I have once seen a video named "Disconnect to connect." It really had a great point. And it kind of has taken its place in my mind. Then I found some of my friends writing and talking about this issue, and that made me think more and more about it.
I kept thinking till one day I was having a chat with a friend of mine about deactivating her facebook account. That was the start of me figuring out the whole story. I was against the thought of deactivating the facebook account. She was with it. And here's the conversation we had.
Me: So, you deactivated your facebook account once again!
She: Yeah, I did. And this time it's for good.
Me: For Good!! I thought it's just for the exams period so you don't get distracted with it.
She: No no, it's not just about that. I can no longer find it useful at any means, at least for me.
Me: Okay, tell me how you see it? Because I've found others having the same concept too.
She: Well, I'm finding it fake! I can fake others and so I can't be sure that others are true to me either.
Me: How fake? Plus is it that important for you?!
She: Yes, Salma…It's like your whole social life is just fake, nothing real! A Virtual social life. And I really would like to have a real social life of my own, where I meet and talk with people for real, where asking about each other is at least using the phone or giving visits to friends. I miss these things a lot.
Me: Oh, that's really huge and true. But you still can have a real social life where you meet real people, not just on facebook. And actually it's us who are making this virtual life taking over us. When we tend to call on people by visiting their facebook profile and writing on their wall. Yes, your real social life is much smaller than your virtual social life, I know, but you still can make it bigger, and you still can just get satisfied by this little real social life you have. Plus, is it truly a virtual one, this social life everyone has on facebook, or can we add it to our real one? Who's to define?
She: I don't know Salma. This is how I saw it. And actually I couldn't handle it! I can't handle being sad and being nice to people at the very same moment, because that's how I appear on facebook.
Me: Oh, that's a psychological issue! But what about the other very positive features and advantages that the facebook offers you? Like all the news feeds about your friends who you care about and who you don't? The news feeds about the stuff you're interested in? And so many others…
She: Yeah, you're right Salma, it's just that for everything there are its pros and cons and each person should balance between these two to find out if that thing is positive for him or is it causing too much damage to him. And my facebook account at this time is causing me some psychological damage.
Me: Now, you're right. And it's your call. Actually you do have a point that I totally respect. And I hope you could get over this issue and do the best that fits you.
That was the conversation we had. And I threaded it just to show you the point on which I wish to talk about. The virtual social life that the social networks offer us. It has nothing to do with facebook, but facebook is the most common example we can share together.
Is it really virtual? Yes, it is. As it simply simulates a virtual meeting between you and your friend, a virtual conversation that happens between you two. It's virtual in its literal meaning, virtual as in not real. But then that applies to everything that uses an electronic technology, a text message on the mobile is virtual, an e-mail is a virtual way of communication and a chat room offered by any application you have ever met is a virtual way of communication.
Is it fake? Well, that depends on you. You can send an e-mail to someone telling him false information, whether it's about yourself or about anything else, then you're fake. It's exactly if you met him face to face and told him the same false information, you're fake! It has only one advantage, those face to face meetings limit the false information you can give, for example you can't fake a facial reaction unless you're truly an actor. Then it's up to you to fake your emotions, your information and even your reactions.
I can type "=D", does this really mean that I'm laughing right now? You have no clue to know, and I bet you if you said that you do. It's all about your self integrity. If you're really laughing you can simply type these characters to show the emotion, if you're not, then don't type them!
Back to the virtual social life. Again it's up to you whether you get so much engaged with it that it truly becomes your whole social life. Or you start widening your real social life by deciding that the next time you feel like you miss someone so much you try giving him a call rather than typing the words: "I miss you!" on his/her facebook wall. At least within the call you'll get a quick respond and you'll have the chance to show more affection. if you think you have no time for a 3 minutes call, well definitely you have. It's the same time you'll take to search for his profile, check it for a while, then type the words: "I miss you!" and then wait till the post is actually posted. It's even up to you to limit your fakeness; you simply won't keep on asking about all the people who you really don't care about!
It's not an easy task, I know, nor that am I asking you to do so. I'm just saying that if you're finding it a virtual life too, then you can still have your facebook account activated and widen your real social life at the same time. Don't blame the technology for your strong attachment towards it.
There's the other side of the story, the side I see. A side that tells me that the social life facebook offers me is not a virtual one. And here when I say virtual I mean not true, like that friend who I only contact by using the facebook is an untrue friend, a friend that I can't count on to consider him/her as a friend. No they are friends, it's just that our way of communication is through the internet, through the electronic world and facebook is just the tool to communicate. Like years ago, there used to be a pen friend, a friend who you contact using only written letters, did he not been considered a friend who you have to stay in touch with? Same case, there are friends I have who I consider them in the circle of my acquaintances, but I can only reach them using this electronic world, which I'm actually grateful for because without it I wouldn't have known them and my social life would have been still very small. I understand that a pen friend, or let's say a facebook friend, is much less closer than a friend who I regularly give a visit. But that's something I'm agreeing on. And I'm not disconnecting from them, because they make a difference in my life.
Simply, disconnect to connect with those who are disconnected and connect to connect with those who are connected. Simply too, know the pros and cons for everything you do or you have and then decide for yourself whether you should continue doing it or not. And simply understand well the situation and don't blame it on anyone or anything else. Simply start with yourself and have an opinion of your own only after that you had figured out all sides of the story.
I rest my case!
And I hope you enjoyed! :)