do they blend together seamlessly, or do certain networks feel more 'you'?  When you put online your status - who are you talking to?  Would it matter if you said 'Sarah is... hating her dog' if your dog (miraculously!) were able to read it too?  How honest can we really be if by putting online our thoughts we don't take on board how much we're compromising our expressive privacy?

Is it a smiley world... or is it just the homogenized, safe one we need it to be to protect ourselves and our futures?

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