And Now, a Quick Conversaion with a

May 18, 2008
By John Heinz, Columbia, MO

"Oh my goodness, I like, just talked to my very best friend in the whole world! She was like hey, and I was like whoa, where you'd get those cool clothes (she had a whole new array of photos from her recent shopping adventure). She was like, 'I bought 'em from this one store, ah, I don't remember its name, but it had so many new accessories to add to my already totally hot outfits, but they were like way over my budget, and I had to stick with these.' It was totally awesome! I told her to wear her best outfit the next day at school while I would do the same so we could totally compare them, but she didn't want to get it dirty, and I said, 'oh, I guess that's a concern.' But it was still worth mentioning it! We'll probably be best friends forever after this conversation!"

It appears I have run into someone who is obsessed by Myspace (or Facebook—really, even if I was given the power to magically compare the two, I'd still choose not to—that's exactly how little I CARE...). I figured these two girls were so electronically dependent to even realize what friendship is. I guess they're minds have become so artificially oriented that they wouldn't even understand what humanity is if it started to crumble right before them. Hell, they could just mowzy on over to their PCs and start chatting away about how bad the weather looked and wondering why no one else would talk to them. Luckily, President Bush has the fate of the world in his hands to prevent such a thing. At least we could rely on him to save us from complete catastrophe, since I can't picture him understanding the internet, much less attempting to use it.

In any event, these so-called "friends" somehow find that using networking websites is what defines them as people in a small societal web of other high school students all trying to gain "position" on each other. This kind of concept is foreign to the world outside of junior high and high school, but often the main "teachings" of the philosophy that is internet communication is that one must present who they are in a better way than any of that individual's competition. In other words, the social fabrics of secondary school are what keep an individual bound to the computer to continue the fruitless task of artificially selling their character to the outside world.

If I wanted to meet someone new, I wouldn't want to start out doing it on the internet where I can't really be physically seen or heard. There are two reasons for this: 1) if I do eventually meet the person I am talking to (assuming they don't go to school with me), that person is going to have preconceived notions of who I am that can be misleading since they've never met me in person. It is much easier to lie about one's self on the internet as well, and when the person sees that I do not fit the characteristics I have described, they may start to doubt the "real" me, or the actual things that I show them that are true to my character. 2) If I don't meet the person live, I'm force to live with the realization that I was never able to open up to them because of the severe limitations of communicating online.

Actually, there is a third reason for my refusal to use networking websites, and that would be the misunderstandings that can occur when communicating with people who I would have an easy time tracking down, such as members of my school or town. If you believe a great majority of what you hear high school students gossip about when visiting the school, then you are going to be in for a few giant shocks once you step out into cyberspace for an innocent chat with a big-mouthed eighteen-year-old. It is a lot easier to get all worked up about information—whether false or personal that were meant to be kept quiet about—discovered on someone's Myspace or Facebook page since what gets passed along in these venues quickly goes out of control, making it very difficult to stop its circulation around the website or beyond. This leads friends to become enemies, especially when the two individuals have spent so much of their leisure time creating their "personalities" for the world to view quickly without ever second-guessing what information is true and what is simply slander. However, even if good friends suddenly are no longer so friendly with one another because of an incident that occurred while at McDonalds, it is much easier for them to work their problems out live—or not to and remain distant and on non-speaking terms—because communicating in person shows that you at least care about each other's predicament.

A simple solution would be to ask President Bush to launch a new program where toxic chemicals are sprayed around every public venue and school in the country where anyone under the age of twenty-one might hang out. These chemicals would cause everyone's mental capabilities to perform like computers, unable to manipulate data without an "operator" who would have enough sense to know what they are doing, in effect leading a person to make the right decisions. No one could do anything creative, feel emotion, or speak about intangible ideas. Yet, at least they would be free from the internet, because the people who would be in charge of these new "cyber humans" would not be allowed to give them access without being incarcerated. While this may seem like a futuristic form of slavery, at least it would keep people away from threatening situations where they could be coerced by others who want to make them look bad, or want to force them to become a better "virtual being" on a network, reducing the capacity for the person to become more social, in a real, physical environment. I understand that people would rather be "plugged in" for a large chunk of their time in which they usually spend creating their false self online instead of being forced to run like a machine for their entire life. However, if things were like the latter, their would no longer be any unacceptable social competitions that are unfair and rigged to allow the socially corrupt peoples to run the social threads of America because they'd be too focused on their virtual personality to realize what they were missing out on.

Therefore, a response given by this new "species" of computerized human to the question of how they feel about social networks may progress a little like this:

"I have no intentions to continue any long- or short-term relationships over the internet. I feel that the world is in a much greater state of harmony when people are forced to approach each other in a live venue and chat about whatever is on their mind. When they are forced to reference themselves directly without having the ability to hide behind a computer monitor, then what is coming from their mouths is going to have more truth. Their body movements are going to be revealed, and people will be able to tell just exactly what emotion is being felt at any given moment to determine whether the conversation and thus the relationship is worth continuing or not. There'll be a loss less room for falsities because the way a person acts in real life will be a true indicator of their character and personality—two very important qualities of humanity. People will have to think a lot harder about how to overcome these obstacles when attempting to force a friendship that is only based on some outside factor used to coerce people into doing things they don't want to do, such as threatening to pass along personal information that would only do harm to the individual or to pass false information. In essence, the concept of what a friend is and how to retain one and use one to gain strength against the force of adversity will be restored."

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