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The loneliness of social networking

Since the launch of the first social networking platform until today, a number of new means have emerged to incorporate us into its world. The vast majority of people now have at least one profile on one of these platforms, and teenagers literally live and breathe their social – but online – networking.

It may sound ironic, some might take it as an exaggeration, but it is indeed sad to think that at an age that under normal circumstances should be marked by a revolution in sociality, by a questioning of institutions and the status quo, by a desire for peer interaction, is now confined in tiny screens. Teenagers are characterized by passion, energy and drive, yet these traits are abated by platforms whose sole purpose is the presented image. Profiles that are dominated by vanity, the latest trends in fashion, flooded with videos and photographs which confirm that the owner completely belongs to the new, accepted social imperatives, are coming to replace real life. Walking, socializing, flirting, even fighting.

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Everything is now online. Actions, smiles, emotions. But the worst part is the fact that the users of these networks are satisfied by presenting whichever image, without any further consideration. The uncontrolled posting of the appropriate photographs and videos is enough to maintain their image under the conditions one chooses, regardless of whether it expresses reality or not. Hours endlessly wasted on taking the ideal photograph, the one that will capture the attention of the desired audience, on uploading the caption that will raise questions. Daily consumption of pointless and never-ending online squabbles, only for the next day to come and devote ourselves on how to showcase best our new purchases. And time is passing by… and teenagers are stuck behind screens, where they channel their concerns, their energy, their imagination.

Has anyone really wondered what dimension our personality would take if this obsession suddenly died out? How difficult would it be to adapt our online personality, the one we created behind a screen, to the realities of life? And after all, how much loneliness is hidden in online social networking, that is reduced to an ideal profile, that manages to imprison our soul?

Maria Petsini

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