It's Freaking Myspace
My favorite quote within a quote this week is, " 'come on now. grow up. its freaking MySpace.' " (Boyd, Friends, Friendsters and Top 8) I agree with this quote. If we take the internet too seriously, we will lose sight of reality.
But how do we define reality in 2007? Boyd takes this question a step further in her study of online the reality of friendships and how they are being skewed by online communities such as Friendster and MySpace. "Failing to understand the culture of Friending that has emerged in social network sites contributes to the fear of the media and concerned parents over how they envision participants to be socializing." (Boyd, Friends, Friendsters and Top 8).
My first thoughts of this article were, big deal, so what, get over it. I can handle the social implications of MySpace, why can't everyone else? But then I imagined myself as a concerned parent. I fast forwarded my life 13 years to a time when I will have a teenager. How will I monitor his use of MySpace? How will he deal with rejection, or never being on someone's "Top 8"?
Will he have the same struggles at school as well as online? Suddenly I want to shut down MySpace to protect him from hurt or any venue that could damage his self-esteem. However, that's when the communication piece comes in and we, as adults who understand that social networks are not always as them seem, need to teach our children a greater insight into human relationships and human needs.
One way of gaining better insight is understanding William Schultz's FIRO-B Program.
This theory/program describes the fundamentals of interpersonal relations. The dimensions are called Inclusion, Control and Affection (basic human needs).
"Schutz says that the need for inclusion is the inner drive 'to establish and maintain a satisfactory relation with people with respect to interaction and association.' It has to do with being in or out. (AFirstLook.com) This dimension relates to social networks 'add me as a friend" and "look at how many friends I have" mentality.
"Schutz defines the interpersonal need for control as 'the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory relation with people with respect to control and power.' It has to do with being on top or on the bottom. (AFirstLook.com). This relates to "Top 8" and social networking "accepting and rejection".
The third interpersonal desire of the FIR0 triad is 'the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory relation with others with respect to love and affection.' Whereas the need for inclusion had to do with being in or out, the need for affection has to do with being close or far." (AFirstLook.com) This dimension strangely, is the one I believe is the greatest need for all humans. The need for affection and attachment. I would boldy assume that most social network users have had insecure attachments in their lives and that MySpace is compensates for that void. In the Gen X and Y we see more insecure attachments because our primary caregivers were in the workforce and other factors in our environments. The pendulum is shifting though, and with an increase of stay at home parents, we may see social networking shift in a more positive direction as well.
In conclusion, I believe not matter if it's our high school cafeteria, the breakroom at work, or on online social networks, there will always be social hierarchies and interpersonal joy and conflict. We cannot escape it, but we can control our own personal awareness and self-actualization.