Filed under: linky goodness, musings, ranty
This fantastic column from Mistress Matisse at The Stranger on the perils of social networking and the weight we place on it in relationships should become part of the national curriculum. She says, amongst other things;
…if you enjoy suffering, go ahead and cyberstalk your sweetie. Obsess about every casually flirtatious remark and winky emoticon, and respond as if it were all carved on stone tablets instead of something tapped out while riding the bus.
… and I couldn’t agree more. The internet is not real life. Social networking is a fantasy world where we play out our ideal selves — we become more charismatic, more witty, more flirtatious, more courageous; all because we have the protection of our computer monitor to shield us from the repercussions.
There’s as much point in getting mad at your partner for flirting online as there is in getting pissed because they made small talk with someone on the bus, or at the bar… because human beings are everywhere, we must interact with them, and just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
At the end of the day, their real-world actions are what matter. Letting someone’s social networking “character” affect your life or your relationship is toxic in the extreme. It’s such a throwaway form of communication — what’s said now is forgotten in ten minutes’ time — that to place any true significance on it is a surefire way to sabotage a relationship.
Letting the lines blur between your created self — the funnier, braver, flirtier you — and the real you is where the trouble begins. When you start to let fantasy take over and believe that these internet interactions with other created personas are more valuable, more exciting or more rewarding than a real-life relationship with a real person.
As long as the fantasies stay inside our heads — or at least inside our computers — then there’s no reason to let social networking destroy your social life.