Posts tagged facebook
This video is actually a viral marketing campaign for an opera. However, it’s a great example of how creepy online life is once you take it offline. I’ve previously written about what drives people to share their lives on social networks, such as facebook and twitter when in real life they would do nothing of the sort. This video emphasises the gulf between the online and offline worlds.
I’ve always been fascinated by the psychology of social networking – what makes ordinary people put the most private of information on the internets for the world to see? I can understand why celebrities do it – it feeds the fame monster, and potentially brings lucrative product endorsement deals. But why does the ordinary bloke in the street update the world with what they’re doing/thinking “right now”, or post pictures of their latest drunken night out, inviting the prying eyes of their friends, family, work colleagues, and – if they’ve failed to impose any privacy settings – the whole world. The number of facebook profiles I’ve seen with no privacy settings whatsoever is scary – either these people are extremely naive, or extreme exhibitionists.
Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. What this post is about is the video below, where ordinary people in the (admittedly an Australian) street are asked to join a paper based social network, and are asked all the types of questions that most people answer and display on facebook as their profile. Whilst this “experiment” is far from scientific, it’s an interesting insight into the perceived difference between the virtual and non-virtual realms. There is a clear difference. You only have to think about going up to an acquaintance and asking their sexual orientation to understand how odd it is that they willingly give this information out to virtual strangers.
There’s an interesting article on thoughtpick.com that lists some of the psychological factors that drive people to use facebook:
- The Desire to Compare: Facebook nourishes our desire, or even need, to compare ourselves to others in terms of looks, traveled destinations, shopping sprees, spouses, friends and so on.
- The Curiosity Factor: How many times did you find yourselves snooping around in your friend’s albums to see what she was doing on that day when you called and she didn’t pick up? Better yet, how many times did you spend half an hour or more reading your friend’s wall posts to know who said what to her/him? Facebook fulfills the curiosity factor that breeds on our need-to-know need!
- The Boredom Variable: What could be more addictive than finding something to gap the hours of boredom we suffer at least once a day? Facebook is that bridge which gaps boredom on many levels through games, applications, music and much more.
- The Jealousy Disease: Are you too jealous? Maybe somewhat insecure about your relationship? Facebook is your pill to getting better! Through its ability to track conversations, events, whereabouts and so on, Facebook provides a perfect platform for solving jealousy issues through stalking options!
- The Loneliness Phenomenon: Let us be frank here and admit that many of us, at least at one point or another, feel lonely. Facebook has the power to be the cure for loneliness! (It might also cause it in certain events, but that’s besides our point here). If you are feeling lonely, you can call a friend, go out with a group, or just spend hours sending messages to your friends’ Facebook inbox, comment on their pictures, write something fun on their wall and so on!
- The Ache to Belong: Have you been in a situation where you were asked: “REALLY? You don’t have an account on Facebook? How come?” I am sure at least someone you know has been in this situation. Facebook exploits the ache to belong through its great number of users and affiliates.
But these only list drivers to consume the private information of others. Where does the desire to give away the information come from? Another article (the only one I’ve found on a cursory google search) suggests it’s because we have a desire to project a happy and successful image to the world, and so are driven to post good stuff about ourselves. It also says that this urge outweighs the perception of risk of revealing information, especially in the young, whose “risk perception” part of the brain is not as well developed. I’m not 100% sure that is correct, but it goes some way to explaining why people post so much information about themselves. If anyone has other ideas, I’d be interested to hear them in the comments.
Here’s the video: