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.”