Thursday, October 25, 2012

The lure of facebook

A lot of people continue to be surprised that am not on the Facebook and have never been. I was at a tumultuous phase in my life, where I was finding it extremely challenging to balance real relationships in the real world and it seemed rather silly to act out the ideal sort of a guy in a silly virtual world, where you grow silly virtual farms and poke at each other. I deleted my orkut account also during the same time and that formed the beginnings of the coup de resistance.

Over time though, there's been this incessant barrage of pressures to join this world, where somehow the whole of Earth including my loving family and relatives that I don't want to be associated with ever have all converged. Some friends would show me photographs and comments posted by their friends on their wall. Some others would mock me as anti-social. One friend even remarked that she would find it difficult to be in touch with me after her marriage because I was not on Facebook. (Is this what communication has reduced to? What-ever happened to good old e-mail?)
I would get frequent reminders from friends on joining. Facebook itself would be sending me these e-mails about joining the bandwagon every now and then, courtesy people I've been wanting to avoid anyway. Pages on the Internet would lead me to a Facebook page, that would have absolutely no hesitation in enlisting me to join. Googling for people on the internet would pretty much lead me to their Facebook page, which I couldn't see in complete detail because I was not part of this privileged parallel universe.

A Parallel universe ... It's always seemed like a parallel universe to me. I think we are worse off for it for it brings us in greater contact with people we are especially trying to avoid. In the real world if you don't like someone, you aren't exactly confronted with having to bring that fact out. In this world there are however no such choices. An innocuous friend request from someone you are trying to avoid can't just be laughed away. You accept at your own peril. You reject at your own peril. Your neutral stance comes with it's own set of peril.

Apart from the initial motivation for the resistance, there's of course been the constant scare of privacy issues, your likes being tracked, your non-likes being tracked (Why the heck are you not liking anything), settings being constantly changed and with each passing day, it just became more of a experiment to see how much I could resist joining it.

Maybe I am missing a lot. Maybe I am not leading the perfect life by posting photographs about how cool my life is, how eventful it is, how loving my family is, how everyone gifts me something, the exotic cuisines am trying at the moment. It's both sickening and saddening seeing people's advertised attempts at leading out the perfect life. Does the perfect life really need such constant advertising as well as constant approvals in the form of likes and comments from others? Do we really do all this in the real world? I mean do you really call up everyone in the real world and tell them that you are currently cutting your 1 year old daughter's finger nails and that it qualifies as one of the toughest jobs? What's this pressing need to tell everyone what we are doing at the moment? Instead why don't we just live out the moment just for it's own beauty? How do we ever hope to be in a flow like experience as defined by mihaly csikszentmihalyi, if all we are worried about is how that moment is going to be perceived by others, by how many comments/likes we are going to get?

If I were an advertiser, Facebook would make perfect sense to me. If I was running a business, I might have made my presence on it and in the same vein I guess if I wanted to advertise my life, it does actually make sense, which is sort of ironical because people always complain about there being too much advertising in this world!

For leading a regular life that more closely mirrors the importance of living out each moment for it's own joy, I don't know. I think I would be a whole lot better off with just E-mail and something like Flickr/picasa.

And when I think of myself being free of a universe that confines and binds almost most of Earth's inhabitants, I feel free and I feel happy. Maybe it's 'cause am a libran.

P.S. I did try twitter for I was intrigued by the charm of the 140 character limit, but stopped tweeting due to the constant intrusion of spam followers and I am on Google+. I was/am using a lot of Google services and it just sort of made sense to use one more, not that am a heavy user of it anyway. 
I am not on Linked-in for I don't see any need to network professionally and build up a host of recommendations. I would rather let my work speak for itself.

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