Friend me, judge me, love me
|October 19, 2011||Posted by Sophy Bot under Identity, Internet culture|
I have a confession to make: I watched Jersey Shore and I liked it. Big budget Hollywood thrillers? Love ‘em. Supernatural horror flicks? Yep, I love those too. But if asked to list my viewing preferences on a social networking profile, I’m far more likely to write about my favorite art house directors, foreign films and independent dramas. The reason is simple: you’re going to judge me based on what I write. I’d rather you judge me based on the sophisticated side of my preferences, and not on my guilty pleasures.
But we all have our guilty pleasures.
When it comes to social networking, we’re presenting a certain part of ourselves to the world. Here’s a picture I look really good in. Here’s a cool event I just attended. Here’s a great link I just found. We filter our lives to show the best possible elements of ourselves, leaving out the 90% that makes up the rest of our lives. Here are a bunch of pictures where I look really tired or blinked my eyes. Here are the other six nights of the week I spent at home watching movies and surfing the internet. Here are the 100 links I had to click through before I found that really good one I just shared.
When we filter ourselves and hide our guilty pleasures from the public’s eye, what we’re doing is presenting ourselves in the way we want to be judged. Every morning when you wake up, you choose what you want to wear based on how you want to present yourself. Online, you choose what you’re going to share for the same reasons. The problem is, the barriers that previously separated the different parts of our lives have collapsed as visibility has increased and personal privacy continues its downward spiral.
Here are the sweats I wear on the weekends.
Here is the Backstreet Boys song I like to play when I’m alone.
In a recent talk at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, 4chan founder Christopher Poole (alias “moot”) accused Facebook and Google of doing identity wrong. While these sites would have us believe that we are mirrors, Poole argues, in reality we are more like diamonds. “Look from a different angle, and you see something completely different.” Poole went on to say that there is a need for occasional anonymity. In essence, we may want to associate with those who share certain guilty pleasures, but we don’t necessarily want to identify with them publically.
Here is the cheesy romantic drama that makes me tear up every time.
Here is the popcorn I eat while I watch it.
The underlying problem here is not that we’re unable to present ourselves anonymously when talking about our guilty pleasures; the problem is that we’re so afraid of being judged in the first place. Sometimes, I want to listen to Michael Bolton. Sometimes, I just want to stay in my baggy pajamas all day. Sometimes, I want to forget that the world is watching and just do what I want to do. None of us can deny having these moments – so why are all of us so afraid of others seeing them?
As the world continues to log onto social networks and people share more and more about themselves, we must inevitably come to the point where we stop judging them for doing so. We all have our guilty pleasures, yet we’re all afraid to reveal them. Only when we stop judging the occasionally banal taste of others can we stop being afraid that they’ll do the same to us. Until then, please don’t judge me for being amused by the antics of a bunch of over-tanned Jersey kids bickering about trivialities. This is what I watch when I think nobody’s watching.
Watch Poole’s full talk here
Photo credit: Evil Erin