The internet is redefining what we know and accept as social interaction and social gathering. The vast number of social networking sites available to the common internet user is growing by leaps and bounds.
Currently there are over fifty three billion, yes billion, search results when looking for sites related to social networking. Granted that not all those sites specifically relate to social networking in its entirety but those numbers are staggering. That number will likely increase by millions over the next year.
It isn’t hard to figure out which sites are the most popular with Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube leading the pack, followed by varies forums and game sites. Many game sites can be included here because of the ability to communicate via chat box, inter-site emails and other forms of social interaction.
With this redefinition comes another form of social recognition – Socially Manifested.
What does it mean to be Socially Manifested? First we have to understand what each word means in and of itself (definitions from dictionary.com):
Socially – Pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations, seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
Manifested – Readily perceived by understanding; to make clear.
Based on these definitions it would be safe to claim Socially Manifested as meaning – pertaining to or devoted to perceived acceptances of understanding: social evidence or perceived truths of oneself within groups of others. Social networking sites each of “Terms of Services” and other bylaws that members are required to follow. These bylaws, though required and a valuable part of each site leave little guess work or chance on how to interact with others. Violation of these rules could result in restricted usages or termination of the membership.
Being socially manifested starts by a person’s unwillingness to attend or take part within social gatherings, either out of fear or lacking of ones own acceptances. People often judge harshly of themselves because of physical or mental handicaps, cutting themselves off from others. Many long to find an outlet to replace their self imposed imprisonment within their own lives and for many the internet has filled that gap.
With the large amount of websites out there dedicated to social gatherings of friends and family, would it be safe to assume that we are socially manifesting ourselves into a state of acceptance with others?
Everyone online is different and not everyone online finds they are willing to be social creatures outside of the internet. Many times I have read where people would be lost without the internet because it is the only social activity they have due to illness, phobias, or handicap. Some people lock the doors, totally cutting themselves off from the world around them, limiting their lives only to what they find it to be with the internet (social networking sites – blogs, forums, etc) becoming manifested from a publicly to privately social personas. While others even avoid those items out of fear or doubt of their acceptance within this binary world of social gatherings.
Because of the vast reach of the internet and its ability to bridge the social gap with people from all over the world is would be easy to assume that we have become socially manifested, in as much as the definition is given here. It is important to understand that the internet didn’t create this social manifest but nurtured it, allowing it to grow and expand with each new discovery of social networking websites. Website developers have made a fortune catering to people with a social withdrawal giving them the freedom to once again become connected with others, many of whom are just like them (likes, dislikes, phobias, interest, etc).
Socially manifested beliefs are far reaching and can be dangerous for those who leave little out when sharing personal information. Dangerous mostly because information online is general made public so everyone can read it. People who have fallen with the socially manifested state of being believe they have a fully active social life, lacking for little more. Even without the internet or before its usages world wide many people created a perceived social acceptance for themselves, only later in life realizing, too late, they were wrong.
Furthermore it is important to understand people have been suffering from a forum socially manifested behavior forever. Social manifested behavior isn’t limited to social class or statue but covers the spectrum of all peoples everywhere. Looking back over history it would be easy to assume or claim that many great leaders had developed a complexity of socially manifested living cutting themselves off from others.
Are there other ways to be socially manifested? The answer is a resounding yes. It is safe to say that anything that is allowed or used to limit involvement with others in a physical nature could be a form of social manifested behavior.
Socially manifested living is easier then being socially active on a personal one on one bases, since the amount of commitment involved is proportionately related to the amount of time one spends with the activities they feel the most comfortable with in their chosen society network. Internet related social manifested living can be around the clock since the internet is available twenty fours hours a day, seven days a week. Other forms of socially manifested living are some what limited in that they depend largely on the availability of those social activities that foster them.
Sometimes a socially manifested lifestyle is or at least can be associated with a person’s job. People who tend to work in a field involving others regularly tend to want more quiet time and find spending that time at home alone in an online social network setting. They will avoid making commitments to involve themselves with others outside of work. The same could also be said about physically or mentally demanding jobs. People whose jobs require a lot of physical or mental effort throughout the day tend to put higher value on quality alone time, again cutting themselves off from physically connecting with others. Some people would be willing to call this “dumbing down” one’s lifestyle.
Being Socially Manifested could lead to problems in many different areas of ones life. Depending upon the severity of a persons socially manifested behavior it could lead to such emotional and mental problems as depression, anxiety, even malnutrition. Malnutrition could result largely due to an over active involvement within whatever created the socially manifested lifestyle in the first place, putting off eating to avoid losing time away from that activity. Depression and anxiety can be even be worse since people tend to start believing they are not accepted within society and are limited to only whatever activities they are involved with online.
The key to living a socially manifested lifestyle is having a balanced lifestyle that involves both alone time and quality time with others on a personal, physical nature. This balance starts by finding value from the company of others and taking steps that will increase your involvement with them, away from and separate from those things that are currently allowed to restrict one-self.
There is no fault in having quiet alone time since quality quiet alone time is needed to rejuvenate one-self. The problem comes from making quiet alone a way of life that disassociates one-self from others physically. At this point it has become a life altering problem that could be devastating within relationships and logical commitment choices.
It only takes a short visit to some of the forums or other social network sites before it becomes clear that the amount of time a person spends online had or has caused a ripple affect within the personal lives of those involved. Many times the spouse or loved ones of socially manifested individual disapprove of the lack of community or social involvement outside of that that is found online. These problems tend to spill over online when shared with friends made within those social networking sites.
In no way am I accusing or blaming anyone for using social networking sites. For all practical purposes they have served as a way for many to meet and great others they might otherwise never have known. Social networking sites can help relieve boredom and frustrations that often times only build up into anger or resentment. The problem only starts when these social networking sites become the primary way of life serving as a substitution for an active one on one social lifestyle. Granted and stated above some people lack the ability due to physical or medical handicap to be able to partake in outside social activity.
I encourage you to evaluate your activity and come to your own conclusion as to how much is too much. The statements here are not based on medically proven facts but merely the opinions of this author based on personal experiences and his own socially manifested lifestyle.
If you feel you have a problem dealing with social involvement I urge you seek professional help with a certified mental health professional. If you don’t know where to start ask your family doctor or a family member to help get you on the right track.
A healthy social lifestyle is only a doorway away and starts with you walking through it.