I’m toying with the idea of quitting facebook. Every single time I log in, I’m bombarded with a deluge of self-obsessed, ‘why don’t you comment on my status, since I’m so cool’ status messages! Life streaming on facebook borders on exhibitionism – or you could call it plain old showing off.
Here’s a disclaimer. I am not talking about facebook users in general, but only those who use it more as a self-promoting vehicle rather than to network and connect.
So I know, I can choose to ignore feeds from these pretentious and insecure brethren (or sisterhood for that matter), but that’s not the point! The point is – don’t they get it?
If you meet these people in person, they probably wont come across as such eggheads, (barring some who are irritatingly alike their irritating on-screen personas) but when they sit behind their laptops and their iPhones, something happens to them. They lose all their inhibitions, and their deep dark inner selves come out with all cylinders firing, telling us how cool they are, how cool their pastimes, how cool their friends, how cool is their world. In fact these people are so cool, it is almost never, that a single un-cool message that gets displayed on their status.
Here’s some classics- no surprises! Clubbing at Spinn, anytime!- Feeling blue, need my Eric Clapton – can’t decide between ballet or samba – cricket on my 42”, that’s money’s worth- watching Star Wars on my new 7.1 home theater – chocolate fudge sundae at The Park – Taken with my new 300 mm Telephoto etc etc etc.
They also often talk about cool things they missed out on. Oops, missed the weekly dinner at Taj – too bad I cdnt do the marathon this year – never forgive myself for missing that awesome trekking trip -Wish I could do the cycling trip – when do I start my guitar and my drum classes?!
I sometimes wonder how eventful these folks’ lives actually are. I doubt if they do better ,than any other average Joe like me. I know some of these guys well enough to think otherwise. It’s not social networking anymore you know, it’s some kind of virtual reality show – where you get to play your avatar – your “cool” self. You are the guy who goes clubbing, reads the most intriguing books, has the interesting hobbies, goes to the high flying places. It’s like free press, your own free billboard where you put up an ad, every time you have something remotely cool happening in your life. Even if nothing’s happening, you always think of something cool to say – “It’s that day of the year – I want to pick up my Zen book, have coffee and reflect”. Does life streaming always have to be “cool”?!
What’s “life – streaming” anyway? Who wants to know? Are facebook friends your real friends? Are you even remotely interested? How many times do you go and check out other people’s walls and say something nice? Are you interested more in streaming your life, than others are for reading yours? Who are you streaming your life for anyway? colleagues, acquaintances, casual social contacts? What are your obligations? Do you have to like the people you make friends with on facebook? Are you even talking stuff that is relevant for others? Or are you just trying to sound cool??!
Can’t you say “Hey Joe, nice pictures”, “Hi Ramesh, how about catching up?”, “Hi Sachin – kahan ho aaj kal”. Lots of folks still do all that – and they are using the tool for what it is really for – “Social Networking”. For your closest friends, you don’t need facebook and for your colleagues at office you probably have Office Communicator. A facebook friend is – let’s face it- mostly an acquaintance, who you choose to have a casual social contact with. Isn’t that what social networking supposed to be? Interact. Collaborate. Talk to others. Maintain casual social contact. Keep the thread alive.
Not “Talk grandiose things about yourself”!!
Then, for your friends, there’s always good old “Offline friendship”. You know – meeting your friends the old way. At a hangout – the local coffee shop – an evening at the pub – a game of tennis – a cup of chai – whatever works for you and your gang. And a good thing about offline friendship is choice. We decide a time and place to meet and hang out. We respect each other’s time and space. We decide when we need to meet and when we need to be away.
And when we do meet, it’s because we want to enjoy being together, with friends. Have some fun. Feel good, Clear the air. Lighten the mood and go away with a smile.
Not to listen to another annoying, self-promoting, “I’m so cool” type message that makes you want to run away. Please, I am not impressed by your “coolness”. I could not care less. So please, if you want to interact with me using a networking tool – do so. If you have to talk about yourself and your cool deeds, I will ignore your posts on my wall.
No offence to facebook. It’s just fallen prey to a Cyber-exhibitionist phenomenon that’s threatening to pollute the extremely interesting and innovative concept of online social networking and six degrees of separation. Instead of discovering, connecting and learning, these folks are just going “yada yada yada yada” about themselves!
Enough said! Now let me get back to my cool hobbies, cool friends, cool books, cool music and the other generally cool stuff that fills my cool life.