Like most people I know these days, I spend a lot of time online. In the recent months, I have also become immersed in social networking. Like most internet based communities, it is possible for individuals to masquerade as someone other than themselves howver, what is more intriguing about social networking is not the possbility that Jane Doe is in fact the 63 yr old John Doe but rather the image that your long lost friends wish to portray.
Perception is nothing new really, we all perecived by friends, family and strangers in certain ways without really being aware of it. Not only are we perceived, we also form perceptions of family, friends and strangers based on what we know about them, how they act, what they look like, where they live etc. In fact, isn't that what a first impression is really about? I use to discuss this point with my father as a teenager. I would argue and still beleive that you can not judge a book by its cover.
So what does this have to do with facebook, myspace, twitter etc? Social networking sites are like carefully crafted brands built around individuals. How many of your FB or MySpace friends post when they are feeling down, or when something is really bothering them or when someone has just broken their spirit etc? When was the last time that you used Twitter to update your network that you are at a crossroads in a career or a relationship? One could argue that the these tools are not meant for these purposes and that no one should post these sorts of things within a social network site however, that is exactly my point.
Using social networking tools to build networks and for entertainment is quite healthy, one should take caution though on not only how you are perceiving others but also on how you are perceived. Something to think about.