Sunday, 25 March 2012

Online Identity in America

The internet has shaped the lives of everybody who has been alive since it was introduced to the public, and especially to people who have been born into this 'digital' era. It has allowed people to contact others all around the world, for both social and business purposes, meaning the world is now a place where everybody is each others neighbour and borders between places are now less prominent.

Online, people can be whoever they want to be, meaning people can become more socially mobile, for instance, somebody who is shy and struggles to make friends at school could create an account on a social networking site and write what they really want to say, or even create a new personality for themselves on the internet. This has both its positives and its negatives; firstly, on a positive note, it means people feel less lonely and can make new friends, thus meaning they feel happier about themselves and may become more confident as a result of this. However, this confidence of the identity they create on the internet is unlikely to translate into the real world, and this problem of social seclusion they felt before is actually increased because their life is almost solely online, so their people skills in terms of face to face interaction actually begin to lessen.

In terms of websites such as YouTube, people who become video bloggers, or 'vloggers' as they are often referred to now, can use the website as a perfect platform to talk to other online members about what they feel in everyday life. Sites such as youtube and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are good to keep in contact with others, but when you begin to put your real life onto the internet, the boundaries between online and real life are destroyed, meaning that people will often become very obsessive with their online life and become less socially mobile with their real-life friends.

Dating sites are also another internet sensation that have been created, especially within the last decade or so. These are good in the sense that it allows single people who are looking for a partner to meet others online, despite the fact that the motives of the website are positive, the end result is often not as successful as the two people who have met over this dating site may have perceived it to be before they met face to face; this is because people create false personas and pretend to be someone they're not, as on dating sites you can hide the characteristics of your personality that you don't like and replace them with incorrect information. People may also put photos up from a few years back to make themselves look more attractive, as they don't want potential partners to be put off by what they look like now.

To conclude, I believe that the internet means people can easily become more socially mobile and that in the current state of the world, everything, including shopping and banking are moving onto the internet. Obviously there are both positives and negatives of this, but this easiness of communications and creation of identities will eventually lead to laziness; meaning the numbers of people with obesity and a lack of social skills will increase.

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