At times, our personalities on social media can be skewed, as the version of our online selves does not always reflect the raw, authentic version of ourselves. This concept makes it hard to believe that the people you meet via social media will be genuine and that their profiles are an accurate representation of who they are. At times, even I have to question if the people I know have an accurate social media presence. Oftentimes we simply project the good moments of our lives, not always reflecting our reality or the day to day struggles that we face.
To reflect upon my own social media experiences, I have personally met a variety of amazing people through the power of online connections, and have been able to keep in contact with people I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to stay in touch with. Social media is accessible, global, and easy to use for most people, which is why it holds such great potential to be a communication medium. Especially within the last decade, we all attest to how the power of social media has truly taken off and created those unique connections.
One incredible person I have gotten to know via social media is my friend Gianna. Gianna is an incredibly talented, artistic photographer based out of Los Angeles. When she is not photographing beautiful people, she doubles as an Uber driver. One of my friends through an organization at Ohio State met Gianna during her time in LA and posted about her; after following her profile and receiving a follow in return, I shot her a message about how much I admired her work. We then began messaging more often, having meaningful conversations over Instagram direct message, the last place I would have ever imagined creating such a beautiful bond.
The point is, there are so many positive relationships that can be built through social media. Whether it is over Twitter memes or Instagram photos, there are friendships to be made, and conversations to be had. Although I tend to value face to face interactions more, I definitely see the value in interacting over social media. Seeing as to how impactful my own interactions have been, I can easily understand how people view social media influencers and how those connections and positive associations are made.
In one of my communications classes, we studied the impacts of relationships made via social media versus face to face interactions. The researcher's hypothesis was that the interactions that occurred face to face would make feel people closer to one another. Much to my surprise, this hypothesis was proved wrong. According to the data within the study, regardless of the medium that people communicated over, they would have the same perception about the closeness of their relationship.
This study helps confirm my beliefs that those relationships created online truly have the potential to be meaningful. In my opinion, relationships are mainly dependent on the effort that one puts into communicating, which serves as the basis for cultivating a positive friendship.