Saturday, February 27, 2010

Writing on the Wall

I officially hate Facebook. If I have become unfocussed, unproductive and useless over the last few months, Facebook is squarely to blame. Naturally, one cannot achieve anything remotely constructive if one is forever preoccupied with contemplating the implications of one's latest status message on FB. Who'll be the first one to comment on it? Who'll like it? Will anyone like it at all? What if nobody comments on it? Such are the thoughts that fog my mind for most part of the day, when I respond to the tempting question: What's on your mind?. And when I haven't put up anything of interest to others, there're a hundred posts by others I can choose from, to think about. How can I sound witty? Should I even comment on his picture? Man, I can't believe 20 people like her photo! It's not even that great! The list is long.

The architects of this social network are clearly very manipulative and innovative. While initially I thought that it was obtrusive to broadcast my exchanges with a long lost school friend to everybody in my network, now I know its a mind game. If you too went to school with me, then you probably know this friend of mine. And there you have it - an addition to your friends list, simply because you happened to spot our little dialogue. Sweet, isn't it!? And it doesn't end there. She'll now write on your wall, since you were nice enough to add her. And then, you'll reply. Some five posts later, I'll feel so left out that I'll butt in, hankering for some attention. And we'll keep up the spirit of sorority for as long as it lasts! And you'll hear the cheeky architects cheering "Mission Create 3 Addicts Accomplished".

If you were to ask me to pick a subject for research, don't be surprised if I say "A qualitative analysis of highly popular and influential Facebook users". I'm more than just intrigued by this particular subset of the community. My research would aim at highlighting the mechanisms and phenomena that lead to a high popularity quotient on Facebook. With the substantial amount of groundwork that I have already performed, I can tell you that parameters like the frequency of your profile picture changes, novelty of your status message, your ability to elicit responses to any comment that you make, not to forget the sheer number of hours you spend on the portal itself, are critical to your blossoming into Ms/ Mr. Popular. And no, it's not as hard as it sounds. I'd be glad to help you out. I'm quite good at this stuff.

Precisely the reason I hate Facebook. Because, I love it. I can't do without it. It adds purpose to my life. It's the reason I wake up every morning. (Wow, I can be pretty dramatic!) But seriously, my virtual persona is swiftly stealing attention from the real one. I don't care for returning people's calls as much as I care about responding to a friend request. And that's quite freaky if you ask me. Nothing you or I can do about it. It's not even like Global Warming, for which you can hold international debates to discuss cause and effect. The Facebook Juggernaut continues to wreak havoc. If Shakespeare were a contemporary, he would have gotten Hamlet to lament with the words, "Frivolity, thy name is Facebook."


Bisi said...

Ammmmmmaaaazing ...

Gowri said...

Yup, extremely well written. You should consider sending it to a newspaper or magazine (if people still do that :)). FB has now become as important to us as e-mail became a decade ago, and like the latter, it's here to stay.

I read a column recently that said research has shown that people prefer asynchronous communication(e-mail, FB commenting) over chat, phone calls etc. that pin them down to a response then and there. And like you said it's a major ego-booster - a witty comment, a change in pic, a thoughtful status msg - it's all about us; how smart we are, how good we look!

Charu said...

Thanks so much! Asynchronous Communication is such a perfect term for this medium, if you think about it technically! Thanks for the trivia, Gowri. :)