In this article in the NY Times, the author discusses something that has been brought up in our Media Theory class. “Facebook portrays who I am on my very best day” was how a classmate said her friend described it. Below I posted some excerpts from the article… http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/06/opinion/06mathias.html
We log into [Facebook] because it’s entertaining to watch a constantly evolving narrative starring the other people in the library…
I’ve always thought of Facebook as online community theater. In costumes we customize in a backstage makeup room — the Edit Profile page, where we can add a few Favorite Books or touch up our About Me section — we deliver our lines on the very public stage of friends’ walls or photo albums. And because every time we join a network, post a link or make another friend it’s immediately made visible to others via the News Feed, every Facebook act is a soliloquy to our anonymous audience…
My generation has long been bizarrely comfortable with being looked at, and as performers on the Facebook stage, we upload pictures of ourselves cooking dinner for our parents or doing keg stands at last night’s party; we are reckless with our personal information. But there is one area of privacy that we won’t surrender: the secrecy of how and whom we search.
Obviously, just about every single one of us college students has a Facebook. And ALL of us, whether we admit it or not, think about how what we post on Facebook can make us look good. And if you say you don’t, you’re lying. Sometimes it’s without even realizing it, but we all try to portray our best selves when we’re posting on Facebook.
Hours are wasted on Facebook while we’re “studying for a test” or “writing a paper”… we’ve all been there. While I see no real problem with spending some time entertaining ourselves through Facebook “stalking” as we like to call it, lines can obviously be crossed. The line is crossed when it becomes excessive and takes away from our actual lives. I definitely used to use Facebook much more than necessary… I’m not sure what exactly changed but I’ve found myself bored with it. You rarely find me checking Facebook anymore, other than checking the notifications sent to my phone. I’ve found this gives me a sort of feeling of freedom… I feel free from being caught up in who posted what pictures of who from last night’s party or their fabulous vacation. The reality is: Facebook isn’t reality. We try and make it seem that way but really it’s just what we want others to see.
Bottom line is Facebook allows people the opportunity to present themselves exactly how they wish to be seen, and gives everyone the opportunity to be entertained by watching each others lives. I definitely still can be entertained by Facebook, but know it lacks reality… it gives you a sense of freedom to spend more time living your life than watching other people “live” theirs.