As people of our generation, the norms of social media have been engraved in our minds since the day we got our hands on our first devices. What is concidered “socially acceptable” on social media has become second nature, and is something we do not even have to think about. In the following experiment, I broke the social norms of texting and communicating
I decided to chose the “The Oversharer” experiment, for my Norms Breaching Project. To complete this task, I broke social norm by texting two of my friends from High School. I had not spoken to them in a while, so I figured they would be the perfect people to try out this experiment on. I started out by texting them things that I would not usually mention over text message. I gave them updates on what I was doing, currently or what I was about to do. Some of the people chose to play along with what I was saying, like answering to what I was saying, or ask questions regarding it. Here is an example of the first person I did this experiment on.
His initial reaction was just to ignore my text messages. You see, he probably just assumed that it was some sort of glitch on my phone, or that I was bothering him on purpose. I continued to send him messages about what I was currently doing. Eventually, he stopped answering. I wanted to get a response out of him, so I started to send him Snapchats. He neglected to respond to my first snapchat, so I sent him another, and another, and a third. When I actually addressed him in the message, he realized it was no longer a glitch.
One knows that you NEVER use snapchat “chatroom.” It is simply there for asking for people’s cellphone numbers so you can text them. This is why after three straight snapchats to him that had been ignored, it was even more bizzare to send him a snapchat message. After I sent him this, he sent me a final snapchat with a question mark, and then blocked me.
If you constantly update someone with your daily activities, they tend to view it as one of two things. Either that your phone has been hacked, or as harassment. When people feel harassed online, their first instinct is to ignore and report, or if not report just not answer. That was my friend from High School’s response to my constant text messages and snapchats.
I performed this experiment also to my distant friend here at Saint Joseph’s. She is someone I have a mutual friend with, and have kept in touch with, but not regularly. I texted her some similar things, she had a different reaction She did not respond for a while, so then I had to send her some more texts.
It was safe for her to assume that I was just texting the wrong person, because she is not someone I would normally be texting at all, let alone texting random updates about my day.
People now are generally more neurotic about everything relating to social media. How they look, how many “likes per minute” they get, and who is contacting them. We are programmed to recognize a stalker on the internet. If someone random adds us on snapchat, or Facebook messages us out of the blue, we immediatly assume they are a creep. This is a good thing, but could also be a bad thing. It is good to recognize when something abnormal is happening on social media, it is safe to assume that the old man who liked all your instagram photos is someone you want to avoid. But, it also creates this sense of urgancy to judge people. I know that as soon as someone screen shots my snapchat, I tell my friends. The minute someone likes an old photo of mine, I assume they are hitting on me. They could very much not be! It could have been a mistake! That is the problem with adolescent dependancy and addiction to social media. There is too much room for assumptions and false judgement of people. “Likes” and “follower vs following count” judge someone’s popularity now. That is not the way it should be, but we can’t help it.
This experiment allowed me to break to go out of the platform I’ve built mysel on social media, and be different. The people I conducted this experiment on now probably think I am a freak, but hopefully they will forget about it. It opened my eyes to the issues with what is socially normal, and what is not. The kind of presumptions we make about people based on someones online profile, and not giving them the chance to judge them based off their true character.