Due to the overwhelming amount of access we have to technology, many of us have become private investigators. According the Wall Street Journal, the average person spends 405 minutes per month “stalking” others on Facebook.
Today’s technology has given us a pass on actually getting to know people in real life because media provides this information for free. Facebook has become the ultimate tool to help us take a glimpse of someone’s life with just knowing as little a their name and current location.
It is scary to know how much this basic information can give away about our lives. I remember once in chemistry class, a girl next to me saw a cute guy and two seconds later she had pulled up all his information on Facebook.
I was impressed by the fact that all she saw was his school jersey and his last name, but it dawned upon me that technology really has given us a chance to bypass the concept of “hello my name is...”
These days, no introduction is needed to approach people. We just assume the door is wide open and we walk through it.
What happens when you walk through the door and there is no way out? Sometimes, when people use online profiles to learn about others, they completely disregard the possibility that someone could be the complete opposite of who they claim to be online.
A prime example of this is seen on the new reality show on MTV called “Catfish.”
The show is about people who have online relationships through Facebook or other social networking sites. These people spend a given amount of time “getting to know” each other and end up developing strong feelings. However, when they finally meet face to face, they are unpleasantly surprised about 90 percent of the time.
While this is a television program and many times we say “That’s never going to happen to me,” we are wrong. We use these online profiles every day to learn things about people.
Sometimes, due to curiosity or boredom, but other times, we just want to be friends with them and are too scared to take an actual step.
We get so caught up in the pictures they have on Instagram or the tweets they post every 15 minutes that we actually convince ourselves that we know them.
However, to truly get to know a person, spending actual face time is necessary because you might find something the Internet cannot.
Some might say these media handles are good ways to communicate with people, which to some extent is true. Social networking is a great secondary source in getting to know someone. However your primary method in forming a relationship with a person should be face to face though a conversation.
Without those real life encounters, you will have no idea what you’re in for. How else will you be able to interpret their facial expressions, body language and reactions to awkward situations?
My advice to people is that out of the 405 minutes you spend on Facebook, take out an hour to go meet the person you’re “stalking,” and maybe you will find what you’re looking for.
And if you don’t, at least you will have saved the five remaining hours that you would have spent stalking them. One hour of face-to-face interaction is more meaningful than the seven we spending snooping online.
While media handles are a great tools, step out of the box so you don’t get “catfished.”