Facebook: Maintaining a positive image of yourself in a virtual world

Posted: December 10, 2011 by entertainmentxray in Elizabeth

Self-esteem is something that many young people have a hard time building up.  What most people don’t know is that using a social networking site like Facebook can have an affect on your attitude outside of the online world and how you view yourself.  Many young women’s magazines as well as major TV media outlets have been focusing in on this issue, so I wanted to see if it was really something that might be a problem. Through my research, I discovered that the common idea behind Facebook and self-esteem is that it causes narcissism as well as negative self-image.  If someone is constantly liking your status’, writing on your wall, and commenting on your pictures, it’s a pretty natural thing to feel like you are important and matter to somebody.  However, how someone communicates with you online is very different to how you would communicate with them in person.

According to Gunjan Singh, who wrote about Facebook and young people’s well being, the 18-25 year old generation has a harder time distinguishing between the validity of relationships online and offline.  Many students in college meet people on Facebook or Twitter and then have a problem striking up a conversation with them in public.  I would love to do more research into friendships like this in the future.

There has started to be more discussion nationally about the effect that social media has on our lives, and one of the biggest points that many major media outlets are trying to make is to be careful what you do and post online.  One video from CNBC states that Facebook causes narcissism, and that young people need to be careful to not reveal too much about themselves online.  (CNBC, May 2011)  Elizabeth Taddonio, a CSU graduate student, wrote her thesis on young adult use of social networking, and one of the biggest points that she argues is that young adults need a better sense of what is real and not real online.  (Taddonio, 18) Although many people might like status’ and photos, that does not necessarily mean that they want to be your best friend in public.  This is an interesting dynamic that not many people have researched or looked into yet.  However, as a personal Facebook user, I definitely see this type of interaction frequently.  I moved out of state for college, and I often receive posts from old high school friends saying “I miss you, let’s hang out when you’re home” when they really have no intention of actually calling you to see when you’re free.  It’s almost like a type of “easy out” situation to make someone feel like you’re thinking about them, but do not really care if you ever see them again.  With the rise of social media all over the globe, I am sure that this will be addressed soon.  Until then, I’ll just plan on making my Facebook as private as I can.

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