Social Media: the human encyclopedia

For April Fool’s of this year, this video was released demonstrating the potential for Google Glass in the dating world (Thanks, Professor Robinson, for bringing this to our attention). For those who don’t watch the video, it displays and girl and a boy wearing google glass and using facial recognition to tell them everything they want to know about the person. More pointedly, it tells them the characteristics they find important as they evaluate other as potential mates.

When I first watched the video I laughed and remarked about how weird such a thing would be to have and to use. Upon reading the video comments, however, I found that many feared the creation of such an app for Glass. Comments included:

  • “perfect tool for creepers, stalkers and rapers”
  • “the future of dating has arrived. #googleglass”
  • “Anyone who wears these is super creepy”
  • “And it begins”
  • “I will never use this”

The negative feedback to any video or advertisement of this nature is inevitable, and I completely understand and support the comments that the taste of this ad may be of poor nature, and that there may lie a sexist, racist, and shallow undertone. What I find interesting, however, is what the majority of negative commenters are concerned with: the fact that this app would provide people with the tools to evaluate a person based on their skills, attributes, and physical characteristics. But what about this is so different than what we do via social media right now? Is it honest to say that you would not Facebook stalk a potential partner for extra background information, to gain insight into a more personal part of their life you don’t know about yet? It wouldn’t be honest for me, and I think most would agree.

This network goes beyond potential partners, too. This past weekend I visited another school, where despite having never met a majority of the people, I was familiar with their friend groups, age, name, and more. I don’t consider myself a “creeper” or a “stalker,” but rather an avid social media user. And yes instinctively, what we learn via social media impacts our perceptions of those around us, even those we have never met or spoken to. This isn’t the future of dating, but rather is occurring presently. Rather than fearing it, and deeming it socially unacceptable, it’s more appropriate to admit that we all partake in it, and embrace it as a new societal norm. Social media acts a human database with information on all humans around us. If used correctly, it can be a beneficial resource rather than a basis of superficial critique.

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