Friday, 30 August 2013

Facebook: Perception vs. Reality

Facebook: Perception vs. Reality


“Humans know the world through sensation, perception, and conception… A sense of place is created through humans perceiving and constructing that location.” (Van Luyn, A. 2013).  Perception seemed to be a reoccurring concept in the last two weeks. In last week’s reading ‘The Songlines’, Chatwin stated that “to exist is to be perceived” (Chatwin, B. 1987). I began to wonder, that if perception determined place, and existence, then how am I perceived on Facebook? Do people perceive me as my true self, or do I cease to exist? How do I know what I perceive is real?

Our actions on Facebook are constantly watched by our peers, and, what they see from us is how they determine our online identity. Your online profile, or, the virtual you, becomes the real you in someone else’s perspective. For example, I never usually post any statues, or photos, or share any videos on Facebook; I just sit back and watch others, or interact through messaging. I may be perceived as quiet, or shy by those who I don’t publically interact with, however, the people I message will perceive me differently. Other people are like this; where they are perceive different ways on Facebook depending on how they choose to interact. When people post pictures of their conversations with others on Facebook, it could be assumed that they are exposing their ‘real’ self, but, what if it is just another shade of their virtual self? With the constant use of technology, it gets difficult to determine what is real and what is virtual.

Language use also plays a role in perceiving a person’s ‘real’ self. Tuan (1991) states that there are different ways by which language contributes toward the making of place. For example, warm conversation between friends can make the place itself seem warm; by contrast, malicious speech has the power to destroy a places reputation and thereby its visibility. In terms of Facebook, those who post interesting, funny, or nice statues, pictures and videos make Facebook an enjoyable place to be when you want to see what people are up to, however, people who constantly post negative or annoying things could make you perceive that person as whiney and you lose interest in what they have to post and eventually begin to avoid them online. However, different people react differently to the language people use, and how that language creates their online identity.

In terms of being ‘real’ on Facebook, I like to think that I am. As I mentioned before, I don’t usually post things of Facebook and in contrast to real life, I’m not loud, and I don’t draw attention to myself (often). I prefer to have a chat through messages on Facebook, because if I need to communicate with someone, I’d do it personally, just like I would away from the computer screen.

Steve Fox is editorial director of PC World and wrote a small article called “Facebook vs. Reality: Who Needs to Get a Life?” If you’d like to read the article, go to to see how Fox compares reality and Facebook.



Chatwin, B. (1987). The Songlines. Chapter 3, pp 11 – 15. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd

Tuan, Y. (1991). Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Taylor& Francis, LTD. Retrieved from:

Van Luyn, A. 2013. BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narratives, and the Making of Place, Week 5 Notes (PowerPoint). Retrieved from:

Article Link:


1 comment:

  1. Hi Summer,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog. It flowed well and was reflective and personal but also included academic references and the link very well. I think this is exactly how blogs should be written. I liked how you identified perception as a reoccurring theme in the past few lectures and your linked it brilliantly to Facebook and how our actions on Facebook shape others perceptions of us and vice versa. As Van Luyn (2013) states, “Humans know the world through sensation, perception and conception.”. I also liked how you identified how language can shape perceptions and contribute to the making of a place. Your examples really illustrated this point clearly. Summing up with the link and how you perceive yourself to be seen by others on Facebook made for an all more interesting blog.


    Van Luyn, A. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narratives, and the Making of Place, Week 5 Notes (PowerPoint). Retrieved: