Wednesday, February 29, 2012

IN YOUR FACE


Eight years ago, he posted pictures of his fellow students online and asked who was hot and who was not. Today he is the self-proclaimed supreme overlord of one of the hottest companies in the world. The cocky 27 year old may not yet be richer than Bill Gates, but he already has a movie to his credit (or discredit)! And with plans of an IPO this summer, that could value his brainchild (supposedly!) “Facebook” between $75 and $100 billion, Mr.Zuckerberg could very well be playing his favorite game “Monopoly” in Silicon Valley. All this for a company that generates around $4 billion in revenues and makes just $1 Billion in net profits! You must be saying that it is a case of extreme Face-bullishness! May be! May be not!

So why is it touted to be a phenomenon or “The Next Big thing”! Why has it become so essential a part of our lives that we are hooked on for hours? Put in simple words, Facebook has just picked up a prehistoric human instinct: the instinct to socialize and has rendered it extinct by making it virtual. It has simply made “Staying in Touch” easy (read that “lazy”)! You don’t have to visit relatives anymore. You don’t have to make that weekly or bi-monthly call to your friends. You don’t have to listen to them rant, boast, brag, crib, complain, reminisce! All you have to do is click a “Like” button without ever knowing what in the hell is happening in their lives! And if you are in the mood, you can actually make an irrelevant comment which in all probability will not be read. You stay in touch and life is good! Forever!

Photo albums and invitation cards will soon go out of business as you will attend functions online without knowing if it is a wedding or a dinner party. Just RSVP and move on. As time goes on, your face will swell with pride as you see your number of friends grow to astronomical proportions. It’s another matter that you would also find it increasingly difficult to put names to faces. But it still gives you a larger than life appeal. You feel omnipresent and omniscient. Which is why a crappy Saturday evening browsing status updates of friends and performing slothful rituals of random likes,  comments and updates feels more satisfying than a fun outing with your best friend or a night at the opera with your loved one!

From a more psychological perspective, Facebook gives us space to express. It gives you an audience which in reality is a vacuum filled with blue and white smoke made up of zeros and ones. But what the heck: we are so desperate to opine and show off that we don’t differentiate a bunch of hay from a ragdoll. We continue to pour in our inner most thoughts, profound ideas, profane feelings and insane deeds with absolute abandon. For all we know, Facebook might have been the CIA’s idea of digging up truckloads of information about all of us, the easier and fun way. You may be laughing your kidneys out, but at least China thinks so! Which is why, despite Mr.Zuckerberg’s lame attempt to learn Mandarin, China is out of reach of his “Social Network”. Talk about being “anti-social”!

But despite the China handicap, Facebook is nearing 1 billion users which would account for 1 in 7 of the world’s population and it accounts for 1 in 7 minutes spent online. Well, if ever Facebook was awarded a “Country” status, it would be the third most populous, just behind our 2 famous “You-know-who”s. It is so heartening to see people waste so much time. Wait a minute! I have only been Face-bearish all this while. 

I am no sacrosanct nor am I friends with Kapil Sibal. I do admit that Facebook indeed has its share of “goods”! It balances our “crazy as hell” life and helps us transcend time and distance to stay reasonably in touch with our close ones. It entertains us; keeps us informed and lets us have some fun. Most importantly it gives us second chances. It puts us back in touch with long forgotten people we wished we had never forgotten. It keeps our friends “within our sights and reach”! But it is up to us to actually reach out to them. You still have to come out of the illusion to make and keep friends.  It may be okay to use Facebook to know what is going on with your relatives or to wish your friend “Happy Birthday”. But when your wife comes to know about your promotion through your Facebook update, you know it’s not good for your health anymore!


57 comments:

  1. Hahahaha.. true Raj!! Reminds me of a cartoon I saw somewhere..with a caption- " He had more than 2000 friends on facebook, I had expected a better turnout at his funeral!"

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    1. Wow.. that is a hilarious cartoon. :)

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    2. Thank you so much Stuti. :)

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    3. yeah both the comment to which I replied and off course the post too. The post is very relevant.

