Wednesday, September 12, 2012

OMG! Is Face Book turning me into a nutcase?

As I logged on this morning, my friend John’s post came as a rude shock. It read “I am in the loo, paying obeisance to the porcelain Goddess” – sent from my iPhone on 4G. The inane banality of the post got me thinking. God, is this the pit to which we have descended while linking up and tweeting and liking what each other was having for breakfast?

Think of it rationally. Aren’t we acting like self obsessed, attention grabbing children with short attention spans on an eternal dose of instant gratification? “Look Mama, no hands”! Our obsession with the self is increasing exponentially in direct proportion to the time spent in social media space – I ate this for lunch, I am listening to this song, I am in the lobby of this 5 star hotel – if that ain’t being obsessive, what is? Or is vainglorious a better word?

Fact is that is not the end. After posting such facts of earth shattering importance, we actually wait for equally philosophical comments and likes, expecting our gems of wisdom to go viral. Why, the other day only, an old friend of mine posted her acute agony on my failure to “like” the 37 pictures of the pair of shoes she had picked up from Lonavala. “It is a kind of a compulsion” said a leading psychologist when I broached the subject, warming up further to say that “some facebook users, are developing a constant urge to feel like celebrities, who are watched, followed and idolized on a daily basis. It’s not that it wasn’t there, it is just that social media is exacerbating the menace by giving the stage and making available tools that can be used to spread it.”

They are opening their private world, baring their lives on their walls all the while peeping into the worlds of others in some strange exchange of voyeuristic brownie points. What is even more damaging is that some are unconsciously tailoring their lives and their selves to become “facebook ready”. As if, it is more important to post something than actually doing it. This facebook worthiness is of life and death purport to them as the only way they can define themselves is by more and more people knowing about them. It is such a hallucinating experience – it’s a as if they do not live in a real world, but in a space, where what counts is what people think about you. To coin a term, a “click per pay” existence promising the ultimate high.

“They abhor eye contact, have very poor verbal skills, have hashed up the language, are with extremely poor attention spans, need instant gratification and are eternally seeking approval from what they consider their peer group– yes, the social media junkies are here.” If you find that scary, then think of a world populated by people to whom it is more important as to what other people think about their actions than the actions themselves. That would be Matrix imitating life!

But hang on. Not being in the social media space too is unkewl. As a matter of fact, as one popular columnist put it, “If you’re of a certain age and you meet someone who you are about to go to bed with, and that person doesn’t have a Facebook page, you may be getting a false name. It could be some kind of red flag”. As a matter of fact, recruiters have made it mandatory to check out potential candidates in the social media space and a no-show there is a certain signal about the unsocial, even anti-social nature of the person leading to rejection.

The biggest example the apologists are extending in support of their arguments for increasing social media exposure is the fact that 24 year James Holmes, of the perpetrator of the Batman Massacre and Anders Behring Breivik, who bloodied the Norwegian woods had one thing in common – they lacked a Facebook Account!  

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