Fangirls, there has been this stigma in my household since I was younger, that the internet is no place to make friends. In the age of AIM and Myspace, I now see that there were some incredible dangers that I narrowly avoided, and I’m glad that I did. There are some I didn’t, and I do wish that I had listened to my parents about that. But now, I feel like I’ve found a rather safe niche of the internet, and am incredibly grateful to the people who have been so supportive of and friendly to me.
I feel that Facebook is not used the same way Myspace was, because Myspace was about numbers. You were friends with as many people as possible, and wanted people to understand the honor of being on your top 8. AIM went hand-in-hand with Myspace; many people posted their AIM on their Myspace, so all of their “friends” could find them, and contact them. Even more than that, a lot of people would get their AIM messages sent to their phone when they were away from the computer, so they could keep in contact with people still. Though phone numbers weren’t really involved, this was a big part of why my generation is all about texting; we had constant contact with people through computers (and later, cell phones) from early middle school on.
Facebook seems like it is less dangerous, because it’s used by not only my generation, but our parents and grandparents as well. My mother has a Facebook, so do both of my living grandmothers, and my one great grandmother. It seems a bit crazy how connected we are, but it’s so great to be able to stay in touch with people on the other side of the country, or in other parts of the world.
I personally am not that interested in Facebook; my personal posts are few and far between, and most of the posts to the Fangirl Facebook are the automatic ones that are just articles. I think Twitter is where it’s at. Twitter is a bit more Myspace, because it’s more about numbers than actual people you know. There are follow bots, and spam bots; fake accounts that follow people based on one thing mentioned (ages ago I had a discussion about Freud, and four or five Freud accounts followed me). There are people on twitter who I know, but twitter is better to follow celebrities with. I use it to talk to friends a lot, but I also like to know what the hilarious Chip Zdarsky is up to.
Similarly, Instagram is great for following celebrities and fashion icons. I tend to follow Disney Instagrams, because that’s what I love. I like being reminded of how fantastic Disney is, seeing new characters, and planning my next visit. I also think it can be a really cool way to get clothing inspiration. The tag #ootd stands for “outfit of the day,” and I love seeing everyone’s rad clothing choices.
Tumblr is another social network that is similar to Myspace; it’s a blog site that can be super personal, fandom related, or in some cases, all about porn. It’s a neat way to express your likes and dislikes, but I don’t find myself getting super close to people on Tumblr. Even though the blogs can get really personal, I feel less inclined to talk to people there, than I do on twitter.
Altogether, there are so meny choices on places to make friends, you just need to be careful about it. Don’t give your address out willy-nilly. I have a couple pen pals who I haven’t met, but I made sure that I spoke to them often before I gave them my address, and so far things have gone well. I also have a dog that wouldn’t mind ripping people apart if they came to the house unwanted. The bottom line is to be safe, Fangirls. I think many people can be great, but there are always creeps, and they’ll ruin it for everyone.
All images and logos depicted are copyright of their respective owners.