Essay Book of Faces

Submitted By jackrower
Words: 1273
Pages: 6

Amongst the greatest inventions of our century are the hordes of social networking sites made available to the entire world. Combining the capabilities of e-mail, instant messaging, journal writing, and picture sharing—they have allowed us to overcome communal differences and surmount even the biggest gaps between generations, cultures, and livelihoods. But even these social web innovations have their adverse effects. The ability to create a whole new persona with the simple strokes of keys and the click of a button has allowed for an even more dangerous field of unknown to be discovered by the people around you; almost as if everyone now wears a virtual mask to cover up who they really might be on the inside. This new height of pretense has crippled the idea of integrity. The people you see at school, at work, even at church may be the quiet and shy person you have come to know and accept. But through websites such as Facebook, you can have a peek into how they would really like to portray themselves—how they spend their time, who they spend it with, what they like and dislike, and all their preferences available and editable to their will. With the hundreds of ‘Friends’ people have connected to their online profiles, how many of them can really truly say that they know exactly how they act and what they think or like? And how many of those people can even answer without ever looking at all their online ‘Info’ first? These are the questions that result from such lack of truth. This is what happens when diving into the world of Facebook—everyone’s essentially a stranger. At school, almost everyone I know has somehow interacted with me on Facebook. As with all the new people I meet, I somehow always end the conversation with, “Alright, be sure to Facebook me!” or something along those lines. At work, my coworkers and I discuss the many different trending things happening on everyone’s ‘Walls’ or taking turns asking, “Did you see so-and-so’s status?” At church, and in local supermarkets, and on TV and the radio, all the buzz is about ‘uploading to Facebook’ or ‘Liking’ or ‘Poke Wars.’ Which proves only the fact that people everywhere—even in your very own community, involuntarily believe in the facades that they see after ‘Accepting’ someone’s friend request. The information that is shown on Facebook is fully customizable, so each and every user has the ability to show what they like and whom they want it to be visible to. This in itself is already masking out one’s true identity, whether or not all the things posted were accurate or not. Most people find it so regular to see that some people even have faces of celebrities as their own ‘Profile Picture.’ Why does everyone do that? To make themselves feel better? To feel special and important? Jose Antonio Vargas, renowned journalist of the Washington Post, wrote “The Face of Facebook,” an unexpected view of the founder of Facebook himself—Mark Zuckerberg. Vargas also sees that “Facebook profiles are always something of a performance: you choose the details you want to share and you choose whom you want to share with.” The most interesting part is that Vargas notes “Now, Zuckerberg, who met with me for several in-person interviews this summer, is confronting something of the opposite: a public exposition of details that he didn’t choose.” (Vargas) This information is of the highest level of bewilderment; the founder of Facebook himself does not even correctly portray who he is on his Facebook profile! With even the most popular individuals, groups, and organizations now on Facebook, how can we be so sure into trusting what they want us to see? Even at a comfortable level of familiarity with ‘Friends,’ when do you draw the line between the Facebook world and the real one? As a student, I am surrounded by people getting affected by this phenomenon on a daily basis. The people I talk to may seem to be one thing on their profile, maybe a nice, social, hipster kind of…