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.