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The fractured identity of the Twitter and Facebook user

Everyday use of social networks

Social networks have become an integral aspect of daily life as many people log onto such sites as Facebook and Twitter to update their profile, chat with friends and catch up on peoples’ activities.

However, the Oxford University academic Baroness Greenfield, a professor of pharmacology, has said that these social sites may actually be detrimental. She states that such tasks as checking emails, going on social networking sites and reading RSS news feeds is resulting in users “living in a world that's not a real world” and therefore destroying their personalities.

The destruction of individuality?

Greenfield suggests that the constant stimulation which social networks provide is likely to "rewire" the brain. People are less likely to concentrate for long periods of time if they have become accustomed to the instant feedback and never-ending updates within the constantly changing online world.

The academic suggests that the "banality" of information uploaded onto social sites may change the personality of internet users. The constant comments, emails and pictures which are uploaded onto the sites suggest that people are desperate to seek the constant attention of their online peers.

In a world where celebrity culture is rife, social websites also allow people to delve into this world of notoriety and fame. People can grab the attention of their online friends by crafting humorous posts or uploading photos which display their glamorous lifestyle.

Another perspective

However it is arguable that social networking sites could, in fact, be providing people with a platform where they can showcase their true identity. The websites enable users to display aspects of their personality which may have otherwise been unknown to their friends. In fact, people who use Twitter and Facebook could simply be basking in the online world of liking, status-updating and commenting in only 140 characters rather than destroying their selfhood.
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