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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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Social Networking's Quiet Curse

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Quietly cursing at social networking

In the dark, quiet days of the beginning of the 21st century, there were many places to express yourself on the interwebs. These ancient relics, some still in view today, were known as 'blogs.' These grammatical punching bags offered a way relieve the stress from the everyday grind. Hidden behind anonymity, we could unleash a torrent of vitriol and suppressed thoughts, relieving stress and making our opinion known to all. Problem is, you needed the exact address to get to these blogs, making it a little harder for prying eyes to find.

Enter Myspace.

While not the first social networking site to come along, it was the first one to reach mythic proportions of popularity. MySpace offered a way to connect you with all of your friends by name, so you suddenly had an audience with which to share the thoughts you generally hid throughout the day. Problem is, now people knew exactly what you thought of them after you'd been far too nice to them. Your anonymity couldn't save you from being labeled a hypocrite.

Then we all found Facebook.

All of us. Every last bloody one of us found this unholy mixture of attention-seeking and causal gaming, this mecca for bored and lonely souls desperate to feel connected to the people that passed them by every day. We sent out friend requests in droves, wanting to feel as popular as possible. Our news feed grew day after day with whatever drivel made people felt like tossing into their statuses. The word 'like' became currency. Bosses and potential employers began prying into our personal lives through Facebook, judging you by every single word you put online.

Facebook became the newest place where you couldn't say what you were actually thinking due to social propriety.

We never really stopped to question the fact that there was so much more we were willing to spill online rather than just saying what we felt. Something about the warm glow of our monitors and the feeling of our keyboard writing utensils beneath our fingers loosened our metaphorical tongues. We became monsters that spoke only in text, feeling that these letters online gave us immunity to backlash and freedom from the responsibility of words we spoke in haste or harshness. Suddenly, it was so easy to judge someone from the words they spoke more freely online than in person.

It's like we add people in an attempt for them to know us better, but we don't want to know them any better. We are so quick to be confrontational online when we wouldn't speak a word of opposition in person. Social networking has given the non-forumgoing, least tech-savvy of us the ability to rant and rave like a true Redditor.

I'd love to go into detail of the psychological implications of all of this, to delve into the deep, dark terminologies that I'm sure this article invokes like a dark curse. Unfortunately, I have no Ph.D. and I left my lab coat at a friend's house. I'm just a semi-intelligent college dropout who has noticed that if you give humans any sort of pedestal, no matter how small or large, we will find all new ways to make arses of ourselves.

Aaron Waite routinely makes an arse of himself on Facebook. Add him for daily wit and deep thoughts about waffles.

Last modified on Thursday, 24 May 2012 13:01

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