Sometimes I wonder if my whole life has been an illusion, or at least if what I have perceived as my life, has been an illusion. But if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that reality is only what you make it; and whether you make a good reality or a bad reality is up to you. There are many types of illusion and one of those is life. Or a life online at least.
Even in the context of online illusion, there are several different paths of ‘life’, as well as several different types of people who walk those different paths of life. Within this topic, there are many… shades, of how these sites are used. There are good people behind the screens, bad people behind the screens, and unaware addicts, unwittingly drawn to their screens.
One type of illusion to do with a ‘life’ online, would be the illusion of having a different persona. I mean this in the way that, behind a screen, life doesn’t seem so threatening so people are braver. Sadly this illusion isn’t always a good thing, as people can use them for bad purposes as well as good ones. One of these purposes is the processes is called: catfishing someone.
An eventual catfisher doesn’t necessarily start out as a bad person or even a person with ill intent, even if they do eventually become a bad person with ill intent.The first stage of this process, that a potential catfisher goes through, also shows how involuntary and unnoticeable an addiction to screens can be in its early stages.
This first stage is when a potentially innocent person, makes an online persona that isn’t of themselves, as a dare, a joke or any other reason. This stage can be as seemingly harmless as a rose and its thorns. Simple but has a tough bite.
This stage can be a simple excuse of, “oh, I’m just checking what’s happened” or “Oh, I’m just going to look…”, and yet, when all of the times that they say this adds up, the person is spending a large amount of time on these addicting sites.
The second stage is when this person starts to spend more and more time on one (or more) online sites. Without realising it, this person can start to become more and more dependent on these sites, and on the persona that they have created. In this sense, the person’s gaining obsession to all of these numerous things can be related to the persona of ‘Jay Gatsby’ from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby”.
This scenario can be related to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby”, in the way that… ‘Gatsby’ spent so much time working on building his persona and keeping it “alive” over the years that it became his all-consuming obsession, his persona fully took over every one of his waking moments, it took over his whole life, right up until his death.
This level of obsession isn’t healthy in any scenario, including that of a life online, like when someone who creates an alternative identity spends more and more time on their alternate persona until they are fully obsessed and addicted.
In the end of ‘Gatsby’s’ story, he had spent so much time on his own illusion, his own fake persona that not only the people around him,but even he himself believed in it.
When someone creates a persona online, for whatever reason, and when they spend a lengthy amount of time building their own illusion of a persona, they themselves inevitably start to act more and more like that “person” in their own life.
This person will start to take on the qualities of that “person”, whether nice or not and whether knowingly or not. In time the possibly unwitting addict will start to believe in their illusion and it will fully consume him/her within their day to day life. It will control their choices and decisions from then on, will control how they act towards themselves and others.
One thing that I believe anyone who spends large amounts of time on any social media site, doesn’t necessarily realise is the amount of time they are spending on their sites and devices, for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is the sense of connection or at least the illusion of it.
Some people like the sense of connection that they feel when they are online. To their friends and family, to what is going on around them in life, and to the world that they feel involved with when they are on these addictive sites. Sadly, as connected as people feel, the reality of what they are actually doing is that they are being “antisocial zombies” who are cooped up in a room almost 24/7.
Basically, a life online, if it gets out of control, whether on purpose or not, is highly detrimental to a life in reality, to a real life in a real world. In theory, online time is a good idea but only if you use it sparingly and with good intentions.