Now, this is for the most part just my perspective of how social media has really influenced and shaped society on a social level. Personally, during high school… well, middle sch-, er, elementary school, the whole MySpace and Facebook trends were really starting to take flight. I remember being in elementary school and my brother was interested in this thing called “MySpace”. At the time I had absolutely no clue what it was, what it was for, or why people kept talking about it. When I got to middle school however, some of my friends began their interest in MySpace and I started to understand slightly what it was about, but before that could even become really popular amongst the people that I associated with, Facebook fbstarted gaining popularity and fame. I still remember all of my friends raving about who was who’s Facebook brother, or sister, or mom, or dad, and I remember being absolutely baffled by the concept and why it was so entertaining to my friends. Since then I’ve really gone through my own phases of interest in social media websites. I didn’t really even get a Facebook until the end of my 8th grade year, and for the most part didn’t even really start using it until my freshman year of high school. Now this might not sound all that odd to anyone who’s of an older generation or simply just a few years older than me, but you have to keep in mind that Facebook was already in the limelight when I was in 6th grade. Once I got onto Facebook, my social perspective of everyone around me began to change. Some people would try to add you as a friend, some would reject you, some would try and add you as a sibling to denote you as a closer friend, while others would add you as family or a friend just because they wanted attention and a larger number of what they could pretend to consider as friends. However, I really started to feel the ability to connect with my peers (as I didn’t have a cell phone or texting until the middle of my sophomore year) even when we weren’t at school. Our friendships no longer simply consisted of the superficial interactions that occurred almost naturally and without meaning at school. No longer did you just say, “Hello” to every person you knew at school, now, you could really delve into deeper conversations over the internet without any pressure to respond immediately, without giving away or showing any signs of your emotions, and without feeling the repercussions of saying something stupid immediately. Through these interactions new friendships were easily discovered; in this world where society could not gaze upon all your interactions and pressure you with conformity,  you could really be yourself and open up to others. All the same though, in some cases, people dove into the possibility of conformity. Copying others, liking each other’s statuses, and trying to make oneself seem like something they may really not have been. I remember fighting the urge to conform to lots of popular Facebook trends that seemed to flood the community, especially any that I had at one point criticized and for the most part I was able to fend off the desire to do so. However, every now and then I would conform to these trends and in many cases I would end up feeling ashamed of myself for being so simple and superficial, for not having a mind of my own it seemed. I remember on what I believe to be two occasions, after accepting many friend requests from people I would merely consider acquaintances, people who I would probably never converse with online during my own time, I felt the need to purge my friends list. During each of these times I believe I removed something like 700 “friends” the first time and nearly four or five hundred the second. The interesting thing about this to me, is that despite having already deleted 700 people the first time, I still went back and accepted four or five hundred friend requests from people who I hardly knew or hardly planned to keep in touch with. This struck me as astounding in the sense that it was because of this social media community that I felt so pressured and therefore desired to create an image of myself that was fabricated to some extent. I realize that some people accept multiple friend requests not for the sake of seeming to be more “popular” but rather because they don’t mind the pollution that having many friends brings. To me, social media sites really changed my outlook and perspective on the people around me and the society that surrounded me, it shaped how I interacted with others and helped to define me as an individual.

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