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    4. :) Yeah Stuti.. the comment was too good. Thank you and glad you liked the post. :)

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  2. very well written and i agree with u completely...honestly i used to get roun20calls on my birthday and say abt 20texts wishing happy birthday eva since fb has cum aroun i get 3-5calls from really close people rest prefer wishin on fb..the gud thn u knw wts goin on in others lives via updates n pics d bad thn d old thn of being in touch is disappearing

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    1. Yeah.. sad isn't it? Even I used to get a lot more bday calls. :( And if you think of it, if we start wishing for bdays in Facebook, there is not much of a difference between an acquaintance and a close friend.

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  3. Nice post...
    I wasn't aware of the CIA angle taken by China on it...That sounds both funny as well as serious.

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    1. :) Thank you. he he.. the CIA angle was mine. :P China has strict rules and mostly social networking is banned. Even media is very controlled over there.

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  4. Nice post Raj and quite interesting to read. Yes it is quite common for people to follow their relatives and friends on the face book since status updates are being done regularly by individuals without fail ( Face book syndrome i suppose).

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    1. A very warm welcome to you Engram. Glad you liked the post. Yeah.. I agree.. that is really a good thing. Facebook is good in the sense we constantly know what is happening in their lives. But therein lies the paradox. The physical and emotional keep-in-touch is being replaced by the virtual one. :)

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  5. Hehehe.. One of my friend went to work in China couple of months back and the biggest shock and of course his biggest worry was dat he wasn't able to access FB. Your post made me remember the way he was depressed by this when he has called me last time :-(

    Your posts are always good to read.. And the picture u used is so funny. Good work :)

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    1. I know.. seriously.. what would facebook addicts do in China? :P Thank you so much for the lovely compliments. :)

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  6. I completely agree with you Raj, another great post from you, enjoyed reading it.

    Sometimes it makes me wonder if Facebook is my real life and my real life is my virtual life! :P

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    1. Yeah.. I get the feeling too a lot of times. I guess Facebook is slowly invading our lives and before we realize we will be addicts. ;) Thank you so much and am so glad you liked the post. :)

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  7. LOL! The last sentence about your wife finding about your promotion through a status update had me laughing!! You've written so well that I had to nod my head in unison to so many everythings that you've penned down so eloquently!! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Jen. :) Your compliments really made my day. Yeah.. I think we can relate to this and I can feel Facebook's share of my time increasing sometimes. :(

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  8. Too much of anything is good for nothing. I agree that these days many people have become hooked on to Facebook and I simply dont see the reason. They want to be seen as having 600 friends and they want everyone to admire them (I would ask them to get a life, real Life). It has more cons than pros, and unless one learns to balance them well, it is hazardous!
    Well written :-)

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    1. You nailed it on the head. Too much of anything is certainly not good. And this is what is happening. Facebook is slowly deflating our lives and then filling it with vacuum. :( yeah.. a good balance is certainly necessary. :)

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  9. """"""""You don’t have to listen to them rant, boast, brag, crib, complain, reminisce!""""""
    this indeed must be the crux of the matter. a pity no doubt

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    1. :) Yep Sujatha.. very true. I guess Facebook has become a necessary evil. :P I won't say it is totally bad. It is upto us to use it wisely. ;)

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  10. I loved your last sentence- just recently someone was complaining to me that they found out about private family medical issues via facebook- ouch!!!! I, personally, got off facebook & went to a more private google+- people complain that google+ is useless because there is not much interaction- but I actually prefer it for that very reason. I was having people request me as 'friends' on facebook that were NEVER my friend in a million years- and not even an acquaintance- and I had one person want to compare their friends list with mine- HELLO?? ha ha- is this a competition?? ha ha!

    skype and facetime and Tango have been good for my far flung family to stay in touch- REAL talking not just snippets of 'like' and inane comments. But I'm sure they have their draw backs as well.

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    1. Yeah.. it is kindaa bad if our close friends know important things about us through sources other than us. You are right. We will need these tools to stay in touch one way or the other. But I guess we are okay until and unless they start operating us. :P

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  11. I personally don't prefer any social networking sites except when it is the only way left for me to communicate with any of my friends. I have never been facebook friendly, for that matter, as I don't like sitting in front of system for long hours and typing my emotions or expressions. But I must say that you have presented this article in a very beautiful manner, by weaving your positive and negative thoughts about facebook. I absolutely agree with your opinions and thoughts about the social networking sites like facebook.

