Reaction to Zadie Smith Discussion


Smith discusses the idea of being locked in, where we as individuals are plugged into templates that our online profiles dictate. I never really looked at it that way, but it’s true that everyone is portrayed as being the same. Even though we all have different personalities and we have become a culture that is so focused on individualism, the use of online profiles blurs the lines of reality. It calls to mind the question of whether or not our online lives will one day overtake our actual lives. I think eventually society will be in danger of this happening. Without even realizing it, people create an image of themselves and even though it’s not necessarily who we are, it’s who we want people to think we are. We also have to ask ourselves, who are we revealing ourselves to? Is it our friends and family, strangers who we call our friends on Facebook, or businesses that we are hoping to hire us? People really have to take this into consideration when creating this image of themselves.
Smith is very critical of Facebook and a part of me agrees with her. Initially, all the social media networks out there were created to open the doors of communication and interaction with people. However, it’s proving to be very one-sided and limiting because that’s what we have made it. So many people only care about the image they are revealing to the public in order to evoke a response from others. Instead of each post and profile being different, or having some sort of unique aspects, we seem to be transforming ourselves into one large group based on what we like while coming into contact with other profiles. Communication that is not done in “real-time” as we discussed in class makes it harder to communicate interpersonally. There is also a lot of miscommunication among people today. Our speech has completely evolved and it’s getting harder and harder to determine what is right and wrong. Many are even beginning to speak and write informally, which is especially bad when writing a paper in school, or when sending a formal business letter to someone at work. People have to be careful not to fall into these habits.

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