Social Networks: It’s all a big lie

By on August 12, 2012
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We’re continually feeding lies to the Social Machine.

I’m a young entrepreneur responsible for a couple of highly-successful tech startups. While I’m not coding away the killer UX for my next application, I enjoy arranging a cruise on my yacht for my buddies off the Palm Island and towards Omani waters where we go scuba diving in the middle of the night. And here is what I look like:

What you saw and read above is a slightly incorrect representation of my true-self- were I to post it on a social network. Or at least that’s what the latest study dubbed as the “Ultra You” campaign initiated by Intel and conducted by Redshift Research tells us. The study was conducted across eight countries in the EMEA region with 4,374 individuals participating, however, I have taken data based purely on the responses out of the UAE which made up a little under 10% of the total sample.

So what did we find out? Re-read my intro and you’ll know know how I came about making that up- 29% men post info to make them look more intelligent, 22% only post flattering profile pictures and 21% make themselves seem more fun than they actually are. When it comes to the opposite sex, 41% of women only post flattering profile pictures, 24% post info to make them look more intelligent and only 5% want to make themselves seem more fun.

So why is it that we feel compelled to lie when networking socially? According to the survey, both men and women do it mostly because of their egos or to find love/friendship. Other reasons include covering up insecurities, impressing other people or to simply find a better job. The scary part is that 68% of us wished we were more like the person we describe ourselves as on social media.

What I found hilarious was that, according to that same set of people, 62% believe that people divulge too much information about themselves online and 87% think that there should be guidelines on what people can post on social media. Moreover, 65% said that they’ve felt exposed by information other people have shared about them while 40% have posted contents themselves that they have later-on regretted posting.

What does that tell us about ourselves? I’m no psychiatrist so I’m not going to analyze it for you but it seems clear to me that we are still in the process of getting comfortable with using social media and like most all new things, are trying to find boundaries that should not be crossed.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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