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    1. yeah.. I agree with you Elvirah. Emotions are better expressed personally. :)

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  12. Best post on FB ever. Send it to Mark and he will give you shares of his company (after the listing). Love the cartoon. In spite of all the shortcomings of this virtual existence, we love it...:)

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    1. Thank you so much Saru for the lovely compliment. :) he he.. if I send it to Mark, he might delete my FB account. :P

      Very true.. we all still love FB as it is addictive in a way. :)

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    2. Dare he do that! We will mass delete our FB accounts...LOL...

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    3. omg.. :) Now I am sure he will give you shares of his company. ;) :)

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  13. I got briefly hooked and now have sort of withdrawn from it. Dunno whose 'power' will prove more potent. My will power or the FB power. But it did eat into a lot of my time. You are right. It is up to us to use it wisely.

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    1. Yeah zephyr. Even I was into it for a while. But then the fizz went off. :) Now I use it sparingly and am happy about that. :)

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  14. I think fb makes us vain..n I never thought that it may be CIA's idea..hhahaha..maybe :D

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    1. Facebook makes us vain. :) Nicely said. he he.. U mean to say that CIA is not brilliant enough.. :P

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    2. Second that, but also think that vanity is within us, FB only gives it a platform.

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    3. Well said. I totally agree with you Subho. We become what we choose. So yeah.. it is up to us! :)

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  15. A beautiful mind's work speaks beautifully indeed. Loved it. I used to be an fb addict and realised it had a lot of fat ..(unwanted friends) .. so I cut it by more then half and never felt better..:)

    Glad to have found you at Indiblogger. Your newest follower and regular visitor now.
    Cheers
    Kajal

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    1. A very warm welcome to you Kajal. :) And thank you so much for the lovely compliments. :)

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  16. LOL :) incredible !
    Too much of anything is good for nothing :)
    i had 900+ friends in FB and i deactivated it 6 months ago :D

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    1. Very true. :) Man.. u had 900+ friends. Wow.. that is really awesome. :)

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  17. WOW...That was an awesome read. Loved each and every point and I so agree with you. I use my FB mainly to keep in touch with friends with whom I can't connect on a daily basis and to promote my arts...As Dee said too much of anything is hazardous:))

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    1. Thank you soo much Deepa for the lovely compliment. :) Yeah.. I completely agree. Facebook has its pros and you use it very wisely and nicely. :) I use it to mainly stay in touch with distant friends too.

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  19. The benefits of facebook recounted by you in the last para notwithstanding;i find it rather vain & superficial...face to face dialogue with two friends is better than likes of 20 fb friends...yes i know this is an extreme view but that's how i feel.

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    1. No Indu. You are absolutely right.It is not at all an extreme view. A face to face dialogue or a call is much more personal. :)

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  20. i have been trying to read this post of yours for last couple of days, finally. loved it. absolutely, click the like button and it's done. also as u pointed out, there r advantages as well. nice post, enjoyed reading it as always.

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    1. Thank you so much for the nice compliments Deb. :) yeah... you said it right. It has its share of pluses and minuses and if we use it in the right amounts we will do good. :)

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  21. Facebook is gradually becoming a menace in our lives, its like alcohol, we know it hurts but we end up on it.It has made lives easier and we are back to our couches again bending our backs and going back to become a new generation of apes.This virtual world is a killer, the children of today have forgotten the ground, the friends no longer call up for a birthday wish and where are those cute little wedding cards? They are vanishing! I don't know what to do, but I connect to each and every word here and I feel heavily concerned of our future!

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    1. Heyy Arnab.. that was very well said. :) It is getting insanely addictive and it is up to us to use this medium wisely. But sadly the craze seems to picking up and I do share your concern for the future.

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  22. Raj - Brilliant stuff .. very well written ...

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    1. Thank you so much Sangeeta for the wonderful compliment. :)

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  23. You've hit the nail on its head as to why FB is successful and why it would continue to be. Great writing.

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  24. i do agree with your info.....even though facebook has it demerits, but it united me with my friends so closely...... well written and thanks......

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