13 Jun


There’s always been a love-not much love relationship between FB and me. It’s not so much the state of the relationship we share that bothers me but the fact that Facebook and I now have some sort of relationship going on. When I first joined Facebook, I was part of the slow but steady exodus that moved from Orkut. I joined Facebook because Orkut got boring and because, most importantly, Facebook offered me the privacy settings one deemed imperative back then for a public profile on the latest social media bandwagon. So Facebook offered a lot of us the stepping stone to be more brave and venture out into the massive, black hole-like mass of the world wide web and become more present and visible. It was cool. It gave me a sense of control. And that was it. Back then Facebook was just a substitute for, first Hi5 and then Orkut. Besides, it was the latest trend!

Fast forward to now and I really don’t know how everything that transpired in between, did. One could easily come up to me and tell me I’m making too big a deal of this and that if I just let it be, it wouldn’t matter as much. I wish I could, but the point here is that it’s gotten so far under my skin that I can’t figure an appropriate enough way to work around it. I don’t hate Facebook and neither am I addicted to it like I used to be. I remember the one time they booted me off it because they suspected my name and may have thought me to be a Russian spy? But then after I chased them to verify my identity, they figured I was a pretty harmless Indian, or a pretty, harmless, Indian (perspective matters!) and they got me back on. That incident shocked me because I had withdrawal symptoms during the absence of my FB profile which showed me just how much it had gotten under my skin. But it’s a different story today. Facebook isn’t my fix anymore.

Having said that, I still think I’ve a long way to go in figuring this balance out. On one hand it does have its positives because, as the state of affairs stand today, everybody is online and on the move. One cannot stay invisible, as it were, and want to get noticed for the stuff they do. Word of mouth now happens a lot over FB and Twitter, etc. And it’s hard not to be on it and wish to be off it. That apart, I think it’s a great way to connect with those that matter who are so far away from you and who cannot really be there in person with you when you would want them to. I think those are the only two features of this phenomenon that’s otherwise quite the train wreck.

On one hand you have a million “friends”, whom you have spoken to at least once in your life and whose presence you’ve acknowledged in your life at some point. And even though you’re not really friends and may never have had any concrete conversations with them, they become a part of your list. I agree that I’ve made a lot of friends with people I’d otherwise walk past and it’s been fine. But that’s like a minute 0.8945872345 percent of those who comprise my friends list. It’s another thing that I’m quite easy to become friends with, not. So I don’t know what’s good and what’s bad. All I do know is that I suddenly feel very overcrowded and my space very encroached upon. This is when my darling brain/heart/superego swoops right in and scoffs at my apparently (and seemingly) ancient concept of space. It turns out that space which weirdly had walls and boundaries and windows is now superfluous and free for all as it were. People are in each other’s space (and with the person’s due permission of course) but I guess Facebook and every other social media platform has in its own way redefined the concept of space. Now we just have a wall and a lock. Not four with a door. Stupid right? But that’s what it is. We have locks, but no doors. So really, can someone help me figure this latest, new-age space paradigm out, please?

I don’t know whether offending people by not accepting their friend requests is OK or not in compliance with the social media book of conduct. I don’t know if keeping photographs which were once on display for a reason and are now locked for my eyes only will bring about weird ego clashes between friends who may (and most definitely do) think they’re not worthy enough. There are too many conditions, too many settings, too many people to consider. I know where my boundaries lie, heck I run a blog which is as public as it can get! I’d like to be excused and be allowed to judge what I deem appropriate to share and when necessary.

At the end of the day, I only just hope we relearn what it is like to maintain relationships the way relationships are meant to be maintained and pampered, like how we’ve grown up learning, whilst keeping up with the trends of information tech change.




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