Thursday, November 24, 2011
The Trouble With Being Social
“I was very tolerant of the idea of being behind the times, having had long opportunities of studying the perfectly ghastly people who were abreast of the times; or the still more pestilent people who were in advance of the times.” – G.K. Chesterton
Social networking has never really been my thing and probably, never will be. And yet, I seem to insist on keeping my Facebook profile, even though I rarely log in there. It has something to do with my fear of being left behind as the whole world moves on to new and exciting developments, leaving the days of email far behind.
Confucius say “Man who speaks with forked tongue should not kiss balloons.”
So, when Orkut made its debut years ago, I was in the thick of things. Primped my profile, “scrapped” friends frequently and set up a group that proclaimed “Ooty Schools Rock!” Then, as is the case with most social networking sites, things turned unpleasant. After being bombarded with “scraps” from every weirdo on the planet, I retaliated. I created a profile with a fake tongue twister of a name and the picture of an ugly pink heart-holding teddy bear and went after my tormentors, matching them bad grammar for bad grammar and everything. This profile was something of a shared asset – BC, Krazy Frog, Merry and I made good use of it, posing as a broken English-speaking bunny boiler whenever needed. The scary part, however, was that our psycho virtual creation garnered quite the fan following of her own.
I sighed with relief as Orkut finally introduced some semblance of privacy settings. However, the novelty of social networking had begun to wear off.
Confucius say “The inventor of shag carpet make big pile.”
As I slowly withdrew from the Orkuttian world of scraps, fans and testimonials, I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I had my answer when a random dodo I mistook for a waiter at a club in Pune found me on Orkut and crapped…err… I mean left me a host of “scraps”. I was more embarrassed that such poor English had found its way onto my profile than anything else. He even lacked the poetic charm that the moon-eyed “Kay Pee”, who wrote an ode to my “pillow cover lips”, exuded. Cursing the lousy privacy that Orkut offered, I deleted my profile and settled into a happy existence without the bane of social networking.
Then came Facebook. I steadfastly refused to sign up and rebuffed everybody’s attempts to “friend me”. I spat at the terms “friending” and “unfriending”. However, after months of mounting pressure, I succumbed. I soon realized why Facebook was the rage it was. The all-proclaiming Wall and, of course, lousy privacy settings – the trademark of any successful social networking site apparently.
Facebook was and continues to be the answer to every social voyeur. It effectively satisfies two basic human needs: The need to tom-tom every aspect of one’s life to all and sundry and the need to snoop on other people. Facebook is manna for every hungry gossipmonger. Besides, you can get anyone to “like” anything on Facebook. I once put that up as a status message – “You can get anyone to like anything on Facebook”. Twenty-four people “liked” it. Facebook fuels this very comforting feeling of immense popularity. The more number of "likes", the more fabulous the happy ending to a luxurious ego massage.
Confucius say “Man who stick foot in mouth get athlete's tongue.”
I did try to be “sociable” on FB once. Someone prone to posting “philosophical” status updates once put up something about the sun, moon, universe and all things planetary. Predictably, a host of people “liked” it and it sparked a number of “deep and philosophical” comments.
Now “deep and philosophical” and all things intellectual is not me. Not by a long shot. I am… well, I am just blah. However, on this particular occasion, I decided to be social and added my two blabs’ worth to keep up with the Joneses. Now who deeper and more philosophical than Confucius? “Man who eat too many prune sit on potty many moon”, I commented.
A day later, I found I had been banned from this particular err… friend’s wall. I was hurt. Such disrespect to Confucius. However, not all was lost. One person “liked” my comment. Ha.
Confucius say “Wise man never play leapfrog with unicorn.”
Anyone snooping around my FB profile now will leave sorely disappointed. For besides a mug shot that has been run through the “Fat Booth” application and some scorching disclaimer about my innate nastiness in the “About” section, there is really nothing to write home about - unless the snoop is particularly interested in my newfound affinity for social gaming. Yes, yes. I now tend to virtual gardens and beg people to send me spackles, tool belts and paint cans or else I will die. I haven’t the patience for anything else. I don’t even recall the last time I opened my FB messages. I find it easier to check all and clear.
I’ll stick with more personalized one-on-one interactions – email or chat or even the occasional good old-fashioned postcard. I’m with Chesterton on this one.