Unlike most students, I do not have a Facebook account, personal Twitter account, or any other account on any type of social media website. Before Facebook when Myspace was around, I also did not have an account, unlike my peers, and only interacted through the internet by using MSN and Hotmail; both of which were private. The only public social media accounts I hold today were automatically created with my Gmail account, but their privacy settings are set to the highest and I do not use the G+ or Youtube accounts. Friends of mine respect my wishes of not tagging me in their Facebook images or putting images of myself on Instagram. With no public social media accounts and wishes to remain anonymous communicated to friends, I do not have to deal with the act of having to balance my public, private and personal life online.
I do not have social media accounts, but I do have other accounts that I use publicly that are tied to me personally. These accounts exist on web-based forums where I do most of my communicating for contract work. I am an international web developer; therefore, most of my job searching is done online. The information that is available on these forums would be enough to locate me if someone needed to for legal reasons or otherwise. With this information out there, I am not anonymous to my clients and this is beneficial for me. By being personal, they get the satisfaction of dealing with a real person and I have the ability to request the same from them. With that said, I will not be posting links or names to the forums I frequent in respect to the community and in respect to my wish to maintain anonymity online. This blog, and associated coursework for that matter, does not have anything to do with my line of work and will continue to remain separate.
In Turkle’s article she talks about businessmen who would rather communicate through a screen rather than make colleagues face-to-face (Turkle, 2012). Since I work online, I communicate with all of my colleagues through the internet, but with my friends I would rather a phone call for important things and texting for quick things like “be there in five minutes”. I think both skills: communicating away and communicating face-to-face, are important and have place in today’s society. The way communicating has changed drastically, but the theory of conversations and their importance has not as much. Lillie speaks of Turkle’s presentation at TED 2012 and quotes her saying ”If we’re not able to be alone, we’re going to be more lonely. If we don’t teach our children to be alone, they’re going to be more lonely” (Lillie, 2012, p.1). Already I have friends who I have heard say they don’t know what to do anymore for fun at home except go on Facebook or look at photos on Instagram. They have seemingly lost the ability to turn off communicating with society. Their friendships formed through these social media sites are forever, just as Albrechtslund (2008, p. 2) describes, in multiple ways. The data that is a “friendship” will exist theoretically forever on servers located in potentially other countries, but disregarding the data, the friendship will never run its course. You can log out of your account for a year and you will still be “friends” unlike offline where a friendship requires work put in by both parties. This is one of the many reasons why Facebook is not enticing for me and phone calls feel more real than receiving a “hey” text ever will.
Lillie, B. (2012, March 1). Places we donâ€™t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012. TED Blog, 1-3. Retrieved May 13, 2013, from http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/places-we-dont-want-to-go-sherry-turkle-at-ted2012.