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Selling Ourselves by Aaron Deeds
Bobby Jennings. He’s six foot two, looking for a relationship, loves all the popular music and loves to party. Bobby has many funny pictures posted on his page so that people can understand that he has a great sense of humor. Bobby comments on all of the girls pages so they know he is a social guy that people like to be around. In reality Bobby is what some call an outcast, but on the internet Bobby can be the person he has always wanted to be. This is Facebook and its mix of messages and metamessages.
Over the past few years it has become more and more complicated to distinguish between what a person is saying and what a person is actually saying. With person to person contact we are able to read body language. With talking over the phone we can hear the different pitches and tones of the voice that can take on meaning. With Facebook and chatting over the internet, there is a large gray area of ambiguity to which large amounts of miscommunication and falsehoods can occur. Have you ever thought about being a completely different person than who you are right now? Well, Facebook has created the system to which we can all become whoever we want.
American males and females, no matter what their status in the world may be, have their own ideas about who the perfect individual of their respective sexes may be. Facebook has allowed Americans to be able to turn themselves into this “epitome of cool” with hardly any effort. We are able to control which pictures people see, read only the things about our qualities that we deem most attractive to the outside world, and communicate to people as if we were the most famous stars in Hollywood. All Facebookers are guilty of this infraction, including myself. There have been times in which I have rewrote a single wall post consisting of only ten to twenty words five or six times, because each time I thought I could make myself sound like a more appealing person to the world. In a sense, we are all just selling ourselves as if we were advertisements on the television. We spend about the same, if not more, amount of time creating the ads for ourselves as does the advertisers spending 30 plus million dollar creating commercials for the Super bowl.
This is where metamessages come in. If we are just taking the greatest parts of ourselves and selling them to the world are we living in an age of lies? What if tomorrow I decided to find pictures of somebody on the internet, plop them on Facebook, and create an entirely new person, persona, and life for myself? Facebook makes this possible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook is evil, it merely sheds light on one of the greatest fallacies of our society. Americans are not as overly concerned with who they are, rather they are obsessed over whom they are not. Facebook has allowed us to look into the ideals of what others deem important so that we may not be left out of the ideal American clique. When you really look at people’s profiles, everybody feels that theirs are “different” or “unique” but the majority of people are just trying to be the cumulative ideal of what society deems important, if they know it or not. Facebook is not the monster, but rather the catalyst to which Americans can easily lose their identities.
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, Oct 22 2008, 11:08 AM EDT
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