Is Social Networking Controlling Lives?

Posted By Hayley Mason

With today’s constantly evolving social networking sites and tools, the public can get news and information faster than ever before.  When writing a paper, a student can find almost anything on the Internet.  However with all this new access to information, comes access to people’s daily activities and personal lives.

Logging unto Facebook, I can find out where a person is from, what activities they’re involved in, and who their friends and family are.  Foursquare informs me of every destination my friends have been to throughout the day.  The list could go on and on, but recently I discovered a new phenomenon that takes this Internet “creeping” to a new level.

Mashable recently featured a story on four people who let their Internet followers take control of their lives, at least in some aspects. One man, David Perez, announced via Twitter that for six days he would do whatever his followers requested.  Perez then posted a series of videos of his challenges on YouTube, titling the series David on Demand. Twenty-year-old Dan Brown has been video blogging his life on YouTube every day since this summer (Dan 3.0). Brian Moore, 23, has launched a similar video blog, Dating Brian agreeing to date 30 girls in 30 days, chosen by his Twitter and Facebook followers.  Finally, Mashable reviewed ControlTV, a Truman Show-esque series of three-minute “webisodes” following the life of Tristan. (Last name unknown)

(David on Demand)

The fact that the average internet user could find out so much about my life just by using social networking sites has always somewhat frightened me, but learning that these four people would completely leave their lives in the hands of social networking simply led me to wonder, “What were they thinking?”.

Is it any surprise that all four people were from a certain age group and generation?  Do we make ourselves such a large Internet presence because “fame” is so easy to come by today and we’re seeking that?  As social networking continues to evolve, how will we keep some things private?  Would you ever do what these four people did?

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4 responses to “Is Social Networking Controlling Lives?

  1. First let me just say that NO way would I let others dictate my life. Having complete strangers tell me what to do and how to do it is completely insane to me. I agree that social networking is taking things to a whole new level. There is no such thing as blind dates anymore, and if you want to know more about someone it’s as easy as finding them on Facebook or Twitter. It’s scary to think who’s out there “creeping” on us. I do not understand how some people can vlog their whole life for everyone to see. I agree that, yes, fame is easy to come by these days and all one has to do is make a crazy Youtube video or tweet something outrageous. Honestly I don’t understand how it can be that important to someone that they would relinquish control to strangers.

  2. Eduardo Tamez Zamarripa

    People like to have fun. It’s crazy and stupid on so many levels, but social networking allows for 15 minutes of fame. So why censor that? It’s not a big deal. I don’t think our lives are controlled by the social media, we just enjoy being part of the lives of all of our friends. The issue of privacy is a lot more alarming. But as someone who uses facebook constantly, you know what you are getting yourself into.

  3. No, I wouldn’t do what these people did, but we live in a world where “Jersey Shore” is popular, “The Real World” is up to its 25th season, and “Jackass: 3D” is the top movie at the box office.
    Let’s face it, these people are doing both what Snooki does and what we do as journalism students: using the right medium to brand themselves. They’re just doing it more Snooki-style and giving up their personal freedom.
    Too far? Probably, depending on what you think. For me, definitely. But until we take the glamor out of fame, Youtube is where people are going to be selling themselves for it.

  4. I’m not saying that we should censor this in any way. I, too, enjoy using social networking to connect with my friends and stay a part of their lives. However, I think that people need to censor themselves sometimes and really think about what they are putting online.
    If it was possible a few months back for those two burglars to break into a woman’s home just based on her Facebook status, then imagine the information that people can get from video blogs like these people are doing. There are certain dangers that come with getting your “15 minutes of fame”.

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