Socially Speaking

Nope, nothing. Tons of random thoughts. Let’s just get them all out, shall we?

Well, let me start with Facebook. I’ve got a bone to pick with it. It’s taken over a lot of communication. People don’t feel like they have to talk in person or on the phone anymore, because they’ve left a message on our “wall”. Many of us are guilty of it, even people to whom we’re close. Yes, we’re still socialising, but do all our interactions have to be so damn public? If anyone can see what we’re talking to each other about, there’s nothing personal, per se, anymore. If we’re informed of major events in a friend’s life via such a platform, then how does that person remain a close friend? I mean, the update could be visible to just about any of their 500-odd friends. (I am aware of the new somewhat controlling and somewhat out of control privacy settings on Facebook, thank you for asking.)

It’s helping the world become smaller, but we’re losing something valuable. Where’s that moment when we sit face-to-face or, at worst, actually hear the other person’s voice? How do we hear the cynical tone, the feverish excitement, the hearty laughter, the silly giggles? If we can see them but don’t, aren’t we missing the expressions silently asking for support, the little smile appearing despite their skeptic words, a wistful look, the sparkle in their eyes? Can we still successfully catch up, build a relationship or reinforce one? I think something will often be missing. It isn’t the same. Despite any arguments we may make, it just isn’t.

Friendships and relationships become diluted because we let these social networking websites take over. We let  them become a substitute for real communication, a real heart-to-heart. We assume we’re “in touch” because we let each other see our status updates or share songs we’re listening to or publicise our relationship statuses which are likely to become a breeding ground for drama. With the amount of information which is shared on sites such as this or Twitter, much of it could be shared inadvertently. (I can swear that I could follow the controversial life of a girl I barely know via her status and relationship updates over the period of about a year. I would give you details to support this, but I don’t think that would be appropriate.) With the amount of interest we have in other people’s lives, I also firmly believe that Facebook brings out the voyeurs in us. This isn’t helped by the fact that there is now a live news feed on the home page. Doesn’t this somehow let people know that we are active at this present moment on Facebook? Isn’t that sort of akin to appearing online even if we aren’t “Available to Chat”?

What did we do before these websites started playing such an important role in our lives? We didn’t try to summarise our thoughts into 140 characters and we didn’t need to let every random person befriending us virtually know that we’re in a complicated or an open relationship. If something bothered us, we sought out our friends and talked to them, instead of posting our latest mood swing for everyone to see. Where we’d have had a decent, sensible conversation which might actually help the situation, now we write, “I’m in a bad mood, y’all. Keep away.” And then we get a ton of “Awwww”s and when someone asks, “What’s wrong?” we say, “I kinda don’t want to talk about it.” It’s a little personal, right? Well, maybe we shouldn’t have shared it with every random person whose friend request we’ve accepted. But now Facebook lets you group your friends in any way you please: Close Friends, Family, Acquaintances and you can create your own groups too. So don’t ever call or even text your friends again, use Facebook to do that dirty work for you.

Now, speaking of people accepting friend requests from random strangers, why in the world are people so damn keen on making new friends through the internet? Maybe we should talk about that someday. On Facebook. Or we can just tweet it or something, right? It’s high time; I should really get on Twitter and learn #7habitsofhighlyeffectivetweeters or something to that effect. Then we’d really be talking.

 

5 thoughts on “Socially Speaking

  1. The hippie culture and the Gurus in the USA who came from India in the 1960s saw the end of the meaning of the word “love”.
    The decade on 2000 to 2010 has brought and end to the meaning of the word “friend”.

    There was a time when you only loved someone you actually loved and used that word in that context only. Now it is just thrown about like you say ‘Hi’ for a greeting, you say ‘love you’ at the end of the conversation like a punctuation mark.

    Friend. Do we know what it means any more?
    If one is really sick, how many of these ‘friends’ will come to your bedside to cheer you up? There was a time when I was sick and friends would be there round the clock to cheer me up.
    There was also a time when you could actually borrow money from your friend. Is that possible now?
    Also how many friends are there you can actually talk to and who will understand you and they will not deride you behind your back?

    The world is a changed place. There is more of social net working and less of the real things.

    Please agree with my writings and hit the “Like” button otherwise I will un-friend you. Know what I mean?

    1. Very true! Thank you for your thoughts and your perspective! The word “friend” is slowly but surely losing its meaning. So we come up with adjectives to describe real friends such as, well, “real friends” or “closest friends” .

      As mentioned, we’re paying a price to shrink the world.

    1. So many of us are admittedly even addicted to it! Often our day starts and ends with it, and sometimes we are forced to wonder where we even found all that time to spend on these sites. We ousted something else to make room for these activities; I wonder what we’ve got rid of…

      1. We have got rid of the thinking process.
        And the reading, talking and interacting with live human beings.

        Like the shrinking of the world via FB and other such media, our thinking process is also shrinking. We spend time in front of a screen and start writing inane things. Compare this to the time when FB, etc was not there and we used to have a lively discussion and back and forth of thoughts.

        How many of us prefer to pick up a book to read vis-a-vis sit in front of a screen?

        In the same way, we emote in front of a screen not with live human beings.
        That is why the emotions are getting colder and are losing value when faced with real human beings.

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