You met a very interesting person at the bar last night and you feel attracted to them. What’s the first thing you do? Think about it for a while and be honest with yourself. There’s no need to hide it because the answer is that, probably, you look them up on the internet. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this tiny and not so popular series How I Met Your Mother. Of course I was being sarcastic; we've all have heard about it, watched, loved, or hated it (because there’s nothing better than Friends, blah, blah, blah). No matter where you stand on the show, it deals with many truths about relationships we’ve all experienced at least once, so I’m gonna remind you or introduce you to an episode that basically explains how modern relationships work nowadays.
Here, our hopeless romantic lead character, Ted, invites a woman on a date; however, he suggests to her not to look the other person up on the internet because he believes that mystery is way more exciting. His friends, always meddling in his life, try to convince him that no one would agree to that unless they’re hiding something huge. Then, the day of the date finally arrives and his friends do an extensive research and find, indeed, something huge they think Ted has to see. While on the date, Ted finds it hard to concentrate and find interesting topics to talk about, since he's been so used to knowing a bit about the girl before the date. Intrigued by what his friends have been dying to tell him, he agrees to open the link they sent him. Long story short, he discovers that the woman's a paragon of virtues who ends up intimidating and overwhelming our poor Ted Mosby.
So, what’s the lesson of this episode? Basically, we’ve become so attached and dependent on social media that sometimes it seems we have forgotten what it is to live in the real world without using that beloved and necessary tool. Just think about how much of our time we pour on any given social media outlet. Whether you accept it or not, our profiles have become a sort of alternative life, where we can mold and adapt our life into the way we want people to perceive us. The pictures we upload, the things we post, and how we interact with others apparently reflect who we are, but, in fact, everything is just a façade to hide what we consider irrelevant about ourselves.
Now, no matter how honest we think we are on social media, it's a curated version of ourselves that glosses over reality. However, in the same way we select what we want to show or conceal, our tailored life is open to almost anyone. It doesn't matter how much privacy measures we think we take, we always leave a trace of digital activity on the internet, available for anyone with the tools and the will to find it. So, back to the question of what you do when you want to know more about a person, again, the answer is to dive into the depths of the internet and find as much as we can about that person.
This sudden exposure is a double-edged sword that makes us feel we have the right to go through anyone's profile to satisfy our need for information. So, is this curiosity or mere stalking? Moreover, where is the line between having a normal sense of interest and actually being on the edge of committing a felony? I know, you're probably thinking that I'm exaggerating and that going through our friends' profile is not wrong, since they've actually accepted to show us their life, but just think it in terms of reality. Imagine you're invited to a friend's house, would you go through their belongings in search of information? That doesn't seem quite right, does it? So, what makes us think that doing it on the internet is any different? Moreover, think that while you're checking on someone's profile, someone might also be going through yours in an attempt to know everything about you. Creepy, right?
You might want to check where your information is going: