Posted by pradsword
I am a Facebook fan. But every time I log in on Facebook, I get convinced more and more that FACEBOOK IS A STUPID IDIOT (also known as ‘WTF is Farmville’). 🙂
These days, I feel more and more insecure about how social interactions are getting entirely influenced by Facebook and other sundry social networking sites. Maybe, I’m getting old. But the following are some of the dilemmas that I Face in my Facebook-life and I’m guessing some others might be facing them too :
Disclaimer : Before I begin with this, I wish to state that I dont hate people. Sure, I am not really outgoing etc, rather a shyish person but I DO want to be friendly in general.
So here goes:
Notification: Random Stranger (Male/Female) has added you on FB. His/her description (a.k.a ‘About Me’): ‘I have a great sense of humour’
My thoughts: Dear Random Stranger, you it seems have a great sense of humour. Wow! must be really funny to add unknown people! Wonder if I should try that myself. Maybe you think its a big joke to add people and then go about snooping into their lives. Or, you’re a thief and are checking for status messages like ‘Going outta town for a weekend’ etc to plan a dacoity or something. Or you are a loser who’s self esteem is directly proportional to the number of friends on Facebook.
Sarcasm apart, I CANNOT fathom for the life of me WHY people would want to add stangers on Facebook. At least I am not a teen looking for making ‘frands’ with random guys and my profile pic on FB is usually quite latest giving enough idea to a stanger that I am not a teenager. Still, every once in a while when I receive requests from people (men/women/boys/girls) aged 15 – 60, I feel insulted (esp requests from ‘boys’ part. Dear bacchas, I am your didi. Please respect 😉 ). Though intelligence does not exactly ooze out of my face, I’m sure I dont look like a dumb. Let me not get into why unknown women/girls might be interested in friendship with me. Maybe they have Tupperware agency and want to sell.
Notification: A colleague as added you as a friend
My thoughts: So, this colleague is interested in being friends with me. Well, thats surprising, because we rarely exchange words face to face. Let me recall…. I think 2 months back, we spoke once about a client. Not a word thereafter. Nope. S/he just throws cursory smiles at me and Still thinks that they should know what the hell I was up to this weekend. They must really think that I lead 2 lives. One in office full of boredom and the other, which is far more interesting that I hide behind my disinterested facade at work…so a virtual me must be better than the real me! Hmm… dont they have anything interesting to do apart from that? like spending their own weekend in worthwhile pursuits? Besides, you CANNOT freely bitch about work/boss/colleagues etc on your own wall. You are scared that by mistake some colleague might have been left out from ‘Limited access’.
In case of colleagues, it gets a bit dicier. You CANNOT reject/ignore their friend request. So you dilly-dally for a while wondering what to do. Though you might not be gregarious, you dont wont to come across as anti-social. Meanwhile, whenever you run into them in the pantry / at the printer, you smile and run away before they can reply. Then eventually you accept their request giving them limited access.Once this colleague added me. She had spoken to me literally only 3-4 times in entire span of 12-13 odd months I’d known her. The moment I accepted her request, it seems she was online and could read my status message and promptly commented. Meanwhile, I was parallely busy restricting her access. So it was around same time, that I gave her limited access and she realised it, since suddenly my updates would’ve vanished from her page. So now, she’s my friend on FB who KNOWS that I dont want to be friendly with her. She and I acknowledge each other in random corridors with a nod and have not spoken since.
Notification: A random classmate from your play-school group / a person who lives in your locality has added you
My thoughts: I dont know what is going on these days. This play – school buddy was probably your best friend at the age of … 3! S/he went on to different city and moved on with their life and has not spoken to you since last decade at least. What can they mean by sending friends request? Its not like you’d really catch-up on decadeful of news with that play-school buddy or discuss how ineffective the latest corporator is with that guy from 5 buildings away. You never talk and sometimes dont even acknowledge them. What is this? I mean I fail to understand.
Notification: Your mother/father/brother/cousin/Manumama/Didi/Auntie/ member of your extended family has added you
My thoughts: Now here’s a major dilemma. While ‘Facebook’ has complicated our lives, ‘Limited Access’ has more so. Family need not know what lukkagiri you are generally up to. You cant post status messages beginning with ‘WTF’ indicating a general protest against whatever on your own wall unless you give them limited access. Sometimes they realise that you’ve given them limited access. And while that random colleague had enough self respect to refrain from asking, family never has ego. So this second cousin didi will walk up to me at a random wedding (we usually meet and speak at random weddings) and say,
Her:(Smiles) I’ve added you on FB.
Me: (OMG, I KNOW.) Really? well, I’ve not checked FB since long (Smile, Smile)
This younger cousin that I adore and is active on FB with no controlled access: (Walks up suddenly) I loved your pics from last week on FB. Chennai is it? Nice.
Me: (Looks to left, right, up etc) : I think mother is looking for me!!! (Evening, I go home, accept request meekly and give her semi-limited access including access to my Chennai pics. I.am.Fattoo! period!!)
Horrible isnt it? I’m sure many are sailing in same boat. Its not like I am anti-social or unfriendly. But my concept of ‘friendship’ is not limited to ‘people I know/have been introduced to’. It means a lot to me. I usually dont use FB as a networking tool. Which one of my friends pointed out. Yes, FB is probably a great networking tool. Useful to add your MBA batchmates because you never know when you might need to check on that job opening where s/he is working. But linkedin was created exactly for such purposes. Nowadays, FB has become like a tool to judge people. What kind of friends have you got, what you did last weekend, where did you take your latest holiday etc. is promptly available for others to see and form an opinion about you. They dont even know you. Many of them were your good friends in school/college. But have never bothered to say hi even once in a while on your wall even after you accepted their request. There ARE some people who havent sent me any message except the cursory ‘Happy Birthday’ every year on my wall. One of my friends recently undertook a FB cleaning spree where she deleted such friends. One of these days, I feel I should do the same.
Life is much more than your online time. Its your laughs, your sorrows, your anger, your feelings, your opinions (other than what can be publicly canvassed over twitter and FB). And I feel, mired in the online life, most of us are losing touch with our own emotions- leaves us with little real understanding of others’ emotions. Having said this, I love FB for several reasons. Mostly, it DOES let me express myself through pictures, status messages and such things, which I want to share with my real friends, who will find these things interesting in real sense.Who accept me the way I am and not judge me by my status messages. But it has also created a dilemma of having to keep appearances. In good old days, no one came to know what you really thought of them. These days, clever people must be managing it well, but I feel, its less difficult.
ETA: I must say, having read myself, the above bit sounds kinda hypocritical. There ARE some people who I knew cursorily before and whom I am now great friends with, after we connected on FB. In fact FB brought me closer to some of my extended family as well – but of course the effort was mutual. We made efforts to connect offline as well. So I am not likely to delete my FB account the way my friend Rekhs has, but in this era, when greater and greater part of life has begun moving online, as more and more feelings, egos, aspirations etc get linked to FB account, I am going to make attempt to connect with people in real rather than sending them bouquets/chocolates/drinks virtually….