As a person who likes to keep private, I only belong to one social network, Facebook. Well, up until last week, when I got a tumblr account. I used to have a MySpace profile as well, but I deleted it a while ago because I felt very exposed online. In the recent years I have felt, that it has gotten increasingly difficult to keep some sort of privacy online, because a great deal of social interaction has started taking place on these artificial spaces. Since when have we found it necessary to hide behind a screen, whilst communicating with family and friends? Of course I also find online social platforms useful, when I wish to get in touch with friends and family that has slowly spread to most of the world. However, when I’m completely honest, do I mainly use these tools to contact people across the world or to chat with friends that are sitting in front of a computer only some minutes away from my location? The answer will be the latter. This is also the main reason that I like to stick to myself online. I go online to find and procure my information, but I’m not necessarily interesting in interacting with others. I feel very uncomfortable with the openness that the online world has to offer.
Since arriving in the Hague and starting on the Industrial Design Engineering programme, I have found myself spending about 10x more time online, than I would have previously. Usually I only use Facebook to communicate with people I already know, I do not use it to make new acquaintances, but this time I thought to myself, “To hell with it, I’m in a new country, new city, might as well get to know my new classmates!”. Therefore I put myself on the line, from my perspective at least, and tried to bond with these new personalities that I had never met before and felt shy and timid around. For this I felt that I could finally benefit from the useful tools, that Facebook has to offer and reach out to this new group and bond with them. Yes, it was an easy and simple way to make contact. Yes, I would say that I have made new friendships. But to be completely honest, I’m old fashioned and despite this experience I would still rather connect with people face to face.