Remember MySpace? That was a good time wasn’t it? It was most people’s first foray into the world of social networking and we were all over that; posting messages, customising our profiles and shameless ranking our friends in a ‘Top 8’. “Yes! Number 4. Higher than Tim. In your face Tim. You mug”.

Anyway, unless your an idiot, you’re no longer on MySpace and you’ve just left your page to rot in the graveyard of failed social experiments. But where did it all go wrong for MySpace? You could change the colour and format of your profile, add your own music, and of course rank you friends. Seriously, ranking you friends? Still struggling to get over that concept. But still it was totally reflective of your personality.

But Facebook soon made it to the forefront of social media, and with it and a huge migration of socialites from MySpace. Initially, the draw for me was photos. So many photos… of me! My favourite person. What a genius thing! Then I was all like “Status updates? Hell yeah, I’m going to tell people what I think… about everything… All the time! And everyone will love that!”

The ease of finding your friends quickly, linking together your photos and letting everybody know that you’re “out on the beers! LAD.com” has laid the foundation to something that has become as integral to lifestyle as putting on underwear. I even usually check Facebook before I’ve even put underwear on. All naked and what not.

On the subject of being naked, you can see how it is has shaped Facebook. Everything about you is there for all to see. Nicely packaged up in a blue and white structure. Your life on one page of the Internet. But is it really you? A status update is not an update of what your doing, it’s a statement about your character. This virtual existence has a reputation to uphold. Everything you do must be seen to be relevant and of interest to other people’s daily life, or you risk being ‘blocked’ from the feed, and just a forgotten name amongst hundreds of virtual friends. This is not real life. This is not who you are.

Take Tumblr for example, or even newer social sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. These networking sites are less about friends and ‘keeping up appearances’, but more about your interests. It’s a collection of images, quotes and articles that you feel represent your personality. It’s the anonymity that comes with not having to share your personal information that allows you to truly show your personality, and share interests with like minded people. You don’t know these people, and with that the fear of being judged is removed. This is surely the real you.

No. It’s not. The problem is that with all these social sites is that they have removed real social interaction from life. A ‘like’ can’t replace a fist pump or a manly embrace. Stick as many thumbs in the air as you like, do you really care what these people have to say? The real you comes out when you’re with people you’re comfortable with, people you like, people that made the original ‘Top 8’.

My personal opinion is that is almost impossible to be the real you online. You can show glimpses of your personality, but at the end of the day, if you’re not relevant, not cool, you’re forgotten. We act like we feel we should. But hey, is this a bad thing? After all, sharing has always been caring. Social networking has opened up a world of new interests to the normal person. Life is about evolution, it’s about embracing change, and opening yourself up to new experiences. It may not be the real you on screen, but it’s a part of you. A sexy alter ego.

People are getting all riled about things like Facebook timeline too, “They own all my photos! They know everything about me! ZOMG! Non-ROFL”. So? They have so many photos of me looking like a complete tool, and everybody else is in the same boat, that’s what’s great about it.

This is the future. In reality, who really cares? It’s not the real you anyway.

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