This post is not about technicalities of social networking. It is not about finding the exact IP address or other analytics data about a person. This post is not about finding technological features to accurately geo-locate a person. What this post is about are the limitations of human understanding, the capability of humans to deceive others, and how social networking sites are eventually image-creating platforms for all involved.
All human minds work with imagination
Imagination is a faculty of the human mind. It is part of how we think and how we live. Is there evidence of such? Yes, absolutely. To this day, advertizing plays a very significant role in what any company or person does. It should be enough to make a good product or be a good person. Why is advertizing a product or a person so important? It is because the human mind rightly believes that there is more to a product or to a person than what one can readily perceive. Human belief starts to vary in that some learn to believe in good while others learn to believe in bad eventualities. What that means is, some are hoping to find that the undiscovered would be good while others expect to find the undiscovered to be bad.
Our imaginations are trained by two basic things: information and experience. It may sound very simple, but information and experience is the totality of what we have in our inner being. After these two things, there are factors like free will, attitude, and life events. So, the combined power of information and experience and how it affects the human imagination can only be underestimated. We have power, a lot of power, over what information we select, and we do have the ability to understand experiences in retrospect.
Social networking sites are the “land of hopes and imaginations”
We are already experiencing, through technological advances, the realization of centuries of human dreams. In particular, our ability to communicate through the medium of the Internet is a miracle of human achievement. True, this miracle is marred by none other than human greed, politics, and corporate interests, but the realization of this dream cannot be denied.
When a person engages in a social network, it is a remarkably complex interaction in a most remarkably simple step. Two strangers from completely different parts of the world, with completely different sets of beliefs and aspirations can meet online. Such a meeting cannot be without its own hopes and imaginations. People hope for what is good or better, not for what is bad. And yet, repeatedly being confronted with what betrays the hopes and imaginations, gives rise to disappointments. Still, people keep returning to social networks! Why would someone keep returning to disappointments? It is because hopes and imaginations bring them back.
Imagining the other person
From the avatar, the profile description, and even a number of social media interactions two things are happening:
- People are conveying what they imagine about themselves
- People are responding with their own imagination about others
Wouldn’t you agree, there is always some consciousness of society and of possible repercussions, even some accountability, on a social network? It is not a bad thing. Apart from one’s own conscience and morals, societal structures provide a restraint to human behaviors. At the same time, social networks can provide a sense of freedom, thereby making those expressions possible that a person would hesitate to utter face-to-face.
The belief that eventually something disturbing about any person on social networking could come out has given rise to a different kind of imagination – one that is devoid of hope. Millions, perhaps billions, of people have slowly come to the realization that persons on social networks are busy publicizing a “fake identity”. There is the confidence, that behind every person, no matter how transparent, there is something bad to hide. Is this such a novel thought? Is this such a new discovery? There is no person living who is absolutely flawless. And flawlessness is not the requisite proof of goodness. It does not exist in any person.
The truth that exists in between what is actual and what is imagined
Have you ever absolutely lost confidence in another person, institution, or a group of people? It is possible. It can happen. What do you do after such a disillusionment? Do you continue the relation, the interaction, still showing hope?
These complex considerations are taking place all the time on social networking sites in person-to-person exchanges and generally in the time spent on such networks. Imagination leads us to believe, while actuality brings disappointment. So a lot of people continue to function at the level of disappointment, not letting themselves be taken by hope or imagination ever again. Every new interaction fails to ignite hope. What does it eventually lead to? It leads to people seeking glimpses of hope which they find from time-to-time in a post or an interaction. Some go chasing those beams of light, while others keep a level-headed perspective.
What it all means for identifying an individual?
So, if you have really taken it upon yourself to identify an individual through his online interactions on social networks, bear in mind the sheer complexity many persons are capable of.
Those who have decided to make their real existence a mere extension of the online world of social networks have really taken on a very shallow existence – a very shallow, image-driven way of thinking. Ideally, one should try to move away from such thinking and living. It has to be discovered, that there is an infinite amount to learn and express in each person!
We can gauge many things, we can understand responses to specific events, we can see a person’s views on a matter in that specific statement. However, it is a disappointing deterioration in human abilities if we are unable to step away from such simplified selves, and not able to reconsider, revise, and re-examine so much about what makes us who we are.