Everybody is scared about the negative impact Facebook and Twitter is having on our youth and even ourselves. Kids don’t go out anymore, they just text each other on Whatsapp or Skype. Day in, day out. The latest family trip is all over the “Vacations” pinboard on Pinterest. We make business profiles on LinkedIn instead of attending networking functions.
They say that’s bad. They say online socialization means less exercise. Our chairs are starting to grow roots. Lower back pains, stiff necks and the only mobile part remaining is our wrist, which moves the cursor. That’s what they say.
They say sharing our lives on the Internet can lead to bad things. Too much information in the hands of the wrong people can hurt us.
This sounds pretty bad, huh? Well, I’m here to prove you wrong.
Recommended Reading: What Your Favorite Social Network Sites Say About You
Connecting in real life
If you were to connect, in real life, with as many folks as you can connect with through the Internet, the outcome would be disastrous.
Being a person means wearing a mask. Even the word is derived from the Etruscan word "phersu", which means mask. Real life interactions require you to wear different masks. You can’t interact or connect with other human beings, in real life, without wearing some sort of mask.
I’m talking about us, normal people. Of course, there are leaders in this world who are able to be themselves, absolutely transparent and sincere, almost all of the time, regardless of who they are talking with.
The rest of us have insecurities. We try to use people. We think in terms of ROI (return on investment) before accepting to meet with certain folks. It’s all business.
We don’t allow ourselves to be friends with sick or poor people. We see them as being beneath us. Those people deserve their lives. After all, the Law of Attraction says that we are all responsible for our lives. That’s the best excuse.
Even if we are friends with a dramatically different person, from a totally different social class, we won’t bring him or her to a social gathering. They’d just embarrass us, right? So wasn’t the friendship just a front, in order for us to feed our ego and say to ourselves: “I’m different, I can be friends with anyone, no matter the social class”?
Social Networking Brings Out The Best In People
All of those masks, those insecurities and almost all social class distinctions go away when socializing through Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Skype.
Online, you allow yourself to be who you are because you feel more secure. You control the environment. It’s much less likely you choose your online friends based on how rich they are. You still have an interest, but now it’s more about working together or sharing things.
Social networking Does Away With Social Classes
Say you’re a freelance coder. Perhaps you’re not particularly sociable. Social networking can slowly change that. It will be a non-intrusive change, made at your own pace. First, you create a Skype ID to talk to clients, then a Facebook profile to promote your work. In a few months, you’ll start uploading pictures of yourself, because you’re the only one with a weird grumpy cat as a profile picture. It was funny at first, but now it just feels awkward.
You’ve read about ‘hot traffic’ so you set up a blog to get even more clients. Then you start promoting it on Pinterest. And Linkedin. You start sharing knowledge on Quora. You become friends with people thousands of miles away. It doesn’t matter you haven’t seen each other in real life. You can see they share your interests, your goals. You can feel how real the connection is.
Congratulations. You’ve now became a Terran, a world citizen.
Social Networking Has No Borders
You now have friends all over the place, work for companies scattered around the globe. You work from different countries. You lead a transparent life, anyone can find out what you do, what you like, where you live, just by looking you up.
Sounds Utopian right? Just 20 years ago, living like that wouldn’t have been possible.
Social Networking Is Safe
Social networking enhances who we are. And most of the people on this Earth are basically good. Their essence will shine more online, unhindered by the spotlight of an insecure real life connection. Take charities and causes for example. I’ll donate to a cause I find on Facebook. I’ll donate directly to a HIV positive person’s profile, found through Facebook. I’m less likely to do so in real life. I think most of us are like that. It’s a matter of comfort. It’s not that I don’t care.
It’s just that I don’t care enough to drive down to the bank or to the charity to donate. Sounds cruel, but the majority of us think like that. But I’ll send some money from my PayPal. I’ll take the time to have a Skype meeting with a sick person. I’m not even afraid of contracting anything, because hey, I’m still at home.
Conclusion (And Pigeons)
Being open is the paradigm of this new era. The Internet and social networks have brought us closer than we’ve ever been. Think about it. As I’m writing now, I’m in my flat in Bucharest. I’m wrapping up things and getting ready to email this to my editor somewhere else. And soon you’ll be reading this from home, on the road, or at work, from any corner of the world.
Information travels instantaneously and knowledge is shared and promoted through social networks. Humanity has done away with carrier pigeons. Oh, but there’s another problem.
There are those who are afraid of how powerful social networks have become. They say you can find out almost everything about a person just by doing a Google search. It’s all just… too out there. Nothing is private anymore. They say that much information can be used against you. That’s true.
But the people who are really in charge of our destinies, the people who rule your country and the planet, they have access to your private information. From your smartphone, to your tablet, to your PC, there are no secrets anymore.
So why not just, flat out, be fully honest and transparent about your life? Post it all up on Facebook. Meet and share things with people around the world on Skype. Message on Whatsapp. Update your Twitter!
It’s not like your Facebook friends will use that information against you (unlike your government does). Flip the tables on them. Become a world citizen!