Ah, the Age of Information. This is one of the greatest times of humanity as many have said. Is it really, though? I don’t believe so. Want to know what’s wrong with this Age of Information? You know everything. I hate this. I am comfortable with the part of knowing everything that you need. You can learn almost everything that you want to on the internet, and this is amazing. This is the highest advantage of this age. What you don’t care to know, need to know, or want to know is what makes me crazy. I used to love going on people’s Facebook or Twitter and just learning things about them. I didn’t do this to stalk them, (while the term that people use for it is “stalk”, it’s nowhere close to the legal offense of stalking.) but rather to learn about them. It was like asking about someone without having to go through all of the social contact with their friends or having to face the question why I wanted to know. The best part of it all? People hide almost nothing online, either that or absolutely everyone is very, very good at having false personas. You could find Fred Johnson on Facebook, and learn so much about him. That was the thrill of it all, knowing what others didn’t know you knew. This is absolutely fine with strangers, but, with everything else, I wanted to do more. I started learning about my more distant friends first, then I moved on to my friends, and finally I learned about my best friends. Learning about a stranger is so much different than learning about your friends, distant or close. You don’t know how a stranger acts in real life, but reading what they say online gives you some sense of who they are.
Remember what I said about how people hide nothing? Many people would disagree with this. What they think I mean by this is that people tell the absolute truth online. No. People lie about what they do or who they made out with, but their core personalities are still there. This is what you see on online profiles. You notice how the way they type changes, how they convey things changes, how they converse with people changes, but the one thing that almost never changes is who they are. Most people, who haven’t gone through some intense therapy or brain surgery, keep the same personalities over long periods of time, and who they are changes gradually. Most people never notice this. This is why you can lose a best friend of ten years so suddenly. Most people try to think that it was their friend that changed so quickly, but both people changed over a course of time. When a catalyst was added to their friendship, one of them noticed how different they were from each other, and just ends the friendship. The personal contact is what shrouds the changes both people undergo. You both try to act like who you were at the height of your friendship, but not consciously, which is why most people never notice it before it’s too late. This is where the Age of Information comes into play.
With that shroud removed, you get to see what that person has become since you’ve known them. This is what differentiates a stranger and a friend when you do this. If you looked through a stranger’s entire internet history, all of their social media sites, and learned all of that, you would have an idea of what this person would be like in real life and possibly an idea of who they are, but the one thing that you wouldn’t get to know is how they’ve changed. You can do this with friends. A friend of 20 years has only been a friend on a social media site for probably on 10 years. You got to know this person through physical contact and emotional bonding, and this is what the basis of your friendship is. When you start to create friends through the internet, the physical contact is completely gone and the emotional bonding is still there, but highly diminished. Sure, you can talk to your best friend on Facebook about his girlfriend cheating on him with a lifeguard, but no matter what, it cannot beat the physical contact that a hug to a friend provides. This is why most friendships based completely on internet interaction don’t last very long unless you are nearly 100% compatible with each other. You’ll get to know the person, but not as fully as you could with being in person.
The shroud that prevents people from noticing changes in their best friend is what also strengthens a friendship. If a friendship is very weak, this shroud will decide to show the weakness in a very clever way. It’ll show how different your friend is from you. It’s very smart. The shroud know that best friends always will be able to end the friendship because of one thing or another, but it wants to keep the friendship intact by hiding these kind of things. When you have a friendship online, it’s not like being with them in person. This shroud is gone. You get to know absolutely everything about this person, even the things this shroud works so hard to hide. No matter how good of friends two people are, when they have some of their roots on the internet, something will come up from the darkness of secrecy and end the friendship. Selective truths are a good thing when they are chosen wisely. It’s human nature to hide things, but on the internet, nothing will be hidden. These hidden things will become discovered by someone in a friendship and just make the entire friendship seem like a complete lie. A few of my best friendships have ended this way. Some were from my digging up of secrets and some others were of their doing. It’s just a complete mess to anyone.
This mess that is create by this worshiped Age of Information is what I hate about it. I have recently deleted all of my social media sites, so that my friendships and current relationship won’t be ruined by my or their human nature. I don’t want any future friendships to be ruined by something stupid that the shroud was unable to block. I have trust in all of my friends and my girlfriend, but with the ability to find things that I wouldn’t have been told, my trust was being diminished. I would always find small little things that I wasn’t told on my friends’ profiles that just bugged me. This was especially true with my relationship. I never would lose trust in my girlfriend, but just knowing that there are things that people hide yet display it to everyone is what really bothers me. I have always disliked this about the internet. I wanted my complete trust back in all of my friends and my girlfriend, so I simply deleted my social media sites like that. I have seen a lot of improvement in my trust with them. I have had a couple urges to look through their pages, but I’ve held them back. Now that I don’t get those urges anymore, I feel more free. I don’t feel like I need to know what they update or tweet about, but I feel like everything that we talk about is what we need to talk about. It’s an amazing feeling. I highly suggest that anyone who feels like their trust is being lessened by social media sites should deactivate their pages for just a week, and see how it feels to be free and more connected. Strange, isn’t it? I feel more connected to my friends by disconnecting myself.