Living in public…do you really know your "friends" on the web?

Melissa Jensen
3227 days ago.

I love technology (except e-readers).  I’m constantly fascinated by all the amazing things at our fingertips.  We don’t ask for directions anymore, we stand in lines less, we have this vast amount of information and resources that we carry around in our pockets or purses all day.  The world around us is changing at fascinating speeds.  At times everything feels so connected.  But is it really?

I read a comment on this blog today that really made me start to think about how real our connections formed and maintained in the online universe are.  Do you really know what is going on in a person’s life based on their Facebook status updates, know their thoughts based on a tweet, know where they are headed in life based on “check ins”? Do you know the soul of what’s important to a person based on what they “pin” on Pinterest or if someone isn’t online do they not enter your thoughts?

I can tell you what people read, what music they listen to, disturbingly what their child looked like in the E.R, sometimes if they are sad, in a relationship, what they thought of the smelly guy on the subway….but often I feel like we are constantly looking at a dating profile.  You are only seeing what that person wants to share with the world, I can’t tell you how many times someone has snapped a picture and said “that’s your new facebook picture” or something very similar.  I feel that too often we are living for what it will look like to our online community and we are putting too much weight in what we see online.  You are the neighbor of a pedophile saying “I am shocked! They never pinned pictures of little kids scantily clad so who would have known?”

I’m not saying by any means that all of this is bad.  It’s great to keep up with old friends and even new ones without having to pick up the phone or make any effort really at all.  I love to look at collections of funny pictures or beautiful places from all over.  I feel that being able to find out interesting things about people who you otherwise wouldn’t have known has some real value.  Just don’t let it replace the live connections in your life.  I will check-in at restaurants and cool places on vacation, but you cannot feel the happiness in holding my husband’s hand on the way to get there from any post that I can put online and that is closer to the soul of who I am than anything I can find to “pin.”

 

Photo courtesy of wpr.org
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Melissa Jensen

Melissa is a native of the Greater St. Louis region. She is addicted to anything Google, and cannot understand why motion activated paper towel dispensers never see her hands.

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