The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Mackayle Weedon
Mackayle Weedon
Social Media Editor

My name is Makaylee! I am going to be a senior majoring in Social Media Design Management. I am apart of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority chapter on campus! I love thrifting, photography, skiing and going...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Maurer
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Amelia Kashian April 18, 2024

Online world taking over

Apparently, I am three-fifths dateable. And I know it’s true because Facebook told me.

Facebook has a new application called Spark. It’s basically like the Web site Hot or Not, which we all remember from high school, except instead of rating people’s hotness, you say whether or not you would date them, based solely on their profile pictures. Currently, my photo is of me smiling and giving a thumbs up. And apparently, three out of five people who cast their votes on Spark thought my thumbs up photograph was a winner.

And even though this application is totally useless (really, some random person can assess how dateable I am by a photo?), it is also part of an online trend.

It’s become more normal to spend days at a time online, interacting with other people through a keyboard and a mouse. And though I have been on the wrong side of Internet addiction before (spending hours surfing Amazon or checking eBay for the cheapest signed Kurt Vonnegut novel), I’ve also been living my real life in the real world, which is more than some people can say.

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And to be honest, I don’t think I’m going to find true love on Spark.

But it seems as though a growing number people think true love can be found online. It can even be found for them, if they’re too busy chatting online to look for it. Hello eHarmony. While I find online dating sites a little strange (telling your friends that you met your boyfriend online hardly ever elicits a “how romantic!”), there are newer, weirder forms of online networking making their debuts.

I’m sure most people have heard of “Second Life” by now. It’s a whole new world, created exclusively to be online. Basically, it’s like “The Sims,” except the people are real. When you talk to someone on “Second Life,” there is someone somewhere, sitting at a computer, talking back. You can start your own business, buy a house, get married, be whoever you want to be. You can pretty much live a second life (clever name guys) online. You can actually be the stunt man you always wanted to, instead of the insurance salesman you really are. “Second Life” even has its own currency, Linden dollars, which are tradable for real, authentic U.S. dollars. There are even scam artists on the site who try and cheat you out of your Linden dollars so they can cash them in for the real life greenback.

Personally, if I was going to be conned by someone, I’d like them to do it to me in real life, because being conned in a life that doesn’t even truly exist is strange and a little unnatural. It seems to me that it would be worse to be duped in a fake life, where you can pretend to be anyone you want, even somebody smart.

What is worst about all of these things — online dating, rating, and even living — is that people are huddled inside their homes, living pseudo-lives online and forgetting about their actual lives in the real world. And there have been too many news stories of people playing online interactive games for long enough stretches of time that they have died of dehydration.

I have a reasonable sized list of ways I wouldn’t want to die, mostly because they are dumb, and dying as a result of not drinking any water because I was too busy living my fake life online is right up there with having a friend perform liposuction on me in my garage and accidentally shooting myself while trying to prove that the gun was in fact, not loaded.

My advice is this: Go to a coffee shop. Have lunch with friends. Spend a day at the beach. Do something with other actual, real life people. I promise you’ll find it is much more fun than building a new life in “Second Life.”

I’d even be willing to bet some Linden dollars on that.

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