My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 2 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Social fail

On the best of days, FB has the tendency to annoy me.

Zadie Smith's critique of the movie/site/phenomenon in general sums up my fears/loathing rather perfectly. Which then begs the question, why am I still on it? The people I really want to speak to/really want to speak to me, know how to get in touch. So why am I still there, trying to be as inconspicuous and private as I can while the world around me opens up and spills details that are really silly, wholly private or some combination of the two? It isn't entirely that of course. There are those people who make good use of the platform and once in a while, you discover things that are good. But we're talking one crystal pure drop of sense in a vast ocean of murky idiocy here. And no, it doesn't make being there worth it. I'm there because it's the sensible thing to do. I'm on there because being there means the unknown becomes that teeny bit known, less danger of being caught unawares deer-in-the-headlights-fashion. Sure, this sounds like this thing is something really sinister and I'm simply waiting for it to jump out and bite me. But you may blame my cautiousness on my Capricornian traits. Thank you.

My problem on something that isn't the best of days is just how gauche this whole thing has become. How regular social norms can easily be ignored because, hey, this is such a fantastic mix of the virtual and the real. For example, the way people 'add' you. Say it's someone you've bumped into in recent times, it's probably okay to assume they'd remember you and therefore add them.* But if it's someone you haven't seen in a while, do you simply assume they'd remember you, because, oh, you've got these many common friends and so it's okay? What's wrong with sending a little note saying hello, introducing yourself or something? In the real world, this'd be the equivalent of going up to someone after years and without any niceties, standing next to them and pretending to the whole world that you know each other very well.

 Let's not even go into how most often none of these people will deign to leave so much as a 'hello, how're you?' after having added you. So, why exactly are you adding me, again? Presumably you want to gawk at my photos and the posts on my wall and arrive at some wholly insubstantial conclusion of my life which will make you feel very smug for about two seconds till you forget my existence. Until the next time my mug pops up in your feed and then it's time for a rinse and repeat. And what if one of you has proceeded to block the other person fro viewing the things that make up their life on FB? Doesn't the exercise prove futile then? It's just another notch on the post of your friends list and honestly, does anyone care how many people there are on this list anymore?

I get the point. A lot of people want to 'stay in touch. Just in case.' ... does it really ever get to that though?

Talking of social graces, is it suddenly okay for people to simply pretend nothing ever happened when they've been the cause of much pain earlier? Someone who bullied you in school simply adding you up seemingly having forgotten what havoc they wreaked then? Or is it some form of 'growing up' where you forgive and forget and not hold grudges? If this was a real reunion there'd be fireworks. A scene perhaps. But it still wouldn't be perfectly hunky-dory if the former bully simply walked up to you and started talking as if you'd been friends all along. I'm not sure about this actually. Sometimes these things work out. You discover this brute isn't such a brute anymore, they apologise (maybe) and you part cordially thence, if not as friends.

It's just, with the spread of the social phenomenon that is FB, there are more and more grey areas to navigate now than there were before. Sure, some generation ahead will have it all figured out ... but in the mean time, there are those who have to routinely deal with the PITAs that these grey areas are.

 I do have one positive thing to say about FB though. It makes for a fantastic Halloween costume!

* Which brings me to another point. Why is it that a lot of people seem to think it's okay to add you up because they have met you ONCE. Immediately after they meet you that too. For all you know, that's the only time you will meet them. Where then is the point of this 'relationship' where you see the occasional update, blandly wish them on their birthday, wedding, anniversary, birth of a child and maybe leave the occasional message that goes 'hey, wassup, how're you?' which is then responded to with a blander 'good, nothing much. you?'


  1. despite all its shortcomings, i like FB.
    that could be because i have no qualms in not adding people i don't want to add.. i do find it amusing when people discuss "personal" matters on FB.. or say things like "between you and me only". that is hilarious!

  2. your blog makes me go through 4 rounds of security before it publishes my cawments. on EVERY post. even the TSA would identify me by now if i were this regular at airports! :P

  3. Hmmm..

    Agree to most of your points, not all.

    I have very good friends whom I really want to keep in touch and miserably fail to find some quite time to sit and chat over phone. Emailing happens, but is not close to direct talk. FB has been the savior and we have often discussed that fact in person.Also love the way it lets you share info and updates, which otherwise would again be more time consuming through other forms. The discussions in comment section are fun too.

    Yes, lot of acquaintances, and namesakes are in there. But, heck, I like to hang around and be a part of the virtual party :)

  4. See, this is why you should not be on FB.. The problem with people on it is that they either want to:
    - fictionalize their life to show that its perfect and hence you get a friend request.


    -Show that they live in foreign and they go on trips to Nicaragua on the weekends :D

    That said, how come we don know each other offline? :D

  5. I'm getting bored of FB now..seriouslyyy

  6. very well written DD and mirrirs my thoughts for most past....of course u say it a lot better! :)

  7. I'm tempted to turn non-moderated commenting back on now that the spam filter is on.
    FB ... maybe I need to learn to not give too much importance to whether or not I'm adding people, I'll get there slowly.

    AHK: Of course, I see that ... I suppose if it really came to that you could make your 'stuff' available only to certain people, it's the amount of work that it takes to accomplish this that bugs me. Obviously, Zuckerberg wasn't someone who thought he needed a lot of privacy.

    Dee: Hahahaha, ouch! It's not *too* late to connect, we ought to do some FB bitching sometime ;)

    Dido: :) I'll bet there are many people out there feeling exactly like this.

    Chandni: Thank you, very kind of you to say so :)

  8. Fab thought, so well put. And i quite agree, minus the zodiac influence :). But fresh out Social Netwrok, i think i am going to Facebook you :)

  9. spam control's no good. i still HAVE to moderate. :-/
    anish, i loved the social network! makes me want to go dharna dharo outside harvard till they give me admission. :-/

  10. rayshma - yes u will fit well there. i would be average :). I found it very aspirational, young-immature-genius kinds. But grrreat editing.

  11. where will i fit?? why would you be average? that's not a term i can associate with you. i like the movie for its look and feel more than the actual plot... :)