Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Perception versus Reality

Hi, my name is Katelyn Dalton, and social definitions and online interactions matter to me because I'm a college student trying to learn how to market myself in a world where our digital footprint says more about who we are than we ourselves can. Here is my idea:

In Plato's allegory of the cave, Plato describes a situation in which several individuals are chained to the ground in a way that they can only face the wall ahead of them. On this wall, they see several shadows. Some of these shadows they see so frequently that they begin to name them. In reality, these shadows come from people and objects passing in front of a fire behind the imprisoned individuals. However, because the shadows are all they can see, they believe the shadows to be the reality. For more information, click here

Similarly, our perception of reality is leaning more and more towards a virtual reality.

How do you define yourself? How do you define other people? If you're going to go on a blind date with someone, what's the first thing you do? #facebookstalking

"There is no hiding offline; with or without you, people are talking about your organization online and on social media...the digital footprints you leave behind...write your corporate history." (Matejic, Nicole. Social Media Rules of Engagement: Why Your Online Narrative Is the Best Weapon during a Crisis.)
Average activity per second on various social media sites. This is how we communicate! Opportunities for interaction have skyrocketed.

"Say you want to say something that is not based on a fact, pick a fight or ignore someone you don't like. Theses are all natural human impulses, but because of technology, acting on these impulses is only one click away." -Wael Ghonim
Where interactions centuries ago occurred face to face with people we knew, we can now, with minimal effort, interact with thousands of people at the touch of a button. And more interaction = more opportunities for conflict.

"It becomes really hard to change our opinions. Because of the speed and brevity of social media, we are forced to jump to conclusions and write sharp opinions in 140 characters about complex world affairs. And once we do that, it lives forever on the internet, and we are less motivated to change these views, even when new evidence arises."-Wael Ghonim

When the main source of information we have regarding individuals is their social media profiles, of which there is a plethora, we tend to categorize and label people.

While social media facilitates communication, it also makes it easier to stereotype. We start to define people based on what they say on the internet--but is that such a bad thing?


  1. My brother-in-law got a job over another qualified young woman because of the comparison of his facebook profile and hers. It was an eyeopener to me how much employers (and everyone else) rely on social media to tell them about someone. When you are online you tend to be a slightly different version of yourself. Whether more fearless, rude, critical, optimistic, pessimistic etc. and that is very easily read with what you post online. I think you have a good idea and if you were to incorporate a personal story of yourself relying on the sterotypes of social media I think would be interesting to hear :).

  2. I love your question at the end, is this such a bad thing. at first while reading your post I was thinking that this change is a bad thing but if you think about it, social media steriotyping can be very effective. often you can see a small piece of who someone is with just a single glance. So in many ways social stocking is very effect in helping us know who someone is. it is ineffective though because it only gives us so much information. Someone can chose what they want to show on social media. But isn't that the same in life we put forth a persona of what we want others to see. While it is true this is also in the real world, you can hid more of the characteristics you don't want people to see on social media. So I too agree that we are defining each other more and more by what we see on social media.