Media pundits like to say that the medium is the message. These days, it’s just as likely that the message is the medium. To be precise, it’s the ‘status message that’s tagged along with the user’s name on a social net working profile or chat messenger.
Not only do status messages offer interesting insights into personalities, they can also double up as message boards.
Those who are addicted to social networking know how much they think about a new one-liner each time they log on, because it is displayed to all those who are in the friends and acquaintances list, and so, their image is largely de pendent on it. Sometimes, the purpose is to appear witty and learned
“Some people put up witty and humourous messages, even if they are whacked from quotable quotes, just to sound intellectual,” says cyber behaviour psychologist Neema Khurana, adding “Youngsters tend to get so obsessed with how they are projecting themselves online that every day, they scout for quotes and witticisms on search engines and feel dejected if they don’t come up with some thing good.”
She adds: “We live in time where everybody is conscious of branding Youngsters are also taken in by the trend. They might want to be projected as someone they like or idolize. Like, some youngsters put up pictures of Bollywood actors, rock stars or sportspersons in place of their own photo. Either they have an inferiority complex, or else they want to be like their role model.”
Here’s how social networking analyst Laurel Papworth describes it: If you are the sort who keeps changing your status from time to time, then you are one big attention-seeking extrovert.
Messages like ‘My boy friend is a liar’, ‘I am sick of my boss’, ‘My hubby is a wife-beating narcissist’ or ‘My mum-in-law is a vamp’ are typical of people who are trying to invoke the sympathy of people who can see their online status.
Then there are others who tend to display messages like ‘I hate dogs’, ‘I don’t like what she wears’ or ‘I love chocolate mousse’. “People of this category are always ‘updating’ their status because they think the whole world needs to know how they are feeling from minute to minute,” Papworth was recently quoted as saying in a report.
Papworth also had an interesting anecdote to narrate. “I know a girl who found out that her boyfriend had broken up with her because he changed his status update. She rang him up and asked, ‘what happened’? And he retorted, ‘Can’t you guess?’ This is just the newest way of breaking hearts.”
If you’re hunting for love on dating or matrimonial websites, it’s your online name that makes or mars your chances. An American research study has pointed out that while chatting or dating online, people should be very cautious about the screen names they use.
Playful and flirtatious names like ‘harry4fun’, ‘ready2mingle’, ‘catchmeifucan’ etc add to your digital appeal. These were ranked top by teenagers as most ‘contactable’.
Names that suggest an outgoing nature or describe physical appearance are most sought-after, said Monica Whitty, a lecturer in cyber-psychology at Nottingham Trent University. However, those looking for serious relationships should go for sincere –albeit slightly corny — names like ‘looking4love’, ‘lonelyheart’, ‘time2getmarried’.