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Are we really all “so much cooler online”?


Posted by on September 26, 2008

this is a guest post written by Holly Matson

Resumes, driver’s licenses and blind dates were the only occasions when people could fib about their attributes-before the advent of the Internet. Men could be a few inches taller, women a couple pounds lighter and everyone could have earned an additional degree from an Ivy League school. Then the internet evolved, and we gain access to email, chat rooms and as a result we created a “virtual wall.” This wall allows people to be whoever they choose to be. People can change their profession, age, address, appearance and even gender with little fear of being caught by users on the other side of the wall. Now we have places like MySpace, Facebook, and countless others that further ones ability for personal fabrication.

These profiles allow users to add photos that show them in a favorable light or pass off photos of others as their own. The networks also provide users the chance to friend until their heart’s content to appear—dare I say it—more popular. Users also have the ability to associate themselves with companies, brands, products, sports and a variety of interests to complete their online identity. Now does everyone jazz up their web presence? Probably not, but some definitely do.

According to a recent study by the University of Georgia, the number of hours, wall posts and friends a user logs on Facebook is correlated with narcissism.  Is this possible?  Has social networking really created a new outlet for us to be self-involved and self-promoting?  Apparently it has, but is it fair to say that being friends with hundreds of people or visiting these sites frequently makes a person narcissistic?  As our online culture evolves and expands, social networking sites are becoming a major mode of communication.  They provide users a single source for staying connected with friends and colleagues and generally keeping everyone in the loop. The issue arises when people use their online profiles to deceive others.  So to quote Kenny Chesney, if this describes you “In real life the only time I ever been to L.A. was when I got to play tuba in the Rose Parade….Online I live in Malibu and I’ve been in GQ” it is quite possible that you are “so much cooler online.”

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  • http://www.ericpratum.com Eric S Pratum

    Oh, much cooler for sure. I think of it a bit like the Seinfeld episode, where George's coworker keeps making him the butt of jokes during meetings, and he's constantly thinking later on, “I should have said” this or that. Online, you have time to craft my 'personality' to perfection. You don't have to respond instantly to stimuli or make an on-the-spot first impression, which can be difficult for some in the real, physical world. In the virtual world, you can build up your own ego and persona however you like. . . unlike in the real world.

    • http://www.gearyi.com/fresh Holly M

      Thanks for the response Eric. You make some great points here and George is probably the only person who ever did try to pull some of this in the real world….Marine Biologist anyone? :)

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hey eric, i love that episode :) you can be anyone you want online however overtime if you will exposed if you are a fraud. that being said the online world is obviously much more easy to manipulate.

      thanks for reading and commenting eric

  • Pingback: "So much cooler online" guest post on Jacob Morgan's Blog » Geary Fresh

  • Andy

    What about resumes? Everyone embellishes a bit on their resume! (admittedly some more than others)

    • http://www.gearyi.com/fresh Holly M

      Haha…..That is actually the first word in the post. People do embellish on their resumes…..and now they have LinkedIn to embellish on their resume and their number of business connections :)

      Never really understood the lying on a resume thing…some companies do actually check…granted I said some…which is probably more like…a few :)

      THANKS for the reply Andy!

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      nothing wrong with a bit of embellishment, well then again it depends on how crazy you decide to get with this. linkedin=new online resumes.

      thanks for reading and commenting andy

  • http://www.kimwoodbridge.com Kim Woodbridge

    I guess I'm too old to care if I am cool or not – I'm probably not. Resume embellishment is one thing but it's never occurred to me to be anything that who I am online. Granted, I do have time to craft your words and responses but otherwise I think I'm the same – actually I'm much funnier in person ;-)

    It might be an age thing though – I didn't grow up with social networks.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      kim you are pretty damn bad ass if you ask me :) especially since you are reading my blog!

  • Pingback: Social Media is becoming like High School » Geary Fresh

  • KCFan

    Nice article. The quote is by Brad Paisley, however, not Kenny Chesney!

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hey thanks for the correction and thanks for commenting!

  • KCFan

    Nice article. The quote is by Brad Paisley, however, not Kenny Chesney!

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hey thanks for the correction and thanks for commenting!