Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Facebook Era

Technology. The great equalizer.

And so it came to be that the world was covered by a great web. Isn't technology amazing? Now, no matter what- and i mean no matter what... time of day, distance, availability, weather, geography, socio-political situation- we are all connected. Oh baby, are we connected.

You know that picture on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with the two fingers touching? I can imagine the same thing only with two people extending computer cables (and 3 billion people "like" this).

The new generation is spoiled. They were born into it. They don't even know what "post" is. Unless its "post something on Facebook" (oh, I've clicked photos of trip to the grocery store! Let's upload them so people can post their comments! And then 923 people "like" this. Really?). They don't understand the gravity and the brilliance of it. They take it for granted.

I was no exception till a few years ago. I was in class in college, depressed and bored (no other way to be in my college), and I was texting a friend back home. And suddenly I realized, "holy crap... I'm here in college and she's 500km away in Goa, and we are talking as though we are right next to each other. Wow...".

Enter the Digital Age. Possibilities are endless. Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya. From darkness, light. Well, I don't think that's quite what they had in mind when whoever said that said it.

We can now stay in touch so easily with anyone and everyone... regardless of whether either party wants to keep in touch with the other. Old school friends, college buddies, long lost pals of childhood days long gone, relatives, colleagues, accquaintences... we can know their life, and they can know ours, at the click of a button. We can interact.

Yet the closer we get, somehow, the more far removed I feel. The more connected I am, the more and more I feel disconnected.

I have a colleague as a friend on Facebook. She works on my floor. 5 days a week, we are no more than 20 feet apart for most of the day. I have her picture on Facebook. But I haven't actually seen her in weeks.

I know that some airhead little girl "thinks her friends are awesome and loves them", but I don't know the name of the guy in the next cubicle.

Facebook can be a dangerous thing too. I like to break balls on the SNS. I once said something that I thought was innocent on a friend's profile. That friend took it really bad, blocked me, and hasn't spoken to me since. Hmmm. I guess we weren't that good friends. But then, what is the demarcation to know the difference? She was in my "Friends List". They are not divided into "good friends", "so-so friends", "can't-take-a-joke friends", etc. Bloody hell.

And how many people that I should really interact with do I actually do so with? My parents. My sister, my grandmother. My good ol' gang of friends (whom I think are friends for life). I see them once in a month, day, and week, respectively. [Footnote: Adding that girl that you like is not going to improve your chances with her either]. Not to mention there are college friends, office mates, and fringe relatives. (<insert number> people "don't like" this. I "don't like" this).

No, its a bit too much. Often there are 50 people online in my Facebook chat. And often I don't feel like talking to any one of them. Sms packs are a dangerous thing. You're on the phone half the time. And you hardly even actually talk. If you don't get a message or a call, you feel depressed. No one loves you. If I don't get an email for half an hour, I feel annoyed. No one cares. Why didn't so-and-so comment on my status or my pic? I am alone.

Look at those people's pics. Why haven't I been there? Why aren't I doing this like that person? I'm falling so far behind. I'm doing nothing with my life. I'm going to die unaccomplished. You don't have to admit to me, but be honest with yourself: you ever felt like that?

Just 8 years ago I was in school, and it was nowhere near this bad. Sure, we had internet, we had the telephone, we had all that jazz. But now, to not be connected is to not exist. Now, I am connected to everyone and everything. Yet sometimes, these days, I feel lonelier than I've ever felt.

Click here if you "like" this. Or I will be very sad.