To Like or not to Like

a collaborative post by Alexandra & Fenja

It’s a Friday night and we are all out in a bar and having fun. But it’s getting kind of late, so either we go somewhere else or home. What to do? Everyone just takes out their smartphone and checks on Facebook what other friends are doing. Maybe there is a party going on around the corner. Some even write a quick post: “Smthg goin on tonight?” After 5 minutes, we check the results and go to the party that was recommended by most people. What would we have done without being able to contact other friends so quickly? There is no denying that Facebook plays a great role in our life. Probably the next thing that comes to your mind is the privacy problem with your data. But that’s old news and everybody should know about that by now, so we want to have a look at the other interesting aspects of Facebook, so that we might get a deeper understanding of how this social network could gain such influence.


Facebook – a chance for the shy?

by Alexandra

We all use Facebook to stay in contact with our friends and to always know what’s going on in our environment. We can check out who was where, with whom and if they liked it. If we like it too, we comment on it. All very easy and logical. Just the same way as when someone tells you what he or she did this weekend and you tell them your opinion on it. But now imagine that you are really shy. Then you probably don’t have a huge circle of friends and even with the few good friends you have you find it difficult to communicate. Because that’s just the way you are. And then there is Facebook. A place where you can reach everyone with the press of a button. But you sit safe behind your computer, so before you decide to contact someone, you have enough time to yourself to think through what you actually want to say without someone staring at you. Quite a relief. And before you know it, some other friend of your friend will have commented on what you wrote and you will basically get sucked into a new circle of people.

This is why Facebook is actually a huge chance for the socially introverted. It provides a platform on which everyone can communicate behind the safety of a computer. Everyone can be who he or she wants on Facebook. You can really work on your image. How do you create your profile, what information do you share, who do you exchange comments with? All of these aspects can be strategically used to portray the picture of yourself you want the others to see. You are shy and wish to be more integrated? Don’t upload a picture of you being somewhere alone, but rather in a group with your best friends. This shows that you CAN be a social person if you get the chance. Also, everybody knows who the “cool people” are, and with the linked structure of facebook, it is easy to find a way to comment on posts of these people or something like that.

With all of these options, Facebook definitly gives shy people a chance to get in contact with more people in a way that makes them feel safer. However, to make real friends, Facebook is only the start. You get in contact with people you find interesting but then at some point you will have to talk to them in person – after all that’s what you want new friends for right? So Facebook only gives you a starting point, but a pretty good one I think, because you have the chance to “check” if you connect to people before you overcome your fears and talk to them in person. Sometimes though, these shyer people fail to turn facebook friends into real friends. You can also find statistics that say that shy people value their friendships based on their Facebook contact with them, more outgoing and extroverted people don’t take Facebook into consideration when they are asked who their best friends are.

Of course, one might argue that you should present yourself as true as possible, but in my experience everyone thinks about what they post and HOW exactly that makes you look to others. So I don’t think that that can really be criticized. However, you always have to consider that whatever image you create for yourself, it might not have the effect on others that you think it does.


Dating: Facebook – your friend or foe?

by Fenja

I met him at a friend’s birthday. He introduced himself as Tom. He passed me a beer from the fridge and we got talking. I liked him instantly. Our conversations flowed without problems, he seemed smart and made me laugh more than once. Plus, he was really cute and I loved the way he dressed.
We had a great time and when I walked home from the party in the early morning hours, I even felt a little like walking on air.

First thing I automatically did when waking up the next day was of course switching on my Laptop and signing into Facebook. My heart jumped when a realized the tiny red icon in the upper right corner of the screen indicating that someone had sent me a friend request. The tickling in my stomach grew even bigger when my hopes were proofed right and the request came indeed from Tom.

I guess each of you knows what came next. Of course I instantly started clicking through the pictures he had uploaded and skimming through the posts on this profile.

30 minutes later the tickling in my tummy was gone.
30 minutes on Facebook were enough to make my Prince Charming suddenly look more like the most unattractive toad to me.
30 minutes, 879 friends, 67 profile pictures, 7 photo albums and 6 daily status updates.

It is a very common phenomenon in the current times, marked by Facebook, GooglePlus, Twitter and co. – the self-expression of very many people on Social Networks seems to differ enormously from their appearance and demeanor in real life.

And it’s not always those you would expect a little ‘oversharing’ from. Sometimes even the most sophisticated, intelligent person manages to send out a complete misleading pictureof them to others via their Facebook profile.

Tom sent me a message asking me out on a date later that day, which I ignored.

I mean I couldn’t possibly like or even date someone that had uploaded an album entitled ‘Me, Myself and I’ right?! Seriously, who does that?

A couple of weeks later, I ran into Tom while shopping. He invited me to have lunch. Charmed anew by his wit and looks and in the lack of a good excuse I accepted  – even though in the back of my head I saw a little red notifications sign popping up: Tom P. is a total weirdo!
Somehow I managed to push those nasty thoughts aside and just talk to him as if I had never seen his Facebook page. And to my own surprise, I had the most amazing time and enjoyed his company even more than when we first met.

He simply turned out to really be the great guy I first thought he was – no matter what his sharing habits on Facebook told me.
I realized that between old photos and status updates or comments by friends taken out of context – on Facebook, there’s a lot of room for misunderstandings.

What lesson can we draw from this – never let Facebook get in the way of you and a potential romance. If you first meet someone in real life and are attracted to that person from the start (physically like intellectually) chances are high he or she also lives up to your expectations in the long run.
Vice versa however, if you first get in touch via Facebook… well, that’s a different story.

Our conclusion: Social Network Sites have become an inherent part of our lives today – there’s no point denying it. However, even though our generation basically grew up with social networking, we shouldn’t get to comfortable when it comes to their use and always keep an eye on the implications of our actions online.

Last but not least, let us share this video with you, in order to provide some inspiration why you might want to reconsider the way we act online.


4 responses to “To Like or not to Like

  1. Great collaborative post, you two!
    I really like your topic, especially that it is NOT just another article about the dangers of facebook concerning data storage and security. There are unlimited topics you could have written about. You managed to choose an attractive title and to think in two very interesting directions which almost everyone can identify with.
    The articles match and as they are not contradictive you can easily stay focused and interested. The lines seperating your articles and the postscript structure your article very well. Besides, you both chose really nice pictures and a great video at the end.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Hey you two,
    It was a really great idea, that you looked at a topic together from two different angles. It was enjoyable to read as you both wrote in a really fresh way. As Eva already mentioned it was great to see that you didn´t look at facebook with this oldfashioned simple way by saying that it is bad for our privacy and so forth. Fenja – I especially liked that you included a personal story in your post, that really made me keep on reading, as quite exicted to get to know how the story with you and Tom would end. Furthermore it made me think of how I people see in real life and what I think of them when looking at their facebook account.
    Alex – you showed my another way to look at facebook! Thus I never try to find or even accept friend invitations if I never have seen the person in real life.
    I really had to laugh about the last picture in your part of the post. This pic. was well choosen and I think it just hits the nail on the head when it comes to facebook.
    Your introduction was also great and I was looking forward to see where this post might go. – I just were delighted in the end! – Altough I have to mentioned that the font in the beginning and in the end was a little bit hard to read.

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