It’s Not Official Unless it’s on Facebook.

Watching Life 2.0 reminded me of many simulation games that I have played and experienced including: Neopets, Sims, Counter Strike, WOW, etc. There are many platforms that allow relationships, similar to the ones discussed in Second Life, to develop. It is very easy to get caught up in these virtual worlds and become part of the communities surrounding it. This is especially true if it is a game because it allows players to freely express themselves and their imagination without boundaries. We began discussing in class the perspectives the director uses to portray the people in the film. One of the biggest flaws is the over dramatization of the situations presented. The most dramatized situation was the love story of Amy and Steven, where they are the narrators of their story. They are shown within Second Life as their avatars and we see their fantastical relationship developed through their imaginations. Throughout class, many were laughing and found their relationship to be humorous. Amy is often portrayed as giggling and a little ditzy and Steven is slow and easygoing, it is a very surreal love that the audience witnesses. We also find their adjustments to their relationship in the real world to be funny and we could infer that they would not work out. Although it seems that the director may be exploiting their emotions, I think it is important in showing how emotionally attached one cam become. It solidifies the realness of the situation that is being portrayed.

The article I have chosen is from USA Today, “Social media can both help and hurt real-life relationships”, by psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser. She writes about different aspects of relationships that could be tarnished by social media. The article is humorous and I don’t know if it should be taken seriously. However, it is clear that she believes that social media, specifically, Facebook, is an important part of a relationship. She gives the example of “full disclosure” where your partner should publicly display your relationship in their social network. Basically her article redefines relationships and integrates them into social networking. Kaiser understands the growing importance of establishing not only individual identities but making connections between couples in real life into couples online. She also suggests that social media can hinder trust issues between partners. I think it is true that social media is an individual and personal thing that we do. We have discussed in class the different personalities and identities we take on while networking. She suggests freely opening up e-mails, texts, and even Facebook, so there is no privacy between partners. She takes a very open approach to relationship problems, and although she understands the importance of social media, I don’t think she understands the importance of how singular social networking is. I would say it has a lot to do with the fact that she is a woman so her solutions to the problems she poses are a little skewed.

I think both situations focus strongly on the emotional aspects of interpersonal relationships and social media. Not only are couples connected in the virtual world or networking sites but their bond has more at stake. They have real commitments, they see each other in real life, and their virtual connections are more emotional with each other than they would have with other people. Is there a rising importance in establishing relationships in social media? I would assume so because social networking platforms often reflect real connections and situations. You can’t be married in real life and still single online; it needs to be parallel. Unless there is a motive for your online identity to be single.

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  1. I like the approach that was taken in this blog: focusing more on the effect of social media on preexisting relationships rather than the formation of relationships because of social media. What was most interesting was perhaps the very end when you pointed out that one cannot be single online and married in real life (or the physical world as we may call it in class). Aside from the fact that many people—especially girls, let’s admit—want his or her partner to make their relationship “Facebook official,” this perfectly draws upon Amy and Steven’s relationship. Amy was so taken aback by the fact that her husband was unhappy with her relationship with Steven and even called his disapproval of the game old fashioned.
    It reminds me of our discussion from a couple weeks ago of “friends” and “Friends.” Does this rule apply to relationships too? Are you in a relationship in the physical world, but a Relationship online? Boyd and Ellison might say so, but I’m sure Beer would disagree. Because of Beer’s description of the way in which interpersonal relationships have become so real online, it seems as though he was almost ahead of his time. Many people who begin online relationships now, like Amy and Steven, and even Asri and Misty Rhoades, bring those relationships into the real world. The gap is being bridged between “relationships” and “Relationships,” and because of rapidly changing technology, the gap will only become smaller. But with that gap shrinking perhaps will come a more honest online community. How can you lie about who you are online, if most people are going to want to meet in person? That’s setting yourself up to get caught.

  2. Chelsey Walsh

     /  February 22, 2012

    While watching Life 2.0, I was also reminded of when I used to play The Sims. Interestingly, I always created two different characters. One of which was a girl that replicated my identity, using the same physical and emotional characteristics; and the other being the guy that I saw myself in a relationship with. Awkward? I know, but I was in the same fantasy land of social utopia just like the people in the documentary.
    I think the most interesting thing about the article you posted is not so much the content, but just the overall theme that “public display of connection” is literally a social epidemic now. I can’t tell you how many of my friends have called me crying over situations involving social networks. The option of putting your relationship status has become almost as important as your name. We see close friends in “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships.” We even see people claiming that they’re “widowed” when they were never married. It seems as if your relationship status places you in a separate social circle that gives people the ability to develop social capital.


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